Pre-Draft Report | Much to Consider Beyond First Round
With the 76ers in possession of a pair of first-round picks this year, it’s easy, at least for an outsider, to get caught up thinking about what the team might do during that particular phase of next Thursday’s draft.
Wednesday’s workout at the team’s training complex in Camden, NJ, however, served as a reminder that there are plenty of considerations that will need to be made beyond round one.
Not only do the Sixers hold the most second-round picks in the 2018 draft, they also have a summer league roster to build, and a G League team to assemble, too.
The latter two tasks fall into the wheelhouse of Elton Brand, set for his second season in the Sixers’ front office.
“We travelled a lot to go to the agent workouts - LA, Chicago twice, Miami. Now, we’re bringing in all ranges of guys,” said Brand, General Manager of the Delaware Blue Coats. “We have four picks in the second round currently, so we need to look at those guys for sure.”
At least as of now, many of the pro hopefuls whom the Sixers hosted Wednesday are projected to either go in the second round of the June 21st draft, or wind up as undrafted free agents.
These are the types of players who, by and large, make up the talent pool for summer league and G League teams.
In recent years, the Sixers have gone to increasing lengths to ensure that the Blue Coats (previously 87ers) operate in a way that mirrors the Sixers themselves.
From schematic concepts and verbiage, to strength and conditioning drills, the Sixers are seeking symmetry.
So, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise Wednesday that Brand said he’s keeping an eye out for players who can defend, play with pace, and help space the floor.
“I’m looking at the same thing you’re looking at with the Sixers,” said the former Rookie of the Year and All-Star.
Especially guys who can impact the defensive end of the court.
That’s probably a big reason why Jevon Carter - the West Virginia senior guard who was named National Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and again in 2018 - stood out among Wednesday’s participants.
Carter was joined in a group that also included Bruce Brown (G / Miami), Stephen Brown (G / Bucknell), Bryant Crawford (G / Wake Forest), Duncan Robinson (G-F / Michigan), and Maverick Rowan (G / North Carolina State).
Rowan, in fact, spent last season in the G League, with the Lakeland Magic.
[A player selected in the G League draft is still eligible for the NBA draft; however, if he doesn’t make the roster of the NBA that chooses him, his rights are returned to his original G League team.]
With his first year as an executive in the books, Brand has been spending a good deal of his time lately examining how “upper echelon” franchises use the G League as a tool to keep the backend of their NBA bench fresh.
Quinn Cook, as a timely example, appeared in 29 games for the Santa Cruz Warriors this winter. He then assumed a critical back-up role for Golden State during its recently-completed championship run, especially while MVP Stephen Curry was out with an injury.
“I’ve been studying that, just to make sure our group gets that same type of attention, so we can develop the guys with the Sixers, and go back and forth,” Brand said. “That’s my plan, if they have to play significant minutes when it’s their turn.”
That type of help isn’t always easy to find, which made a workout like Wednesday’s that much more important.
Quotes of Note
The following sampling of quotes came out of the media availabilities surrounding the pre-draft workouts conducted by the Sixers on June 13th.
Delaware Blue Coats GM Elton Brand
On highlights from June 13th workout:
“Jevon Carter, he’s stood out all summer just because of his defense. He can really, really play D, his tenacity and he’s made a lot of shots. He’s as tough as it comes.”
“[Bruce Brown] played well today, shot the ball really well. It’s about space, and we like shooters.”
West Virginia G Jevon Carter
On potential fit with the Sixers:
“I see myself fitting in very easily. They play fast, they play up and down, they play at both ends, share the ball, play as a team. It’s not just one guy ball-dominant. I feel like I could fit in very easily with this team.”
Miami G Bruce Brown
On style of play:
“I’m a two-way guard, knock down open threes, find my teammates, and then really run. It’s a fast-paced team, Ben (Simmons) likes to get up. I can get up and down the court. Lobs, steals dunks.”
Sixers.com's Ryan O'Neil contributed to this report.