Sixers at No. 3

Needs: PG, SG, SF, shooting

Round 1 (3) D’Angelo Russell, G, Fr., Ohio State
Round 2 (35) Chris McCullough, F, Fr., Syracuse
Round 2 (37) Michael Frazier II, SG, Jr., Florida
Round 2 (47) Vince Hunter, F, So., UTEP
Round 2 (58) George de Paula, G, Brazil
Round 2 (60) Arturas Gudaitis, C, Lithuania

Analysis: The Sixers have six — that’s right, six — picks in the draft. But five of them are in the second round, meaning they only get one real shot in this draft to add a major difference-maker. I don’t expect the Sixers to actually draft six guys. Three is much more likely. But for now, here’s what it would look like if they kept all of them. Nerlens Noel looked like a keeper after a strong finish to his rookie year. Joel Embiid has the potential to be the best player in the 2015 draft if he can stay healthy and keep progressing. The Sixers could end up with a monster front line in a few years. What they need desperately is some backcourt help, and I love what Russell brings them. I think the James Harden-Russell comps are right on. Not only does he provide something they utterly lack — shooting — but he also gives them versatility. Russell’s ability to play both guard positions allows the Sixers to be more flexible down the road and his shooting should help open up the paint for Embiid and Noel. The rest of the draft is a who’s who of upside. McCullough played like a potential lottery pick early in the season and has the unique ability to both stretch the floor and protect the rim. Frazier might be the most underrated shooter in the draft, and gives them a second guard who can stretch the floor. Hunter’s an elite athlete who, if he ever learned how to shoot, could be a steal at this point in the draft. De Paula is another interesting pick, whom they could decide to bring over now. He’s not ready, the Nike Hoop Summit made that clear, but he’s got great size for his position and I believe he could be a solid rotation player down the road.

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