The Trade-up Targets
The New York Knicks are also a team that seems to need a lot of different things. The team is still trying to build its reputation and find young players they want to believe in. At this point, it feels like the team is aggressively shopping Mitchell Robinson and hoping to get in on some of the big names that have entered the market. So far, it seems like no dice. Selecting Killian Hayes here is a solid pick though. He is a good player at getting to the basket and has good control over pace. The Knicks are still likely searching for their building block.
For now the Washington Wizards are banking on a healthy John Wall to boost Bradley Beal and his career. But in Wall’s absence, the Wizards found a solid identity. They run and score without regard. They were one of the truly dangerous and explosive offenses no matter who was playing. Spreading the floor and running is key for them then. They just need a little bit of defense. Getting a defensive-minded, mobile center like Onyeka Okongwu would be an A+ draft for the Wizards. Okongwu is likely the best defensive center in the draft. He blocks shots and rebounds. And he knows that is what he is good at.
The Phoenix Suns have completely changed their priorities and who they are by completing the Chris Paul trade. All of a sudden, this team is in on making the playoffs this year and convincing Devin Booker this is a place he can win. After their 8-0 run in the bubble under that pressure, the Suns believe their time to strike is now. This was absolutely the right move for them and the right time to go. It is still the right time to take the best player in the draft. And adding another shooter like Devin Vassell makes a ton of sense even with a lot of wings on the team like Mikal Bridges behind and alongside Booker.
The San Antonio Spurs are a team in transition and it is still not entirely clear which direction they want to go. Still this team is the picture of drafting players that fit their style and culture above all else. They are not going to shed that at this point. Tyrese Maxey is a tough and smart guard who plays with good pace. He can pull up and hit fadeaways in the half-court fairly well and he attacks the basket in transition well. He is one of the best pure scorers off the bounce in this draft.
Trying to predict what the Sacramento Kings are going to do is a fool’s errand. They have a new front office that seems like they will have their stuff together for a chance. Maybe the Kangz days are over. But that roster still needs a lot of work. Outside of De’Aaron Fox, there is not a lot to like about the Kings. They seem set to trade Buddy Hield and they already dealt away Bogdan Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. Patrick Williams is a good versatile forward to start with. But hardly something the Kings should be falling over to get excited about. This team has a long way to go.
Aaron Nesmith is the best shooter in this Draft. He knows how to use space and find pockets to set his shot up. He is an extremely smart cutter. And being in Jerry Stackhouse’s offense at Vanderbilt, even for the short time he was there, showed how he can work inside NBA offenses. Teams could run him off screens or drive and find Nesmith open for three. This is a perfect player for Stan Van Gundy to begin rebuilding his offense around Zion Williamson in the wake of the Jrue Holiday trade. Nesmith is probably the top guy on my realistic Magic targets list.
The Boston Celtics are always very good about their draft picks. They should look to fill a need with how close they are to competing for a title. Really they should look to package these picks to get a veteran that can complete their lineup — Gordon Hayward is on the table to move with his uncertain contract status and the Celtics have long had an interest in Nikola Vucevic, just saying. But if they stick with this pick, they should get Precious Achiuwa. The young forward from Memphis showed plenty of defensive acumen and potential stepping in for James Wiseman for the Tigers. He just has to accept his role as a defender and make that his craft with his sometimes wild forays offensively.