B/R NBA Fantasy League: Post-Draft Power Rankings

Mo DakhilFeatured Columnist IMay 17, 2020

B/R NBA Fantasy League: Post-Draft Power Rankings

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Welcome to the B/R NBA Fantasy League power rankings. Our GMs were very active across the board, and the league looks very different. The Golden State Warriors traded out of the No. 1 draft pick they landed in our simulated lottery. The Houston Rockets made more moves than Mick Jagger. The New York Knicks found a star for Madison Square Garden. The Miami Heat made a run at the title. The Los Angeles Lakers added some more firepower and youth, but at a big cost. 

    These rankings took a look at how GMs positioned their teams for short-term and long-term success. Some teams set themselves up to contend, while others kicked off their rebuilding projects by shedding contracts and collecting assets. 

    It should be noted that Jonathan Wasserman’s draft guide was used for the draft analysis.

30. Atlanta Hawks

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    The Hawks traded for the No. 1 pick in the draft and selected Anthony Edwards out of the University of Georgia, adding an explosive 2-guard to pair with Trae Young with the ability to get his own shot to ease the pressure on Young’s shoulders. 

    It is not very clear what the Hawks' plan is, as they made a big move to get the No. 1 pick in this draft but also sent out their first-round pick next season unprotected. Based on how the roster is shaping up, the Hawks do not look like they will be anything other than bottom-dwellers of the NBA. 

    Young is a franchise player, averaging 29.6 points and 9.3 assists this season. He has already shown some frustration building up. The front office has yet to build a team around him that makes a lot of sense. This team needs a defensive presence to move up from a fun League Pass team to a winning team.

29. New York Knicks

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    A slow rebuild has never been the Knick way, and they have done it again by trading for Russell Westbrook. New York turned the second overall pick into the fifth pick and then used that and several other pieces to get Westbrook. The hope has to be the allure of playing with Westbrook will be enough to attract another star, as this is a win-now move.  

    With a star in hand, the Knicks will have to start building a roster to win now. Young players like Kevin Knox II, Jarrett Culver and Mitchell Robinson will have to take major leaps in their development if this is going to lead them to the playoffs. The No. 2 overall pick should’ve been used as an asset instead of a sweetener to get out from under Julius Randle’s contract, but the Knicks are always going to Knick.

    After going from the second pick to the fifth pick, the Knicks ended up with the 19th pick from Milwaukee and turned that into Kira Lewis out of Alabama. He has elite quickness at the guard spot but will need some time to develop his passing skill in particular. Hopefully the Knicks will practice some patience in his development. With their second first-round pick, they selected Xavier Tillman out of Michigan State. He projects to be a role player with a limited offensive game but high defensive IQ and motor. 

28. Charlotte Hornets

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    Bringing Chris Paul home to Charlotte will certainly help with ticket sales but not the standings. Sending out the eighth pick in the draft to make it happen is too high of a cost. Finding a way to get young sharpshooter Landry Shamet from the Los Angeles Clippers was a great move, but this team has a long way to go to be competitive. 

    This is a lesson in bad asset management, shedding Nicolas Batum’s contract to get one that is longer and even bigger while including a lottery pick is not how smart teams rebuild.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    The Cavs are quietly building a competitive roster with several assets. Trading for John Collins from Atlanta fits perfectly with young guards Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, giving them a vertical target. It also opened the door to trade Andre Drummond to the Clippers for Patrick Beverley. Then on draft day, they added RJ Barrett and the 14th pick from Houston for the sixth pick and their 2022 unprotected first-round pick. Even though they’ve collected talent, they still have a long way to go, and that 2022 pick could have been immensely valuable. 

    The Cavs are creating a logjam in the backcourt with Sexton, Garland, Beverley and Barrett. They should look to move Beverley and Harrison Barnes, whom they acquired for Kevin Love from Philadelphia. 

    After trading back eight spots, the Cavs selected Jalen Smith out of Maryland,a shot-blocker on the defensive end and a possible stretch big who can be paired with Collins.

26. Phoenix Suns

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    The Suns started the season with some early success but eventually fell off. The most important thing under new head coach Monty Williams is the culture of the team has shifted. Giving Devin Booker a teammate like Ricky Rubio took the weight of the entire offense off his back. 

    They gave up Mikal Bridges and either their 2021 (top-three protected) or their 2022 (unprotected) draft pick to Chicago for big man Lauri Markkanen. Only to flip him for Elfrid Payton, the rights to Obi Toppin and the 22nd pick from Houston. That is a very valuable asset to give up if there were no intentions to keep him. 

    Toppin is a 6’9” big man with a nice inside game and an improved shooting touch, but his defense leaves a lot to be desired. Cole Anthony—an excellent scorer with the ability to create for others from time to time—was their selection with the 10th pick in the draft. . It will be interesting to see if he can break into the rotation with Booker, Rubio and Payton all ahead of him. With the 22nd pick, the Suns went big again with Jaden McDaniels, a 6’9" power forward who plays like a guard. 

    Their trades and draft selections leave one to wonder who is going to actually play defense on this Suns team.

25. Detroit Pistons

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    The Pistons have been one of the most active teams, finally picking a direction and kicking off their rebuild. In a series of trades, they unloaded Blake Griffin's contract and added multiple picks in the 2020 draft and beyond, as well as several young players to develop. Additions Jaxson Hayes, Kyle Kuzma (a Michigan native) and Carsen Edwards are all developmental fliers to take a chance on. They'll join rookie first-rounder Sekou Doumbouya, who showed flashes of talent during the season. 

    The Pistons went into the draft with three first-round picks. With the seventh pick, the Pistons selected combo guard Tyrese Haliburton out of Iowa State. He’s an elite spot-up shooter with excellent passing skills but does not possess blow-by speed. They ended the first round with back-to-back picks. At 29, they selected Skylar Mays, a high-IQ guard who can play in the pick-and-roll as well as spot up but has limited upside beyond being a role player. Then at 30, they went with center Daniel Oturu from the University of Minnesota. He averaged a double-double with 2.5 blocks.

    They may not win a lot of games but are restocking their asset cupboard and freeing up cap space to put them in position over time to build a competitive team. Adding players like JJ Redick and Jeremy Lamb could bring back a first-round pick. A lot of their future success will depend on their ability to develop the young talent they are putting together.

24. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Snagging the No. 2 pick in the draft by taking Julius Randle’s contract only to flip him for a shorter contract in Rudy Gay and to again flip Gay for Danny Green is a steal. With D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns in the fold, the Wolves need to build a team around them. Green is just the right type of three-and-D player the Wolves should be looking to add.

    With the second overall pick, the Wolves selected LaMelo Ball. Adding another playmaker who can create for teammates should open the door for a high-octane offense, but the big issue this team still needs to address is its lack of defense. 

    There have been a lot of rumors of trying to add Devin Booker to this squad to form a Big Three, but this seems like a better idea on paper than in reality. The selection of Ball should end those rumors for now.

23. Chicago Bulls

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    The winds of change have hit the Windy City in a big way. First, the Bulls replaced head coach Jim Boylen with Adrian Griffin. Then, they moved Lauri Markkanen to Phoenix for Mikal Bridges and a 2021 top-three protected pick that becomes unprotected in 2022 if it doesn’t convey. Next, they picked up another 2020 draft pick from the Blazers plus a young prospect in Nassir Little. They also swapped picks with the Wizards in the 2020 draft, which turned into Devin Vassell, and got Washington's unprotected 2021 pick. 

    Then, things got really wild They traded Zach LaVine, Trevor Ariza (acquired from Portland) and Portland’s 2020 first-round pick to Houston for Al Horford, De’Andre Hunter and the fifth pick in the 2020 draft along with Atlanta’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick. 

    To recap, the Bulls have the fifth and ninth picks in this draft, the rights to two unprotected first-round picks in 2021 plus the Suns' top-three protected pick. The Bulls are completely loaded with draft assets for the next few years. 

    The Bulls are walking away from this draft with two lottery picks, including Killian Hayes from Europe with the fifth pick. He is a good pick-and-roll point guard with decent size. At just 18 years old, he has time to build up his game but will have to start with developing a consistent three-point shot. They then selected Devin Vassell, who fits the mold of a three-and-D player to a T. 

22. San Antonio Spurs

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    All good things must come to an end, including the Spurs' playoff streak. The end is the start of a new beginning. They already have a young player in Dejounte Murray whom they are excited about, Flipping DeMar DeRozan for Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen is a great way to jump-start a quick rebuild. Julius Randle is not a very Spursy player, but only $4 million of his $19 million of the final year of his deal is guaranteed with a decision having to be made just before the 2021 free agency period. Thus giving them more cap space when they’ll have just seven players under contract if they want to cut bait.

    The elephant in the Spurs locker room is just how much longer coach Gregg Popovich is going to be running the show. Being a model organization for so long has led to a brain drain on the bench, so the line of succession is no longer clear and that will need to be addressed. 

    If ever there were a player who fits the Spurs mode perfectly, it is wing Isaac Okoro from Auburn, whom they selected with the 11th pick—a good defender who can guard bigs and smalls with an efficient offensive game. If the Spurs can develop his three-point shot, they will have found a steal in Okoro. With the 20th pick, the Spurs are taking a flier on 6’6” playmaker Leandro Bolmaro out of Spain. He's a tad raw, but his ability to create for others can make him a favorite among teammates. 

21. Sacramento Kings

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    The Kings have made some bold moves by swapping an unhappy Buddy Hield for Tobias Harris, who will feast on all the open looks he’ll get from De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic drives. Adding Josh Richardson gives coach Luke Walton several different backcourt combinations he can go to. 

    The bigger issue at large is these trades have left them without a single true center. PJ Tucker can play the position when they go small-ball. Richaun Holmes and Harry Giles III can play the position as well, but both are natural power forwards. Although they traded out of the 2020 draft, they have a Denver top-25 protected pick plus their own for the 2021 draft as well as Houston’s unprotected 2022 pick. These draft assets can help them fill that need. 

20. Orlando Magic

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    It seemed like the Magic had a permanent place on the treadmill of mediocrity. Well, they finally chose to shatter it by trading Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and the 15th pick in the draft to Denver for Jamal Murray and Will Barton.

    Murray, whose contract extension is just about to kick in, is 23 years old and a prolific scorer. His playmaking ability fills an area of need for Orlando. Adding Will Barton gives coach Steve Clifford another wing defender to pair with Jonathan Isaac, who broke out this season.




19. Washington Wizards

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    This is a huge season for the Wizards with Bradley Beal and hopefully a healthy John Wall back on the court together. Rui Hachimura showed some real promise in his rookie year, and Davis Bertans' long-range game should make this team interesting. 

    There are still a lot of question marks, the biggest being what Wall will look like after such a long layoff. That is why sending out an unprotected 2021 pick in their trade with the Bulls might come back to haunt them.  

    The Wizards took this risk so they could draft James Wiseman from the University of Memphis. Standing 7’1”, he gives Washington a center who can block shots, rebound and run the lane. There will not be any expectations for Wiseman to be the focal point on offense; as long as he can fill the role of a DeAndre Jordan-like center, he could be a great pickup for the Wizards.




18. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Injuries derailed the Blazers' season, but they are a playoff team in the West when fully healthy. They were nearly one despite those injuries on the back of Damian Lillard. Bringing in Thaddeus Young was a nice move to help shore up their perimeter defense. It may seem like a steep price to give up the 14th pick in the draft, but the clock is ticking on the Lillard and CJ McCollum tandem, and they can’t wait on a rookie. 

    Getting a healthy Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins back will help a depleted frontcourt that should put them back in the thick of things in the Western Conference.




17. New Orleans Pelicans

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    It is all about building around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram for the Pelicans. They’ve continued to add to their draft asset cupboard, picking up the 12th pick in 2020 in addition to all the picks they have coming from the Anthony Davis trade. They’ve bolstered their defense by adding Myles Turner even if it cost them JJ Redick, which they addressed in the draft. 

    With the 12th and 13th picks, the Pelicans selected Aaron Nesmith and Tyrese Maxey. Nesmith from Vanderbilt is a straight-up shooter. It might have been a reach for him to go so high, but in time he could develop into a Redick-like player if he gets better off the dribble. Maxey, a shooting guard out of Kentucky, is a shot-maker without a three-point shot. However, there is hope for his perimeter shooting despite the fact that he shot just 29.2 percent from deep, as he hit 83.3 percent of his free throws. 

    The window is just beginning to open for the Pelicans, and they have several assets that could enable them to push it open even wider. New Orleans may look to add more if it decides to trade Jrue Holiday to contender.




16. Oklahoma City Thunder

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    The emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has given Oklahoma City a young player to build around. He led them in scoring at 19.3 points per game—up from the 10.8 from his rookie year. At the time they traded for Chris Paul, it was presumed they would have to attach a pick to trade him again, but in this case they got the eighth pick for him from Charlotte. 

    The Thunder used that pick on Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Deni Avdija. Looking for him to play either forward spot in the NBA, he is an able facilitator with a streaky shot and has a good feel on the defensive end. If he can find consistency with his three-ball, he  could develop in the Danilo Gallinari mold. Then with the 25th pick, the Thunder went with guard Nico Mannion from Arizona. He has a well-rounded offensive game but struggles finishing at the rim and projects to be a backup in the league. 

    They are set up perfectly for the rebuild with a cache of draft picks and got Chris Paul’s contract off their books. This makes them a potential suitor for the next star player looking for a new home.




15. Memphis Grizzlies

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    Ja Morant has proved to be a star, and teamed up with Jarren Jackson Jr., the Grizzlies have a pair who can grow together. They can turn FedExForum back into the raucous arena it was during the grit-and-grind era. Memphis was in the bottom third in three-point percentage, so to address that need they added Seth Curry, who has shot 44.3 percent from three for his career. They also picked up a serviceable backup point guard in Delon Wright and the 18th pick in the draft by flipping Justise Winslow. To make up for trading a wing defender, they brought in OG Anunoby in exchange for Brandon Clarke. 

    With the pick they acquired in the Winslow trade, they selected Precious Achiuwa out of the University of Memphis. He is definitely a project with no clear skill on the offensive end but has all the tools to become a versatile defender. 

    Taylor Jenkins and the Grizzlies are in prime position to go from a fun Cinderella story to the beginnings of a perennial playoff contender.




14. Indiana Pacers

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    Adding a healthy Blake Griffin to the trio of Victor Oladipo, Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis is a scary prospect. The key is keeping Griffin, who has played more than 61 games once in the last four seasons, on the court. But unlike his time in Detroit, he will not have to carry as large of a load with the guys he’ll be playing with in Indiana. 

    One big issue that they will need to solve is rim protection, which Myles Turner brought to the table.




13. Utah Jazz

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    Prior to the season, the Jazz were the trendy dark-horse pick to make a run at the championship. Mike Conley seemed like the perfect complement to Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert. Unfortunately, they never were able to find the right chemistry. The season was very up-and-down, leading to several lineup and rotation changes. 

    One thing the Jazz will have to address is Gobert’s play after the All-Star break. Prior to the break, the Jazz had a defensive rating of 105.0 when he was on the floor. Post-break, it went up to 116.9. That coincides with his field-goal attempts per game decreasing from 8.7 to 5.6

    With the 24th pick, the Jazz selected Jahmi’us Ramsey out of Texas Tech. The 6'4" guard has a nice pull-up game but doesn’t create much, and defense isn’t quite his forte. It’ll be tough for him to crack the rotation. 

    Sending their best wing defender in Royce O’Neale to Toronto for Stanley Johnson and Terence Davis won’t do much to help them in the playoffs. The Jazz will have to start to find ways to shore up their perimeter defense if they have designs on future deep playoff runs.




12. Toronto Raptors

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    No one has meant more to the Toronto franchise than Kyle Lowry, and his time as a Raptor has come to an end. They traded him to Miami for Andre Iguodala, Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk. Igoudala’s defensive ability can fill the hole they created when they traded Anunoby Nunn’s scoring punch can help to offset the loss of Lowry’s, and Olynyk gives coach Nick Nurse another shooter to spread the floor. 

    Pascal Siakam has proved he can be a No. 1 option in the league, having raised his scoring average 6.7 points from last season. He’s taken on a larger role offensively, but with Lowry gone, he’ll have to assume a leadership role. 

    Late in the draft, Cassius Winston is a nice pickup for the Raptors at 28th. He is a deadly shooter in all facets: spot-ups, pull-ups and off screens. In addition, he dished out 5.9 assists per game his senior year at Michigan State. This is a great insurance policy if they are not able to re-sign Fred VanVleet, who is a pretty solid comp to Winston. 

    In the long run, the Raptors are situated nicely. Over the next two offseasons, they will have a huge amount of salary cap space to maneuver. They will be able to take on a bad contract to collect an asset or sign a big name free agent once one becomes available. Armed with one of the best coaches in the NBA and a great development program, the Raptors are more likely to overachieve but do have a limited ceiling until they upgrade their talent level. 




11. Brooklyn Nets

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    Massive changes in Brooklyn from hiring a new coach and incorporating Kevin Durant in his return from injury to bringing DeMar DeRozan, Jabari Parker and Jerami Grant into the fold. With these moves, the Nets' projected starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, DeRozan, Durant, Grant and DeAndre Jordan (with Caris LeVert and Parker off the bench) is loaded with offensive firepower but not a lot of defense.

    Ultimately, it will come down to whether they find the right chemistry to make it work. The roster is filled with ball-dominant guards who are going to need the ball in their hands to be productive. 

    The good news is LeVert would have a lot of value on the trade market and DeRozan’s contract will be up at the end of the 2020-21 season to open up another spot.  

    The last remaining question is who will be the head coach after they have relieved Kenny Atkinson of his duties. 




10. Dallas Mavericks

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    The Mavericks surprised many this season, starting with a massive leap from Luka Doncic, who became an MVP-level player. Kristaps Porzingis looks like a great running mate with Doncic after coming off the ACL injury that held him out for a year-and-a-half. The Mavericks had a historical offensive rating of 115.8 this past season with this tandem. With both locked up for a long time, the Mavs will have to work in the margins to build around them.

    The Mavs defense, meanwhile, will have to catch up to their offense—in particular their wing defense, which they’ve addressed with the addition of Justise Winslow, assuming he can stay healthy.




9. Houston Rockets

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    The Rockets went through a massive overhaul in a matter of days, moving Russell Westbrook, PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon while flipping Marvin Bagley III and Al Horford in other trades. At the end of the merry-go-round, the Rockets found themselves with Zach LaVine, Dennis Smith Jr., Trevor Ariza and Lauri Markkanen to go with James Harden and Robert Covington.

    They got Cleveland's unprotected 2022 first-round pick and the sixth pick in the 2020 draft (which they flipped for Markkanen) for RJ Barrett. That is a great asset to have in their back pocket for future deals. 

    Harden is looking to add a championship ring next to his MVP trophy, but the Rockets are outside the contenders tier. Markkanen is the only viable big man on the roster,and they will need more help if they are going to meet Harden’s championship aspirations. 




8. Philadelphia 76ers

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    The Sixers were very active in their pursuit to surround Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid with shooters. They will find more space on the court with the cadre of incoming shooters, including Buddy Hield, Eric Gordon, Cory Joseph, Kevin Love and Nemanja Bjelica. Philadelphia will keep its defense intact while improving its offensive output. In addition to the new shooters, guys like Gordon and Joseph can pick up the slack as a secondary ball-handler. 

    The one drawback is this is a very expensive roster without much room to pivot. The Sixers are in win-now mode, and with these moves they should be in a much better position to contend in the East for the next few seasons. 




7. Golden State Warriors

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    After essentially a gap year to recharge their batteries, expect the Warriors to come back with a vengeance. The addition of Marcus Smart from the Hawks gives them the defensive flexibility they lost when they traded Andre Iguodala. He fits smoothly with their game plan on that end. Teaming him up with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green might unlock a new brand of defense the NBA is not ready for. 

    The Warriors addressed their thin frontcourt in the draft by taking USC’s Onyeka Okongwu with the third pick. He is undersized as a center but can provide some rim protection and switch onto guards like he did in college. If he can do that at this level, he’ll fit right in with their defensive scheme. 

    They are poised to make another run at the title with a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, a rejuvenated Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins.




6. Boston Celtics

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    The Celtics did a great job all season despite not having a real center. The acquisition of big man Clint Capela fills that need but comes at a heavy cost in Marcus Smart. Pairing Capela with Kemba Walker in the pick-and-roll gives the Celtics a new wrinkle to their offense. Jayson Tatum is a superstar in the making, he’s bounced back offensively this season and has made massive strides on the defense end. 

    With their two first-round picks, the Celtics went with Patrick Williams at 17 and then Tre Jones with the 26th pick. Williams was projected as a top10 selection by Jonathan Wasserman and is a value pick at 17. He is a bit raw, but despite being a power forward, he plays well out of the pick-and-roll with a good mid-range pull-up game. Coach Brad Stevens will enjoy coaching Jones, who can help to get the Celtics offense flowing and could eventually develop into a solid role player. 

    The Celtics are in pretty good shape for the foreseeable future assuming they lock Tatum into a long-term contract. With the likelihood that Gordon Hayward will opt in next season, Boston will have to decide whether to re-sign him or try to get something for him on the trade market.




5. Denver Nuggets

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    The Nuggets' blowout loss to the Clippers in late February showed they are not on the true contender level. It must’ve opened up their eyes, as they made a big move in trading for Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. Pairing Gordon’s athleticism with Nikola Jokic’s passing ability should produce several new highlights. Having Gordon also provides some insurance should they be unable to re-sign Paul Milsap to a new contract. Although maybe not as explosive as Jamal Murray, Fournier is a better three-point shooter and can help to spread the floor. Denver also jumped in the Spurs-Nets trade, getting Derrick White, Rodions Kurucs and Theo Penson while sending Jerami Grant to Brooklyn. 

    The loss of Will Barton and Grant does deliver a blow to the Nuggets defense. This is a problem they will have to find a solution to because of the number of wings in the West they’ll have to go through.

    Using the 15th pick they acquired in the Orlando trade, the Nuggets are adding an elite shooter in Saddiq Bey from Villanova. His shooting will help to consistently spread the floor, but he will need to work on his defense if coach Mike Malone is going to play him. Just ask Michael Porter Jr. With the 21st pick, they selected Josh Green from Arizona in hopes he can develop into the three-and-D player they’re going to need to be contenders.




4. Los Angeles Lakers

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    In the short term, trading for Derrick Rose adds a scoring punch off the bench that the Lakers have badly needed. The Lakers' offensive efficiency drops 8.1 points when LeBron James goes to the bench, and the hope is Rose will up the offensive output. Kyle Kuzma's departure will not be as big of a loss considering he never really found a way to fit in with James. 

    The Lakers ranked 17th in three-point percentage, so it does not make a lot of sense why they would trade one of their better three-point shooters in Danny Green and a second-round pick to Minnesota for Rudy Gay, the rights to RJ Hampton and a trade exception that is less than a million dollars. 

    Hampton is an intriguing prospect who is a jack of all trades, but James and the Lakers do not have time to wait for him to develop. Getting Rudy Gay is nice, but he only shot 31.4 percent from three this season, and that won’t help to spread the floor for James and Anthony Davis.




3. Miami Heat

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    It seems as though Jimmy Butler has finally found an organization that fits his maniacal work ethic and swagger. Kyle Lowry’s toughness is a perfect fit with the Heat. Adding another proven veteran to the fold helps to raise their ceiling. 

    Bam Adebayo had a breakout year in his third season and is showing skills most did not know he possessed, like his passing vision. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson’s shooting ability round out the many different weapons the Heat have.

    The best part of the Lowry blockbuster is that on top of solidifying their status among the East's elite, it preserves their cap space for the summer of 2021 when several stars will be free agents. The Heat drafted Aleksej Pokusevski from Greece with the 23rd pick. He has a lot of promise but is more likely to be a stash-and-develop prospect before coming over.




2. Los Angeles Clippers

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    The Clippers are in uncharted territory as legitimate contenders. They did, however, address one of the few areas of need: rim protection. L.A. traded for Andre Drummond and agreed to an extension to have him patrol the paint. It did cost the Clippers defensive ball hawk Patrick Beverley, whose emotional energy will be missed.

    That trade opened the door for Devonte’ Graham, whom they acquired from Charlotte for Landry Shamet. Graham had a great sophomore season, averaging 18.2 points, 7.5 assists and shooting 37.3 percent from three. The real question is how Graham will adjust to not having the ball in his hands as much as he did with the Hornets. If he can fit in with less ball-handling responsibility, this is a nice pickup for the Clippers offensively, but they will miss Beverley’s defense.

    Truthfully, as long as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are healthy, this team is poised to challenge the Lakers in the West and the Bucks for the title and is at minimum a top-three team.




1. Milwaukee Bucks

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    There is not much the best team in the NBA needs to add. In an ideal world, it would have signed Giannis Antetokounmpo to an extension, but with the current cap climate, that does not make sense for him. The Bucks chose to move out of this draft by trading the 19th pick and DJ Wilson to the Knicks for Reggie Bullock and a future second-round pick. 

    If there is one item the Bucks could add, it would be a secondary playmaker. That would have been difficult to pull off without giving up a major piece and finding a willing partner. 

    Everything for this team hinges on what Antetokounmpo will do in free agency next summer. Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Robin Lopez are all on long-term deals, so all the key pieces are in place for this team to contend for a long while if he re-signs.