NBA Draft: Sixers Got Something Cooking in Toronto?

Joshua Primo

Getty Former Alabama guard Joshua Primo is a lights-out shooter originally hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The NBA mocks have all been turned in and are about to be tossed out with less than 24 hours until draft night. But one more prognostication hit the board on Wednesday and started generating buzz among Philadelphia 76ers fans.

The Sixers hold the 28th overall pick on Thursday and the consensus seems to be that the team will trade it to the highest bidder. It may be lumped into a blockbuster deal sending Ben Simmons out of town. For now, let’s assume they keep the selection and use it on the Canadian-born “baby-faced assassin.”

Alabama guard Joshua Primo is the latest name pegged to Philly in the first round. The 6-foot-6, 190-pounder from Toronto flew campus and forego his remaining college eligibility for a chance to cash in on NBA riches. Primo wowed at the NBA Combine after averaging 8.1 points per game and shooting 38.1% from deep for the Crimson Tide in 2021. The 18-year-old thinks he’s ready for the next level and so do most scouts and national reporters.

“The Sixers are trying to win a championship this season, but they can’t lose sight of the future,” The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote. “Primo has long-term go-to scoring upside and in the meantime would provide immense value as a shooter.”

“I wanted to come in and show the versatility of my game. That was my goal at the combine,” Primo told ESPN. “They already know I can shoot the ball. They’ve seen flashes at the Basketball Without Borders Camp of being able to handle the ball and create for myself and my teammates. I thought I showed that again in Chicago.”

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Matisse Thybulle Impresses in Tokyo

Sixers youngster Matisse Thybulle has been showing the world why Philly thinks so highly of him at the Tokyo Olympics. Three days after recording five steals in only 23 minutes and leading Australia to a 84-67 win, the 24-year-old was at it again.

Thybulle tallied seven points and four assists during an 86-83 win over Italy. According to Sporting News Australia, he was “blowing up pick-and-rolls, playing the passing lanes and contesting every shot that came in his direction.” Sounds about right.

Not surprisingly, Thybulle’s name has come up multiple times in trade packages involving Ben Simmons. Teams want the Sixers to throw him in for potential trades for Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard. But his recent Olympic play, combined with an impressive 2021 campaign, should keep him in Philly for the foreseeable future. Hopefully.

Jared Butler Cleared for Takeoff

Another player continually linked to the Sixers at No. 28 has been Baylor guard Jared Butler. He was an absolute stud during the Bears’ run to the national championship where he averaged 16.7 points and 4.8 assists per game. The 6-foot-2, 193-pounder also earned Most Outstanding Player honors for the Final Four.

There had been previous concerns about his health after the NBA’s fitness-to-play panel flagged him. It turned out to be a false alarm and now Butler looks to be a sure-fire lottery pick. The Los Angeles Lakers could steal him at No. 21 (via Sports Illustrated). If not, the Sixers should be ready to pounce at No. 28.

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