We’re less than a week away from the NBA Draft with plenty of questions still up in the air, especially after last night’s trade. We’re starting to hear more about guys who are making jumps up the chart and some who are falling, but really at this point a ton of what we hear is simply smoke and mirrors. A lot of teams will purposely release information that is the complete opposite of what they are thinking.
So since it’s Father’s Day and I’m not one, there’s plenty of time on my hands as my schedule today is ‘watch the US Open,’ it made sense to throw out a mailbag today. On top of that with the Sixers/Celtics trade last night people are thinking and talking more and more about the Draft. We’ll have a bunch of Draft stuff this week including more mocks, big boards, scouting reports and of course the Mickstape guys on Draft night.
It’s not necessarily what he did in workouts as it was more people just undervaluing him off the bat. The question was ‘what position will he play in the pros?’ I hate that question. I’ve been on record many times saying calling guys traditional positions is outdated and just dumb. We should stick more to point, wing, stretch and post, and Bam is a post player. He’s a strong rebounder and more importantly people are starting to pay notice to his defensive ability. He has the lateral quickness to stay with wings outside of the lane and the body to bang in the post. He was always a top-25 player, it just took time to get past the mundane way of looking at his height. I don’t think it’s a lock he goes top-20, but he’ll go top-25 now.
Yeah, I really like DJ Wilson and he’s one of those guys that shot up the draft charts. What I don’t like is calling him a poor man’s Jonathan Isaac. They aren’t the same player except that they both had good length and can step out and shoot. Isaac is a much better defensive player while Wilson’s offensive game is slightly different than Isaac. The last month of the season though is where Wilson made his money. He was consistent with his shot and was more aggressive in taking guys off the dribble. There are a handful of teams that make sense to take him in the 20-25 range, when you look at someone like Portland, Oklahoma City or Brooklyn. To me one of those three are the most likely landing spot. He’s exactly what teams look for now, as he’s a rim protector (2.0 blocks per-40), decent rebounder (7.0 per-40) and has good size at 6’9″ to play in the small ball era.
The Pistons, the Pistons, the Pistons. It makes easily the most sense for Detroit to take him at No. 12. Similar to Wilson and Bam, Kennard is one of the guys (along with like a Donovan Mitchell) who have climbed the draft charts. What makes Kennard so special though is his ability to play on or off the ball, which means Detroit could play him with KCP or Reggie Jackson. He’s an absolutely awesome scorer and was wildly efficient this past season at Duke. Detroit needs help with scoring and shooting. Those are two of Kennard’s strengths. The Pistons were 28th in 3-point shooting team in the league last year while finishing 23rd in offensive rating. Kennard is coming off a year where he shot 44% from three with a 63% true shooting percentage. There is no other team that is a better match for Kennard.
The Sixers have four picks in the second round (36, 39, 46 and 50) which means they’ll have plenty of opportunities to take some risky picks, especially in the second round where there aren’t guaranteed contracts. First thing they should address in the second round is another wing, assuming everything goes to plan and Fultz goes No. 1 to them. That leaves guys like Josh Hart, Tyler Lydon and Tyler Dorsey likely available to fill that spot. They should try to get two of them with picks 36 and 39 unless someone drastically falls. Throw into the mix a Dwayne Bacon and Wesley Iwundu, especially for pick 39. But, those are your first two second round picks. After that you want to likely take a draft and stash guy with either 46 or 50 and then a guy who doesn’t need the ball. The Sixers will have a ton of high-usage guys on the roster, someone like a Devin Robinson could make sense at 46.
I mean you can make the case for almost anyone in this situation, but focusing on the top guys there are absolutely team fits that need to happen in order for the player to be successful. Most notably, Malik Monk is someone who needs to fall to a team that fits his style. He’s not going to beat you in the halfcourt to the bucket, so you need a team that can run and with someone who can drive and kick or dump it into the post and kick it back out. I’d be a little scared if he ends up in Orlando opposed to say a Minnesota or Sacramento. Another top prospect to watch in terms of team fit is Lauri Markkanen as he doesn’t have the defense yet to be a true center. Ideally you can pair him with a guy who is a rim protector and let Markkanen play outside the post offensively. Again, you can make a case for almost anyone, but if we’re talking just the top prospects, those are the two to watch in terms of team fit relative to success.