Here are the full rankings of the Eastern Conference, from 15 through to 1. How we believe the playoffs will pan out will be discussed on the Point Forward Podcast at a later date.
15th Brooklyn Nets – GM Adam
Point Guard: Kyle Lowry
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Small Forward: Andre Iguodala
Power Forward: Thaddeus Young
Centre: Nikola Vucevic
6. Kobe Bryant
7. Jeremy Lin
8. Nick Young
9. Andrea Bargnani
10. Jeff Ayres
Coach: Scott Skiles
Here come the show-time Brooklyn Nets. Fans will be queuing, to see a glimpse of Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade share the floor. If you want to see 130 points a game, then buy your season tickets now. But seriously, this team will have no problems scoring as Kobe or Wade will take over in the clutch, and with players like Lowry, Lin and Young complimenting them with their outside shot, it will be truly a great display of basketball scoring. On defence, with Scott “Take no Shit” Skiles, he will ride them every minute of the game. He is more than capable of turning this group of lacklustre defenders, excluding Lowry and Iguodala, into finely tuned defensive monsters. Every player will be held accountable on this side of the ball and if someone slips up, then don’t you worry Scott Skiles will let them know about it.
Best Pick: Kyle Lowry, Round 1
On a team that goes against every grain of high movement efficient offense and defence wins championships basketball, Kyle Lowry is the lone exception. He is playing outstanding basketball on both sides of the ball, as seen by his on/off splits where the raptors are 7 points better when he is on the ball, compared to when he is off the floor. I’m sorry Kyle, you deserve better.
Worse Pick: Nikola Vucevic, Round 2
Although a lot of bad picks were made on this team, Nikola Vucevic was the catalyst. Through the draft I discovered it is very hard to build a team around an offensive centre, with Vucevic being a great example. He unfortunately does not offer the great defensive skill set that a team craves in a big man, and although his offensive skill set is great, it is not essential for a championship team. Without rim protection it is very difficult to lean on your perimeter defence and this team clearly illustrates that point.
Elliott Rank: 15th
Adam Rank: 14th
Jack Rank: 15th
With all of us having them in the bottom two, this team was pretty clearly the worst.
14th Cleveland Cavaliers – GM Jack
Point Guard: Jrue Holiday, Pick 67
Shooting Guard: Elfrid Payton, Pick 127
Small Forward: TJ Warren, Pick 174
Power Forward: Draymond Green, Pick 7
Center: Karl-Anthony Towns, Pick 54
6: Brandon Bass, Pick 187
7: Marcus Thornton, Pick 234
8: Jeff Withey, Pick 247
9: Jarrett Jack, Pick 294
10: Mike Miller, Pick 307
Coach: Erik Spoelstra, Pick 114
Look, I’m not really sure what happened to this team. I think things got off to a bad start with taking Draymond Green with the 7th pick in the draft. Adding a second piece in the young, talented Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t a bad pick, but from there on it just went downhill. The Jrue Holiday-Elfrid Payton guard-combo is a match that I don’t see ending up very well. I really don’t know what to say about this team, let’s just hope Erik Spoelstra can steer this ship into a respectable position.
Best Pick: Jeff Withey, Round 9
Jeff Withey has the potential to be a huge sleeper in this draft. He’s only playing about 14.7 minutes per game this season for the Jazz, but if you look at his per/36 stats he’s grabbing 9.5 rebounds, 3.1 offensive boards, 3.1 blocks and 11.7 points on 58.6% true shooting. This guy really has the ability to shine given a bit more exposure, and he’ll have the chance on this team which already feels like a lost season. If I have the chance to spend the 247th pick on a player whose VORP is in the top 3rd of the league, I’ll take that opportunity every time.
Worst Pick: Draymond Green, Round 1
This draft got off to a bad start for the Cavaliers, taking Draymond Green with the 7th pick in the draft. While he is having an absolutely stellar year and probably having one of the 7 best seasons in the league, his play style is in no way fitting to build a team around. Green’s success so far this year is intrinsically tied to the fact that he’s playing on such a deep, talented team alongside other stars like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Green won’t be as easily able to replicate this success when the best players on the roster are the considerably less experienced Karl-Anthony Towns and wily veteran Jrue Holiday. It was a mistake to take Draymond so early in the draft.
Elliott Rank: 14th
Adam Rank: 13th
Jack Rank: 14th
Once again, pretty clear cut here. A poor team.
13th Boston Celtics – GM Jack
Point Guard: Andre Miller, Pick 176
Shooting Guard: Lou Williams, Pick 185
Small Forward: Kevin Durant, Pick 5
Power Forward: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Pick 65
Center: Tristan Thompson, Pick 56
6: Manu Ginobili, Pick 125
7: Toney Douglas, Pick 236
8: Stanley Johnson, Pick 245
9: Darrell Arthur, Pick 296
10: Joe Ingles, Pick 305
Coach: Dwayne Casey, Pick 115
Look guys, I goofed. I started off well with KD, and then it went all down hill from there. I really struggled to find something to talk about with this team, so here goes. On defense, this team is going to be pretty well off, especially in from the front-court with heaps of length and athleticism from Durant, Kidd-Gilchrist and Tristan Thompson. On the offensive side of the ball, I’m probably going to lean on Durant and Casey to figure things out, as well as lots of offensive boards from TT. KD is going to be able to run lots of pick and rolls, and Miller and Ginobili have the experience required to take charge of an offense. I’ve also got some handy shooters in Williams, Ginobili and Douglas, and depth on the wings with Johnson and Ingles. How did I do? Does that sound convincing enough to pass?
Best Pick: Kevin Durant, Round 1
There aren’t many better players to build a team around than Kevin Durant. He’s shown in the past how simple it is, all he needed was a Point Guard in Westbrook and a second scorer in Harden and some solid defensive pieces filling out the rest of the spots and he can compete for a title. He’s having another great season again this year, shooting 38.8% from 3, 50.6% from the field and amassing 27.7 points per game and grabbing 8.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists as well. It’s safe to say my vision that he would be limited this season was a false prophecy. All I needed were a couple of good defenders at the 4 and 5 spots and decent guys at the guard spots and I could have competed with Durant, but I screwed up.
Worst Pick: Everyone else, Round 2 – 11
It started off with Tristan Thompson in the second round, what a reach! I mean the guy is a great offensive rebound but he has serious flaws in other areas of his game is not a good second piece. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist wasn’t a bad add in the 3rd round but trying to fit him in with a 6’11 SF and a 6’10 center makes for a tough challenge figuring out that front court. Then I picked Dwayne Casey, whom I don’t really believe in much but I thought he’d be able to manage that front court and figure something out. And then from that point I got the dreaded ‘yips’ worse than Greg Norman at the ’96 US Masters. I got in my own head, and somehow I ended up picking Andre Miller as my starting point guard, who I’m pretty sure is 63 years old at this point. The rest of the trainwreck was as follows. My sincerest apologies go out to KD.
Elliott Rank: 12th
Adam Rank: 15th
Jack Rank: 13th
Where you place this team depends on how far up the East you believe KD can carry them. 13th was the result.
12th Miami Heat – GM Adam
Point Guard: Patrick Beverley
Shooting Guard: DeMar Derozan
Small Forward: Terrence Ross
Power Forward: Kenneth Faried
Centre: Al Horford
6. Luis Scola
7. Paul Pierce
8. Trey Burke
9. Gerald Henderson
10. Anderson Varejao
Coach: Shaka Smart
The Heat shall be playing up-tempo, push the ball after misses kind of basketball. Having DeRozan is perfect in this style of basketball as he is second in the NBA in drives to the hoop and is third in the NBA in free throws attempted. Kenneth Faried is the perfect finisher on any lops and Ross is an athletic wing who knows how to three one down in transition. In half-court sets, a basic pick and roll will be run with Horford either rolling or popping for the mid range shot (44.9%). Spacing the floor with shooter such as Beverley, Pierce and Burke, will open up the paint for DeRozan to attack the rim, where he is at his best. On the defensive side of the ball, Shaka Smart is known for his disruptive defence. Under Smart, the Heat shall be playing with a ‘havoc” defensive mindset, trying to force steals and create turnovers as often as they can. In Beverley, Smart has the perfect point guard to implement these plans and in Derozan and Ross these players are long and athletic to fit this system.
Best Pick: Paul Pierce, Round 7
Leadership, Versatility and Shooting. These are the three qualities that Paul Pierce brings to this Miami Heat. His ability to space the floor as a shooter from the three or four spot is a huge weapon for this Heat team and the fact that he is an average defender is also a plus for someone his age. Best of all he is a no-nonsense kind of play who isn’t afraid to mix it up with bigger bodies if need be. You wouldn’t expect anything else from The Truth.
Worst Pick: DeMar DeRozan, Round 2
Although DeMar DeRozan is a great player, his fit with Horford does not work that well from an offensive stand point. He demands the ball a lot and can sometimes plays too much isolation basketball. He is also a very poor three-point shooter and can be a reckless driver. The Toronto Raptors are also a better a far superior defensive team with him off the floor as seen by his on/off splits (DefRtg 103.4 on floor, DefRtg 93.6 off court).
Elliott Rank: 13th
Adam Rank: 12th
Jack Rank: 12th
A unanimously mediocre team here. 12th is accurate
11th Atlanta Hawks – GM Elliott
Point Guard: Deron Williams, Pick 110
Shooting Guard: James Harden, Pick 11
Small Forward: Jae Crowder, Pick 50
Power Forward: Markieff Morris, Pick 131
Center: Nerlens Noel, Pick 71
6: Al Jefferson, Pick 170
7: Dante Exum, Pick 191
8: Dion Waiters, Pick 230
9: Kelly Oubre Jr., Pick 251
10: Bruno Caboclo, Pick 311
Coach: Alvin Gentry, Pick 290
After taking James Harden with the first selection, the first thing I wanted to do was to pair him with a guy who is a lockdown defender and is better off the ball than on the ball. With pick 50, I got my man in Jae Crowder. With Harden as the teams centrepiece, I wanted to have a couple of guys in the starting lineup capable of giving this team a defensive edge, and with Crowder and Noel – two of the best defenders at their respective positions – I have achieved this. Ultimately, I see this team playing at quite a fast tempo, with young guys (sans Williams and Jefferson) all over the floor. At this stage of his career, Deron Williams is in a position where he can play as a spot up shooter, and as more of a secondary ball handler, with James Harden on the team. I also like the potential Harden/Jefferson Pick and Roll combo, with Harden being one of the best Pick and Roll ball handlers in the league. With athletes like Exum, Waiters, Oubre Jr. and Caboclo on the bench, this team should be able to play at a very fast pace and score at will. Alvin Gentry was a natural fit as this teams’ coach, and although his head coaching record is average at best, this seems to be a roster that can fit his playstyle. I’m also relying heavily on Markieff Morris being happy and productive, as the only true Power Forward on the roster. If he can find his shooting, playmaking and defence from last season, this team will be a nightmare offensively. Alternatively, if I get no production out of Markieff, lineups with Crowder at the four will need to be used as more than a changeup and the Noel/Jefferson combination will see more floortime than expected.
Best Pick: Dante Exum, Round 7
I like the fit of Exum next to Harden, with the Jazz Point Guard proving in his rookie season that (at worst) he can be a spotup shooter and good perimeter defender. With natural improvement from Exum, he may eventually start for this team, providing a potentially lethal offensive combination of his length and court vision with Harden’s scoring arsenal.
Worst Pick: Bruno Caboclo, Round 11
For this category, half the roster was in contention, but Caboclo takes the cake. I am intrigued by his athleticism and length, but his fit in a team that already had four wings (including the two best players on the roster), plus a 6-6 Dante Exum, is questionable.
Elliott Rank: 9th
Adam Rank: 11th
Jack Rank: 11th
A team with interesting pieces, but ultimately too many personalities and not enough chemistry.
10th Chicago Bulls – GM Adam
Point Guard: Jeff Teague
Shooting Guard: Courtney Lee
Small Forward: Luol Deng
Power Forward: Channing Frye
Centre: Marc Gasol
6. Allen Crabbe
7. Mirza Teletovic
8. Tyler Johnson
9. Alex Len
10. E’Twaun Moore
Coach: Kevin McHale
The Chicago Bulls shall run a heavy dose of pick and roll action with Jeff Teague making a lot of reads from the point. With shooters like Courtney Lee, Channing Frye and Mirza Teletovic stretching the floor, Teague will have plenty of room to operate and allow him to make great plays and decisions for this Bulls team. In Marc Gasol, the Bulls have one of the best passing big man in the game so I will be running some plays through him from the high/low post and spacing him out with shooters. In Marc Gasol, the Bulls have a defensive player of the year anchoring the middle of the floor. The defence shall be built around him and all wings will play hard defence. Having heavy pressure on the ball handler will be key as I do not want to have too many sets where my players are in isolation or recovery from the weak side.
Best Pick: Mirza Teletovic, Round 7
In Mirza Teletovic, the Bulls found an ideal piece to slide into their stretch 4 position. In catch and shoot opportunities, he connected on 41.2% of them, whilst taking 4.7 of these shots a game. His fit is impeccable and allows not only Teague but also Tyler Johnson the breathing space all point guards need. The fact that he is also a handy rebounder is also a nice added bonus, but with Teletovic it’s all about fit in the system, and boy does he fit nice and snuggly.
Worse Pick: Allen Crabbe. Round 6
While on this team, there are no necessarily bad picks, reaching for Crabbe in the sixth round was a mistake. Crabbe does shoot well from deep (37.8% from deep), he is a negative on the defensive side of the ball, as seen by his DBPM of -1.6. In Crabbe, the Bulls are banking on him continuing to improve on the defensive side of the ball and that he continues to shoot the ball well from deep.
Elliott Rank: 10th
Adam Rank: 9th
Jack Rank: 10th
This team seems decent, but with mediocre players everywhere, they top out as an average
9th Toronto Raptors – GM Jack
Point Guard: Tony Parker, Pick 64
Shooting Guard: Monta Ellis, Pick 124
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Pick 4
Power Forward: Amir Johnson, Pick 57
Center: Ian Mahinmi, Pick 184
6: Mason Plumlee, Pick 177
7: Kevin Garnett, Pick 237
8: Emmanuel Mudiay, Pick 244
9: TJ McConnell, Pick 297
10: Robert Sacre, Pick 304
Coach: Frank Vogel, Pick 117
No one is going to score on this team. No one. The weakest link in the starting line up on defense is Tony Parker, who still has pedigree as a great point guard defender, and will be more than able to hold his own with all the help surrounding him on this team. Kawhi Leonard will continue to stick to opposing wing players like a leech, and Amir Johnson and Ian Mahinmi both excel at defending down low, contributing 1.9 defensive win shares apiece already this year. Off the bench I’ve added more proficient defenders in Plumlee, Garnett and Mudiay. Mudiay will have the benefit of learning under one of the greats in Parker, and vice versa for Johnson and Mahinmi who can both learn under the tutelage of Garnett. With the opponent point per game totals I expect this team to be able to defend, the offense should be more than capable of putting up enough points with Parker, Ellis and Leonard all being capable at creating their own shot.
Best Pick: Monta Ellis, Round 5
I wouldn’t be anywhere near as confident in this team’s offensive abilities if it weren’t for Ellis. He’s going to be more than happy to accept the role of being the go-to scorer, as he’s shown to be the least reliant on a system to find points out of every player on this roster. Since 2006, he’s found a way to score more than 18 points per game every season, bar one. He’s done so at a career FG% of 45.3% and a true shooting click of 50.7%. Despite the volume heavy nature of his statistical output, he’s still efficient enough to be a strong benefit to this team, and will open up avenues on the floor for the rest of his teammates.
Worst Pick: Mason Plumlee, Round 6
Plumlee feels like a bit of a wasted pick as Garnett should be able to relieve the starting forwards to the extent that is required, and Plumlee doesn’t contribute much in a unique way to this team other than adding depth. I probably would have been better served by selecting myself a guard who could knock down the open shot, as he would not have gone astray on this team that won’t be competing as one of the best shooting teams in the league.
Elliott Rank: 11th
Adam Rank: 10th
Jack Rank: 3rd
The first contentious team. GM Jack seems to like this team, putting them 3rd in his East standings, but Adam and I can’t help wonder how this team will score.
8th Charlotte Hornets – GM Adam
Point Guard: John Wall, Pick 12
Shooting Guard: Danny Green, Pick 72
Small Forward: Wilson Chandler, Pick 132
Power Forward: Rudy Gay, Pick 109
Centre: Greg Monroe, Pick 49
6: Kelly Olynyk, Pick 169
7: Jordan Clarkson, Pick 192
8: Gerald Green, Pick 229
9: Alexis Ajincia, Pick 289
10: Mario Hezonja, Pick 312
Coach: Brett Brown, Pick 252
Under the guidance of Brett Brown, the Charlotte Hornets will be playing a high pace offense and shooting plenty of threes. With Rudy Gay at the 4, it will allow space for Wall to drive to the hoop and either finish at the rim or kick it to the three point shooters. These same principles apply to the second unit where Jordan Clarkson will be given the keys to the car. This offense relies on a lot of decision making from the Point Guard, but in Wall I trust. This team can also slow down the game if need be, through post touches to Monroe, but the theme of the offense is push the pace, always play downhill. On defence, a reliance on great perimeter defence from Wall and Danny Green and some form of rim protection from Ajincia when he sees the floor. My wings will switch through on ball screens, however, with Monroe guarding the pick and roll, I will not switch as I worry that opposing point guards will expose him in isolation.
Best Pick: Jordan Clarkson, Round 7
As the offense is point guard lead, I needed a player similar to Wall in their traits. In Jordan Clarkson, I found that suitable player. Like Wall, he always plays downhill and attacks the rim with vengeance. If players choose to go under screens, he can also punish them as he shoots 44% from the midrange and 33.3% from three. An added bonus is his length at the position and the fact that he is great decision maker, as he only commits 2 turnovers per 36 minutes.
Worst Pick: Greg Monroe, Round 2
With Greg Monroe, the fit is not great, as I feel this team now needs an athletic centre that can defend the rim. As the offense is dictated by the point guard, Monroe will not get his post touches that often, which consequently reduces his effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive side, he is a sieve and allows opponents to shoot 50.7% against him. The fact that he cannot play the four because of a lack of shooting touch also diminishes his value.
Elliott Rank: 8th
Adam Rank: 8th
Jack Rank: 2nd
Interestingly, GM Adam didn’t even rate this team as highly as Jack. With Adam and I putting them 8th, it is a fair spot for them to reside. A potentially dangerous first round match up, however.
7th Milwaukee Bucks – GM Adam
Point Guard: Darren Collison
Shooting Guard: Khris Middleton
Small Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Power Forward: Carmelo Anthony
Centre: Steven Adams
6. Leandro Barbosa
7. Zach LaVine
8. Bismack Biyombo
9. Noah Vonleh
10. Jameer Nelson
Coach: Jason Kidd
The Milwaukee Bucks have a lot of versatility in their wings and power forward. Prominently on offense, Anthony shall be the focal point, with a key focus on mismatches. A lot of post-ups on small players will be incorporated as many of the players have the size and length to dominate there opposite player in isolation. The Bucks shall also run a basic pick and roll/pop with Adams and Anthony. Surrounding these two with shooters will allow Collison to operate – a good ball handler in these kind of sets. On defence, the Bucks shall be switching everything and wreaking havoc in the passing lanes. Forcing a large number of turnovers will be the goal for this team’s defence, and with the length I have at nearly everyone position, there should be no reason for this not to occur. In Adams and Biyombo I have great rim protection and these players help make up for Anthony’s imperfections on the defence. There will be also a great focus to force a lot of jumpers and limit the opposing teams point scoring.
Best Pick: Steven Adams, Round 5
In Steven Adams, the Bucks found a very serviceable big man who cannot only protect the basket but is also a fantastic finisher and roll man in pick and roll sets. Adams allows opponents to shoot 45.7% on contested field goals, whiles facing 18.3 of these shots per 36 minutes. He is also fantastic in defending the roll man in pick and roll sets where he is in the 79th percentile. Couple with his nice touch around the rim and his ability to finish lops and control passes in pick and roll sets and you have a fantastic find for this Bucks team in round 5.
Worse Pick: Noah Vonleh, Round 9
Although this pick was not the worst throughout the draft proceedings, Vonleh does not offer me the adequate back up the Bucks need in the power forward position. He is negative on the court and does not give me the three point shooting I desire in the four spot to make this team truly effective. However I am banking on his gradual improvement and hope that he can become a serviceable back up big.
Elliott Rank: 6th
Adam Rank: 5th
Jack Rank: 7th
The redraft Bucks have the same wings and coach as the real life Bucks, and many share similar attributes as well. However with a go-to scorer and more shooting, they finish 7th in this league. Have fun in Milwaukee, Melo!
6th Washington Wizards – GM Adam
Point Guard: Kemba Walker
Shooting Guard: Iman Shumpert
Small Forward: Jeff Green
Power Forward: Kristaps Porzingis
Centre: DeMarcus Cousins
6. Arron Afflalo
7. Donatas Motiejunas
8. Ramon Sessions
9. Sam Dekker
10. John Jenkins
Coach: John Calipari
Having John Calipari is a true blessing for the Wizards. This man not only is very flexible with his offensive structure, as he has to create a new system each year for his new college teams but he is also one of the few coaches to ever get through to DeMarcus Cousins. On the offensive side of the ball, the Washington Wizards shall be running a high pick and roll/pop offence. With players like Cousins, Porzingis, Motiejunas and Green, teams will have to respect these big men’s shooting ability, which will give plenty of space for Kemba Walker to operate. The offense will also feature post ups and isolation plays for both Walker and Cousins, as both are great offensive players with a knack for scoring in the clutch. Finally, with great offensive rebounders like Cousins and Porzingis, crashing the boards will be essential, in search for those second chance opportunities. On the defensive side of the ball, I shall be switching through pick and rolls, as the Wizards possess the length and athleticism needed to execute this. This team also possess solid rim protection in Porzingis and Cousins and a shut down defender in Iman Shumpert. More than anything Calipari is a genius at team building. He will instil a culture of everyone playing for each other and the fact that all his Kentucky teams excel on defence every year despite the mass exodus of players each year, is a credit to the systems he is capable of running.
Best Pick: Donatas Motiejunas, Round 7
Its not often you find a 7 foot big man, with nice outside touch and a post game. In Donatas Motiejunas, I found exactly that. In catch and shoot opportunities this year he has shot 33.3% from three, whilst shooting 41.2% from the deep overall. Looking at full season stats, he drilled 36.8% from deep, whilst shooting 35.1% of his corner threes. He is also an adequate defender allowing only a rim field goal percentage of 48.8% last year. Not bad for a seventh round pick if you ask me.
Worse Pick: John Jenkins, Round 11
While this team didn’t have many bad picks, the selection of John Jenkins is questionable. Although he shot over 40% from deep last year, he is only shooting 15.8% this year. He also lacks the length and defensive chops I would like but overall I am banking on his shooting outweighing his poor defence.
Elliott Rank: 7th
Adam Rank: 1st
Jack Rank: 8th
Despite GM Adam rating his team as the best in the East, Jack and I had them just scraping into the playoffs. Personally, this was due to concerns over their efficiency and defence.
5th Indiana Pacers – GM Adam
Point Guard: Chris Paul, Pick 13
Shooting Guard: Devin Booker, Pick 108
Small Forward: Harrison Barnes, Pick 73
Power Forward: Taj Gibson
Centre: Brook Lopez, Pick 48
6. Jodie Meeks
7. Corey Brewer
8. Josh McRoberts
9. DJ Augustin
10. Aron Baynes
Coach: Jeff Van Gundy
The Indiana Pacers will have two different features to their offense. The first is the post-ups of Brook Lopez. Lopez is a great post player, as seen by him being in the 76.1st percentile in post up situations, which leads to a decision from the opposing team. Do you leave him one on one, where he can hurt you or do you double-team him? If the latter is chosen, then this team can seriously punish you from deep with its shooters, as Booker, Barnes, Paul and Augustin are 44.8, 40.4, 44.7 and 42.9% shooters from catch and shoot 3’s respectively. The other feature will be a pick and roll with Lopez and Paul. As Lopez is a highly skilled big, he can either roll to the hoop or pop, in which he shoots 42.7% from mid range, and with Paul you have one of the best decision makers in the game running the point. Finally with Josh McRoberts coming off the bench, his passing skills will be valuable as he will be used at the elbow to either initiate big to big action or hit shooters for catch and shoot opportunities. With Jeff Van Gundy as coach, the Pacers will utilise his heavy guard pressure on the ball with a particular intent to hound players who pick up their dribble. With Baynes and Gibson I have good interior defensive anchors, while Lopez is a good shot blocker. Finally, the Pacers will use a “big pushes small” principle in recovery defence to assist any lateral movement weaknesses in their big men. With Harrison Barnes and Corey Brewer, I believe I have the athleticism to employ this principle.
Best Pick: Devin Booker, Round 4
Devin Booker is the perfect off ball shooter to employ in this offense. Not only does he shoot 44.8% off catch and shoot opportunities, but he shoots above 45% from both three point corners and shoots 41.8% overall from the three point line. Talk about the perfect sniper
Worse Pick: Jodie Meeks, Round 6
Although Meeks is a great shooter, he does not offer me the defensive mentally that I need coming off the pine for my pacers team. Through his entire career he has been a defensive negativity on any team, as seen through his DBPM, and does not offer me great versatility in my substitutions.
Elliott Rank: 5th
Adam Rank: 4th
Jack Rank: 6th
This team we agreed on as good, but not great – hardly surprising with Chris Paul as the centerpiece. The 5th seed was the result.
4th Philadelphia 76ers – GM Elliott
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook, Pick 3
Shooting Guard: Bradley Beal, Pick 63
Small Forward: Andrew Wiggins, Pick 58
Power Forward: Omri Casspi, Pick 118
Center: John Henson, Pick 123
6: Clint Capela, Pick 178
7: D’Angelo Russell, Pick 183
8: Josh Smith, Pick 238
9: Tim Hardaway Jr, Pick 243
10: Jon Leuer, Pick 303
Coach: Mike D’Antoni, Pick 298
Under Mike D’Antoni, I envisage this Sixers team playing the fastest, most spread offense in the league. After picking Russell Westbrook with my first pick, I decided that I would surround him with shooters and athletes, whilst prioritising rim protection. With guys like Omri Casspi, Bradley Beal, Tim Hardaway and Jon Leuer as recognised marksman and Andrew Wiggins being good enough to knock down the open look, I think that the space created will be enough for Russell to be able to get into the lane without worrying about help defence. Along with this, Josh Smith has proven to operate best in a fast pace offense – Houston – and this offense will not be too far removed from the Rockets, with his corner shooting and athleticism coming to the fore. Defensively, with Henson and Capela protecting the rim, the only potential issues will come on the perimeter. But, with Russell Westbrook’s improvement on the defensive end and ability to force turnovers coupled with Andrew Wiggins’ defensive ability, this team should be fine. For the short spells that one or both sit, Josh Smith (DBPM 2.8), Omri Casspi (DBPM -0.3) and Jon Leuer (DBPM 0.0) are decent defenders as well. Scoring wise, I believe that through Westbrook, Beal and Wiggins (all averaging over 20ppg) leading the way, and the other role players chipping in points, this team will be piling on enough points to match it with the best offensive teams around. Overall, with Mike D’Antoni as coach, this team will be able to score from a multitude of different facets and will outrun every other team, all whilst having the ball moving from side to side when it comes to half court sets. Expect similarities to the 7 Seconds Or Less Suns that were so successful under D’Antoni.
Best Pick: Omri Casspi, Round 4
I was praying to god that Casspi would fall into my lap in the fourth round and the big man upstairs pulled through for me. Shooting 44% from beyond the arc this season on 4.4 attempts a game, whilst nailing over 40% from catch and shoot attempts, Casspi is a knockdown shooter and works perfectly at the four in a fast offense. Along with this, he is pulling down 6.5 boards a game and offers me positional flexibility if I want to play him at the four in small lineups or at the three alongside Smith or Leuer. Overall, the Israeli works perfectly for a team looking to play up tempo and bomb from deep
Worst Pick: Tim Hardaway Jr., Round 9
Whilst I think that this pick wasn’t the worst pick of the draft, and I’m really happy with this team, this was the only guy to which I was hesitant when selecting. Hopefully Hardaway Jr. can at least put in an effort defensively, whilst being happy to play off the ball as a shooter offensively. Overall, I’m banking on his athleticism and shooting to outweigh his poor defence and little contributions elsewhere.
Elliott Rank: 3rd
Adam Rank: 7th
Jack Rank: 4th
The 76ers were ranked by all of us as a playoff team, with both Jack and I having them as a top four seed. Interestingly, Adam had them seventh, with concerns over turnovers and defence.
3rd Detroit Pistons – GM Elliott
Point Guard: Ricky Rubio, Pick 115
Shooting Guard: Evan Fournier, Pick 126
Small Forward: Nicolas Batum, Pick 55
Power Forward: Ryan Anderson, Pick 175
Center: Anthony Davis, Pick 6
6: Tiago Splitter, Pick 186
7: Bojan Bogdanovic, Pick 235
8: Cameron Payne, Pick 246
9: Joffrey Lauvergne, Pick 295
10: Nick Collison, Pick 306
Coach: Rick Carlisle, Pick 66
After picking Anthony Davis in the first round, the first thing I wanted to do was pair him with a coach with the ability to unlock his limitless potential, that man was Rick Carlisle. As one of only two coaches in the league to guarantee you a playoff spot, having Carlisle on the board at 66 was unbelievable. The next thing I decided to do was play Davis at Center, as I believe that having a guy of his skill set on both ends of the floor at the five is an incredible mismatch. To fully take advantage of this, I paired him with his smooth shooting New Orleans teammate Ryan Anderson, for an incredible floor spacing combo. Whilst originally I wasn’t ecstatic about pairing the two, according to NBA.com’s SportVU stats, six of the Pelicans seven best lineups feature the Anderson/Davis combo. Overall, I expect Carlisle to spread the floor and move the ball, with smart passers like Rubio, Fournier, Batum, Davis and Splitter all through the roster. By filling out the roster with shooters, there should be enough spacing to ensure Ricky Rubio can incorporate his brilliant passing off the Pick and Roll despite the defender going under the screen every time. Defensively, this team has solid defenders at every position, and I believe that the Davis/Splitter lineup will be elite defensively, whilst Splitter’s mid-range game and passing from the post will be enough to keep the offense moving. By including some players with distinctive skillsets and playstyles that are somewhat fascinating (Payne’s pace, Lauvergne as a three point shooting Center, Bogdanovic’s off ball play) I’ve also given Carlisle plenty of options for rotations and throwing different looks at the opposition. I honestly think this is one of the best-rounded rosters and has no clear weaknesses.
Best Pick: Rick Carlisle, Round 3
In his 13 years as an NBA coach, Carlisle has only ever had one team go under .500. Not only is he one of the best offensive minds in the NBA, but he is one of the most adaptable coaches in the league. From a ‘flow’ offense to win the 2011 Championship, to building a heavily Pick and Roll centric offense last year with Tyson Chandler to this year, turning Zaza Pachulia of all people into a superstar, Carlisle has literally done it all. He has coached Dirk to seven straight playoff series, so I decided to give him another superstar big man to build around – one that is possibly the best in the league. Work your magic, Rick.
Worst Pick: Nick Collison, Round 11
I don’t think that any of my selections were especially poor, and I think that I got good value for each of my picks in the draft. As such, I’ve decided to settle for Nick Collison as the worst pick as he was my last pick. I do so with a heavy heart, because I love Nick, the ultimate team man and a consummate professional, a valuable addition to any team.
Elliott Rank: 2nd
Adam Rank: 6th
Jack Rank: 5th
All three of us had the Pistons as a top six seed, with me being the highest on them. The combination of Davis and Carlisle alongside all the other interesting pieces was too overwhelming for me to have them lower than second.
2nd Orlando Magic – GM Elliott
Point Guard: Brandon Knight, Pick 43
Shooting Guard: Alec Burks, Pick 103
Small Forward: PJ Tucker, Pick 163
Power Forward: Kevin Love, Pick 18
Center: Andrew Bogut, Pick 78
6: J.R. Smith, Pick 138
7: Marco Belinelli, Pick 198
8: Mareese Speights, Pick 258
9: Kosta Koufos, Pick 283
10: Mo Williams, Pick 318
Coach: Billy Donovan, Pick 223
Billy Donovan is one of the most strategically sound coaches in the league, and moreover, one of the most prepared as well. With only half a season of NBA data to call upon (quite impressive data at that), it is more fair to reference his college coaching style and results when examining his game plan. Regarding Donovan’s coaching prospects in the NBA, former Florida Gator Bradley Beal stated: “He loves playing the pick-and-rolls, he loves to space the floor and he gives his players freedom. So I think he’ll excel.” Along with this, Donovan has shown a propensity to move the ball, get his players playing together through unselfish basketball and being one of the best running teams in the league. This type of offense is exactly what I had in mind when selecting this team, although Donovan is adaptable to any skillset thrown at him. Offensively, I fully expect Donovan to heavily rely on the pick and roll, especially the Knight/Love Pick and Roll/Pop combo. This team gives Love a chance to be a number one option once again – a role we haven’t seen him occupy on any team other than the Minnesota Timberwolves. Those Minnesota rosters were often a wasteland for talent and/or were ravaged by injuries throughout the season. Despite this, in 2013-14, Love carried the Wolves to 40 wins in a year where nearly every other player on the roster was hurt for an extended period. By giving Love a Point Guard like Brandon Knight, who can shoot the ball as well as facilitating, and surrounding him with Wings that can shoot (Burks, Tucker, Belinelli, Smith), there should be plenty of space on the floor for the big man. Whether he is posting up, stepping out for the three or running the pick and roll, his skillset will be put to full use on the offensive end. Along with Love, this team should get plenty of scoring from the backcourt and the bench. Donovan’s current OKC team sit 7th in 3pt%, 3rd in 2PT%, 8th in EFG% and 2nd FG%, so this is a guy who in half a season has shown he can mould an efficient offense. Defensively, by including rim protectors such and Bogut and Koufos and having some of the best wing defenders in the league – Tucker and Burks – the individual holes defensively should be covered by a good system that enhances the talents of the better defenders, whilst hiding the players lesser known for their defence.
Best Pick: Kosta Koufos, Round 9
To get a guy like Koufos, the ultimate role player who can protect the rim, will play his role and set hard screens, in the second last round was a huge steal. With Andrew Bogut starting, Koufos projects to be a like-for-like replacement when the starters sit. I love his fit alongside both Love and Speights, who can step both out for the jumpshot, but may not be the best defenders going around. Honourable mentions to everyone else on this team for making me seriously consider them for this category.
Worst Pick: PJ Tucker, Round 6
Whilst Tucker projects to be a nice 3&D wing for this team, there were better players on the board at the time. The good thing about Tucker is that he seems to play better on good teams, which this team hopefully will be. I like his fit alongside the other wings on this team, with Belinelli and J.R. Smith being notoriously poor defenders. If Tucker brings professionalism, shooting and defence, this selection will look like less of a reach, however if he cannot find his shooting stroke, he may see limited playing time.
Elliott Rank: 1st
Adam Rank: 2nd
Jack Rank: 9th
Jack was the only one down on this team, with Adam and I loving the depth and two-way potential of this roster.
1st New York Knicks -GM Jack
Point Guard: Damian Lillard, Pick 26
Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha, Pick 155
Small Forward: Tony Allen, Pick 146
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki, Pick 35
Center: Robin Lopez, Pick 86
6: Langston Galloway, Pick 206
7: Anthony Tolliver, Pick 215
8: Cody Zeller, Pick 266
9: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Pick 275
10: Pablo Prigioni, Pick 326
Coach: Mike Budenholzer, Pick 95
This team is going to make a reaping out of the pick and roll nightmare opponents will face every night in Damian Lillard and Dirk Nowitzki. Lillard is one of the smartest young ball handlers in the league and well-versed in the pick and roll, and Dirk Nowitzki has the most undefendable arsenal of scoring methods this side of the Skyhook (read: Dirk/Kareem heat). Trying to defend this combination will sap defensive energy from every one of its opponents, and draw all sorts of attention, double teams and help defenses. This then gives Lillard the option to exploit this pressure by kicking it to a good shooter on the wing in Thabo Sefolosha. Additionally, there is a second screen option in Robin Lopez, allowing Dirk to work more German magic off the ball, finding open shots all over the floor. Lopez is a good pick and roll go-to as well as a screen option to get Sefolosha open off-ball. On the defensive side of the ball, Lillard’s sometimes horrific defense (Leistung) can be covered for by the two terrific perimeter defenders at the 2 and 3 spots, and Dirk’s struggles under the rim are covered by RoLo, who has one of the best box-outs in the league and the prestigious title of PFP boy of the year. This team has all the flavours reminiscent of the title runs made by earlier Dallas teams, and could repeat this success under Budenholzer, who can craft a perfect cuvée of pick and roll, post play and option offenses that ferment into a perfect sparkling masterpiece.
Best Pick: Thabo Sefolosha, Round 6
Picking up a crafty player like Sefolosha who can shoot the 3 and play tough defense in the 6th round to perfectly slot into my starting lineup was an absolute steal. Thabo’s skillset perfectly compliments the rest of the team, working efficiently on the offensive end to find the open spot and knock down threes, and holding up his matchup on the defensive end effectively as well. The reason he fell this far has to be his decline recently in Atlanta, so let’s hope I get 35.3% 3PT shooting OKC Sefolosha instead of 30.5% 3PT shooting ATL Sefolosha.
Worst Pick: Langston Galloway, Round 7
Despite the impressive season Galloway has put together so far for the Knicks, there were better options available on the board at this point. I easily could have added a Justise Winslow or Gary Harris who could fit into this team’s offense much more effectively. Regardless, Galloway will be able to contribute a pretty handy 3 point shot and solid physical attributes.
Elliott Rank: 4th
Adam Rank: 3rd
Jack Rank: 1st
Overall, this team performed the best, with Adam and I seeing them as very good and Jack seeing them as great. For me, the all round offensive arsenal they have to call upon, whilst still having solid perimeter and interior defence – and one of the best coaches in the league – was a good enough combination for the fourth seed. For Jack, it was enough for the top seed.
So there you have it, the Eastern Conference redraft was topped by the perenially disappointing Knicks, whilst current title contenders Cleveland, Toronto, Miami and Atlanta ended up missing the playoffs. Quite a shakeup indeed.
- Articles written by respective GM’s of teams, compilation and annotations completed by Elliott.