The draft is the closest to Christmas in the NBA outside … the NBA at Christmas. But the gift is still wrapped up, and we get some antsy. Here are six questions that we cannot wait to see responded during Thursday's draft.
Are we going to buy the entire Darius Garland hype?
I saw Darius Garland play personally in November in November, against USC Kevin Porter Jr. in what would be one of two meaningful games, Vanderbilt freshman would play as an NCAA student athlete. He played with a familiar poise and understood how to get to where he wanted to be on the floor as a painter. He was lithe but willing and able to absorb contact. It was like watching CJ McCollum's game in Jeff Teague's body. His ability as a facilitator was not as clear as his skill as a painter: He had an assist to six sales in the game, a 82-78 Commodores win. Still, he showed enough to go with a positive assessment. Three matches later he dropped off the map and put out the rest of the season with a grated meniscus. He was largely projected to land in the rear of the draft lottery then, even before the damage.
Now, the consensus has shifted him as far up as the top four. ESPN reported on Tuesday that teams such as Minnesota, Chicago and Boston are all interested in moving up to land Garland. The 6-foot-2 guard skipped media availability in New York City on Wednesday to train with Knicks who have no. 3 pick in the draft. According to Marc Berman in New York Post, there is a faction within the Knicks fair that believes that Garland may be a better player for the team than RJ Barrett, who seems to be primed to be New York's choice on Thursday evening.
Each draft has unique circumstances defined by its talent pool, but there are some patterns and templates that always appear. And one of my favorites since the turn of the century has been the winning idea that, under certain circumstances, the less exposure the better. If the draft is about projection, it is nothing more tantalizing than talking yourself in a semi-baked premise. Dante Exum, no. 5 picking in the draft in 2014, had not played a single competitive basketball game in almost a calendar year before he was drafted – but what data was available was irresistible. He was a 6-foot 6-point guard with elite sports gifts and poise in pick-and-roll; An NBA GM said Exum was the closest he had seen to a young Kobe Bryant. When a picture, a comparison, an idea that is planted, it can be difficult not to run with it. What if Garland is McCollum in Teagan's body?
Maybe Garland's hype is all smoke; Perhaps it is another point guard in the 2019 class, like Coby White, who will actually be the big climber on Thursday night. But it's really precedent for what's happening.
Who will the pelicans pair with Zion on draft evening?
Armed with the Lakers no. 4 pick and an executive director of David Griffin who obviously is not afraid to shake things up, the pelicans can only postpone the very foundation of the draft. New Orleans can hold onto its second choice in the top five and elaborate the best player available to them, but with so many potential players in a row it could look at a very different team on Thursday night than it just created last Saturday.
A potential trading partner may be Indiana. As our own Kevin O & # 39; Connor reported on Tuesday, Pacers has been discussing a deal with the pelicans for no. 4 pick. While no names are explicitly mentioned, there is a clear goal that pelicans should ask: Myles Turner, who last season led the league in blocks per game and tried 2.6 3 pointers per game on 38.8 percent clips. Mating Zion Williamson with a rim clearance at floor clearance would help cover up some of Zion's immediate deficiencies in the NBA level while giving wide paths down to get his tank-like body for good use.
It is an exciting scenario to consider and a window on how varied the results can be when building around a unique player like Zion. Williamson can be a franchise change presence if the team gets him to be one. The Pelicans helicopter got in exchange for Anthony Davis Griffin's greatest achievement during his first two months at work, but what he does with those assets can define the next decade of New Orleans basketball.
How many teams will act or the Right has five picks in the 2019 draft, including three in the top 17. Boston Celtics, currently dropping as Titanic, has four picks in the top 22. Sixers have five picks between nose . 24 and 54. The rent is too damn high, and these teams have too many condemned drafts.
Atlanta is young and does not struggle to claim, but also Hawk's GM Travis Schlenk probably does not have the patience to develop the very healthy talent. The Celtics are reportedly losing their two main players in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, and now they can try to regain their losses – possibly with Garland, who has drawn comparisons with a young Kyrie. Sixers can have a boatload of assets in this draft, but are stuck in win-now mode. They need one or two inexpensive and reliable options to increase the core. They don't need five. Something must give.
It may seem counterintuitive in an allegedly weak draft to move up when the difference in talent between the players at the end of the lottery is not much greater than those available at the end of the first round. But a team war room may differ a lot from the public consensus. Teams will do what they need to get the man they think is right for the job. There were three upshifts in last year's lottery, whose swaps involved the rights to Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Miles Bridges, Mikal Bridges and Zhaire Smith. It can be even more on Thursday night.
How many teams will be hugging in the last stages of the intercession?
For some teams, the draft is really just a way to clean the house before the company turns out. The Thunder is reportedly making some draft daily offers to alleviate its luxury tax burden after three consecutive first-round playoffs. Rotational players such as Steven Adams, Dennis Schröder and Andre Roberson all float, according to Sports Illustrated s Jake Fischer .
The Lakers currently do not have a draft, but they will end with some at the end of Thursday night. Or at least they would be better. Rob Pelinka reportedly did not consider the wage cap carefully before logging on to Anthony Davis trade. As a result, it is difficult to make their remaining contracts to other teams in the hope of creating enough space to sign a maximum free agent and must acquire as many other rounds as possible to 1) consolidate their bare leg profiles with cheap labor and 2) the cap is necessary to exceed wage protection when a free agency comes around.
Similarly, we can find out how the intention is for the Rockets to acquire Jimmy Butler under the free agency, depending on which movements they do or do not. Butler was able to find the way to Houston, which Chris Paul did two years ago – by strongly raising a deal after opting into the final year of his contract. While it was reported last week that Butler intended to reject his player option to become an unlimited free agent, it is still time for him to renegade; Two years ago, Chris Paul Clippers informed him that he would deny his player options, just to make it easier for him to trade less than a week later. Daryl Morey could go down the same road, but may well find other ways to create cap space to facilitate the coveted star.
How many Mega Bemax players will be prepared this year?
It's a tradition like everyone else: Once again it's time to think about the men in ostentatiously colorful Adriatic League shirts! The division has been divided by nauseam at this time, but nine alumni from Mega Bemax, the Serbian club run by a sports agency, have been prepared by the NBA team since 2014 and everything except one (Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, drawn 24th in 2016) was elected in the second round. The fact that Mega Bemax has become an independent draft-and-stash emporium is impressive enough without noting that it has already produced an All-NBA caliber player in Nikola Jokic. Shockingly, the 2018 draft presented zero perspective from the largest NBA pipeline in the Adriatic. It will not only change, but it could be history: Goga Bitadze, one of the most productive big men in the world outside the NBA, can be the first Mega player to be drafted into the lottery.
The club is known to get in depth, so another player who looks like a potential draft and stash is the 20-year-old Frenchman Adam Mokoka, a strong and compact 6-foot-5-wing that has solid defensive instincts and ability, but will have to refine their jumper to actually do it in the league.
What name will Mark Tatum have the most fun with in the second round?
Oh, another question I love to think about. It may be a year of decline, but it is really a good time to be a fan of Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum's impeccable dismissal! There are some notable names in this class, from Alen Smailagic to Zylan Cheatham.
Here are some names Tatum would absolutely crush:
- Ignas Brazdeikis
- Sagaba Konate
- Simisola Shittu
- Yovel Zoosman
- Marcos Louzada Silva