OTG Draft Mailbag
The 2019 NBA Draft is nearly upon us, and the NBA universe is brimming with excitement. This could be a pivotal draft.
There are also a ton of uncertainties looming over what how things will shake out, so I took some time to answer some questions that I had been asked over the past week.
Here’s your inaugural OTG Draft mailbag:
Who would you take at No. 4?
The New Orleans Pelicans received the No. 4 pick from the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Anthony Davis trade, and what exactly comes next is unclear. As of right now, it is believed that the Pels will make the selection, but there are rumors that they’re looking at flipping the selection for more picks.
Assuming that Zion, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett go 1-2-3, I would take Jarrett Culver from Texas Tech. Culver may need to continue to develop an offensive identity. But he does fit the 3-and-D wing mold quite well, and projects to have a solid NBA career. There wouldn’t be a need for Culver to contribute substantially right away for New Orleans, so the organization can focus on his development.
What will the Atlanta Hawks’ strategy be with all of their high picks heading into draft night?
Atlanta recently acquired the 17th overall pick from Brooklyn in a trade that sent Taurean Prince to the Nets. That means that the Hawks will have the 8th, 10th, and 17th selection Thursday night.
I believe that the Hawks will ultimately look to trade up in the draft by dishing two of the three selections. Possible trading partners include New York (3rd pick), New Orleans (4th pick), and Cleveland (5th pick).
Do you think Carsen Edwards would be a good fit [with the Nets] at 27?
Most of the time, teams are more comfortable going out on the limbs and taking risks late in the first round and the second. Despite Edwards’ physical limitations, the Purdue product is a crafty scorer and uses his size, or lack thereof, to his advantage.
I do think it would be a good fit; Edwards would give Brooklyn a tough guard off the bench who could assist in scoring. Much of this does, however, depend on Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell and their status with the Nets.
Who could be a steal in the draft? Who’s the most underrated prospect?
Kevin Porter Jr from USC. As many know, I’m one of KPJ’s top supporters. He’s actually the fourth best prospect on my big board.
I understand the concerns related to his half-court offense and lack of production, but he’s extremely talented and has a ton of potential. Porter Jr has three-level scoring ability, underrated footwork, no problem creating his own shot, and shifty handles.
Who is going to fall that shouldn’t fall?
I spent a while pondering this question. If I had to guess, I’d go with Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker.
THT has amazing measurables and a ton of potential, but he’s raw and unproven. That may drive some organizations to go with other choices. I think he should be taken in the late teens, but could see him fall to the late first or even early second round.
Do you have Ignas Brazdeikis as a potential riser in the second round? How have Michigan-bred prospects fared in the NBA?
I think he could be. He’s very skilled and crafty, but I have concerns regarding his shot-creating abilities and lackluster athleticism.
In terms of Michigan products, think about ones in recent years. The most recent crop have all developed into solid role players: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Glenn Robinson III. I would expect Brazdeikis to follow that trend.
Can you compare this year’s draft class to the one in 2018 and in 2020?
This draft class is overall rather weak. Outside of the 5-8 players at the top, there’s not a ton of high-upside prospects like there was in the 2018 class.
It’s hard to speculate in terms of the 2020 class quality, but it’s thought to be better than this one. I can say that it’s very guard heavy, much more so than the 2019 draft.
If you had to make a selection for Minnesota at No.11 who’s your best player left?
This is a tough one. There’s no telling what Minnesota will do at 11, but I believe Goga Bitadze out of the Republic of Georgia will be the best player available. He is the 10th-best product on my big board.
How effective is trading down in the NBA Draft? Makes sense in football but is it a good war room strategy in basketball?
The level of effectiveness depends entirely on an organization’s particular situation. If they’re rebuilding and want multiple young players or assets, it would be a good move. However, for an organization looking to take a franchise centerpiece, it may not be a good one. Player cost is also another factor.