The Philadelphia 76ers have just wrapped up their best regular season, in terms of winning percentage, in 20 years. They’ll be the number one seed in the Eastern Conference for the NBA Playoffs and thus, have homecourt advantage up until the NBA Finals if they get there.
While they don’t yet know who they’ll face in the first round of the postseason, winning the franchise’s first championship since 1983 is clearly the primary goal of the club. With that being said, the 2021 NBA Draft is just over two months away, and now that the regular season is over, Philadelphia knows which picks they have earned.
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Due to the Sixers having the third-best record in the entire Association at 49-23 – behind the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns – Philly will have to wait until the 28th pick of their first round to have their turn. This is, of course, barring a trade.
Who Will Sixers Take at 28th Overall, According to Mock Drafts?
If Daryl Morey, Doc Rivers and company do end up sticking with the 28th pick, Tankathon’s 2021 NBA Mock Draft has the Sixers going with LSU guard Cameron Thomas as their choice. Thomas just played his freshman season with the Tigers and is listed at 6 feet 4 inches and 210 pounds.
Bleacher Report meanwhile, has the Sixers drafting power forward Greg Brown out of the University of Texas in the first round. Brown also just wrapped up his freshman season and is listed at 6 feet 9 inches and 205 pounds.
“Brown’s highlight-reel bounce and perimeter skills could help teams look past a questionable feel for the game. He struggles with turnovers and fouls, but for a 6’9″ 19-year-old, Brown’s above-the-rim play and shooting potential can be enticing,” Bleacher Report draft analyst Jonathan Wasserman writes.
In NBA Draft Room‘s prediction, the 76ers take Auburn freshman Sharife Cooper. The point guard measures at 6 feet even and weighs in at 165 pounds.
“Sharife is lethal with the ball in his hands and has elite blow by ability but his lack of size and outside shooting could keep him from being a high first round pick,” the NBA Draft Room analysis says.
20 Years Ago, a 6-Time All-Star Was Selected 28th Overall
For draft experts, the probability of nailing a pick months before the actual event takes place obviously decreases with the later picks. The Sixers may not go with any of the aforementioned players either because they don’t fit the team’s needs at the time, or the athlete could already be off of the board.
While selecting 28th overall isn’t the most glamorous spot to choose from, there have been some notable names taken in the position in the past. Just two years ago, the Golden State Warriors selected Jordan Poole out of Michigan, who just went off for a career-high 38 points last week and could play a big role with the Dubs next year.
Arguably the biggest steal to come with the 28th overall pick though, came in 2001. At first overall that year, the Washington Wizards selection of colossal bust Kwame Brown may have stole the headlines, but looking back, the bigger story may have been the San Antonio Spurs grabbing Tony Parker.
Parker – who turned 39 on Monday – played 18 seasons in the Association and averaged 15.5 points, 5.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game across his career. Those numbers don’t do “T.P.” justice though.
Of all 57 players taken in that year’s draft, only Tyson Chandler played in more NBA seasons at 19. Parker’s other ranks out of the dozens players taken both before and after him are insane.
Parker placed in the top-five on the list in games (second), minutes played (third) and points (third), while being atop the assists leaderboard with 7,036 career dimes. Joe Johnson is second in assists at 5,001.
In win shares, Parker is second to only Pau Gasol (144.1) with his total of 111.3. The Belgian is one of eight draftees from that summer to make an all-star team in their career and tied Gasol for second-most with six appearances, only behind Johnson’s eight.
Parker is also the only player drafted that year to win four NBA titles and the only one to win a Finals MVP, which he earned in 2007. If the Sixers stick at 28th in the July draft, time will tell if they can find another gem like Parker.