Now that the Sixers have officially received the 10th pick in the NBA draft via the Los Angeles Lakers, mock draft season is in full force.
There will be a lot of speculation on who they pick and why, but here are the early returns on what prospect will be the latest young addition to the Sixers’ roster.
ESPN: Mikal Bridges, Villanova guard-forward
“The 76ers have gotten great production out of JJ Redick and Marco Belinelli, but with both players approaching free agency — and their mid-30s — it makes sense to think about drafting a wing who can complement their building blocks of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.
“Bridges is an easy player to slot on almost any NBA roster, thanks to his multipositional defensive versatility, 3-point shooting and role-player potential. He isn’t as gifted a shot creator as you’d like from a top-10 pick, but on this roster, he won’t need to be.”
Sports Illustrated: Miles Bridges, Michigan State forward
“Philadelphia can breathe easy after keeping this pick away from Boston (it would have conveyed had it leapt to No. 2 or 3), and should be looking to complement their established core talent. Bridges may be an ideal fit for the Sixers, who play more of a fluid positional style with Ben Simmons at the point, and could use an athlete like him to help run the floor. While questions remain about how good of a shooter Bridges actually is and how much of a defensive plus he can become, he’s extremely athletic and has the makings of a utility-type combo forward. The four is probably his most natural spot, despite a lack of ideal positional size. Bridges could benefit from reimagining himself as a high-energy glue guy.”
– Jeremy Woo
CBS Sports: Mikal Bridges
I’m not sure any non-freshman helped himself more this season with NBA people than Bridges — who averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting a career-best 43.5 percent from three-point range in 32.1 minutes per game for a Villanova team that won the national title. More than anything, the 6-7 wing spent the season making “pro shots” more regularly than ever and doing most of the things any franchise would want him to do at the next level. His ability to guard multiple positions makes him somebody who could theoretically contribute to a playoff team, like the 76ers, on opening night. Bridges likely isn’t equipped to create his own scoring opportunities, at least at this point. But he’s a great catch-and-shoot prospect, perhaps the best in the draft.
– Gary Parrish
The Ringer: Wendell Carter Jr, Duke big man
[Carter is] a thick-framed big man with ballerina quickness, Carter is a do-it-all big man with few notable weaknesses.
– Ringer staff
Bleacher Report: Lonnie Walker, Miami guard (and Reading High graduate)
The Philadelphia 76ers could reach on Lonnie Walker IV with JJ Redick and Marco Belinelli entering unrestricted free agency.
Throughout the predraft process, Walker should win back support he lost from teams when he was up and down in a spotlight role this past season. Walker is one of the most explosive guards in the class, and his shooting stroke appears far more convincing than his 34.6 percent three-point mark suggests.
Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. remains on the board, but with Dario Saric and Joel Embiid locked in up front, the Sixers may not want to draft a backup in the lottery. Compared to Miami, Philadelphia should be a more suitable setting for Walker to play to his strengths as a shot-maker and line-drive attacker.
And in time, he should show the potential to improve as a shot-creator and ball-screen playmaker.
– Jonathan Wasserman
So, in short, Mikal Bridges isn’t just the favorite to stay in Philly for fans in the area, but there are a lot of things to consider. In the Sports Illustrated mock draft, Bridges goes one pick before the Sixers to the Knicks. In the Ringer’s mock, he goes No. 8 to the Cavaliers. Walker goes No. 13 in ESPN’s mock draft, and Alabama guard Collin Sexton jumps to No. 9, which leaves Bridges to the Sixers.
ESPN, CBS Sports, and the Ringer all agree that DeAndre Ayton will be staying in Arizona, projecting the Phoenix Suns take him first overall. They all also have EuroLeague star Luka Doncic going No. 2 to the Sacramento Kings.