Is this draft loaded at the top? No. Absolutely not. But it is one of the deepest drafts in recent memory, with what will probably end up as around 50 contributors if you include UFAs (I counted 48). But even in a draft that seems to only have a few great talents, there were some pretty bad mistakes. So, here we go. A quick note before we begin, this will not include future trades.
Yeah, if they knew it would get them Jimmy Butler, Minnesota would take Dunn. But in this Re-Draft, they don’t know that yet. So that will not cloud teams’ judgment. Without further ado, let’s get it going.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Ben Simmons
Re-Draft Pick: Ben Simmons
WHY: No, he hasn’t played yet, but a player with his skill set would take a lot to overcome in terms of draft position. No, I don’t think he’ll be a LeBron/Draymond Green-type player like some “basketball analysts” (I put it in quotes because they did a bad job of analyzing that one) think, but I do think that his potential is higher than pretty much anyone in this class, and Ingram and Brown haven’t done enough to overtake him with their rookie-year accomplishments.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Brandon Ingram
Re-Draft Pick: Brandon Ingram
WHY: No, he didn’t have as good of a season as Jaylen last year. But he still goes hear for a myriad of reasons. First off, he displayed more prowess at pretty much every non-scoring skill than people expected. The downside is that the scoring was quite disappointing, as he averaged under ten points with 44%/29%/62% shooting. As someone touted as a scorer that is quite disappointing but considering what he showed with ancillary skills, it is reasonable to assume that he will at least contribute. Another factor to consider is that he was 19 playing against a lot of 20-30 year-olds. He just wasn’t as matured as a lot of his competition.
If he was touted as mainly a scorer coming out of not just high school but also college, it seems as if the odds are that that skill would eventually push through to the forefront.
3. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Jaylen Brown
Re-Draft Pick: Jaylen Brown
WHY: Wow, so many shake-ups, right? The truth is that the much-maligned Brown pick was actually perfect for this squad. He is a wing, which BraDanny StevAings (Pronounce that however you want. Or don’t, I wouldn’t blame you.) loves. He has the defensive potential to guard star opposing wings like LeBron as well as you could possibly hope, and he is good enough now to play legitimate minutes on a Conference Finals team. His athleticism, as we all expected, has translated immediately-but so has his shooting, something that was described before the draft as:
“When looking at Brown’s weaknesses, you have to start with his shooting or lack thereof. Brown shot only 30.1 percent on jumpers this season and only 26.9 percent of his field goal attempts were from beyond the arc, according to Hoop-Math. It doesn’t matter if he’s shooting from a standstill, off the dribble or on the move, Brown struggles to consistently hit shots. I have enough GIF’s to make an entire article on what’s wrong with Brown’s shooting stroke because currently, it’s not very good.” -Evan Wheeler, Fansided
And yet his stroke looked the part of a future knock down shooter, and already jumped to 34.1% from downtown, despite shooting from a deeper line. His form was much improved, and he looked much more confident. Am I as confident that he could lead a franchise as I am regarding, say, Brandon Ingram? No. But as an ancillary piece, he will be EXCELLENT.
4. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Dragan Bender
Re-Draft Pick: Jamal Murray
WHY: Ooh, that’s a big drop-off. Jaylen to Jamal? Ouch. Obviously, Murray is a good prospect, but this draft has gone from a two-man draft to a three-man draft. Eventually, Murray should hopefully be able to play alongside Devin Booker as a primary ball handler/creator. They won’t be a sieve defensively at least; they’ll be a gaping hole the size of Joel Anthony’s third breakfast.
Unfortunately, this was the only real selection they could have made. Thon Maker? The odds he’ll come anywhere close to his potential are low. Hield? Really only a shooter. Bender, Chriss? Been there, done that. It comes down to combo guard Murray, in the purest best-player-available pick of all time. Hopefully, a deal can be found for Eric Bledsoe.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Kris Dunn
Re-Draft Pick: Thon Maker
WHY: Minnesota needs a potential star to complete their big three of Towns, Wiggins, _______. No one remaining fits that bill as well as Maker. 7’1, 216, he reportedly races Giannis across the court and the result is a coin toss. A coin toss! 50/50 chance a center will beat Giannis in a race. OK, sure, but what about his actual skills? Well… there are plenty to choose from. He shot 37.8% from three on just under an attempt-and-a-half per game. He shot 51.4% from the field on just over three attempts per contest. He is also an interior presence, with 7.3 RPG and 1.7 BPG per/36. But that’s just the issue: per-36. He didn’t even start half the year despite being a top-ten pick (34), played under 60 games (57) and averaged just 9.9 minutes in contests he did appear in.
Let me get this straight- a top-10 pick averaged less MPG than his draft selection, and played less games than the total amount of draftees that year? And shut up about injuries; this was an exclusive 3rd-grade club, and if you don’t steal enough of the teacher’s pencils, you’re out. Thon was not stepping up to the plate in his pencil-stealing, er, basketball, abilities. He is incredibly raw and will take a while to develop, especially on the defensive end, but his athleticism, handle, and shooting ability in a 7’1 frame will aid in his success.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
Original Pick: Buddy Hield
Re-Draft Pick: Taurean Prince
WHY: Pick your jaws up off the confetti-covered floor, it isn’t that crazy. Think of the real wings on the New Orleans roster. Not many, right? Here, I’ll make a list:
Quincy Pondexter (Hasn’t played in two years)
E’Twaun Moore (Moore of a 2/1 than a 2/3.)
Solomon Hill (Really a 4)
Rondo and Asik…?
As the list above indicates, New Orleans is completely devoid of any sort of talent, two-way or otherwise, that can reliably man the Small Forward slot in the starting lineup. Hield is still available, but he is more of a two and really only has one real skill: shooting. He’s good, but he isn’t Korver- or Redick- level good. Prince, on the other hand, is “only” above-average from three, but has elite defensive potential. Is it crazy to say I’d take Prince, a swingman who can defend and hit open threes at a decent clip, over Hield, a pure 2 whose only skill is shooting? I think not. Another thing to consider is that Prince is a year younger. Just a thought.
7. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Jamal Murray
Re-Draft Pick: Malcolm Brogdon
WHY: Luckily Brogdon was here, or we’d have to give them someone like Dragan Bender. The Nuggets’ only real creator from the traditional guard position in their post-Jamal Murray world is Jameer Nelson, who is past his prime. Emmanual Mudiay is there as well, but like many, I am rapidly losing hope in his ability to become someone with any semblance of an NBA player. I’d even take point guard Jeff Green from him at this point! But let’s stop talking about incumbent backup Mudiay and begin talking about new combo guard Malcolm Brogdon.
ROTY, a great player to slot in off of the ball next to a larger creator or create for himself (and others) when that other creator is out of the game. Already a legitimate sniper from beyond the arc, Brogdon is 6’5 and averaged 19.7/8.1/5.5 per/36 last year. Yes, at draft time he was 23, but a couple extra years really doesn’t get painful until the third contract. And if they get nine productive years out of him now, that’s better than nine potential good years from Marquese Chriss in the future. A Brog in the hand is better than two in the bush, that’s what I always say.
8. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Marquese Chriss
Re-Draft Pick: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
WHY: Is this… a good decision? I mean, Chriss, Bender, Hield, and a lot of other guys are still here. So why a guy picked in the mid-twenties? Well, Timmy Lou wasn’t exactly the most productive player last year. So why is a raw Euro the pick here? Well, because this “Raw Euro” has the potential to be the best possible fit here. Look, Josh Jackson isn’t on the Suns yet. If he was, he could play the 4. But on this team, with rookie and 2nd-year guards who can’t play D and aren’t especially athletic, TLC seems like a seamless fit. No, he isn’t necessarily going to be good right away. Who is? And, perhaps more importantly, who cares? They’re tanking!
Athletic Khris Middleton is a freakish athlete who can play the 2 or 3, has a nice-looking jump shot, and shot 48% from 2. It didn’t go in much, but when attacking it did. 60.6% from within three feet by a rookie? Nice. His athleticism shatters his defensive “ceiling” and throws it to the moon, and his creation ability off the dribble make him better than a lot of 3-and-D guys. If he delivers on his potential is a whole different question, but I’m fairly certain that the fit will at least make him decent as a rookie. The experience guarding the best opposing wing will do him good.
9. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Jakob Poeltl
Re-Draft Pick: Marquese Chriss
WHY: You want a third guy to go along with Lowry and DeRozan, but don’t want to pay $20+ million for Serge Ibaka to do it? Enter Marquety C Chriss, a hugely talented power forward who isn’t exactly the smartest guy, basketball IQ-wise. Luckily Kyle Lowry is widely heralded around the league as a smart guy, and veterans like DeMarre Carroll, PJ Tucker, and Patrick Patterson can help as well (The last three are gone now, but two were there at the time of the drafting and one was traded for in an unrelated trade later.).
If he can learn how to play the game of basketball, his supreme athleticism combined with his shooting will get him far. Is he a lock for success? No. But sometimes when good teams are given a chance like this, they have to swing for the fences, especially if this is their only real shot to get better. Which it is.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Thon Maker
Re-Draft Pick: Skal Labissiere
WHY: Thon was probably a better fit for this Milwaukee squad that loves long, switchy guys. His potential was a bit higher. However, Inverse Serge Ibaka (As in, offensive-minded Serge, but with a similar skillset) is a nice consolation prize. Less athletic doesn’t quite have the size as Maker, but a similar player overall. Would Hield have been a better player? Probably, but based on Milwaukee’s switchy, athlete-first scheme, this is a system-based pick on what was close enough to a tie that it outweighed pure win-now intangibles and further-developed skills.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder
Original Pick: Domantas Sabonis
Re-Draft Pick: Buddy Hield
WHY: It’s really hard to argue with this pick. The rotations could be staggered so as to have Oladipo running the 2nd unit and Hield with the starters, even if he didn’t really start. He would bring a sharpshooter to OKC, something they severely lack, and have lacked since Kevin Durant left.
12. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: Taurean Prince
Re-Draft Pick: Dragan Bender
WHY: I am not sure whether Atlanta fans will grovel at my feet or come after me with torches and pitchforks, I am legitimately unsure. Prince has a high floor and a medium ceiling, whereas Bender has a bottomless pit and an open-air sky as his potential career paths. Is he a bigger Skal with a better inside game? Or is he another Darko Milicic, except with Toni Kukoc’s stolen nickname?
Only time will tell.
13. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Georgios Papagiannis
Re-Draft Pick: Dejounte Murray
WHY: Congrats Kings players and organization, we saved you from yourselves! Boogie is still on the team at the moment, and thus players are needed to support him. He isn’t exactly untouchable though, and Darren Collison is on an expiring contract. Better to groom their new potential franchise point guard than to draft a low-ceiling, “win-now” guy for Cousins. Dejounte showed enough in his one year in San Antonio as a backup, and two-time playoff starter (!) to warrant a selection here.
14. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Denzel Valentine
Re-Draft Pick: Jakob Poeltl
WHY: Similar to Sacramento, we are saving the Bulls from themselves here. It was a toss-up between the defensive Poeltl and the offensive Jauncho Hernangomez, so positional fit won out. Robin Lopez + Christiano Felicio < Nikola Mirotic + Bobby Portis, so the true center with more current value wins out. Poeltl’s defense isn’t quite as good as Juan’ offense, but his O is better than Juan’s D. Equal players in my mind, perhaps with a slight edge to Juan, but Poeltl wins out. Side Note: It’s pronounced Yah-Cub Purr-Tul, for those curious.
15. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Juan Hernangomez
Re-Draft Pick: Juan Hernangomez
WHY: Great prospect, great pick, same pick. Nothing to see here.
16. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Guerschon Yabusele
Re-Draft Pick: Ivica Zubac
WHY: As a Boston fan, not picking this guy gives me nightmares. The 7’1 Bosnian averaged 2 blocks and 9.4 rebounds per/36, something Danny Ainge is in more desperate need of than a fat guy is in need of 8 more McTripleMeat meals. Zu Alcindor has also flashed some midrange shooting ability, a valuable skill, especially in today’s NBA. If he can stretch that too and beyond the arc, he will be a steal here. Rumor has it that he is also an up-and-coming rapper. Have you heard of him? He goes by Zupac.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
Original Pick: Wade Baldwin IV
Re-Draft Pick: Patrick McCaw
WHY: Patty McCaw was an impact player for the Dubs this year, playing 15 MPG in 71 games for the defending champs. He shot 53% from two and 33% from three, while playing very good defense (for a rookie). 33% isn’t great, but he is a rookie shooting from multiple feet back, and Memphis has been in desperate need of a shooting wing for, oh, 10 years or so? His form was good, he just wasn’t yet ready to shoot from that far back. He should improve this year in a bigger role.
18. Detroit Pistons
Original Pick: Henry Ellenson
Re-Draft Pick: Tyler Ulis
WHY: Nobody really jumped out at me here. They need a young, switchy 3/4 swingman, but that just doesn’t exist here. Instead, Tyler Ulis is the pick here. Arguably the best available, he is a guy who can pass, shoot, and play off-ball around Andre Drummond. So essentially the anti-Reggie Jackson, who he will be attempting to push out of the rotation. If he succeeds, they could finally trade Reg, which will clear up enough tax space to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
19. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Malik Beasley
Re-Draft Pick: Caris LeVert
WHY: Now Will Barton is truly expendable. LeVert is a good offensive shooting guard whose 6’7, 201 frame allow him to slide up to the three as needed, with decent defensive potential. He is raw, but with some development, he could be a legitimate role player. This is clearly a best-player-available scenario.
20. Brooklyn Nets
Original Pick: Caris LeVert
Re-Draft Pick: Kris Dunn
WHY: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, Dunn fell a long way. He is, in theory, the highest-potential guy left, but at best I see an athletic Ricky Rubio. Still, based on what he did in college, the allure is there, and the defensive whiz is worth the flier by a talent-starved Nets squad.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: DeAndre Bembry
Re-Draft Pick: Abdel Nader
WHY: The Celtics point forward is pretty much just a better Bembry at this point, so he will be the next enrollee/graduate of Hawks U.
22. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Malachi Richardson
Re-Draft Pick: Malachi Richardson
WHY: Hield isn’t there and Malachi fits well alongside Dejounte Murray, so nothing changes here.
23. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Ante Zizic
Re-Draft Pick: Guerschon Yabusele
WHY: They lose out on fan-favorite Ante Zizic, but Yabu is a better fit for today’s NBA and at least they still have the Y-Z end-of-the-alphabet death punch (Yabu and Zubac)! Zizic isn’t really a fit for today’s NBA anyway, so it isn’t a massive loss to the team as a whole, but his rebounding will be missed.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
Re-Draft Pick: Yogi Ferrell
WHY: This is the first team that really got hit hard. Luckily, Ferrell does more than just play backup point guard. He would likely stop Philly from signing Jerryd Bayless to that awful contract, which should open up max cap space in 2018. Paul George, anyone? Probably not, but still, he’ll be useful in many ways, not just on the court.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Original Pick: Brice Johnson
Re-Draft Pick: Ante Zizic
WHY: Zizic is a high-potential big with legit rebounding chops, as well as the size to make an impact on both ends as well, even if he hasn’t been great at either outside of decent post scoring. It is an upside play for a team without a lot of ways to acquire upside.
26. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Furkan Korkmaz
Re-Draft Pick: Malik Beasley
WHY: Pretty much just the better version of Korkmaz, Beasley is a bit better of a shooter and a bit better of an athlete.
27. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Pascal Siakam
Re-Draft Pick: Pascal Siakam
WHY: Selected for the same reasons as last time, and a gap-stop for Chriss.
28. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Skal Labissiere
Re-Draft Pick: Derrick Jones, Jr
WHY: Skal is gone, and their only real three is Rudy Gay. Gay is an expiring contract, and on the wrong timeline, so why not go for an EXTREMELY athletic wing like Jones?
29. San Antonio Spurs
Original Pick: Dejounte Murray
Re-Draft Pick: Deyonta Davis
WHY: Somehow the Spurs always get a great fit or steal. This year it’s Davis, an athletic big with rim protection potential. The Spurs team, as was constructed at the time, had little athleticism and/or rim protection upfront. Davis will fix the first deficiency now; hopefully he’ll fix the latter later.
30. Golden State Warriors
Original Pick: Damian Jones
Re-Draft Pick: Damian Jones
WHY: Same pick as last time; has more upside than option #2, Brice Johnson.
POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTORS REMAINING:
Wade Baldwin IV
Gary Payton II