The Sixers will have the No. 23 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft after Brooklyn decided to claim Philadelphia’s 2023 first-round pick as part of the James Harden-Ben Simmons swap. In the short term, that is great news for Daryl Morey and the front office, who need as many avenues to affordable depth as possible.
Doc Rivers is notoriously stingy with rookie minutes, but Tyrese Maxey (the 21st overall pick) did get reasonably consistent minutes in his first season. Now, not every late first-round pick will harbor Maxey’s talent level, but Morey has always drafted well (and, more broadly speaking, so have the Sixers… with a few notable exceptions).
Point guard is not exactly a position of need for the Sixers, who can toggle between Maxey and James Harden as lead ball-handlers. That said, there is always value in multiple playmakers, and the Sixers could theoretically benefit from another source of rim pressure and playmaking in the second unit.
Sixers Draft: 5 point guard prospects to consider with No. 23 pick
TyTy Washington Jr., Kentucky
This could rightfully be considered wishful thinking. TyTy Washington Jr. is widely projected in the 10-20 range, so there’s a strong chance he simply won’t be on the board when Philadelphia selects at 23. On the other hand, Washington could follow in the footsteps of fellow Kentucky product Tyrese Maxey — underperform relative to expectations in college, in large part due to injuries and poor fit, and then tumble into the Sixers’ lap in the early 20s.
Washington struggled down the stretch of the season after returning from an ankle injury. He never quite looked 100 percent, and it all culminated with a disastrous performance in the Wildcats’ loss to 15-seed Saint Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. If you’re the Sixers, you are hoping that disproportionately taints the opinion of teams higher than you in the draft.
The Sixers should absolutely consider Washington if he’s available. What Washington lacks in elite athletic tools, he makes up for with dynamic playmaking chops and elite feel for the game. He’s super crafty off the dribble, using clever hesitation moves and changes in pace to keep his defender off balance. He’s an expert operating out of the pick-and-roll, and would make for a fruitful DHO partner with Joel Embiid.
Washington was not a great 3-point shooter in college, but he’s a great mid-range shooter who can definitely hit shots on the move. His perimeter shooting projects extremely well long term (we can again circle back to Maxey, who struggled from deep in college but who projected well because of touch inside the arc). Shake Milton came up clutch in the Sixers’ postseason run a couple times, but the Sixers would benefit from a truly reliable third guard (Milton is more of a wing). Washington would be a great pick.