June 21, 2018, 11:43 pm
The NBA Draft is either almost done or completely done if you’re reading this and what a draft it was. The Suns had no plans for anybody other than Deandre Ayton at No. 1, while a ton of respected analysts had Luke Doncic as the No. 1 player in the draft.
Kings Twitter was as upset as I’ve seen them since Adrian Wojnarowski reported the team was moving to Seattle, and unfortunately for many in the Luka crowd I did not have a counter for that.
Speaking of which, Woj stole the show as he broke news in advance of ESPN’s coverage, but carefully used words that didn’t definitively break the news.
Source: The Lakers are unlikely to resist Mo Wagner with the 25th pick.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2018
Michael Porter Jr. dropped and the Hawks traded Doncic to the Mavs for Trae Young, which won’t get a great draft grade out of me, and that’s putting it nicely. There were no trades including tenured NBA players, which was somewhat weird.
It wasn’t as explosive of a night as one would have thought heading into the draft, but there was plenty of fun to be had and plenty of fantasy value to discuss.
On a quick business note, after the draft and free agency when the dust settles we get into heavy production of our draft guide and, for me, the Bruski 150. Our team is as big as it has ever been and the amount of talent we have here is insane. I … AM … FIRED … UP.
No. 1 Pick – Phoenix Suns — DeAndre Ayton, C, Freshman, Arizona
33.5 MPG, 35 games
Shooting Line: 61.2 FG% on 12.9 FGAs, 34.3 3P% on 1.0 3PA, 73.3 FT% on 5.5 FTA
Counting Stats: 20.1 PTs, 11.6 REBs, 1.6 ASTs, 0.6 STLs, 1.9 BLKs, 2.0 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 13.5% ORB%, 28.2% DREB, 6.1% BLK
The shooting profile can easily support fantasy value, though one hopes he doesn’t take too many 3-pointers and ruin the efficiency. The block rate is sketchy and Ayton appears to be a little bit flat-footed and top-heavy. All in all, playing in Phoenix they have every reason to play him and he’ll be an overhyped, but productive fantasy asset in Year 1. If he gets let loose to his fullest, an early projection for his value lands in the late-mid round range.
No. 2 Pick – Sacramento Kings – Marvin Bagley, PF/C, Freshman, Duke
33.8 MPG, 33 games
Shooting Line: 61.4 FG% on 13.3 FGAs, 39.7 3P% on 1.8 3PA, 62.7 FT% on 6.3 FTA
Counting Stats: 21.0 PTs, 11.1 REBs, 1.5 ASTs, 0.8 STLs, 0.9 BLKs, 2.3 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 26.3 USG%, .475 FTr
Bagley’s numbers at Duke are highly leveraged, like most star college players, but they’re instructive in terms of what his long-term upside might look like at the NBA level. The obvious bugaboo is the free throw shooting and he will probably be effective right off the bat, so he’ll probably still get to the line at a good clip but the improvement there is years away.
The landing spot here is the wild card. Dave Joerger has played the corpses of Zach Randolph and Matt Barnes in consecutive years when even novice observers would know it wasn’t a good idea. The Kings are likely to move one of Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, Randolph or Kosta Koufos, but they have hyped Harry Giles up to the point where anything under 25 mpg would seem like a massive oversell (totally possible).
Even if he gets 25-plus minutes, the expected slowdown in defensive stats and the likely decline in double-double numbers are going to limit his upside to top-125 levels in reasonable scenarios. If he can get there and plod his way along, he might have a top-100 season but he’ll probably be overdrafted in many leagues.
No. 3 Pick – Dallas Mavericks – Luka Doncic, PG, 19 years old, Real Madrid
25.1 MPG, 52 games
Shooting Line: 45.1 FG% on 9.9 FGA, 31.0 3P% on 4.8 3PA, 78.6 FT% on 4.8 FTA
Counting Stats: 14.2 PTs, 5.2 REBs, 4.6 ASTs, 1.1 STLs, 0.4 BLKs, 2.2 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 20.6 DREB%, 31.1 AST%, 27.0 USG%
Doncic could either slide or hold steady on the field goal shooting, as he’s young enough to continue to improve and at the same time the level of NBA competition will ding him. That said, the EuroLeague Finals MVP did his damage in the second highest level of competition in the world. You’d like to see the free throw percentage in a better place and he’ll probably get to the line his fair share at the NBA level. Defensive stats are probably a minus and not a plus, though he has a great shot at being average.
He lands in a great place with little depth and if all goes well he could easily produce at a mid-round level, though he has a lot of mileage from last season and it might be telegraphed that he’ll be held back a bit. Or not. Rick Carlisle let Dennis Smith play 26-28 minutes per game in the first few months even with concerns over his knee. He’ll go in the late rounds at least just based on hype and the question will probably be how high one wants to go in order to get him.
No. 4 Pick – Memphis Grizzlies — Jaren Jackson Jr., PF/C, Freshman, Michigan State
21.8 MPG, 35 games
Shooting Line: 51.3 FG% on 6.6 FGA, 39.6 3P% on 2.7 3PA, 79.7 FT% on 3.8 FTA
Counting Stats: 10.9 PTs, 5.8 REBs, 1.1 ASTs, 0.6 STLs, 3.0 BLKs, 1.8 TOs, 3.2 PFs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 0.414 3Par, 14.3 BLK%, 17.4 TO%
Jackson was compared to Serge Ibaka by Draft Express and if he gets to be peak Serge that would be a really good accomplishment for him. He has the foundation for a jumper but everything else is in doubt, but his 6’11/236 frame looks less like LaMarcus Aldridge and more like a more athletic Myles Turner.
Defensively the blocks are what you’re there for and he will need to be elite to make up for likely low production elsewhere. Factor in the turnovers and awareness issues and even with a shallow Grizzlies squad he could struggle to get enough minutes to matter in standard leagues. But if he can focus strictly on blocks and get a healthy 25 mpg, it’s possible he’s in play at some point this season.
No. 5 Pick – Atlanta Hawks — Trae Young, PG, Freshman, Oklahoma
35.4 MPG, 32 games
Shooting Line: 42.2 FG% on 19.3 FGA, 36.0 3P% on 10.3 3PA, 86.1 FT% on 8.6 FTA
Counting Stats: 27.4 PTs, 3.9 REBs, 8.7 ASTs, 1.7 STLs, 0.3 BLKs, 5.2 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 0.585 TS%, 0.443 FTr, 48.6 AST%, 18.2 TOV%, 37.1 USG%
Point blank nobody is giving Trae Young the type of neon green light he had at Oklahoma, but in Atlanta at least there’s a comp for that type of thing in Dennis Schroder, who chucked with the best of them. Coach Mike Budenholzer is gone so that element might not even come into play. Even if they did cut him loose though, many of these numbers get scaled back because they’re simply unsustainable.
None of that is surprising – the bigger question is macro – can he work his way into a shooter’s stat set. If his field goal attempts get scaled way back and he only takes the good shots, can the combo of percentages and 3-pointers vault him way up in fantasy leagues. He’ll have to make his living on defense by stealing the ball, too, and backers should be hoping he can simply stay on the floor.
Schroder, who is on the trade block, has to go, and even then it’s hard seeing him cracking the middle rounds on a per-game basis, even if things go well. 9-cat owners should shave off three rounds of value. Asking for each of his statistical red flags to work out is asking a lot and this could end up being the bust of the draft.
No. 6 Pick – Orlando Magic — Mo Bamba, C, Freshman, Texas
30.2 MPG, 30 games
Shooting Line: 54.1 FG% on 9.0 FGA, 27.5 3P% on 1.7 3PA, 68.1 FT% on 4.0 FTA
Counting Stats: 12.9 PTs, 10.5 REBs, 0.5 ASTs, 0.8 STLs, 3.7 BLKs, 1.5 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 28.2% DREB%, 13.1 BLK%, 0.189 3Par
Unlike DeAndre Ayton, Bamba looks like he has a much better chance of maintaining his lateral quickness as he gets past his first contract. And just like Rudy Gobert, Bamba is going to make a killing on boards and with the blocks at the NBA level. The big question for the rest of his game is whether he’s going to play the perimeter or hone his game down in the paint.
Smart owners (and basketball people) know that the value lies in the latter and not the former, even if the NBA has gone crazy over stretchable bigs. Bamba doesn’t appear to be overly skilled or savvy with the ball, and it’s fair to say he wants to explore the perimeter game so this could start off as an inefficient conversion of his talent.
However, new Magic coach Steve Clifford profiles as a guy that will want him to develop a balanced game and he has the defensive chops to make a case for minutes right away. If he does play perimeter ball he won’t shoot enough for the relative inefficiency to matter, and in any event he’s going to get boards and blocks and rack up fantasy value if he plays.
I’m not expecting massive minutes even if the Magic find a home for Nikola Vucevic (or preferably to them, Bismack Biyombo). But it won’t take a lot to put up top-100 numbers with his stat set. It could take some time for it to materialize if the Magic start the season with a three-headed center, or even if they don’t, but he’ll be in the late round discussion and he’s a must-own Dynasty guy.
No. 7 Pick – Chicago Bulls — Wendell Carter Jr., C, Freshman, Duke
26.8 MPG, 37 games
Shooting Line: 56.1 FG% on 8.6 FGA, 41.3 3P% on 1.2 3PA, 73.8 FT% on 4.5 FTA
Counting Stats: 13.5 PTs, 9.1 REBs, 2.0 ASTs, 0.8 STLs, 2.1 BLKs, 2.0 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 18.4 TRB%, 13.0 AST%, 1.7 STL%, 7.6 BLK%
The good news for Carter’s NBA prospects is that he seems to have a versatility on offense and that might help him play better in a wider range of situations. The defensive deficiencies, in addition to some of the shaky decision-making and confidence issues on offense, are the counter to that here.
Coaches tend to worry about that stuff more when dealing with rookies. Carter has a nice fantasy stat set if the defensive numbers can hold up on the steals side, with the blocks expected to drop precipitously at the NBA level. He has the look of a low upside player overall though, and even if the Bulls give him a healthy 28 mpg I’d be hesitant to part with anything but a last round pick in standard formats.
No. 8 Pick – Cleveland Cavaliers — Collin Sexton, PG, Freshman, Alabama
29.9 MPG, 33 games
Shooting Line: 44.7 FG% on 13.3 FGA, 33.6 3P% on 4.0 3PA, 77.8 FT% on 7.6 FTA
Counting Stats: 19.2 PTs, 3.8 REBs, 3.6 ASTs, 0.8 STLs, 0.1 BLKs, 2.8 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 0.498 eFG%, 27.8 AST%, 1.6 STL%, 32.9 USG%
A look at some of Sexton’s film and you’d think he racks up more steals and assists given his tenacity and explosion. But the rawness of his decision-making and lack of overall polish makes him an inefficient fantasy asset heading into the NBA. That said, over the summer I’ll take a hard look at his system in Alabama and the Cavs roster to see if he has any better steals potential.
The turnovers are a killer but with or without LeBron he probably isn’t likely to command primary offensive duties anytime soon — at least that’s the projection now until we get to see him in Summer League. Obviously, with LeBron he will shift toward a more efficient posture than if the Cavs start to rebuild, and the value is probably in the latter scenario but not by much.
The best case scenario would be playing with LeBron, benefiting from his on-court presence and training and also having a substantial role. Over the long-term he has the tools to be very, very good and he just needs to refine his game and develop his shot. He should be on standard league owners’ radars and in either scenario there might be enough ambiguity to keep him affordable as a last round pick, but we’ll see.
No. 9 Pick – New York Knicks — Kevin Knox, PF, Freshman, Kentucky
32.4 MPG, 37 games
Shooting Line: 44.5 FG% on 11.9 FGA, 34.1 3P% on 4.5 3PA, 77.4 FT% on 4.4 FTA
Counting Stats: 15.6 PTs, 5.4 REBs, 1.4 ASTs, 0.8 STLs, 0.3 BLKs, 2.3 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 0.380 3Par, 9.3 TRB%, 1.5 STL%, 1.0 BLK%
Knox could have some hidden value if the steals and blocks numbers for Kentucky last season were a product of system, personnel, etc. Otherwise, he’s going to struggle to make ends meet in standard fantasy leagues. Defensively, where rookies see their minutes snipped, he has the physical profile but not the intangibles based on his Kentucky film.
We’ll have to see what the Knicks do in free agency but even if they don’t add players at his positions, he’d be a last round flier at best in most leagues, at least as it stands right now.
No. 10 Pick – Phoenix Suns — Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Junior, Villanova
32.1 MPG, 40 games
Shooting Line: 51.4 FG% on 11.9 FGA, 43.5 3P% on 6.0 3PA, 85.1 FT% on 3.4 FTA
Counting Stats: 17.7 PTs, 5.3 REBs, 1.9 ASTs, 1.5 STLs, 1.1 BLKs, 1.4 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 62.3 EFG%, 10.6 AST%, 2.7 STL%, 3.5 BLK%
Bridges hit 39.3 percent from deep in his sophomore season on half the attempts per game so while the shooting line seems like a regression candidate, two good seasons makes us want to believe he could have a Khris Middleton-esque shooting stat set and NBA future. The assists are down and his upside in both reality and fantasy might be whether he can get enough wiggle and dribbling skills and start dishing the rock.
With steals and blocks both viable at the NBA level, and a big-time shooting stat set also viable, there’s a lot to like about Bridges, at least in relation to his lack of overall hype. The Suns have players at his position but they’re a bad team and he’s a good player, so he could have some sneaky upside and he probably won’t be talked about ahead of the late rounds in just about any circumstance. Let’s see where he lands before we give him anything but late-round consideration, but he has thy attention.
No. 11 Pick – Los Angeles Clippers — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Freshman, Kentucky
33.7 MPG, 37 games
Shooting Line: 48.5 FG% on 10.2 FGA, 40.4 3P% on 1.5 3PA, 81.7 FT% on 4.7 FTA
Counting Stats: 14.4 PTs, 4.1 REBs, 5.1 ASTs, 1.6 STLs, 0.5 BLKs, 2.7 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 0.151 3PAr, 28.8 AST%, 2.8 STL%
SGA might be the best point guard in the draft and he has a nice enough stat set to get fantasy owners’ attention, but we’ll have to see how free agency turns out for the Clips. If he were to be deployed in the current configuration, he’d be a late-round pick that might go upward as draft season continues.
The Clips gave up two second round picks to do the deal and they don’t have any real point guard options that should concern him as it stands. He’ll need to improve his 3-point shooting rate and do so without crushing his field goal percentage, but making (and taking) a good amount of free throws certainly helps matters. If he can continue to steal at a high rate he has some sleeper appeal.
No. 12 Pick – Charlotte Hornets — Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Sophomore, Michigan State
31.4 MPG, 34 games
Shooting Line: 45.7 FG% on 13.4 FGA, 36.4 3P% on 5.7 3PA, 85.3 FT% on 3.2 FTA (68.5 FT% on 3.3 FTAs as freshman)
Counting Stats: 17.1 PTs, 7.0 REBs, 2.7 ASTs, 0.6 STLs, 0.8 BLKs, 2.0 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 12.5 TRB% (15.0 as frosh), 2.5 BLK% (4.9 as frosh)
Bridges can sky off of two feet and he finishes so strong with dunks in traffic that one would think the rebounding and defensive stats could have similar force but he took big steps backward in those departments as a sophomore.
Offensively, he’s barely good enough on film to project as a savvy glue guy at the NBA level but he’ll need to continue rounding out his game and also keep his frame from bogging him down as he ages. Get rid of the elevation and I’m not ready to bank on his shooting just yet.
If he can trend toward the dirty work stats and be a facilitator/spot-up shooter he might have a future in fantasy leagues, but for now he’s a lower upside Dynasty target in deep leagues, even on a Charlotte team that’s not likely to be deep this season.
No. 14 Pick – Denver Nuggets — Michael Porter Jr., PF, Freshman, Missouri
3 games at Missouri.
Shooting Line: There are so few games played across various college and amateur events that we’re forced into some pretty loose approximations. He appears to generally be a 45-50 percent shooter. He takes threes willingly so he’s probably a lower percentage guy in the NBA. He shot approximately 75 percent in recorded games and that’s a fair bet. Has a good chance to shoot north of 30 percent from beyond the arc.
Counting Stats: Scoring and rebounding are his strong suites, has athleticism to get steals and blocks are a harder sell but theoretically he has those, too. Not a great playmaker so assists aren’t likely in his future. Probably going to have a high turnover ratio.
Relevant Advanced Stats: See above
Porter’s injury status is going to drive his narrative wherever he goes and the hype train will adjust based on how much we see in Summer League and in preseason. He could easily be redshirted in Denver and he could also play behind Paul Millsap, learning the game while also getting some easy buckets from Nikola Jokic. It’s hard to see any real value in a low minute role but long-term he might squeak by on the strength of his versatility and theoretically good foul shooting.
Still, there are holes in his game – a lot of them – and the injury risk is what it is. He’s getting the hype he got because of his high school rankings and his freaky athlete potential. The price was right for Denver at 14 but fantasy owners can empathize seeing a big time name keep falling and feeling like one ‘has to do it.’ He’s a must-own Dynasty guy for the potential he can live up to half the hype.
No. 18 Pick – San Antonio Spurs — Lonnie Walker IV, SG/SF, Freshman, Miami
27.8 MPG, 32 games
Shooting Line: 41.5 FG% on 9.9 FGA, 34.6 3P% on 5.1 3PA, 73.8 FT% on 2.0 FTA
Counting Stats: 11.5 PTs, 2.6 REBs, 1.9 ASTs, 0.9 STLs, 0.5 BLKs, 1.2 TOs
Relevant Advanced Stats: 0.509 3Par, 0.204 FTr, 5.5 TRB%, 1.8 BLK%
Walker can unlock a lot of his potential by figuring out how to dribble. The good news is that he landed in a great place to be developed and Kawhi Leonard almost has two feet out the door.
He’s basically limited to 3-point shooting and stepbacks but he has serious bounce and if he can similarly learn to finish he’d really be on to something. But because he can step into 3-pointers with confidence and physically hold his own he has a shot not just at minutes but he could also have some fantasy upside, if not in his rookie year then down the road.
The low-level blocks potential and 3-point shooting are an interesting mix, but the lack of rebounding, steals and touches are enough to keep his market limited to deeper dynasty leagues. There was a report from Doug Gottlieb about injury red flags but it seemed poorly sourced when Jonathan Givony of Draft Express shot it down.