76ers Sleeper Prospects to Target in 2021 NBA Draft

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 15, 2021

76ers Sleeper Prospects to Target in 2021 NBA Draft

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    The closer the Philadelphia 76ers get to competing for an NBA title, the higher the stakes rise for each of their roster moves.

    When they enter the upcoming draft with picks 28 and 50, they need to walk away with at least one rotation-quality addition.

    That's tricky to do in those selection spots, but focusing on these three sleeper prospects would give the No. 28 pick a chance to deliver a major prize.

Josh Christopher, SG/SF, Arizona State

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Whatever was supposed to happen for Josh Christopher at Arizona State never really did.

    Expectations were through the roof, and he met exactly none of them. The 19-year-old suited up just 15 times for the Sun Devils and didn't impress when he played, averaging just 14.3 points on 43.2/30.5/80.0 shooting.

    There are two ways to spin his season: Either the 5-star recruit was exposed as overrated, or a poor roster fit and limited sample masked his potential and opened a buy-low possibility.

    Philly might want to bet on the former. If the Sixers are believers in Christopher, then they'll see a higher upside than anything they've glimpsed since exiting The Process. He has an NBA build (6'5", 215 lbs) and an NBA-quality ability to separate from defenders and create shots from all three levels.

    It's a risk-reward investment—he doesn't pass the ball and has never been the most efficient shooter—but the payoff could be enormous. If Philly guesses right on Christopher and gets him up to speed quickly, it's the kind of pick that could prove to be the missing piece for its championship quest.

Quentin Grimes, SG/SF, Houston

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    In 2018, Quentin Grimes was a McDonald's All-American and top-10 national recruit headed to Kansas. The fact that he's headed to the draft three years later out of Houston highlights the rocky road his college career traversed.

    The 21-year-old spent a single season with the Jayhawks and transferred away after averaging single-digit points on sub-40 percent shooting. But he maximized his two seasons at Houston and has emerged as the first-round prospect so many envisioned a few years back.

    As a junior, he helped the Cougars to a 28-4 record and the school's first Final Four appearance since 1984. He averaged the most minutes (32.8) and fewest turnovers (1.8) of his career while splashing a personal-best 40.3 percent of his long-range looks.

    Grimes is one of the top snipers in this class, has the handles and shot-making to man either guard spot and has the physical tools to defend any of the three perimeter spots.

Nah'Shon Hyland, PG/SG, VCU

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Too often this season the Sixers were scrambling to find scoring from their guards, especially those coming off the bench. Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey and Furkan Korkmaz all had moments, but they didn't have enough of them.

    Nah'Shon Hyland could give the second team the scoring jolt it needs.

    The 20-year-old has almost limitless range on his jumper, which he's comfortable firing off the dribble at any time. He's slippery enough to get to the basket, too, and his length (6'9" wingspan) and aggressiveness allow him to play bigger than his size (6'3", 165 lbs).

    Add Hyland, and the Sixers could benefit from both his point production and his competitive fire.


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