(Reminder this is before free agency so certain players team fit can change asap)
Atlanta Hawks – #6 Onyeka Okongwu USC PF/C, #50 Skylar Mays LSU G
The Hawks already have John Collins and Clint Capela so I wonder what their plan is. Capela has 3 years left on his deal while Collins will be a RFA in 2021. Is Okongwu insurance for a Collins departure? Hopefully Okongwu doesn’t get lost in a front court logjam since he has more upside then either player. Mays fits in as a nice combo guard next to Trae Young or as a backup ball handler. He needs to improve his defense if he wants to maintain steady minutes.
Boston Celtics – #14 Aaron Nesmith Vanderbilt SG, #26 Payton Pritchard Oregon G, #47 Yam Madar Israel G
Even though the Celtics needed a center Nesmith provides a steady outside shooter and another potential (key word: potential) switchable wing. I wonder what happens to Gordon Hayward now? I was surprised they didn’t draft a big with their next pick and instead got another backup ball handler in Pritchard. Does that mean bye-bye to Brad Wanamaker? They must not have much faith in Carsen Edwards whom they drafted last year.
Brooklyn Nets – #57 Reggie Perry Mississpi st C
Perry is a big who can shoot. He offers a different skill set compared to Deandre Jordan and Jarrett Allen. The Nets also traded for Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown. Both players offer decent role player potential around two (maybe three) stars.
Charlotte Hornets – #3 LaMelo Ball USA G, #32 Vernon Carey Duke C, #42 Nick Richards Kentucky C, #56 Grant Riller College of Charleston G
I just wonder with Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham and Malik Monk how does Ball fit into that. Rozier has 2 years left on his deal and Graham/Monk both have a year left before they hit RFA. Ball clearly offers more upside then any of them but Graham/Rozier aren’t really the off-ball type. I’m assuming that means Graham might be the odd man out, otherwise it’s an eyebrow raising trio. Cody Zeller has a year left on his deal so drafting another big in Carey was fine. However drafting another big in Richards looks like overkill. I don’t get the Riller selection. Was he the best player available on their big board? I just don’t see how he gets any minutes even though he has major offensive upside.
Chicago Bulls – #4 Patrick Williams Florida st F, #44 Marko Simonovic C, Undrafted Devon Dotson Kansas G
Otto Porter, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter and now Patrick Williams. Contrary to popular opinion Willams is more suited to play the four rather than the three. Porter is an UFA next season while Markkanen is a RFA. I personally would favor keeping Carter at center and Williams at the four and think that has the greatest fit potential that offers more two-way upside. If they let Porter walk next off-season and re-sign Markkanen I’m skeptical of Carter at the five, Markkanen at the four and Williams at the three fit.
Cleveland Cavs – #5 Isaac Okoro Auburn F
It’s tough to comment on fit while the Cavs have no identity as a team. Technically they needed a perimeter defender so Okoro fits that bill. The Cavs also have a questionable player development staff. I wish Okoro the best.
Dallas Mavs – #18 Josh Green Arizona G, #31 Tyrell Terry Stanford G, #36 Tyler Bey Colorado F, Undrafted Nate Hinton Houston G/F
3-and-D wing: check. Ball handler that can play alongside Luka: check. Versatile defensive forward that can rebound: check. Do the little things role player: check. The Mavs also traded for Josh Richardson. These are the types of drafts that can change the trajectory of a franchise.
Denver Nuggets – #22 Zeke Nnaji Arizona C, #24 RJ Hampton USA G
Mason Plumlee, Jerami Grant and Paul Milsap are all UFA this off-season. With that amount of uncertainty moving forward getting another big was important. Zeke Nnaji can fill the Plumlee role. Hampton offers the upside that Monte Morris (who is an UFA next off-season) doesn’t have. Hampton needs to be a better shooter however if he wants to carve out a sizable role in the NBA.
Detroit Pistons – #7 Killian Hayes France G, #16 Isaiah Stewart Washington C, #19 Saddiq Bey Villanova F, #38 Saben Lee Vanderbilt G
The Pistons also traded away Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard. Hayes should step right into the starting point guard role. Stewart offers some Christian Wood insurance in the event he leaves in free agency this off-season. Bey was someone they have desperately needed for a while now. And Saben Lee offers some backup scoring ability with a super quick first step. I’m still skeptical of the Pistons player development system but this draft looks like it knocked out needs and fit.
Golden State – #2 James Wiseman Memphis C, #48 Nico Mannion Arizona G, #51 Justinian Jessup Boise st, G
Terrible news about Klay. Hopefully it isn’t serious but as of writing this I’m expecting the worst. Wiseman’s fit next to Draymond Green is still a question mark for me even though Wiseman offers a ton of upside as a player. Usually come playoff time the Warriors identity is Draymond at the five, so are they changing their style? Can Wiseman develop an outside shot and off the dribble game? Wiseman has the potential to be a defensive versatile player which fits well with the Warriors switching style. Wiseman is still raw and with no summer league plus no extended off-season I wonder how much of an impact he makes outside of the paint. Mannion could be an upgrade at backup guard too.
Houston Rockets – #52 Kenyon Martin jr USA F, Undrafted Mason Jones Arkansas G/F
I’ve only seen limited tape on Martin so I can’t speak to what value he brings. Jones is more of a on-ball shot creator. I wonder if Harden/Westbrook come back what role would Jones bring.
Indiana Pacers – #54 Cassius Stanley Duke G/F
Stanley has the potential to be an athletic 3-and-D role player. He’s pretty thin which is a concern. Adding muscle will be a must.
Los Angeles Clippers – #33 Daniel Oturu Minnesota C, #55 Jay Scrubb John A Logan College G
The Clippers also traded for Luke Kennard. Even though he’s not a defensive orientated player he’s a ball handling scorer who can space the floor which the Clippers need. He has to stay healthy though to provide any impact. Oturu might be Montrezl Harrell insurance and has the potential to overtake Zubac since Oturu can attack a closeout, drive off the dribble in a straight line and pick-and-pop. Oturu offers better rim protection potential too.
Los Angeles Lakers – No one
Memphis Griz – #30 Desmond Bane TCU G, #35 Xavier Tillman Michigan st C, Undrafted Killian Tillie Gonzaga C
The Grizzlies sure didn’t care about athletic ability and drafted smart, fundamentally driven players. Bane is a floor spacing guard and a good decision maker. I am concerned about his driving ability even though his role won’t be secondary/tertiary ball handler. Tillman is a smart big who can manipulate angles on dribble-hand-offs, pass and defend at a high level. Tillie becomes another undrafted injury prone big for Memphis but the skill both Jontay Porter and Tillie possess is clearly worth a roster spot. The amount of skill the Grizzlies are amassing in the frontcourt is quite impressive with Jaren Jackson, Brandon Clarke, Porter, Tillman and Tillie.
Miami Heat – #20 Precious Achiuwa Memphis PF/C
The fit next to Bam is evident. Precious is an energy big who rebounds, annoys and defends. The issue becomes his shooting. He shot 59.9% from the line and 21.4% on 2pt jumpers. I wonder how much he can do outside of the paint and I question his feel. The Heat were a great team last season in part because of their off-ball movement. They have savoy players who can relocate for 3, flash to the right spots and cut in space. Precious had a 1-2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio which is terrible. Miami does have one of the best player development staffs in the league but improving ‘feel’ is a tricky business.
Milwaukee Bucks – #45 Jordan Nwora Louisville F, #60 Sam Merrill Utah St G
Nwora is a good shooter but is a questionable decision maker. Merrill is a good shooter and a much better decision maker. Both players don’t offer much upside due to lack of athletic ability. But they do provide spacing for Giannis.
Minnesota Timberwolves – #1 Anthony Edwards SG Georgia, #23 Leandro Bolmaro G, #28 Jaden McDaniels Washington F
It sucks having the first overall pick in a draft with no true star prospect but at least Edwards provides high level upside. With D’Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns the TWolves were in the market for a potential 3-and-D wing with scoring ability. Edwards can be that guy. McDaniels is a high upside pick due to his size, length and baseline skill. He didn’t get to the rim as much as he should’ve and shot a bunch of 1-2 plant long two pull ups. He drew fouls at a decent clip due to his pump faking ability as well. Overall if he adds strength and becomes better at defense the fit next to Towns can be a solid modern day frontcourt pairing. The TWolves have an interesting young core with Russell, Towns, Edwards, Culver, Okogie, McDaniels, Jacob Evans, Omari Spellman, Jarred Vanderbilt and Naz Reid.
New Orleans – #13 Kira Lewis Alabama G, Undrafted Naji Marshall Xavier F
The Pelicans now have Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis. So I take it that means they’re not re-signing E’Twaun Moore, Frank Jackson or Kenrich Williams? Lewis has the ability to play off-ball but clearly offers most of his utility on-ball creating. His vision, first step and shooting fit well with Zion especially as a pick-and-roll partner. I’m just curious as to what this means for Lonzo Ball? Marshall is a decent play making 6’7 forward. He must improve his outside shot but has a chance at becoming a nice fit next to Zion on the frontcourt.
New York Knicks – #8 Obi Toppin Dayton C, #25 Immanuel Quickley Kentucky G
As long as they play Toppin at center and as long as he has a pick-and-roll partner then Toppin is a good fit. The question becomes do the Knicks view Toppin as a center or power forward? And do they even have that ball handler who can play pick-and-roll with Toppin? What becomes of Mitchell Robinson? Quickley doesn’t offer much else outside of his shooting ability but you can carve out a role in today’s NBA with just good shooting.
Oklahoma City – #17 Aleksej Pokusevski F/C, #34 Theo Maledon France G, #37 Vit Krejci G
With the amount of draft picks the Thunder have it seems as if they’ve gone the draft-and-stash route. Pokusevski’s mobility and raw ability at his size gives him massive upside.
Orlando Magic – #15 Cole Anthony North Carolina G
Sorry to Markelle Fultz but Anthony should be taking over primary ball handling duties. Anthony may start off on the bench in a secondary role but has more than enough potential to take over the primary role. His shot creation ability should become a breath of fresh air in Orlando.
Philadelphia – #21 Tyrese Maxey Kentucky G, #49 Isaiah Joe Arkansas G, #58 Paul Reed DePaul C
The Sixers were busy. They traded away Al Horford and Josh Richardson while taking back Seth Curry and Danny Green. Maxey represents another ball handler who can create his own shot and as long as his outside shot improves can play next to Simmons/Embiid. Joe is a movement shooter and good team defender. He has the ability to take on the JJ Reddick role. It’ll be fun to watch Embiid play with another movement shooter again. And Paul Reed is raw but has the length, touch, defensive creation ability and rebounding to either be a nice backup big or even play alongside Embiid.
Phoenix Suns – #10 Jalen Smith Maryland C
With Aron Baynes potentially being on his way out Smith looks to be his replacement. Even though he has questionable feel, athletic bigs who can shoot threes that possess upside don’t come around often.
Portland – #46 CJ Elleby Washington st G/F
Elleby has the capability to become a scoring wing that can play defense. Keyword: capability. This has been a perpetual need for Portland.
Sacramento Kings – #12 Tyrese Haliburton Iowa st G, #40 Robert Woodard Mississippi st F, #43 Jahmi’us Ramsey Texas Tech G
If the Kings end up trading Buddy Hield then drafting Haliburton makes more sense. I’m just not sure that starting Fox, Hield and Haliburton would be a good fit on defense. The Kings don’t have the luxury to be drafting potential backups at pick 12, they need starters and Haliburton has the potential to be a star glue-guy. I really thought the Kings might draft a big at some point but they didn’t. Woodard and Ramsey are kind of in the same boat. Both fill needs. Woodard fills the 3-and-D swing forward role while Ramsey checks the tertiary ball handler role. But both need to improve greatly if they want to maintain those roles. Both players have displayed a baseline of pro level skill. Combine that with a great physical profile and their ceiling becomes pretty high. Unfortunately it’s tough to trust Sacramento’s player development system.
San Antonio Spurs – #11 Devin Vassell Florida st G, #41 Tre Jones Duke G
The Spurs don’t have any true 3-and-D wings on their roster which makes Vassell a perfect fit. He might not have tremendous upside but surrounded by the right parts and he’ll flourish in that role. The Spurs also have had problems with their young guards staying healthy and progressing. Tre Jones offers a steady backup ball handler plus room to eventually become a starter. Nothing flashy but both players fill roles and fit the team concept.
Utah Jazz – #27 Udoka Azubuike Kansas C, #39 Elijah Hughes Syracuse G/F
One would think the Jazz would want to modernize their center position after watching Gobert reach his peak playoff after playoff after playoff. Pairing Donovan Mitchell with a more skilled big that can do more things outside the paint would be best. Azubuike ain’t that guy and it seems redundant at this point even though he can serve as a nice backup big. Hughes didn’t get to the rim as much as he probably could’ve but did a solid job making off the bounce jumpers. Hughes possesses a level of shot creation that would suit a bench scoring role. With Jordan Clarkson possibly leaving Hughes can maybe fill that spot.
Washington Wiz – #9 Deni Avdija Israel F, #53 Cassius Winston Michigan st G
It remains to be seen what the Bradley Beal and John Wall Wizards will look like next season but it’s safe to say both players are high usage guys. That means Avdija would be relegated to the corner for spot up jumpers. Avdija wasn’t a good shooter overseas and didn’t shoot particularly well from the line either. He’s a big ball handler who’s at his best with the ball in his hands even though he cut well off-ball. The fit is concerning to say the least. Now Winston on the other hand is a great shooter that can spot up or round screens. Him and Jerome Robinson are kind of redundant but I guess you can never have too much shooting.