By Carson Breber
The NBA Finals are through.
What now? A neck lurching ninety-degree pivot to the draft.
Always an exciting affair, the draft this year presents hope for a series of teams stuck in the league’s cellar and will perhaps usher in a new era of players to shake up the current, rather predictable, dynamic of the NBA.
This draft, not so unlike last year’s, is one filled with immense talent. With this talent, there is also a bevy of plot points that will thicken the drama on draft night. The intrigue is heightened. The stakes are heightened. It is sports theater.
The story of the draft, at this stage, can be distilled down to a laundry list of permutations calculated by pundits, such as myself, who claim to know what we’re talking about. Still, no one actually knows what is going to happen.
As soon as Adam Silver steps up to the podium to announce the first selection, the potential for chaos becomes heart palpitatingly real. That’s why this function is televised. That is why this is fun.
No one can predict the potential energy of the draft exactly. Therefore, in order to perform an exercise such as the one you are marauding through right now, a series of questions must be posed and answered. Some of this year’s inquiries include: will University of Arizona phenom, Deandre Ayton, stay in the state and go first overall to the Suns? Will Luka Doncic, considered by many to be the best European prospect ever, slip out of the top five after a slight decline in play as of late? What will happen with the polarizing Trae Young? How the heck can someone in this class help us catch the Warriors? etc.
These questions- the ones that the front offices, analysts, and fans alike are asking themselves, create the narratives we follow so closely. The speculation is a whirlwind of entertainment and a prodigal son to those starving in a recently made basketballess wasteland.
These storylines are fun to follow, but what’s more fun than anything? The thing that comes next; seeing where each of these 60 young men will end up and wondering what will become of their careers. Here is my best guess.
1. Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona, Freshman
Deandre Ayton has every tool to become a monster in the modern NBA. He is a physical freak, standing at 7’1” and weighing in at 260 pounds with a 7’6” wingspan. Ayton, far more than a physical beast, also is tremendously skilled.
In his one year at Arizona, Ayton averaged 20.1 points per game at an absurdly efficient 61% clip with the ability to dominate inside while showing flashes of a three-point shot. Although his defense could use work, he is an excellent rebounder, and he has every skill needed to become a force on the defensive end as well.
Ayton is a very high ceiling prospect who is also already polished in many ways. Deandre could turn into the superstar that pushes this struggling organization towards a brighter tomorrow.
2. Sacramento Kings – Luka Doncic, SG, Slovenia, 19 years old
I know that there are talks of Doncic falling in this draft, but if the Kings were to pass up on him, that would be the most “Kingsy” move imaginable. Doncic is right up there with Ayton as a talent and may be more ready to contribute on day one than the big man.
Doncic is 6’8” with point guard skills. This gives him the freedom to play anywhere from the one to three and do so at a high level. He’s an excellent playmaker, but is also crafty inside and can knock down threes. At just 19 years old he averaged 20.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per 36 minutes. Absolutely remarkable numbers for a teenager in the second best pro league on our planet.
He’s not a great defender but isn’t necessarily a liability, and his ability to do everything at a high level on offense more than compensates his shortcomings.
On top of all that, he fits well with the Kings. Despite having selected De’Aaron Fox fifth overall just last year, Doncic can easily play off the ball as more of a scorer with the ability to run the point whenever Fox rests. If the Kings know what’s best (which they probably don’t), they’ll ignore the recent drama and select the premier talent that is Luka Doncic.
3. Atlanta Hawks – Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Michigan State, Freshman
Jaren Jackson Jr. is the perfect basketball fit for the Atlanta Hawks.
Complementing promising young power forward, John Collins, Jackson can stretch the floor at an elite level as he shot 39.6% on threes in college. Collins does most of his work in the paint, so the added stretch of a versatile center should soften the resistance at the rim.
Furthermore, Jarren can dominate down low on defense. In East Lancing last season, Jackson blocked a striking 6.3 shots per 40 minutes in his lone year as a Spartan. He should keep up this excellent rim protection at the next level.
Both Marvin Bagley III and Mohamed Bamba will be tempting here as well, but neither of them has the combination of distance shooting and shot blocking that makes Jackson’s potential such a tantalizing prospect.
4. Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke, Freshman
Marvin Bagley is, to me, the superior talent to Jaren Jackson. He was dominant for Duke, using his athleticism and skill in the post to put up 21 points a night on 61.4% shooting. In addition, Marvin also snatched 11.1 rebounds per game, with four of them coming off of his own team’s misses.
Memphis ranked 27th in offensive rating this past season, so Bagley’s motor and instincts, which make him a machine on the offensive glass, are sure to secure extra possessions and buckets for a team in dire need of point production. Bagley has also shown the ability to occasionally put the ball on the floor and shoot from deep (he shot 39.7% on a small sample size from three in college, but only 62.7% from the line), which makes him even scarier.
Defensively, he has a long way to go, but his drive and athletic gifts give him potential, and he is a lock to thrive offensively in the NBA. Bagley will be a multiple time all-star, and if the Grizzlies can keep him around, he certainly has the potential to turn things around for this team that’s moving in the wrong direction.
5. Boston Celtics (via trade with Dallas) – Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas, Freshman
Projected Trade: Boston gives up Jaylen Brown in exchange for the 5th overall pick
Admittedly, a trade is a crazy thing to project, but an exceedingly fun one nonetheless, and It has already been rumored that Brown could be on the block in exchange for this pick.
When you think about it, it makes a tremendous deal of sense for both sides. All the Mavericks have to do is give up an unknown commodity for a young, two-way stud who has flashed all-star potential.
As for the Celtics, the ever-scheming and seemingly omnipotent Danny Ainge sees no use in holding onto a superfluous wing with Boston’s current long jam of elite wing talent. He pulls the trigger in order to draft Mo Bamba, whose very name causes Brad Stevens to salivate. A win-win.
As a prospect, Bamba has as much potential as anyone in this draft. Bamba is a seven footer with a record 7’10” wingspan who runs the court faster than John Wall and Russell Westbrook (literally; he bested their times in the ¾ court sprint). He will be one of the best defenders in the NBA, as he not only has ridiculous length, quickness and footwork that allow him to switch onto and harass smaller players, (think stronger Clint Capella), but he was also the single most intimidating rim protector in college basketball.
Bamba averaged 3.7 blocks per game. Let that seep in.
While his offense is not yet as polished as some others, he is already a dominant finisher inside, and although his post game needs work and his jumper was relatively inconsistent, Bamba is exceedingly intelligent and hardworking.
It is my belief that he will tidy those up, especially with the help of Stevens & Co. Adding Bamba to this Celtics’ squad would make them even scarier for both the present and the coming decade.
6. Orlando Magic – Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma, Freshman
All signs seem to point to Young heading to the Magic. He is seen by most as the best point guard in the draft, a position which Orlando desperately need. In addition, Young can bring excitement to an organization that has been devoid of it for so long.
I worry, however, that Orlando could be a trap for Young, as the lack of talent and structure around him may turn him into the hectic, volume shooter and turnover machine that he became over his final month at Oklahoma. It is also concerning that Young might be permitted to neglect defense in what is currently a subpar defensive culture. We’ll see if new head coach, Steve Clifford, can turn that around, but for now, that is what Orlando is.
Still, Young is a superb offensive talent, as he led college hoops in both points and assists in 2017-18. He has unlimited range, good passing vision, and can finish inside pretty well for his size. To add onto this, Young is effective out of the pick and roll.
The bust potential here is high, especially considering where he’d be going, but Young would at least make Orlando interesting.
7. Chicago Bulls – Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri, Freshman
Although Porter didn’t show much during his very limited time at Missouri due to a back injury that forced him to the bench for almost the entirety of the season, we must not forget what made him a legitimate candidate for the number one pick before the season began.
At 6’10”, Porter is a spectacular offensive talent, having been blessed with athleticism, ball handling, and knockdown shooting to pair with his size. Porter can create his own shot like few others can and his playmaking isn’t anything to scoff at.
On the other side of the ball, he is not yet a finished product but should be capable due to his size and quickness. As of now, Porter is at least good for a few flash plays a game on D, but not the consistent presence of great perimeter defenders such as Kawhi Leonard and Ben Simmons.
If Porter is thrown in there alongside the rest of Chicago’s promising young talent, the beginnings of an exciting perennial playoff core will have been laid.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn) – Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama, Freshman
Collin Sexton plays hard. Really hard.
He gives 100% every possession on offense, sometimes leading to tremendous finishes inside or jumpers off the bounce. However, at times this effort proved to be a double-edged sword this past season at Alabama, as Collin would press too hard, and either cough up the rock or toss up a poor shot.
Defensively, Sexton is feisty and engaged. He has the desire to shut down an opponent. That fire is becoming increasingly absent in many of the NBA’s top point guards. Coaches and teammates will love him for this and it will take him a long way in the league. However, with all that complementary rhetoric said, there are still questions to be answered regarding the effectiveness of Sexton’s game as he transcends to the highest level of the sport.
Will he smarten up at the next level? Will he ever become a reliable three-point shooter and improve the 34% mark he set during his freshman season? Does he have the true playmaking skills of a point guard?
These are things that whoever drafts Collin, will have to consider. Sexton has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone for this Cavs team that could presumably be without Lebron, and at the least should help return energy and tenacity to a team that seems to have lost their edge.
9. New York Knicks – Wendell Carter Jr., C/PF, Duke, Freshman
Wendell Carter Jr. is quietly a very good prospect in this year’s draft. Having been somewhat overshadowed by his dominant frontcourt running mate, Marvin Bagley III, Carter’s polished, clean skill set has seemingly drifted under the radars of some.
Without a glaring hole in his game, Carter already has a man’s body at 6’10”, 260 pounds, and can both bang it down low and cast up a surprisingly pure jumper when he chooses to. Carter is a tad shy regarding the second part of that equation, but he shot 41.3% from behind the line at Duke this year on 46 attempts.
Carter is an impressive rebounder, tallying 9.1 boards a night, and can also protect the paint, swatting 2.1 shots per outing. While he doesn’t have the footspeed to switch onto smaller players, he and Porzingis should make a formidable duo in the paint. Carter’s unselfish nature and all-around game should make him the perfect Robin to the more exciting, score first Porzingis. Not unlike a Draymond Green, Carter may be the one who ends up sneakily winning semi-talented Knicks squad games in the not so distant future.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers) – Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova, Junior
Bridges is a match made in heaven for Philly, presuming they don’t land a marquee forward like LeBron or Paul George. Frankly, Bridges is somewhat of a PG-lite anyway.
Touting the build of a textbook 3-and-D player in the modern association, Bridges is a 6’7” wing who can guard multiple positions at a high level and also shot 43.5% from deep in his final season as a Wildcat.
Bridges is an undoubted winner, having won two national championships in his college career, and his specialized skills will make him an immediate contributor to a young team on the rise. Bridges can handle the ball and create his own shot to some extent as well, which perhaps he will build on as he ages in the NBA, but he will be effective regardless as is.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State, Sophomore
The second Bridges off the board took a bit of a step back in his sophomore year, Following a sterling campaign, Miles somewhat surprisingly decided to stay at Michigan State to further his development for another year before hitting the league. The opposite happened. Bridges’ got worse in almost every statistical category and became increasingly erratic as the year progressed.
With that on the record, Bridges is still the ideal NBA small ball four. Standing at 6’7” and a boasting a career 37.5% three-point shooting average, Myles is a player who can run the floor. This pretty much makes him a younger, better version of Charlotte’s Marvin Williams.
Bridges isn’t much of a rim protector on defense, but he’s versatile and athletic. He can’t create his own shot consistently, which puts a tentative cap on his ceiling, but Bridges should be a solid contributor in this league for a long time.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit) – Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M, Sophomore
The Clippers roster is in a strange transition phase right now, as they lack top-tier talent but also are in need of young talent. These back to back picks perched in the late lottery present an opportunity to start rebuilding. Williams could be the start of their refresh as he is a seamless replacement for the aging DeAndre Jordan, who is now 29 years old and has only a player option on his contract remaining.
Williams is the least polished lottery prospect. He lacks a post game or any semblance of a jumper, yet he exceeds in his areas of strength and raw athleticism. Playing alongside pure center Tyler Davis in an archaic system at Texas A&M forced Williams to play out of position as a power forward and kept him from ever breaking through in college. He only averaged 11.1 points per game in his two-year career as a result.
However, if you throw Williams on an NBA floor with a pinch of coaching, a sprinkle of high-level guard play, and a dash of spacing, you can strap yourself in to watch some amazing happen. Williams is an athletic freak who can run the floor and leap high to catch lobs, making him a transition and pick and roll monster.
On defense, he’s a proficient rebounder and a virtual firewall at the rim. The go-to comparison for Williams is Houston’s Clint Capela, and I must say it’s pretty spot on. Give him a coach who knows how to use him and good guard play and he will fill his uber-specific role perfectly.
13. Los Angeles Clippers – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky, Freshman
Remember that guard play I was talking about with Williams? Insert Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander does not do any one thing at an above average level, but he’s an excellent fit to compound Williams.
As a lanky, 6’6” point guard, Gilgeous-Alexander has a way of getting to the rim and having Williams there to toss it up to when he attracts attention seems ideal. SGA is also an above average playmaker, as he dished 5.1 assists per game in college. He’ll be able to set up Williams and others well enough.
Gilgeous-Alexander did shoot over 40% on threes, but his jump shot is not really a proven weapon, as he only attempted 57 longballs.
On defense, his seven-foot wingspan makes him a nightmare to deal with in passing lanes, but he is not necessarily the most imposing defender outside of that, although his size and length to make him versatile. Overall, Gilgeous-Alexander should be a nice addition for a Clippers team that doesn’t need to hit a home run at 13th overall.
14. Denver Nuggets – Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky, Freshman
I’ll just come out and say it: Knox is my least favorite lottery prospect. He just flat out hasn’t done much to impress me. That being said, the Nuggets are already set at every position, so they might as well take a flyer on the athletic 18-year-old.
Knox showed flashes in college, throwing down highlight slams and at times, knocking down his jumpers, all be it seemingly at random. His shot selection was often poor, and while his shot mechanics appear sound, he only converted on 34% of his threes on the season.
Knox is not much of a rebounder, playmaker or defender, so all you’re getting is a potential scorer… who thus far has been inefficient in that department as well.
I understand the appeal of Knox, but to me, it seems to be a trap. What are his roles in today’s NBA? Some seem to believe he’ll play some small ball four, but he’s not a consistent enough shooter, and if you take the ball out of his hands, he loses effectiveness. Is he just going to be a high volume shooter who neglects all other facets of the game?
Best case scenario: he turns into a guy who can score in bunches for this team, which would make him a nice add, but there’s certainly a larger than slim potential that he flares out in the league.
15. Washington Wizards – Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami (FL), Freshman
The Washington Wizards are clearly not talented enough to win big with their current core. They seem anchored in the purgatory of mediocrity, and their three max contracts, coupled with the wildly overpaid Ian Mahinmi, inhibit their freedom to make any substantial changes to their roster without blowing it all up. It is like they boobytrapped their current roster.
As I am of the belief that they should blow it up, I think that they should be looking to draft the best player available as opposed to positional needs. This philosophy makes Lonnie Walker IV is the pick here.
Walker is the model of inconsistency: he averaged just 11.5 PPG and shot a dreadful 41.5% from the field. This is made worse by a 34.6% rate from three. However, Walker is clearly talented and may have the highest upside of any player left on the board when the Wizards pick.
Walker can create for himself and score on all three levels, making him a potentially dangerous bucket getter at the next level. I’m not a huge Walker guy myself, as he, like Knox, has not yet shown consistent play and struggles to do anything other than score, but the Wizards might as well take a swing on him over a lower ceiling guy.
16. Phoenix Suns (via Miami) – Zhaire Smith, SG/SF, Texas Tech, Freshman
Smith is an explosive athlete, excellent defender and, from what he showed in college, a selectively efficient shooter. On the season, Smith shot an absurd 55.6% from the field and 45% from three (although only on 40 attempts) and led his Texas Tech squad to the Elite Eight.
Devin Booker is a ball dominant player who is also growing as a playmaker, and he will essentially run the point for stretches while Smith slides in at the 2. If Smith can build on the promising three-point shooting that he showed, and become a knockdown catch and shoot guy, he can really become a stupendous offensive player as he also possesses the explosive burst to finish inside.
On defense, Zhaire can lock up the opposing team’s star guard, allowing Booker to rest while he carries the load on offense. If he turns into his best self, Smith can be a 3 and D guy with the potential to dunk all over someone, making him a great fit for the defensively horrific Suns.
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA, Junior
Aaron Holiday does not need to dominate the ball to be effective. This alone makes him a perfect option to slip in with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who, at times, enjoys running the point himself.
Holiday played his first two years of college hoops mostly off ball, as Bryce Alford and Lonzo Ball took on those duties, but in the past year, Holliday showed he can do his thing with the rock in his hands as well. He is a skilled and willing passer who, with his lethal 42% three-point shooting, should bring spacing and ball movement to a Bucks team in need of both as they move forward into the Budenholzer era.
18. San Antonio Spurs – Keita Bates-Diop, PF/SF, Ohio State, Senior
Bates-Diop broke out in his senior season at Ohio State, winning the Big Ten Player of the Year award by averaging 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Keita is ready to contribute with his current skills, as four years of college ball has polished him up on both ends of the floor. At 6’7”, with a 7’3” wingspan, he can defend multiple positions, rebound, and protect the rim, while also being able to finish inside and knock down the three.
Bates-Diop could very feasibly start at power forward for the Spurs if drafted there (his competition would be exceedingly weak) and would be an excellent compliment to LaMarcus Aldridge, as he could carry the load defensively and stretch the floor on offense with his 35.9% three point shot.
Coach Popovich should be excited by such an all-around player who is versatile and talented defensively that can help his team win now, so the fit here certainly makes sense.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Minnesota) – Donte DiVincenzo, PG/SG, Villanova, Sophomore
Word on the street is Dennis Schroder wants out of Atlanta, which may just present the Hawks with a blessing in disguise. Divincenzo is easily one of my favorite players in this draft, and I’m sure all basketball fans remember his dominant performance in the national championship game.
Divincenzo is an athletic combo guard with elite shooting ability from deep, both in catch and shoot scenarios and off the dribble who can also take his man to the rack and finish inside. On defense, he uses his athleticism and rebounds well because he is determined and tough.
If the Hawks do hold on to Schroder, Divincenzo can easily play alongside him off the ball, and if he leaves, Divincenzo’s ball skills and solid playmaking make him a nice option at the point as well. Either way, this two-way stud will make a difference wherever he goes. Atlanta better hope they get him.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Oklahoma City) – Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia, 19 years old
I know the Timberwolves need defense, but they also need shooting. Minnesota was dead last in the NBA in three-pointers made. Their wing depth is also concerningly thin, as Andrew Wiggins is the only small forward currently on their full-time roster.
Musa is a 6’9” wing who can put the ball on the floor, get to the rim, and knock down shots- filling multiple gaps that their second unit currently just doesn’t have an answer for. Musa will be a liability on defense, but with guys like Keita Bates-Diop off the board, he fills most of their primary needs due to his offensive proficiency and position.
21. Utah Jazz – Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland, Sophomore
Huerter is an outstanding outside shooter who can get his shot off easily at 6’7”. Thriving primarily in catch and shoot scenarios Huerter specializes in punishing a defense with swift, remorseless precision, but can occasionally shoot it off the dribble as well. He shot the tre-ball at 41.7% this past season and has nearly unlimited range. Huerter has a propensity from splashing in a defender’s mouth from multiple feet beyond the arc. Kevin is also unselfish and a solid passer. Such skills make him ideal for the Jazz as they highly value these versatile, selfless offensive players.
Defensively, Huerter has good size for a two guard, despite lacking the length or strength to excel. He does play hard, keeping him from being a true hindrance.
Though Huerter cannot consistently create for himself, Utah’s offense is not dependent on these kinds of guys, and his shooting, passing and basketball IQ will give him value.
22. Chicago Bulls (via New Orleans) – Mitchell Robinson, C, 20 years old
Having filled their most glaring need at small forward earlier in this draft, the Bulls can now move on to a high upside pick at center. A position populated by veteran mascot bounty hunter, Robin Lopez, and the remarkably average Cristiano Felicio, the Center spot is a place where the Bulls have some depth, but they could easily improve upon what they’ve got.
Robinson is somewhat of a mystery right now, as he elected not to play college basketball this past season and was already a relatively raw prospect. He is an undeniable athlete: a seven footer with a 7’4” wingspan that can run the floor and finish in transition. He has shown flashes of artful finesse at the rime and a jump shot, though he is far from a finished product in that regard.
Defensively, Robinson is a natural shot blocker and can dominate the boards thanks to his athletic gifts. He has instincts and a foundation. But like many bigs of his talent that have yet to face elite competition, Mitchell is yet to smarten up on that side of the ball.
Robinson could flame out, as his character is uncertain. He is certainly raw, but if the draft goes according to this mock, the Bulls will have top young talent at four positions and one solid starting center, so they’d certainly be in a position to take a big chop at a hit or miss prospect like Robinson late in the first round.
23. Indiana Pacers – Elie Okobo, PG, France, 20 years old
Okobo is a dynamic scorer, which is something the Pacers roster lacks outside of Oladipo. Elie is able to pull up from deep and knock down threes or use his athletic gifts to penetrate. He could make an interesting pairing with Myles Turner in the pick and roll game, as both of them are threats to score from anywhere. This point is magnified because Okobo thrives as a decision maker.
Elie is certainly different from the pass-first point guards currently in the rotation for Indiana a la Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, but as both Joseph and Collison have expiring contracts this season, it’s not unreasonable to think Indiana could let one walk and pick up Okobo for cheap depth. While one of the veterans could run the first unit, Okobo could provide a scoring spark off the bench, making him a nice addition.
24. Portland Trailblazers – Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State, Senior
This would be a dream come true for Portland, as I believe Hutchison will be one of the true steals of this draft. Hutchison is a tremendous scorer who took off in his senior year when he averaged 20 points per game on 47.5% shooting from the field and 35.9% from three. He can score on all three levels with ease and has a tight handle for a 6’7” forward. He’s also excellent in transition, as he runs the floor extremely well and uses both his athleticism and skill to finish with either hand at the rim.
Hutchinson also should be an above average defender in the NBA, as he has a 7’1” wingspan and is already a gifted rebounder.
The one area of his game where Hutchison does fall short is in his playmaking, as he averaged just 3.5 assists per game to 3.4 turnovers, but he won’t be forced to dominate the ball or create for others in Portland. Hutchison’s offensive versatility, as he can be very effective either on or off the ball, makes him the perfect fit for this Portland team. Bank on him succeeding at the next level.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cleveland) – De’Anthony Melton, PG/SG, USC, Sophomore
De’Anthony Melton can be a glue guy for this young Lakers team. A rare player capable of doing everything on the basketball floor comfortably, Melton stands at 6’3”. He fits in at either the one or the two, and he can finish inside and out. Melton also has excellent passing vision, and could actually replicate Lonzo’s effect somewhat for the second unit. He, himself, is an excellent rebounder who loves moving the ball up quickly in transition.
De’Anthony is long and versatile on defense and averaged 1.9 steals a contest in college to go with one block per game. Furthermore, while Melton is best suited to play the point, his size and versatile tool belt allow him to mesh in at the two alongside a player like Lonzo, as he can guard shooting guard’s with ease and can also score without dominating the ball. Melton and Lonzo on the floor at the same time could make for a deadly passing backcourt.
26. Philadelphia 76ers – Troy Brown, SG, Oregon, Freshman
The 76ers had plenty of shooting out of the two guard spot last year with J.J Redick and Marco Belinelli mostly playing there. Troy Brown does not fit into that profile.
In this sense, Brown is not a perfect complement to Ben Simmons, as Simmon’s inability to knock down jumpers makes it desirable to smother the young forward with as many shooters as possible. However, Brown does do everything else on the basketball court, making him a nice switch up from the pure shooters that proliferate the position for Philly. To compound this logic, there is a semi-strong chance that Redick might not be resigned as his contract is up. Depth becomes even more of an emphasis at this point.
Brown, at 6’7” with a 6’11” wingspan, has great size and length for a guard, which helps him play excellent defense and snag rebounds at an impressive rate. He is also a nice playmaker with a high basketball IQ and unselfish tendencies, giving the 76ers another option to move the ball outside of Simmons. While Brown’s one true weakness, as of now, is three-point shooting, he did shoot a promising 74.3% from the free throw line, which is often a more accurate indicator of success players will have shooting from deep at the next level. Hopefully, Ben Simmons will be in the gym all offseason working on his shot and Brown will find himself right alongside him.
27. Dallas Mavericks (via mock trade with Boston Celtics) – Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech, Sophomore
The Mavericks have now theoretically acquired a young, two-way wing who can score in multiple ways to their roster in Jaylen Brown. Why not add another?
Josh Okogie is physically impressive. A 6’4”, long, speedy player with natural defensive versatility, Okogie uses his length to disrupt and cause deflections. Additionally, Okogie is quite the rebounder for a guard (6.3 per game as a sophomore).
On offense, he’s an interesting player. Some nights, Josh relied more on his three-point shot, which he hit 38% of the time. On others, he attacked the rim off the dribble and either finished inside or drew a foul.
Part of what made Okogie so effective was, in fact, his aggressiveness, as he drew 6.8 free throw attempts per game and converted on 82.1% of them.
Although Okogie was at times erratic and inefficient in college, his defensive potential, physical gifts, and ability to create for himself makes him an interesting prospect that should fit well in Dallas.
28. Golden State Warriors – Jacob Evans, SG/SF, Cincinnati, Junior
As much as it may hurt to acknowledge, the Warriors would likely prefer it if Swaggy P were taken out of the rotation going forward and Jacob Evans very well could be the man to give him the boot.
Evans is an elite catch and shoot player who steps into his threes confidently and knocks them down. Often, he uses his athleticism to his advantage in transition, where he is a threat either running to the rim or the creeping into the corner.
Evans is also an above average rebounder for his position, and at 6’6”, with athleticism and length, is an impressive perimeter defender who can shut down three positions.
Although Evans struggles to create for himself off the dribble, he would never have to with the Warriors; the ball would come to him within the flow of the offense and he’d just have to hit his shots. While on defense, he could more than carry his weight.
Congrats on your ring Swaggy, but the Warriors simply have a superior replacement available in Jacob Evans.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Toronto) – Bruce Brown, SG, Miami, Sophomore
Bruce Brown was having a disappointing sophomore campaign before he lost his season to injury, but he should not be entirely forgotten as a prospect. Brown is athletic, strong, gritty and unselfish, providing the helpless Nets with some much-needed help in deficient areas.
Brown is an exceptional rebounder, averaging 7.1 per game his sophomore year at just 6’5”, and his toughness, drive, and smarts on defense will inevitably wear offensive players down. On offense, Brown is a solid catch and shoot man who can take it to the rim with a head of steam and create for others. He seems to be destined for a glue guy role in the NBA; he’s tough, versatile and competitive, and this is exactly what the Nets’ troubled culture needs.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston) – Grayson Allen, SG, Duke, Senior
Grayson Allen would be the third addition in this draft to the Hawks that can shoot the three. In a lot of ways, Allen shares Donte Divincenzo’s knack to play on or off the ball and set up others. Allen is a gifted athlete and an above average catch and shoot triggerman. He can handle the ball and has good passing vision and delivery.
On defense, Allen seems to have lost the insane competitiveness and energy that once made him strong there, as he now suffers from his lack of size and length. Still, Allen can shoot and set up others, which would be a helpful addition to the Hawks’ backcourt.