Written by Garrett Catalana – @GarrettCatalana
Heading into the 2015 NBA Draft, Sam Hinkie had acquired five 2nd round picks over the past two seasons. Hinkie was in control of 1/6 of the entire 2nd round. While many thought he would trade some of those picks to get back in the 1st round, Hinkie never did so. He stayed pat and drafted players at 35, 37, 47, 58, & 60. While many were disappointed with how the 2nd round turned out, maybe there is a diamond in the rough out of this group who can contribute at the NBA level.
35th Overall Pick (Elfrid Payton/Dario Saric Trade): Guillermo Hernangomez)
“Willy” was selected by the Sixers 35th overall, but was immediately traded to the New York Knicks. In exchange for Willy (the former-teammate of new Knick Kristaps Porzingis), the Sixers received two future second round picks in 2020 and 2021. The Sixers could potentially have the Knicks second round picks in four straight years (2018-2021). The Elfrid Payton trade keeps on giving.
37th Overall Pick (Eric Maynor Trade): Richaun Holmes (Bowling Green)
Age: 21, Height: 6’10, Weight: 232 lbs., Position: PF
Pro Comparison: Tobias Harris, Jerami Grant
Senior season stats: 28.8 MPG, 14.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 2.6 BPG, 42% 3P%
– Only player in school history to post 1,000 career points, 600 rebounds, & 200 blocks
– 2014-2015 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, All-MAC First-Team selection
– After starting out in junior college, Holmes was able to make his way to Division I basketball with Bowling Green. Holmes got better and better in his three seasons with the Falcons. He has the size of Tobias Harris (6’9, 235 lbs.) but plays more like Jerami Grant. With a 7’1.5” wingspan and a 9’ standing reach, he has the raw ability to be a strong interior defender. He also is a tremendous offensive rebounder with the instincts and effort level to continue to do that in the pros. He has the potential to stick around long-term with the Sixers.
47th Overall Pick (KJ McDaniels/Isaiah Canaan Trade): Arturas Gudaitis (Zalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania)
Age: 22, Height: 6’10, Weight: 253 lbs., Position: PF/C
Pro Comparison: Combo of Pau & Marc Gasol
2014/15 season stats: 20 games, 15.4 MPG, 6.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.9 BPG
– An extremely raw talent, Gudaitis plays for a historical Lithuanian pro team where he plays a small amount of minutes. Built like Mitch McGary, AG has a big frame, large hands, and is a terrific athlete. He has great mobility, runs the floor, and is a decent leaper (where the Pau comparison comes in). AG can also be very physical with his game. He dives hard to the rim, sets hard screens, and is physical on the low block. Like Marc, he has the ability to dribble on the perimeter and protect the paint. The main detriment to his game is his height (6’10), which is short for the NBA center position. The Sixers want him to stay overseas for at least another year but offered Gudaitis an invitation to play in one of the summer leagues. Who really knows if ever comes over, but he has the raw ability to become a good NBA player with time and development.
58th Overall Pick (Alexy Shved Trade): Jean-Pierre Tokoto (North Carolina)
Age: 21, Height: 6’6, Weight: 200 lbs., Position: SG
Pro Comparison: KJ McDaniels, Andre Iguodala
Junior season stats: 29.1 MPG, 8.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, 5.6 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG
– Ranked sixth in the ACC in assists (only forward)
– Two words describe Tokoto: freakish athlete. With a 6’10” wingspan, JP has great explosiveness, agility, and quickness, which can held become a very good NBA defender. The problem with his game is on the other end of the floor. He is a very poor shooter (only attempted 21 three pointers in three seasons) and a bad free throw shooter (61.5%). He has the crazy athleticism and dunking ability of KJ McDaniels but the open court ability similar to Andre Iguodala (15 lbs. bigger). He has great vision (raked up the assists), can handle the ball, can finish at the basket, and can make smart decisions. He could have gone higher in the draft but his extremely poor shooting ability led him to be selected third-to-last in the draft. He could become a steal for the Sixers.
60th Overall Pick (Evan Turner Trade): Luka Mitrovic (Red Star International, Serbia)
Age: 22, Height: 6’8, Weight: 200 lbs., Position: PF
Pro Comparison: Paul Millsap
2014/15 season stats: 23.9 MPG, 10.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.8 BPG
– When taking players late in the draft, NBA teams look for foreign players with at least one potential translatable skill for the NBA. Sam Hinkie & Co. are hoping that the same holds true for this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Luka Mitrovic from Serbia. He is a power forward who plays physical on the inside but has some range (34% from three). He is a classic tweener who some scouts say he has limited upside because he’s too slow to guard small forwards and not strong enough to cover power forwards. Some scouts believe that Mitrovic could be a solid NBA backup. Rob Scott of Euroleague Adventures said this about Luka, “Players like him are few and far between. He plays the power forward role, and has the length to do so but brings together a guard’s ball handling, dribbling and passing ability. Mitrovic is a modern, face-up, multi-talented four, and it seems like he has the skills to play on the wing just as easily.” Many talent evaluators believe Mitrovic will never come over to the NBA and just stay in Europe, but maybe one day he could contribute in Philly.
*Pro comparisons are meant to be about body size or the way the draftee plays the game, not that they will necessarily become that player.