NBA Mock Draft Roundup: Kennedy Chandler, Blake Wesley Opportunities for Sixers


NBA Mock Draft Roundup: Kennedy Chandler, Blake Wesley Opportunities for Sixers

As always, more mock drafts have arrived since our first roundup.

With the Sixers holding the 23rd pick in the June 23 NBA draft, here’s a look at what’s new:

Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated

Tari Eason, LSU

courting: “…Considering Daryl Morey’s historical aversion to using draft picks, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Philly trying to turn that around. However, Eason would be a pretty interesting option here given his analysis-friendly production and potential suitability as a tall, delicate defender. Eason is a bit of a work in progress despite being 21 already and he’s an acquired taste among teams but this could be a sensible landing spot. Eason’s basketball IQ is a bit suspect and he’s prone to fouls and is an average shooter, but if he can iron those things out he should be able to help a team.”

Gary Parrish, CBS Sports

Tari Eason, LSU

Community: “Eason was a breakout star at LSU after transferring to Cincinnati after a mediocre first season. He’s a versatile frontcourt option that can defend multiple positions and punish defenses on transition opportunities.”

Morey pointed out last year that “three guys in their twenties in their prime” was a major reason he didn’t deal the Sixers’ first-round picks in 2020 and 2021. Since then, the face of the team has changed significantly. The top four players in the current roster are Tyrese Maxey (21), Joel Embiid (28), Tobias Harris (29) and James Harden (32). A prospect’s ability to contribute immediately would certainly be appealing. For Eason, the optimistic prognosis is that he’s capable of being an impactful NBA rookie and will improve offensively through skill development work like left ball handling and tweaking his knight. His fantastic performance off the bench as a sophomore (16.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game) makes this idea a little easier to buy.

Krysten Peek, Yahoo Sports

Jalen Williams, Santa Clara

peek: “Williams was the best player on the court on both days of the draft combine scrimmages. He got to the basket with ease, shot the ball well and had some of the best transitions. Defensively, he fought through screens to keep his man up front and was effective on help-side defense, opening the gap for steals and tips. Last year Josh Primo (No. 12, Spurs) and Bones Hyland (No. 26, Nuggets) were the biggest upsets of the first round and Williams could be that guy this year.”

Williams stock seems to be rising fast, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a playoff team before the Sixers grab him like the Bulls or Nuggets. If that doesn’t happen, he would undoubtedly be a logical pick for the Sixers.

Bryan Kalbrosky, USA It’s all about winning today

Blake Wesley, Notre Dame

Kalbrosky: “…These guys aren’t the same players, so bear with me for a second, but I think drafting Blake Wesley from Notre Dame would be one thing similar Type of pickaxe (to Tyrese Maxey). Similar to Maxey, this would be a gamble on Wesley’s development once he was in their system. If it works out like Maxey did, it would be great for Philadelphia. Wesley, who just turned 19, still needs to improve his efficiency. But his shot creator skills on the edge and on the edge make him an enticing project.”

Wesley actually told Andy Katz (via that he’s studying Maxey’s game, so he’s on board with the comparison. His three-point percentage was close to Maxey’s (30.3) in a college season and he made just 65.7 percent of his foul shots. As with Maxey, Wesley’s sheer speed would become more menacing as his long-range shooting gets better. It’s worth considering that jumps as big as Maxey’s are not common.

Jonathan Giveny, ESPN

Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee (best suited)

Nikola Jovic, Mega Mozzart (Best Available)

Giveny: “With James Harden turning 33 in August and physically on the downside of his career, bringing another talented ballhandler into the backcourt will likely be a big priority for the Sixers, if only to help Harden’s health protect and make sure he’s at his best for the playoffs. After a rocky start, Chandler developed into one of the premier collegiate point guards during the second half of last season, displaying breathtaking speed, dynamic ball handling and passing ability, and an increasingly consistent pull-up jumper. His measurements (6-1, 172 pounds with a 6-5¼ range) might keep him from the lottery position his talent suggests, but didn’t stop him from playing an outstanding defense and leading the SEC in steals. Also appealing is the fact that he proved capable of passing the ball in two and three-man formations.

“If the Sixers prefer to swing up onto the fences, a prospect like 18-year-old Serb Jovic could be an interesting gamble. Standing at 6-11, Jovic fits seamlessly into the modern NBA as a combo forward who can shoot, handle and pass. While he spent most of his minutes as a small forward last season, his 9-foot reach suggests he could slip into middle position as his frame fills up, making him an interesting pairing with an experienced big man like Joel Embiid does.

Would the Sixers go with back-to-back Tennessee freshmen in Jaden Springer and Chandler? Chandler, 19, scored 1.28 points per catch-and-shoot jumper (89th percentile), according to, supporting the notion that he could be effective alongside guards like Harden and Maxey. More speed and turnover wouldn’t hurt the Sixers either, although it’s fair to wonder if Chandler’s lack of size will limit his ability to handle defensive changes and ultimately be a playoff regular.

In Woo’s mock draft, he lets Jovic go to Spurs 20th, writing, “I have a feeling Jovic is hoping to get into the NBA next season, so this isn’t necessarily going to be a secret.” Morey has been with the Sixers so far made a selection with big man Filip Petrušev, a second-round pick last year. Jovic would be a brave one. He turned 19 in the few days since Givony’s mock draft, but we’d still call that pretty young.

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