NBA Mock Draft 2019

(Image courtesy of Clutch Points).

No trades! This is based on my big board found here.

I wrote this prior to the draft, but am publishing afterwards. I can’t be bothered doing the rest of the second round – besides, any player worth $5 mil or less (who would be taken in the mid to late second round in my mock) will need dramatic improvement to have a lasting place in the league, so it’s not as interesting to figure out where they would be drafted.

1. New Orleans Pelicans – Nassir Little. Yep, no Zion. Nasty Nas can guard 1-5, shoot the ball and attack closeouts.

2. Memphis Grizzlies – Sekou Doumbaya.

3. New York Knicks – Darius Bazley. The Knicks need playmakers – Bazley is the best in the draft in terms of handles and passing, and at his height, he’s worthy of that top 3 pick.

4. New Orleans Pelicans – Naz Reid. They already have big Jahlil Okafor at the 5, but Reid can guard 4s, which would create huge mismatches in this wing-as-a-four era due to rebounding and interior sealing opportunities.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jarrey Foster. The Cavs already have ball handlers in Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton, and have shooting wings and bigs in Cedi Osman and Kevin Love, so taking Cam Reddish or Luka Saminic here makes little sense. That’s why Jarrey Foster, who has similar value to those guys, is a great fit. He can be the defensive stopper the Cavs need, and can set the tone offensively with team-first play including spacing the floor and cutting backdoor for lobs and dunks.

6. Phoenix Suns – Cameron Reddish. The Suns pick another 6’7″ wing who can defend multiple spots.

7. Chicago Bulls – Luka Saminic. Saminic has a similar game to Bull Lauri Markennen, but he is the best player on the board.

8. Atlanta Hawks – Bol Bol. They need a center, and Bol is the best available. He can perfectly complement John Collins’ effectiveness on the glass, as Bol can play on the perimeter where he causes huge mismatches as a shooter who can put the ball on the deck. He’ll block a ton of shots too.

9. Washington Wizards – Brandon Clarke. They have a need at the four if Jabari or Portis aren’t brought back.

10. Atlanta Hawks – Romeo Langford. They need good distributors, and guys who are physically capable of defending more than one position..

11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Tyler Cook. This is a tough one, the preceding few guys all fit needs for the Wolves. But Cook gets the edge as a bruising rebounder and shot blocker who can be in the mold of Ben Wallace, while Karl Anthony Towns can go to work offensively and not worry so much about impacting the glass.

12. Charlotte Hornets – Justin Wright-Foreman. I think Kemba is a lock to sign elsewhere, as he’ll command a big contract and the Hornets have limited space, and have little room for improvement due to the contracts of Nic Batum and Marvin Williams. Taking Wright-Foreman eases the blow of losing Kemba however, as he too is a dynamite scorer who can knock down threes over you and provide Rucker-style entertainment with slick passing and short-guy dunks.

13. Miami Heat – Darius Garland. The Heat have solid wings and bigs who can score, but they need setting up. Garland is a perfect fit for them in that regard, and provides some spacing if Justice Winslow and James Johnson are given some point forward duties.

14. Boston Celtics – Kerwin Roach. A splitting image of Terry Rozier stylistically, Roach is a freak athlete who can play with and without the ball. Regardless of what happens in free agency with Kyrie Irving and Rozier’s willingness to re-sign in doubt, Roach provides good depth at the one and two.

15. Detroit Pistons – Kyle Guy. The Pistons need shooters to give their stud front two of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond space. Guy brings that, as well as athleticism to get easy fast break buckets. Reggie Jackson can ease the load of defending the bigger shooting guards.

16. Orlando Magic – Jah Morant. They already have Markelle Fultz who is a similar player, but it doesn’t hurt to have depth behind him. Morant would bring some star power to the oft-neglected Magic, who had one of the quietest playoff-drought breaks in NBA history, I would gather.

17. Atlanta Hawks – Kris Wilkes. Can be a Swiss army knife as a wing defender who can shoot a bit and bring energy as a fast break threat.

18. Indiana Pacers – Jared Harper. A backcourt of Harper and Oladipo would be intimidating to dribble against, as both are fierce defenders. Harper is well suited to getting the ball to Oladipo in the right spots.

19. San Antonio Spurs – Bruno Fernando. The Spurs need big bodies, and Fernando fits the bill. He is mobile enough and sound enough in decision making to fit the Spurs system too.

20. Boston Celtics – Deandre Hunter. They need a big presence with the threat of losing Al Horford, and Hunter can switch onto smaller guys, which the Celtics love. Imagine a starting five of (mystery point guard,) Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Hunter and Jaylen Brown. That is some versatility!

21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Deividis Survydis. The Thunder could use some rebounding help behind Steven Adams, but Survydis is better than anyone else available who fits that bill.

22. Boston Celtics – Keldon Johnson. Another 6’7″ wing who can shoot? The Celtics love ’em.

23. Memphis Grizzlies – Myles Powell. The Grizz acquired this pick in the Mike Conley trade (which was an absolute steal for them – Jae Crowder and Grayson Allen alone are worth more than Conley, and his contract is a liability! The Grizz get a hardy wing scorer. (NOTE: Powell returned for his senior year at Seton Hall, but changing the mock now would be too hard).

24. Philadelphia 76ers – Armoni Brooks. The relative unknown out of Houston, Brooks is a lights out shooter who has solid size to defend wings. He is insurance as an off ball shooter if JJ Redick leaves.

25. Portland Trail Blazers – Mfiondu Kabangele. Fits the Blazers scheme well as a pick and pop big. Compares to Al Farouq Aminu, who could leave in free agency.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers – Zion Williamson. The Cavs need more athleticism on the wing and he could fit nicely at shooting guard as a ball handler and passer next to the shooting and cutting Jarrey Foster.

27. Brooklyn Nets – Jordon Varnado. They need a banger inside to complement Jarrett Allen and Varnado can do that, and the Nets will be stacked at guard assuming that DeAngelo Russell is brought back.

28. Golden State Warriors – Luke Maye.

29. San Antonio Spurs – Tako Fall.

30. Milwaukee Bucks – Goga Bitazde

Round two.

31. Brooklyn Nets – Daniel Gafford. Need more depth at center.

32. Phoenix Suns – Jordan Bone.

33. Philadelphia 76ers – Lagerald Vick.

34. Philadelphia 76ers – Tremont Waters

35. Atlanta Hawks – Matt Coleman

36. Charlotte Hornets – RJ Barrett

37. Dallas Mavericks – Killian Tillie. They badly need perimeter scoring, and Tillie is big enough to guard the forward spots and spell Maxi Kleber.

38. Chicago Bulls – Kenny Wooten.

39. New Orleans Pelicans – Mike Parks

NBA Draft Big Board 2.0

As I did with my 2019 NFL Draft big board, I rank players based on how much I think they should be paid per year. This is based on the traits and abilities the player has – for instance, a player who can shoot but also defend multiple positions has more value than a player with just one of those traits.

My explanation of what makes me value a player is listed below, and the numbers next to their name indicate what positions I think they can defend. This helps in understanding how the player might fit on teams when doing mock drafts.

Players in brackets are players who have elected to return to school. This gives an idea of the talent that might be available in the 2020 draft class.

Players in bold are guys I’ve scouted since my big board version 1.0.

$18 mil

  • (Neemias Queta 3-5 – Bill Russell type intensity, runs rim to rim, can move his feet, can shoot, can pass, can score with either hand.)

$17 mil

  • Nassir Little 1-5 – one of the best athletes to enter the draft in years from an agility and size standpoint. Has a ridiculous wingspan to harass ball handlers and defend at the rim. Has a nice stroke with some handles to attack closeouts, has nice touch and lift on fadeaways.

$14 mil

  • Sekou Doumbaya 2-5 – a mini-Giannis because of his handles at his size. Can shoot pretty well too.

$12 mil

  • Darius Bazley 2-4 – point forward type in mold of Lamar Odom. Good finisher around the rim, shot form isn’t great but can knock down open shots. Great vision with the ball, has length and agility to defend 2-4. Has length to defend at rim somewhat and rebound.
  • (Charles Bassey 4-5 – old school center with flashes of DeMarcus Cousins. Has great size to bully guys in the post and on the glass. Has some foot speed and length to guard 4-5. Over 70% shooting on free throws indicates promise as jump shooter.)
  • Nazreon Reid 4-5 – a bit of Nikola Jokic in his game. Has tricks of the trade with pump fakes, hooks, and good IQ to pass the ball. Has size and speed to guard 4-5.

$11 mil

  • (Matt Haarms 4-5 – might not declare as he’s only a sophomore, but he came onto my radar when he led that Purdue team to a little run in the NCAA tournament. At 7’3” with good fundamentals, has good positioning on both ends. A lefty, so a bit unusual to defend. Can sink hips and defend guards at times. Plays hard, boxes out.)

$10 mil

  • Jarrey Foster 1-3 – super athlete. Can guard 1-3. 3 and D guy. Lob target.
  • Luka Saminic 3-4 – a shorter version of Kristaps, blended with Dario Saric. Great shot, plays hard enough to get boards and defend.
  • Cameron Reddish 2-4 – a great shooter with a little bit of Jayson Tatum to his game with some nifty footwork inside the arc. Long arms and agility make him a good and versatile defender.

$9 mil

  • (Jack White – an outstanding rebounder for his size with solid athleticism. Can shoot ok (despite his terrible cold streak from three throughout last season) based on his form and free throw percentage. Good off-ball mover and screen setter. A bit like fellow Dukie Shane Battier.)
  • Bol Bol – huge presence inside but can stretch the floor. Has good mobility for a person of his size, can even attack off the dribble.
  • Romeo Langford – great playmaker with the ball in his hands. Has athleticism to finish at the rim and handles to get inside the arc and has play smarts to make the right play. Needs to improve jump shot.
  • (Omer Yurtseven – a big body who can stretch the floor a la Frank Kaminsky, with more bulk. Can get buckets in the post also.)
  • (Mac McClung – a relentless attacker who can finish inside and hit jump shots off the bounce and the catch.)
  • Kerwin Roach – an amazing athlete who has a similar style to Terry Rozier with length and agility. Can handle the ball pretty well and can knock down open jumpers.
  • Darius Garland – a true point guard who can attack a pick and roll and make the right pass. Agile enough to guard well on perimeter.
  • Rui Hachimura – big body who can move around a bit, with good form on jumper and a couple of dribble moves. Can play in post a bit also.
  • Brandon Clarke 3-4 – good finisher around the rim, although he needs to learn to use his left hand. Good timing and length to block shots. Shows good foot speed to keep up with guys on perimeter. Good at quick leaping to get boards. Good shot when needed. Nice moves in post to spin to right hand and finish.
  • Tyler Cook 3-5 – an old-school power forward whose bread and butter is rebounding, shot blocking and hitting mid range shots.
  • Justin Wright-Foreman 1 – good vision and can pull of some fancy passes. Great first step to get by defenders and can leap off one or two feet at rim. Nice looking jumper off catch and bounce. Doesn’t have size or length to guard any other position than point guard, but can still harass ball handlers.

$8 mil

  • Bruno Fernando 4-5 – big body with nimble feet and nice touch around the rim a la Nikola Pekovic (before his body crumbled).
  • Mfiondu Kabangele 3-5 – can be a small ball center or wreak havoc defensively on perimeter. Offensive game is limited to put back, lobs and screens at the moment.
  • Keldon Johnson SF – ideal size and athleticism for a wing, has a solid jump shot and can attack closeouts.
  • Deandre Hunter SF – was a key cog in the championship winning Virginia team, he blocks out the sun with his wingspan and has hops to boot. He’s shown flashes of a nice mid range game, and has the form to hit open threes.
  • Kyle Guy SG – Hunter’s less heralded Virginia teammate, Guy is a lethal shooter in the mold of JJ Redick, Rip Hamilton and Klay Thompson with his ability to come off screens and nail jumpers. He has requisite athleticism to get to the hoop and finish, as well as defend multiple positions.
  • (Quentin Grimes SG – good playmaker on the wing with nice athleticism.)
  • Kris Wilkes PF – a great athlete who is lethal in transition and has an improving jump shot.
  • (Trae Jefferson PG – not sure where this guy is at right now, but he is a dynamite scorer at 5’7″ with a similar skillset to Ty Lawson. )
  • (Jaylen Hoard SF – great blend of size and athleticism with a great wingspan to boot. Great lob target.)
  • Jah Morant 1-2 – a top 3 guy in the draft in many scouts eyes, I’m not as high on Morant as others due to his spotty jumper, lack of bulk to finish against contact, and lack of bball IQ when he’s away from the ball both on offense and defence. But he is a top 5 athlete in this draft who has solid handles and can find the open man.
  • Myles Powell 1-2 – a bit like Brad Beal. Great athlete, good shooter, good IQ when passing.
  • Deividas Survydis 1-3 – sweet lefty stroke, although he could get a bit more lift on that jump shot. Has no right hand at all to finish inside. Extremely good off-the-ball mover to get open threes or cut inside for buckets. Plays hard – scrambles well on defence and is nimble enough to guard outside with size to defend forwards. Willing to do dirty work by setting picks for other players. Projects as a three and D player in the NBA.
  • Armoni Brooks 2-3 – great shooter who can be used coming off screens. Has some handle to drive by guys, and has good enough size to take a guy down low in the post. Can defend due to size as well.
  • Jared Harper 1-2 – great athleticism from the guard spot, making him able to guard 2s despite short frame. Can shoot well off the bounce and make the right pass, including skip passes. Active defensively to get loose balls.

$7 mil

  • Zion Williamson – yup, Lord Zion isn’t even in my top 25 prospect rankings. You cannot doubt his ridiculous hops and bulk, but he cannot finish with his right hand at all, will struggle to get his shot off consistently at the next level, and has an inconsistent motor.
  • Daniel Gafford – springy center who compares to Javale McGee with his measurables, however he has a nice feel and touch around the rim with both hands.
  • Jordan Hunter 3-5 – a fellow Aussie, Hunter can run rim to rim with ease, and could compare to Andrei Kirilenko with his ability to block shots from all over the court.
  • Matt Coleman – at 6’2″ with a 6’4″ wingspan and great agility, I think he can defend 1-2. Outstanding shooter, can handle the ball as well and can get out in transition.
  • Jordan Bone 1-2 – has the body of Damian Lillard minus the lethal jumpshot, he can attack the rim and get shots off inside and can find the open guy.
  • Tremont Waters 1-2 – one of the funnest players to watch in this draft class in terms of outstanding vision to pass guys open. Has a jumper to keep defences honest.
  • RJ Barrett – another Dukie that I’m not as high on as other people. He can undoubtedly shoot and defend multiple positions with his size, but I have doubts about the polish on his handles and his strength or ambidexterity to finish at the rim.
  • Lagerald Vick – could develop into a Trevor Ariza type with his long arms and nice form on his jumper.
  • Goga Bitazde – a big bodied Euro who can bully you on the boards.
  • Luke Maiye – the former walk on is in my top 35 prospect list. He is automatic from mid range, can pass very well and can grab boards based on his bulk.
  • Tako Fall – a 7’6″ dude who can move, and shows good bball IQ to seal off defenders for his lobs and dunks inside? Sign me up! He can be deployed like Boban Marjanovic – just don’t ever switch him onto smaller guys.
  • (Udoka Azubuike 5 – compares to prime Roy Hibbert due to being able to anchor interior defensively and provides a nice dump-off option for dunks or floaters.)
  • Jordon Varnado 7 mil – solid range on jumper, can finish either hand, good feel in post. Big enough to dunk easily and finish at rim. Can guard 3-4.

$6 mil

  • Marques Bolden C – very limited range on jump shot but knows how to box out or seal defenders, and can shift feet on perimeter and block shots inside.
  • Jontay Porter SF – listed as center but I don’t think he has the wingspan to guard them. Does display ok agility with a solid jump shot and can out rebound smaller players.
  • Jordan Nwora 2-4
  • Austin Wiley C
  • Killian Tillie – a bit like Bojan Bogdanovic of the Pacers, can certainly shoot but not overly athletic.
  • Lamar Peters PG
  • (Ashton Hagans PG)
  • Tyus Battle PG
  • Sogaba Konate 4-5
  • PJ Washington 3-4 – reminds me a bit of Robert Horry, solid shooting from, good size and bulk.
  • Chris Lykes 1-2 .
  • Tyrese Haliburton 2-3
  • Paul Eboua 3-4
  • Isaiah Roby 3-4
  • Fletcher Magee 1 – lights out shooter. Solid off-ball movement.
  • Aric Holman – 3-4 good shooter with good athleticism and wingspan to finish inside and block shots.
  • Kenny Wooten 3-4
  • Nick Ward 4-5 – compares to Alan Williams with his bulky frame and length. Can score with either hand in the post and knows how to get position for entry passes and rebounding. Has some mobility as well, and can pass out of post as well. Will be more of a charge taker under the basket due to lack of ideal hops.
  • Mike Parks 3-4 – nicknamed Boogie for a reason, his jumper looks just like DeMarcus Cousins’, and it goes in at a solid rate too. Has some mobility to run floor, defend and be a good pick and roll partner, needs to finish with left hand to not be so predictable offensively.

$5 mil

  • Eric Paschall 3-4 – hitch on shot but good stroke. Good bounce for rebounding.
  • Kevin Porter Jr 2-3
  • Herb Jones Alabama 2-3 – long, bit athletic, solid form on shot although could extend a bit more, can attack close outs with dribble and willing passer.
  • KZ Okpala 4
  • Luguentz Dort 1-2
  • Jalen McDaniels 3-4
  • Coby White 1-2
  • Talen Horton-Tucker 2-3 – good athleticism and wingspan, strong build. Solid shot.
  • Admiral Schofield 3-4 – good shooter, bulk and length. Good athleticism for rebounding.
  • Grant Williams 4 – solid shooter, good bulk and athleticism, needs to add agility to defend on perimeter. Good post game.
  • Bennie Boatwright 4-5 – good size and bulk to defend interior and rebound. Good shot. Needs to use left hand more, look to pass.
  • Max Strus 3-4 – good shooter but doesn’t effect play outside of that.
  • Jalen Lecque 1-2
  • Terrance Mann 1-2
  • Aubrey Dawkins 2
  • Ebuka Izundu 3-4
  • Josh Sharma 4-5
  • Dean Wade 4
  • Harry Froling 5
  • Troy Baxter Jr 3-4
  • Daquan Bracey 1-2
  • Markis McDuffie 1-2
  • Justin Robinson 1

$4 mil

  • Ignas Brazkeikis 2
  • Moses Brown 5
  • Theo Maledon 1-2
  • Devin Cannady 1-2
  • Carsen Edwards 1-2
  • Zylan Cheatham 2-3 – good handler and passer not sure about shot or defensive agility.
  • Miye Oni 1-2
  • Tyler Herro 2
  • Brian Bowen 2-3
  • Jaylen Nowell 2
  • Robert Franks 3
  • Ethan Happ 4
  • Alen Smailagic 4
  • Tadas Sedekerskis 2
  • Bryce Aiken 1
  • Phil Bledsoe 3

$3 mil

  • Chuma Okeke 2-3
  • Cameron Johnson 1-2
  • Jaxson Hayes 4-5
  • Shamorie Ponds 1
  • Ky Bowman 1
  • Charles Mathews 2-3 – great hops, ok shot.
  • Ty Jerome 1 – great shooter, but needs to add athleticism.
  • Chris Silva 3-4
  • (Tre Jones 1)
  • Jalen Pickett 1
  • Juwan Morgan 2
  • DaQuan Jefferies 2

$2 mil

  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker 1-2
  • (Jalen Smith Maryland 4)
  • Grant Williams Tennessee 3
  • Deivedia Syedivas 3
  • Matthias Thybulle 1-2
  • Nic Claxton 4
  • Devon Dotson 1
  • Louis King 2
  • Zach Norvell 2
  • Chris Clemons 1
  • Filipe dos Anjos – 5
  • (Markus Howard 1)
  • Jordan Poole 2
  • Josh Reaves 2
  • Anfarnee Mclemore 4
  • Vic Law 2
  • Ayo Dosonmu 3
  • Martin Krampelj 4
  • Terrance Mann 2

$1 mil

  • Quinndarry Weatherspoon 1
  • Dylan Windler 3
  • Makai Mason 1
  • Marial Shayok 2
  • Amir Hinton 3
  • Matur Maker 5
  • Reid Travis 4
  • John Konchar 2
  • Silvio de Sousa 4
  • Payton Pritchard 1
  • Milan Acquaah 2
  • Keith Braxton 2
  • Jordan Davis 2

No value

  • Simi Shittu
  • Dedric Lawson
  • Reggie Perry
  • Joshua Obiesie
  • Ja’vonte Smart
  • Donta Hall
  • Caleb Martin
  • Kostja Mushidi
  • Dewan Hernandez
  • CJ Massinburg
  • Jeremiah Martin
  • O’Shae Brissett
  • Mike Daum
  • Lindell Wiggington
  • Yoeli Childs
  • Bryce Brown
  • Yovel Yoosman
  • Cody Martin
  • Desmond Bane
  • Kerry Blackshear
  • Nikita Mikhailovskii
  • Amir Coffey

2019 NBA Draft Big Board 1.0

As I did with my 2019 NFL Draft big board, I rank players based on how much I think they should be paid per year. This is based on the traits and abilities the player has – for instance, a player who can shoot but also defend multiple positions has more value than a player with just one of those traits.

My explanation of what makes me value a player is listed below, and the numbers next to their name indicate what positions I think they can defend. This helps in understanding how the player might fit on teams when doing mock drafts.

I will continue to scout players until the draft, which is why this is version 1.0.

$18 mil

  • Neemias Queta 3-5 – Bill Russell type intensity, runs rim to rim, can move his feet, can shoot, can pass, can score with either hand.

$17 mil

  • Nassir Little 1-5 – one of the best athletes to enter the draft in years from an agility and size standpoint. Has a ridiculous wingspan to harass ball handlers and defend at the rim. Has a nice stroke with some handles to attack closeouts, has nice touch and lift on fadeaways.

$14 mil

  • Sekou Doumbaya 2-5 – a mini-Giannis because of his handles at his size. Can shoot pretty well too.

$12 mil

  • Darius Bazley 2-4 – point forward type in mold of Lamar Odom. Good finisher around the rim, shot form isn’t great but can knock down open shots. Great vision with the ball, has length and agility to defend 2-4. Has length to defend at rim somewhat and rebound.
  • Charles Bassey 4-5 – old school center with flashes of DeMarcus Cousins. Has great size to bully guys in the post and on the glass. Has some foot speed and length to guard 4-5. Over 70% shooting on free throws indicates promise as jump shooter.
  • Nazreon Reid 4-5 – a bit of Nikola Jokic in his game. Has tricks of the trade with pump fakes, hooks, and good IQ to pass the ball. Has size and speed to guard 4-5.

$11 mil

  • Matt Haarms 4-5 – might not declare as he’s only a sophomore, but he came onto my radar when he led that Purdue team to a little run in the NCAA tournament. A 7’3” with good fundamentals, good positioning on both ends. A lefty, so a bit unusual to defend. Can sink hips and defend guards at times. Plays hard, boxes out.

$10 mil

  • Jarrey Foster 1-3 – super athlete. Can guard 1-3. 3 and D guy. Lob target.
  • Luka Saminic 3-4 – a shorter version of Kristaps, blended with Dario Saric. Great shot, plays hard enough to get boards and defend.
  • Cameron Reddish 2-4 – a great shooter with a little bit of Jayson Tatum to his game with some nifty footwork inside the arc. Long arms and agility make him a good and versatile defender.

$9 mil

  • Jack White – an outstanding rebounder for his size with solid athleticism. Can shoot ok (despite his terrible cold streak from three throughout last season) based on his form and free throw percentage. Good off-ball mover and screen setter. A bit like fellow Dukie Shane Battier.
  • Bol Bol – huge presence inside but can stretch the floor. Has good mobility for a person of his size, can even attack off the dribble.
  • Romeo Langford – great playmaker with the ball in his hands. Has athleticism to finish at the rim and handles to get inside the arc and has play smarts to make the right play. Needs to improve jump shot.
  • Omer Yurtseven – a big body who can stretch the floor a la Frank Kaminsky, with more bulk. Can get buckets in the post also.
  • Mac McClung – a relentless attacker who can finish inside and hit jump shots off the bounce and the catch.
  • Kerwin Roach – an amazing athlete who has a similar style to Terry Rozier with length and agility. Can handle the ball pretty well and can knock down open jumpers.
  • Darius Garland – a true point guard who can attack a pick and roll and make the right pass. Agile enough to guard well on perimeter.
  • Rui Hachimura – big body who can move around a bit, with good form on jumper and a couple of dribble moves. Can play in post a bit also. 
  • Brandon Clarke 3-4 – good finisher around the rim, although he needs to learn to use his left hand. Good timing and length to block shots. Shows good foot speed to keep up with guys on perimeter. Good at quick leaping to get boards. Good shot when needed. Nice moves in post to spin to right hand and finish.
  • Tyler Cook 3-5 – an old-school power forward whose bread and butter is rebounding, shot blocking and hitting mid range shots.

$8 mil

  • Bruno Fernando 4-5 – big body with nimble feet and nice touch around the rim a la Nikola Pekovic (before his body crumbled).
  • Mfiondu Kabangele 3-5 – can be a small ball center or wreak havoc defensively on perimeter. Offensive game is limited to put back, lobs and screens at the moment.
  • Keldon Johnson SF – ideal size and athleticism for a wing, has a solid jump shot and can attack closeouts.
  • Deandre Hunter SF – was a key cog in the championship winning Virginia team, he blocks out the sun with his wingspan and has hops to boot. He’s shown flashes of a nice mid range game, and has the form to hit open threes.
  • Kyle Guy SG – Hunter’s less heralded Virginia teammate, Guy is a lethal shooter in the mold of JJ Redick, Rip Hamilton and Klay Thompson with his ability to come off screens and nail jumpers. He has requisite athleticism to get to the hoop and finish, as well as defend multiple positions.
  • Quentin Grimes SG – good playmaker on the wing with nice athleticism.
  • Kris Wilkes PF – a great athlete who is great in transition and has an improving jump shot.
  • Trae Jefferson PG – not sure where this guy is at right now, but he is a dynamite scorer at 5’7″ with a similar skillset to Ty Lawson.
  • Jaylen Hoard SF – great blend of size and athleticism with a great wingspan to boot. Great lob target.
  • Jah Morant 1-2 – a top 3 guy in the draft in many scouts eyes, I’m not as high on Morant as others due to his spotty jumper, lack of bulk to finish against contact, and lack of bball IQ when he’s away from the ball both on offense and defence. But he is a top 5 athlete in this draft who has solid handles and can find the open man.
  • Myles Powell 1-2 – a bit like Brad Beal. Great athlete, good shooter, good IQ when passing.
  • Deividas Survydis 1-3 – sweet lefty stroke, although he could get a bit more lift on that hump shot. Has no right hand at all to finish inside. Extremely good off-the-ball mover to get open threes or cut inside for buckets. Plays hard – scrambles well on defence and is nimble enough to guard outside with size to defend forwards. Willing to do dirty work by setting picks for other players. Projects as a three and D player in the NBA.

$7 mil

  • Zion Williamson – yup, Lord Zion isn’t even in my top 25 prospect rankings. You cannot doubt his ridiculous hops and bulk, but he cannot finish with his right hand at all, will struggle to get his shot off consistently at the next level, and has an inconsistent motor.
  • Daniel Gafford – springy center who compares to Javale McGee with his measurables, however he has a nice feel and touch around the rim with both hands.
  • Jordan Hunter 3-5 – a fellow Aussie, Hunter can run rim to rim with ease, and could compare to Andrei Kirilenko with his ability to block shots from all over the court.
  • Matt Coleman – at 6’2″ with a 6’4″ wingspan and great agility, I think he can defend 1-2. Outstanding shooter, can handle the ball as well and can get out in transition.
  • Jordan Bone 1-2 – has the body of Damian Lillard minus the lethal jumpshot, he can attack the rim and get shots off inside and can find the open guy.
  • Tremont Waters 1-2 – one of the funnest players to watch in this draft class in terms of outstanding vision to pass guys open. Has a jumper to keep defences honest.
  • RJ Barrett – another Dukie that I’m not as high on as other people. He can undoubtedly shoot and defend multiple positions with his size, but I have doubts about the polish on his handles and his strength or ambidexterity to finish at the rim.
  • Lagerald Vick – could develop into a Trevor Ariza type with his long arms and nice form on his jumper.
  • Goga Bitazde – a big bodied Euro who can bully you on the boards.
  • Luke Maiye – the former walk on_is in my top 35 prospect list. He is automatic from mid range, can pass very well and can grab boards based on his bulk.
  • Tako Fall – a 7’6″ dude who can move, and shows good bball IQ to seal off defenders for his lobs and dunks inside? Sign me up! He can be deployed like Boban Marjanovic – just don’t ever switch him onto smaller guys.
  • Udoka Azubuike 5 – compares to prime Roy Hibbert due to being able to anchor interior defensively and provides a nice dump-off option for dunks or floaters.

$6 mil

  • Marques Bolden C – very limited range on jump shot but knows how to box out or seal defenders, and can shift feet on perimeter and block shots inside.
  • Jontay Porter SF – listed as center but I don’t think he has the wingspan to guard them. Does display ok agility with a solid jump shot and can out rebound smaller players.
  • Jordan Nwora 2-4
  • Austin Wiley C
  • Killian Tillie  – a bit like Bojan Bogdanovic of the Pacers, can certainly shoot but not overly athletic. 
  • Lamar Peters PG
  • Ashton Hagans PG
  • Tyus Battle PG
  • Sogaba Konate 4-5
  • PJ Washington 3-4 – reminds me a bit of Robert Horry, solid shooting from, good size and bulk.
  • Chris Lykes 1-2 .
  • Tyrese Haliburton 2-3
  • Paul Eboua 3-4
  • Isaiah Roby 3-4
  • Fletcher Magee 1 – lights out shooter. Solid off-ball movement.
  • Aric Holman – 3-4 good shooter with good athleticism and wingspan to finish inside and block shots.
  • Kenny Wooten 3-4

$5 mil

  • Eric Paschall 3-4 – hitch on shot but good stroke. Good bounce for rebounding.
  • Kevin Porter Jr 2-3
  • Herb Jones Alabama 2-3 – long, bit athletic, solid form on shot although could extend a bit more, can attack close outs with dribble and willing passer.
  • KZ Okpala 4
  • Luguentz Dort 1-2
  • Jalen McDaniels 3-4
  • Coby White 1-2
  • Talen Horton-Tucker 2-3 – good athleticism and wingspan, strong build. Solid shot.
  • Admiral Schofield 3-4 – good shooter, bulk and length. Good athleticism for rebounding.
  • Grant Williams 4 – solid shooter, good bulk and athleticism, needs to add agility to defend on perimeter. Good post game.
  • Bennie Boatwright 4-5 – good size and bulk to defend interior and rebound. Good shot. Needs to use left hand more, look to pass.
  • Max Strus 3-4 – good shooter but doesn’t effect play outside of that.
  • Jalen Lecque 1-2
  • Terrance Mann 1-2
  • Aubrey Dawkins 2
  • Ebuka Izundu 3-4
  • Josh Sharma 4-5
  • Dean Wade 4
  • Harry Froling 5

$4 mil

  • Ignas Brazkeikis 2
  • Moses Brown 5
  • Theo Maledon 1-2
  • Devin Cannady 1-2
  • Carsen Edwards 1-2
  • Zylan Cheatham 2-3 – good handler and passer not sure about shot or defensive agility.
  • Miye Oni 1-2
  • Tyler Herro 2
  • Brian Bowen 2-3
  • Jaylen Nowell 2
  • Robert Franks 3
  • Ethan Happ 4
  • Alen Smailagic 4
  • Tadas Sedekerskis 2

$3 mil

  • Chuma Okeke 2-3
  • Cameron Johnson 1-2
  • Jaxson Hayes 4-5
  • Shamorie Ponds 1
  • Ky Bowman 1
  • Charles Mathews 2-3 – great hops, ok shot.
  • Ty Jerome 1 – great shooter, but needs to add athleticism.
  • Chris Silva 3-4
  • Tre Jones 1
  • Jalen Pickett 1
  • Juwan Morgan 2

$2 mil

  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker 1-2
  • Jalen Smith Maryland 4
  • Grant Williams Tennessee 3
  • Deivedia Syedivas 3
  • Matthias Thybulle 1-2
  • Nic Claxton 4
  • Devon Dotson 1
  • Louis King 2
  • Zach Norvell 2
  • Chris Clemons 1
  • Filipe dos Anjos – 5
  • Markus Howard 1
  • Jordan Poole 2
  • Josh Reaves 2
  • Anfarnee Mclemore 4
  • Vic Law 2

$1 mil

  • Quinndarry Weatherspoon 1
  • Dylan Windler 3
  • Makai Mason 1
  • Marial Shayok 2
  • Amir Hinton 3
  • Matur Maker 5
  • Reid Travis 4
  • John Konchar 2
  • Silvio de Sousa 4
  • Payton Pritchard 1

No value

  • Simi Shittu
  • Dedric Lawson
  • Reggie Perry
  • Josua Obiesie
  • Ja’vonte Smart
  • Donta Hall
  • Caleb Martin
  • Kostja Mushidi
  • Dewan Hernandez
  • CJ Massinburg
  • Jeremiah Martin
  • O’Shae Brissett
  • Mike Daum
  • Lindell Wiggington
  • Yoeli Childs
  • Bryce Brown
  • Yovel Yoosman
  • Cody Martin

Where my top valued NBA free agents will sign in 2019

Here’s some prediction of where my top-valued upcoming NBA free agents will sign in the 2019 offseason. PO represents Player Option and RFA represents restricted free agent. The $ value represents how much I’d be willing to pay the player per year.

$37 million /year

  • Kevin Durant – Los Angeles Lakers

The Warriors will struggle to keep him without paying absurdly high luxury and repeater taxes, and KD might look for a different challenge. Teaming up with Nike co-star LeBron James in LA makes sense from a basketball point of view – he could play in an ultra-switching lineup with fellow forwards LBJ, Kuzma and Ingram, and they’d immediately create an epic showdown with the Warriors. The Lakers can afford him, with over $60 mil in cap space. And, despite the Lakers front office problems of late, they’re still the Lakers.

$26 million/year

  • Demarcus Cousins – Washington Wizards

Boogie will surely seek a big payday after going ring chasing this year. The Wizards provide a viable option to continue that goal, while getting paid and playing with old Kentucky teammate John Wall. The Otto Porter trade freed up cap space for the Wiz, so they can sign him to a near max deal. The East is weak, so Boogie can make them weep. He’s been injury-prone of late and has had some disciplinary issues, so he might even come cheap.

$23 million/year

  • Harrison Barnes – Sacramento Kings

The Kings are on the rise, and while they traded away potential stud Skal Labissiere, they still have an upward trajectory. Barnes has had some instability of late, so re-signing with his current club, who can easily afford him, would be wise. He fills a big hole at the small forward spot for the Kings, and he’s still young enough to fit that young core.

  • Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

He’s a splash bro. Unless the Warriors prioritise bringing back KD or Boogie, which would alienate Klay’s numerous fans away from the Dubs and completely change the dynamic of the most successful team in generations, Klay is their guy.

$19 million/year

  • Kristaps Porzingis (RFA) – Dallas Mavericks

There’s two options for Kristaps – take a petty $5 mil for the 2019-2020 season as a qualifying offer and be an unrestricted free agent in 2020, or sign a deal with the Mavs (or a competing deal from another team) and, if he’s unhappy with the progress the Mavs are making, he can just demand a trade Kyrie Irving style. That way, he still gets paid.

$18 million/year

  • Kemba Walker – Milwaukee Bucks

A dynamite scorer who has been carrying the Hornets for a while now. The Hornets appear to want to break the bank to keep him, but with terrible contracts like Nic Batum’s around, it will require a hefty luxury tax bill to keep him. They haven’t shown they can build a contender around him, so he might look elsewhere. The West is stacked, so teaming with Giannis and the Bucks makes sense. He can be an effective off-ball scorer as a shooter and slasher, so the fit is good also.

$17m per year

  • Nikola Vucevic – Dallas Mavericks

Has been getting some love recently for his awesome numbers. The Magic would be true cellar dweller without him since the Dwight trade. The Magic have had a love hate relationship with him – there’s been trade rumours, and he might go for greener pastures, despite some surprising success in the playoffs. The Mavs are on the rise with Kristaps in the midst and Luka, so he might join his fellow Euros and create a formidable frontcourt there.

  • Tyson Chandler – Denver Nuggets

I still value Chandler highly – ridiculous athlete for his size, and knows subtle techniques like rim protection positioning and screen and rolls to be effective. The Nuggets are a real contender in the West with their young core, and they’ve shown they’re fine with playing a two big lineup. He goes for another ring there.

  • DeAngelo Russell RFA – San Antonio Spurs.

He’s the new face of the Nets, leading them to the playoffs, but I think D’Angelo might want to learn from the best coach there is, Coach Pop. They have the space, and some young pieces to have a bright future (like Dejounte Murray, Davis Bertans, Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White).

$16 mil/year

  • Kawhi Leonard – Houston Rockets

He’s lower down on my board as he evidently has reliability issues, and I’m still not convinced he’s a great facilitator of the ball. He can be a great three and D player the Rockets covet, and can score a bit when the shot clock is winding down to relieve Harden of his huge offensive workload. The Rockets could only afford him for the mid level exception, which Boogie signed with on the Warriors, but Kawhi might go ring chasing, and the Rockets are the closest thing to challenging the Warriors.

  • Kyrie Irving PO – Boston Celtics

If Kristaps was in New York, I think they could’ve nabbed Kyrie. But with limited talent there, I think Kyrie re-signs in Boston. They’ll be contenders in the East for years with the draft capital they accumulated and the players they picked, and he’s young enough to ride with them.

  • Derrick Rose – Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are like a hot tub – your worries melt away when you’re in one. D Rose is still ringless, and while he hasn’t been making bank lately, I think he’d still want to win a ring and be a part of a true contender again. He can play off the ball with Curry off the bench.

$15 mil/year

  • Khris Middleton – Memphis Grizzlies

The Bucks have the space to sign Middleton to a deal around the $20 mil mark, but I get the feeling they might want to add Kemba instead – Middleton ideally plays the same position as Giannis. The Grizzlies need a wing shooter that they thought Chandler Parsons would be, and Middleton fits the bill.

  • Jonas Valancuinas – New York Knicks.

Big V will want that money. He’s a bit undervalued as he’s been benched at times to favour more fleet footed bigs, but he is such an imposing rebounder and finisher inside that he deserves a hefty contract. I think the Knicks will become desperate to spend some money on a free agent and might offer Big V, who is still young, a solid deal.

  • Carmelo Anthony – Minnesota Timberwolves

He’s not that bad. Who else in the league can drop threes even when guarded tightly, out-rebound most small forwards, and is still nimble enough to keep up with the James Hardens of the world? Sure, he has lapses of concentration on D, but he can still be your third best player in a championship team. The Wolves are on the verge of breaking into Western Conference contention and can always use some outside shooting. Melo would probably sign for a veteran minimum.

  • Jahlil Okafor – New Orleans Pelicans.

Considered a bust, but he has great skill for a guy of his immense size, is somehow nimble on his feet, and can punish you on the offensive boards. Not to mention he’s got the Al Jefferson type post moves to get buckets at will. NOLA are talent starved and will likely throw a reasonable contract at him.

$14m/year

  • Enes Kanter – San Antonio Spurs.

Another Euro big who dominates on the glass like Vucevic and Valancuinas, Kanter will likely be underpaid next season, as he will suffer from a “good numbers on bad team” reputation, as well as being a magnet for controversy regarding his issues with the Turkish government, as well as his beef with King James. I still believe he can be a top 50 player in the league with his incredible rebounding g prowess, solid jumper, and some nimbleness to guard both fours and fives. The Spurs have some cap space for the first time in a while with Gasol being traded to the Bucks, and who wouldn’t want to play for Coach Pop? They have an up and coming team but can contend as well with Aldridge and DeRozan.

  • Trevor Ariza – Boston Celtics

Still one of the best 3 and D players in the game. I think he’ll go ring chasing after making bank with the Sun’s, and the Celtics are a top team in the East. The Celtics love their switchable wings, so he’d fit right in.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein – Philadelphia 76ers.

Another King who should be extended ASAP. He’ll hit restricted free agency though, where a team like the Sixers, who want to play fast with Simmons etc, would love a rim runner. He can play alongside Embiid too as a hustling rebounder, while Embiid can space the floor and go to work in the post.

  • Kevin Looney – New Orleans Pelicans

I think Looney will want a big pay day, and I think he’s proven his worth having filled in for Boogie as a starter for the Dubs this season. He’s like Draymond with his wingspan, agility, finishing at rim and passing. The Pels will be starved of talent and will be attracted by Looney talent, age and, frankly, that Warriors zeal (see Ian Clark).

  • Marcin Gortat – Houston Rockets

One of the best pick and roll finishers as a big in the league. Is aging but can still contribute as a rebounder, rim protector and can shuffle those feet on perimeter. Has a little mid range game too. The Rockets need a backup big with Nene aging and Goetat fits the bill. I think he can also play at the four alongside Capela. He’d have to sign on a salary cap exception or veteran minimum but he might go ring chasing. Who doesn’t want to be around success?

  • Dwight Howard – Golden State Warriors

Still a dominant physical force who can finish over either shoulder. He hasn’t won a ring so he might replace Boogie as the starting centre on the Dubs. Would have to sign a small one year deal but I think he has earnt aplenty in his career, and would want some peace having been through a lot of turmoil the last few years. The Dubs wanted Dwight badly before he signed with the Lakers years back, so that desire might still be there.

  • Jonas Jerebko – Denver Nuggets

Great stretch big who does all the little things to win. The Nuggets are in win-now mode with so much cheap talent on the books, and Jerebko can help right away at the forward spots. He’d be a great match with Jokic as a good cutter, floor spacer and rim protector.

  • Boban Marjanovic – Memphis Grizzlies

Dominant post presence and rebounder, obviously a good rim protector at that size. There’s mobility concerns but just don’t switch him onto smalls. He’d be a great fit in Memphis – he can do the dirty work inside while Jaren Jackson Jr shows his finesse game. The Grizz will be left without a starting centre once Valanciunas leaves so they’ll need to fill that spot, and Boban deserves the chance. Plus, he’s a fan favourite. I think Jerry West and co will be smart enough to go after him.

$13m/yr

  • Al Horford (PO) – Boston Celtics

Almost $30 mil for one more year with a title contender? I think Big Al will accept that player option.

  • Marc Gasol (PO) – Toronto Raptors

I think he’ll take the massive player option.

  • Isaiah Thomas – Cleveland Cavaliers

Still a dynamite scorer and great leader. Will want a big payday having been underpaid for years, and the Cavs will be desperate to throw money at anyone with ability, so I think they’ll partake. And aren’t K Love and IT friends from way back? I know the Cavs had IT when LeBron was around but I think a reunion is in order there. Signing Love to that fat contract also means they mightn’t necessarily be tanking either.

  • Rudy Gay – New York Knicks

Great athlete with a solid jumper. I think he’s young enough still to seek a big payday and go ring chasing later. The Spurs will go younger I think, and Bertans can fit his role. So New York will be attractive – the bright lights, big Valancuinas (from his time in Toronto), some solid young pieces in Ntilikana and whoever they pick (unless they screw it up). Plus the Knicks need some talented wings – I’m not sure Kevin Knox and Tim Hardaway Jr are the answers there.

  • Bobby Portis (RFA) – New York Knicks

A bit stiff physically but can still block shots, rebound and shoot a bit. Can finish either hand. The Knicks have a ton of space and could fill out a handy frontcourt with JV and Rudy Gay there. The Wizards might go Boogie hunting so won’t have the space to match a deal the Knicks can afford.

$12 mil/year

  • Goran Dragic (PO) – Los Angeles Lakers.

I think, at age 33, he’ll take one last crack at a big contract or a ring, despite his large player option for the ‘19-20 season. Miami are too swamped with large contracts to guys like Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson to contend. So he’ll sign with the Lakers, who would now boast Dragic, Durant, LeBron, Kuzma and Ingram. Finally, the Warriors aren’t a shoe-in for the chip.

  • Al-Farouq Aminu – Portland Trail Blazers

I see no reason why he’d leave. The Blazers are short on cap space but they can re-sign him anyway with bird rights. He’s quite undervalued so I don’t expect any team to outbid them. He’s a great stretch four who can switch onto wings defensively while defending the rim.

  • Timothe Luwawu – Portland Trail Blazers

Maybe the most underrated player in the league. No-one keeps him on their roster, but he’s an epic 3 and D player. The Blazers love his type – they haven’t had one like him since Allen Crabbe was traded.

  • Greg Monroe – Orlando Magic

The Magic will have a hole at center after Vucevic leaves (which is a bit up in the air with their surprising postseason success so far). Monroe is a similar player who is a bit ground bound but a great rebounder, finisher inside who can move his feet a bit.

  • Jabari Parker (if $20 mil TO is declined, which is likely) – Brooklyn Nets

He’ll be chasing a big contract and I think the Nets will oblige. They’ll have lost DeAngelo (in my crystal ball prediction) so they’ll need more young talent.

  • TJ McConnell – Toronto Raptors

The Sixers have proven to be a crap front office – trading away cornerstones in Robert Covington and Dario Saric for one guaranteed year of Jimmy Butler is the prime example. I think McConnell bolts for an atlantic rival. The Raps plove two-point guard lineups, so he can fit well with Lowry. They’ve also got good young pieces in Anunoby and Siakam to build around, so there’s optimism there, while still winning now.

 

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Plan for the Detroit Pistons’ 2019 offseason

Here’s the list of players rostered on in 2019, with how many minutes I think they should play per game, and what positions they can defend (all salary information is from HoopsHype):

Griffin 25 3-4
Drummond 24 4-5
Jackson 18 1-2
Leuer 20 3-4
Galloway 18 1-2
Kennard 14 2-3
Bruce Brown 24 1-4

Khryi Thomas 4 1-2

The only contract that I think isn’t worth it is Reggie Jackson’s. I think he’s worth around $9 mil per year, but is being paid $18 mil in 2019-2020. Since that’s $9 mil lost in value from the overpay, we can afford to get back an inferior player. Looking through the league, I think the Mavs’ might want him – they have plenty of cap space, and might want to get off Dwight Powell’s contract. Plus, they might be in contending mode because of Luka Doncic’s perceived success. So, assume Reggie Jackson gets traded for Dwight Powell’s $10 mil in 2019-2020 (assuming he picks up his player option, which I think there’s a 50% chance of happening). He’s worth around $9 mil a year as a floor spacer and athletic defender, so that’s a great deal, dealing away Jackson’s contract that has a value defecit of $9 mil, and getting a contract with a value defecit of only $1 mil.

Next, the draft. I think Nassir Little and Sekou Doumbaya will be gone by the time the Pistons pick around the 14th spot, and so target Darius Bazley. Bazley is underrated, so we can afford to trade back to around the 20th pick. Atlanta owns around the 19th pick and a mid second, so accept that deal, as the Pistons don’t own one and can use cheap quality talent (future draft picks information is provided by Pro Sports Transactions). Take Bazley with the Hawks pick, and then take Charles Bassey with the second round pick. Bazley is a Lamar Odom type athlete and point forward. Bassey is an old school center with his rebounding ability, who is swift enough to guard 4-5, and shows promise with his jump shot.

About $105 mil in salaries have now been allocated, so that leaves only $3 mil to spend in FA to stay under salary cap, $5 mil for the Mid Level Exception, and space for the veteran minimum. There’s five roster spots to fill. Plus, we have bird rights to re-sign guys.

The best affordable guy is Melo. Yep, Melo. He can shoot, grab boards, and defend when engaged. He can be gotten for the vet minimum.

Isaiah Thomas is undervalued. He can be gotten with the mid level exception.

At this point we need a backup point guard and a third string center. Ish Smith can be re-signed for around $7 mil a year for two years. Zaza Pachulia can be re-signed for one year and $5 mil for the year.

That’s 14 guys, and $117 mil spent. I’d stick with that, keeping roster flexibility to pick up a free agent if injuries become bad.

So, the lineup is:
PG Brown, Smith, Thomas
SG Thomas, Galloway, Kennard
SF Bazley, Melo
PF Griffin, Leuer, Powell
C Drummond, Bassey, Zaza

That’s a Finals contending team.

TLDR
-Trade Reggie Jackson for Dwight Powell
-Trade back from 14th pick to get Darius Bazley in the late first and Charles Bassey in the second.
-Sign Isaiah Thomas with the MLE, sign Melo at veteran minimum, and re-sign Ish Smith and Zaza.