2018 NBA draft big board.

Here’s my 2018 NBA draft big board. I wrote it prior to the draft but I didn’t get around to publishing until close to the season start, but I thought it wise to post now to see if my predictions become correct and to have proof of them. Note that when I say “first” or “second” option, I mean when they’re on the court, what priority they should have to have a play drawn for them or have the ball in their hands. Some players ended up withdrawing from the draft, thus I wrote “returning to school”. If there’s any criticisms to players, I don’t mean offence, I just write what I observe, and hopefully that can aid the player in making improvements.

1. Miles Bridges – has the body of a Vince Carter/Charles Barkley hybrid. Top 5 shooter in the class. Clutch, having delivered atleast 3 victories for Michigan State in the final moments of games just this year. Has had times where he could’ve been more assertive, but even if the ball isn’t in his hands he helps the offense with his floor spacing and rebounding (36% from 3, but with a FT% of 85 this should translate to better numbers in the NBA with less responsibility of chucking up shots late in shot clock. Averaged 8.9 boards per game last season). Can be a first option on offense where he can come off screens to shoot, or drive by close outs. Ideal as a stretch four in the modern NBA. Also a great lob target. Can finish with either hand. Has so-so length with wingspan of 6’8.5″ but has elite agility and bulk to guard 1-4. Jump shot release not overly high but gets it off quickly.
2. ‎Jaren Jackson Jr. Has the body of Kevin Garnett. Has weird mechanics on his shot but it goes in (40% on 3 albeit with just 2.7 attempts per game, but 80% FT% will translate), coaching might iron this out. Elite shot blocker yet agile enough to guard on the perimeter for stretches (9’2″ vertical reach). Best used as a four, but could play three. Not yet strong enough to play at the five, but conditioning could lead to that. Can start as a fourth option on offense from day one, can develop into more of an offensive threat with a better handle and post game.
3. ‎Bruce Brown. Plays like Gary Payton and Marcus Smart, very intense and physical. Best playmaker in the draft (P&R ball handler yielded 1.2 pts per possession) best used as PG. Has size (6’5″ tall, 6’9″ winspan, 194 pounds at 3.75% body fat so all muscle) to defend 1-4. Streaky shooter but form looks good. 37% on spot ups in freshman year, last year hampered small sample size due to injury.
4. ‎DeAndre Ayton. Body of Joel Embiid, similar skills but better passer. Already dominant inside, with great strength and length, with a developing jump shot (73% FT, 12/35 on 3 last season). Inconsistent effort on defense but has potential to guard 2-5 with good agility. Second option on offense from day one, best used at the five.
5. ‎Michael Porter Jr. Body of Giannis. Best used as a PG with a great handle and feel for the game. Jump shot requires effort with high jumping release but this can be ironed out, solid on FT before his back injury. Had back surgery, past players have not been affected long term by this?. Can defend 1-4. Third option on offense, where he can shoot over smaller guards or take them off the dribble.
6. ‎Brandon McCoy. Size of Steven Adams, with a better offensive game. Can hit mid rangers, while dominant inside. Needs to learn to use his left hand at the rim. Can be great rebounder, shot blocker. Can be defensive anchor and second option on offense at the five.
7. ‎Wendell Carter Jr. A more athletic Zach Randolph. Huge wingspan and body leads to blocks and dominance inside. Good passer, can hit mid range shot with potential for three pointer. Best used as a four, doesn’t have agiltiy to defend the three or height to defend the five consistently. Third option on offense from the high post.
8. ‎Keita Bates-Diop. Stretch center a la Draymond Green. Has giant 7’3″ wingspan at 6’8″ and 235 pounds, his standing reach is 8’10.5″ so he’d be in the lower percentile for centres but would get by with good athleticism and being a complete mismatch offensively. Can switch and defend 1-5. Great shot, can play off the bounce. Can be fifth option on offense by stretching the floor, attacking closeouts, rebounding, and taking opposing fives off the dribble as the shot clock winds down.
9. ‎Mikal Bridges. 6’7″ power forward like Draymond Green, with less bulk but a better shot. Third option on offense, has good handle and floater.
10. Shaq Morris. Dude is 24 (and at time of writing undrafted), but he can really dominate on the glass, defend the rim with his good wingspan, and shoot the rock. He’s playing in Europe, but he can make a great 4 man. Remember the only way to compete with the Warriors is to physically dominate – remember the Kanter-Adams frontcourt that nearly helped take the Thunder to the Finals a few years back? Morris could make a similar impact.
11. ‎Mo Bamba. Stretch four with insane blocking ability. Too weak to play at the five. Can be fourth option on offense, stand in corner for threes and slide in for put backs/lobs.
12. ‎Alize Johnson. Another Draymond Green type. Good passer, ok shooter, good defender, defends 2-4. 5th option on offense.
13. ‎Marvin Bagley. Best used as a shooting guard, with elite agility at 6’11” but a poor winsgpan. Can shoot over defenders at the 2 and can overpower them on the boards. Poor winsgpan and average strength minimises defensive impact inside. Doesn’t use right hand which impacts how he finishes inside, harms handle. At the 2 he can be your second option on offense with elite size and ok shooting.
14. ‎Chandler Hutchison. Andre Roberson – Klay Thompson hybrid. At 6’7″ and agile can defend 2-5. Has handle to drive by guys and soft touch at rim. Promise as shooter. Can be second option at shooting guard. Potential lock down defender.
15. ‎Grayson Allen. JJ Redick with better handle and athleticism. Second option at shooting guard guard with great shooting, good handle and solid athleticism. High basketball IQ. Good enough wingspan to be solid defensively. Athleticism not in doubt due to historically good combine performance.
16. ‎Luka Doncic. First option at shooting guard. Solid shooter who has bad shot selection (32% on threes this year), but FT % of 80% indicates potential as good shooter. Great handle and solid passer. Poor agility and winsgpan makes his defensive potential limited. Can play the 2 and the 4, where he has enough bulk to handle fours, enough quickness to stay in front of most twos, will get blown by quicker threes and point guards. At the 2 can post up smaller guards. Needs ball in hands to be worth defensive issues. Wills truffle to finish over taller more athletic defenders.
17. ‎Robert Williams. Can be elite rebounder immediately. Best used as a four where he can keep up with ball handlers on perimeter and bully smaller guys inside for offensive rebounding opportunities. Can be elite shot blocker. Not tall enough to play at the five consistently. Can’t shoot?. Best used as a fourth option on offense, to set screens and be a lob target, has potential as a mid range threat.
18. ‎Jarrey Foster. Can defend 1-5 with elite speed and strength at 6’6″. Best used as an off ball small forward. A streaky shooter, his offensive role would be to space the floor at the corner and be a cutter from there. Fifth option on offense. (Returning to school)
20. ‎Omer Yurtseven. Floor stretching four man who at 7 feet can defend on perimeter adequately. Can defend at the rim and shoot well, fourth option on offense. Good rebounder, but not strong enough to battle fives inside. (Returning to school).
21. Kostas Antetokounmpo. Best as a four, as not strong enough to play the four and swift or skilled enough to play the three. But he is fast as hell, can shoot a little, cover a heap of ground to contest shots. Has a promising jumper too.
22. ‎Deng Adel. Fifth option small forward who can play a bit like Andrei Kirilenko. 6’9″, long arms, can handle and shoot ok.
23. Isaac Haas. Biggest player in draft. Impossible to move in post and when sealing. Athletic enough to be lob target. Like Roy Hibbert defensively, needs to sink hips lower defending pick and roll and keep hands up, but size compensates a bit. 75% shooter from FT so not a hack-a-Haas candidate and could expand mid range game. Compares most to Roy Hibbert.
24. Kyle Guy. Rip Hamilton type guy who you can run off screens and have a reliable offense just from that. Great shooter, athletic enough to keep up with guys at the 2.
25. ‎Billy Preston. Huge four man who can bully most opponents immediately. Has potential to be mid range threat. Fourth option on offense, to set screens, roll or pop. Quick enough to guard some player some perimeter.
26. ‎Vincent Edwards. Glue guy at small forward, can hit threes at good rate, defend 3-5. Big enough to bully guys in the post and hold his own on boards.
27. Trae Jefferson. Returning to school, but the dude is Ty Lawson quick with a good jumper. Fast enough to have a Muggsy Bogues type effect on D.
28. ‎Daniel Gafford. Elite leaper at 6’11” best used at center as he doesn’t have a jump shot. Elite lob target, has length to defend rim adequately, can be best rim running center in the league. Fifth option on offense, has a developing post game with hook shot. (Returning to school)
29. ‎Melvin Frazier. Fifth option point guard with crazy hops. Long enough to guard 1-2. Lacks polish on handle but firsts two allows him to get by guys anyway. Ok shooter.
30. ‎Kevin Knox. Third option small forward. Ok shooter, good athleticism, average handle, good rebounder. Can be third option on offense due to elite size and solid touch around the rim. Lacks consistency defensively, can be great defender with concentrated effort.
31. ‎Devonte Graham. Fourth option point guard who can run an offense and be a great defender.
32. ‎Thomas Welsh. Tyler Zeller with a jumper. Solid big man who does all the little things to succeed. Can rebound, defend the rim, cover the perimeter and space the floor out to 20 feet at a solid rate, making him a valuable glue guy. Fifth option on offense to set screens and space the floor.
33. ‎Collin Sexton. Third option point guard with great defensive potential and ability to get to basket. Good basketball IQ enables him to run a team and make right pass. Lack of shooting hinders value. Defensive effort not at level desired?
34. ‎Rodions Kurucs. 6’9″ shooting guard. Tall enough to shoot over guys at the 2, not strong or quick enough to get by or defend small forwards. Fifth option on offense as a floor spacer with solid playmaking ability.
35. ‎Lagerald Vick. Best as fifth option power forward. Long enough to protect the rim and fast enough to guard 1-4. Ok shooter who is best used in the corners and on cuts. Elite in transition.
36. ‎Aaron Holiday. Third option shooting guard. Length allows him to guard 1-2. Good shooter and can create off the bounce. Intensity gives him great defensive ability.
37. ‎Rawle Alkins. Fifth option shooting guard. Has size to defend 1-3. Average shooter, but ok handle and great basketball IQ. Marcus Smart – level defender.
38. ‎Trae Young. Fourth option point guard. Elite shooter but with poor height and length needs space to get shot off. Good handle and ok IQ, solid finishing on interior. Not strong enough to guard most point guards but can see court time as floor spacer and transition threat.
39. ‎Jacob Evans. Fifth option point guard, can defend 1-4. At 6’6″ has ok handle and shot. Has great strength to get by defenders.
40. ‎Lonnie Walker. Fourth option small forward. Not quick enough to guard 2s, has length and bulk to defend threes. Can blow by slower small forwards. Ok shot.
41. ‎Bonzie Colson. 6’6″ center, with great strength and some length to make up for lack of height. Great rebounder and playmaker in post. Fifth option on offense.
42. ‎Bruno Fernando. Fifth option center a la Cristiano Felecio, great athleticism at 6’11”. Ok rebounder and shot blocker, average finisher.
43. ‎Nick Richards. Fourth option center with solid finishing ability and developing floater. Fast enough to guard 3-5.
44. ‎Trgivi Hlinason. Fourth option center. Good jump shot in mid range. Good defensive rebounder with strong box outs. Ok rim protector. Solid rim runner.
45. ‎Isaac Bonga. Rangey shooting guard. Solid handle, average shot. Too weak to guard threes but fast enough to guard point guards at 6’9″. Third option on offense in pick and roll due to good basketball IQ.
46. ‎Austin Wiley. Third option center. Solid post game and mid range shot. Ok rim protector at 7’0″.
47. ‎Allonzo Trier. Fifth option shooting guard. Good shooter, length and quickness to defend 1-3. Average handle. Old.
48. ‎Johnathan Williams. Fourth option small forward. Great rebounder and shot blocker, can bully small forwards but not good enough shooter to be stretch four.
49. ‎Payton Pritchard. Fourth option combo guard. Good shooter and playmaker. Size and competitiveness to defend 1-3.
50. ‎Justin Jackson. Fifth option small forward. Great rebounder with agility to defend on perimeter. Ok shoiter.?
51. ‎Abdoulaye Ndoye
52. ‎DeAnthony Melton. Fourth option point guard. Great size and length at the point who can run an offense and get to the rim. Ok shot.
53. ‎Goga Bitazde. Third option center. Big body with a soft mid range touch. Can be used in high post for Jokic-esque fadeaways. Lumbering.
54. ‎Tony Carr. Third option small forward. 3 and D guy.
55. ‎Kevin Hervey. Fifth option shooting guard. Size to defend 1-4. Limited offensively.
56. ‎Kostja Mushidi. Fifth option small forward. Good shooter and athlete. Joe Harris type.
57. ‎JP Macura. Fifth option shooting guard. Good shooter, solid handle,
58. ‎Chimezie Metu. Fifth option power forward. Okay tkelticism, good length, ok mid range shot. Knock knees might affect career later on.
59. ‎Remy Martin. Fourth option point guard. Quick and good shooter.
60. ‎Anfarnee Simons. Third option shooting guard. Ok shot and good handle, athleticism. Young.
61. ‎Jontay Porter. Fourth option small forward. Bulky but faster bought to cover small forwards. Good shot, rebounder.
62. ‎Jordan Poole. Fourth option small forward. Quick and athletic, ok shot.
63. ‎Ray Spalding. Long center. Fourth option center.1. Miles Bridges – has the body of a Vince Carter/Charles Barkley hybrid. Top 5 shooter in the class. Clutch, having delivered atleast 3 victories for Michigan State in the final moments of games just this year. Has had times where he could’ve been more assertive, but even if the ball isn’t in his hands he helps the offense with his floor spacing and rebounding (36% from 3, but with a FT% of 85 this should transl;ate to better numbers in the nBA with less responsibility of chucking up shots late in shot clock. Averaged 8.9 boards per game last season). Can be a first option on offense where he can come off screens to shoot, or drive by close outs. Ideal as a stretch four in the modern NBA. Also a great lob target. Can finish with either hand. Has so-so lengrth with wingspan of 6’8.5″ but has elite agility and bulk to guard 1-4. Jump shot release not overly high but gets it off quickly.
2. ‎Jaren Jackson Jr. Has the body of Kevin Garnett. Has weird mechanics on his shot but it goes in (40% on 3 albeit with just 2.7 attempts per game, but 80% FT% will translate), coaching might iron this out. Elite shot blocker yet agile enough to guard on the perimeter for stretches (9’2″ vertical reach). Leader on defense?. Best used as a four, but could play three. Not yet strong enough to play at the five, but conditioning could lead to that. Can start as a fourth option on offense from day one, can develop into more of an offensive threat with a better handle and post game.
3. ‎Bruce Brown. Plays like Gary Payton and Marcus Smart, very intense and physical. Best playmaker in the draft (P&R ball handler yielded 1.2 pts per possession) best used as PG. Has size (6’5″ tall, 6’9″ winspan, 194 pounds at 3.75% body fat so all muscle) to defend 1-4. Streaky shooter but form looks good. 37% on spot ups in freshman year, last year hampered small sample size due to injury.
4. ‎DeAndre Ayton. Body of Joel Embiid, similar skills but better passer. Already dominant inside, with great strength and length, with a developing jump shot (73% FT, 12/35 on 3 last season). Inconsistent effort on defense but has potential to guard 2-5 with good agility. Second option on offense from day one, best used at the five.
5. ‎Michael Porter Jr. Body of Giannis. Best used as a PG with a great handle and feel for the game. Jump shot requires effort with high jumping release but this can be ironed out, solid on FT before his back injury. Had back surgery, past players have not been affected long term by this?. Can defend 1-4. Third option on offense, where he can shoot over smaller guards or take them off the dribble.
6. ‎Brandon McCoy. Size of Steven Adams, with a better offensive game. Can hit mid rangers, while dominant inside. Needs to learn to use his left hand at the rim. Can be great rebounder, shot blocker. Can be defensive anchor and second option on offense at the five.
7. ‎Wendell Carter Jr. A more athletic Zach Randolph. Huge wingspan and body leads to blocks and dominance inside. Good passer, can hit mid range shot with potential for three pointer. Best used as a four, doesn’t have agiltiy to defend the three or height to defend the five consistently. Third option on offense from the high post.
8. ‎Keita Bates-Diop. Stretch center a la Draymond Green. Has giant 7’3″ wingspan at 6’8″ and 235 pounds, his standing reach is 8’10.5″ so he’d be in the lower percentile for centres but would get by with good athleticism and being a complete mismatch offensively. Can switch and defend 1-5. Great shot, can play off the bounce. Can be fifth option on offense by stretching the floor, attacking closeouts, rebounding, and taking opposing fives off the dribble as the shot clock winds down.
9. ‎Mikal Bridges. 6’7″ power forward like Draymond Green, with less bulk but a better shot. Third option on offense, has good handle and floater.
10. Shaq Morris. Dude is 24 (and at time of writing undrafted), but he can really dominate on the glass, defend the rim with his good wingspan, and shoot the rock. He’s playing in Europe, but he can make a great 4 man. Remember the only way to compete with the Warriors is to physically dominate – remember the Kanter-Adams frontcourt that nearly helped take the Thunder to the Finals a few years back? Morris could make a similar impact.
11. ‎Mo Bamba. Stretch four with insane blocking ability. Too weak to play at the five. Can be fourth option on offense, stand in corner for threes and slide in for put backs/lobs.
12. ‎Alize Johnson. Another Draymond Green type. Good passer, ok shooter, good defender, defends 2-4. 5th option on offense.
13. ‎Marvin Bagley. Best used as a shooting guard, with elite agility at 6’11” but a poor winsgpan. Can shoot over defenders at the 2 and can overpower them on the boards. Poor winsgpan and average strength minimises defensive impact inside. Doesn’t use right hand which impacts how he finishes inside, harms handle. At the 2 he can be your second option on offense with elite size and ok shooting.
14. ‎Chandler Hutchison. Andre Roberson – Klay Thompson hybrid. At 6’7″ and agile can defend 2-5. Has handle to drive by guys and soft touch at rim. Promise as shooter. Can be second option at shooting guard. Potential lock down defender.
15. ‎Grayson Allen. JJ Redick with better handle and athleticism. Second option at shooting guard guard with great shooting, good handle and solid athleticism. High basketball IQ. Good enough wingspan to be solid defensively. Athleticism not in doubt due to historically good combine performance.
16. ‎Luka Doncic. First option at shooting guard. Solid shooter who has bad shot selection (32% on threes this year), but FT % of 80% indicates potential as good shooter. Great handle and solid passer. Poor agility and winsgpan makes his defensive potential limited. Can play the 2 and the 4, where he has enough bulk to handle fours, enough quickness to stay in front of most twos, will get blown by quicker threes and point guards. At the 2 can post up smaller guards. Needs ball in hands to be worth defensive issues. Wills truffle to finish over taller more athletic defenders.
17. ‎Robert Williams. Can be elite rebounder immediately. Best used as a four where he can keep up with ball handlers on perimeter and bully smaller guys inside for offensive rebounding opportunities. Can be elite shot blocker. Not tall enough to play at the five consistently. Can’t shoot?. Best used as a fourth option on offense, to set screens and be a lob target, has potential as a mid range threat.
18. ‎Jarrey Foster. Can defend 1-5 with elite speed and strength at 6’6″. Best used as an off ball small forward. A streaky shooter, his offensive role would be to space the floor at the corner and be a cutter from there. Fifth option on offense. (Returning to school)
20. ‎Omer Yurtseven. Floor stretching four man who at 7 feet can defend on perimeter adequately. Can defend at the rim and shoot well, fourth option on offense. Good rebounder, but not strong enough to battle fives inside. (Returning to school).
21. Kostas Antetokounmpo. Best as a four, as not strong enough to play the four and swift or skilled enough to play the three. But he is fast as hell, can shoot a little, cover a heap of ground to contest shots. Has a promising jumper too.
22. ‎Deng Adel. Fifth option small forward who can play a bit like Andrei Kirilenko. 6’9″, long arms, can handle and shoot ok.
23. Isaac Haas. Biggest player in draft. Impossible to move in post and when sealing. Athletic enough to be lob target. Like Roy Hibbert defensively, needs to sink hips lower defending pick and roll and keep hands up, but size compensates a bit. 75% shooter from FT so not a hack-a-Haas candidate and could expand mid range game. Compares most to Roy Hibbert.
24. Kyle Guy. Rip Hamilton type guy who you can run off screens and have a reliable offense just from that. Great shooter, athletic enough to keep up with guys at the 2.
25. ‎Billy Preston. Huge four man who can bully most opponents immediately. Has potential to be mid range threat. Fourth option on offense, to set screens, roll or pop. Quick enough to guard some player some perimeter.
26. ‎Vincent Edwards. Glue guy at small forward, can hit threes at good rate, defend 3-5. Big enough to bully guys in the post and hold his own on boards.
27. Trae Jefferson. Returning to school, but the dude is Ty Lawson quick with a good jumper. Fast enough to have a Muggsy Bogues type effect on D.
28. ‎Daniel Gafford. Elite leaper at 6’11” best used at center as he doesn’t have a jump shot. Elite lob target, has length to defend rim adequately, can be best rim running center in the league. Fifth option on offense, has a developing post game with hook shot. (Returning to school)
29. ‎Melvin Frazier. Fifth option point guard with crazy hops. Long enough to guard 1-2. Lacks polish on handle but firsts two allows him to get by guys anyway. Ok shooter.
30. ‎Kevin Knox. Third option small forward. Ok shooter, good athleticism, average handle, good rebounder. Can be third option on offense due to elite size and solid touch around the rim. Lacks consistency defensively, can be great defender with concentrated effort.
31. ‎Devonte Graham. Fourth option point guard who can run an offense and be a great defender.
32. ‎Thomas Welsh. Tyler Zeller with a jumper. Solid big man who does all the little things to succeed. Can rebound, defend the rim, cover the perimeter and space the floor out to 20 feet at a solid rate, making him a valuable glue guy. Fifth option on offense to set screens and space the floor.
33. ‎Collin Sexton. Third option point guard with great defensive potential and ability to get to basket. Good basketball IQ enables him to run a team and make right pass. Lack of shooting hinders value. Defensive effort not at level desired?
34. ‎Rodions Kurucs. 6’9″ shooting guard. Tall enough to shoot over guys at the 2, not strong or quick enough to get by or defend small forwards. Fifth option on offense as a floor spacer with solid playmaking ability.
35. ‎Lagerald Vick. Best as fifth option power forward. Long enough to protect the rim and fast enough to guard 1-4. Ok shooter who is best used in the corners and on cuts. Elite in transition.
36. ‎Aaron Holiday. Third option shooting guard. Length allows him to guard 1-2. Good shooter and can create off the bounce. Intensity gives him great defensive ability.
37. ‎Rawle Alkins. Fifth option shooting guard. Has size to defend 1-3. Average shooter, but ok handle and great basketball IQ. Marcus Smart – level defender.
38. ‎Trae Young. Fourth option point guard. Elite shooter but with poor height and length needs space to get shot off. Good handle and ok IQ, solid finishing on interior. Not strong enough to guard most point guards but can see court time as floor spacer and transition threat.
39. ‎Jacob Evans. Fifth option point guard, can defend 1-4. At 6’6″ has ok handle and shot. Has great strength to get by defenders.
40. ‎Lonnie Walker. Fourth option small forward. Not quick enough to guard 2s, has length and bulk to defend threes. Can blow by slower small forwards. Ok shot.
41. ‎Bonzie Colson. 6’6″ center, with great strength and some length to make up for lack of height. Great rebounder and playmaker in post. Fifth option on offense.
42. ‎Bruno Fernando. Fifth option center a la Cristiano Felecio, great athleticism at 6’11”. Ok rebounder and shot blocker, average finisher.
43. ‎Nick Richards. Fourth option center with solid finishing ability and developing floater. Fast enough to guard 3-5.
44. ‎Trgivi Hlinason. Fourth option center. Good jump shot in mid range. Good defensive rebounder with strong box outs. Ok rim protector. Solid rim runner.
45. ‎Isaac Bonga. Rangey shooting guard. Solid handle, average shot. Too weak to guard threes but fast enough to guard point guards at 6’9″. Third option on offense in pick and roll due to good basketball IQ.
46. ‎Austin Wiley. Third option center. Solid post game and mid range shot. Ok rim protector at 7’0″.
47. ‎Allonzo Trier. Fifth option shooting guard. Good shooter, length and quickness to defend 1-3. Average handle. Old.
48. ‎Johnathan Williams. Fourth option small forward. Great rebounder and shot blocker, can bully small forwards but not good enough shooter to be stretch four.
49. ‎Payton Pritchard. Fourth option combo guard. Good shooter and playmaker. Size and competitiveness to defend 1-3.
50. ‎Justin Jackson. Fifth option small forward. Great rebounder with agility to defend on perimeter. Ok shoiter.?
51. ‎Abdoulaye Ndoye
52. ‎DeAnthony Melton. Fourth option point guard. Great size and length at the point who can run an offense and get to the rim. Ok shot.
53. ‎Goga Bitazde. Third option center. Big body with a soft mid range touch. Can be used in high post for Jokic-esque fadeaways. Lumbering.
54. ‎Tony Carr. Third option small forward. 3 and D guy.
55. ‎Kevin Hervey. Fifth option shooting guard. Size to defend 1-4. Limited offensively.
56. ‎Kostja Mushidi. Fifth option small forward. Good shooter and athlete. Joe Harris type.
57. ‎JP Macura. Fifth option shooting guard. Good shooter, solid handle,
58. ‎Chimezie Metu. Fifth option power forward. Okay tkelticism, good length, ok mid range shot. Knock knees might affect career later on.
59. ‎Remy Martin. Fourth option point guard. Quick and good shooter.
60. ‎Anfarnee Simons. Third option shooting guard. Ok shot and good handle, athleticism. Young.
61. ‎Jontay Porter. Fourth option small forward. Bulky but faster bought to cover small forwards. Good shot, rebounder.
62. ‎Jordan Poole. Fourth option small forward. Quick and athletic, ok shot.
63. ‎Ray Spalding. Long center. Fourth option center.

Pistons depth chart

A team is only as strong as its parts. And those parts have to fit together. In this series, I take a look at each team’s roster and see how I think they should fit together, and why.

Detroit Pistons

PG Jackson, Smith, Galloway

SG Kennard, Bradley, Montero

SF Harris, Johnson, Gbinije

PF Tolliver, Leuer, Bullock

Drummond, Marjanovic, Moreland

Bradley isn’t starting. Yep, he’s better than Kennard, but he can’t fit next to Reggie Jackson as he’s an effective second option, which is taken up by Drummond. Bradley can come off the bench for an offensive and defensive spark, and still play around 28 minutes per game. Jackson is being paid too much to be on the bench, so in a battle between him and Bradley, Jackson gets the start. Kennard is a good complement to Jackson as he doesn’t need the ball to be effective – he’s a great shooter, which boosts an offense itself as it spaces the floor. He too can post up smaller guards, and is a good passer.

At power forward, Tolliver gets the start. While having  Stanley Johnson on the bench might seem stupid as he is younger and better in a vacuum, but Tolliver is a perfect fit next to Drummond. Drummond is a limited rim protector – Tolliver can help with that. Drummond also needs space to work down low, so Tolliver can space the floor for him as a good three point shooter. 

Harris can be a first option in the half court coming off curls, where his mid range game a la Carmelo Anthony and strong finishing at the rim can be hard to stop. He also has potential as a floor general, he plays a bit like Grant Hill.

Reggie Jackson can be the third option and have a comeback season after a forgetful one last year. He’s best in the pick and roll and posting up smaller guards.

Here’s a play I drew up with the Basketball app on Google Play:

The idea is to get Harris a mid range shot off a Drummond pin down. Harris can shoot or pass to a sealing Drummond. If that’s not on, then Harris can dribble hand off to Kennard/Jackson where she can shoot or drive on the left side of the court. If that’s not on Harris sets a screen for Kennard/Jackson to get an open three, and if that fails get a pick and roll with Drummond on the strong side. If neither Jackson or Drummond can get open, Tolliver slides across for a three. If there’s time left and Tolliver doesn’t have a shot, Harris cuts across the mid range to get a low post opportunity. All players get the ball in their best spots.

Back to the depth chart, and the bench mob will be fast paced, with the aim to get Johnson the ball on the wing where he can attack close outs, Bradley off of screens, Smith and Leuer on fast breaks, and Marjanovic off deep post catches.

I have this team narrowly missing the playoffs, as Harris is a relatively weak first option and Drummond and Jackson are too limited to take over, but Drummond is still only 24, so the future is still bright.

Here’s the minutes breakdown of what I expect each player to average over the season:

Jackson (28 mpg)

Kennard (18mpg)

Harris (32mpg)

Tolliver (17mpg)

Drummond (32mpg)

Smith (16mpg)

Bradley (28 mpg)

Johnson (26mpg)

Leuer (14 mpg)

Marjanovic (18 mpg)

Galloway (6 mpg)

Montero (6 mpg)

Gbinije (5mpg)

Bullock (12 mpg)

Moreland (8mpg)

Ellenson (12 mpg)

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or tweeting at me at @bskinnreports

Hawks depth chart

A team is only as strong as its parts. And those parts have to fit together. In this series, I take a look at each team’s roster and see how I think they should fit together, and why, with a breakdown of what stats I expect each player to reach.

Atlanta Hawks

(Note: I originally posted this without knowing that forward Jeremy Evans had been waived. This is a revised post as a result.)

PG Schroder, Delaney, Cook

SG Bazemore, Belinelli, Dorsey

SF Prince, Brussino, Bembry

PF Collins, Ilyasova, Babbitt

C Muscala, Plumlee, Dedmon

Taurean Prince is the go-to guy offensively – he’s got a solid shot and handle, but most of all is aggressive and hyper athletic enough to dunk on anyone. He’s ideal in dribble handoffs to attack an unbalanced defender, or even pick and rolls. John Collins is the next offensive option, where he can flash an old school mid range game a la Karl Malone with his great athleticism providing a dual threat. Schroder is the third option, where he can iso and run pick and rolls. I don’t like point guards as my primary option as they shouldnt be shoot-first (unless they have a point forward like Green is to Curry in golden State), as they have to defend the most talented position in the league every night, and get their quota of points off of fast breaks. Muscala and Bazemore can space the floor, defend and rebound. 

Here’s a play I drew up with the awesome Basketball app on the Google store: 

The play is designed to get Prince an open three or attack of a close out off the first floppy screen. If this fails, Collins seals off under the basket. If hes defended well, the ball swings to the other side, where Bazemore has the shoot or attack option. If this fails, Muscala does the same on the other side (it’s awesome having four shooters!). Schroder cuts baseline off a Prince pick, and whips around for a screen and roll with Collins. All five guys touch the ball, and all five guys have opportunities in their best spots.

Back to the depth chart, and the vets on the team get the nod. I originally posted this article with a young second string group in mind, but I figure the Hawks are paying Plumlee’s so much that they have to fit him in the rotation. Fellow veterans in Ilyasova, Babbitt and Belinelli complement him well with great shooting. Delaney is a score first guard, so he can provide an offensive punch. the bench mob is young, with Dorsey and Bembry the primary ball handlers. 

The third string guys are good enough to step up and replace injured starters if need be (my philosophy is to keep units together, so it’s often better to fill an injured starters spot with a 3rd stringer to keep the second string unit intact). Dedmon is the only veteran, but falls out of the main rotation as Muscala and Plumlee are better fits with the current roster, however he can still come in and play 10 minutes a game of hustle and defense, and can replace injured starters with aplomb. The other 3rd stringers are young and can develop behind the vets.

I think this team will get a top three pick in next year’s draft, as they’re too young and deficient in go-to talent to win more than 25 games. However, Coach Bud has a track history of success with lesser known guys (like the Hawks number one seed team a few years back) so they could surprise some people in the weak East.

I would expect these stat lines from each top 5 player on the roster:

Schroder (32mpg): 16 PPG, 3rpg, 6apg, 2spg.

Bazemore(28 mpg): 12ppg, 3rpg, 2apg, 1spg

Prince (25mpg): 14ppg, 6rpg, 2apg, 1spg

Collins (23mpg): 13ppg, 8rpg, 2apg.

Muscala (18mpg): 8ppg, 3rpg.

I think this team will go 21- 61 (my full standing predictions for the league are here) so they’re well set up to take a top pick in next year’s draft. They should take a good look at Michael Porter, who could be like Dominique Wilkins with his size and athletic ability at the 3. I’d also move Ilyasova for a second round pick at the trade deadline, and potentially bundle those picks to move up into the first round.

Let me know what you think my leaving a comment or tweeting at me at @bskinnreports.

A weird NBA rotation that might just work.

Bulls: Play Markannen at shooting guard and run sets like the ’08 Celtics

PG: Grant, Dunn

SG: Markannen, Wade

SF: Zipser, LaVine

PF: Portis, Mirotic

C: Felicio, Lopez

This team is eerily similar to the ’08 Celtics in terms of skill set.

Jerian Grant is a good perimeter defender with a pass-first mentality (Rondo).

Lauri Markannen was one of the best shooters in college at 7 feet tall, so his shot would almost be unblockable by NBA guards (just like Ray Allen’s fast and high release).

Paul Zipser is 6’7″, stocky, with great footwork and mid-range game (like Paul Pierce).

Bobby Portis is 6’11”, 250 pounds of wild intensity with a solid mid-range game (like Kevin Garnett).

Cristiano Felicio is a 6’10” defensive minded player with limited offensive skills, but nonetheless valuable as a screener, rebounder and defensive anchor (Kendrick Perkins).

The bench would be the most talented in the NBA, especially once LaVine comes back from injury. They would play fast, yet be able to score in the half court, especially with an offense revolving around Wade isos or post ups.

Denzel Valentine, Cameron Payne and Justin Holiday can fill in whenever another player goes down.

The Bulls could awlays play the boring lineup of Dunn, Wade, Zipser, Markannen and Lopez, but why wouldn’t you exploit a mismatch liek Markannen at SG and make an uber-bench unit?

A big question would be Markannen defending shooting guards, but I don’t see this as a problem. Despite being huge, he is fleet of foot and agile (which means he might struggle as a traditional stretch four as he would get bullied inside). Even if a defender beats him, he’s got long enough arms to contest a shot.

 

 

NBA standing predictions for 2017-2018 season

I’m not even sure if that win count mathematically makes sense, but it’s my approximation anyway.

This is assuming every team is healthy. I’ve listed how the playoff teams will perform in brackets.

EAST

1. Cleveland Cavaliers 56 win (lose Finals)

The Cavs are still top in the East. They have great depth – they are 3 deep at every position. This means that Thomas’s hip injuries won’t be a huge problem. I think moving Kevin Love to center will allow LeBron to use his defensive and athletic abilities more. The Celtics got the number one seed last year, but with the Irving trade they have less continuity and will take time to gel.

2. Boston Celtics 54 win (lose EC finals)

3. Toronto Raptors 53 win (lose in first round)

They have great continuity but a severe lack of shooting, which is vital in winning playoff games. They lose to the Hornets, as they don’t have enough space for DeRozan to go to work.

4. Washington Wizards 53 win (lose in second round)

They’ll narrowly beat the Bucks in the first round, but can’t beat the Celtics, who have much greater depth.

5. Milwaukee 48 win (lose in first round)

Antetokounmpo is stoppable – without a reliable outside shot, he won’t have the space to win games in the clutch. Same goes for Parker.

6. Charlotte Hornets 45 win (lose in second round)

I think Dwight will help this team make a surprise playoff run. 

7. Miami Heat 44 win (lose in first round)

This team is the same as last year, so they’ll improve with another year together.

8. Philadelphia Sixers 40 win (lose in first round).

Even with injuries, this team is too talented to miss the playoffs again. Fultz will be a go to guy, while Simmons and Embiid can create as well. Saric can step up offensively when any starters go down. I think theyll take a game or two from Cleveland in the playoffs.

9. Detroit Pistons 35 win

They haven’t been able to solve their power forward problems. I have them starting Tolliver next to Drummond, as he is a shooter who can help protect the rim somewhat, but their lack of cap space has hamstrung them in making a more cohesive team. Most of their best players are still under 25 though, so they still have a few years to figure it out.

10. New York Knicks 33 win

I think the Melo trade won’t change much record-wise. This is suddenly an up and coming team – Ntilikina, Porzingis, Kanter and Hefnangomez are still 25 and under. They can add a wing in the draft next year and bring some optimism to New York for the first time in years.

11. Chicago Bulls 32 win

They’ll miss the playoffs, but they won’t be as bad as people suspect. They have proven playoff performers in Lopez and Mirotic, young bigs in Portis and Felicio, and a talented backcourt rotation if everyone is healthy. The biggest X factor for me is how they use Lauri Markennen and Paul Zipser. As I wrote about here, they have the potential to be like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce of the ’08 Celtics respectively. Markennen is an elite shooter, while Zipser has a crafty slashing and mid range game. Bringing Dunn and LaVine off the bench will make this a fun team.

12. Brooklyn Nets 26 win

13. Indiana Pacers 26 win

14. Orlando Magic 23 win

Ive hated this team for a while, but if they use their rotations correctly, they can be a playoff team within a few years. A frontcourt of Isaac, Gordon and Biyombo would be the most athletic in the league, and Fournier and Payton can help run the show. Bringing Vucevic off the bench will make other teams hurt with his offensive rebounding ability.

15. Atlanta Hawks 16 win

They tank, but they do so wisely if they play their young guys, as I wrote here.

WEST

1. Golden State Warriors 68 win (champs)

2. San Antonio Spurs 56 win (lose in first round)

They’ll win a lot of regular season games, but their best players are ageing outside of Leonard and are devoid of depth in the frontcourt, which will kill them against the physical dominance of the Clippers.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder 56 win (lose in second round)

They’ll win heaps of games on talent alone, where each All-Star can handle the offensive load on any night, but against a more balanced team like the Timberwolves, they’ll struggle to defend Butler, Wiggins and Towns.

4. Rockets 53 win (lose in first round)

They’ll have the same growing pains as the ’12 Miami Heat and ’16 Warriors who brought in ball dominant scorers, except I don’t think they’ll fix it to win it all. They can improve their starting  lineup by playing Tucker and Nene whose sole job is to stretch the floor and rebound respectively. Ariza and Capela are too talented to be sidekicks, so they can bring a spark off the bench. I think they’ll lose to the TWolves though, as they share the Thunders problem in that they don’t have a designated go-to guy in the clutch.

5. Timberwolves 52 win (lose WC finals)

They have bad depth in the backcourt, but that doesn’t matter with an elite starting group. They have the perfect team to challenge the Warriors – every starter can crash the glass, which the ’16 Thunder proved to be the Achilles heel of Golden State in the WC Finals before Klay went off and Durant left. 

6. Denver Nuggets 46 win (lose in first round)

Getting Millsap makes them a playoff team, but I hate the moves they made before this – trading Nurkic just because he was whining is as stupid as trading Irving for the same reason. They could’ve been contending in two years time while being three deep at every position – now they have an ageing veteran in Millsap who will take the ball away from potential stars in Jamal Murray and Kenneth Faried, whose shooting and rebounding respectively are almost generational. 

7. LA Clippers 44 win (lose WC semis)

If they go for a supersized lineup with Wes Johnson at SG, Beverley at PG, and Teodosic and Williams providing offense off the bench, they can pass the first round of the playoffs.

8. Phoenix Suns 43 win (lose WC prelims).

If they start Bledsoe, Booker, Josh Jackson, Chriss and Bender, they’ll have the fastest, most athletic young team in the league. 

9. Memphis Grizzlies 38 win

Outside of Gasol and Conley, they will struggle to score. Parsons’s injury issues kill the team in this regard. The Conley-Gasol duo are so good however that they’ll challenge for a playoff spot.

10. Portland Trail Blazers 38 win

While everyone else improved, the Blazers stayed put. They have a strange roster – Harkless and Aminu have been great at the forward spots, but don’t space the floor enough for Nurkic to go to work. They either bench the former and start the latter, or vice versa.

11. New Orleans Pelicans 36 win

They could’ve been great if they hadn’t have signed ball dominant guards. Davis and Cousins are talented enough to carry a team if no-one else is in their way, but Rondo and Holiday will only take the ball away. I would’ve signed Calderon and Korver on much cheaper deals. 

12. Dallas Mavericks 34 win

If they give the offensive responsibilities to Barnes, Smith and Matthews, while Nowitzki spaces the floor and Noel hustles, they can be effective. The West is too tough for them to make a great impact though.

13. Sacramento Kings 28 win

I like this team if they start their young guys. Labissiere can be a go to option with his elite mid range game, while Hield and Cauley-Stein provide great playmaking and rim running respectively. Bringing Hill, Bogdanovic, Carter and Randolph off the bench will make them a much more even team, while giving the young guys more reps for the future.

14. LA Lakers 28 win

They have a strange identity – Ball and Caldwell-Pope are suited to playing fast, but Ingram and Lopez are better with a half-court set up. I would’ve kept Russell and had Ball come off the bench.

15. Utah Jazz 22 win

Everyone sees them as playoff contenders, but no-one on this roster is a go-to scorer. Hood is an ok shooter off mid range, but too weak to drive and finish. Gobert is improving in the post but isn’t unstoppable. Ingles is a Swiss army knife but is guard able, and Rubio is a passer first. I’d tank, as Gobert, Hood and Burks are still young, and they can wait another year for Exum. 



			

Where could Ryan Broekhoff land in the NBA?

As Ryan Broekhoff sets his eyes on Rio, what are his chances of making an NBA roster?

Ben Skinner writes.

Emily Ostavich and Madison Hall edits.

rowdy-2

Figure 1: Broekhoff rises up for a jump shot. Photo: alchetron.com

Ryan Broekhoff, the Australian basketballer set to play for Australia in the Rio Olympics, has his eyes set on the gold. Nonetheless, Broekhoff says “the NBA has always been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.” But what are the chances of this happening?

At 6’7”, just under 100 kgs, with a 6’8” wingspan, Broekhoff has the same physical tools as Golden State Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson, and can subsequently start at the 2 or 3 spot.

He has proved he’s one of the best shooters in Europe hitting 1.9 threes on 47% shooting for Lokomotiv in the elite Euroleague last season, to go along with a well rounded 8.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1 steal per game averages.

He also has the ability to switch onto bigs defensively, as he played as a stretch four in college for Valparaiso University, a skill that is a big plus in the modern, switch-heavy NBA.

“I think I can defend most positions. With the NBA pushing for more outside shooters, hopefully a team will want my skill set”, Broekhoff said.

Angus Crawford wrote in his June 16 article for Sporting News that a number of NBA teams have shown interest and are monitoring his situation closely.

If Broekhoff proves his worth in the Olympics, teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers appear to be his best fits, due to their need for shooting, defense and Aussie influence.

rowdy-3

Figure 2: Broekhoff passes to a Denver Nuggets summer league teammate in 2015. Photo: gettyimages

 

Indeed, the value of Australian players has grown in the overseas market, as Dellavedova, Bogut, Baynes, and Mills have all been involved in champion teams, while Joe Ingles is lauded as valued teammate.

“My role on the Boomers will most likely be to defend and space the floor for the other guys like Aron Baynes, who can score at will,” he says.

Even though his dreams are big, Broekhoff pays little attention to NBA speculation.

“I let my agents handle NBA interest, so I couldn’t tell you what teams might want me, but I don’t want to get distracted by rumours,”Broekhoff says. “It’s just a waiting game, hopefully something comes up, but if not, I still have a contract with Loko for next season.”

While the NBA is in sight, his sole focus right now is to represent his country.

“I saw games at the Sydney Olympics as a kid in 2000, and I thought, this is the best thing ever, I’d love to be a part of this, so the Olympics are my number one priority right now, and bringing home a gold medal is the number one goal,” Broekhoff said.

Video of one of Broekhoff’s performances for Lokomotiv last season: 

How the Heat could’ve cleared space for Wade while still signing Whiteside and contending

The Miami Heat lost their franchise icon, 3 time champion and 13 time All Star in Dwyane Wade this offseason, to their Eastern Conference foes the Chicago Bulls. Why did this happen? The Heat did not have enough cap space to offer Wade the same amount Chicago did, after re-signing center Hassan Whiteside. Furthermore, key decision maker Pat Riley reportedly barely spoke to Wade prior to his leaving. So, if I had’ve taken over as GM, here’s what I would’ve done to retain Wade and contonue to challenge LeBron James’ Cavs in the East:

Trade ill-fitting point guard Goran Dragic (who is better suited to running the show in a fast paced system) for the Rockets’ # and D point guard Pat Beverley and young forward Sam Dekker. This trade stings after the Heat gave up two first round picks to get Dragic, but if they get that return plus Wade, it’s a necessary evil. The Rockets have always coveted Dragic and he would fit well as a second playmaker alongside Harden.

This deal clears up an extra $8.18 million for the Heat, with $52 million in cap space total. Sign Whiteside to his deal, which is $22.1 million in the first year. The, sign Wade to the same deal he got with Chicago – $47.5 million over two years ($23.3 mil in first year).

This leaves around $6.6 million to re-sign Tyler Johnson with his “poison pill” contract (ie $11.5 million in first two years, $38.5 million in final two years).

The Heat would now have a (healthy) starting lineup of Tyler Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Justise Winslow, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, supported by Josh McRoberts, Dekker, Beverley, Udonis Haslem, Josh Richardson and whoever the team can pick up on the cheap. I think that this team could reach the Eastern Conference Finals at the least.

Of course, this is all hypothetical, and maybe Pat Riley never intended to re-sign Wade, or Wade didn’t want to come back. But this is what I would’ve done as a GM to keep the Heat in contention and keep a franchise icon in South Beach.

Think this works? If not, why not? Leave a comment below or tweet at me at @NBAcouchGM

NBA season predictions: team standings

With most of the NBA rosters set at the time of writing, it’s time for NBA standings predictions. These can change with trades, injuries, locker-room cataclysms or other variables, but with the teams as they are now, this is how I see the 2016-2017 season playing out:

West:

  1. Grizzlies – yes, the Grizzlies. They went all-in on win-now, giving Mike Conley and Chandler Parsons huge contracts. They have the most stabile roster of the last few years (despite getting rid of strong coach Dave Joerger, which will be mitigated by their veteran leadership), and have the wing scorer they need in Parsons, with solid depth.
  2. Mavericks – Bogut and Barnes banish their former team to third spot. Dirk has a defensive center behind him once again, while Barnes, Wes Matthews and Deron Williams complement him beautifully. I still would’ve liked to see the whole league reject the Barnes and Bogut for Durant-cap-space trade, in an unprecedented act of trolling.
  3. Warriors – just as the Heat struggled early in their Big 3 era, so will the Warriors. There’s not enough ball for so many stars. They’ll figure it out and probably win the comp, but their standings won’t wow you, and non-Warriors fans will boo all year long.
  4. Spurs – they lose Tim Duncan to retirement and add Pau Gasol. A nice addition, but they lose Timmy’s defense. Like the Warriors, there might not be enough ball to go around, with Kawhi Leonard, Lamarcus Aldridge, Gasol and Tony Parker expecting the ball in their hands. Don’t be surprised if Pop works it out come postseason time
  5. Jazz – the biggest risers from last season. They added veterans in George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw to create a great environemnt .
  6. Clippers – this standing depends on the blake Griffin situation. If he is not traded, they will still compete, but without the cap space to sign a championship-worthy small forward, they sit at mid-tier.
  7. Pelicans – another riser from last season, the Pelicans have their top three guys established in MVP candidate Anthony Davis, reigning college player of the year in Buddy Hield, and a (hopefully) healthy Jrue Holiday. They have the defensive personnel and proven coach in Alvin Gentry to make the playoffs happen.
  8. Trail Blazers – a drop from last year, as they didn’t manage to boost their team much in the offseason. Evan Turner might complicate things as another ball handler. Nonetheless, the Blazers are well coached and have steady players all round.
  9. Timberwolves – just missing the playoffs, the up-and-coming Timberwolves will realise that they should’ve traded Ricky Rubio sooner, and given Karl Anthony Towns a break by playing him at the 4 next to a starter-worthy center (Nikola Pekovic for Tyson Chandler trade anyone?)
  10. Nuggets – the team with the most depth in the league miss the playoffs due to a lack of star power, but will have found a great starting five of Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, and all-rookie first team and fun-to-watch Nikola Jokic, with starter quality players backing them up. Look for them to contend as soon as 2018.
  11. Rockets – they gave the reigns of the franchise to James Harden, who puts up nearly 40 points per game, but loses the MVP race due to a complete lack of defense in Mike D’Antoni’s system. They’ll be hella fun to watch though.
  12. Thunder – Russell Westbrook averages a triple double, but just like Harden, cannot will his team to the playoffs. With Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis improving, look for them to make the playoffs the following season if Westbrook re-signs.
  13. Suns – a higgledy-piggledy bunch of veterans and rawness, the Suns give minutes to Tyson Chandler and Eric Bledsoe, who would be better served on contending teams. Devin Booker averages 22 points per game, while Dragan Bender averages 12 minutes a game and turns into the next Jan Vesely.
  14. Kings – the Kings lose most of their games as they start five centers, with the game-plan being Boogie hucking up threes from the halfway line.
  15. Lakers – inexperience in a difficult conference makes the Lakers lose a lot of games, but they give big minutes to their young core. I just wish they’d added a veteran shooting guard, or they would’ve ranked higher.

 

East:

  1. Cavs – they have LeBron James in a weak conference. ‘Nuff said.
  2. Raptors – they have the most stability of any other team, and will win a ton of games as a result. DeMar DeRozan becomes an MVP candidate.
  3. Knicks – ‘Melo finally gets a well-fitting supporting cast. The only issue could be coach Jeff Hornacek expecting Melo to race up and down the court in seven seconds or less, and they’ll rely on Derrick Rose finding his old one-man-fastbreak ways.
  4. Celtics – with the best young coach in the NBA in Brad Stevens, they start Jaylen Brown at the 4 to make a Warriors-lite, a team that can switch defenders onto anybody. While they hide All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the corner.
  5. Hawks – Dwight find his old mojo as a hometown favourite and go-to option. Dennis Schroder has a breakout season, and contends with Westbrook for the most wacky fashion statements. Kent Bazemore realises he should’ve signed with a team needing a starting shooting guard, as he gets pushed around all season at small forward.
  6. Pistons – Andre Drummond averages 18 and 18, while Tobias Harris proves to be the worst number 1 offensive option in the league. Stanley Johnson rages as he can’t realise his Stanimal potential behind Harris and Marcus Morris.
  7. Pacers – Paul George contends for MVP, while the Pacers go from a plodding Hibbert and West to a manic Teague and Ellis in the space of a year. Larry Bird manages to alienate every player, leaving voicemails to announce he stole their lunch money.
  8. Bulls – Nikola Mirotic is banned from entering the paint, as every other player drives into a mass of bodies. If they sign a shooting point guard and use Rondo as a sixth man, they contend for a ring.
  9. Wizards – Wall and Beal clash as they both want the ball, while Markieff Morris commits Wizards-esque acts to force himself out of the league ( I don’t want to wish ill on a player, but try to get weed through an airport and have a tantrum while being paid $7 million to play basketball? Come on man).
  10. Hornets – Kemba Walker balls like an MVP, but the team struggles against a stronger East. Combining speedy Kemba with a plodding Roy Hibbert is not a good idea – couldn’t they have gotten Festus Ezeli, and eventually sign his Warriors alumni in Steph Curry?
  11. Magic – they improve, however their lineup is all over the place, with Hezonja the Beast languishing on the bench, while Elfrid Payton bricks every jumper in a shooting-point-guard crazy league. Ibaka leaves, making their ‘Dipo and Sabonis trade null and void.
  12. Bucks – Thon Maker flashes potential but fails to remove his blinkers, while the Greek Freak and Jabari Parker prove to be the most exciting forward combo in the league.
  13. Heat – the Heat tank as Hassan Whiteside is their best healthy player (fingers crossed Bosh returns to boost their standings). A good time to tank, as the next draft class is star-studded.
  14. Nets – Brook Lopez carries the team, Jeremy Lin averages the funnest 16 points per game on 30% shooting ever, and no-one thinks to refashion the most boring jersey in the league, or change the name to the Knights (ode to Lil Bow Wow).
  15. Sixers – Ben Simmons and Jahlil Okafor combine for a championship-level partnership, while everyone else stands and watches. Shoulda traded Joel Embiid for D’Angelo Russell when they had the chance…

There ya have it. Leave your comments here or tweet at me at @notNBAGM.

 

 

 

’16 NBA Mock Draft – Murray at #4, Dunn slides

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Notables:

#4 Jamal Murray: Murray is similar to freshmen Steph Curry in some aspects –  he’s seen as  a combo guard out of college, he’s criticised for lack of athleticism, had a low assist average of 2.2 (Curry had 2.8), yet he averaged three made three pointers at a 40% clip as a shooting guard at Kentucky, averaging 20 points a game on a loaded team. Linking with 2015 draft gem Devin Booker would make the second best shooting backcourt in the league – and they’re both 19! Phoenix already has 2 starting quality point guards in Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight, but I see Phoenix trading away Bledsoe:

The 8th pick: Sacramento is in win-now mode if they choose to proceed with Demarcus Cousins as their cornerstone. They don’t need a new rookie, so trading their 8th pick for a point guard of the future is best. The Suns’ Eric Bledsoe is on the market, and would team up with Cousins as they did in college at Kentucky. The Suns would select a power forward like Domantas Sabonis with the Kings’ pick, fitting well next to top 5 pick in 2013 Alex Len as a bruising rebounder with passing skills.

#18 Kris Dunn: in this shooting-obsessed league, who wants a 22 year old point guard who can’t shoot? Dunn’s assets are speed and individual defense, and I think he could be a starter on a team with reliable shooters around him, but his poor turnover rate of 3.5 a game in college indicates he mightn’t even be able to find them as the lead ball handler. He is overrated and therefore slides.

20th pick: as I outline in this article, I think the Pacers would trade their 20th pick for a floor general like Jeff Teague. The Hawks would then choose a ready-to-go, defense-first small forward to replace Kent Bazemore if he leaves in Taureen Prince.

 

Any other questions about my selections or have some feedback? Comment here or tweet at me @skinnersource