Philadelphia 76ers land Cameron Johnson in ESPN’s Mock Draft Special

In ESPN’s recent televised mock draft special, Front Office Insider Bobby Marks gave the Philadelphia 76ers UNC forward Cameron Johnson. But is he a good fit in Philly?

One week from today (if you are reading this on the 13th) we will finally know which players Elton Brand selected in his first season helming the Philadelphia 76ers draft.

But until that 60th overall pick hears his name called, fans, pundits, and writers the world over will be evaluating prospects and mocking their favorite players to their favorite teams.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s heavy hitting duo of NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz and Front Office Insider (and ex-Nets assistant GM) Bobby Marks – in concert with Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski and Jason Williams– got in on the action with their own first-round mock draft, televised live on the network.

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For the most part, the duo kept things believable – and why wouldn’t they, they are insiders after all – but when they finally arrived at the 24th overall selection, with players like Carsen Edwards and Dylan Windler still on the board, Marks played it safe and sent UNC forward Cameron Johnson to South Philly.

Now, if you’ve been keeping up with Sixers draft news over the past few weeks, Jonson shouldn’t be too much of an unknown to you, as he’s probably the most mocked player in the draft to Philly, but should he be?

On the surface, there’s an obvious connection between the two parties, as the 76ers need shooters to pad out their roster, and Johnson is arguably the best shooter in this year’s class (as Marks pointed out), but outside of knocking down 3s at a 45 percent clip as a super senior at UNC (on 5.8 attempts a game), what else can the former Tar Heel (and Pitt Panther) do?

While Johnson has good size for a small forward at 6-foot-9, 210 pounds – almost identical marks to Robert Covington coming out of Tennessee State – the Moon Township native is hardly a defensive force, and would more likely than not struggle as Brett Brown‘s top-of-the-key defender on the wings.

Furthermore, there’s the matter of Johnson’s NBA upside, or should I say lack there of.

When the 2019-20 NBA season officially gets underway, Johnson will be 23 and a half years old. Now in the real world, 23 is still ridiculously young, but in basketball – especially this new era of One-and-Done prospects – he’s ancient.

Last season, three players under the age of 23 played in the All-Star game, and all three, Ben Simmons, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell have either already earned a monster contract, or are in line to within the next calendar year.

Johnson is the same age as 6-foot-9 forward Aaron Gordon, and he’s been in the league for five years and already signed up to a max contract.

Simply put, it worth spending a first round pick on a forward who will be entering his ‘prime’ midway through his second NBA season? Typically it takes a player, even a star player a few years to really get into the flow of the NBA and reach their potential, but if said player is going to be 27 when his rookie contract is up?

Doubtful.

While the 76ers do want to invest a draft pick on a more mature, plug-‘n-play shooter to help bolster their bench, it’s worth wondering if Johnson has the upside to be a solid 3-and-D forward in the vein of Mike Scott, or if he was simply an older, more mature player facing off against 19-year-olds after five years in college (think his fellow Tar Heels alum, Justin Jackson).

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On paper, Johnson is a natural fit with the Philadelphia 76ers, as he can shoot well from deep and is by all accounts a selfless player, but there are several red flags that should give Elton Brand pause before putting his name on a draft card. With very little upside, average defense, and a very small chance to develop into a starter down the line, there will (probably) be better, faster players with higher upside on the board when the 24th pick comes up on the clock.

Published at Thu, 13 Jun 2019 23:44:32 +0000

Source: Philadelphia 76ers land Cameron Johnson in ESPN’s Mock Draft Special.

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