Nico Mannion could be a fallback option for the 76ers on Wednesday during the NBA draft.
The former Arizona point guard could become a first-round option if a preferred target is off the board. He also could become a second-round target.
Mannion, 6-foot-3 and a bulked-up 190 pounds, interviewed with the Sixers during the predraft process.
“It went well,” Mannion said of his interview. "Like I said, I think all of my interviews [with NBA teams] went pretty well. So I’d just leave it at that. "
The Sixers have the 21st pick in the first round and picks 34, 36, 49, and 58 in the second. Philly is projected to snag Mannion at 36 in ESPN’s mock draft. Sports Illustrated has the New Orleans Pelicans taking Mannion three picks later.
The 19-year-old is the son of Pace Mannion, who played six seasons in the NBA before embarking on a successful career in Italy. Nico Mannion was born in Siena, Italy, and has dual citizenship. He averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 assists while being named All-Pac 12 second-team as freshman last season.
Mannion was a member of the Italian national team in its FIBA World Cup qualifying campaign in 2018. He played prep basketball at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, where he was regarded as the nation’s top recruit for the Class of 2020 by Rivals, ESPN, and 247Sports. However, Mannion reclassified to the Class of 2019, where he was ranked eighth by 247Sports, ninth by ESPN, and 14th by Rivals.
His strengths are a high basketball IQ, vision, and passing. However, he made just 39.2 % of his shots from the field and 32.7 % on three-pointers at Arizona. Mannion was also limited defensively.
“I think the biggest thing for me was putting on size and shooting the ball consistently,” Mannion said. “[I’ve] put on about 12 pounds, I’m about 190 now. Tweaked a couple of things on my shot, and I think I’m shooting better than ever have right now.”
He’s projected to be a backup point guard in the NBA.