At the moment, the Philadelphia 76ers do not own their first-round draft pick in 2022 as it was sent to the Brooklyn Nets in the big James Harden deal back in February.
However, there is a chance that the Sixers can keep that pick if the Nets decide to defer the pick until 2023. They have until June 1 to make that decision and while there is no guarantee they do so, the Sixers are doing their due diligence as they have met with some potential draft prospects.
If the Nets do defer that pick back to the Sixers, Philadelphia would be selecting at No. 23 in the first round and there are some prospects who fit their need for athleticism off the bench and some depth at the wing spots. Especially, in the wake of the Danny Green injury where he could miss the entire 2022-23 season – although he is targeting a return around the All-Star break.
Here are five prospects that stand out in the No. 23 draft range:
EJ Liddell, Ohio State:
Adam Cairns / Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK:
2021-22 stats: 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 49% field goal percentage, 37.4% 3-point field goal percentage:
Some might consider this a reach at 23, but Liddell has good size at 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds and he can shoot the ball. He can be a very nice addition to the wing position and give a boost to a bench unit that is in need of it.
Cody Taylor of Rookie Wire has Liddell going at No. 27 to the Miami Heat in his mock draft:
Liddell led the Big Ten in blocked shots and was ninth in the country in free throws made (169) and seventh in attempts (221). He proved a strong scorer throughout the season, averaging 19.4 points per game, and finished in double figures in every game. He showed promise as a floor-spacer after converting on 37.4% of his 3.8 attempts per game from 3-point range, while he also has a nice mid-range game. His ability at both ends of the court should certainly be appealing to the Heat, who love those sorts of prospects.
MarJon Beauchamp, G League Ignite:
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports:
2021-22 G League stats: 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 50% field goal percentage, 30% 3-point field goal percentage (stats are from the Ignite Tour)
Beauchamp joined the Ignite after playing in 12 games with Yakima Valley College where he averaged 30.7 points and 10.5 rebounds. Standing at 6-foot-6, Beauchamp could be an option for Philadelphia at No. 23 in the draft.
Rookie Wire’s Taylor has him actually going No. 21 to the Denver Nuggets:
Beauchamp, a former four-star recruit from Yakima Valley College, has been arguably the top prospect on the Ignite this season. He has dazzled at times on the defensive end with his athleticism and length and has looked to be a willing defender with his energy and effort. He will need to continue to work on his 3-point shooting, after converting on 24.2% of his attempts last season, but has the tools in place to be a rotation player at the next level.
Kendall Brown, Baylor:
Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports:
2021-22 stats: 9.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 58.4% field goal percentage, 34.1% 3-point field goal percentage:
Brown stands at 6-foot-8 and he is athletic enough to play both forward spots while also having the experience of playing for a winning program like Baylor. Being there should do wonders for him going forward.
Taylor has Brown going No. 25 in his mock draft to the San Antonio Spurs:
Brown has shown he can affect games on the defensive end and can guard nearly every position on the court, save for the 5. He hasn’t shown real confidence in his shot, attempting only 41 3-pointers, but he still knocked down 34.1 % of those looks. With three first-rounders, the Spurs could look to take a chance here if they decide to keep each pick, and Brown would be a good option at this point.
Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee:
Brianna Paciorka / News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK:
2021-22 stats: 13.9 points, 4.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 46.4% field goal percentage, 38.3% 3-point field goal percentage
Chandler had himself a solid freshman season for the Volunteers and he was able to help them reach the NCAA Tournament and win a game. The Sixers could use another ball-handler on this roster who can create for others and Chandler would make a lot of sense at No. 23.
Taylor as him going No. 22 to the Memphis Grizzlies in his mock:
Chandler, who posted a 41.5-inch vertical leap at the combine, is highly touted as an athletic point guard that can create for himself and others. He was named to the All-SEC second team after averaging 13.9 points, 4.7 assists and 2.2 assists. He set the Tennessee single-season freshman record for steals and finished eighth in the country with 74. He projects to fill several needs for the Grizzlies, who will need to secure their backup point guard position. His range looks to begin in the late teens and could be available for Memphis on draft night.
Bryce McGowens, Nebraska:
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports:
2021-22 stats: 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 40.3% field goal percentage, 27.4% 3-point field goal percentage:
McGowens stands at 6-foot-7 as he is a long and athletic wing player which would help the Sixers out on the perimeter. He can attack the basket, he is good around the rim, and he was solid on the defensive end for the Cornhuskers.
Taylor has him going No. 26 in his mock to the Dallas Mavericks:
McGowens, who averaged 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 31 games, ranked third in the country among true freshmen in scoring and was first in made free throws (162). He recorded 11 20-point games this season and posted the highest scoring average by a freshman in conference play (17.3) since D’Angelo Russell during the 2014-15 season. The Mavericks could look to add a known scorer at this point of the draft, and McGowens appears to be a good fit.