76ers' Complete 2021 NBA Draft Preview, Predictions

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 26, 2021

76ers' Complete 2021 NBA Draft Preview, Predictions

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    NBA draft week is here.

    It's Step 1 of the Philadelphia 76ers' offseason quest to get their roster up to a championship level around Joel Embiid.

    It's the second draft in Philly for president of basketball operations Daryl Morey. Last year, he plucked three players from the annual talent grab, spending a first-rounder on Tyrese Maxey and seconds on Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed.

    Where might Morey turn this time around? After previewing where the Sixers stand entering draft night, we will round up expert projections before making some predictions for Thursday.

Draft Assets and Team Needs

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    Draft positions are always subject to change when Morey is at the wheel. As per usual, the Sixers "are open to trading" at the trade, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, although Morey likes his options if they stand pat.

    "If we keep the pick—frankly, I'm someone who likes to move up, move down, optimize the draft—but if we stay with that pick like we did last year, I feel good about the players who will be available," Morey told reporters.

    Philly will enter the draft with picks 28 and 50 in hand. Whether it stays in those spots is anyone's guess, but that's where things stand.

    As far as needs, the Sixers could use shot-creation on the perimeter, shot-making in the frontcourt and depth across the board.

Expert Mock Projections

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    Four of the leading mock-drafters have the Sixers going for a guard with the 28th pick. Two experts even agree on which guard it will be.

    Both B/R's Jonathan Wasserman and The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor have Philadelphia adding VCU's Nah'Shon Hyland.

    "Drafting a courageous shot creator like Hyland could add a spark to the offense, even as a rookie," O'Connor wrote.

    The Athletic's Sam Vecenie mocked Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu in this spot, while SI.com's Jeremy Woo went with Florida's Tre Mann.

    Three of the experts mocked through the second round, so they made projections about pick No. 50 too. Vecenie stayed in the backcourt with Louisville guard David Johnson. Wasserman mocked Iowa center Luka Garza. Woo had Pepperdine swingman Kessler Edwards in this spot.

Draft Predictions

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    With Morey calling the shots, some deal-making might be in the works.

    But trades are hard to predict, so we will assume Philly stands pat and makes both picks.

    At No. 28, the Sixers will grab a guard and go with Florida's Tre Mann. He might have the highest offensive ceiling of any guard in this range. He's a 6'5" combo guard with slick handles and a soft shooting touch off the dribble. Philly needs more scoring punch on the perimeter, and he can provide it.

    The options are endless at No. 50, but Iowa's Luka Garza would be a fascinating way to attack the non-Embiid minutes. Garza has major question marks defensively, but the unanimous National Player of the Year boasts a deep bag of offensive tricks. His scoring range runs from the paint to the perimeter, and he might be potent enough against bench brigades to serve as a second-team focal point for 10 or so minutes per night.

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