clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 NBA Mock Draft: Trade scenarios dominate first round, including Jimmy Butler and Marc Gasol to Celtics

New, comments

In addition, the Nets add Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague goes to the Jazz, your Pelicans land Denzel Valentine, Ante Zicic and Boris Diaw and so much more!

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t profess to be a student of the college basketball game, which is why I’ve avoided jumping into recent draft related TBW roundtables, but in case you've never read any of my other articles, I love virtual GM'ing -- the wheeling and dealing and all the machinations in between.

This is a moving and shaking mock draft, that will surely be ridiculed by some, but is admittedly more rooted in fantasy and in improving the Pelicans roster while drooling over that major shake-up offseason fans have been desiring. These aren’t predictions, just hypotheticals that are fun to ponder.

If you missed it, I advise reading the 3-team trade scenario posted yesterday as the Phoenix Suns winding up with the first overall pick is the precursor for much of the following strategy below.

The 2016 NBA Draft

1. The Phoenix Suns (from the 76ers): Ben Simmons (PF) LSU

Duh.

2. The Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram (SF) Duke

The Lakers stay put and get the ultra thin, mega-scoring Ingram to line up across from Julius Randle. D’Angelo Russell runs the show next to Jordan Clarkson, or maybe even DeMar DeRozan, giving Luke Walton only one major hole left to fill at the five.

Trade: Bulls are like bulls in a china shop; Celtics make first of several moves

Jimmy Butler.jpg

The Bulls’ front office continues to replace the roster and culture that was developed under Tom Thibodeau in an effort to reshuffle for Fred Hoiberg. The Celtics begin phase one of adding stronger two-way players to their lineup.

Boston Celtics:

Boston is a franchise we should all envy. Not only were they a playoff team this season, they also possess a slew of quality draft picks — including the third overall in this year’s draft — to go along with some nice young talent, a great young coach, a bold and talented GM and a slew of cash.

The Celtics enter 2016-2017 with just $52,036,205 in salary with two large non-guaranteed contracts (Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko) that could reduce that number to $35,036,205 in a year in which the cap is rising to $92,000,000. Danny Ainge robbed the Nets in a bounty that will allow him to start assembling his own team of stars, a team with a larger window than what Brooklyn rolled out. The first step adds a second All-Star to their backcourt.

Outgoing:

Avery Bradley, the 3rd pick in the 2016 NBA draft and the 35th pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Incoming:

Jimmy Butler.

Chicago Bulls:

The Bulls’ front office has a habit of rubbing its players and coaches the wrong way. Jimmy Butler is clearly disgruntled, and with the injury prone Derrick Rose and veteran Taj Gibson entering the final year of their contracts and Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol entering free agency, it’s probably time to rebuild and cash out on all assets. Getting the third overall pick is a great way to start. Also, adding Bradley: a 25-year-old lockdown perimeter defender who can also score and distribute on a pretty bargain contract is about as good of a coup as they can expect from such a soured relationship.

Outgoing:

Jimmy Butler.

Incoming:

Avery Bradley, the 3rd pick in the 2016 NBA draft and the 35th pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

3. The Chicago Bulls (from the Celtics): Dragan Bender (PF) Croatia

I could also see the Bulls going Kris Dunn here as the heir to Derrick Rose and with Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic already on the roster. However, I see them using some of their other chips later to acquire their point guard of the future through other means. In a TBW roundtable discussion on Bender, Oleh opined:

"Dragan Bender is not without allure. He stands over 7 feet tall, shows the potential to be proficient from 3-point range and can move his hands and feet similar to guards. Once his body finishes maturing and if he reaches close to his potential, Bender will rival Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis as the league's most versatile big man for the next decade."

He also cautioned that it would likely take Bender a few years to reach that potential. In an offseason where you are losing Butler, Noah, Gasol and maybe even Rose and Gibson, the Bulls should be looking at taking the long road and not the quick fix. If patient, Dragan could possibly be for the Bulls what Davis, Towns and Porzingis have flashed in their young careers for their respective franchises.

4. The Philadelphia 76ers (from the Suns): Kris Dunn (PG) Providence

Ish Smith was the lone NBA player in Philly’s guard rotation this season — although there still may be hope for Stauskas. Smith is a free agent and with that market very thin he’s likely to find work elsewhere this summer. Dunn is shooting up draft boards, and some GMs are saying that he could be the best player in this draft. He sure fills a bigger hole on the Sixers’ roster than Ben Simmons would have. Smith could still be retained to mentor Dunn, but with this pick, Philly starts building their backcourt of the future and probably the present.

5. The Minnesota Timberwolves: Buddy Hield (SG) Oklahoma

Tom Thibodeau takes over a young team oozing with potential and athleticism. Ricky Rubio has developed into a very good pass first point guard who is also a solid defender. He’s entering his 5th year in the league, but at just 25-years-old, he can still materialize into a top ten player at his position. Rubio is flanked by back-to-back rookies of the year, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Gorgui Dieng established himself as a solid rim protector under Sam Mitchell, so imagine what he will become under Thibodeau.

The one thing they’ve lacked is a go-to scorer on the wing. Buddy Buckets will fill that void while allowing Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad to ignite off of the bench. Thibs isn’t a big fan of playing rookies, but Buddy is a senior and comes with a ton of maturity as well as NBA ready scoring ability. Things look really bright in Minnesota.

6. The Philadelphia 76ers (from the Pelicans): Jamal Murray (Combo Guard) Kentucky

Philly was likely hoping that Hield would fall to six, but Murray is a solid consolation prize. Murray will bring explosive scoring to a team that has had no go-to option for years. He’s still young, and his game will need to mature, but he can shoot and if he’s only asked to be your second or third (after Dario Saric) creator he should be very effective.

After filling out their one and two spot, the 76ers need to chase a young vet to play the three (Kent Bazemore could be a nice option for them), and add a couple of veteran leaders to keep the young bucks in check. However, having these two guys in the backcourt to go along with whatever collection of their bigs remain on the roster should excite their long tortured fan base and make them soon more attractive to free agents.

7. The Denver Nuggets: Marquese Chriss (PF) Washington

After years of hustle plays and excitement, the Kenneth Faried era began to take a bad turn. He’s a unique personality that seems to rub some teammates, coaches and management the wrong way, which is why he’s frequently mentioned in trade rumors.

With Chriss sitting on the board, the Nuggets can finally pull the trigger and turn Faried, his 21 PER and his very reasonable $11 million contract into other parts. Like Faried, Chriss is a freakish athlete — possibly the most explosive frontcourt player in the draft. He’s known for making highlight plays, and has a jumper that is at least respectable at this point in his career. He’ll be 19 in July, so there’s plenty of time to improve on his shot.

8. The Sacramento Kings: Jaylen Brown (SF/SG) California

The Dave Joerger era begins, and like Mike Malone’s brief yet grading on a curve successful tenure in Sacramento (they at least looked competitive and had a direction) before him, defense will be the directive. Jaylen Brown is a long two or a adequately sized three. However, his strengths, speed and athleticism, should allow him to guard three positions on the court.

Reportedly Brown's shooting form can vary and limits the consistency on his outside shot, but he is versed in getting open looks with jab-steps and by out-muscling his cover. As Rudy Gay enters the final year of his contract and Ben McLemore is still trying to prove he is a reliable NBA player, Brown helps fill out the rotation and could be the 2nd cornerstone the Kings need next to DeMarcus Cousins.

Trade: The North bolsters the wall; Denver keeps euro stepping

kenneth-faried-demar-derozan-basketball-usa-national-team-training.jpg

Toronto has several decisions to make this offseason — how much is Bismack Biyombo worth? How do they fix the void at the four? Is DeRozan worth what the Lakers will offer him? In this move, they find their four and help offset the possible loss of Biyombo.

Toronto Raptors:

Making it to the Eastern Conference Finals means you are ready to contend now. Toronto probably outplayed their level of talent, but this is a team that needs to add quality young veterans to their roster while their window exists. Using this pick on a player that will take two or three years to contribute at a high level is maybe wiser for their long term development, but using it to nab Kenneth Faried — a tenacious athlete that will more than upgrade a very weak four spot on their roster — is a pretty nice haul at 9. He’s also still just 26, and is on a great contract for the newly boosted salary cap era.

Outgoing:

The 9th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Delon Wright and the Clippers 2017 1st round pick (protected 1-14).

Incoming:

Kenneth Faried and the 56th pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Denver Nuggets:

The Nuggets replaced the Manimal at the 7th spot, now they get to add some more potential to their backcourt with the 9th pick. They also add a 6’-5" PG coming off of a promising rookie year (although he was an older rookie) to add young/cheap depth off of the bench.

Outgoing:

Kenneth Faried and the 56th pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Incoming:

The 9th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Delon Wright and the Clippers 2017 1st round pick (protected 1-14).

9. The Denver Nuggets (from the Raptors): Furkan Korkmaz (SG) Turkey

If Mike Malone can find a way to turn Kormaz into an adequate defender, he could be a steal at 9. He’s a tall, rangy shooting guard who can get his shot off against smaller defenders. He’s great at utilizing screens to get open looks, and he’s a very good shooter making nearly 50% of his threes in the latest U19 World championships. He’s been compared to Gordon Hayward, but may end up being a little more agile.

10. The Milwaukee Bucks: Domantas Sabonis (PF/C) Gonzaga

As the son of a NBA player, Sabonis has grown up around the game of basketball and thus has a high basketball IQ. He is also a very motivated and hard worker. He’s been compared to Marc Gasol and even Luis Scola, but I also think there could be some David West in him.

Sabonis is a great get for the Bucks who may be having Greg Monroe buyer’s remorse. With Giannis Antetokounmpo rumored to be making a full-time shift to the point, Jabari Parker can slide into the three opening up the four spot for Sabonis to take from either John Henson or Johnny O’Bryant III. Sabonis could also take Monroe’s place permanently if the Bucks find a trade partner for Moose.

11. The Orlando Magic: Dejounte Murray (SG/PG) Washington

Frank Vogel takes over an Orlando team with a lot of interesting parts, but questions on how those parts fit together. Also, while he has shown some flashes amid a few triple doubles, Elfrid Payton has not earned the confidence of his previous head coaches, being shuffled in and out of the starting lineup. I think Vogel might see Oladipo as his new Paul George and play him mostly at the three with Aaron Gordon at the four.

Murray could slot instantly next to Payton, start over Payton or become the third guard and the main ball-handler off the bench. Murray’s addition helps ensure that the Magic do not overpay Evan Fournier, and shift their free agent attention to some added rim protection. Murray fits the Orlando guard model of being taller and owning an impressive wingspan. While he isn’t a great shooter yet, he is well versed in getting his shot and has an exceptional handle. Not that he is as good as Jamal Crawford or Kyrie Irving, but he fits that model of playmaker who has great ball skills, but is more comfortable creating for himself than others.

Trade: Jazz find a conductor; Hawks prepare to lose Al Horford

teague.jpg

The Hawks are likely beginning to realize they have maxed out their potential as they are currently constructed. However, they are still in good shape and have some assets to retool with. The Jazz have a great frontcourt and Gordon Hayward, but have lacked a point guard that can maximize the talent around them. Enter Jeff Teague.

Utah Jazz:

When your frontline includes Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Trevor Booker and even a solid if not spectacular, Jeff Withey (who apparently protects the rim better than he does his phone), and your two-guard rotation is manned by Alec Burks and Rodney Hood you have a lot to be thankful for. However, former lotto picks Trey Burke and Dante Exum have yet to deliver on any promised potential. Outside of the lead guard spot, Utah fields a team ready to make a run into the playoffs, so it’s time to add a known and proven commodity to captain the ship.

Outgoing:

The 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Trey Lyles and Shelvin Mack.

Incoming:

Jeff Teague and a 2018 first round pick from Atlanta (whichever is the higher of their own pick and Minnesota’s pick).

Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks hand their team over to one of my favorite players, Dennis Schroder — I have to give love to all skateboarders. However, they bring back Shelvin Mack so Dennis has a veteran to lean on as he steps into the starting role.

They not only get the 12th pick in the draft to build around, they also get last year’s 12th overall pick, Trey Lyles. Lyles is just a 20-year-old and possesses solid size at 6’10" and 234 lbs. He moves with fluidity, but isn’t very quick. His standing reach could allow him to play minutes at the five, and while he did play at the three in college, he doesn’t posses the foot speed to effectively guard most NBA wingplayers. Lyles ability to handle the ball and pass would fit perfectly into what Atlanta wants to do. He could serve as Millsap insurance if Paul bolts after next season. He’s also shown that he can shoot from deep converting on over 38% from three in a limited role for the Jazz this past season.

As you'll see below, the Hawks also get to find an immediate replacement for Al Horford who is likely to bolt in free agency.

Outgoing:

Jeff Teague and a 2018 first round pick from Atlanta (whichever is the earlier of their own pick and Minnesota’s pick).

Incoming:

The 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, Trey Lyles and Shelvin Mack.

12. The Atlanta Hawks (from the Jazz): Jakob Poeltl (C) Utah

When I said he was a replacement for Al Horford, I didn’t mean in his skillset or playing style. He’s not the shooter or passer that Horford is, but he can run the floor very well for a 7’ player. He may have a low ceiling, but he is a player that is known to out hustle his competition. With the emergence of hustle stats, the analytics team in Atlanta will value what Poeltl brings to the table. He’ll be a defensive upgrade over Horford, but his offensive game is a work in progress. He has soft hands, and can get himself in good position in the post where he finishes efficiently, but his range is very limited and relies heavily on other players creating shots for him. His inability to create for himself won’t be as much of a problem in Atlanta’s system. This should make for a very nice fit.

13. The New Orleans Pelicans (from the Suns): Denzel Valentine (SG/SF) Michigan State

Sporting one of the better names in the draft, Valentine not only brings style but also a lot of substance. He’s known for his leadership abilities, his awareness and overall basketball IQ — an area where the Pelicans have needed improvement. I’ve seen him compared to Jae Crowder and Danny Green, both of whom are the type of player New Orleans needs to add to their roster.

Adding T.J. Warren and re-signing James Ennis should fill the longtime void at the three, and Valentine will likely do more than replace Eric Gordon and the unfortunately deceased Bryce DeJean-Jones (RIP) who are both gone from the rotation — and maybe even Tyreke Evans if he gets moved in his expiring year. Valentine is one of the most complete players entering the draft. He has good size and length that should improve our perimeter defense. He can post-up smaller guards, he can shoot with range, he can create his own shot, is a very good catch-and-shoot prospect and he can create for others with his excellent passing and vision. Watch the newest Pel work:

14. The Chicago Bulls: Skal Labissiere (PF/C) Kentucky

Chicago enters full rebuild mode and begins shedding costly veterans during this draft. Their rebuild is centered around two big men who may not be ready for the league upon arrival, but possess great physical skills and shooting ability for their size. Labissiere is often thought of as a Channing Frye type of stretch five, but he is a much better athlete, which he uses well to protect the rim and to switch on guards in pick-and-rolls. However, he needs to add strength to be able to hold up in the NBA post.

Trade: the great Chicago fire sale begins; Nets audition expirings:

DRose.jpeg

The Bulls shed heroes past to save salary in a rebuilding year, while the Nets realize tanking is not lucrative when you don’t control your pick.

Chicago Bulls:

Derrick Rose’s glory days are behind him, and after drafting for the nearish distant future, why would you pay him $20 million to lose games. With two lottery picks this draft, and two probable lottery picks in 2017 the Bulls are in good shape to build for the future. Taj Gibson reminds Derrick to bend his surgically repaired knees as they load boxes into their shared U-Haul.

Outgoing:

Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.

Incoming:

Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Brooklyn Nets:

The Nets are in a very weird spot. They are a bad team that just saw themselves piss away the third overall pick to a rival with the knowledge that their next two lottery picks will also be going the Celtics’ way. Why tank to help a rival? Especially when you have veterans like Brook Lopez and Thad Young on your roster. Consequently, Brooklyn would do wise to jump on any move for damaged players on short term contracts to see if they can rehabilitate them — especially when it doesn’t require giving up any of the very few young assets they still hold.

The Nets aren’t the Knicks. They don’t have a storied franchise and brand to sell tickets and jerseys. They don’t have a superstar like Carmelo Anthony or a young building block like Kristaps Porzingis. They need to give the fans a reason to show up, and a jersey to buy. Derrick Rose is a former MVP and an exciting player when healthy. Getting him in the last year of his contract will give the Nets his bird rights and a year to see if he can give them a few more years of solid production. Taj Gibson also comes on an expiring and provides them with rebounding, interior defense and a quality mid-range game. If this core stays healthy and can gel, this could be a playoff team in the East. They should at least make it interesting. This move also gives Nets’ fans something to talk about on draft night.

Outgoing:

Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Incoming:

Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson.

15. The Denver Nuggets: Deyonta Davis (PF/C) Michigan State

Denver takes out an insurance policy on its attempt to replace Kenneth Faried. Davis is another excellent athlete that has shown he can shoot from outside of the paint and defend well when engaged. He’s still very raw, but when you have three top 15 picks you can afford to take some gambles.

Trade: Boston goes big, Memphis embraces change

Gasol.jpg

Boston caps off an already stellar start the offseason by adding a top 5 center to anchor an already upgraded defense. Memphis starts over, but still builds through it’s patented Grit and Grind.

Boston Celtics:

The Celtics add Marc Gasol to go along with excellent perimeter defenders Jae Crowder and Jimmy Butler, which should more than makeup for Isaiah Thomas’ shortcomings. I doubt I need to sell you too hard on what Gasol brings to Memphis, but I’m salivating thinking about how Brad Stevens utilizes him. In case you forgot how good Gasol is due to his injuries this past season, enjoy these highlights:

These two trades are the perfect pitch needed to woo possible free agent targets Kevin Durant, Pau Gasol, Chandler Parsons, Kent Bazemore or even David West.

Outgoing:

Marcus Smart, the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and Boston’s 2017 1st round pick.

Incoming:

Marc Gasol.

Memphis Grizzlies:

The Grizz decide that bringing the band back together is probably not worth another try. It’s tough to give up Gasol, who has been the heart of the city for so long, but with Mike Conley likely leaving, the Grizzlies need to accept making some tough decisions. With Gasol on his way to Boston, Memphis will likely also move Zach Randolph’s expiring to save money in the rebuild and add another asset.

Things aren’t totally bleak, however. Marcus Smart can still rep the Grit and Grind mantra in a new era. He’s a scrappy defender that Memphis should embrace and who better to learn from than Tony Allen. The Grizzlies also get to pick back-to-back picks in round one this year, and they get an added 1st rounder in next year’s draft that could would up in the top 10 thanks to Brooklyn.

Outgoing:

Marc Gasol.

Incoming:

Marcus Smart, the 16th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and Boston’s 2017 1st round pick.

16. The Memphis Grizzlies (from the Celtics): Brice Johnson (PF) North Carolina

Memphis tries to replace Zach Randolph. Johnson has a similar offensive skillset to Randolph — has a mid-range game and good post moves, but is able to leap over phone books instead of business cards a la Randolph. He’s a more reserved scorer, which leads to greater efficiency, but he’s also less likely to take a game over. Still, expect a lot of lobs from Smart and put-backs on, "Smart assists."

17. The Memphis Grizzlies: Malik Beasley (SG) Florida State

Beasley has been touted as having lottery potential and scoring skills, but a rumored leg injury contributes to his slide. Scoring and athleticism have been long needed in Memphis, and this is what Malik brings. He likely needs some D-League time to develop his defense, but by season’s’ end I expect to start seeing him log heavy minutes.

18. The Detroit Pistons: Henry Ellenson (PF/C) Marquette

The Pistons add a facing big who is a good passer, solid rebounder and has range out past the arc. The issue with Ellenson is not his skillset, IQ or his effort, it’s his lack of athleticism. Stan Van Gundy will find a way to mask this while adding a piece to his new 4 around 5 offense, much like he did with Ryan Anderson in Orlando.

19. The Denver Nuggets: Malachi Richardson (SG) Syracuse

At 6’-6", Richardson adds to the stable of of 6’6"+ players that can play multiple roles. He’s a solid athlete that attacks the basket. He’s a bit like a combo of two of his teammates, Wilson Chandler and Will Barton, but if you reduced their NBA readiness to needing a year or two to be ready.

20. The Indiana Pacers: Cheick Diallo (PF/C) Kansas

The Pacers really hit on Myles Turner in last years draft, and Diallo could possibly be a similar steal. Larry Bird replaced Frank Vogel with his former lead assistant Nate McMillan to whom he mandated an increased tempo. Many saw this odd as McMillan is noted for recently working in ball control offenses, but he did go up-tempo when he was in Seattle. Diallo gives him an absolute sprinter at the four spot that can play really well alongside Turner and Paul George.

Trade: Chicago sheds a detrimental winner; Atlanta bolsters perimeter

Bradley.jpg

Just because Atlanta moves on from Teague and Horford, it doesn’t mean they can’t compete immediately. Chicago gains a rookie, and ensures they won’t accidentally win a few games while tanking.

Atlanta Hawks:

Atlanta isn’t tanking, just reshaping while also getting younger. Pairing Dennis Schroder with Avery Bradley gives the Hawks a great defensive backcourt. It also gives them a backcourt that can score and create for others. Bradley’s success in Brad Stevens’ offense bodes well for his ability to slide into Mike Budenholzer’s scheme. Bradley is still young and is on very good contract for his level of production.

Outgoing:

The 21st overall pick and the 44th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Incoming:

Avery Bradley.

Chicago Bulls:

I hope it wasn’t too soon to joke about the great Chicago fire earlier, but they continue to do what they should and shed veteran assets. Bradley would likely win the Bulls a few games in a year that they want to lose. They save more salary and add two more rookies to the fold.

Outgoing:

Avery Bradley.

Incoming:

The 21st overall pick and the 44th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

21. The Chicago Bulls (from the Hawks): Timothe Luwawu (SG/SF) France

Luwawu replaces Jimmy Butler’s length in the backcourt and the ability to also log minutes at the three. He’s also known for his defense, which has had him draw comparisons to Thabo Sefolosha. He’s a good passer and should be able to score in the NBA. However, like all of Chicago’s draft picks he’ll need to develop his body to truly be effective.

22. The Charlotte Hornets: Patrick McCaw (SG) UNLV

The Hornets will likely retain Nicolas Batum whom should pair well with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to provide great length, athleticism and defense on the perimeter/wing. McCaw fits this mold as well. He could be the top reserve replacing one of these two while not giving much up in strategy. He could also be insurance in case Batum leaves or if MKG suffers another injury.

23. The Boston Celtics: Damian Jones (C) Vanderbilt

Despite Boston’s early blockbuster trades, they still manage to pick in the 1st round. Jones has the physical tools to be a quality big man in the league, but he’s lacked consistency and focus. Landing with a coach like Brad Stevens and players like Gasol, Butler and Crowder will do wonders for his focus and drive.

Trade: Philly teaches Okafor how to fight; Rockets make room for another Jeremy Lin era

patrick-beverley-nba-philadelphia-76ers-houston-rockets.jpg

Philly adds a veteran leader at the point that plays in a way that is fitting to the city’s reputation. The Rockets add a young big that should fit the 7 seconds or less offense they will run, and clears out a roster spot for FA target, Jeremy Lin.

The Philadelphia 76ers:

Philly lacked veteran leadership last year leading to a few embarrassing headlines for their young big men. Patrick Beverley will not only enforce on the court, but he’ll also be a strong presence in the locker room. He’ll help the team transition into the Kris Dunn era while also teaching Dunn and Murray every dirty trick in the book. He’s also developed a solid 3-point shot, connecting on 40% of his looks this year.

Outgoing:

The 24th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Incoming:

Patrick Beverley.

Houston Rockets:

The Rockets seek out a developmental center more equipped to run the floor than his post-up and out muscle predecessor — Dwight Howard, whom will play somewhere else in 2016-2017.

Outgoing:

Patrick Beverley.

Incoming:

The 24th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

24. The Houston Rockets (from the 76ers): Stephen Zimmerman (C) UNLV

Zimmerman can run, pass and shoot the midrange shot. He’s much more of a finesse player than Howard was, but certainly can’t control the paint like Dwight. Both of those things should work fine in Mike D’Antoni’s vision. Like Damion Jones who was drafted before him, Zimmerman can turn down the intensity and coast, which could be trouble for a team whose star is also prone to coasting, but at the 24 spot, this is an acceptable risk to take.

25. The Los Angeles Clippers: Taurean Prince (SF) Baylor

Being a 4-year player, Prince is more ready to contribute instantly for a team that needs to win now. Luckily, Prince also fills a position of need for the Clippers. He projects as a solid 3-and-D player that has good lateral quickness and defensive instincts while also shooting a respectable 36% from deep. If Prince maxes out his ability, he’ll ressemble DeMarre Carroll, which would be perfect for the Clips.

26. The Philadelphia 76ers: Michael Gbinije (SF/SG) Syracuse

A solid athlete with decent length on the wing — though his wingspan isn’t impressive. A good shooter and decent playmaker who can sometimes be plagued with indecision. However, he is interesting enough for Philly to reach a little bit and try to fill the void at the three.

27. The Toronto Raptors: DeAndre Bembry (SG/SF) St. Joseph’s

Bembry could be considered DeRozan insurance, but he certainly can’t be expected to fill that void instantly. He is a highlight machine that thrives in the open court, but isn’t the most efficient scorer at this stage in his career. Check out Bembry’s highlight reel for a few super nasty dunks:

28. The Phoenix Suns: Caris LeVert (SG/SF) Michigan

The Suns seek a wing scorer to replace T.J. Warren. LeVert converted over 46% from beyond the arc and posses the first step, lateral quickness and wingspan to develop into a quality defender. He needs to add muscle and weight to guard threes and compete for rebounds. Sitting behind P.J Tucker and Robert Covington for a year or two should do him some good.

Trade: Remember when Monty Williams planned to use Tyreke Evans like Manu Ginobili, Gregg Popovich?

tyreke.JPG

Tyreke Evans follows Marco Belinelli’s path to a ring with a new-ish look Spurs team. The Pelicans sneak back into the 1st round nabbing both youthful potential and veteran leadership.

San Antonio Spurs:

It’s quite conceivable that Tim Duncan and Ginobili walk away from the NBA this summer. Surely, both will at least opt out of their contracts along with David West ushering in another iteration of the San Antonio Spurs. This team will be built around the skills of LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Boban Marjanovic. With Manu gone and Tony Parker on the decline, the Spurs gamble on Evans’ knees and ability to pilot a dominant pick and roll attack.

Outgoing:

Boris Diaw and the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Incoming:

Tyreke Evans.

New Orleans Pelicans:

I’ll be very sad to see Tyreke go. I feel like he was very under-appreciated and under-utilized during his New Orleans’ tenure. Popovich won’t let either happen. Still, if the Pelicans are able to play T.J. Warren, Quincy Pondexter, James Ennis, Jrue Holiday, Denzel Valentine and Tim Frazier in the various roles Evans tried occupying, the team should be fine without him. Dumping Tyreke’s contract also creates a little more space to extend Jrue Holiday to ensure some much needed consistency heading into the future.

With this move, the Pelicans bolster big man depth that will be lost when Ryan Anderson leaves, and to offset the inefficiencies of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca. Boris Diaw is a playmaking, facing big with three point range, and could aid the installation of a championship culture to on an often immature Pelicans team.

Outgoing:

Tyreke Evans.

Incoming:

Boris Diaw and the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

29. The New Orleans Pelicans (from the Spurs): Ante Zizic (C) Croatia

Zizic is much more fluid than Asik or Ajinca and can run the floor well for his size. He thrives on contact, and he brutes his way into rebounds at both ends ala Nikola Pekovic. With the wing positions and the point guard situation sorted, the Pelicans can now work on fixing the five spot while hoping for an amnesty clause. Marvel at a 6’-11" European center finishing around the rim in this highlight reel:

30. The Golden State Warriors: Thon Maker (PF/C) Australia

The Golden State Warriors’ role players will be purged and overpaid this offseason. Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli are surely gone, but Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa will likely move on as well. Outside of the other-worldly shooting and playmaking that the Warriors’ top three bring to the Bay, their combination of lengthy athletes that are capable of switching on defense are one of the make factors to their success.

Thon Maker is a legit 7’ player that can run the floor and handle the ball. He shoots with range and while he doesn’t have elite lateral quickness — he can switch off to guard a three for brief stints making him a pretty solid fit in the Warriors’ scheme. He’s still young and certainly needs to work on strengthening his core, but with Green and Bogut protecting him from the stronger bigs he could find success in Oakland. He also won’t have the pressure to perform instantly, which will also help his confidence and development.

Second Round Trades

Here a couple of quick hitter trades that could go down in the 2nd round:

  • Chicago sends Mike Dunleavy Jr. and the 44th overall pick (from Atlanta) in the 2016 NBA draft to Philadelphia for a 2018 2nd round pick.
  • Chicago sends Nikola Mirotic to Toronto for Bruno Caboclo, Norman Powell and the option to swap 1st round picks in 2017 or 2018.
  • Toronto sends Patrick Patterson to Sacramento for the 59th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and a 2018 2nd round pick.
  • Indiana sends C.J. Miles, the 50th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and a top 15 protected 1st round pick in the 2017 NBA draft that converts to a second if it falls in the top 15 to Milwaukee for Michael Carter-Williams.