This game is called Take ‘Em or Leave ‘Em. I’m going to throw out a pick in the draft and some possible players that could be drafted by the team with that pick. I’ll then explain which guys are worth taking, and which guys should be left on the board.
Pick #1: Phoenix suns
DeAndre Ayton: Leave him
- Now, I am not going to deny that he will be a solid NBA player for a decade or so. He just simply isn’t an all star or potential face of a franchise that a first overall pick should be. His short arms and lack of a motor just scare me too much to pull the trigger at 1.
Luka Doncic: Take him
- A quality guard that handles the ball, with all the potential in the world is exactly what the Suns need. This still seems like the obvious choice to me. Hopefully Phoenix is really considering Doncic and blowing smoke about Ayton to the media.
Mo Bamba: Take him
- Bamba should be taken before Ayton. I’ve been shouting it from the rooftops for months and Peter is finally on the same page, but hey better late than never. His wingspan is off the charts and the defensive potential is unlimited. This is Embiid 2.0 mark my words.
Marvin Bagley: Take him
- I see Marvin Bagley as a future all-star. He can play the 4 or 5, and score from anywhere on the floor. His defense is his only weakness, but that will improve as he gets stronger and more experienced. Realistically Phoenix is going to go with either Ayton or Doncic. I would have Bagley in the mix if it were me though. Lots of teams will be trying to trade up and for the Duke star in the 2-4 range.
Pick #5: Dallas Mavericks
Mo Bamba: Take him so fast you make the Flash look like Gary the freaking Snail
- This would make Mark Cuban the happiest man alive. I don’t think there is any way he will fall to 5, but if he does the Dallas Mavericks may as well be winning the lottery.
Michael Porter Jr: Leave him
- MPJ is definitely worthy of a top 5 pick, if the fit is right. I just don’t see it here though. The Mavs have Harrison Barnes at the 3 who is their best player and getting paid big money. Unless Barnes is traded, don’t expect to see the injury-prone 3 end up in Dallas.
Jaren Jackson Jr: Leave him
- The Mavs need a big who can step in and contribute right now, and to me, that is not Jaren Jackson. He is an 18 year old kid who is the definition of a project. Yes, the potential is there, but it could take 3-5 years for him to be a major contributor on any team. He was invisible in many big games last season at Michigan State. Sometimes it was due to foul trouble and sometimes it wasn’t. He averaged 10.9 and 5.8…… I don’t know in what world those numbers are worthy of being a top 5 pick. In their elimination tournament game against Syracuse he had 2, count ’em, 2 points. Enough said.
Wendell Carter: Take him
- If you had to pick a player in the draft who’s game most resembles Dirk Nowitzki’s it is probably Wendell Carter. As crazy as that sounds, I really believe it. He is the fourth best big in this draft behind Bamba, Bagley, and Ayton, but he is worthy of going at 5. Dallas has to draft a Power Forward or Center here at pick 5. Carter is a guy who can step in and average 14 and 8 right away. Dirk will be the perfect mentor for him and a great compliment to his game. This is a perfect fit for the Dallas Mavericks and Wendell Carter.
Trae Young: Take a long look, but leave him
- Trae Young is a talent that is honestly hard to pass on. The only problem is Dallas drafted Point Guard Dennis Smith Jr. with their top pick last summer. He had a great rookie campaign and is potentially looking like the next face of the franchise. He is not a 2 by any means though, and would probably have to be traded for the Mavs to go Trae with this pick.
Pick #8 Cleveland Cavaliers:
Mikal Bridges: Take him
- This is the best 3 and D guy in the draft. Cleveland needs youthful defenders that will make the hustle plays and give extra effort that their lazy veterans don’t. He would come in and probably start right away for Cleveland.
Trae Young: Take him
- LeBron looooooves Trae Young. If he were to fall to 8, LeBron’s chances of staying will significantly increase. He has to be at the top of Cleveland’s draft board right now. This could be LeBron’s new running mate. He can handle the ball and take some of the pressure off LBJ. This would allow LeBron to play off-ball much more often and conserve energy.
Collin Sexton: Take him if Trae and Mikal are both gone
- The reasoning behind this, is the fact that LeBron needs a new Kyrie if he is going to stay. Even if he leaves, the Cavs need another quality ball handler that is preferably young and going to be around a while.
Michael Porter Jr: Leave him (unless LeBron is gone without a doubt)
- The Cavs do not need another ball dominant 3, unless their worst nightmare is about to come true they only make this pick if they are pretty damn sure LeBron James will not be back in Cleveland. If he is for sure gone tough, this isn’t a bad pick to try and fill the unfillable hole.
Jaren Jackson Jr: Leave him, unless Kevin Love and/or Tristan Kardashian get traded off
- What Cleveland needs is scoring and preferably in the form of a somebody who plays either the 1,2, or 3. Whoever that may be also needs to be able to handle the ball. Now if Cleveland decides to clean clean and trade off some of their over-paid front court, then this move could be a lot more reasonable.
Pick 10: Philadelphia 76ers:
Mikal Bridges: Take him
- Philly has to be hoping and praying Mikal Bridges falls to them at 10. They need 3 point shooting and guards who can play D, and Bridges is exactly that. He could instantly slide into the 2 spot and replace JJ Redick.
Jaren Jackson Jr: Take him
- Losing Redick, Illyasova, and Belinelli to free agency is going to hurt. The 76ers need shooting and Jackson can shoot it. He is a project with a lot of potential who can stretch the floor. If anyone knows about project players and “trusting the process” though, its them. This could be a great fit if Jackson falls to 10.
Collin Sexton: Leave him
- With the Sixers already having previous top picks Ben Simmons and Markell Fultz, this pick just wouldn’t make any sense.
Michael Porter Jr: Take him
- He is definitely a top 5 talent, but injury concerns are the main reason he could fall to Philly at 10. Like I previously mentioned though, they are great with players who need special development and attention. They did a great job with Simmons and Embiid, so this could be a good fit for MPJ and the Sixers.
Miles Bridges: Leave him
- The only way this pick would make sense is if Mikal Bridges, Jackson, and Porter Jr. are all off the board. He can shoot the ball decent from outside, but he is not one the guys that the Sixers are targeting with the 10th pick.
Picks 12 and 13: Los Angeles Clippers:
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Take him
- SGA is one of my favorite players in the draft. The numbers he put up on a Kentucky team filled with talent are excellent. Gilgeous-Alexander is 6’6″ with long arms, and a solid 3 ball in the works. He’s big enough and smart enough to play either the 1 or 2. He also is a solid defender and probably the most well-rounded point guard in the draft. If he is there at 12, LA should pick up the talented guard.
Lonnie Walker: Leave him
- I fully expect Walker to be a solid NBA player. He is a great defender and an amazing athlete, but there will more than likely be better options on the board. They have to take a big (which should be Robert Williams) and the other pick needs to be a dynamic player that can contribute on both ends. The Clips would take Shai, Knox, and probably even Miles Bridges before Lonnie Walker.
Robert Williams: Take him
- With DeAndre Jordan more than likely walking out the door, this is a perfect fit. The Clippers HAVE to take a 4/5 with one of their 2 lottery picks. Williams isn’t likely to go before 12, and he is probably the last really good big in the draft. I highly doubt the Clippers pass on him.
Kevin Knox: Take him
- This would be a great fit for Kevin Knox. He isn’t ready to start yet, but will be a starting 3 in the league for a long time. This would give him the chance to sit behind Tobias Harris and Gallinari until he is ready to take one of their spots. He could use another year in college, but has the talent to be a top 10 pick. If he weren’t on a stacked Kentucky team last season, we would probably see him as a lock to go top 8. Look for LA to cash in on Knox’s potential and his scoring ability.
Miles Bridges: Probably leave him, but maybe take under certain circumstances
- If for some reason Robert Williams is gone by 12, this pick would make a lot more sense. Bridges is an athletic forward that can play the 3 or 4. He can also get buckets in abundance, which the Clippers heavily need. They are lacking guys that excel on both sides of the ball, and Bridges does just that.