Bitch, you guessed it! It's a new week but it's the same old me and I'm picking things again. No dollar limits this time so let's really explore the studio space here.
Pick the 3 Highest Ceilings
1. Michael Porter Jr
However you feel about the next two selections, the first pick has to be Porter right? If we're only shooting for the highest ceilings? The concerns with him longterm are mainly about his durability. Here, I'm only looking at his best-case scenario so I'm looking at the potential he has to be a primary scoring option for a good team. It's a small sample size (that's all we have with him, to be fair) but over a 10 game run in January, Porter put up 14/9/2 on 48/51/86 shooting in just 25 MPG off the bench. Denver went 8-2 and Porter hit 23 three-pointers over that span. That's a taste of the potential that has him number one here. If he keeps showing that he can score at all three levels efficiently at his size, he's going to be a force for a long time.
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
What SGA lacks in the offensive dominance that MPJ projects to have, he makes up for with plus versatility. On offense, he took on a bigger role in OKC and excelled to the tune of 19/6/3 on 47/35/80 shooting. His usage percentage went up but his turnover percentage went down. He took more three-pointers and free throws but his true shooting percentage went up. He showed that he can play on the ball or off the ball and concede ballhandling duties to CP3 or Schroder.
Defensively, a 6'11" wingspan lets him comfortably defend across three positions. As he gets stronger, he should be able to guard both forward spots as well as both guard spots. His ability to fit in just about anywhere on both ends of the court is why I have him second here. I can put him next to another traditional point guard and play him off of the ball, or have him initiate some of the offense. Defensively, I won't say he's locking down multiple positions but there's tremendous value in a defender that can hold his own across the spectrum.
3. Jaren Jackson Jr
Similar to SGA, I've got JJJ here because I like how well he can fit in with just about any team. Offensively, he hits 70% of his shots from inside three feet but he's a plus shooter (40% 3P on 6.3 per game) and won't muck up the floor if I play another traditional big with him. On defense, he can protect the rim without sacrificing the agility to defend in space when he needs to do so. He fouls a lot (5.2 fouls per 36 minutes in each of his first two seasons) and isn't much for rebounding (8.8 TRB% which puts him between Alec Burks and RJ Barrett, neither of which are big men) but I'm not concerned long-term. I think he's too smart of a player to not figure out the fouling issue and Jackson's poor individual rebounding hasn't necessarily spelled doom for Memphis:
When JJJ is on the court, Memphis grabs 20.7% of their offensive rebounds (would be 26th in the NBA) and 78.2% of their defensive rebounds (11th). These aren't ideal but there is a formula for success there:
- Milwaukee: 26th in ORB%, 1st in DRB%
- Miami: 27th in ORB%, 3rd in DRB%
You have to defend like hell and grab boards there, but you can form an elite defense with a big man that doesn't rebound much (Brook Lopez) so I'll bet on JJJ with my third spot.
- Michael Porter Jr
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- Jaren Jackson Jr
As a GM, I will only take players with three names. This is my promise.
Who you got?