The 76ers recently put former North Carolina swingman Cam Johnson through a solo predraft workout at their practice facility, a source said.
The team has the 24th overall pick and four second-round selections — Nos. 33, 34, 42 and 54 — in Thursday’s NBA draft at the Barclays Center.
Johnson, a 6-foot-8 ½, 205-pounder, is arguably the best fit for the Sixers in the first round. He’s a lights-out shooter with great range. His defense could improve, but he is a great character guy. And there’s a mutual interest between the 23-year-old and the Sixers.
The western Pennsylvania native spent five years in college. These days, the top picks of the draft are often 19- and 20-year-olds who spend one or two seasons in college.
NBA teams like to draft younger players based on their potential. The thought is that older players have already peaked. But the Sixers are in a win-now mode and don’t have time to wait on young projects, so Johnson’s age actually benefits them.
Johnson began his career at Pitt after a standout high school career at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Moon Township. He redshirted his freshman season after suffering a shoulder injury. He went on to graduate from Pitt in three years with a communications degree, which made him eligible to transfer without sitting out a year. After the Panthers initially refused to release him to a conference foe, Johnson transferred to UNC with two seasons of eligibility.
This past season, he established himself as one of the nation’s top college players with career highs of 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals, starting all 36 games.
Johnson also shot a career-best 45.7 percent on three-pointers, which ranked seventh in the nation, and became the first Tar Heel to lead the conference in three-point shooting since Raymond Felton in 2005. He was at his best on the road in ACC games, averaging 20.8 points on 58.3 percent shooting, including 57.4 percent on three-pointers.