Ranking the top 5 NBA Draft Teams 2020

5. Miami Heat-

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis 

The Heat made the most of their single pick in the draft by grabbing Memphis big man Precious Achiuwa.  This is a classic Pat Riley making the most of what he has pick at #20.  A player that is comparable to Bam Adebayo in size and energy level, will fit right into the scheme that the Miami Heat want to play.  Achiuwa is still young, if he continues to grow and fill out he can develop into a nice transition center for a team that doesn’t want to sit in the paing.  

Achiuwa’s size could be a problem at times in the middle but in today’s NBA and his inconsistencies from mid-range and behind the arc.  He can still develop a shot over time but his energy will make up for his shooting trouble.  This was a great pickup from late in the first round, he will enter the rotation immediately. 

4. Boston Celtics-

Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt

Payton Prichard, Oregon

Yam Madar, Israel

The Celtics have long had a lot of draft night assets that they can never move.  They have had to find a way to make the most of each draft pick.  This year they found a way to address a serious need by grabbing Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith with the #14 pick.  Many consider Nesmith the best shooter in the entire draft.  If he had not gotten injured while at Vandy he could have found himself breaking into the top ten.  He will give Boston an immediate threat off the bench for a team that needed the long range help. 

Boston was looking for a backup point guard and landed four year Oregon Duck Payton Prichard.  Prichard will fit right into the Celtics system.  He will compete with fellow youngster Carsen Ewards, giving the Celtics some stability behind Kemba Walker.  He isn’t flashy but should be a solid ball handler and can play well in a great existing team defensive strategy.  

3. Dallas Mavericks-

Josh Green, Arizona

Tyrell Terry, Stanford

Tyler Bey, Colorado

Dallas made a lot of headlines by adding Josh Richardson from Philadelphia.  They had to give up the shooting of Seth Curry to obtain the talented guard.  They added two players that will likely compete for that role.  Arizona guard Josh Green and Stanford Guard Tyrell Terry.  Terry is a great off the dribble 3-point shooter that many saw as a potential first round sleeper.  Green is a great potential 3 and D player that will fit in nicely on the outside while Luka Doncic drives the middle. Finally they grabbed Colorado forward Tyler Bey who is a serious defensive worker that can handle some of the mistakes that others make on the court.  Three solid additions to a playoff ready team.  

Charlotte Hornets- 

LaMelo Ball, USA

Vernon Carey Jr, Duke

Nick Richards, Kentucky

Grant Riller, Charleston

Micheal Jordan may never get over his past draft blunders.  His career will always be linked to the Trailblazers selected Sam Bowie ahead of him.  Much like Bowie bad draft decisions have followed him.  Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison standout as just a few swings and misses from the former professional baseball player.  Grabbing LaMelo Ball with the #3 overall pick was taking the best player available no matter what their need was.  The Hornets got arguably the best player in the draft without being forced to move up.  Ball has great size at 6ft 7inches, instead of going to college he took his talents to Australia where he averaged 17 points, 7 boards and 6 assists per game in his first twelve professional games before the season got cut short by Covid-19.  Ball will have a chance to run the offense in Charlotte and they will build around him. 

Charlotte continued to grab great value by adding Duke’s Vernon Carey.  A preseason top ten pick in most mock drafts has shown the ability to do a little bit of everything on the offensive end.  After Vernon came interesting prospects Nick Richards, a big with some versatility and four year Charleston guard Grant Riller that projects to be a valuable piece in a rotation next season. 

Detroit Pistons-

Killian Hayes, France

Isaiah Stewart, Washington

Saddiq Bey, Villanova

Saben Lee, Vanderbilt

NBA Draft: Three worst drafting teams of the last 15 years.

The Sixers showed the NBA that you don’t actually have to win in the NBA to give you a chance for future success.  Philadelphia’s “trust the process” approach eventually found success with the progression of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. With the draft on its way after the cancellation of the NCAA tournament, it’s time to focus on the NBA’s future stars.  I want to look at organizations that have continually had issues in rebuilding their teams through the draft. This list is for teams that continuously have stunk but can’t seem to figure out their rebuild.  

I am going to focus on the players that were actually drafted, rather than who they missed out on.  Sometimes players just don’t pan out. Missing out on players like Giannis shouldn’t hurt their grade here.  No one saw that dominance coming.  

Minnesota Timberwolves

Best: Karl Anthony Towns (2015), Zach Lavine (2014)

Worst: Derrick Williams (2011), Rashad McCants (2005), Kris Dunn (2016), Jonny Flynn (2009)

The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a long history of being terrible in the draft. Their best move on draft day was trading OJ Mayo (#3 overall pick) for a package that included Kevin Love back in 2008.  When it comes to actually drafting well Minnesota has made many questionable decisions over the last few years. Notably in 2009 Minnesota had four picks including three in the first round and two in the lottery. The Timberwolves chose three point guards in this draft Ricky Rubio (#6), Jonny Flynn (#7), and Ty Lawson (#18).  Minnesota also picked shooting guard Wayne Ellington (#28). They took four guards and three of them played the same position. While Rubio put together some solid seasons in Minnesota he was never the player that was going to change the landscape of the organization. Jonny Flynn’s injuries made him an afterthought to most fans.  

The Timberwolves continued to make questionable decisions drafting four forwards the year after drafting four guards.  None of which worked out for the Wolves. While Karl Anthony-Towns has worked out their only other successful pick Zach Lavine spent most of his time playing a secondary role until he was moved to Chicago for a handful of nothing.  

Then there is Derrick Williams.  I don’t want to blame Minnesota for this pick but when you look at what was chosen around Williams it is hard to just ignore the mistake.  The 2011 draft class included Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson. The Wolves went with the raw projected talent of Williams.  While this move may have made sense to the media at the time it clearly set the organization back for years. Wasting a #2 pick on a guy that never even sniffed an All-Star season.  

With Karl Anthony-Towns clearly on the move due to his problems with management, Minnesota will again be starting over very soon. 

Sacramento Kings

Best: DeMarcus Cousins (2010), De’Aaron Fox (2017)

Worst: Nik Stauskas (2014), Spencer Hawes (2007), Marvin Bagley (2018), Willie Cauley-Stein (2015)

It’s been 14 seasons since the Sacramento Kings made it to the NBA playoffs.  The Chris Webber/Vlade Divac/Mike Bibby Kings are a thing of the past. Sacramento partly have themselves to blame for their losing ways.  Most notably the Kings spent their 2018 #2 overall pick on Duke forward Marvin Bagley, leaving potential franchise cornerstones Trae Young and Luka Doncic on the board. When playing, Bagley has shown potential, he has a problem if he can’t stay on the court.  The Kings saw De’Aaron Fox as their future, putting a dynamic player next to him such as Doncic or Young would work in today’s NBA success model. I am a Bagley fan but this was a pick that will keep the Kings out of the playoffs for a long time. 

While the recency of the Bagley pick is still on everyone’s mind we still can’t forget the mistakes made before that.  The pick of Willie Cauley-Stein in 2015 to play with your star of the same position Boogie Cousins not only made no sense but actually hurt the development of the super athletic Cauley-Stein.  The Kings have a way of going with the more recognizable name rather than going with the best prospect. They need to learn to open up their international scouting. It’s very confusing why they haven’t bought into the future landscape to the league with Vlade Divac’s in charge. 

Charlotte Hornets

Best: Kemba Walker (2011)

Worst: Adam Morrison (2006), Cody Zeller (2013), Frank Kaminsky (2015), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2012)

This team chose Adam Morrison with the #3 overall pick in 2006.  To be fair the 2006 draft was as bad a draft as you could imagine.  The only notable names from that draft chosen after Morrison were Brandon Roy, who had an injury shortened career, Kyle Lowry, Rajan Rondo and Paul Millsap.  The latter three were not chosen until Rondo at #21. Despite the weakness of the draft Morrison at #3 was still a joke. While Morrison was a great NCAA player his tools never made the transition into the NBA.

After Morrison the mediocre core of picks continued to ravage the organization.  In 2012 the Hornets (Bobcats) had the #2 pick and went with Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist passing on Bradley Beal, Damion Lillard, Harrison Barnes and Andre Drummond.  Kidd-Gilchrist never became anything more than a role player on a bad team. The former Wildcat never averaged over 12.7 ppg in his career and that number came in 2015-2016 when he only played seven games. This is one of the more under the radar complete busts of all time. 

Charlotte continued to make terrible selections when given a chance in the lottery taking Cody Zeller at #4 and Frank Kaminksy at #9 in 2013 and 2015.  Both players never became anything more than role players as well, while they weren’t projected to be stars Kaminsky is no longer with the organization while Zellers PER (player efficiency rating) has been barely above league average.  

The Hornets have had their chances at the top of the draft, they have swung and missed way too many times.  They now are stuck in a place where they continually put themselves in a place where they are middle of the pack and can’t get a great lottery spot.  We have seen Miles Bridges begin to develop along with for Kansas guard Devonte Graham but the Hornets are still in a place where they don’t really have a direction. 

Honorable Mention 

Chicago Bulls, saved by Derrick Rose (2008), Jimmy Butler (2011).

Washington Wizards, saved by John Wall (2010), Bradley Beal (2012).

NBA Trade Candidates

Hassan Whiteside is a talented player at a position that has become devalued with the emergence of the run and gun offense.  Heat GM Pat Riley gave Whiteside a lot of money giving him a 4-year/ $98 million in 2016 placing him as a franchise player.  Clashes with Coach Eric Spoelstra, “injuries”, and further emergence of Bam Adebayo have put Whiteside on the outside of the future plans for the Heat.  Who would take and him? 

Unlikely but interesting: Cleveland Cavaliers.

I know the Cavaliers have a player named Tristan Thompson that is very similar.  Thompson though doesn’t bring the star power or the offense that Whiteside can bring.  2018-19 is a lost season for the Cavaliers but a trade for Whiteside would give the a core that would be very formidable in the East.  Kevin Love, Colin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Whiteside would give the Cavaliers a starting lineup that could be bottom tier of playoff eligibility.  Not to mention the Cavaliers will be looking at potential top five pick next summer.

Moving George Hill and releasing JR Smith can be a bit of a problem for the potential of moving money.  But if the Cavaliers put up Thompson and another piece they can realistically move money that would make it acceptable for the Heat.  Would Spoelstra and Riley be willing to move one locker room problem for another potential problem?  Unlikely but why not.

Makes sense: Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers jumped out to a nice start during the 2018 season.  The illusion of their ability is starting to show after a couple lopsided losses to the Raptors w/o Kawhi and the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs. Adding a player like Whiteside can make them a real threat in the West.  Pairing him with the rising star of Tobias Harris and multiple ancilary players can make them a tough matchup at multiple positions.

The Clippers appear set on not giving Montrez Harrell full starter minutes so its safe to say they don’t believe he is the answer at the center position.  Whiteside can not only help them of offense but can handle the paint allowing the guards to move the ball out after a defensive stop. The Clippers have a ragtag group of players, adding a potential star like Whiteside could be just the boost they need for the remainder of the season. 

Picking up Whitesides remaining contract could make it tough to add two players in the offseason, but if their target is going to be Kawhi Leonard they could add to his interest by having one of the best two way big men in the league.  

Should do it: Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are at a crossroads. They are good enough to make the playoffs but are not good enough to win anything.  They have a built in star with Kemba Walker as well as a strong set of role players.  They are missing a piece to pair with their star.  Enter Hassan Whiteside. Charlotte may be turned off at the idea of adding another troubled center after the Dwight Howard experiment did not pay off, but with the veteran presence of Tony Parker on the bench and the leadership of MJ this move could be the ticket to the next level for a Charlotte franchise that has seen limited success.  

Cody Zeller and Bismarck Biyombo have filled in the role of center during the 2018 season, clearly Whiteside would make for a upgrade on multiple levels.  His presence on the offensive end would open up opportunities for Kemba Walker and allow Zeller to move to the bench, which can strengthen the second unit.  Unlike the previous teams listed it would be tough for the Hornets to make an offer that would be intriguing for the Heat.  Charlotte does not have the expiring contracts potentially needed to make the move. They do however have their first round picks for the next two seasons.  Moving one of those picks and two expiring contracts could be all it takes to get the Heat to move on from a player they do not see a future with. Whiteside has his negatives but the potential for stardom is their.  Charlotte will have to make the first move.