Tobias Harris

Associated Press

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: Nets not extending qualifying offer to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

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The Nets appear to be on the verge of signing Kyrie Irving. They opened double-max cap space to pursue a second star like Kevin Durant, Tobias Harris or Jimmy Butler.

Brooklyn isn’t going to let Rondae Hollis-Jefferson foil that plan.

The Nets could make Hollis-Jefferson a restricted free agent, giving them the right to match any offer he receives. But do so, they must extend a $3,594,369 qualifying offer. That’s essentially a one-year contract offer he could accept at any time. If he did, he’d count against the cap at $3,594,369. Brooklyn doesn’t want to risk that.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Nets could still re-sign Hollis-Jefferson. This just prevents him from unilaterally accepting the qualifying offer and jamming up cap space.

But this signals Brooklyn is ready to move on. Hollis-Jefferson, who become an unrestricted free agent after spending his first four years with the Nets, might also be ready.

The 24-year-old Hollis-Jefferson has settled in as an undersized power forward. He’s a switchable defender and active offensively. Playing power forward somewhat covers for his lack of shooting and ball-handling ability, but that can still be exploited.

Report: Kyrie Irving prepared to sign with Nets

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Kyrie Irving signing with the Nets has been the hot rumor for the last week.

Now, even more reporting supports it.

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

According to a source with ties to Roc Nation, the organization expected to become Irving’s new representative, the All-Star point guard is prepared to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes a free agent next month. A separate league source told the Herald that his team (not the Celtics) has received the same information and is operating under the belief that Irving wants to join the Nets.

Brooklyn has built a strong culture. The mercurial Irving threatens to undermine it.

He also brings an insane amount of talent.

If the Nets want to progress past being a scrappy underdog, they need to add talent and try their best to preserve the quality environment. It’s risky. It’s also the correct next step.

With Irving appearing ticketed to Brooklyn, attention turns to rest of the Nets’ cap room. They opened double-max cap space for a reason. Will Kevin Durant follow? A different co-star, like Tobias Harris or Jimmy Butler? Will Brooklyn re-sign D'Angelo Russell? Divvy the money between multiple lesser players?

Another big question: Will Irving’s apparent commitment help or hurt the Nets lure other free agents?

Report: Nets, Clippers not getting anywhere with Pelicans on Anthony Davis trade

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A recent Anthony Davis trade-talk update focused on the Lakers and Celtics.

A couple other prominent teams were omitted for a reason.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Brooklyn Nets and LA Clippers are two teams with interest in Davis who haven’t been able to gather traction in conversations with New Orleans, league sources said.

Both the Nets and Clippers seemingly have good enough assets to make the Pelicans a compelling offer. Maybe those assets just don’t match what New Orleans wants. Maybe neither Brooklyn nor L.A. is willing to part with enough.

The Nets were reportedly very interested in trading for Davis. But they are also the leading contender to sign Kyrie Irving and could be in play for Kevin Durant. Perhaps, Brooklyn is more focused on that star pairing.

The Clippers’ longstanding pursuit of Kawhi Leonard looks shaky. But they still have other courses. They can remain competitive around Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari and Montrezl Harrell while simultaneously rebuilding around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landry Shamet and two first-round picks – including the Heat’s unprotected 2021 pick – acquired in the Tobias Harris trade.

Davis isn’t the end of the line for either team.

The Celtics are reportedly full steam ahead in trying to land Davis, maybe as part of a last-ditch effort to persuade Irving to stay. The Lakers have only a limited window to contend with LeBron James, and they also have the best assurances of Davis re-signing in 2020.

So, it’d be tough for Brooklyn and L.A. to keep up with those motivated teams. Apparently, the Nets and Clippers aren’t.

James Harden, Anthony Davis headline invitees to USA Basketball training camp

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Some of the biggest stars of the NBA decided to take this summer off…

And Team USA is still going to be STACKED for the World Cup this summer in China.

Ridiculously stacked. USA Basketball has released the names of the 20 players invited to take part in its training camp this August in Vegas, as part of the run-up to the FIFA World Cup this August and September in China. By the time of the World Cup at the end of the month, this group will be narrowed down to 12 players who will represent the United States.

The Invitees are:

Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)
Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets)
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets)
Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets)

Notice that only one player from these NBA Finals is on that list, Lowry, but no Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard. USA Basketball reached out to each of them, but in the case of the three Warriors they have put a lot of miles on their bodies in recent years with five straight Finals appearances, and they wanted the summer to recover. Leonard is coming off a season where he and Toronto made the term “load management” famous (or, infamous), so it’s not a surprise he didn’t accept (it is more than any issues with coach Gregg Popovich from his Spurs days).

LeBron James also decided not to play to rest his body (plus the timing of the event could push up against the shooting of “Space Jam 2” this summer). Russell Westbrook and Paul George also did not accept invitations, although both have represented the USA in the past.

Still, there is a lot of talent on the roster, and balanced talent at that.

“The flexibility of positions and roles was very important, so you go through this roster you see a lot of ones who can be twos, threes who can be fours, fives can be fours, things like that,” Popovich said.

Even without those stars, this list has the potential for a roster that can play the attacking, up-tempo style coach Gregg Popovich wants. There’s an abundance of athleticism for plays in transition, plus plenty of shooting, including from the big men. Also, there are a handful of grinders who can play a physical game and crash the boards (the international game tends to be more physical, and the referees let more go than in the NBA).

Popovich will follow the model Mike Krzyzewski had before him with Team USA — not merely a collection of stars, but a balanced roster that can play as a unit. The USA’s athleticism can overwhelm all but a couple of teams in this tournament, the goal is an aggressive defense that leads to a lot of transition points, just overwhelming teams with that athleticism and depth. There’s a reason the USA has gone 88-1 in major men’s international competitions since 2006. The couple of teams that can hang with the USA (Spain the past couple of Olympics, for example) require more strategy and matchups.

That athleticism and potential are why three young, first-time USA Basketball performers were in the mix — Tatum, Kuzma, and Mitchell.

“Each of the three have already made their mark during this early part of their career,” USA Basketball President Jerry Colangelo said of their inclusion. “You need to have some kind of balance and youth as we develop our infrastructure and as you develop your national team rosters.”

This World Cup is the primary qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Players who take part here, or have a history with Team USA, will have priority for making that roster.

At the training camp, these players will go against a USA Select group of up-and-coming stars who are being groomed to represent the USA in future years. Zion Williamson will headline those 10 players. Those players will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy, it was announced. Van Gundy also will provide some international scouting help to Popovich and staff as it was Van Gundy that coached the USA select team, made up mostly of G-League players, who qualified the USA for the World Cup.

The U.S. is scheduled to begin its pre-World Cup camp in Las Vegas Aug. 5, with an intrasquad exhibition game at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 9. Then the team heads to Southern California for more training followed by an exhibition against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.