Can Sixers find a shot creator in 2020 NBA draft?

Brian Brennan
·5 min read

Can Sixers find a shot creator in this draft? Looking at some possible targets originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It's one of the questions that separates NBA contenders from pretenders.

When the shot clock is winding down, does your team have a player (or players) who can take his defender 1-on-1 and get a quality shot?

In their four-game sweep of the Sixers in this year's playoffs, the Celtics could answer with an emphatic yes, with both Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker capable of getting buckets on their own late in the shot clock.

The Sixers did not have those guys on the perimeter, a fact that became even more glaring when Ben Simmons wasn't there to create shots for his teammates.

Here are some shot creators the Sixers could target with the 21st pick in the Nov. 18 NBA draft:

Cole Anthony — Guard — North Carolina

Anthony's 38.0 field goal percentage was brutal in his lone season at North Carolina, but there are extenuating circumstances. The Tar Heels' spacing was poor because of the team playing with two big men and a lack of reliable three-point shooters.

There were a ton of "hot potato" possessions where non-shooters passed the ball around, leaving Anthony to create something as the shot clock wound down.

Despite those issues, Anthony ranked in the 79th percentile among NCAA players in points per jump shot in the half court and in the 92nd percentile in isolation scoring. He also shot a respectable 35 percent from the three-point line.

Simply put, Anthony can get a perimeter shot against just about anyone and could look a whole lot better in the NBA with improved spacing around him.

While he was a fairly efficient perimeter scorer, he struggled mightily when he drove, scoring just 0.84 points per possession at the rim (12th percentile). At 6-foot-3, Anthony had trouble figuring out how to score over length in the college game. That factor could cause him to slip in the draft.

Tyrell Terry — Guard — Stanford

One of the best shooters in the draft (40.8 percent from three-point range and 89.1 percent on free throws), Terry is also good enough driving to the basket to keep defenses honest.

He's particularly adept at using screens to get to his jumper and doesn't need much space to let it fly. He reminds me of a cross between Landry Shamet and CJ McCollum, though he's much skinnier than McCollum at this stage. His skill set as both a shooter and secondary scorer would be a nice addition to the Sixers' roster.

I can see Terry thriving in an Alec Burks-like role quickly in the NBA as a scorer off the bench who runs a lot of pick-and-roll on the second unit. With a thin, 6-foot-2 frame, Terry will need to prove he can hold his own defensively to stay on the floor.

RJ Hampton — Guard — New Zealand Breakers (NBL)

A consensus top-five recruit in the high school class of 2019, Hampton elected to play professionally in the NBL (the same league in which LaMelo Ball played) rather than play college basketball.

His numbers in the NBL (8.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 20.6 minutes per game, 40.7 percent from the floor and 29.5 percent from three) don’t jump off the page, but it’s important to provide context. Unlike Ball, Hampton was not given the keys to the offense and allowed to freelance however he liked. He was expected to play a role on a winning team as a secondary ball handler, shot creator and defender.

When viewed through that lens, there was a lot to like from Hampton’s NBL performance. The first thing that stands out is Hampton’s speed. He has a quick first step in the half court and he’s a jet in transition, whether he’s leading the break or filling the wing. A bouncy 6-foot-5, Hampton is an excellent rebounder for a guard and has the potential to be an athletic, switchable defender, though he needs to get stronger.

If Hampton’s jump shot comes around, he has the chance to be an outstanding starter in an NBA backcourt. At the very least, he projects to be a secondary shot creator off the bench right away with enough athleticism to hold his own defensively.

Malachi Flynn — Guard — San Diego State

A strong, 6-foot-2 point guard, Flynn does not possess Hampton's size or athleticism, but he was incredibly productive at San Diego State, averaging 17.6 points and 5.1 assists in his junior season for the Aztecs.

His abilities running the pick-and-roll stand out immediately; he finished in the 96th percentile nationally by scoring 1.06 points per possession in those situations. When he gets a big man switched on to him, Flynn will take advantage of that matchup by dribbling into step-back jumpers.

A 37.3 percent three-point shooter last season, Flynn finished in the 77th percentile or better nationally in isolation scoring, spot-up shooting and scoring in the pick-and-roll. He's a well-rounded player and would be a solid backup point guard option for the Sixers.

If the Sixers don't take him, Flynn just feels like a player the Raptors would love, perhaps as a potential Fred VanVleet replacement if VanVleet signs somewhere else in free agency.