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How should the Sixers approach the 2022 NBA Draft? A question and answer session with Jake Rosen

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In previous years, I used to immerse myself in the search for the nba draft. But my situations and responsibilities have evolved, allowing me to shift focus elsewhere. To help myself and Philadelphia 76ers As fans gear up for Thursday, I enlisted the help of Jake Rosen of Cerebro Sports. Jake is one of the best draft minds available to us. Follow him on Twitter @JakeInThePaint if you haven’t already and read his work. You will be a most intoxicating consumer of basketball, I am sure.

Alright, starting with more than one macro question here. How does it differ, or how would the draft philosophy differ for rebuilding a team versus a team like the Sixers looking to finally take the last step and become a title contender?

The Sixers have no time to lose. Joel Embiid is at the height of his powers and the Sixers have a responsibility to surround him with a team that can contend for a title. Needless to say, this adds a certain layer of pressure to win at the margins, one that other organizations might not feel. From a philosophical perspective, Philly doesn’t have a lot of time for projects or prospects that might take two or three years to acclimatize. They need players who can step in from day one and make a contribution.

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Likewise, how should that philosophy inform Philadelphia’s approach to this draft?

Stay away from swings or games of chance. There are plenty of older, more projectable prospects who should stick around when Philly is on the clock. As I’ll discuss later, there are a handful of targets I’d really like for Philly, and they all seem to be projected within his range. I would stay patient, let the board fall as it might, and then make a solid pick based on production and providing a necessary skill set that can help Philly in some way this year.

What do you see as the Sixers’ most pressing needs, and does this draft offer solutions to those problems?

I think Philly can go one of three ways here. He would say that his needs are the creation of additional guards, the help of stable wings and a backup center. I’m not too excited about any of the greats outside of Jalen Duren and Mark Williams, who will likely be off the board at 23, so I’d rather address that need in free agency or at home, depending on how confident you are in Paul Reed.

I expect another break from Tyrese Maxey, but James Harden’s future as a mega-creator looks a little murkier than Philly might expect. With Matisse Thybulle’s offensive limitations rearing their head in the playoffs, I think acquiring more help on the wings, with an emphasis on complementing Embiid and shooting guards, is essential.

The 2022 Draft is pretty short on guards, so Philly might be better served in the FA veteran market, but there’s one target I really like for them. The wing group is certainly deeper and full of proven, scalable and projectable players that Philadelphia can envision as part of the rotation.

Who are your favorite targets for the Sixers at age 23 and why?

The only guard is Kennedy Chandler. He is fast as lightning and showed the ability to decimate defenses with his speed and handling. Chandler is a very proficient PnR handler who can help create in the midfield. More importantly, despite being only 6 feet tall, he excelled off the ball as a mover, threat and cutter. In addition to his creative chops, the comfort and ability to make an impact playing Philly’s more established talent make this fit intriguing.

Wing-wise, Jalen Williams is my favorite name here. At 6-foot-6, he’s one of the best PnR handlers in the entire draft, while he can open floor space for Philly’s stars. Casting him as a secondary creator is perfect, and while he doesn’t provide the explosion that Chandler possesses, his framing and positional size make him an easier bet to contribute right away.

Another name I will rule out is Marjon Beauchamp. He doesn’t bring the same creation equity as Williams, but if his jump shot can become consistent, Beauchamp can be a valuable two-way forward who successfully fills in gaps.

*Editor’s note: Chandler and Beauchamp are among a handful of prospects with +1000 odds on Draft Kings to be in the top five. So there’s certainly a chance neither will be on the board when the Sixers pick at 23.

Philly has often been talked about packing this pick in a trade. Obviously, you don’t know what that hypothetical trade is, but in a vacuum, would you advocate keeping or trading this pick? For any answer, why?

I think there are a number of good targets for Philly at 23, but on his timeline, I certainly wouldn’t blame them for packaging him up for a more established NBA talent. I think the Sixers know what their needs are, and if they feel they can better check that box in the short term with a trade, I would definitely understand and support them.

The Sixers do not currently have second-round picks. Are there any potential undrafted players that you think might make any sense to them?

The UDFAs are always a gamble, but I like Michigan State’s Gabe Brown here. He shot 38.2% from deep on 10.8 3PA per 100 possessions at 6-7 with a long frame. He won’t offer much juice on the dribble, but Brown could perhaps carve out a few minutes as a spacer with good size and defensive versatility.

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