The 2020 NBA draft is finally in our rearview. One can only take so much hand wringing over LaMelo Ball’s suspect jumper or Anthony Edwards’ aloof nature. Overall, there were few major surprises and no seismic moves made or braindead picks made by the usual suspects. Blaze and DD break down the night that was with a Mavs twist at the end.
Let’s start off with a softball. Who are a couple of teams that had a great night?
B-I really appreciate what Memphis did. They squeezed a lot of value out of their night, from just picks 30 and 35. Desmond Bane was viewed as a guy who could go in the late teens by many, and Xavier Tillman was a first round pick in many mocks. They both come in with NBA-ready games and are great fits with the Grit and Grind 2.0 crew in Memphis. (Also, Tillman and Grizz cornerstone Jaren Jackson Jr. are former AAU and college teammates, and Jackson was Tillman’s best man in his wedding!) I also like what Sacramento did. That’s an uncommon refrain regarding the Kings, but they really got this draft right. Many teams were trying to move up for Tyrese Halliburton, who is a perfect complement to De’Aaron Fox; Robert Woodard is ready defensively to get on the floor from day one, and Jahm’ius Ramsey is a toolsy playmaker and scorer who should quickly establish a role for a team who needs to continue collecting young talent.
DD-You “appreciate” what Memphis did? What an odd choice of words. Blaze, were you also “impressed” by what Memphis did on draft night. I agree with your appreciation post. Those teams seemed to make the right moves while also taking some swings at some guys (Ramsey, for example). And of course they have to play in the West. Jeez it’s going to be tough out there.
I’m going to answer one for the people and say Charlotte. They live in irrelevance out there, despite my main man Michael Jordan being the owner. But now they’re squarely on the NBA map of relevancy after drafting Ball. I’m not the biggest fan of his, but I’m a fan of passing and star power and taking shots at the top of the draft. If he busts, big deal, they just go back to being boring old Charlotte but if he hits then the ride to get there is going to be fun to watch.
I don’t like what they did with their next two picks of Vernon Carey Sr. and Nick Richards because of their boring names, games and positions. Aren’t they both just traditional centers and isn’t this 2020? But I love what they did by nabbing Grant Riller. A small player from a small college but someone who I think is going to thrive in the NBA and maybe even fit well next to LaMelo as a secondary ball handler. I have him down as a poor man’s version of Fred Vanvleet and someone who I could see being a fan favorite. I loved them taking a chance on him.
B-That’s right. Unlike you, I value and admire good decision making. I’m with you though, on Charlotte. They have been stuck in such a malaise for years now, and LaMelo at least injects some life into them. We can’t rule out this being a long con situation though, and MJ only drafting LaMelo to get revenge on Lavar for his “I can beat Mike 1-on-1” claims.
Now who left you scratching your head a bit?
B-I’m not a fan of the Spurs’ night. I also hate the Spurs, so that could color some of this analysis, but Devin Vassell and Tre Jones both bring defense…and then serious offensive question marks. The Spurs have a knack for (and roster full of) promising role players with defined skillsets. I think they missed an opportunity to swing for more upside in a player like Aleksej Pokusevski or RJ Hampton. It’s also hard to knock the Warriors after the brutal blow of losing Klay Thompson again, but his prognosis was bleak going into draft night, and I wonder if Wiseman was the right move there. Trading down to pick up more picks or even a starting caliber wing may have been more prudent than grabbing a promising big like Wiseman.
DD- Watch it.
Yeah, I’m not going to kill the Spurs here. Vassell will probably be a good pro, but they’re not going anywhere or doing anything until those two anchors, ceiling setter players aren’t on the team anymore. I guess if you’re a Spurs optimist, you’d scream at me about Murray, Walker or White or maybe you’d even through a (Fake) Luka Samanic plug in there but those guys project as good pieces at best and not anything to turn a franchise around. I think the same could be said for Vassell.
For me, and this is going to upset you, I’m going with Phoenix. They only had one pick but taking a big man in Jalen Smith that isn’t already a sharp shooter at 10 when you have Ayton doesn’t make much sense to me. Especially since Haliburton was right there and seems like the type of player that’s ready to go. (Even though he shoots like a nine-year old who has to hoist his shot from his hips just to hopefully hit the rim). He’s the kind of player that fits on any NBA team, and he could seamlessly slide right in there next to Paul and Booker while also bringing some playmaking dynamics that the other Suns wings don’t have in abundance.
Since you brought up Golden St., and please tell me if this is too soon, shouldn’t the Warriors still be really good even without Klay? I’m a believer in Wiseman with that franchise and team and Oubre was a great pick up for them as well. Plus, Nico Mannion at 48? That’s some good value that late in the draft.
B-I’m with you that Haliburton was the right guy there for them. The Suns clearly go and get their guys (Hello, Cameron Johnson from 2019), and I think it was a bit high for Jalen, but if he validates the perimeter chops that some people say he has, I can see him growing nicely alongside Ayton. Aron Baynes played that role nicely with a not so different skill set.
DD-Yeah, they do, their guy just should’ve been Haliburton. But we’ll see.
Alright so to wrap this thing up, let’s hit on our Mavericks.
B-I think they crushed this draft and night overall. Perimeter defense and skilled wings were the Mavs’ greatest needs, and these were clearly their priority on draft night. Josh Green over a guy like Saddiq Bey was a little surprising, but in the 3 + D mold, Green is more D than 3, and Bey is more 3 than D, showing us even more of the Mavs plans and priorities. Green was a huge recruit coming out of high school and didn’t get to properly shine on a loaded Arizona team. To the Mavs’ splashiest move, Seth Curry will be missed, but Josh Richardson makes the Mavericks better than they were the day before. He is a perfect complement to Luka as a secondary ballhandler, competent shooter, and most importantly, a plus defender with size on the wing. And if Tyrell Terry is who the Mavs think he is, he’ll be a great facsimile to what Seth brought to Dallas.
DD-You said it well. I can’t add much to that except that I love your point on Green being a 5 star recruit. College basketball is just so different from what we grew up watching. You’ve got to look at Green, see the talent and then project it out. And the talent is there. At worst, he’s going to be an athletic menace on D that will be able to guard multiple positions.
Bey is someone we’re going to have to watch and there is a chance that passing on him comes back to bite us, but Green has a higher ceiling.
I’m excited about Green, but I’m more excited about Terry. You’re right, his game screams Seth Curry, and I think he’ll get there sooner than people think. He also seems to be a tough, cocky little kid but his cockiness is in the right places which bodes well for him coming in and playing next to Luka and/or Brunson.
I watched a scouting video on Terry the other day that compared his slight leg kick when he shoots to Nash and Steph. What does that do for you?
B-It does everything for me. As long as that stuff doesn’t get him in Carlisle’s doghouse. Alright, well let’s put a pin in this for now. It sounds like our little Mavericks aren’t done yet, so until then.