Soon the Sixers will select a handful of new rookies to add to their 2020-2021 roster. Heading into the season's restart this past summer, the Philadelphia 76ers were unsure of whether they would have possession of a first-round pick or not this year.
Although their 19th overall pick belongs to the Brooklyn Nets, the Sixers had a top-20 protected pick coming in depending on how the Oklahoma City Thunder performed throughout the remainder of the season. Fortunately, the Thunder outperformed expectations in 2020 and did well enough for the Sixers to acquire their first-rounder.
Now, the 76ers will select a new rookie with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Lately, two names have been frequently linked to Philly. Stanford guard Tyrell Terry and TCU guard Desmond Bane are the usual suspects. However, Sports Illustrated's own Jeremy Woo has the Sixers snagging a North Carolina prospect with the 21st overall pick in his latest mock draft.
Cole Anthony, North Carolina
"The Sixers will have to get creative to substantially tinker with the roster this offseason, but this pick presents a good opportunity to grab a player on the cheap who might become a piece. Guard depth has been an issue for Philly, and Anthony would be a solid on-court fit here as a guard who can play on or off the ball with Ben Simmons."
"But Anthony’s draft stock has been as difficult to peg as any prospect in the draft over the past year, and his range remains wide with a month to go, beginning in the late teens and ending toward the back of the first round. Teams have myriad concerns surrounding his lone season at North Carolina, and he’ll need to work on shot selection and be willing to acclimate into a smaller role to maximize his chances of success."
At this point, it's no secret the Sixers will target a guard in the first round of the draft. It shouldn't come as a surprise they will likely zero in on point guards, too. While Ben Simmons could very well continue to start at point guard in 2020, the Sixers will still need a solid young backup to quarterback the offense.
North Carolina prospect Cole Anthony could be that player. The former five-star recruit just played a single season at UNC this past year. Anthony started in 20 of his 22 games during his Freshman effort and averaged 34 minutes on the floor. The rising star put up 18 points-per-game while collecting an average of four assists.
Anthony would be a solid addition to the Sixers, but there are concerns. First, the Sixers need three-point shooters. Anthony's 34-percent from deep in the NCAA isn't exactly an intriguing stat for Philly, who needs an immediate boost in that department. And although Sixers General Manager Elton Brand said he wouldn't strictly look for a prospect with multiple years of experience at the college level, having a single season at North Carolina could slide Anthony down the Sixers' big board a bit.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_