Draft selections: Jaylen Brown (3rd), Guerschon Yabusele (16th), Ante Zizic (23rd), Demetrius Jackson (45th), Ben Bentil (51st)
Despite the Celtics painful failures to land a star in exchange for the 3rd pick, Jaylen Brown is an excellent consolation prize for a wing-needy team. Boston often ran a three guard lineup last season with Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, sending out screams of help for a quality wing. Brown is an offensive project who struggles with creating his own shot, lacks a proven jumper and has a questionable feel for the game, but has tremendous upside with incredible physical tools (6’7 220 pounds). Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic could very well be key rotation players in the future, but will be effectively stashed away in Europe for at least the next season. In the second round, the C’s somehow landed Demetrius Jackson who was a borderline lottery talent at times throughout the draft process – seemingly one of the biggest steals in recent draft history. Lastly, using the 51st pick, the Celtics landed Ben Bentil who had been mocked as high as 30th to the Warriors. The Celtics landed five legitimate NBA prospects who could all play an important role within a few years. They also traded the 31st pick, Deyonta Davis, along with the 35th selection to the Grizzlies for a 2019 1st round pick, stockpiling onto their insane depth of draft choices in the next 5 years. Sounds like a successful draft by Danny Ainge.
Draft selections: Ben Simmons (1st), Timothe Luwawu (24th), Furkan Korkmaz (26th)
The Sixers landed exactly what they needed this offseason – offensive talent, high upside players, and a ton of wing shooting. There’s a good chance that 1st overall pick Ben Simmons starts for the Sixers this season at 2-3 positions, either at the forward spot or even starting at point guard. He’s the newest face of the franchise and should be able to turn the state of Philadelphia around. Philly went international twice more with their two other first round picks, landing two gunners in Timothe Luwawu and Furkan Korkmaz. Luwawu is a freak athlete with great versatility and Korkmaz is a top 3 shooter in this class. The French Luwawu should be available in October for the Sixers but Korkmaz isn’t likely to come stateside this season. The 76ers were incredibly wise at the draft and may see themselves leave the basement of the Eastern Conference next season.
Draft Selections: Thad Young, Jeff Teague, Georges Niang (50th)
The Pacers surrendered the 20th pick in the draft to land Thaddeus Young, a useful two-way forward and one of the best rebounders at his position. Landing Jeff Teague in exchange for George Hill is a massive upgrade at point guard, giving Paul George a great running mate alongside Monta Ellis & returning rookie Myles Turner. The Pacers also took an efficient scorer at 50 in Georges Niang, who is used to playing in an up-tempo system from his days Iowa State. Indiana improved the most of any team in the NBA over the draft process and could see themselves hosting a series next spring.
Milwaukee Bucks taking Thon Maker
The Bucks made one of the gutsiest lottery moves of all-time by taking Thon Maker 10th overall. Maker has a tiny waist and may not be able to add a ton of weight. He may have great leaping ability but he has little to no power in comparison to the average NBA big man. Maker is one of the least polished players to go into the draft since Fran Franschilla called Raptors 2014 1st round pick Bruno Caboclo “two years away from being two years away.” Maker has an incredibly intriguing skill-set, but based on the track records of players with his body type and playing style, this type of move has a low percentage success rate. Maker should see extended time in the D-League over at least the next two seasons.
Sacramento Kings crowding their frontcourt
The Kings drafted Marquese Chriss at No. 8 and then shipped him to Phoenix for picks 13 & 28. They ended up with Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson and landed Skal Labissiere. In an already crowded front court featuring NBA superstar DeMarcus Cousins and two solid role players in Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein, the Kings are now overstocked down low. Papagiannis was a late riser on draft boards, but 13 may have been a little high. Richardson actually filled a need in Sacramento as they desperately needed shooting on the wing, but they sent Marco Bellinelli away for him, which is technically a downgrade. And if Skal Labissiere is in fact going to be a success story, the minutes aren’t there for him in California’s capital city. This draft could look even worse if Rajon Rondo walks away, because the Kings have no insurance policy at point guard, and with the mess they’ve made with their lopsided roster, will GM Vlade Divac be able to lure someone into the deep water?
Houston Rockets selecting unnecessary big men
The Rockets drafted two big men in the second round who likely won’t contribute for several years to an already sad front court rotation without Dwight Howard. Head coach Mike D’Antoni will have to rely heavily on James Harden, but the rest of the roster doesn’t fit with D’Antoni’s gunning scheme. Patrick Beverly won’t be able to run the point, Trevor Ariza has not been the same player in Houston that he was in Washington, and KJ McDaniels still can’t shoot. Houston has a lot of work to do still if they expect to make any noise in 2017 barring several breakout players off their bench.