Let’s take an in-depth look at and grade the Philadelphia 76ers three picks in the 2020 NBA Draft; Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, and Paul Reed.
The Philadelphia 76ers entered the offseason with their work cut out for them. After an underwhelming 2019-2020 season, the 76ers made meaningful changes within the organization to redirect the franchise’s course. Doc Rivers replaced Brett Brown as the head coach, and Daryl Morey was brought in to be the President of basketball operations.
The coaching staff and the front office were not the only areas in need of improvement. The majority of Philly’s struggles last season stem from having many pieces from different puzzles that don’t necessarily fit together. The roster needed major reconstruction as well.
When Daryl Morey awoke on Wednesday morning, the Philadelphia 76ers had $130.6 million committed to their starting lineup and owned five picks in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Morey would go on to shed some of that salary commitment before the draft even began. He traded Al Horford, the 34th overall pick in this year’s draft, and a 2025 first-round pick in exchange for Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson.
While the draft was already in progress, the Sixers made another big play. This time they would get elite marksman Seth Curry (Doc Rivers’ son-in-law) in exchange for Josh Richardson and the 36th pick in the draft. J-Rich will be missed in the city of brotherly love, but Curry and his career 44.3 field goal percentage will be welcomed with open arms.
Even with trading away two second-round picks, the Philadelphia 76ers still held three draft picks in their draft pocket. With the 21st overall pick, the 76ers selected Kentucky stand-out guard Tyrese Maxey. Many media outlets projected Maxey to be a late lottery pick but somehow slipped to the 76ers at 21, which could prove to be a draft-day steal.
Morey traded away the Sixers’ two highest picks in the second round but still found valuable talent late in the draft. He would go on to select 6’5″ guard Isaiah Joe out of Arkansas with the 49th pick in the draft, and just before the night ended, DePaul’s defensive anchor Paul Reed was drafted with the 58th pick.
In the second round, they passed up on a few players I felt could be good fits with the team both now and in the long run. Still, all three picks were solid pickups for Philadelphia. Read on to explore how these rookies can contribute to the 76ers and our grades for each of these picks.
We kick things off with the 76ers first pick and 21st overall, Tyrese Maxey. Sixers fans should consider themselves lucky with this pick. The consensus leading up to the draft was that Maxey was a borderline lottery talent.
He lacks elite burst and a quick first step, but he makes up for it with his quickness and hesitation moves. He can easily stop on a dime and transition into a shot off the dribble or a floater. He also showed flashes as a playmaker operating out of pick-and-roll, despite not being the primary ball-handler at Kentucky.
Maxey is a crafty finisher when he gets in the paint who can finish through contact and score using either hand. He’s a good pick-and-roll scorer who can get to the rim or pull up and shoot off the dribble. According to Synergy, he ranked in the 86th percentile scoring 0.928 points per possession (PPP).
He needs to clean up his mechanics slightly and improve his consistency as a shooter but has shown the ability to be a sniper on the perimeter. Maxey shot 29.2 percent on 3-pointers, but much of that can be attributed to his poor shot selection. His 83.3 free throw percentage leaves optimism that he can develop a reliable outside shot.
He’s confident in his ability to take and make tough shots off the dribble. He is also comfortable shooting in close games. Maxey scored 26 points off the bench in his Kentucky debut while going three for seven from behind the arc, including a clutch three off the dribble to put the Wildcats up by five with just over a minute left.
He’s also an excellent defender, holding opponents to 0.717 PPP on 30.7 percent shooting, ranking in the 83rd percentile, per Synergy.
Maxey played mostly off the ball for Kentucky, which is a good indicator for how he will fit next to the ball-dominant Ben Simmons, but he will need to find consistency with his jump shot to earn a role in the starting lineup.
He has the potential to be the prolific scoring guard who can defend multiple positions the Sixers thought they were getting in Markelle Fultz back in the 2017 NBA Draft and has significant upside to grow into with the Sixers.
It also doesn’t hurt that Maxey is represented by Klutch Sports, the same agency as Ben Simmons.