3 players Sixers must avoid in 2022 NBA Draft

For a long time it was unclear whether the Sixers would even have a selection in the upcoming draft. The Sixers traded the rights to their first-round pick to the Nets for James Harden. Brooklyn had the option of deferring the election to next season, which they chose to do. As a result, the Sixers’ focus has shifted back to the draft and the 23rd pick they own.

The Sixers should be thrilled to have the pick back as this is a great draft for them to be a part of. Philadelphia’s roster has been starved of athleticism and versatility on the wings for several years. There are several notable wing prospects that would solve this problem that fit the needs of the Sixers. While there’s been a lot of talk about the Sixers’ desire to trade the pick, the way the board is shaking could make them reconsider that decision.

There are several prospects that would bode well for the Sixers. However, you need to be very careful when choosing. Let’s take a look at a few names Philadelphia should stay away from.

3 players must avoid the Sixers in the 2022 NBA Draft

Nikola Jovic – Wing Serbia

While it would be entertaining to share the floor with Joel Embiid with a player whose MVP rival has an almost mirror-inverted name, it wouldn’t be a practical choice for the Sixers. The Serbian big man is 6ft 10in tall and has impressive ball handling and playmaking skills. Nikola Jovic is causing matchup problems due to his size and likely projects as a perimeter-oriented player. He’s only 19 years old and still has a lot of room to grow.

Jovic is certainly an intriguing talent in the Sixers draft section, but doesn’t check the boxes for her needs. He lacks athleticism and is not the defensive wing they should be looking for. The Sixers already have several players who are naturally ball-dominant. Adding Jovic to the mix of Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey could cause some big problems. Passing the lure of his potential to a man who can do more off the ball would be the right move for the Sixers.

Jaden Hardy – Guard G-League Ignite

It was a disappointing drop in draft stock for Jaden Hardy. The former high school No. 2 contender hasn’t lived up to expectations this season with the G-League Ignite. Up until the last few weeks, Hardy was even considered a lottery tip. There were several mock drafts that paired Hardy with the Sixers in the 23rd pick. Capitalizing on value and upside is Daryl Morey’s typical strategy, as seen at Tyrese Maxey and Jaden Springer over the past two years. While this has worked in the past, the Sixers would be better off avoiding Jaden Hardy.

In his only season with G-League Ignite, Hardy averaged 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals. His shooting splits didn’t show the same promise, as the 6’5-inch guard shot just 37.9% from field and 30.9% on three-point attempts. Jaden Hardy feels like he’s a very good player but it will take time to get there. The win-now position the Sixers are currently in coupled with the ball-dominant nature doesn’t make it a match for Philly.

Blake Wesley – Wing Notre Dame

A valued recruit out of high school, Blake Wesley has intriguing NBA potential. He is 6ft 5″ tall with an NBA ready frame. In his only collegiate season, Wesley averaged 14.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He shot 40.4% from the field and 30.3% on three-point attempts. The Notre Dame product has a lot of potential for shot generation and pull ups. His instincts are top scorers, but he has also shown highlights in his playmaking.

Despite fitting the profile of a potential Sixers target, Wesley is still early in his development process. It will be a few more years before he can contribute to a competitive team again. He also finds it difficult to attack the basket in traffic and does not get to the free-throw line enough. Wesley is also too often satisfied with bad recordings.

Daryl Morey and the Sixers typically prioritize long-term value when evaluating draft prospects. While obviously important, the Sixers must prioritize adding players who can contribute to their championship efforts sooner rather than later. Their lack of cap space and assets makes this a difficult off-season. This is a unique draft class with multiple options that are more advanced in their development than a typical beginner. The number of long wings with three years of college experience would be a much better fit in Philadelphia. Look for them to pass these three players and aim for guys like Jalen Williams, Christian Braun or Wendell Moore.

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