Stay Away! 1 Prospect Every Team Should Avoid in 2018 NBA Draft
The idiom goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Logically, then, one man's treasure can be another man's trash—or in this case team's.
Some players might prosper in the NBA, but every player doesn't have an equal chance to prosper with each team, as each team has a different risk factor. Some will need rookies to produce out of the box; others will have time to develop players. Some will be patience if they take a certain European star; others might be better off taking an American player.
Inclusion on this list isn't an indictment of any one player. Rather, it means a prospect is likely to become a cautionary story for the team he could be matched with. The players might thrive in other situations—but not in this one.
Teams that have at least one pick in the first round are listed here in alphabetical order. Each team's picks are in the parenthesis behind the team name.
Atlanta Hawks (3, 19, 30): Jaren Jackson Jr.
The Atlanta Hawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07 and were awful by design. They tallied just 24 wins on the season. That worked out in securing them the No. 3 pick this year.
The expression "Go big or go home” doesn't apply here. In fact, the Hawks should stay away from bigs altogether or nab one with one of their other two first-round picks.
Jaren Jackson Jr. has upside and may be the best two-way big man in the draft, but he doesn't come across as a franchise cornerstone. As B/R's Jonathan Wasserman has pointed out, "Jackson appears closest in style to Serge Ibaka, who has never made an All-Star Game."
Ibaka, while playing an integral role during his early days with the Oklahoma City Thunder, has never been able to lead a team. Jackson is another player who could eventually become a third (maybe second?) option for a contender, but the Hawks need someone who can make Atlanta a threat, not establish himself as a role player throughout the process.
The Hawks need to roll the dice on a franchise player, and Jackson isn't that. Atlanta is better off taking Luka Doncic if he's available, and it's looking increasingly likely that he will be.
Boston Celtics (27): Omari Spellman
The Boston Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and are likely to be the favorites to come out of the East if LeBron James leaves Cleveland. Their future hopes don't hinge on who they draft at No. 27 this year; however, there is a chance they can find the proverbial diamond in the rough.
The danger is that they make a need-based selection that doesn't work. According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Omari Spellman worked out for Boston. Drafting him feels like it would be wasting the pick.
In his scouting report of Spellman, Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer wrote "standing 6'9", Spellman isn't quite big enough to defend most centers, nor mobile enough to guard on the perimeter." That has unplayable written all over it.
In today's league, if there's a mismatch that can be targeted, it will be. And while he's a nice shooter (43.3 percent from deep), it's probably not enough to ever make him a rotation player with the depth Boston has.
The Celtics would be better off gambling on whatever player has the most upside than taking Spellman.
Brooklyn Nets (29): Anfernee Simons
According to B/R's Zach Buckley, the Brooklyn Nets have a decision to make: prioritize a high ceiling or a high floor.
The Nets have done a tremendous job of cobbling together something resembling a rebuilding project. They hit 28 wins last season in spite of injuries to both Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell by taking measured steps and not chasing waterfalls.
The Nets aren't going to win a championship this year, but they do need to continue to improve and show competent management if they're going to attract free agents in the future. They should avoid what the crosstown New York Knicks do, which is to constantly take one step forward and two steps back.
The temptation here might be to shoot for something big. Anfernee Simons sat out last year rather than going to college, so he's much more of an unknown than the others in the draft. He hasn't played enough against higher competition.
Per Buckley: "If Brooklyn is feeling lucky, it could consider taking a shot at [Jarred] Vanderbilt, Simons (fifth-year prep player), Mitchell Robinson (sat out college season) or Hamidou Diallo (elite athlete who struggled at Kentucky). But given this roster's overall lack of talent, the Nets might prefer prospects with better odds of sticking at this level."
Simons might end up being a great player, but the chance of that happening is far enough from guaranteed for him to fall to the bottom of the first round. Other teams can afford to take the risk. Brooklyn can't. It needs to find a rotation player here to continue its steady rebuild.
Charlotte Hornets (11): Kevin Knox
Pythagorean wins are a notion tracked at Basketball Reference that estimates what a team's record should be based on net rating and strength of schedule. The difference between Pythagorean wins and actual wins can tell a lot. It can be luck, or it can show something about a team's fortitude or composition.
Each of the last two seasons, the Hornets have six more Pythagorean wins than real wins, which suggests there is something structurally wrong. Last season, their offensive rating was just 98.6 in clutch situations, fifth-worst in the league, per NBA.com. Putting those things together, the conclusion is that they're struggling in the clutch and losing games because they can't generate enough offense down the stretch.
That's the problem when you have only one shot creator on the team in Kemba Walker. They need another guy who can generate offense, and while that may seem like Kevin Knox on the surface, Wasserman has concerns:
"Unless Knox transforms into a different player, he'll need his scoring to do his talking. He was underwhelming as a passer (8.7 assist percentage) and rebounder (9.3 rebounding percentage). And his defense was as unimpressive as the numbers suggest (1.5 steal percentage, 1.0 block percentage), even though defensive stats don't always paint the most accurate picture."
Knox might evolve into a great three-and-D player, but Wasserman points out an immediate question mark: How will Knox contribute if his scoring is off—even temporarily?
Knox is not what the Hornets need. They're better off looking for someone who can both play off Walker and facilitate offense in tight situations.
Chicago Bulls (7, 22): Michael Porter Jr.
The Chicago Bulls have suffered long and hard through injury and drama
There was the whole choking incident with Vinnie Del Negro and the injury-riddled Bulls in the Tom Thibodeau era that prematurely seemed to curtail the careers of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. That was accompanied by drama with Thibodeau and the front office.
After they traded Rose to the New York Knicks, the beef between Jimmy Butler and Fred Hoiberg took center stage.
When they hit the reset button last summer and dealt Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves, one of the key pieces they brought back was Zach LaVine, who was recovering from a torn ACL and played only 24 games last year.
They knew what they were getting into with LaVine, but he still missed more than half the season and was playing himself back into shape in the second half. He's also still an unknown commodity, even in terms of where he will play next year.
While the Bulls own his restricted free-agency rights, if another team offers him too much, it could put the Chicago in a bind.
The last thing the Bulls need is another star with health questions or someone who will inflict more drama.
Michael Porter Jr. could have the most upside of anyone in this draft. If he hadn't missed all but three games this season recovering from a microdiscectomy, he would've almost certainly been a top-three pick. But he could also have a short career because of injury issues.
He would be a polarizing pick with the already frustrated and increasingly disinterested Chicago fanbase. The Bulls need someone who would generate excitement, not drama.
Cleveland Cavaliers (8): If James Stays: Bridges; If James Goes: Porter
The Cavaliers are in a more precarious spot than any team in the NBA right now. There's a good chance that LeBron James leaves. There's also a chance—even if it's a slim one—that he stays. Could the right pick persuade him to stick around?
The draft comes before free agency, and that makes it difficult for the Cavs to decide what to do. Should they use the pick in a trade? Should they use it on the foundation for an impending post-LeBronistic future?
The last time LeBron left Cleveland, he did so without warning, which makes things even more precarious. So does the way he effectively dictated the Miami Heat to draft Shabazz Napier before coming back to #TheLand.
The Cavaliers need to know what they expect from him. They don't want to pick a guy who can push James out, but they don't want to miss out on a potential franchise player to keep him around.
Drafting someone like Michael Porter Jr. could push LeBron out but be the perfect pick if he leaves. He fills the same position and has that superstar potential. If it works out, great. If not, they just are just terrible next year and will be at or near the top of the draft.
A guy like Mikal Bridges could be a perfect complement to James with his defense, switchability and shooting. But Bridges doesn't have the physical strength and endurance to be a No. 1-usage guy.
The Cavs need to be clear what their situation in the draft is and not draft the wrong guy.
Dallas Mavericks (5): Mohamed Bamba
The Dallas Mavericks have cobbled together a weird team over the last few years, going with the best of what was available and scouring the G League for hidden gems. So they have guys like Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell to go with higher-profile players like Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr.
What they don't have is a guy who can make everything work together, and while Mohamed Bamba has the potential to be a defensive superstar, he doesn't represent the cohesive type of player the Mavericks need right now.
Per Wasserman: "Scouts have questioned Bamba's toughness and motor before, and at 226 pounds, he'd need to add roughly 20 more to match Rudy Gobert's strength."
Questions about motor aren't unheard of, but if the Mavs aren't able to turn things around instantly, a player with questionable motivation could develop bad habits for a losing organization.
Wasserman continued: "Teams will want to know that the length and measurements aren't gimmicky and that he can put them to use to change a game. Because at this stage, regardless of the exciting flashes, his skills can't be relied on in the half court. He finished in the 34th percentile on post-ups and shot 30.0 percent on jumpers."
Going with a center makes sense for Dallas at No. 5, but a do-it-all type like Wendell Carter Jr. might be the better fit. Check out the Celtics and Al Horford if you want to see a case of a big making everyone around him click. Carter can be that type of player. Bamba can't—or at least represents a bigger risk at this stage of his career.
Denver Nuggets (14): Lonnie Walker
The biggest concern with the Denver Nuggets is that they don't use the No. 14 pick in this draft on anyone. Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that they "are aggressively seeking to shed salary by trading forward Kenneth Faried, and the Hawks are willing to accommodate them for the right price, according to a person with knowledge of the NBA trade market."
Apparently, that right price might be the Nuggets' No. 14 pick, which seems a bit steep.
The Nuggets are a team on the rise, and last year's group was one of the best in history to miss the playoffs.
Denver shouldn't overpursue another big-name free agent. Getting Paul Millsap last year was a bit of a coup, but he's not a superstar, and he was a little long in the tooth. Denver is hardly a marquee city, and getting a star to come there requires a bit of an overpay.
If they do use the pick, they're better off staying away from a project. The more NBA ready, the better. Lonnie Walker has upside, but how much and whether he's going to develop into a rotation player at the next level are big question marks. He almost certainly won't be one in his rookie season.
A player in their range who might be able to contribute immediately is Robert Williams III, who is a little older and with his rim-protecting instinct, he would fit well with franchise future and present Nikola Jokic.
Golden State Warriors (28): Grayson Allen
The Golden State Warriors have won three of the last four NBA titles, have four perennial All-Stars, two former MVPs (Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant), a former Defensive Player of the Year (Draymond Green) and arguably the greatest spot-up shooter in NBA history (Klay Thompson). Just for good measure, they are helmed by a former Executive of the Year (Bob Myers) and a Coach of the Year (Steve Kerr).
They are arguably both the best team ever assembled and the best-run team in the NBA at present.
There is little chance that whoever they pick at No. 28 makes a big impact one way or another, but there is one caution flag.
The Warriors, for the most part, genuinely seem to like one another, and that's a part of their success. But there are times when the seams appear to strain a bit. The wrong personality could be one thing that throws a wrench in the works.
Grayson Allen has had his "moments" with Duke. His on-court antics have earned him a reputation as one of the more hated players in college basketball (playing for Duke didn't help, either), and following David West's surprising comments that there were "some things internally" that weren't as perfect as they seemed, why would the Dubs risk adding an abrasive personality—even at the end of their bench?
Allen doesn't come across like the most affable dude in the world, and while that could change in a championship organization, you have to be skeptical considering he came from just that at the collegiate level.
Indiana Pacers (23): Elie Okobo
The Indiana Pacers might have been the surprise of the NBA last year. While most (present company included) expected that they would tank, they instead made the playoffs and took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the full seven games in the opening round.
They have done well in the draft lately. While the jury is still out on TJ Leaf (taken at No. 18 in last year's draft), Myles Turner, the 11th pick of the 2015 draft, looks like a part of the Pacers' future core. Indiana has also done a nice job of helping mid-first-round talent Domantas Sabonis develop since acquiring him from the Oklahoma City Thunder last season.
Elie Okobo's ceiling is journeyman backup point guard. More specifically, he's a combo guard who will be forced to play point because of his 6'3" size, and while defining a position early in your career is a good thing, forcing a square peg into a round hole never is.
It's not hard to find guys like Okobo in free agency. Odds are, he's not going to be the one who pushes the Pacers up a notch. If the Pacers are willing to take a risk (see: Anfernee Simons), the bottom third of the first round is a good place to do it.
LA Clippers (12, 13): Robert Williams
The L.A. Clippers have the 12th (from the Blake Griffin trade with the Pistons) and 13th picks. For a team that won 42 games in spite of multiple injuries last season, that's not too bad.
Things could get a whole lot better for them, though, as the Clips appear to be one of the teams that could potentially work out a trade for Kawhi Leonard. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reports: "Expect the Sixers, Celtics, Lakers and Clippers to be the main four teams to pursue Leonard, league sources say."
Those two picks would be a valuable part of any package they could offer. Of course, they may not be able to get a deal done before the draft.
That means whoever they draft needs to remain both good for the Clippers' future and attractive to the Spurs. Robert Williams might be a potential Deandre Jordan replacement, but his traditional big man skill set doesn't fit well with what the Spurs do. Drafting Williams could hurt the potential for a Leonard trade, and the trade would be the best thing for the Clippers.
Los Angeles Lakers (25): Kevin Huerter
Los Angeles Lakers Twitter is ripe with joy and optimism these days. Superstars such as LeBron James, Chris Paul, Leonard and Paul George have all been linked to the Lakers, and there's a possibility that one or more of them ends up there.
It's also possible that none of them go there.
So what does all this have to do with the Lakers' draft? They should target a player who might be part of the team next year or part of a package. The Lakers have allegedly promised Kevin Huerter that they'd take him, according to Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo.
But it might backfire.
First, the Lakers have already had some issues with good-natured ribbing going too far between some of their players. According to Aran Smith of HoopsHype: "[Huerter] wasn't the most popular teammate at Maryland, so the hope will be that he matures being around pros that take him under his wing."
Adding another potential problematic personality could create more tension.
Furthermore, that's the sort of thing that could cause San Antonio to hesitate to take him as part of a package for Leonard.
Memphis Grizzlies (4): Mohamed Bamba
The grit-and-grind is grounded. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are getting older, and everyone else is gone. It’s unambiguously time for the Memphis Grizzlies to plan for the future.
As such, they are going to have a difficult time taking the "wrong" player with the No. 4 pick. But the modern NBA is far more about offense than defense, and there will still be a potentially great offensive player there for them with the fourth selection.
As Wasserman stated in a piece highlighting the prospects' best- and worst-case scenarios: "There is no doubt Bamba will be a plus NBA defender, but it doesn't mean he's an automatic game-changer. Without an advanced offensive repertoire, Bamba could be another Nerlens Noel in a worst-case scenario. While Noel is an active inside player, he isn't a must-play, 30-minute-per-game starter."
To Bamba's credit, Wasserman did list the center's best-case scenario as Rudy Gobert. Not bad, right?
But this isn't the Utah Jazz. Heck, this isn't even the grit-and-grind Grizzlies of the not-so-distant past.
While Bamba has all the potential in the world to be a great defender—perhaps even a future Defensive Player of the Year—he’s not going to be the type of guy you can build an offense around, which is something the Grizzlies need.
At a minimum, Trae Young, Luka Doncic or Jaren Jackson Jr. will still be available, and each would be a viable first building block for an offense of the future.
Milwaukee Bucks (17): Robert Williams
The Milwaukee Bucks need shooting above all other things. They were 27th in three-pointers made last season and only 22nd in three-point percentage. Only the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks were worse in both categories.
Miles Bridges would be a perfect fit here if available, as he can guard multiple positions and is a quality spot-up shooter who drained 37.5 percent of his threes in college.
Robert Williams would not fit. There is a chance that he'll be the best player on the board, and the Bucks might be tempted to take him. However, the Bucks are past the point in their building where "best player on the board" should be the determining factor.
Even if Bridges is gone, there will be other three-and-D wings, such as Keita Bates-Diop, available who fit better.
Minnesota Timberwolves (20): Keita Bates-Diop
As long as Tom Thibodeau is the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, players who have defensive lapses will be on the pine a lot, especially rookies.
Bates-Diop is a step too slow to guard the 3 and a bit too small to guard the 4. Thibodeau struggled finding patience with more talented players like Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic when he was with the Chicago Bulls.
It’s easy to envision a situation where Bates-Diop gets taken by the Timberwolves. As Wasserman put it in his June 9 Big Board: "Bates-Diop doesn't explode off the floor, but he's a fit in today's league for his shooting, face-up play and potential defensive versatility if coaches can get him to stay locked in." That sounds like a Thibs pick.
But he could quickly become a wasted selection if Thibodeau can't, as Wasserman put it, "get him to stay locked in." Someone like Chandler Hutchison, who is a more versatile scorer and plays reliable perimeter defense, would be a better fit. Or the Wolves might consider trading down a few spots and rolling the dice with a potential rim protector like Mitchell Robinson.
New York Knicks (9): Michael Porter Jr.
The New York Knicks are another team that has seen its share of disasters. In fact, most of the last 20 years have been one extended disaster with occasional short-lived bumps of slightly above-average play.
Because of that, a player like Porter is not a good idea. If things ever actually went right with the Knicks, he would be the perfect fit. Sadly, that's almost never the case.
Kristaps Porzingis is the foundation here. Frank Ntilikina is a work in progress, but the progress is evident. They have the beginnings of something.
I saw an interview with Tiger Woods once where he said the most important thing he ever learned was the value of a par. Constantly going for birdies was leading to too many bogies. That's a good metaphor for the Knicks' history.
They need to learn the value of a par.
Porter could potentially be the best pick for them, but he also has the best chance of being a bad one, and if I'm the Knicks, that's the greatest concern right now.
They already have a superstar in Kristaps Porzingis, who will be entering his third season. It's time they got some stability around him, and gambling on picks isn't the best way to do that. There are going to be at least three or four guaranteed rotation-caliber players where the Knicks are drafting. They should take one of them.
There are enough solid moves that the Knicks don't have to make a Porter gamble. Mikal Bridges would be a safe pick. Robert Williams III could fit nicely next to Porzingis. Colin Sexton could play the 1 and let Ntilikina play the 2.
Getting on the green is all the Knicks need to do this year; they don't need to put it in the hole.
Orlando Magic (6): Marvin Bagley
Marvin Bagley could be a tremendous NBA talent, but of the top seven or eight prospects, he's the only one that would concern me with the Orlando Magic.
Two years ago, Orlando looked primed for a breakout; then their rebuild plateaued before it started to collapse. Once primed with picks, assets and young talent, it now has two players that look like they might be part of the future: Jonathon Simmons and Aaron Gordon.
Bagley's talents on offense are the same as Gordon's, as are his issues on defense. Playing Bagley together with Gordon wouldn't work well. Neither can effectively play the 3 (we saw that fail with Gordon) or the 5, and neither is a rim protector.
In Bagley's defense, this is more about the Magic's makeup than it is about his potential. He could earn superstar status at some point in his career, but it's difficult to envision this marriage leading to success for either party.
To have them together would be to concede the rim while mushing up the offense. The Magic are better off taking the best player on the board not named Bagley and rolling with that.
Philadelphia 76ers (10, 26): Michael Porter Jr.
Dear God, don't let the Philadelphia 76ers take Michael Porter Jr. He's likely going to be gone by the 10th pick anyway, but after Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz all missed all or most of their rookie seasons, do we even need to explain this.
Porter Jr. missed most of last season after surgery, and there are still health questions around him. If he's not picked by 10, it's because people are worried about his health. If that's the case, the Sixers should be too.
Let me put it this way. The most important thing for the Sixers from the No. 10 pick is having a guy who can contribute right away who has a good chance of helping them in the playoffs. Someone like Mikal Bridges is perfect here.
Phoenix Suns (1, 16): Deandre Ayton
There is a massive cautionary flag with Deandre Ayton, and Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated articulates it well: "He blocked 2.3 shots per 40 minutes—fewer than any of the past three big men taken No. 1 (Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis, Greg Oden). Because of that, some advanced metrics put his D on par with the likes of Jahlil Okafor's."
When you start bandying about the name Jahlil Okafor, there's cause for concern. Ayton may be quicker and more athletic than Okafor, but being compared—even in passing—to a disappointing lottery selection is far from ideal where you're projected to go No. 1 overall.
If you're the Suns, with a real shot at a franchise cornerstone, you don't want a question mark that big hanging over him. Luka Doncic is the better pick. And if you don't believe me, maybe you'll take a certain former Suns guard's word for it.
"I think Luka is a dream prospect," Steve Nash told Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania. "Big and mobile enough in the modern game and can guard multiple positions. He has a skill set, a winning mentality and leadership qualities."
"Modern game" may be the key phrase there. Although Ayton has Unicorn potential, it's also fair to ask if taking a center first overall is ill-advised regardless of the player in question.
Phoenix—a team that has had four top-five picks in six years—is different from a squad like Brooklyn that's looking for a guy with a high floor who can fill in a roster. If the Suns go with Ayton and he's a star, kudos to them for finally getting their face of the franchise. But if he's relegated to nice role player status early in his career (or worse), they'll be looking at Doncic wondering what they could've had.
Portland Trail Blazers (24): Gary Trent Jr.
Gary Trent Jr. is more or less the exact opposite of what the Portland Trail Blazers need. While Damian Lillard improved his defense this year, Portland still does not have the perimeter stopper they need to go on a deep playoff run.
Trent is not going to be that guy. While his dad might have been great in the trenches, Jr. isn't.
So why would Portland consider him at all? He has the makings of a great offensive player, and the Blazers may be looking to replace Shabazz Napier, who could leverage his improved season entering free agency.
The problem, though, is that Trent Jr. doesn't have the lateral quickness to guard elite ball-handlers, which is something that will always be important as long as Lillard and McCollum occupy the starting backcourt. Kyle Ratke of Timberwolves.com opines: "The problem with Trent is on the defensive end. He gets caught watching the ball and isn't athletic enough to guard offensive-talented wings. If Trent doesn't see the floor early in his career, it will be because of his defense, not his offense."
Someone like Jacob Evans might, though. And unlike a lot of other teams, the Trail Blazers can absorb his lack of shot creating without paying a heavy price because of their elite guard tandem.
Sacramento Kings (2): Deandre Ayton
I feel bad for Sacramento Kings fans. They've suffered for so long, and there has to be a hanging cloud of inevitability that it will only continue.
I already mentioned Deandre Ayton with the Suns, but it would also be a mistake for the Kings to take him at No. 2 as well. That doesn't mean I don't think he shouldn't go No. 2, though, as long as the Kings trade down and someone else uses the pick.
If they do use the pick, whoever they pick, even Ayton, is probably going to work out. But my job here is to determine which player has the best chance to go wrong, and that's Ayton.
Maybe I'm being petty, but the whole notion of Ayton being the next DeMarcus Cousins makes Sacramento drating him feel like they'd just be making the same mistake twice. If there's a way to Kangz this up, Ayton could be it. Both have tremendous offensive skillsets. Both have limitations on defense and can linger getting back.
In fact, according to Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer, some of Ayton's stats are right there with Jahlil Okafor's, though I fully expect Ayton to be much better than that.
The Kings should be looking for a change of culture and personality. Drafting Boogie 2.0 could just make it a little harder for fans to get excited about it. I much prefer someone like Luka Doncic here.
There are rumors that the Kings are looking to trade down, according to O'Connor: "The offseason hot stove is already burning up just three days after the Warriors' win. The Kings and Mavericks are open to moving down in the draft, according to multiple league front-office executives. Sacramento is in the asset-stacking business, while Dallas is trying to compete for the playoffs next season."
That would be preferable. More swings at the ball give the Kings a better chance at hitting one out of the park. If they can get two picks instead of one, it should work for them.
San Antonio Spurs (18): Troy Brown
Whoever the San Antonio Spurs draft is probably going to be a future Hall of Famer, so what does it matter?
I kid. Sort of.
There’s a sense of doom and gloom around the Spurs with declarations of starting over in the wake of Leonard’s imminent departure. Let’s slow that particular roll a bit, shall we? Things are not as caustic as they seem. After all, they did win 47 games with him missing most of the season last year.
I’m not sure there is a player they can draft who is going to have a negative impact, but the hasty decision to blow it up could. The Spurs are competitive with or without Leonard. They’re more competitive with him or with whomever they can get for him.
It’s not the time to panic. The Spurs should sit back, let the offers come in and take whoever the best player on the board is. If there is someone to avoid, it's probably someone who can't shoot. Troy Brown is the type of hard-working, utilitarian player the Spurs like, but he was 29.1 percent from deep and the Spurs (28th) were one of the worst teams in the NBA last year behind the arc.
Increasingly in this league, you need multiple shooters. The Spurs already have one mid-range specialist in LaMarcus Aldridge who is a big part of their offense. Having two non-shooters on the court would be even more problematic. They need to stretch the court, not shrink it, and Brown is just not the guy who is going to do that.
Kevin Huerter (41.7 percent from deep), Jerome Robinson (40.9 percent) and Donte DiVincezo could all be around when the Spurs pick. With that many shooters to choose from, it wouldn't make sense to go with Brown.
Utah Jazz (21): Chandler Hutchison
Chandler Hutchison would be a nice safe pick for the Utah Jazz, and it probably wouldn't go "wrong" for them. But it doesn't have a whole lot of chance of going right either. He probably isn't another Donovan Mitchell-sized home run.
Hutchison is an NBA-ready wing who can defend well and make shots. At best he's another Joe Ingles. (What's not to love about Ingles? Ya know, outside of OKC.) He could be a solid, steady contributor. But he's not a scale-tipper.
They're better off going for someone like Donte DiVincenzo if he's still available.
The Jazz need point generators more than point scorers right now. Utah must target players who can create shots for themselves or their teammates, not just bury them.
Washington Wizards (15): Zhaire Smith
Zhaire Smith is a spectacular dunker, and while he shot 45.0 percent from deep, that 40-shot sample size coupled with the 71.7 percent free-throw percentage makes me skeptical that it's sustainable. His shooting mechanics aren't that pure or consistent either.
He's an incredible athlete with a good sense of the game, but it's going to take time for him to develop. He's not going to be able to contribute right away, and the Wizards aren't in a position where they can be patiently developing players.
The John Wall-Bradley Beal window is wide open, and they need players who can contribute right now. John Wall has two more seasons before he hits 30 and his speed starts to go.
Getting someone who can help defend the perimeter is something they can find in free agency at or near the minimum. Getting a big who can play around the rim isn't so easy to find in that price range, and the Wizards are already over the luxury cap next year, per Spotrac. You're certainly not going to find someone of Williams' caliber.
The Wizards should prioritize positional need here and take the center.