The draft is coming up! That means all the big boards and mock drafts you could ever want, all coming with absolute certainty from complete non-experts. If you wanted even more speculation centered on absolutely nothing, you've come to the right place!
Matt and Marchave been swapping e-mails for a few weeks and making our picks for all of the NBA teams. They laughed, we cried, and Matt absolutely picked Devin Booker instead of Marc. Here are the second ten picks and the explanations behind them.
Alrighty, here's part 2! Let's see if I can redeem myself after horribly bungling that Hornets pick. I have no idea how I forgot about Hezonja, but, hey, at least I didn't look stupid! (Oh, wait. I totally did.)
11. Indiana Pacers - Frank Kaminsky
A lot has been made about the Pacers desire to change their identity and become a faster-paced team. Apparently, they want to dump Hibbert to make that happen. Personally, I think shooting from the 4 and perimeter creation are the team’s biggest needs, and that Hibbert is not the problem.
Kaminsky would do well here— Hibbert and George would cover up his defensive deficiencies while Big Frank’s shooting would make everything easier on offense.
12. Utah Jazz - Kelly Oubre
Kelly and I have had a complicated relationship this year. I spent most of the first half of the year screaming at Bill Self for not using him, and I spent most of the second half being whelmed by what I saw. Not overwhelmed, not underwhelmed, just whelmed. I think he's one of the few guys in this draft that I wish stayed in school, but since I'm mocking him in the lottery, it's not hard to see why he didn't. The Jazz are a well-balanced team and having another young upside chip certainly can't hurt.
I actually like that pick a lot for the Jazz. Why not take a shot on upside?
13. Phoenix Suns - Christian Wood
I really wanted to take Cameron Payne, just because it would be so hilarious if the Suns wound up with three point guards again this year and couldn’t stop backing themselves into the same corner.
The Suns are tough because they have so many players with decent potential at each position, but no one who projects as a true star (depending on how you feel about Bledsoe). So I’m going with my own personal BPA at this point who also fits in at power forward— their least densely packed position. I think Christian Wood is wildly underrated and could be a prototypical stretch 4 in the modern league. Get him a coach who isn’t the worst in the NCAA, and I bet you’ll see a ton of improvement for a player who had a great season.
Other players considered: Kevon Looney, Trey Lyles, and definitely NOT Devin Booker.
Wood is fascinating to me, his stock is all over the place, and I love wild cards like that.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder - Cameron Payne
I've had your boy Devin Booker penciled in here for most of the summer, but I do believe reports that the Thunder have a promise to draft Payne at 14. He makes a lot of sense for a team that needs a backup point guard to take pressure off of Russell Westbrook, and I also like the ability to run out some fun two point guard lineups. For a team that badly needs depth, this is a home run for them.
I like picking Payne at 14. 11 feels a bit high to me, but I do think he’ll be a useful guard, and the Thunder will allow his strengths to shine.
15. Atlanta Hawks - Kevon Looney
The runner up to Wood for my 13th pick goes to the Hawks here. Looney is a great fit for a 5-out system based around shooting and ball movement. He’s a face-up 4 who’s a plus passer with an auspicious shot. He hasn’t convinced me that he’ll be a knockdown shooter yet, but the signs are promising. He’ll be a great fit for Bud’s motion offense, and, as a player projected to go in the Top 10 for most of the season, is a great bit of value for the Hawks here.
Next up: Celtics. Are you picking RJ again? Want to just link to your other piece and call it a day?
I'm definitely not picking RJ for the Celtics because the One True Celtic remains on the board!
16. Celtics - Sam Dekker
This just feels right. The only thing that saddens me about this is that I will have to hate Sam Dekker, who I have written millions of words about and have been a supporter of since he first considered entering the draft in 1999. He's athletic, he's a WINNER, and he might be able to shoot, although that part remains rather streaky.
Dekker to Celtics isn’t a bad choice. I’m not too excited about him personally, but 16-20 is certainly justifiable.
17. Milwaukee Bucks - Trey Lyles
I spent about 10 minutes trying to talk myself into someone else before going with Lyles here. That’s three PF’s in a row for GM Marc. Lyles makes sense for the Bucks, though. He is the best player left on the board, he’s young and long, and he has the potential to learn how to be a stretch 4. Unlike their other stretch 4 options, he also provides the possibility of playing the 5 in certain match ups, giving even more flexibility to an already adaptable group of players.
Side note: I was confused and stupid and thought I had Houston for a second. I was pumped to take Delon Wright because I thought it was a slam dunk move for them. Disappointed when I realized I just get this stupid Milwaukee team instead. DON’T LET ME DOWN, MATT. DO THE RIGHT THING AND TAKE DELON.
Ask, and you shall receive.
18. Houston Rockets - Delon Wright
I'm not as high on Wright as...(looks around)...pretty much everyone else on LB, but I do like the fit for Houston. They don't need a ball-dominant scorer or a great faciliator, they need someone who does everything else. A big guard who can take some defensive pressure off James Harden would be huge for them.
I do think there's a decent chance they don't pick a point guard, or just move the pick outright, but in this case, I'll grab Wright for them.
Nice. I think that’s a great move for Houston. And as Jerian isn’t actually good at defense, a much better fit than the popular choice there.
19. Washington Wizards - Bobby Portis
I just managed to take all four face up power forwards in a row. That’s quite a feat, if I do say so myself. I see Portis as having the lowest ceiling of the four, but the Wizards desperately need a Paul Pierce replacement, and Portis is as likely as anyone left on the board to be able to fill that void. Their identity shift between the bully ball regular season and small ball playoffs the last two years has been astonishing. Portis can help them make that shift permanent.
Next up: Toronto. My boy, Devin Booker, is still on the board, Matt. You want to snag him?
STOP MAKING ALL OF MY PICKS FOR ME
20. Toronto Raptors - Devin Booker
I don't think the Raptors can pass on a talent like Booker down here. Adding a potentially elite shooter to this lineup would be a massive boost, and with Lou Williams's looming free agency, Booker could be an immediate contributor.
I’M SORRY. I’M SORRY. I didn’t think you actually would! Clearly I should stop daring you to take players that I don’t like.
I don't know why you hate Devin Booker at this point in the draft. I feel like the odds are in favor that he'll at worst be a very good bench shooter, and at #20, I'll take that every day of the week.
You’re right, 20 is a reasonable landing spot for Booker. I just think he has a long way to go before becoming a rotation player given his weaknesses elsewhere. I probably wouldn't take a flyer until the second round, but it's obvious that at least one team will grab him way too early.
That's it for the second ten. We'll wrap it up tomorrow with the final ten picks, and on Thursday night, we'll have the real draft. We're sweating bullets already.