I'd like to talk about the draft, assuming we'll have a draft pick. How do we utilize it? Do we take BPA, do we take the guy that is the best fit, do we trade down or do we use the pick to facilitate some other trade?
The first thing to do is to make a simple ranking of the prospects. Obviously things will chop and change leading up to the draft, but for times sake I'll make a tier ranking based on the stuff I've read.
Tier I: Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins
These are obviously the top prospects in the draft. If we by any chance get lucky enough to get a top 3 pick, there's not that much to think about. If one of Parker or Wiggins would be available you take that, and if Embiid is left. Well we're bound to get good value for him in a trade, since he wouldn't be needed next to Drumroe.
Tier II: Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle
Dante Exum is not very well known be he seems to be highly regard by most and his size coupled with his ball handling are intriguing at either PG or SG. He might be a bit of a combo guard at this point, but there is no way I'd pass on him if he somehow drops to 8th.
Marcus Smart is a guy people might be wary of taking, but he should still be good value at the 8th spot. Probably the biggest concern people see is that he might be Stuckey 2.0. While there are comparisons between the two: 6-4, 220, average outside shooter, slasher, combo guard, not overly athletic which raise valid concerns. There are also some noticeable differences between them. Smart displays leadership and a competitive edge, while not a great defender, he gives great effort and takes pride in defense. Another plus is he has textbook mechanics on his jumper, which indicates he could improve as a shooter with repetition. Both him and Exum could be FGOTB behind Jennings and KCP.
Noah Vonleh is very intriguing as a 6-10, 240 PF with a 7-3 wingspan. To add to his impressive line, he shot 48.5% from 3 and although he did take only 33 of them, I feel it's a big enough sample to indicate he'll be able to knock down at least midrange shots in the NBA, which would be very nice on a team that has had to endure Smith's failed attempts all season. Taking fever threes can also show maturity at a young age, since he had to take good shots to get to that percentage. He would complement Drumroe nicely and probably be FBOTB, although I would hope he'd have to earn the job versus Jerebko and Mitchell.
Julius Randle is the guy I probably have the most reservations with out of this bunch. While he did dominate in college, will that translate to being effective in the NBA. He's not a great athlete, an average wingspan and just basic in the post. He might need a couple years to adjust to the size and strength of the NBA, maybe similar to Patrick Patterson who is having a nice season for the Raptors. On the other hand he could become Jason Maxiell 2.0. Definitely not as good a fit next to Drumroe as Vonleh, less upside as well.
Tier III: Everyone else projected to go in the 1st round
After the seven guys before, I feel there is a massive drop in talent and none worth taking with the 8th pick. Of course late lottery guys are a bit better than late 1st rounders, but out of all of these players, I don't see any becoming anymore than a role player. The exception might be LaVine, but he is definitely a high risk/high reward player. Therefore it would be better off trading down to get two picks from either Phoenix, Chicago or OKC. The talent from 10-30 is very comparable.
So all we would need is for one team in front of us to take a reach. That does seem to happen quite often in recent years. Of course everything between now and the draft is bound to go tits up, so I hope you guys will at least moderately enjoy my first real post on DBB.