2020 NBA Draft grades: Sixers land among draft night’s biggest winners

NBA Draft grades: How experts rate Sixers’ big draft night originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Sixers took a number of big leaps during Wednesday night’s NBA Draft aimed at fixing the roster and returning to prominence in the Eastern Conference.

It was Daryl Morey’s first crack at reshaping the franchise since taking over as President of Basketball Operations. He traded Al Horford and Josh Richardson, acquired shooters aplenty, and picked an intriguing 20-year-old. 

So… how’d he do? We looked at six different outlets handing out draft grades after a busy night for the NBA. Here’s what the experts are saying:

Bleacher Report: B+

Their take: “The Philadelphia 76ers need to maximize their spacing around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. They should’ve taken a step toward that with the selection of Tyrese Maxey even if the stat sheet disagrees about that.

“Maxey looks the part of a spacer—or at least a better shooter than his 29.2 three-point percentage would lead you to believe. His form is compact and repeatable, and it surfaced in both deep threes and at the foul line (83.3 percent), the latter of which often points to long-term potential.

“He’s a tough-shot-maker, in part because he doesn’t have the burst or dizzying dribble moves to shake defenders out of their shorts. He’s built like a combo guard (6’3”, 198 lbs), but his passing must perk up to play that role.

“Defensively, he’s a coach’s dream. He’ll never get outworked at that end, and he uses his length (6’6” wingspan) and instincts to keep players in front of him.

“Wasserman likened Maxey to former Sixer and super-sub extraordinaire Lou Williams. If the incoming rookie can provide that level of shot-making, Philly will have aced this selection.”

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CBS Sports: Winner

Their take: “At No. 21, the Sixers drafted Tyrese Maxey, a strong, defensive-minded guard who could be an absolute steal if he develops into as good of a shooter as his free throw percentage suggests he will. Then they traded Josh Richardson and the No. 36 pick to the Dallas Mavericks for Seth Curry, whose stellar shooting and secondary playmaking are desperately needed in Philadelphia. 

“At No. 49, the Sixers selected Isaiah Joe, who makes sense on this roster for one screamingly obvious reason. Yes, you guessed it: Joe is an elite shooter.

“Finally, with the No. 58 pick, the Sixers drafted Paul Reed, a long and athletic big man who just happens to be an analytics darling. Players with his upside are typically not available that late in the draft.”

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USA Today: B

Their take: “Trading Al Horford, a bad fit on the Sixers’ roster, to acquire a band of solid guards, was the right call for new coach Doc Rivers’ squad. Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey isn’t a potent shooter, but he has a knack for scoring. Arkansas’ Isaiah Joe was one of the best shooters in the NCAA ranks. Overall solid job for new GM Daryl Morey.”

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Sports Illustrated: A- 

Their take: “Philadelphia is beginning to re-tool its roster with Daryl Morey at the helm, and the Sixers’ draft night suggests a smooth transition into the Doc Rivers era. Philly added Seth Curry in a trade with the Mavericks, and they’ll add another quality guard with Tyrese Maxey. The Kentucky product should fit in well next to Ben Simmons, likely slotting in as a two-guard at the pro level. Maxey is tough and versatile. He should bring some much-needed pace to Philadelphia’s second unit. After a disastrous 2019-20, Morey and Rivers could very well lead the Sixers to their second Finals this century next season.”

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Sporting News: A

Their take: “Maxey can create offense off the dribble and is excellent as an on-ball defender. While his 3-point numbers at Kentucky weren’t inspiring, Maxey’s form isn’t disastrous, and he has looked comfortable on pull-up jumpers.

“Philadelphia must have been pleasantly surprised Maxey was available at No. 21. It’s a terrific fit.”

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SB Nation: A

Their take: “This feels like the best value pick of the first round. Maxey is a perfect fit in Philadelphia as an aggressive guard who shines attacking the rim and playing physical point of attack defense with a 6’6 wingspan. While he didn’t shoot the ball as well as expected in college, he was a great free throw shooter who should improve from three-point range in time. For now, Maxey’s touch on floaters and his ability to contort his body for tough finishes at the rim will be a nice addition next to Ben Simmons’ oversized playmaking at the four. Maxey deserved to be a lottery pick, but he found a great home on the Sixers. Daryl Morey knows what he’s doing.”

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