John Calipari: ’76ers On Cusp Of Breakthrough’

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The latest to trust the process? Kentucky head coach John Calipari.

Speaking on an NBA Draft conference call on Tuesday morning, Calipari said he believes the Sixers are on the “Cusp of a breakthrough because they’re gonna have guys healthy.”

Related: Larry Brown Would Take De’Aaron Fox With No. 3 Pick

Two Kentucky players are projected to be top-10 picks, and both could potentially go third overall to Philadelphia — who is in need of guards — in De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.

“Their guard play is good, but that’s probably an area that needs to be strengthened,” Calipari said of the Sixers. “Again, you look at Malik — and I think the interest in Malik is because he can play both one [guard] and two [guard] and he can score the ball.”

Fox, a 6-foot-4, 171-pound point guard, is one of the most explosive players in the draft. However, he shot just 24.6-percent from three-point range as a freshman.

“Just gotta be more consistent, he’s gotta get in the gym and be more committed to it,” Calipari said of Fox’s three-point shooting. “But when you can make free throws and you can make 16, 17 footers at a high clip than you can make three’s. There’s nothing mechanically wrong.

“The reality of it is, when you look at guys like De’Aaron, unless they’re trying to win in a minute that should be the least of their worries. What you have is a long guard that can pick up 94 feet, that’ll as fast as anybody in the league.”

Related: Report: Kings Discussing A Trade Up For De’Aaron Fox

Monk, a 6’3″, 197-pound two-guard, is arguably the best pure scorer of the draft and could be the best fit for the Sixers who are in need of a complimentary guard to Ben Simmons capable of making shots. Some are concerned about Monk’s size for an NBA shooting guard and his ability to do other things, besides score the ball.

Calipiari, 58, is a Pennsylvania native and had a short stint as a Sixers assistant in 1999-2000 under Larry Brown. He believes both Fox and Monk would fit well in Philly.

“If Philly got either one of us those two, they’d be in pretty good shape,” Calipari said of Fox and Monk. “Especially with the guys they have within the organization already.”

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