Harkless, a 6-foot-8, 208-pound small forward, is expected to go higher in the draft and is considered worth a first-round pick. He averaged 15.5 points per game and 8.6 rebounds. He has demonstrated the ability to score, and he would make the Sixers bigger and more athletic on the wings, something they desire.
"I think this would be a good fit for me because it's close to home and I feel that I have skills that they are looking for," said the 19-year-old native of Queens, N.Y.
Thompson, 6-8 and 212 pounds, led the Big East in three-point shooting percentage (43 percent). He averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 rebounds last season as a junior. He projects as a late second-round pick.
"Both have good size and both have above-average athletic skills," Witte said. "Length is an ever-increasing attribute to have in the NBA, and both of these young men have those attributes."
Unless they make a trade, the Sixers have the 15th, 45th, and 54th picks in the draft. Thompson could be there in the second round when they select 45th. Harkless should be available with the 15th pick. However, he will almost certainly be gone when the Sixers make their second pick at 45.
The Sixers know that they want to add athletic big men and a shooter. While most mock drafts have them picking a bigger forward in the first round, Witte said the Sixers slot the players according to talent. So if a shooter is available when they make their first pick, and the Sixers have him rated higher than the available power forwards, the Sixers will probably go with the shooter.
"We always try to go after the best player," Witte said. "If the player has the potential to be special down the road I think you can't overlook that. If you have equally ranked players and one fits your need, you definitely have to go with your need. That being said, we know what our weaknesses are."
What the Sixers like about this draft, however, is the depth. The feeling through the organization is that when they go to make their picks they will likely find a player who will help fill their needs.
"The draft is deeper from the standpoint of the needs that we're primarily looking for: bigs that can protect the rim and people who can put the ball in the basket," Witte said. "It just so happens those are the two types of players that are more bountiful than probably last year and the year before."
Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer. Read his blog, "Deep Sixer," at www.philly.com/deepsixer