By Max Feldman
Selections : Tyrese Haliburton, Jahmi’us Ramsey and Robert Woodard III
For a small market franchise and a brutal recent history of winning, Monte McNair could not have done better in his first draft as the Kings General Manager. In Sacramento among many other small markets, the future solely hinges on draft success. Adding three incredibly versatile, tough pieces to De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley bodes well for the future. Haliburton should not have been available by pick eight at the latest, let alone pick twelve, where Sacramento jumped at the high IQ, highly skilled lead guard fall into their lap. The cameras into the Kings draft room echoed exactly that feeling. Placing Haliburton next to Fox allows the former Kentucky Wildcat to do what he does best: run in transition, attack off the PnR and collapse defenses. Haliburton’s ability to stretch the floor off of spot ups should provide ample spacing for Bagley and Fox to work. At the 43rd overall pick, McNair picked up FOG’s favorite player in the entire field. Jahmi’us Ramsey will be a first round pick in redraft’s years from now, and he should have early opportunity. With Bogdonavic entering free agency and Buddy Hield being dangled as trade bait, there is room for youngsters to step up on the wing. Ramsey’s ability to create for himself and knock down shots at all three levels will give the organization even more promise. Haliburton and Ramsey were both top ten prospects for FOG, and of the ten, they would have been my first choice to pair together. Where Haliburton lacks in creation and physical toughness, Ramsey makes up for in an incredibly high isolation efficiency and a 200 pound frame with 3.5% body fat. Where Ramsey lacks in natural playmaking and shot selection, Haliburton makes up for as the highest IQ player in the draft on and off the court. At the 40th overall selection, McNair selected the ultra-versatile athlete out of Mississippi State, Robert Woodard III. The 6-7, 230 pound forward was one of the most versatile, switchable defenders in the draft while shooting 43% from the arc. Marvin Bagley has some defensive questions as do the Kings as a whole, making Woodard’s physicality and athleticism incredibly useful. Woodard III will have the chance to learn from a very strong stretch forward in Harrison Barnes who excels defensively. There is simply no other way to put it, Monte McNair made a massive statement in his first draft with the Sacramento Kings.
Selections : LaMelo Ball, Vernon Carey Jr, Grant Riller
We can not over complicated this one. The Hornets got the most talented, dynamic and polarizing prospect on the board at the third pick. The Hornets were considering a trade up to the first slot, and instead, still got their guy at the 3 without giving up further assets. Ball should provide Charlotte with direction for many years to come, and why I like this fit so much is largely due to the Hornet’s cemented presence of scorers already in the fold. Movement might be to come, but asssuming Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier remain part of the Hornets roster, Ball will simply be able to do what he does best. Charlotte needs more athleticism and depth overall, but specifically in the front court. Ball will make PJ Washington a whole lot better because of his ability to separate off the PnR and provide his teammates with easy buckets around the rim. LaMelo has mentioned time and time again that he thrives when he lets the game come to him. Having two off the bounce scorers on either side of him will take some load off of him early on while he settles into the physicality and tempo of the NBA. Ball will be forced to guard multiple positions because of the smaller back court partners, but trial by fire and testing his versatility might be the best case scenario in the long run.
Selections : Deni Avdija and Cassius Winston
Value is the name of the game here. Tommy Sheppard grabbed FOG’s second ranked player in the field and essentially a top four prospect unanimously at the nine spot. Avdija should be a piece to count on as a playmaker and versatile defender on a team that has struggled to stop anyone. I love what the Wizards are doing by bringing in wing creators with high IQ’s like Avdija as well as Troy Brown Jr. Both are able defenders with developing long range shot making, and I do expect Scott Brooks to roll out one or both of them in each lineup because of their ability to contribute in multiple areas. There is plenty of room to make moves with rumors swirling on this roster, but expect Sheppard to continue building around Beal, Hachimura, Brown Jr and Deni Avdija. At the 53rd spot, Sheppard snagged MSU’s Cassius Winston via a trade with OKC. Winston was FOG’s 40th prospect, so Sheppard once again does a fantastic job maximizing value. Late second rounders usually do not see the court early and often, but the opportunity should be present for Winston to make an impact on a roster with plenty of ball handling question marks. John Wall, if he remains with the Wiz, should not be expected to play 30+ minutes a night. Ish Smith is the only remaining lead guard under contract, and while his speed and ability to collapse a defense will make him a strong mentor for Winston, Cassius should be given the keys as a rotational lead guard pretty quickly. He’s NBA ready and while he will certainly not be the puzzle piece that fixes their defense shortcomings, he brings a ton of offensive juice as a set up man and deadeye shooter.
Selections : Cole Anthony
The Magic were able to kill two birds with one stone; taking the best player available and the best fit for their roster. Orlando is in need of offensive firepower, especially in their backcourt. Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier should be a part of the rotation once again, but have proved to have their inefficiencies. Jon Isaac, when healthy, has continued to develop offensively while becoming one of the most versatile, intimidating defenders in the Eastern conference. Pairing Cole Anthony with Markelle Fultz and an eventually healthy Isaac while Mo Bamba continues to develop gives John Hammond a sneaky strong core. Fultz’s ability to attack the rim with Fournier and Ross stretching the floor should give the spacing that he has so badly been yearning for. Anthony was FOG’s 4th overall prospect, and Orlando is an ideal fit because they have the minutes and shooting volume to give Cole as he develops into an NBA lead guard. The athleticism and shooting around Anthony should illustrate his incredibly underrated playmaking ability early on. The Magic have been in an organizational purgatory for years as a fringe playoff team with little to no direction, but look for Hammond to make progress as those salaries expire and Cole Anthony becomes a cornerstone.
Selections : Josh Green, Tyrell Terry and Tyler Bey
Not only did the Mavs select two prospects in Terry and Bey who FOG had far further value than their draft spot, but they also picked up two incredible fits in Josh Green as well as Josh Richardson from Philadelphia. With all that, they also signed Nate Hinton, who absolutely should have been selected. Hinton was FOG’s 29th ranked prospect in the field. Tyrell Terry should bring a ton of creativity off the bench for the Mavs and fill a void left by Seth Curry as he heads to Philly. While Luka is a much larger ball handler compared to Tyrell Terry, they do carry a lot of similarities in terms of craftiness, change of speed and floater game. Terry should give Rick Carlisle a lot of opportunity to attack in similar sets when Luka gets his rest. Josh Green’s athletic presence should be felt rather quickly on the wing, taking a load off of Luka defensively and being a transition finisher off Porzingis’ blocked shots. Tyler Bey should not have been available at 36, but his fit next to Porzingis seems very ideal. At 7-3, KP can struggle switching on screens and guarding bigs with a strong handle, making Bey’s quick feet, elite athleticism, long arms and shot blocking ultra useful. Bey’s skillset has a ton of similarities to Dwight Powell, who should prove to be a strong mentor. The Mavericks front office was able to fill team needs early on with Josh Green and later on, take the two best players available at both 31 and 36 in Terry and Bey. I did not mention veterans that were traded for with other teams, but I can not ignore my love for Josh Richardson’s fit next to Luka Doncic. A hard-nosed shot maker with a cemented defensive prowess should immediately become a key contributor in Dallas. For a competitive team with Finals aspirations, they did a fantastic job bringing in NBA ready pieces and planning for the future simultaneously.