As the NBA season continues on and college teams begin conference play, here is an early look 5 possible Sixer picks.
5) Jaylen Brown
Averages: 12 games, 14.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 TO, .415 FG%
Optimistic Comparison: Jason Richardson
Brown is a player with high potential. At 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, the freshman shooting guard/small forward is an all-around player who has the ability to score at a freakish rate. Brown is also a great rebounder for his size. He has the talent to jump up for rebounds and then subsequently carry the ball up the floor. On the other hand, Brown needs to improve his jump shot and better his offensive and defensive control. He is shooting a mere 24% from three point range on an average of 3 attempts per game. On top of that, he is averaging 2.8 turnovers per game and an astonishing 3.4 personal fouls per game. With that said, Brown has still managed to thrive, leading Cal to a 9-3 record. The swingman could fill a much needed gap for the Sixers at the shooting guard position, but only if he cleans up his game.
4) Brandon Ingram
Averages: 11 games, 14.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.5 BLK, .468 FG%,
Optimistic Comparison: Kevin Durant
Duke’s star recruit this season has played inconsistent at times. He has shown flashes of real stardom, but then he seems to disappear in games. However, his ability to play on the perimeter and inside gives him the opportunity to be a valuable asset in the NBA. Along with a solid jump shot and the ability to put the ball on the floor, Ingram has all of the tools. This is without mentioning his impressive physical traits, as a 6-foot-9 small forward, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. But the young man from Kinston, North Carolina is rail thin and has struggled at times against the best competition. He had only 4 points against Kentucky, shot a mere 28% against Georgetown, and then shot 37% versus Utah. There are many improvements he needs to make to his game as the season progresses. However, Ingram is a proven winner (4 high school state championships) and has the tools to be a shadow of Kevin Durant.
3) Kris Dunn
Averages: 13 games, 16.5 PPG, 7.3 APG, 6.1 RPG, 3.2 SPG, 2.9 TO, .469 FG%
Optimistic Comparison: A better Michael Carter-Williams
Dunn is intense, mature, and a stellar basketball player. The point guard from Providence has the potential to be an NBA superstar when it’s all said and done. With length and athleticism, he could very well be a defensive stopper as soon as he enters the league. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and the energy that you want from your franchise player. Dunn also has a good head on his shoulders, as he opted out of entering the draft last season to better perfect his game. Dunn is a guy who has the work ethic and drive to find a way to fit into the NBA, regardless of the challenges faced. He is additionally a great playmaker, as he averaged 15.6 points and 7.5 assists last season. This year, he has once again continued that production with similar numbers. However, his tendency to turn the ball over and trouble to shoot from beyond the arc is worrying. Those struggles mimic the Sixers’ struggles. Hopefully he can right those wrongs, and find a way to bring that gritty defensive attitude to Philadelphia.
2) Jamal Murray
Averages: 12 games, 16.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.3 TO, .402 FG% .390 3P%
Optimistic Comparison: Russell Westbrook
The Kentucky guard is the whole package. With athleticism, a sweet jump shot, and crafty finishing ability, Murray has built a name for himself early in his basketball career. But the most impressive factor has been his unbelievable toughness, which emulates Philadelphia basketball at its core. It was first put on display during the Pan-American Games, where the guard scored 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead Canada to the win against the USA in the semifinals. Murray can score in a variety of ways and is much more mature than his age may say. With a game that is a well rounded, Murray has the potential to be an all-around superstar, similar to the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook. The Sixers don’t need another big man, and added guard depth would greatly benefit them. A guy with the toughness and playmaking ability like Murray cannot be passed up on.
1) Ben Simmons
Averages: 11 games, 19.1 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 5.8 APG, 2.3 SPG, .561 FG%
Optimistic Comparison: LeBron James
Simmons has been the first player in a while to be compared to LeBron James. He has the athleticism. The size. The natural feel for the game. He has the ability to score whenever, get almost any rebound, and pass the ball when necessary. His maturity at such a young age is what ultimately sets him apart from other players. He is a guy who can score the ball, but has the IQ to pass up his own shots for better shots. Part of this comes from his fantastic passing ability, as he is able to attack the basket and see over defenders. NBADraft.net even went as far as saying that Simmons, “Plays almost too unselfish at times.” With that said, if Simmons could refine and become more comfortable with his jump shot, he could find a way to mimic the game of LeBron James. However, he still has many kinks to work out in his shot. If he can find a way to improve it, Simmons could possibly begin playing the 3 more, which would be a significant help for the Sixers.
Second photo: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports