Even though the Sixers didn’t win the lottery, it really kinda feels like the Sixers won the lottery.
I mean, THE PICKS ACTUALLY SWAPPED! The Sixers were able to move up from what should of been the fifth spot in the draft and are now sitting snuggly at the third pick.
The ghost of Sam Hinkie can finally rest in peace.
While the only thing that could have been better would be if the Laker’s pick had conveyed as well, the Sixers may actually be in the most ideal situation as they are now set with at least two first round picks in each of the next two drafts.
The team is now very well endowed with future draft picks, have a Scrooge McDuck bank vault worth of cap space at their disposal, all while already having potential franchise cornerstones in place in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Things are looking up for the Process.
The Sixers have more assets now than ever before and are quickly running out of holes to fill in their roster. The team is getting close to competing, but are still a few years away from being a legitimate threat in the East. The time to draft for need is rapidly approaching, but we’re not quite there yet. Going best player available is still the best course of action; especially considering the best player available won’t be a big man.
The Sixers are lucky enough to be picking third in this draft and really shouldn’t over think the pick. if Josh Jackson is on the board when the Sixers are on the clock, they’d be wise to take him.
At 6’8, with a 6’9 wing span, Jackson averaged 21.2 pts per 40 minutes in his lone season at Kansas, as well as 7.4 rebs and 3 asts, highlighting the versatility that makes him such a valuable prospect. he has the size and athleticism to play either the 2 or 3, as well as the ball handling, vision, and IQ to rotate in at the 1 on occasion. He primarily played the role of small ball 4 at Kansas, but projects best as a wing in the NBA. The Sixers are pretty set at wing players as is, but Jackson offers a skill set too unique to pass up.
Jackson’s game is based heavily on his dynamic athletic ability. While his offensive game is going to need a bit of coaching due to his inconsistent jump shot, he has a dangerous first step to get into the lane and once he makes his move he’s almost impossible to stop. Once in the lane, he’s also good at finding open teammates underneath the net for easy baskets *cough* *cough* Ben Simmons and Joel Emiid.
His jump shot is the biggest concern of his offensive game and it’s difficult to tell if it will translate to the pros as he shot just 56.6% from the charity stripe at Kansas and was iffy shooting the trey to start the season. However, his three point stroke greatly developed throughout the year as he sank 25 of 52 three pointers over the last two months of the season, finishing 37.8% from 3.
The idea of Jackson playing off ball alongside Ben Simmons is the most exciting thought to me. He’s already great at cutting to the basket and would be an easy lob target at the rim. He’s also much better at catch-and-shoot three’s rather than shooting off the dribble – he shot 39% on those specific shots – and could benefit from Simmons floor spacing and passing ability.
His ball handling and vision are above average for a wing player and Jackson’s all around IQ might be the best part of his game. He is skilled enough to find open looks in transition as well as run the offense in the half court. He plays at a pace perfect for Brett Brown’s offense. Pairing him with Ben Simmons would give the Sixers two skilled facilitators who aren’t natural point guards, which would allow for a lot of creative lineups.
Defense is Jackson’s main calling card as he is a shutdown defender capable of guarding the 1-4. He is great at rotating assignments, clogging passing lanes, and going coast-to-coast on steals for easy baskets. He is also extremely pesky as he averaged 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per 40 minutes. Kawhi Leonard is a common comparison for Jackson and it’s not because of his three point stroke. A lineup consisting of McConell-Jackson-Covington-Simmons-Embiid has the makings of a lockdown defensive unit.
Jackson’s so good on the defensive end some might even say he plays *puts on sunglasses* Tenacious D.
While a player like Malik Monk offers a better fit and has a skill set that fills a much bigger need, his ceiling is miles below that of Josh Jackson. Jackson has perennial All-Defensive potential, while it wouldn’t surprise me if Monk simply became the next JR Smith.
Monk offers knock-down three point shooting, electric athleticism, and is great at getting to the basket in transition, but little outside of that and his high volume scoring faded down the stretch. Jackson offers almost everything Monk doesn’t and then some.
The Sixers have the means to acquire a shooter in the mold of Monk either through future draft picks, via trade, or in free agency. Player’s like Jackson don’t come around often and the ones that do aren’t easily acquired.
The addition of Jackson would also make someone like Robert Covington expendable. In the event the Celtics are willing to move him, the idea of a trade based around Avery Bradley for Covington doesn’t seem too crazy to me and would solve needs for both teams.
Josh Jackson’s floor is higher than any prospect not named Markell Fultz due to his versatility and treasure trove of skills. While he wouldn’t necessarily be filling a need, Jackson would be able to make an impact on this team almost instantly either defensively, as a secondary ball handler, or as a high-energy spark off the bench. He’s one of the safest picks in the draft and if he’s there at #3, he should be a Sixer.
Plus, he would give the Sixers another afro to play along Joel Embiid and if that alone isn’t enough to justify the pick, than I don’t know what is.