A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Recommended and Realistic draft

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I posted my draft board last week, but in the NBA teams would never veer so far off the consensus opinion even if they believed those rankings. GMs tend to be conservative with “reaching” on prospects. However the pool of players that aren’t reaches increasingly grows the farther down the draft. For example if the 76ers took anyone but Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, even if it was a player projected top 5 like Kris Dunn or Jamal Murray, it would still be denigrated as a reach. However by the time of the 2nd round, if  player is picked in the 30s that people didn’t expect to go to the 50s, it’s no longer considered a reach or much to bat an eye about by many.

Therefore for fun I decided to draft teams prospects according to my draft rankings, but using this rule: The pool of available players is ones at 2 times the player’s draft position of the big board on ESPN (Chad Ford) or Draftexpress. Meaning for a player to be an option at the 1st pick, he has to be ranked top 2 on one of those sites. For a player to be an option at the 10th pick, he has to be rated at least top 20 on one of those two sites. For a player to be an option for the 30th pick, he has to be in the top 60. And so on. Any prospect ranked out of the top 100 on either ESPN or DX is given a score of 101, meaning for picks 51 to 60 there is no limits on who is available. I take team needs into account if multiple players are close together in ranking and factors such as how teams with many picks such as the Celtics who have 8 picks will need to use international stashes on picks even when it’s not taking the best player available. The intended result is to create a recommended draft using my model, that is also plausible enough picks.

The draft:

1. Philadelphia 76ers: PF Ben Simmons (ESPN: 1, DX: 2, my board: 1)

The top rated player on my board, Simmons gives them the Sixers a possible franchise player on offense. While they have other bigs, he fills their need for a playmaker. The glut at center was going to be there without Simmons too.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: PG/SG Kris Dunn (ESPN: 3, DX: 4, my board: 2)

While Dunn isn’t an amazing fit for a team with D’Angelo Russell he and Simmons rate as the outright best players in my model. He and Russell both have the size to guard 2s allowing them to play together on that end which is most of what matters. Russell would play off the ball more, Dunn on the ball and guard the toughest assignment. The Lakers need a new star and Dunn has a chance to be that.

3. Boston Celtics: PF/C Dragan Bender (ESPN: 6, DX: 3, my board: 10)

Bender is a great fit for the Celtics system as he can be both a needed defensive anchor in the frontcourt with his elite lateral mobility a great fit for the switching game on that end, who can space the floor for their guards with 3 point potential. He is an upside pick which is what the star-desiring Celtics are looking for.

4. Phoenix Suns: SF Brandon Ingram (ESPN: 2, DX: 1, my board: 13)

With a glut of guards the Suns could use some more frontcourt talent. Ingram gives them a high volume scoring wing who along with Booker can be the start of a modern, 3 point shooting and floor spacing friendly core while having the length to have defensive potential.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves: PF Domantas Sabonis (ESPN: 10, DX: 18, my board: 26)

The need to take a player projected in the top ten on ESPN or DX boxes me into reaching way down my big board here. The real highest rated player on my board in play is Poeltl, but drafting a C on the Karl-Anthony Towns team isn’t a fit, while a core PF is what they need. Sabonis is a good rebounder and passer and some believe he has more outside shooting potential than he showed at Gonzaga which would be a nice fit beside Towns.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: C Jakob Poeltl (ESPN: 12, DX: 9, my board: 19)

Unlike the Timberwolves, Poeltl is a much better fit here as drafting a C of the future helps protect Anthony Davis physically, who would be the rim protector to help make up for Poeltl’s average defense. Poeltl is a skilled finisher who was elite at getting to the line, with some shooting and passing potential which could make him a nice offensive big.

7. Denver Nuggets: PG/SG Wade Baldwin (ESPN: 17, DX: 14, my board: 4)

While Baldwin isn’t the best fit for a team with promising prospects in Mudiay and Harris, he is the outright best player on my board of the pool of players here with great defensive potential, shooting and his ability to get to the line and pass in college. His ability to create his own offense is a little raw so Denver can bring him along slowly behind their other guards, but could be a star which is the key step to the Nuggets rebuild.

8. Sacramento Kings: SF/PF Juan Hernangomez (ESPN: 18, DX: 15, my board: 16)

Ivica Zubac rates slightly higher on my board among players available, but a gigantic low post center doesn’t work with Cousins nearly as well as a stretch power forward like Hernangomez. I see Hernangomez as one of the safest bets to be a contributor in the NBA since despite his age he is already a top 5 player on an ACB team putting him closer in proximity to the NBA than NCAA play and there’s a high demand for 3 point shooting PFs. He makes a nice fit with Cousins’ offensive game and this is a team where a higher floor player is a nice fit considering the all out busts they’ve had.

9. Toronto Raptors: C Ivica Zubac (ESPN: 25, DX: 16, my board: 12)

While he would have to project behind Valanciunas going forward, the other options available in my pool weren’t great here, so I went with best player available. He gives them a high upside player who could fill Bismack Biyombo’s backup C minutes. With the Raptors already having a lot of young players like Norman Powell, Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright, Bebe Nogueira and the 27th pick, stashing Zubac until they’re more ready and maintaining his value as a trade asset is also not a bad fit for them.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: SF Taurean Prince (ESPN: 34, DX: 19, my board: 9)

Prince is a nice fit for the Bucks who need shooters, while his size gives him the defensive size and athleticism will help him switch which will be a key to the Bucks defense going forward if Giannis will be the team’s offensive PG. His ability to drive, pass is not bad either and has the height to get his shot off.

11. Orlando Magic: C Ante Zizic (ESPN: 23, DX: 22, my board: 6)

Zizic gives them a presence inside on the boards, defensive upside and the ability to roll to the basket and get to the FT line. He could be their backup C for now and possibly their future in a post Nik Vucevic world, complimenting the rest of the core including Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Mario Hezonja and Aaron Gordon.

12. Atlanta Hawks: PF/C Thon Maker (ESPN: 19, DX: 41, my board: 25)

Denzel Valentine rated slightly higher on my board but has reported knee issues so I took it as reason to pass. I’m far from a Maker expert but his value is high variance. Sure he could be a total bust, but other prospects have stats saying they’re not going to be a star, so by not having stats maybe Thon has a higher chance of being one. It looks like his defensive mobility is a nice fit in the modern game and he has shooting potential.

13. Phoenix Suns: PF Marquese Chriss (ESPN: 5, DX: 6, my board: 31)

With the Suns new core of Booker and Ingram they have incentive to look for other positions instead of another SG or SF like Murray, Hield, Brown, all rating marginally higher on my board, in addition to Valentine who along with position has injury reasons to be less appealing. The Suns could use a PF of the future and Chriss gives them a freak athlete with floor spacing potential.

14. Chicago Bulls: SG/SF Denzel Valentine (ESPN: 22, DX: 25, my board: 22)

The Bulls already have a non defending shooter in McDermott, but you can’t let a player like that affect a draft pick. Valentine has a great jumpshot, passing skill, rebounding, IQ and was increasingly productive as a senior, but could struggle to defend and drive. Going forward he could play beside Butler and he could replace his spot in the lineup if they trade him and rebuild.

15. Denver Nuggets: PF Brice Johnson (ESPN: 29, DX: 34, my board: 8)

The Nuggets get terrific value here in Brice, who also fits their core as a PF of the future alongside perimeter players like Mudiay, Harris, Baldwin, Gallinari and centres in Jokic, Nurkic. Brice has the chance to be a volume scorer and a great rebounder.

16. Boston Celtics: SG Patrick McCaw (ESPN: 32, DX: 29, my board: 15)

After drafting a big men with their first pick, the Celtics add to their perimeter depth with a defender and shooter with ball handling and passing potential in McCaw. Boston has a lot of other 3 and D type players, but there’s no harm in getting another one.

17. Memphis Grizzlies: SG Jamal Murray (ESPN: 4, DX: 7, my board: 27)

The Grizzlies have long needed a shooter on the perimeter and Murray has that skill, while they have the defensive core to help cover some of his weaknesses. Murray has scored a ton of points everywhere and when it comes to other weaknesses like his passing, there’s a chance Kentucky’s talent pushing him into a spot up shooter role kept him away from that.

18. Detroit Pistons: PF/C Zhou Qi (ESPN: 47, DX: 36, my board: 7)

The Pistons get a steal here with a prospect who has one of the highest upsides in the class. Zhou’s potential to be an elite shotblocker who spaces the floor could be a great compliment to Andre Drummond’s interior play and Reggie Jackson’s driving.

19. Denver Nuggets: C Chinanu Onuaku (ESPN: 37, DX: 38, my board: 5)

While he doesn’t fit the Nuggets lineup at all who already have core centers in Jokic and Nurkic, getting a top 5 rated prospect on my board is impossible to pass up here and after the Baldwin and Johnson picks it’s not like the Nuggets have many free positions anyways. Onuaku has a chance to be an elite defending and passing center.

20. Indiana Pacers: SG Buddy Hield (ESPN: 8, DX: 8, my board: 28)

Hield had one of the best college shooting seasons of his generation which could be a nice skillset to put beside Teague and George. While he has some weaknesses in his game passing, defending and driving, in a game where shooting is so important his shooting track record alone could lead him to success.

21. Atlanta Hawks: SF Jaylen Brown (ESPN: 7, DX: 5, my board: 30)

Brown has bust risk due to his weak shooting and decision making, but his elite athleticism, frame and ball handling combination doesn’t come around often and he got to the line at one of the best rates in the class. With Schroeder taking over the PG position and the Maker pick, the Hawks move in a young and fast direction.

22. Charlotte Hornets: PF/C Robert Carter (ESPN: 54, DX: 44, my board: 23)

Carter has some shooting, handling and passing potential which makes him an interesting option in the frontcourt. The Hornets drafted Frank Kaminsky last year, but at this point in the draft just taking a future NBA player is the goal.

23. Boston Celtics: C Georgios Papagiannis (ESPN: 46, DX: 50, my board: 11)

The Celtics get a steal here with a productive 18 year old, 7’2 C who with Bender adds to their frontcourt talent. He becomes an obvious stash candidate for the Celtics which works because his trade value can stay stable while they wait for a star to become available in a deal.

24. Philadelphia 76ers: SG Furkan Korkmaz (ESPN: 13, DX: 20, my board: 33)

After drafting Ben Simmons the Sixers are looking for long term shooters and Korkmaz has a lot of upside in that area. Since they’re already adding Simmons, Embiid, Saric and have the 26th pick, they can also afford to stash one of their picks.

25. Los Angeles Clippers: PG/SG Gary Payton II (ESPN: 56, DX: 48, my board: 35)

Payton was one of the best defensive guards in college in some time, while an offensive player he could be an off ball player who can’t shoot, with the amount of offensive talent the Clippers have they can afford to have a defense first player.

26. Philadelphia 76ers: PG/SG Isaiah Whitehead (ESPN: 52, DX: 57, my board: 3)

The Sixers get the steal of the draft in Whitehead. While his efficiency is worrying, he has the potential to create his own shot at a high volume as a 3 point bomber, pass and defend and could emerge as the man in the backcourt quickly in Philadelphia.

27. Toronto Raptors: PF Guerschon Yabusele (ESPN: 30, DX: 32, my board: 37)

The Raptors could use some PF talent and Yabusele fits well as a stretch big. Along with Zubac he is also a stash option to free up minutes on their current roster and capspace, though I suppose one of the two could come over immediately.

28. Phoenix Suns: PG Kahlil Felder (ESPN: 58, DX: 56, my board: 36)

I have Felder and A.J. Hammons about tied, since it looks like Felder has a better personality I like him more for a Suns who’ve been a shaky chemistry team. Felder’s speed and passing could make him a rotation player for the Suns, as they sort out their backcourt and guards like Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Archie Goodwin.

29. San Antonio Spurs: SF Paul Zipser (ESPN: 57, DX: 26, my board: 39)

I chose Zipser over the slightly higher rating Hammons due to giving the Spurs option to stash him, along with how Hammons would replicate Boban. Zipser’s basketball IQ and 3 point shooting would fit the Spurs profile.

30. Golden State Warriors: C A.J. Hammons (ESPN: 45, DX: 43, my board: 34)

With Ezeli possibly exiting and Bogut’s health and age the Warriors could use another C prospect, Hammond is a beefy post player who is the opposite of the style of play they’ve mastered, but perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing. Having a big post player would give them versatility in the looks they throw out against teams like the Cavs and Thunder.

31. Boston Celtics: SG Ron Baker (ESPN: 78, DX: 61, my board: 14)

32. Los Angeles Lakers: C Diamond Stone (ESPN: 33, DX: 31, my board: 40)

33. Los Angeles Clippers: PF Pascal Siakam (ESPN: 43, DX: 52, my board: 41)

34. Phoenix Suns: PF/C Gracin Bakumanya (ESPN: 68, DX: 88, my board: 24)

35. Boston Celtics: PF Petr Cornelie (ESPN: 51, DX: 37, my board: 49)

36. Milwaukee Bucks: SF Derrick Jones, Jr. (ESPN: 86, DX: 70, my board: 32)

37. Houston Rockets: PF/C Deyonta Davis (ESPN: 16, DX: 11, my board: 42)

38. Milwaukee Bucks: C Cheick Diallo (ESPN: 24, DX: 24, my board: 43

39. New Orleans Pelicans: PF/C Jameel Warney (ESPN: 78, DX: 100, my board: 21)

40. New Orleans Pelicans: PG/SG DeJounte Murray (ESPN: 9, DX: 30, my board: 46)

41. Orlando Magic: SG Malcolm Brogdon (ESPN: 39, DX: 42, my board: 50)

42. Utah Jazz: PG/SG Alex Caruso (ESPN: unranked, DX: 84, my board: 17)

43. Houston Rockets: PF/C Henry Ellenson (ESPN: 11, DX: 13, my board: 45)

44. Atlanta Hawks: SF Damion Lee (ESPN: 95, DX: 61, my board: 51)

45. Boston Celtics: SF Timothe Luwawu (ESPN: 26, DX: 12, my board: 56)

46. Dallas Mavericks: PF Stefan Jankovic (ESPN: unranked, DX: 91, my board: 48)

47. Orlando Magic: SF Jarrod Uthoff (ESPN: 38, DX: 59, my board: 52)

48. Chicago Bulls: SG Malik Beasley (ESPN: 21, DX: 23, my board: 53)

49. Detroit Pistons: SG Thomas Walkup (ESPN: unranked, DX: 98, my board: 20)

50. Indiana Pacers: SG A.J. English (ESPN: 65, DX: unranked, my board: 54)

51. Boston Celtics: C Daniel Ochefu (ESPN: unranked, DX: unranked, my board: 18)

52. Utah Jazz: PG Nikola Ivanovic (ESPN: unranked, DX: unranked, my board: 38)

53. Denver Nuggets: SF Rade Zagorac (ESPN: 49, DX: 33, my board: unranked)

54. Atlanta Hawks: SG Terry Tarpey (ESPN: unranked, DX: unranked, my board: 29)

55. Brooklyn Nets: SF/PF Jordan Fouse (ESPN: unranked, DX: unranked, my board: 44)

56. Denver Nuggets: PG/SG Isaia Cordinier (ESPN: 44, DX: 49, my board: unranked)

57. Memphis Grizzlies: SF Troy Williams (ESPN: 75, DX: 73, my board: 55)

58. Boston Celtics: PF Emmanuel Malu (ESPN: unranked, DX: 89, my board: unranked)

59. Sacramento Kings: PG Demetrius Jackson (ESPN: 31, DX: 17, my board: 57)

60. Utah Jazz: C Andrey Desyatnikov (ESPN: unranked, DX: 54, my board: unranked)

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Written by jr.

June 23, 2016 at 12:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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