Tre Mann - The picture perfect fit in Philly
Tre Mann is the dynamic three-level scoring guard that NBA teams are really taking a liking towards these days. Standing 6'4" and 178 pounds, the Gators' point guard led his team to a Round of 64 win against Virginia Tech before falling to this year's Cinderella team, Oral Roberts. The highly-touted high school prospect stayed in school for a second season, and it really benefitted him, as he tripled his scoring output from his freshman season and showed tremendous improvement across the board. The 20-year-old is now ready to make a name for himself, and is well on route to being a surefire first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Mann's ability to put the ball in the hoop is among the best in his backcourt class. And the efficiency he did it with is eye-popping. Shooting 40% from distance on nearly 5 attempts a game is a nice feat in of itself. But when you factor in that over 60% of his three point makes were unassisted (meaning he is creating these looks himself), that is nothing short of remarkable. That mix of efficiency and self-creation is truly cream of the crop. His ability to create space and separation is by far the best in this class. Very reminiscent of Charlotte Kemba Walker with the agility and sharp changes of direction on a dime. According to Synergy Sports, he grades in the 90th percentile for all off-dribble jumpers. He doesn't have great straight line speed, but is exceptionally shifty with the ball on a string and a deep bag of moves, and uses that to do pretty much whatever he wants.
Mann's results finishing at the rim were very mixed. As someone who isn't particularly bouncy and doesn't have the strength to shed contact, he shot a pedestrian 53.5% in the restricted area. He makes acrobatic moves inside that make the highlight reels, but he is reluctant to take it right at the cup if a shot blocker is in the area. On the contrary, he has an excellent floater game which he turned to quite frequently. He utilized this out of the pick and roll most often when the big would drop. A floater is a staple in the repertoire for a modern NBA guard, so this is a very encouraging sign.
Most of the detractors to Mann's game have really been silenced throughout his sophomore season. Probably the biggest one was his ability to properly play make for others in an offense, but with another year under his belt, this trait came out a lot more for him. Given the freedom to captain the offense, he showed the ability to make some basic reads just based off of the attention he draws alone. Already a potent scorer out of pick and roll sets, he showcased his playmaking abilities for others here as well. Nothing fancy or ridiculous, but he found shooters off double teams, hit cutters, and made the right reads more often than not. Most of his turnovers were more a result of dribbling into traffic or trying to do too much. Although still not a true floor general (1.22 ast/tov is not where it should be for a point guard), the strides he has made in this department are undeniable. And his potential to continue to grow here should be enticing to whoever ends up selecting him.
Defensively, Mann was not great, but I think he was better than many perceived him to be. His 6'4" wingspan (+0) is not very encouraging, but many of his issues on this end are related to his size. He has good off-ball instincts, is relatively disciplined guarding the ball, plays screens well, has excellent foot speed and a good motor on this end. Opponents had their way pushing him around on switches down low or on drives with more physical wing players. At Florida, he played most of his minutes in three-guard lineups, and being that he was the tallest out of that bunch, he was often asked to guard some wings that were bigger than him. Naturally, he was outclassed guarding players 6'6" and up. Although he won't be very versatile or switch-able, he projects to be an average to slightly above average guard defender in the NBA.
Strictly in terms of fit, I don't think there is a better player in this class that plugs right into this Sixers system as well as Mann does. He's a versatile combo guard, who is great with the ball in his hands, and can get his own shot any time he wants from all three levels. I think he can be successful in the league at either guard position. So what bites? Well, he most likely won't make it that far into draft night. There are a handful of teams spread throughout the 20's that could use a lead guard (Knicks, Lakers and Clippers most notably) before the Sixers pick at 28. And there's a chance he gets taken before 20. He lost an inch at the Draft Combine after being listed at 6'5" and 190 pounds all season, but has consistently stayed in the late first round conversation for many months now.
Until the Ben Simmons situation comes to a solution one way or another, it will be difficult to see what they should do with their first round pick this season - if they even keep it at all. The guard rotation at this moment is actually quite full. Simmons and Seth Curry started last season, but you still have Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, George Hill, and Isaiah Joe under contract next season. And that's not including free agents to be Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz, both of which the Sixers hold their bird rights (meaning they can go over the salary cap to re-sign them if they please). Of course, depending on who is being acquired in the presumed Simmons trade, some of those names may not still be here.
Tre Mann would probably be the most ideal selection imaginable for this team if he begins to slide on draft night. The scoring and shot making repertoire alone make him an ideal person to pair with Joel Embiid. I firmly believe they acquire a prolific scorer that's already established at some point this offseason, so I don't see him as a starter. But his role would depend entirely on what the team would look like. I think he might instantly slide above a few of those aforementioned names on the depth chart. And depending on how the bench looks, his role could be anywhere from a sixth man to sparse minutes in garbage time, only because Doc Rivers is notorious for not playing his young guys.
NBA comparison: Jamal Murray. Maybe a bit ambitious. But yes, I do think he can be an all-star caliber player. Like Murray, I think people may experiment using him at either guard slot, but in an increasingly position-less game, especially for guards, this shouldn't be a real point of contention. My biggest question for Mann is if he will be able to take on such a sky-high usage. Obviously Murray has worked his way up to that throughout his five seasons in the league, as he started at 10 points per game as a rookie, then worked his way up to 21 in only his age-24 season, increasing his overall efficiency every step along the way. Mann has some work to do on his body and as a general decision-maker, but the framework is there.