With the June 20th NBA Draft just around the corner, Preston and I welcomed Trevor Magnotti, the lead draft writer for the Step Back, to this edition of The Bird Calls podcast to talk prospects.
Magnotti sees the rationale in comparing Zion Williamson to Blake Griffin, at least for the first few years of his professional career. Once his skills develop, however, a more apt comparison might honestly be Karl-Anthony Towns.
“Using him in a similar way to the way the Timberwolves use Towns is going to be kind of the optimal offensive setup for him,” says Magnotti. “I think then you really get use of his passing ability out of the post — which is phenomenal, his potential in running pick-and-rolls, and then use him as a traditional big as well.”
If you haven’t noticed yet, the Step Back Big Board lists Ja Morant sixth on their prospect rankings chart, behind players including RJ Barrett, Jarrett Culver and Coby White.
“I think that Morant is getting a lot more credit than he kind of deserves at this point — in terms of projecting him to be a sure-fire valuable player in the league,” says Magnotti. “I think there is definitely a large likelihood that he is going to really struggle next year. If I had to pick one player out of this draft class to be the guy who has the Collin Sexton or Kevin Knox year (the worst players in the league in terms of the amount of minutes they were playing compared to their value), I think it’s probably going to be Morant. I think he is going to struggle with the strength and athleticism of the NBA.”
As for who the Pelicans might draft in the second round at the 37th pick overall, Magnotti tossed out the names of Terrence Davis out of the University of Mississippi and Yovel Zoosman from Israel. Davis reminds Magnotti of E’Twaun Moore because of the similarity in skillsets. Davis can do a lot of useful things at the two, but he’s not particularly great at any one thing. As for a Zoosman, Magnotti believes he could become a useful 3-and-D wing, sort of in the mold of Cleveland’s Cedi Osman.
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