Now on the eve of the NBA Draft, intel continues to filter in as the Draft night storylines begin to materialize. Between the “Planting My Flag” breakdown along with the prospects I am the highest on versus the consensus, I am taking a look at where I would realistically like to see my favorite prospects in the class land tomorrow night.
6th Overall Prospect
Tre Mann gives both these destinations a pivotal point they’ve been missing – half-court creation from the lead guard spot. Mann and Kira Lewis are not repetitive in terms of what they provide, as Mann is an elite off the dribble shooter and space creator while Lewis is a primary slasher. As David Griffin looks to infuse more shooting to the rotation, Mann is an enticing target at 17. Executives were most surprised that Tre Mann wasn’t invited to the Green Room, and I see him as the top target to go inside the top 20 that isn’t live in New York.
Again, Philadelphia’s struggle with Ben Simmons likely puts an emphatic priority on adding half-court creators. Their roster omits any tool alike Mann, and while they’re in pursuit of a veteran backcourt creator, Mann could unlock some upside that they’re missing. Playing alongside their wing defenders and running the pick and roll with Joel Embiid is extremely enticing in the early stages of his development.
10th Overall Prospect
Josh Primo isn’t going 9th overall, but if Franz Wagner is off the board to Golden State or Orlando, Sacramento could very well be a trade back candidate. I believe they avoid a Alperen Sengun situation after the Georgios Pappagiannis mishap. With Buddy Hield on his way out, Primo becomes the third part of a flourishing core in De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. Monte McNair hit my favorite draft of anyones last year and bringing in Primo fits the bill again – in addition to my liking for trading back in most scenarios.
Partnering up with fellow Canadian, Jamal Murray, on the wing in Denver continues to be an ideal coalition. Primo has the tools to grow into what Denver wanted Garry Harris to become – as a two-way secondary creator who attacks spot ups, processes the game at a high speed and defends the 1-3 with prominence.
7th Overall Prospect
It feels as though those analyzing the Warriors pick at 7 have pondered every possible prospect in the top 20 at this point. When it comes down to it, Franz Wagner fits the culture as well as anyone outside of Josh Giddey – but Wagner is a stronger bet to contribute early. Adding an Andrei Kirilenko type alongside Draymond Green in the frontcourt who can both shift down to a wing role or shift up and play a small-ball five with murmurs that he’s grown to upwards of 6-10. Wagner’s feel, understanding of spacing, playmaking and defensive versatility gives Bob Myers an extremely useful weapon right now.
If he’s available, I don’t think Monte McNair hesitates. Whether or not Marvin Bagley is in the fold, Wagner’s fits in ideally alongside the young backcourt duo. The Kings are constantly under scrutiny for their draft history, but I do believe that ship has sailed and they have a clearer vision of the identity they want to build. Wagner isn’t a star but he’s an identity builder.
11th Overall Prospect
Christopher fits the New York identity and the culture Tom Thibodeau echoes. Toughness, defense and confidence. In need of some more scoring juice, Christopher is a tough shot maker with a sturdy frame and palpable upside as a creator.
Another half-court creator and hard-nosed perimeter defender. Matisse Thybulle was the lone go-to perimeter defender in Philly and Christopher could be an added tool on the wing. In this case for Philadelphia, Christopher seems like the peak, ideal situation of immediate contribution in terms of high motor defenders and transition weapons yet also with untapped upside alongside Tyrese Maxey.
27th Overall Prospect
The Spurs worked out Wieskamp and have legitimate interest in Corey Kispert with their lottery pick. If Kispert isn’t there or San Antonio opts for a higher upside prospect, Wieskamp gives them incredible value in the second round. An off-ball mover who can light it up from deep with signals he’ll stick around for a long time in the league.
Boston’s roster construction is at a pivotal hinging point in terms of constructing an identity around their two wing stars. Spacing and iso ball have been issues in the past, so adding Wieskamp who can be a weapon without the ball in his hands and space the floor with efficiency appears to be a beneficial two-way partership.
20th Overall Prospect
With Moses Brown and Al Horford on the way out, I prefer Sharpe over the likes of Isaiah Jackson, Kai Jones and Alperen Sengun in Oklahoma City. As a roll man alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Sharpe can be rewarded around the basket, be a playmaker and defend the rim. Combining Sharpe and Bazley, two high IQ playmakers, in the frontcourt would tap into a new layer of upside for the forward-looking Thunder.
It is difficult to draw up a better mentor for Day’Ron Sharpe than Nikola Jokic. Sharpe is a bruiser around the rim with a fantastic feel for finding shooters and cutters. The Nuggets, a well-built roster, have little behind Jokic in the rotation.
32nd Overall Prospect
The Nets have interest in Herb Jones. While Bruce Brown might be on his way back, as he is now restricted, it is not out of question that someone might throw too big of a contract at Brown for the Nets to retain him. Especially if Herb Jones is in the fold. The SEC Player of the Year is capable of doing everything Brown did with even more prominence. Playmaking roll man who can defend bigger or smaller opposing players. There is a ton to love in this potential parternship.
Jones fits the identity that Memphis has constructed to a tee. High speed processor who understands spacing, has strong feel on both ends and is extraordinarily tough. The Grizzlies haven’t accounted for draft age over the last few years, making this fit relatively realistic. There is some depth across the board, but if Grizzlies opt for a backcourt player at 10, another wing/forward in the second round like Jones seems ideal.
16th Overall Prospect
The Nic Claxton affect. Thor provides Philadelphia a new piece of upside they do not have, combined with the raw tools to provide early on as a versatile, high motor defender behind Joel Embiid – who could use some rest.
Thor has worked out for a variety of late lottery franchises, and while the Bulls pick at 38, the high upside 18 year old could be a late first round trade up target to replace a stale Lauri Markkanen. Thor provides a much different look than Vucevic off the bench and would provide an extremely enticing young core alongside Patrick Williams. Karnisovas has taken shots like this in Denver.