Jimmy Butler got moved, Philly got Fultz, Boston traded down and the Bulls are incompetent. It was a massive draft night and your ultimate guide to each team is here.
Received: Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and Pick 41
Sent: Dwight Howard, Pick 31
19. John Collins, 6’10”, 225lbs, C/PF, Sophomore, Wake Forest
A big man tweener who doesn’t shoot the ball well enough to play at the four and doesn’t protect the rim well enough to play the five. Should be a nice rotation/third big man and will stick around in the league for a while. Unfortunately, unless he can unleash this magical three-pointer that scouts have been raving about after workouts, he will never be a starter. Considering he attempted one three in two years at Wake Forest, this seems unlikely, but Atlanta have fixed shots before.
41. Tyler Dorsey, 6’4″, 180lbs, SG, Sophomore, Oregon
60. Alpha Kaba, 6’10”, 226lbs, C, France
Dorsey is a knockdown three-point shooter that lit it up from downtown at Oregon, shooting 42.3% in his Sophomore season on a 51.4% attempt rate. He’s capable of getting to the rim too, which makes him a dangerous scorer, however he measures below average as a facilitator and defender which severely hampers his value. Kaba has a massive frame and could be a backup big one day, but will probably never see NBA action.
Overall: Not a bad draft for the Hawks, but they should’ve done more at 19. A rotation big and a heat-check guy off the bench isn’t the worst result though. The Dwight Howard trade makes sense if they choose not to re-sign Paul Millsap, because it only makes sense as a pure tank move. Plumlee’s contract is awful and the Hawks surely can’t think he’s a good player. Potentially losing Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll and Dwight Howard for a return of Taurean Prince must be gut-wrenching for Hawks fans.
Received: Pick 3, 2018 Lakers Pick (if 2-5) or More Favourable 2019 Sixers/King’s Pick (Top 1 Protected)
Sent: Pick 1
3. Jayson Tatum, 6’8″, 204lbs, SF, Freshman, Duke
Considering they could’ve had Markelle Fultz, this is unusual from the Celtics. Granted, Tatum might be okay, but Fultz should be a top-10 player in the league someday and there are tons of questions around Tatum. His shot is nice (84.9% FT) and he’s dangerous in the mid-range, but he has had trouble extending it to three (34.2% 3PT). He has shown an ability to pass, but is still a black-hole too often and his defence is mediocre. Overall, he clearly has an upside if he becomes a three-point shooting, two-way wing facilitator guy, but it just seems as though there’s a lot to work out if he’s going to get there. I had Tatum 6th on my board and would’ve liked this pick more if they hadn’t have traded down from Fultz.
37. Semi Ojeleye, 6’7″, 235lbs, SF/PF, Junior*, SMU
53. Kadeem Allen, 6’3″, 200lbs, SG/PG, Senior, Arizona
56. Jabari Bird, 6’6″, 199lbs, SF, Senior, California
Ojeleye can play both forward positions (just like everyone else on the Celtics) and should be a good bench scorer one day. He shot well from three (42.4%) and he gets to the rim well, but isn’t a good enough passer or defender to be a starter in the NBA. Could be a rich man’s Shabazz Muhammad. Allen has the potential to be a solid three and D guy if he can shoot the three ball like he did in his final year, as he’s one of the best point of attack defenders in this class. His size might limit him to defending Point Guards, though, so his success will be dependent upon playing with a Point Guard that can guard two’s (not Boston) which will allow him to play off the ball in attack as well. Bird is a three point bomber (56.1% attempt rate) who cannot get to the rim, pass or defend. I don’t have high hopes.
Overall: If Fultz and Ball don’t turn out as expected, this draft will be okay, however I don’t see that happening. Tatum will be fine, he might even make an All-Star team or two, but he is highly unlikely to become a superstar. Ojeleye and Allen could be rotation guys, but it likely won’t be in Boston.
Received: D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov
Sent: Brook Lopez, Pick 27
22. Jarrett Allen, 6’11”, 224lbs, C, Freshman, Texas
Allen has great length and could eventually become a pick and roll dunker in attack and a rim protecting, switchable defender. At this stage, however, he’s extremely raw and will take a couple of years to develop his basketball IQ on both ends. After the Nets sent away Lopez, he will get plenty of chances to play heavy minutes and carve out an NBA role for himself.
57. Aleksandar Vezenkov, 6’9″, 225lbs, SF/PF, Bulgaria/FC Barcelona
Vezenkov was eleventh in Kevin Pelton’s statistical projections but if he ever plays in the NBA, he’ll be one of the least athletic players to ever play in the league. He’s an incredibly skilled player, however, and is amazingly efficient at scoring the ball from all three levels. He’ll be a nothing defender due to his athleticism, but his skill level is worth taking a risk on at pick 57, especially with the recent success of European big men with good stats such as Jokic and Gobert.
Overall: The Russell trade makes a ton of sense for the Nets, who will be hoping his confidence and attack improve from his time in LA. Taking on Mozgov’s contract isn’t ideal, but given the unlikelihood of them using that money anyway, it’s a good move. Adding Allen is decent and Vezenkov was worth the risk late.
Received: Dwight Howard, Pick 31
Sent: Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and Pick 41
11. Malik Monk, 6’4″, 197lbs, SG, Freshman, Kentucky
Monk has the best shot seen at the college level since Bradley Beal and it saw him end up with some efficient volume scoring. He averaged 19.8 points on 45% FG, 39.7 3PT and 82.2% FT, which results in a True Shooting of 58.6%. He didn’t show much ability to do anything else at Kentucky, but when given the chance to have the ball in his hands, he has shown a knack for passing and running the Pick and Roll. At the very worst, he’ll be a lights-out shooter who provides value by shooting off the dribble, off the catch and off screens. His upside is a dominant scorer from the two-guard a la Beal or CJ McCollum, however his lack of defence and struggles on the glass are slightly worrying. At pick eleven, though, Monk is an absolute steal and I’d bet he turns out more like the Beal/McCollum types than the McLemore/Stauskas types based on his incredible array of shots which he can get off from anywhere and his ability to run the offense as a secondary handler.
40. Dwayne Bacon, 6’5″, 202lbs, SG/SF, Sophomore, Florida State
If Monk were bad, he’d be Dwayne Bacon. Bacon is a classic college guy, who scores a ton of points on questionable efficiency and doesn’t do a whole lot else. He could be a contributor off the bench as a bucket-getter and he’s shown occasional flashes of defence, however he will likely never become an efficient enough scorer to be a starter.
Overall: Monk is a fantastic steal at eleven and makes Charlotte a massive winner despite the average Bacon pick in the second round. I had Monk fifth on my board and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being an All-Star one day. The addition of Dwight Howard is a good one on paper and he should be able to fix some of the defensive issues that come with a Kemba Walker/Malik Monk backcourt. Getting off of that Plumlee contract is a dream.
Received: Pick 7, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn
Sent: Jimmy Butler, Pick 16
7. Lauri Markkanen, 7’0″, 225lbs, PF, Freshman, Arizona
Markkanen could be a stud offensively, but given the amount that the Bulls gave up for him, it is tough to be happy with this pick. As far as Lauri goes, he is the best big man shooter in history at his age and it resulted in some ridiculous efficiency at the college level. He shots 42.3% from deep, 83.5% from the free throw line with 58.4% EFG and 63.5% True Shooting. Unfortunately, these numbers are akin to Ryan Anderson’s stats in his Sophomore season, and Markkanen could be just as bad defensively and as a passer. He has shown an ability to slide his feet decently on the perimeter, but his rim protection and rebounding is atrocious. In the right situation, he can be an absolute weapon, but the Bulls are not an organisation I trust to unleash him.
Overall: Given that LaVine is coming back from a torn ACL, is a guy that has yet to prove he can be an efficient scorer and is somewhere between mediocre and bad on defence, you’d hope that the Bulls would be getting something good along with him. Enter Kris Dunn. A guy who is 23, averaged 3.8 points as a rookie and has never shown he can shoot the ball well enough to become a difference maker at Point Guard.
So, basically the Bulls have thrown in Jimmy Butler as the steak knives to move up from 16 to 7 in the draft. For reference, the King’s moved up from 20 to 10 by throwing in pick 15. So through some basic mathematics, we can work out that Jimmy Butler is worth roughly pick 15. Given that he’s one of the 15 best players in the league, the math is slightly off. This is one of the worst trades made in recent years and even if Markkanen is good, it is still indefensible. #firegarpax
No GM = No Picks.
9. Dennis Smith Jr. 6’3″, 195lbs, PG, Freshman, NC State
Smith has the potential to become a genuine three-level scorer at the NBA level, thanks to his tantalising combination of athleticism and skill. In Dallas, his ability to run the Pick and Roll in a spaced floor will be maximised and his lightning speed and explosion will be on full display. His vision is reasonable and it is likely that he will be able to make better passes and create better looks in a spaced floor. His jumper is reasonable, but his 71.5% Free Throw percentage is concerning and if he can’t shoot well at the NBA level, it will impact his ceiling. Defensively, he didn’t show much at NC State, but he should be a reasonable defender at the highest level. He does have some concerns when it comes to the intangibles, but given the situation in NC State I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Overall: He was third on my board and couldn’t have gone to a better situation than Dallas. Could be the best player in the draft, but more likely will be a fringe top-10 Point Guard for most of his career. Still, you’ll take that at pick nine.
Received: Trey Lyles, Pick 24
Sent: Pick 13
24. Tyler Lydon, 6’10”, 225lbs, PF, Sophomore, Syracuse
Lydon is an elite stretch-four and should be at least a rotation player in the NBA. His shooting splits (83.6% FT, 39.2% 3PT, 59.7% TS) are impressive and he has the ability to score at the rim at times as well. Defensively, he’s a bit of an unknown given he’s been playing in the Syracuse zone, however he has shown an ability to block shots at the very least (4.7% block percentage). If he can become a solid weak-side shot blocker, he could become a starter, but it is more likely that he becomes a change of pace shooter from the bench.
49. Vlatko Cancar, 6’8″, 210lbs, PF, Slovenia
51. Monte Morris, 6’3″, 175lbs, PG, Senior, Iowa State
Cancar has shown flashes of shooting and passing potential, but it will likely be a while until he sees any NBA action. Morris is a statistical darling – he ranked third on Kevin Pelton’s model – and he should be a nice backup Point Guard for the Nuggets. He scores efficiently, is an unselfish passer and a pesky defender, but his inability to attack and score at the rim will stop him from starting in the NBA. His assist-to-turnover ratio is insanely good, with 6.2 assists to just 1.2 turnovers in his senior year.
Overall: With Nikola Jokic, Kenneth Faried, Juancho Hernangomez, Mason Plumlee and Wilson Chandler already soaking up minutes at the four and the five, the additions of Lydon and Lyles don’t make a ton of sense. Obviously they’re trying to space the floor around Jokic and Lydon should be able to knock-down threes next to him, but on the other end of the floor, there are issues. Morris could contribute as a backup, but overall this draft was disappointing for the Nuggets and they might’ve been better off packaging 13 and some young talent to try to move up.
12. Luke Kennard, 6’6″, 206lbs, SG, Sophomore, Duke
Kennard’s offensive game is as polished as it gets. Not only is he a prolific shooter from downtown, but his footwork and ability to score in the lane and in the mid-range ensures that he can score from all three levels. He can shoot on the move, off screens or off the dribble and his footwork and moves in attack are at NBA standard already. Despite being 6’6, Kennard has just a 6’5 wingspan so it is highly unlikely that he will ever be a positive defender. His physical tools may hurt him in attack as well, but there is a chance that he proves to be valuable enough as a shooter and skilled enough inside the arc that he can overcome this. He’s a little too much like Nik Stauskas for my liking, but at the very worst he should be a rotation shooter.
Overall: His fit in Detroit isn’t too bad, as he will provide spacing and scoring off the bench and he might be able to run some backup Point Guard at a pinch. With Donovan Mitchell on the board, there was probably a better two-way option, but Kennard isn’t the worst pick.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
38. Jordan Bell, 6’9″, 227lbs, C, Junior, Oregon
After buying the 38th pick from the Bulls, the defending Champions selected switchable defender Jordan Bell with pick 38. Bell is an elite athlete and this allows him to rebound, shot block and even defend the perimeter at times on the defensive end. He has Draymond Green-lite potential on that end, as a guy who can defend three through five in the NBA. He is a capable passer in attack and although he can’t spread the floor, he’s great value at 38.
43. Isaiah Hartenstein, 7’0″, 225lbs, PF/C, Germany
Hartenstein was red-flagged by multiple teams due to a back problem which could be career impacting. Hartenstein has an ability to be a rim-running Center out of the pick and roll and he has also shown flashes as a passer. He looks lost at times on both ends, though, and it is tough to see it all working out for him with these back issues.
18. TJ Leaf, 6’10”, 220lbs, PF, Freshman, UCLA
Leaf is similar to DJ Wilson at pick 17 before him and John Collins after him in that he will likely max-out as a rotation big man in the NBA. His three-point shooting is the best aspect of his game (46.6% at UCLA), but even that has question marks given his 67.9% Free Throw shooting. His passing is underrated, but his inability to score at the rim or guard in space will ensure that he is a rotation big only.
47. Ike Anigbogu, 6’10”, 230lbs, C, Freshman, UCLA
52. Edmond Sumner, 6’5″, 170lbs, PG, Junior, Xavier
Anigbogu is a massive project given that he didn’t start for UCLA and averaged under five points per game for the season. His draftability comes from his athleticism and frame, but there are no reasonable indications that he knows how to play basketball. He is, however, built like a brick shithouse and has some serious rim protecting potential. Not a bad pick at 47. Sumner is far more interesting, as an athletic Point Guard who has a chance to be a starter given his athletic and defensive upside. His 28.5% college career shooting from deep is the main concern, but his ability to explode to the rim and his improved finishing around the basket gives him a bit of intrigue late in the draft.
Overall: Not a good night for Pacers fans. Not only will Paul George leave, but the biggest upside guy that they drafted was their third selection and the 52nd overall selection. It’s going to be a long few years.
39. Jawun Evans, 6’1″, 177lbs, PG, Sophomore, Oklahoma State
48. Sindarius Thornwell, 6’5″, 214lbs, SG, Senior, South Carolina
The Clippers bought these picks from Philly and Milwaukee respectively and nailed them both. Evans is a mid-range assassin that could be a Chris Paul-lite on offense thanks to his passing and pick and roll game. He shot nearly 38% from deep in his senior year albeit on limited attempts, but has shown the ability to score at all three levels. Defensively, he has the ability to be pesky despite his size and potentially provide some value on that end. Thornwell is potentially one of the steals of the draft if his 39.5% three-point shooting from his Senior year is even remotely real. In his first three seasons at South Carolina, he shot 31.8% from beyond the arc and his value rests almost solely on his ability to connect from downtown. His ability to get to the rim was significantly better in his final year, and this could just be him being older than everyone else, but it is a good sign nonetheless. His defence is elite and his steal, block and rebounding percentages all make for great reading. If he can shoot, he will be a starter and if not, he will be a role player.
Overall: Even if Chris Paul and Blake Griffin leave, the Clippers have a reasonable start to their rebuild with these two second-rounders. If they stay, there is every chance that these two guys fit right into the rotation in year one. A great night considering they came into the draft with no picks.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Received: Brook Lopez, Pick 27
Sent: D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov
Received: Pick 30 and 42
Sent: Pick 28
2. Lonzo Ball, 6’6″, 190lbs, PG, Freshman, UCLA
The statistical translations love him and the eye test shows that he is one of the most watchable players to play college basketball, but not all is rosy with Lonzo Ball. His inability to get to the rim is striking and he almost never shoots from mid-range which means that his scoring arsenal is predicated on transition buckets and deep threes. As such, he isn’t a massive threat in the pick and roll, where he can be passive and often struggles when defences go over screens. Despite this, his unbelievable shooting and feel for the game is impressive and his passing, both in transition and in the half-court is some of the best seen at college level in a long time. His defence isn’t great, but he has shown flashes of decent pick and roll coverage and he might eventually have enough size to guard twos. I wouldn’t be too worried about his funky shot mechanics, this kid has been bombing threes since he was a baby and nailed 41.2% at UCLA. His upside is a more athletic Ricky Rubio that can shoot and finish at the rim and that player is extremely valuable to a good team. In a league that is trending towards skill and shooting, Ball will be able to guide his troops in a way that will be scheme defining and most likely highly successful.
27. Kyle Kuzma, 6’9″, 221lbs, PF, Junior, Utah
Kuzma is the prototypical college Power Forward that will not translate to the NBA. Whilst he is solid in transition and can handle the ball a bit, he doesn’t attack the rim aggressively enough in the half court to justify his lack of three point shooting. Defensively he’s a liability at the three, four or five and there is very little chance that he is an impact player on this end at any stage in his career.
30. Josh Hart, 6’6″, 204lbs, SG, Senior, Villanova
I love this pick. Not only did the Lakers manage to take Hart, but they also managed to get pick 42 out of the trade with Utah. Hart was a career 38.9% three point shooter at Villanova and has the ability to score at the rim as well. The ancillary aspects to his offensive game are sound as well and he profiles as a player that will thrive in the Lakers heavy ball movement system where he can act as a facilitator from the wing. Hart is also an excellent rebounder and although he isn’t a great athlete, he’s solid enough defensively to potentially be a 3&D+ sort of wing. Great value at 30.
42. Thomas Bryant, 6’10”, 241lbs, C, Sophomore, Indiana
Bryant projects to be a floor spacing big man with the tiniest bit of unicorn upside. His average athleticism limits his upside, but if the Lakers can fix his defensive positioning and stance, there is a chance that he could be handy as a rim protector whilst providing shooting (38.3% from deep) in attack. A nice risk at 42.
Overall: If the Lakers hadn’t have made that harebrained Russell for Lopez trade, they would be the biggest winners of the draft. Lopez is effectively a rental and Kuzma won’t amount to much, so they basically threw in Russell as the steak knives to get rid of Mozgov’s contract. Giving up on a 21-year old Point Guard with All-Star potential to dump a contract is Sacramento-esque mismanaging. The argument that they’re clearing cap space is nonsensical as they have another year before Paul George comes and could make a similar trade to this once they actually know they’re getting him. The argument that this clears playing time for Lonzo is nonsensical as well, because there is still no guarantee Lonzo will be better than DLoading and even if he is, surely it’s worth seeing if your two best prospects can play together. Whilst they nailed three of their four picks, this could’ve been so much better.
35. Ivan Rabb, 6’10”, 215lbs, C/PF, Sophomore, California
42. Dillon Brooks, 6’7″, 215lbs, SG/SF, Junior, Oregon
After trading into the draft by getting rid of two future second rounders, the night ended with a mixed bag for the Grizzlies. Rabb is a big man tweener who can’t shoot the ball or guard on the perimeter well enough to play the four and can’t protect the rim enough to play the five. He could be a rotation big one day, maybe. Brooks, on the other hand, projects as a solid wing who will likely fluctuate between being a starter and a high-end reserve during his career. He can handle the ball, pass the ball, shoot the three and could be passable on defence if he’s played at the two. He’s one of my favourite guys in the draft and fell due to his short arms, so it’d be great to see his skill overcome his physical limitations.
14. Bam Adebayo, 6’10”, 250lbs, C/PF, Freshman, Kentucky
This pick doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given Miami’s current roster construction and Adebayo’s limitations. Adebayo provides some vertical gravity thanks to his explosive dunking and strength around the rim, but his offensive game is extremely raw apart from that. He apparently shot the lights out in workouts, but relying on his shot is fraught with risk given that he shot just 65.3% from the Free Throw line. His defence isn’t great either and his rim protection is questionable. Given that Jordan Bell went 24 picks later, this was a huge reach.
17. D.J. Wilson, 6’10”, 240lbs, PF, Junior, Michigan State
Wilson is an efficient stretch four who shot 37.3% from deep and 83.3% from the line in his only season as a starter for the Spartans. Apart from this, though, he doesn’t offer much. He is soft at the rim and he rarely gets there, he isn’t a wiling passer and his rebounding is poor. He did show some shot blocking potential, but he looks to be a rotation big at best given his significant limitations.
46. Sterling Brown, 6’6″, 230lbs, SG/SF, Senior, SMU
Brown is another one of these 3&D prospects that I’m high on in the second round. His 44.9% shooting from deep is his greatest asset and his ability to shoot at a high volume is promising. He’s not completely inept as a ball handler either, and he showed the ability to create for teammates at times (17.9% Assist Percentage). Although his defence might be held back at the NBA level due to his athletic deficiencies, he should still be passable on that end.
Overall: It’s tough to evaluate a draft when your preferred prospect is taken in the second round, but if Brown gets enough opportunities there’s no doubt he’ll be at least a rotation guy. His athletic defects should be overcome by the sheer size and length of the rest of the Bucks, whilst his shooting and passing give them a nice other dimension. Wilson could become a weak side shot blocker and floor spacer, but it is more likely that his softness and inability to get to the rim will see him spend significant time on the bench.
Received: Jimmy Butler, Pick 16
Sent: Pick 7, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn
16. Justin Patton, 7’0″, 226lbs, C, Freshman, Creighton
This pick just doesn’t make much sense. Patton plays the same position as their franchise player and adds to a big man logjam. Offensively, Patton is the ideal NBA Center, a guy who can cut, set screens and roll hard from the pick and roll. He apparently has an intriguing jump shot, but there isn’t much to suggest this is the case given that he shot 51.7% from the line. He’s soft at times on the interior which limits his value given that he’s scared to be fouled and he doesn’t attack the offensive glass well enough. Defensively, he’s slow to read the play and his rim protection isn’t good enough. He’ll probably be a bench big.
Overall: As discussed in the Bulls section, the Wolves effectively got Jimmy Butler to move down nine spots in the draft. His fit with Wiggins isn’t ideal, but a pairing of Butler and Towns automatically makes Minnesota a dangerous team. Patton adds to the front court confusion that now involves Gorgui Dieng, Cole Aldrich, Towns and Patton, all of whom are best suited at the five.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
31. Frank Jackson, 6’4″, 208lbs, PG/SG, Freshman, Duke
Jackson profiles as a spark-plug combo-guard off the bench who can give a team some instant offense from the bench unit. He shot an extremely efficient 59.8% True Shooting at Duke and showed flashes of creation upside out of the pick and roll that has some believing he can play some Point Guard. He can score in transition and has the athleticism to succeed in this aspect in the NBA and he has the speed to attack those closing out his 39.2% three point jumper. His defence is terrible, but it doesn’t matter as much from the guard positions anyway. I like the pick.
NEW YORK KNICKS
8. Frank Ntilikina, 6’5″, 170lbs, PG/SG, Strasbourg, Belgium
Taking Ntilikina with Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk on the board is a mistake and is an even bigger mistake if he was taken to run the triangle. Ntilikina is a 3&D Point Guard prospect who supposedly will be best alongside another guy who can handle the ball. I don’t see the upside with this guy given his lack of explosion and his propensity to turn the ball over due to over dribbling and not taking care of it. His best role will be as a role player at the two, where he can provide secondary ball handling, shooting and defence, but it is highly unlikely that he will be able to play this role on the Knicks.
44. Damyean Dotson, 6’5″, 202lbs, SG, Houston, Senior
58. Ognjen Jaramaz, 6’4″, 193lbs, PG, Serbia
Dotson is literally just a shooter. He shoots 44.1* from deep, 83% from the line, 60.9% True Shooting and 56.8% of his shots come from deep. Great, except he can’t do anything else. His free throw rate is abysmal and is comparable only to Danny Green’s college numbers in terms of starting two-guards. Given that his defence is deplorable, it’s unlikely he becomes Green and it’s unlikely he has any upside. Jaramez is a big Point Guard who will be 22 this year and Pelton’s statistical projections hate him, so it’s unlikely he becomes much either.
Overall: Not a good draft for the Knicks. Passing on DSJ and Monk for Ntilikina is a bad call and one which they will come to regret in coming years. I’m honestly not even sure Ntilikina will be a starter at this stage and given the potential of the other two, it’s hard to swallow. The second round picks add salt to the wound.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
21. Terrance Ferguson, 6’7″, 186lbs, SF/SG, Adelaide
The Thunder have tried this thing where they draft an athlete that can’t play basketball and hope for the best. He’s supposedly a 3&D wing with massive athletic upside, but given he shot just 31.3% from deep in the NBL and showed basically nothing else, it’s tough to see his upside.
6. Jonathan Isaac, 6’11”, 205lbs, PF, Freshman, Florida State
Isaac is an excellent prospect in today’s NBA given his combination of excellent defence, solid shooting and good athleticism. Offensively, his main value will come from his floor spacing, but he also has the ability to run the court in transition, attack closeouts and handle the ball. The main problem is that he doesn’t do this enough and he is often found floating through games and not getting enough touches to be impactful on that end. If his shooting stroke isn’t real, he’ll have a lot of trouble staying on the floor on offense. His defence is elite, however, and he has a chance to be a legitimate game changer on that end of the floor thanks to his ability to defend at least three positions. His offensive development will ultimately determine his ceiling.
33. Wesley Iwundu, 6’7″, 205lbs, SG/SF, Senior, Kansas State
A lot of Iwundu’s appeal comes from his jumping out of the gym type athleticism. However, his straight line athleticism hasn’t translated perfectly to basketball, where he has struggled with shooting and defence which just happen to be the two most important things for a wing in today’s NBA. His ability to potentially play as an extra ball handler and run the pick and roll give him some appeal, but unless he learns to shoot, his incredible athleticism won’t mean anything.
Overall: Many are saying that Isaac will be able to play alongside Aaron Gordon, either at the three and four or four and five, but considering both of their value comes from being a mismatch at the four, it seems like a waste. At the four, Isaac’s defence is elite thanks to his weak side shot blocking and help and his ability to switch out on the perimeter. When playing center, this defence is now below average and this takes away most of his value. Against some small ball lineups this could work, but it doesn’t seem to be a viable big minute tactic.
Received: Pick 1
Sent: Pick 3, 2018 Lakers Pick (if 2-5) or More Favourable 2019 Sixers/King’s Pick (Top 1 Protected)
1. Markelle Fultz, 6’4″, 195lbs, PG, Freshman, Washington
The Sixers moved up to get their man and they nailed it. Fultz is the type of three level scorer that is required to be a modern Point Guard, whilst his distribution should be excellent as well. His ability to play with and without the ball makes him an ideal fit alongside Ben Simmons due to his spot up threat and great positioning off the ball. His defence is questionable at best, but given his offensive upside and the fact that he plays Point Guard, there isn’t a whole lot to worry about. More concerning is his 64.9% free throw shooting, but he’s always shot the ball well from deep and this shouldn’t be a massive issue in the NBA. Fultz’s herky-jerky style is fun to watch and Sixers fans should look forward to seeing him alongside Simmons and Embiid for years to come.
25. Anzejs Pasecniks, 7’2″, 229lbs, C, Latvia
Trading a protected first to get this guy is interesting given that Pelton’s model had him just 33rd in this class for statistical translations. Pasecniks is a monster of a man who is quite fluid in his movements and is good in the pick and roll. He doesn’t have the worst jump shot and there is potential for a little bit of stretch-five action down the line, although he can struggle defending down low due to his light frame. He’ll likely be stashed given that the Sixers already have Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes at Center.
36. Jonah Bolden, 6’10”, 227lbs, PF, Australia
After leaving UCLA for the Adriatic League after his Freshman year, the Aussie was a standout, averaging 12.9 points (48.1%FG), 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, one steal, and one block. Bolden shot the three ball well in Europe, can handle the ball a bit and is solid as a big man in pick and roll action. Bolden could potentially defend threes and fours thanks to his ability to move his feet on the perimeter and provide help on the weak side, however he’s still a long way off being an impact defender at NBA level.
50. Mathias Lessort, 6’9″, 250lbs, PF/C, France
Another stashed big man, Lessort could be a rotation big man thanks to his impressive athleticism, but is limited on both due to his trouble reading the game.
Overall: Getting Fultz at one is perfect for the Sixers given that there were no standout options at three. Giving up a future pick for the best Point Guard prospect since Kyrie Irving is fine and Fultz should thrive in a perfect situation in Philly. Bolden is good value in the second round and the other two guys will be stashed.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Sent: Picks 15 and 20
Received: Pick 10
10. Zach Collins, 7’0″, 230lbs, PF/C, Freshman, Gonzaga
Trading up to get Collins is a reasonable move considering the lack of quality options after the lottery, however given Portland seem to have found a legitimate starting Center in Jusuf Nurkic, the fit of Collins is questionable. Collins is at his best when he can provide rim protection on defence and he won’t be able to do that when he’s chasing around stretch-fours on the perimeter. He has some legitimate unicorn potential and shot 10 from 21 from deep in college and 74.3% from the line. The fact that he didn’t start for the Zags and has never been a stud in High School is a little concerning given that he may have just had a flukey Freshman season in which he put up great advanced stats in limited minutes. He has shown the ability to bang against big bodies down low, which serves well for his potential inside-outside scoring arsenal. Whilst he’s not a great passer, not many young big men are and Terry Stotts would be hoping to improve this aspect of his game.
26. Caleb Swanigan, 6’9″, 247lbs, PF/C, Sophomore, Purdue
Swanigan is a genuine success story of this draft, losing a ton of weight and becoming one of the most productive players in college basketball en route to becoming a first-round selection. At the NBA level, he’s going to be deplorable on defence at both the four and the five, but his offensive upside and ability to clean the glass will ensure that he remains in the league as a rotation big. His 32.6% Defensive Rebound Percentage is extraordinary and is better than just about every prospect in recent history. He’s shown a little touch on the three ball as well, so there is a chance that he could be good enough on offense to carve out a niche in the league.
Overall: In a bubble, the Blazers got good value from both of these picks, but considering they already have Nurkic as their long term Center and neither of these can play heavy minutes alongside him, the plan in Portland is a little muddled.
4. Josh Jackson, 6’8″, 203lbs, SF, Freshman, Kansas
Jackson is a fascinating prospect given he’s an athletic, do-it-all wing who can do everything on a basketball court except shooting the ball – maybe. He shot 37.8% from deep this season (better than Isaac and Tatum), but did so on just 90 attempts for the season (2.6 per game). This small sample, combined with his 56.6% free throw shooting casts some doubt over his ability to shoot the ball and thus his ceiling. Out of all the best wings in the NBA right now, Carmelo Anthony, Jae Crowder and Kawhi Leonard were the worst free throw shooters and they still shot 70.6%, 73.5% and 75.9% respectively. If Jackson’s shot works out, he will likely be a superstar thanks to his solid defence (although his 6’10” wingspan will restrict him from playing the four), his ability to score at the rim and his ability to play as a second facilitator from the wing. If his shot doesn’t work out, he should still be a starter, but all the other aspects of his game simply won’t be as valuable if defenders don’t have to respect his shot.
32. Davon Reed, 6’6″, 208lbs, SG, Senior, Miami (FL)
54. Alec Peters, 6’9″, 225lbs, PF, Senior, Valparaiso
Reed is a handy pickup early in the second round given his smooth shooting and potential to become a solid defender. His 39.7% shooting from deep and 83.3% shooting from the line shows the strength of his shot, however he does struggle to connect when he doesn’t have time and space to get it off. His defence was good at the college level, but his lack of athleticism could cost him when defending in the NBA. He wasn’t great at getting to the rim at the college level and he will be one dimensional in this aspect in the NBA. Peters is a stretch four that provides value from his incredibly smooth shot and quick release. His defence is atrocious and he’ll never be more than a backup big, but a guy that shot a 48.7/41.6/84.6 split in college is worth a punt late in the second round.
Overall: Jackson is a great fit alongside Booker, as his creation makes up for the lack thereof from Booker. Given that the Suns already have Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender to develop at the four, it seems that Jackson will be able to spend plenty of time at the three where he is better suited anyway.
Sent: Pick 10
Received: Picks 15 and 20
5. De’Aaron Fox, 6’4″, 171lbs, PG, Freshman, Kentucky
Fox’s potential is clear; he’s a leader, a distributor, a fluid athlete and a great competitor. However, his skinny frame and struggles shooting the ball make for some doubt as to how he will transition to the NBA. Some of Fox’s struggles likely come from a lack of strength given his slender frame and given his mechanics look reasonable, there is reason to believe that he will be able to shoot in the NBA. Filling out will also give him legitimate two-way upside and he has already shown that he reads the game well on defence. His quickness allows him to get to the rim with easy and he isn’t afraid to take contact despite his frame. Guys like Kyle Lowry, John Wall, Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday and Kemba Walker have gone from being bad shooters in college to at least above average in the NBA and there is a high chance that Fox can do the same if his body fills out.
15. Justin Jackson, 6’8″, 198lbs, SF, Junior, North Carolina
Despite leading the Tar Heels to the NCAA Championship, Jackosn’s game just doesn’t translate that well to the NBA. He’s a bad defender, he struggles to get to the rim and he doesn’t rebound the ball well. His three point shooting is his calling card, but he doesn’t offer enough other than shooting efficiently at a high volume to become a starter.
20. Harry Giles, 6’11”, 222lbs, C, Freshman, Duke
Giles was a consensus top three pick coming into the season, but slipped on boards as he produced almost nothing for Duke after returning from injury. Giles was always raw on offense, but projected to be a potential game changer on defence as a Nerlens Noel type that can protect the rim and slide his feet on the perimeter. His rim protection was always overrated and he certainly didn’t show an ability to switch onto smaller guys in college. Whether this is because he was misevaluated to begin with or whether he lost his athleticism after his many surgeries is hard to know, but it’s unlikely Giles becomes much in the NBA.
34. Frank Mason, 5’11”, 185lbs, PG, Senior, Kansas
Mason is a a solid pick in the second round given he won College Basketball Player of the Year for 2017. He will only ever be a backup Point Guard given his frame and defensive limitations, but his ability to shoot the ball could be valuable on second units. Whether he can finish at the rim against NBA bodies is another question entirely.
Overall: Not a bad night for the Kings. Whilst they probably would’ve been better off staying at 10 and just taking Malik Monk, the pick of De’Aaron Fox has enough upside that it might not matter. I don’t like any of the other three guys much, but at least their high character guys that will assist in changing the toxic Kings culture.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
29. Derrick White, 6’5″, 200lbs, PG/SG, Senior, Colorado
White’s rise from Division II to first round pick is a phenomenal story and there is every chance it gets better if he makes an impact in the NBA. Whilst White is one of the worst athletes in the draft, his skill is undeniable and his ability to play both on and off the ball gives him plenty of value. He shot over 40% from deep at Colorado and was crafty enough to get to the rim a ton despite his clear athletic deficiencies. He had a surprisingly high steal (2.2%) and block percentages (4.9%) for a guard and might be able to survive on defence just because of his sheer size. His IQ is incredible and he’s a perfect fit in San Antonio.
59. Jaron Blossomgame, 6’7″, 214lbs, SF, Senior, Clemson
Blossomgame is a weird prospect in that his skill set is unique. He’s a good cutter and has some touch in the post against smaller guys, but his shot hasn’t been good enough (apart from a good Junior year) to ensure he’ll be valuable in the NBA. His defence is poor and he’s not a big passer, so it’s tough to see him getting many minutes for the Spurs.
Overall: Spurs gon’ Spurs. Got an absolute steal at 29 and given his downside is being the Point Guard version of Kyle Anderson, it’s worth a risk. Blossomgame isn’t much but at 59 you’re never expecting much.
23. OG Anunoby, 6’8″, 215lbs, SF/PF, Sophomore, Indiana
Anunoby received a ton of interest (and some Kawhi Leonard comparisons) after his first year at Indiana, when he hit 45% of his 29 threes and played excellent defence. Unfortunately, this appears to be a fairly random sample given that he’s shot 52.2% from the line in his 50 games for the Hoosiers and he shot just 1.5 threes per game. The Leonard comparison also falls short due to Anunoby’s struggles as a ball handler and his lack of creation. The best case for Anunoby is to be an Al-Farouq Aminu type who is a streaky shooter that is elite defensively and does enough on offense to justify him being on the floor. A lot of people see this as a massive steal due to the Kawhi goggles, but 23 is probably fair value given his dodgy shot mechanics and the fact that he still has to recover from a torn ACL.
Sent: Pick 24 and Trey Lyles
Received: Pick 13
13. Donovan Mitchell, 6’3″, 211lbs, SG, Sophomore, Louisville
Mitchell makes a ton of sense at 13 as a guy that can either slot into the starting lineup if Hayward and/or Hill leave or a guy that can develop behind them if they stay. He can play on and off the ball, but is definitely more suited to the latter, where he can shoot the lights out and act as a secondary facilitator. Defensively, many are concerned about his 6’3″ size, but his 6’10” wingspan and great athleticism leads me to believe that he’ll be at least passable when defending twos. The biggest question mark around Mitchell is his ability to get to the rim in the NBA as he is often passive when driving, however he has the physical tools to improve this.
28. Tony Bradley, 6’10”, 248lbs, C, Freshman, North Carolina
Pelton’s statistical projections had Bradley 9th in this class, which indicates a handy upside from the 28th pick. He played as an energy guy off the bench for the national champions and this is likely a role he will play in the NBA. Athletically, Bradley struggles, but his positioning defensively can improve, his length might allow him to play a similar role to a Cody Zeller type who is still valuable on that end despite athletic limitations. Offensively, his free throw percentage was okay and although he didn’t show much other than hitting the offensive glass, he is a guy who should function well as a role player.
55. Nigel Williams-Goss, 6’4″, 182lbs, PG, Junior, Gonzaga
Williams-Goss is worth a shot late in the second round after a solid redshirt Junior year for the Zags. He ended up shooting 36.8% from deep (albeit not on many attempts) and 86.7% from the line which indicates that he can probably shoot at NBA level. He wasn’t a great initiator, but his length allowed him to provide reasonable defence and some value on the glass. If his shot falls, he’ll be a backup Point Guard.
Overall: Trading Lyles and 24 for Mitchell should be a win in a league that is overcrowded with stretch-fours and is desperate for 3&D wings. At the very worst Mitchell should be a third guard on a good team and Bradley a rotation big man. Williams-Goss is a nice gamble to cap off a solid draft.
That’s it! The recap done and dusted. The later picks that I think have the best chance to be starters are Derrick White, Josh Hart, Jordan Bell, Jawun Evans, Dillon Brooks, Sindarius Thornwell and Sterling Brown.