CHICAGO -- A different vibe is surrounding the 76ers at this year’s NBA draft combine.
In years past, the team sought a top lottery pick to help build around. But after having their second consecutive 50-plus-win season, the Sixers no longer need to draft a building block. The focus is on getting players who will complement All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons via the draft while bringing back their core free agents.
So the team’s representatives came here to interview some of the top prospects for the draft, which will be June 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The combine began Wednesday with player interviews. The majority of prospects will participate in on-court drills Thursday and Friday.
Murray State point guard Ja Morant, Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver, North Carolina point guard Coby White, Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter (Friends’ Central), North Carolina forward Nassir Little and Duke forwards Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish (Westtown School) are among the top prospects expected to participate in at least the interviews. Williamson, Barrett, and Hunter are not scheduled to speak to the media.
The Sixers have the 24th pick in the first round and four second-round selections -- Nos. 33, 34, 42, and 54.
North Carolina small forward Cameron Johnson and Purdue point guard Carsen Edwards could be options for the Sixers with the 24th pick.
The 6-foot-8 Johnson averaged 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.4 steals this season as a senior. Edwards averaged 24.3 points this season as a junior. The 6-1, 200-pounder also shot 35.5 percent from three-point range and could provide instant offense off the bench.