A guarded look at NBA draft prospects

Michigan guard Nik Stauskas. (AJ Mast/AP)
Michigan guard Nik Stauskas. (AJ Mast/AP)
Posted: June 25, 2014

FOLLOWING consecutive losing seasons, the Sixers are focused on the NBA draft, which will be held Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Sixers have the third and 10th overall selections and five second-round picks. With seven options for young talent, the team needs to have alternatives for each position.

Below are the Daily News' expected top-10 players at point and shooting guard positions, including where they fit with the team, based on the club's current needs.

DANTE EXUM

Last year: International

Position: Combo guard

Height: 6-6

2013 U-19 FIBA world championship stats: 18.2 pts., 3.8 ast., 3.6 reb., 44.6 FG%, 33.3 3-PT%, 60.9 FT%

Comment: After the Suns and the Mavericks and even the Bucks tried a dual point guard system for their backcourt last season, a lot of teams have been trying to replicate the same in their franchises. Exum, an athletic combo guard from Australia in the John Wall/Derrick Rose mold, has a ton of potential at 18 years old. He's an explosive guard but struggles shooting the ball. Still, the Sixers seem to like him. Not the best fit, but not a horrible one either.

Fit for the Sixers: 3/5

MARCUS SMART

School: Oklahoma State

Position: Sophomore

Height: 6-3

2013-14 stats: 18 pts., 5.9 reb., 4.8 ast., 2.9 stl., 42.2 FG%, 29.9 3-PT%, 72.8 FT%

Comment: A quick combo guard without a solid jumper, but if moved to the off-guard spot, he could be a good fit for the team. Smart plays like Dwyane Wade without having a recurring knee injury. The team seems to be interested in Smart and Exum, so it'll be interesting to see what the franchise will do, depending on where Joel Embiid goes, but currently Smart shouldn't be the option at No. 3, but if he is, it wouldn't be a horrible choice down the line.

Fit for the Sixers: 4/5

NIK STAUSKAS

School: Michigan

Position: Shooting guard

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6-6

2013-14 stats: 17.5 pts., 2.9 reb., 3.3 ast., 44.2 3-PT%, 47 FG%, 82.4 FT%

Comment: Stauskas has been projecting as more than a one-dimensional player since he got the ball in his hands more with the Wolverines last season.

For the Sixers. he'd be great for transitional three-pointers, or just three-pointers in general on one of the NBA's worse shooting teams.

Fit for the Sixers: 5/5

TYLER ENNIS

School: Syracuse

Position: Point guard

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-2

2013-14 stats: 12.9 pts., 3.4 reb., 5.5 ast., 1.7 TO, 41.1 FG%, 35.3 3-PT%, 76.5 FT%

Comment: Perhaps the best pick-and-roll point guard and pure passer in the class next to Elfrid Payton, but not really someone the Sixers need with the No. 10 pick unless they plan to deal Michael Carter-Williams. But a team will be getting a very smart guard with the ability to run a team. Would fit with the Magic, Lakers and others.

Fit for the Sixers: 1/5

GARY HARRIS

School: Michigan State

Position: Shooting guard

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6-4

2013-14 stats: 16.7 pts., 4.0 reb., 2.7 ast., 35.2 3-PT%, 42.9 FG%, 81 FT%

Comment: Don't let the stats confuse you, Harris is more than a serviceable perimeter shooter and is probably the best defensive guard in this year's class. Though he doesn't shoot it as well as Stauskas from deep, he'll lock down any guard on the floor and find more players in stride than most shooting guards. He might be the best player for the Sixers at No. 10. Greatly undervalued.

Fit for the Sixers: 5/5

P.J. HAIRSTON

Last year: North Carolina/D-League Texas Legends

Height: 6-7

2013-14 D-League Stats: 21.8 pts., 3.5 reb., 1.5 stl., 35.8 3-PT%, 45.3 FG%, 87 FT%

Comment: Easily more underrated than Harris, after having a rough patch at North Carolina, Hairston has performed in the NBA D-League. He can shoot it very well coming off screens, the bounce and really anywhere on the floor and fights his way through contact. Hairston is also a little underrated defensively, though he plays the passing lanes well for a bigger guard.

Fit for the Sixers: 5/5

ELFRID PAYTON

School: Louisiana-Lafayette

Year: Junior

Height: 6-3

2013-14 stats: 19.2 pts., 6.0 reb., 5.9 asts., 2.3 st., 50.9 FG%, 25.9 3-PT%, 60.9 FT%, 3.6 TO

Comment: A Devin Harris/Rajon Rondo type who is probably the best defensive point guard in the class, though Harris may be a bit better as he is a bit taller and stronger. Horrible free-throw shooter and plays a little too fast for his skill set, but could be a dependable backup for the right team. Tremendous defensive player, but needs to be proven against elite competition. Shouldn't be on the Sixers' radar.

Fit for the Sixers: 1/5

ZACH LaVINE

School: UCLA

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-5

2013-14 stats: 9.4 pts., 2.5 reb., 1.8 ast., 37.5 3-PT%, 44.1 FG%, 69.1 FT%

Comment: Something about LaVine screams Phoenix Suns' Gerald Green as a comparison. An uber-athletic wing player who can jump out of the gym with a bunch of upside. But can he really be that good at the next level? The questions about his game are that he doesn't like contact around the rim, gets lost on the defensive end of the ball and isn't strong enough to play at the next level. But he's a talented perimeter player and if he improves his shooting, he can catch defenders closing out on him and then use his quick first step and leap from the foul line.

Fit for the Sixers: 3/5

SHABAZZ NAPIER

School: Connecticut

Year: Senior

Height: 6-1

2013-14 stats: 18.0 pts., 5.9 reb., 4.9 ast., 40.5 3-PT%, 42.9 FG%, 87 FT%, 1.8 stl., 2.9 TO

Comment: Another player that may play too fast for his own good, but the difference with Shabazz compared with any other point guard in this draft is that he's probably the only one that the Sixers should consider, especially if he falls to the early second round.

Fit for the Sixers: 4.5/5

C.J. WILCOX

School: Washington

Year: Senior

Height: 6-5

2013-14 stats: 18.3 pts., 3.7 reb., 2.5 ast., 39.1 3-PT%, 45.3 FG%, 87.3 FT%

Comment: Wilcox is an interesting prospect at the shooting guard position. He can shoot the ball well enough, and has a natural ability to score. A little old for a prospect at 23, but a great catch-and-shoot specialist who can run your best defensive player around the floor and through screens. He's a little weak physically, but he's improved his ability as a slasher and has the potential to be a role player in the NBA, as well as being solid in transition, and being able to shoot off the dribble with his left or right hand and work well in isolation.

Fit for the Sixers: 4/5

RANKINGS

At point guard:

1. Shabazz Napier

2. Marcus Smart

3. Dante Exum

4. Elfrid Payton

5. Tyler Ennis

At shooting guard:

1) Gary Harris

2) C.J Wilcox

3) P.J Hairston

4) Nik Stauskas

5) Zach LaVine


Tomorrow: Ranking the forwards.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|