Darius Bazley

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Thunder unload stars for all the right reasons

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NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

So many teams spent this summer trying to create star duos. The Lakers (LeBron James and Anthony Davis), Clippers (Kawhi Leonard and Paul George), Nets (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving) and Rockets (James Harden and Russell Westbrook) certainly succeeded.

Meanwhile, the Thunder already had a star duo in place… and disassembled it.

Oklahoma City became the first team in NBA history to trade two reigning All-NBA players in a single offseason. Why did the Thunder take the unprecedented step to move Paul George and Russell Westbrook?

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • 2021: Most favorable of Rockets (top-four protected), Thunder and Heat first-round picks
  • 2021: Second-most favorable of Rockets (top-four protected), Thunder and Heat first-round picks
  • 2022: Clippers first-round pick
  • 2023: Heat first-round pick (top-14 protected for three years then unprotected in 2026)
  • 2023: Swap rights with Clippers first-round pick
  • 2024: Clippers first-round pick
  • 2024: Rockets first-round pick (top-four protected)
  • 2025: Swap rights with Rockets first-round pick (top-10 protected) or Clippers first-round pick
  • 2026: Clippers first-round pick
  • 2026: Rockets first-round pick (top-four protected)

That’s an incredible collection of resources. Before anyone even knew a rebuild was underway, Oklahoma City got a huge head start toward its next era.

Not at a bad time, either.

The Thunder had stagnated post-Kevin Durant. They won in the high 40s and lost in the first round the last three years. Westbrook was aging. The supporting cast was expensive, especially considering the luxury-tax repeater bill. There was no clear way forward.

The Clippers offered a lifeboat. To entice Kawhi Leonard to sign, they traded five first-round picks and two first-round swaps for George. L.A.’s desperate was Oklahoma City’s gain. Suddenly, the Thunder had assets and a direction.

They traded Jerami Grant to the Nuggets for a top-10-protected first-rounder. Then came the dramatic, era-ending move. Oklahoma City worked with Westbrook to send him to Houston, securing another couple first-rounders and first-round swap rights.

Of course, a large part of the Thunder’s return was taking the burdensome contract of Chris Paul (three years, $124,076,442 remaining). But it’s not as if Westbrook’s contract is desirable, and his runs a year longer with a $47,063,478 salary in 2022-23.

Paul is also still a good player. So is Danilo Gallinari, whom Oklahoma City got from the Clippers to make the salary match in the George deal.

For all their effort to tear build for the future, the Thunder have a team that isn’t much worse presently. Paul, Gallinari and Steven Adams fit well together. More than a few interesting role players could fill the gaps. If everyone stays healthy and if Oklahoma City wants to compete, this group could fight for a playoff spot.

Those are big ifs, though. In their new phase, the Thunder bought out Patrick Patterson and let Alec Burks out of his deal so he could sign with the Warriors. With the same opportunity to back out, Mike Muscala (1+1 minimum) stuck with Oklahoma City. The Thunder also re-signed Nerlens Noel (one year, minimum) before pivoting, but I like that value in any situation.

If Paul and Gallinari avoid injury, Oklahoma City might stay in the race. But it’s easy to see the Thunder wanting to boost the value of their own first-round picks.

Oklahoma City did well to delay the incoming draft picks until years later, when the Clippers and Rockets might not be as good as they are now. That allows a great opportunity to rebuild on someone else’s dime while avoiding dispiriting tanking. Or the Thunder could tank themselves and really stock up on draft capital.

After years of competing, Oklahoma City was short on prime young talent. The Thunder have a few players with potential, including No. 23 pick Darius Bazley, but no real standouts beyond Gilgeous-Alexander, who came from L.A. in the George trade.

The rebuild is just beginning. A step back after a decade of stellar play will be difficult. But considering the chance of maintaining a playoff level next season while securing this influx of assets, Oklahoma City put itself in much stronger position.

Offseason grade: A

NCAA creates ridiculous ‘Rich Paul Rule’ for agents, potential NBA prospects

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Things are changing in the NCAA, and as per usual, not for the better. In an announcement today, the collegiate organization put forth new rules for the agents potential NBA prospects can sign with as they “test the waters” for the draft.

At their core, these rules appear to be ones aimed at removing guys like Rich Paul from being in the early running to represent NBA players.

It’s… not a great look for the NCAA.

Via Twitter:

There’s thoughts that the NCAA could be mad at Paul for what he did with Darius Bazley. The former Syracuse commit decided to forego college and the G-League for an internship with New Balance, one that pays him $1 million. The internship is also a shoe contract.

Via Marc Stein:

The internship, to be precise, is folded into a handsome shoe contract Bazley, 18, has landed with New Balance on the lure of his pro potential. According to Paul, Bazley’s multiyear deal will pay him $1 million “no matter what happens” with his N.B.A. career — and can pay up to $14 million if he reaches all performance incentives.

Of course, the NCAA doesn’t like it when they aren’t able to extract outsized value from the bodies of young athletes without giving them proper compensation. That Bazley and Paul did as much — cutting the NCAA out of making money off Bazley — apparently angered them.

These rules are ridiculous, and a bald-faced attempt at putting a stop to other players Los Angeles Lakers Star LeBron James wasn’t impressed, and voiced as much on Twitter:

The NCAA is a ridiculous farce.

Potential first-rounder skipping college to prepare for 2021 NBA draft

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What do top basketball players do after high school?

Eventually, they’ll be able to jump straight to the NBA. But for now, the league’s age minimum bars it.

College basketball is the most popular choice. However, that traditional route doesn’t appeal to everyone.

So, unconventional paths are emerging.

The Australian National Basketball League offers “Next stars” contracts that guarantee about $78,000 U.S. gross. The NBA’s minor league affiliate offers Select Contracts with a $125,000 salary.

Darius Bazley sat out last season then became the No. 23 pick in this year’s draft, joining the Thunder.

Highly touted 2020 recruit MarJon Beauchamp of Seattle is taking a similar path.

Beauchamp :

It’s incorrect to say college basketball players don’t get paid. They receive scholarships, room and board and even lately spending money.

They don’t get paid market rate. That’s the problem.

So, Beauchamp is forgoing compensation to do this training program. He won’t be bound by amateurism rules and could get a shoe deal, other sponsorship money or loans. But many college players get those benefits under the table, anyway. There’s a risk here.

Chameleon BX calls itself a “personalized 12-month program to prepare elite athletes for the NBA draft.” It lists former NBA head coaches Dave Joerger (Kings and Grizzlies) and Bob Hill (Pacers, Spurs and SuperSonics) among its staff.

Beauchamp will be an interesting test case.

2019 NBA Draft pick-by-pick tracker with analysis of selections, trades

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Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The NBA Draft saw the trade of the No. 4 pick — twice — plus the No. 6 and 11 picks before the New Orleans Pelicans were even on the clock for the No. 1 pick. Listening to the buzz around the league, expect a lot more first-round trades, especially when we get into the 20s. It’s going to be a crazy night.

We will be on top of it all night long.

Here is a breakdown of every pick, every trade — complete with analysis of how that player fits (or doesn’t) with his new surroundings.

 
Pelicans small icon No. 1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, 6’7” forward, Duke. The highest rated prospect out of college since Anthony Davis for many scouts, Williamson can be the cornerstone the Pelicans need to rebuild post-Davis. Williamson is a ridiculous athlete, strong, can leap out of the building, but also shows a point guard’s feel for the game and he defends very well. His shot is improved but he’s got to be more consistent and he needs to add range, however, with his work ethic it should come along. What some scouts like best: He plays hard, he doesn’t just coast on all that natural talent.

 
Grizzlies small icon No. 2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant, 6’3” point guard, Murray State. The Grizzlies are banking on him to be their point guard of the future (especially with Mike Conley traded to Utah). He’s an explosive athlete, has a tremendous handle, impressive court vision and he knows how to make every pass you can think of. He’s got to improve his jump shot to avoid being another athletic point guard that defenders just go under the pick against. He was asked to score a lot in college, he needs to show a more rounded game at the next level.

 
Knicks small icon No. 3. New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett, 6’7” wing, Duke. With all the talent on the Blue Devils roster last season, Barrett was the guy Coach K ran the offense through, which says something. He had an incredibly efficient season: better than 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a game, and as Sam Vecenie of the Athletic said, the last guy with those numbers in college was Penny Hardaway. How his game fits in the NBA, where he will play more of a role, will be the test, but he has the potential to be a wing in New York for many years.

 
Hawks small icon No. 4. Atlanta Hawks (via Lakers and Pelicans): De’Andre Hunter, 6’8” wing, Virginia. This pick was traded twice, and while the Lakers are making it is ultimately being done for the Hawks so we will list it that way. One of the best defensive players in this draft, he’s got good athleticism, he’s physical and long at 6’8” with a 7’2” wingspan. He’s not going to be a future superstar, but what he can be is a quality starter/rotation player who is a defensive stopper and can knock down threes (better than 45 percent from deep this season). He is a willing role player who can help a team as a rookie.

 
Cavaliers small icon No. 5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Darius Garland, 6’3” point guard, Vanderbilt. He only played in five games in college due to a knee injury, still teams love his potential as a shot creator and shooter. He’s got impressive handles, plays at different speeds to create space, has a good pull-up jumper, and has potential to effectively run an offense. He has got to limit the turnovers at the NBA level, and he’s a bit of a project, but there is a lot of potential here. Cleveland likes the idea of Garland and Collin Sexton as a backcourt with two ball handlers (in the Portland mold with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, although that is a lofty goal).

 
No. 6. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Suns): Jarrett Culver, 6’6” wing, Texas Tech. This pick was traded earlier in the day from Phoenix to Minnesota (even though Culver had to put on a Suns hat at the draft) A player that teams fell in love with after working him out. Culver certainly passes the eye test for an NBA wing, he has shown a nice jump shot, he can put the ball on the floor and get inside, and he plays a high IQ game. You’re not going to find a guy with a better feel for the game in this draft. The primary concern has been he’s not an explosive, elite athlete and on the wing in the NBA that’s what he’s going to be up against nightly. But he’s got the skills to make waves in the NBA.

 
Bulls small icon No. 7. Chicago Bulls: Coby White, 6’5” guard, North Carolina. Chicago wanted a young point guard and it got its man. A point guard who shot up draft boards this past season. White is lightning quick and used that and a good jumper to score, but he’s become an improved playmaker the more he played in college (his decision making still needs to improve, but he’s on the right track). He’s impressive in transition and loves to push the ball, but in any setting when he gets playing downhill he’s hard to stop. Can play the one or the two.

 
Pelicans small icon No. 8. New Orleans Pelicans (via Hawks): Jaxson Hayes, 7’0” center, Texas. A late bloomer who still needs a lot of polish, he has the tools and potential to be a prototypical defense-first, rim-running NBA center (think DeAndre Jordan style). Hayes is incredibly athletic, runs the floor well, and he has shown good instincts on both ends of the court. That said, he’s raw. This is a development project for the Pelicans and the team and fans need to be patient. That said, him at the five and Zion at the four would be a wildly athletic frontline.

 
Wizards small icon No. 9. Washington Wizards: Rui Hachimura, 6’8” forward, Gonzaga. He’s averaged 20.1 points a game on 62.1 percent shooting, and he’s the guy a very good Gonzaga team ran everything through. Hachimura overpowered players at the college level and went often to his spin move, but he’s got to grow his game at the next level. He doesn’t shoot the three with any confidence (he took just one a game), his handles need work, as does his defense. The talent is there, he needs to develop it.

 
Hawks small icon No. 10. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish, 6’8” wing, Duke. One of the more divisive guys in the draft, he was all over different teams draft boards. He is an explosive and fluid athlete, he can space the floor as a shooter, he’s long and can defend, and he can create a little off the dribble (although his handle needs work). Yet in college, he was a bit passive and showed all that potential only in flashes. His backers believe he’ll be better in an NBA system where the spacing is better (not everyone believes that). He needs to get stronger.

 
Suns small icon No. 11. Phoenix Suns (via Timberwolves): Cameron Johnson 6’9” forward, North Carolina. Our first real surprise, this is higher than many expected him to be taken, but shooters have value. And Johnson is one of the best pure shooters in this draft (46.5 percent from three last season), and the Suns can certainly use that. He works off the ball and knows how to get in position for shots, and he didn’t flinch in big moments for the Tar Heels (23 against Duke in the ACC Tournament). There are questions about his defense and durability.

 
Hornets small icon No. 12. Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Washington, 6’8” forward, Kentucky. Not a guy that blows you away with elite athleticism (despite a reported 43-inch vertical), but has a 7’3” wingspan, is physical in the paint, can defend multiple positions, and plays a high IQ game that opposing coaches have said make him tough to go against. You can see a stretch four in his game, Washington shot 41.9 percent from three. A bit of a project but a guy who improved a lot last season, a good sign.

 
Heat small icon No. 13. Miami Heat: Tyler Herro, 6’6” shooting guard, Kentucky. He’s a very good shooter — both catch-and-shoot and coming off screens on the move — and that is a skill that will serve him well in Miami, where floor spacing matters. He has handles, can run some pick and roll, but he’s not a guy who blows you away with his length and athleticism. If he puts in the work to hone his skills he could have a long career in the NBA filling a floor-spacing role.

 
Celtics small icon No. 14. Boston Celtics (via Kings): Romeo Langford, 6’6” wing, Indiana. He didn’t live up to the (unreasonable) hype in Indiana, but he played this the season with a torn ligament in his shooting hand, a back issue, and some other assorted minor injuries. He still showed flashes as a playmaker, but he needs to show that his shooting woes in college (27.2 percent from three) was about the thumb and nothing else. He also needs to show a little more explosiveness to be a shot creator at the NBA level. Still, should become a solid rotation player at the very least.

Pistons small icon No. 15. Detroit Pistons: Sekou Doumbouya, 6’9” forward, France. He is built like an NBA forward (222 pounds) and has all the physical tools, but he’s going to be a project coming out of the top French league. He is active and physical on defense, and on offense he can play in transition but has work to do on his shot and fitting into the NBA game. A lot of potential here if Detroit can develop it.

 
Magic small icon No. 16. Orlando Magic: Chuma Okeke, 6’8” forward, Auburn. A surprise pick, this is much higher than most had him going (a late first/early second round kind of guy). He’s a good defender across multiple positions, and his shot has improved, making him a potential quality role player in the NBA. However, he comes with a massive question mark: He’s out right now with a torn ACL (and will miss part of the upcoming season), how will he bounce back from that? This is not an elite athlete already and he can’t afford to lose a step. A gamble taking him this high by Orlando.

 
Pelicans small icon No. 17. New Orleans Pelicans (via Nets, Hawks): Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 6’5” guard, Virginia Tech. He’s not an explosive athlete, but he’s a smart one who learned how to let the game come to him and manage it well. He can shoot the rock (nearly 40 percent from three), is an improved playmaker off the pick-and-roll, a good rebounder for a guard, and is steady. His defense at the NBA level is the big question. There is an NBA rotation swingman in his game if he works at it, and he fits with the young core being built in New Orleans.

 
Pacers small icon No. 18. Indiana Pacers: Goga Bitadze, 6’11” center, Georgia (the nation). He’s a very skilled big man who has shown that he can succeed at the highest levels of European basketball. He has an improving jump shot, can score around the rim, and in Europe was an impressive shot blocker. Also, he’s just 20 years old, so there is a lot of room to grow still.

 
Spurs small icon No. 19. San Antonio Spurs:Luka Samanic, 6’11” forward/center, Croatia. This is a very Spurs pick. Samanic helped himself with a very strong NBA Draft Combine and workouts since then. He has shown a lot of skill and a good basketball IQ, but he is also raw and a project big. He does not want to do that developing with another season in Europe, he wants to come to the NBA now. He landed with one of the best player development teams in the NBA.

WE HAVE A TRADE: Boston sends the No. 20 pick to in-division rival Philadelphia for the No. 24 and 33 picks.

 
Sixers small icon No. 20. Philadelphia 76ers: Matisse Thybulle, 6’5” wing, Washington. There was a trade just before the pick, Philly gets Thybulle for the No. 24 and 33 picks, which are now Boston’s. Maybe the best wing defender in this draft, Thybulle is a potential defensive stopper, the guy you throw on the best perimeter player of the other team and know the job will get done. The kind of player coaches love. Thybulle gets steals, he blocks shots well for a guard, and he’s not just good on ball he’s a smart help defender. On offense, he can shoot the ball but doesn’t really seek out his own shot. He needs to be more consistent on that end.

WE HAVE A TRADE: Oklahoma City sends the No. 21 pick to Memphis for the No. 23 pick and future second rounder.

 
Grizzlies small icon No. 21. Memphis Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, 6’8” forward, Gonzaga. This pick was just traded before it was announced to Memphis, with OKC gets the No. 23 pick and a future second rounder. Scouts love Clarke’s defense, a forward who can guard both the three and the four, can switch onto guards, blocks shots, and plays with a high motor. He’s also scored 17 points a game very efficiently, which helped his draft status, although his handle and jumper still need work to be NBA ready.

 
Celtics small icon No. 22. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams, 6’7” power forward, Tennessee. A little higher than some expected him to go, but Celtics’ fans will love him. Williams is a physical, nasty player, something coach Brad Stevens will like. He is solid from the midrange and can hit the three well enough that defenders have to respect it (but that percentage needs to go up). That said, his game is really playing some bully ball around the rim. He is strong and plays smart angles down on the block. How he fits in the NBA game is a question worth asking, but he plays hard and those kinds of guys are the ones coaches love to have around for culture reasons, beyond just minutes played.

 
Thunder small icon No. 23. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Jazz, Grizzlies): Darius Bazley, 6’9” forward. He did not play anywhere last season (first he was going to Syracuse, then the G-League, then nada), he’s raw, and he needs to get a lot stronger. With those concerns, this is still a potential high upside pick at this spot, He has the potential to be a guy who can defend multiple positions, knock down shots, and even put the ball on the floor a little and create shots. However, he is very much a project and a long way from that, the Thunder need to be patient in developing him.

WE HAVE A TRADE: The Celtics are sending the pick they just traded for minutes ago from Philly to Phoenix, and the Suns are taking on big man Aron Baynes in that deal (a guy Boston wanted to move for salary reasons).

 
Suns small icon No. 24. Phoenix Suns (via 76ers, Celtics): Ty Jerome, 6’6” combo guard, Virginia. Front office sources I spoke with thought Jerome could be a great pick in the 20s, they all were high on him. Jerome is a good shooter who can walk on the court tomorrow and hit NBA threes, he has good size for his position, he plays smart and he plays hard. This is not a high upside pick, and he likely will struggle defensively, but at this point in the draft the Suns get a player who can help them right now with some spot minutes off the bench, and he could develop into a nice role player that sticks in the league for many years.

 
Blazers small icon No. 25. Portland Trail Blazers: Nasir Little, 6’6” wing, North Carolina. His stock dropped over the course of the college season and that was evident on draft night as a guy projected top 10 at the start of the season (top five on some boards) fell this far. He’s a polarizing player amongst scouts. His backers note his athleticism, his toughness, and the improved outside shooting he has shown in workouts. However, his shot was inconsistent during the season, his defense iffy, and he just struggled to fit in and show a feel for the game with the Tar Heels. Maybe the NBA game will fit him better.

 
Cavaliers small icon No. 26. Cleveland Cavaliers: Dylan Windler, 6’8” small forward, Belmont. He could develop into a good role player on the perimeter in the NBA. Windler shot 42 percent from three last year but also can score inside off drives. He’s got a 6’10” wingspan and moves well, which means he could become a solid defender. He rebounds well also. He needs to get stronger and tighten his game up, but there is potential here.

WE HAVE A TRADE: The Clippers wanted to move into the late first round and they have, picking up Brooklyn’s No. 27 pick. Brooklyn gets the 2020 first round pick belonging to Philadelphia (Los Angeles had it via the Tobias Harris trade) and the 56th pick in this draft. That clears more cap space for the Nets heading into free agency.

 
Clippers small icon No. 27. Los Angeles Clippers: Mfiondu Kabengele, 6’10” center, Florida State. He’s a late bloomer with an upward trajectory, both during his sophomore season and during workouts for teams after the Draft Combine. He is a project but one with great potential because of his athleticism and the feel he showed for the game (he was incredibly efficient as a Seminole). He can defend the rim on one end and score around it on the other, he could be a good small ball big in a few years.

 
Warriors small icon No. 28. Golden State Warriors: Jordan Poole, 6’6” combo guard, Michigan. While he has the size and athleticism to be an NBA guard, he’s a project. His handles show flashes but he gets sloppy, his shooting has range but is not consistent enough, he’s got to get a lot stronger, and some question his grit. He could develop into an NBA two guard. He’s very likely going to have to spend time in the G-League to develop, does he love the game enough to put in all the work it will take to get to the NBA? He couldn’t have landed in a better spot.

 
Spurs small icon No. 29. San Antonio Spurs: Keldon Johnson, 6’6” wing, Kentucky. A good athlete who is fantastic in transition, or any time he can get playing downhill because he is a classic slasher. He also has a solid jump shot, and he brings a lot of toughness and versatility to the court. He’s not a shot creator, however. He’s got to get better defensively, but there is a role for him in the NBA.

WE HAVE A TRADE: The Bucks are sending the final pick of the first round to the Cavaliers, reportedly for four second-round picks and cash.

 
Cavaliers small icon No. 30. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Bucks): Kevin Porter Jr., 6’6” guard, USC. He’s a gamble, but less of one at this point in the draft and is a good bet by the Cavs. The talent is not the question, he has the tools to be a shot creator at the NBA level with his handles and stepback jumper. He’s got the athleticism and the ability to finish around the rim. The questions are everything else: The suspension at USC when they went to Oregon, the mysterious leg ailment that sat him for two months, and a string of odd situations.

SECOND ROUND

 
Nets small icon No. 31. Brooklyn Nets (via Knicks): Nic Claxton, 7’0” center, Georgia (the university). A late bloomer and a bit of a project, but he has a lot of potential, especially defensively. He is a fluid athlete who has some versatility to his game, in part because he has legit handles (he could rebound the ball and bring it up himself). That said he is raw offensively and struggles to finish and score. He has got to get stronger and add muscle. A lot of upside with Claxton, but it will take work and time to bring that out.

WE HAVE A TRADE: The Pacers, who had the rights to the No. 32 pick after a trade today with the Suns, are trading that pick again on to Miami for three second rounders.

 
Heat small icon No. 32. Miami Heat: KZ Okpala, 6’10” forward, Stanford. A late bloomer with impressive physical tools, he improved enough over this time at Stanford to jump up draft boards. He’s can shoot from the perimeter, put the ball on the floor, has impressive body control when he goes to finish, and he has great defensive potential. The challenge becomes just how raw he is, this is a project for Miami but at this point in the draft it’s a good risk to take.

 
Celtics small icon No. 33. Boston Celtics: Carsen Edwards, 6’0” guard, Purdue. He’s going to have a role in the NBA because he can flat out shoot the rock. Just as importantly, he can knock it down off the bounce or off the catch. He has point guard size but Purdue used him mostly like a two-guard coming off a bunch of screens to get open and shoot (think J.J. Redick sets). He’s not a good playmaker, he can’t run an NBA team right now, and his size makes him a potential defensive liability, but he can shoot and plays hard. That will keep him in the NBA for years.

 
Hawks small icon No. 34. Atlanta Hawks (via 76ers: Bruno Fernando, 6’10” center, Maryland. This pick was traded from Philadelphia to Atlanta just before it was made for three future second rounders. Fernando is a big man who can sprint the floor and rim run, sets good picks, can roll to the basket, and defensively is a big body in the paint who can block a few shots and alter more. In the modern NBA there is a role for this kind of center, but it’s shrinking, he needs to develop a midrange jumper at the least to stay on the court and have real value at the next level. That said, he can play a role and quickly in the NBA off the bench as he develops.

 
Pelicans small icon No. 35. New Orleans Pelicans: Marco Louzada Silva, 6’6″ forward, Brazil. First big surprise of the second round, he was not on a lot of boards. Mike Schmidt of ESPN compared his hard-nosed style of game to Josh Hart, but it’s one thing to do that in the Brazilian league and another in the NBA. At age 19, this is likely a draft and stash in Europe.

 
Hornets small icon No. 36. Charlotte Hornets: Cody Martin, 6’6″ wing, Nevada. A good athlete, plays hard, can play at the two or three, the real concern has been his shot. While it has looked better of late — and apparently impressed the Hornets — there were real concerns about how sustainable his recent improvement has been. If he can shoot, this could be a good pick up.

Pistons small icon No. 37. Detroit Pistons: Deividas Sirvydis, 6’8” forward, Lithuania. Dallas traded this pick to the Pistons just before the selection was made. Sirvydis can shoot the rock, plays a smart game, just turned 19, and that potential has the Pistons willing to roll the dice on him. He’s played well in Europe and internationally, but he could be a draft-and-stash guy giving him more time to develop.

 
Bulls small icon No. 38. Chicago Bulls: Daniel Gafford, 6’11” center, Arkansas. He’s athletic but a bit of rim-running center because he does not have a jump shot but is a decent finisher around the rim. He blocks shots but was not the force on the boards he could be. He’s not a good low post player on offense. If he is mature and puts in the work on his game he can be a pick-and-roll center in the league, but he needs to get a lot stronger to do that.

 
Warriors small icon No. 39. Golden State Warriors: Alen Smailagic, 6’10” center, Serbia/Santa Cruz Warriors. The Pelicans traded this pick to the Warriors just before it was made, and Golden State wanted one of the guys it has groomed in the G-League. Smailagic entered the G-League at 18 and held his own, which is a good sign. He’s raw but shows potential on the defensive end that the Warriors want to continue to develop (maybe still in the G-League).

 
Kings small icon 40. Sacramento Kings: Justin James, 6’7″ wing, Wyoming. He was the offense for the Cowboys, and his ability to shoot on the move coming off picks could translate to the NBA, but he needs to be more consistent as a shooter. The biggest concern is he needs to get a lot stronger to play in the NBA, he’s not overpowering the Mountain West anymore.

 
Warriors small icon No. 41. Golden State Warriors: Eric Paschall, 6’7” forward, Villanova. A potential NBA role player: He’s athletic, already has an NBA body, he has good elevation on a jump shot that has come together, and he’s a switchable defender who can guard twos through fours. Also, he comes out of the Villanova system so coaches trust he’s learned how to play the right way. He is a guy who can contribute right away, something the Warriors could use.

 
Wizards small icon No. 42. Washington Wizards (via 76ers): Admiral Schofield, 6’5” small forward, Tennessee. He can space the floor, he shot 41.8 percent from three last season, plus he has an NBA-ready body and a tremendous work ethic. Those atributes could make him a solid NBA role player down the line. There are questions about his ability to defend at the NBA level, but the shooting makes him an interesting prospect.

 
No. 43. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jaylen Nowell, 6’4″ guard, Washington. A shoot-first guard (something the Kings already have on the roster) but he tends to make good decisions on which shots to take. He’s skilled. He’s also undersized for who he will be asked to guard in the NBA, and there are questions about his defense in general. A guy who could figure it out and become an NBA role player.

 
Nuggets small icon No. 44. Denver Nuggets: Bol Bol, 7’3” center, Oregon. Denver traded for this pick from Miami just before it was made. There was a lot of hype early on about the son of Manute Bol, but that turned into a lot of trepidation heading into the draft and is the reason he fell all the way to the middle of the second round. The potential is unquestioned — he is one of the better outside shooters in this class at any height, plus he moves well and is a good shot blocker. But he is coming off a broken foot, he’s got to get a lot stronger to play inside in the NBA, and most concerning of all are questions about his work ethic and love of the game. At this point, a good gamble by the Nuggets.

 
Mavericks small icon No. 45. Dallas Mavericks (via Pistons): Isaiah Roby, 6’9” power forward, Nebraska. A developmental project who could become a potential role player in the NBA. He passes the eye test for an NBA power forward and he’s solid at a lot of things — scoring, rebounding, he works hard off the ball — but he needs to be more consistent at all of it and make better decisions. He’s also got to get a lot stronger. That said, there’s an NBA player in there.

 
Lakers small icon No. 46. Los Angeles Lakers (via Magic). Talen Horton-Tucker, 6’4” guard, Iowa State. This pick was traded to the Lakers just before it was made. Horton-Tucker. climbed up draft boards during the season because of his versatility and potential. He’s got a good feel for the game, is physically strong, and can pass. The concern is his shot, he hit just 40.6 percent of his attempts overall and 30.8 percent from three. If his shot can come around, there is a role for him in the NBA.

 
Knicks small icon No. 47. New York Knicks (via Kings): Ignas Brazdeikis, 6’7” power forward, Michigan. He has the shooting touch to play in the NBA — he can hit threes, score inside and finish with either hand, plus he’s got a good midrange game — the question is will he be athletic enough to hang at the next level. There is potential as a stretch four, but the lack of athleticism leads to questions about his defense and who he would guard. Not a bad gamble at this point.

 
Clippers small icon No. 48. Los Angeles Clippers: Terence Mann, 6’6″ wing, Florida State. He’s a good defensive guard who has shown some ball handling and playmaking skills on the other end. He had a strong senior season but needs to be more aggressive on offense and disciplined on defense to stick at the next level.

 
Spurs small icon No. 49. San Antonio Spurs: Quinndary Weatherspoon, 6’4″ shooting guard, Misissippi State. A slashing combo guard who can take the contact and get to the free throw line, or can pull up and knock down the jumper. Just not consistently enough. Needs to limit his turnovers at the next level, but he plays hard and is a good gamble at this point in the draft.

 
Jazz small icon No. 50. Utah Jazz (via Pacers): Jarrell Brantley, 6’7″ forward, University of Charleston. He turned some heads at the Portsmouth Invitational, which helped him get drafted. He’s strong and plays a smart game, but he’s not an explosive athlete playing a position that is loaded with guys who are at the NBA level. Utah is one of the best development programs in the NBA, he will get the chance to prove he can play at the next level.

 
Celtics small icon No. 51. Boston Celtics: Tremont Waters, 5’11” point guard, LSU. He’s got all the skills teams want in a point guard, but he’s undersized (5’9.5” without shoes) and probably not athletic enough to make up for that. He’s got great handles, knows how to come off a high pick and either pull up and score or make a good decision, and he could just score. He’s likely a liability defensively, he has to prove he’s so important on the other end it does not matter. Still a good gamble at this point in the draft.

 
Hornets small icon No. 52. Charlotte Hornets: Jalen McDaniels, 6’10 forward, San Diego State. He’s long, athletic, plays hard, and has real potential as a guy who can defend multiple positions. He’s either going to have to learn to shoot a lot better to play the three or add a lot of muscle to play more in the paint in the NBA, right now he’s just not good enough at either.

 
Jazz small icon No. 53. Utah Jazz: Justin Wright-Foreman, 6’1″ guard, Hofstra. The man can get buckets. He had to do everything at Hofstra and he did — drive to the rim, hit stepbacks, knock down threes, come off screens, whatever it took. He can score. The question becomes, can he be a playmaker and defend will enough to play in the NBA. There are questions, but the Jazz know how to develop guys who he gets a real chance.

 
Sixers small icon No. 54. Philadelphia 76ers: Marial Shayok, 6’6″ wing, Iowa State. The man has shooting range, and he can do it off the bounce or on a catch-and-shoot. He’s a decent enough athlete and defender for the NBA level. He’s a senior who blossomed his last year, making teams wonder how much he will improve from here. That said, taking a shooter this deep in the draft is never a bad pick.

 
Kings small icon 55. Sacramento Kings (via Knicks): Kyle Guy, 6’2″ point guard, Virginia. One of the heros of Virginia’s run to a national title, but teams were surprised he stayed in the draft. He’s considered a little one note for the NBA, and his shooting is not consistent enough for the next level. However, he’s a feisty player and the Kings have the room on the roster to develop guys like this.

 
Nets small icon No. 56. Brooklyn Nets (via Clippers): Jaylen Hands, 6’3″ point guard, UCLA. He has good shooting range and he led the Pac-12 in assists last season. He was a top-20 recruit out of high school and has NBA-level athleticism. However, he’s got to learn to be a real floor general, be a more consistent shooter, and defend better than he showed as a Bruin to stick in the NBA.

Pistons small icon No. 57. Detroit Pistons (via Pelicans, Hawks): Jordan Bone, 6’3″ point guard, Tennessee. This is the kind of good gamble to take late in the NBA Draft. Bone has the physical tools of an NBA point guard and is plenty athletic. However, his decision making needs a lot of work, both in terms of shots taken and passes thrown. The Pistons can pick him here, guide him into the G-League, and see if they can improve that decision making and turn him into an NBA player.

 
Jazz small icon No. 58. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Miye Oni, 6’6″ wing, Yale. He’s long, he has good shooting range, and he plays a gritty game. That sounds like a Jazz player. There’s a lot of development to do for Oni, but Utah is the perfect team for that and they can take their time to bring him along and see if they can turn him into an NBA role player.

 
Raptors small icon No. 59. Toronto Raptors: Dewan Hernandez, 6’10” center, University of Miami. Hernandez did not play last season due to travails ith the NCAA. He’s an athletic big man who plays hard and has shown a good scoring touch around the basket. He’s going to have to develop a jumper and some shooting range, and become a better rim/paint protector to stick in the NBA.

 
Kings small icon 60. Sacramento Kings (via Bucks): Vanja Marinkovic, 6’6″ wing, Serbia. He shot 41 percent from three last season in Europe playing for Partizan in Belgrade (the Adriatic League). If he can develop his defense and playmaking skills, maybe we will see him in the NBA someday, but most likely he is just a draft-and-stash.

Report: Thunder trading No. 21 pick (Brandon Clarke) to Grizzlies for No. 23 pick (Darius Bazley)

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The Thunder were reportedly looking into using the No. 21 pick as a sweetener to unload salary.

Instead, Oklahoma City will trade down a couple spots.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Grizzlies chose Brandon Clarke with the No. 21 pick. It was worth it to trade up for him.

Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr. could form a nice big-man pairing offensively – Clarke inside, Jackson outside. Defensively, I’m not sure who can guard opposing centers. But the most important thing is adding a productive player. Memphis can figure out the rest, including how this affects Jonas Valanciunas, later.

After the Celtics took Grant Williams No. 22, Oklahoma City got Darius Bazley with the No. 23 pick. Bazley took an unconventional route to the draft, sitting out last season. With his athleticism and versatility, Bazley is a typical Thunder pick. I bet he would’ve been their choice at No. 21.

Now, Oklahoma City still gets him, an extra second-rounder and savings in the difference between the No. 21 picks’s and No. 23 pick’s salaries – no small consideration for a team facing the repeater luxury tax.