76ers' Top Targets at Pick No. 28 in 2021 NBA Draft

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 22, 2021

76ers' Top Targets at Pick No. 28 in 2021 NBA Draft

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia 76ers' offseason is all about regrouping and reloading.

    They can get started on the latter during next week's 2021 NBA draft.

    While they no longer have access to the talent grab's elites like they did during the peak of The Process, they have a decent chance of adding someone pretty helpful with the 28th overall pick.

    The following three prospects, in particular, seem worthy of the Sixers' consideration.

Jared Butler, PG/SG, Baylor

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Jared Butler is the early winner of the draft process after being medically cleared by the league's fitness-to-play panel. That shifts the conversation around him all back to basketball, where the combo guard can contribute at both ends of the court.

    Offensively, Philly will be drawn to his ability to create shots, make them off the dribble and finish around the basket. The 20-year-old can ditch defenders off the bounce, generate offense out of pick-and-rolls and pull up for deep threes. But he does all this without dominating the ball, which is a must for the Sixers since they run so much offense through Joel Embiid andβ€”if he's still around next seasonβ€”Ben Simmons.

    Defensively, Butler maximizes everything he can coax out of his 6'2" frame. His lack of size might restrict the matchups he can handle, but he always gives great effort and knows where to be off the ball.

    If Sixers fans were excited when the team acquired George Hill, they should be excited about Butler, who offers a similar blend of skills and smarts.

Chris Duarte, SG/SF, Oregon

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    It might be wishful thinking that Chris Duarte lasts this long.

    The 24-year-old is the kind of two-way role player every winning team either has or wants on the wing. He's a 6'6" sniper who grinds out plays at the defensive end.

    He probably doesn't have stardom in front of himβ€”he's not even a year younger than Ben Simmonsβ€”but he does have a 2020-21 season behind him in which he shot 63.1 percent on twos and 42.4 percent on threes while claiming a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.

    But maybe the age scares off enough teams that Duarte falls in Philly's lap.

    That would be a best-case scenario for the Sixers. They need the wing depth and shooting he offers, and they'd be glad to get more scoring and playmaking than Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle provide.

Tre Mann, PG/SG, Florida

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    It's possible Tre Mann could be gone before the 20s start. If he maximizes his potential, he could become a 6'5" lead guard who shoots threes off the dribble, scores from all three levels and creates offense for his teammates.

    It's also possible the 20-year-old slips this far (or further). He isn't a great athlete and doesn't have the fastest first step. He's also more comfortable finding his own shots than creating them for teammates, which is fine if he shoots like he did in 2020-21 (45.9/40.2/83.1) but a major problem if his 2019-20 shooting woes resurface (35.6/27.5/65.5).

    The Sixers can afford to bet on his upside, assuming they see a big enough reward to do so. They were hurting for perimeter offense all season, and he could help in that department on the ball or off it.

    There's a universe in which he becomes one of Philly's top reserves next season, leading the second unit's offense and providing complementary shooting and distributing when deployed with the starters.