As expected, there were plenty of transactions throughout the league on Draft Night 2014. Here’s a recap of every deal, including those completed prior to the draft that impacted the order.
Miami HEAT Acquire: Shabazz Napier
Charlotte Hornets Acquire: P.J. Hairston, Semaj Christon and a future second round pick.
Analysis: The biggest priority for the Miami HEAT this offseason is keeping LeBron James in South Beach and by acquiring Napier, who he’s voiced an admiration for publicly on several occasions, they didn’t hurt their chances. Shortly after acquiring Napier, James sent out a celebratory tweet calling the UCONN point guard his favorite player in the draft. Napier is a tough, gritty point guard who should be able to step in and play right away in place of Mario Chalmers, assuming the unrestricted free agent signs elsewhere this offseason after falling out of the rotation in the Finals. Hairston provides the Hornets with the shooting threat that they were looking to add on the perimeter, while Christon will have the opportunity to earn a spot in their thin backcourt during summer league.
Chicago Bulls Acquire: Doug McDermott and Anthony Randolph
Denver Nuggets Acquire: Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris and 2015 second round pick.
Analysis: This deal impacted the draft order more than any other trade on draft night. It’s hard not to feel like the Nuggets didn’t win this transaction as Nurkic at 16 and Harris at 19 were two of the best value picks of the night. However, this is not a bad deal for the Bulls as they get one of the best scorers in this draft, who should complement their star players very well with his spot up shooting ability. Chicago really struggled from three-point range last season, and McDermott is one of the best shooters in the class. With aspirations of signing Carmelo Anthony this summer, they needed to get rid of one of those picks for salary cap concerns.
Philadelphia 76ers Acquire: Dario Saric, 2015 second round pick and a 2017 first round pick.
Orlando Magic Acquire: Elfrid Payton
Analysis: In another testament to just how little they care about trying to win anytime soon, the 76ers traded away one of the top point guard prospects in the draft for a player who isn’t going to come to the NBA for two years – at least. Saric is a fine prospect and is adamant that he will come over in two years, but a lot can happen in that kind of time. It’s another risky draft pick at a spot where they could have gotten someone capable of making an impact soon. The Magic had to get a point guard in the draft. Giving up a future first along with Saric and a second round pick wasn’t ideal, but Payton should be well worth it, especially if he can step into the starting role next season.
Washington Wizards Acquire: Cash considerations
Los Angeles Lakers Acquire: Jordan Clarkson
Analysis: The Lakers were rumored to be interested in taking a point guard at seven but couldn’t pass up on the NBA-ready Julius Randle, understandably so. To land Clarkson, who had some first-round buzz surrounding him late in the process, for cash is a quality move. He has a very good chance to make their team next season, especially if they end up stretching Steve Nash’s contract or trading him. The Wizards didn’t have much of a need for Clarkson with reports that Andre Miller is now expected back next season.
Memphis Grizzlies Acquire: Jarnell Stokes
Utah Jazz Acquire: 2015 second round pick
Analysis: With Zach Randolph’s contract negotiations off to a rocky start, the Grizzlies made a strong insurance play in preparation for his potential departure. Stokes is from Memphis and is a favorite in the state after helping lead the University of Tennessee back to prominence this past season. He’s the prototypical Grizzlies big man with his toughness and strength. Without much room in the rotation for him or a need for another young player, the Jazz justifiably passed on this selection for a second rounder.
Philadelphia 76ers Acquire: Pierre Jackson
New Orleans Pelicans Acquire: Russ Smith
Analysis: This is one of those trades where the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Both players are undersized for their position and more scorers than true point guards, but are serious threats offensively and capable of providing fire power off the bench. Summer league will determine whether they stick.
Minnesota Timberwolves Acquire: Cash considerations
Brooklyn Nets Acquire: Markel Brown
Analysis: The Nets wanted to trade into the draft after dealing away their picks last year. Brown is an athletic combo guard who is confident in his ability to transition over to the point guard position. If he can help them at that spot, he may have a future there. The Timberwolves basically drafted the same kind of player as him but with better size and more upside in Zach LaVine at 13, making the cash more important to them.
Toronto Raptors Acquire: Cash considerations
Brooklyn Nets Acquire: Xavier Thames
Analysis: Thames provides the Nets with another backcourt option to evaluate this summer. He’s known more for his scoring ability, but has gone on the record saying that the differences in the NBA game will help him showcase his playmaking skills more.
Cleveland Cavaliers Acquire: Brendan Haywood and Dwight Powell
Charlotte Hornets Acquire: Alonzo Gee
Analysis: After investing in Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick, Gee became expendable in Cleveland. Haywood and Powell are capable of providing some depth up front, should the Cavaliers look to address that need with minimal investing.
San Antonio Spurs Acquire: Nemanja Dangubic
Philadelphia 76ers Acquire: Cory Jefferson and Jordan McRae
Analysis: It just wouldn’t be a draft if the Spurs didn’t go take an international player. Dangubic will likely be monitored by them for a year or two overseas before seriously being considered as a candidate to join the team. With the 76ers being in a rebuilding phase, McRae could hang around with them. There wasn’t really any room for him on the Spurs. Jefferson was traded again in a separate deal to the Brooklyn.
Philadelphia 76ers Acquire: Cash considerations
Brooklyn Nets Acquire: Cory Jefferson
Analysis: We’ve seen several instances where Mr. Irrelevant finds a home for himself in the league and Jefferson, a long, athletic big man who is still developing, can join the likes of Isaiah Thomas and Robert Sacre as well. From Philadelphia’s standpoint, at some point you have to put a cap on how many rookies you bring in.
Atlanta Hawks Acquire: Lamar Patterson
Milwaukee Bucks Acquire: 2015 second-round pick
Analysis: The Bucks are pretty set at the shooting guard position right now, leaving little need for Patterson. He has a better chance of making the Hawks’ roster. Patterson’s lack of NBA speed and athleticism worked against him in this process, but he has one of the highest basketball IQs in the draft and is very well-rounded.
Oklahoma City Thunder Acquire: Semaj Christon
Charlotte Hornets Acquire: Cash considerations
Analysis: The Thunder were looking to boost their defense in the backcourt in the draft and got two of the better perimeter defenders in Josh Huestis, their 29th pick, and Christon. With Thabo Sefolosha heading to free agency and Reggie Jackson not far behind him, there may be room for Christon. The combo guard was regarded as a potential first round pick by many late in the college basketball season.
New York Knicks Acquire: Louis Labeyrie
Indiana Pacers Acquire: Cash considerations
Analysis: Of the three players, the Knicks walked away with on draft night, Labeyrie will probably end up joining the team last, if he ever does. There’s some nice size and potential there, but the Knicks drafted him primarily to monitor his progress and consider bringing him over down the line. The Pacers traded out of this draft completely, needing every dollar they have under the luxury tax threshold to try and keep this team together.
Denver Nuggets Acquire: Arron Afflalo
Orlando Magic Acquire: Evan Fournier and Devyn Marble
Analysis: Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan has proven to have a keen eye for young talent his first couple of years on the job and clearly sees a lot of potential in Fournier to give up Afflalo for him. There were rumors of the Magic receiving better offers for Afflalo prior to the deadline and they were trying to use him as a centerpiece in a deal for the No. 1 pick, so settling was a bit surprising to say the least, especially considering how his stock has only increased
New Orleans Pelicans Acquire: Omer Asik and cash considerations
Houston Rockets Acquire: 2015 first round pick
Analysis: The Houston Rockets have been trying to deal Asik since they signed Dwight Howard last summer. They were unable to find any offers to their liking and tried to play the two together. The experiment never took off, even though they went back to it in the playoffs out of necessity. This summer their goal is to sign another star alongside Howard and James Harden, so getting rid of Asik for pennies on the dollar was an absolute necessity. The pick is reportedly 1-3 and 20-30 protected, so they at least got a valuable pick in exchange for a starting-caliber center they had to get rid of in order to be players in free agency. This is a bargain deal for the Hornets, who now have a strong, defensive-minded center to pair alongside Anthony Davis in the interior.
Dallas Mavericks Acquire: Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton
New York Knicks Acquire: Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert, Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokoumnpo
Analysis: Bill Ingram and Tommy Beer covered this trade in depth, but all of the pieces are known now that the draft is completed. The Knicks were unable to get into the first round like they wanted to, but got a first round-caliber talent in Early. Antetokounmpo has come a long way in a short amount of time and will likely continue to work on his game with the Knicks D-League affiliate.
The Best of the Undrafted Players
David Yapkowitz breaks down the best players who weren’t drafted in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
Ben Wallace, Raja Bell, Avery Johnson, David Wesley, John Starks; those are just a few former NBA players who didn’t hear their name called on draft night, yet went on to have pretty impressive careers.
Each year there are a few undrafted players who end up making a team’s roster and turn out to be solid contributors. This past season, players like Ron Baker of the New York Knicks, Yogi Ferrell of the Dallas Mavericks, and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns went undrafted in 2016 yet ended up as regular rotation guys for their teams. In Ferrell’s case, he became a starter.
With the 2017 NBA Draft come and gone, here’s a look at some of the top undrafted players who might be able to strengthen a team’s roster.
Johnathan Motley was the best player on a Baylor team that was a No.3 seed and made it to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 17.3 points per game on 52.2 percent shooting and pulled down 9.9 rebounds per game.
At 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds, Motley is definitely in the mold of a versatile wing player who can play multiple positions and thrive and in today’s NBA. What he needs to do, however, is improve his outside shot. He shot only 28.1 percent from three-point range. One crucial aspect for hybrid forwards is to be able to step out and hit long range jumpers.
His stock often fluctuated in various mock drafts; some had him going in the first round, others in the second. Per The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Motley signed a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
P.J. Dozier was one-half of South Carolina’s star duo that helped propel them to a Cinderella run to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament. The other half, Sindarius Thornwell, had his name called, but at the end of the night, Dozier was still waiting.
Only a sophomore, Dozier was the second leading scorer for the Gamecocks with 13.9 points per game. He was always projected to go in the second round on most mocks and perhaps he came out a bit too early. The talent is there though.
He can have success as a team’s combo guard off the bench. He will need to work on his shooting though. He shot only 40.7 percent from the field, 29.8 percent from three. He’ll be in summer league with the Los Angeles Lakers, and from there will hope to entice a team to bring him to training camp.
Melo Trimble might have been one of those players that needed to strike while the iron’s hot. Two years ago, he was talked about as a probable first-round pick had he declared for the draft after his freshman year at Maryland. Instead, he stayed until his junior year and his stock fell.
He actually turned in an impressive junior campaign with 16.8 points per game, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. He shot a respectable 44.4 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three-point range.
Trimble will play summer league with the Philadelphia 76ers, and like most undrafted free agents, will look to turn his performance into a training camp invitation. He probably projects to be a backup point guard should he find a place in the league. He had first round and possible lottery talent before, however, so maybe all he needs is an opportunity.
In today’s game, where teams put a premium on versatile, do it all type players who can play multiple positions, Devin Robinson certainly fits that description. Robinson is a long, athletic forward who can step out and hit outside jumpers while locking up his opponent’s best wing scorer.
Florida had a surprisingly solid run in the NCAA Tournament and Robinson was a big part of that. His junior year, his best year yet, saw him average 11.1 points per game on 47.5 percent from the field and 6.1 rebounds. He showed a much improved outside shot, connecting on 39.1 percent of his looks from downtown. In the tournament, he upped his averages to 28.3 points on similar shooting percentages.
Robinson will be in summer league with the Washington Wizards, a team that often times lacked production off their bench last season. Depending on how he performs in summer league, don’t be surprised to see him on the Wizards roster come opening night.
Playing in the shadow of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker in years past, Nigel Hayes was given an opportunity as a senior at Wisconsin to show what he could do as the focal point of an offense. His numbers didn’t jump off the page, but he did play well enough to be given a shot at making a team’s roster.
His 14 points per game were good enough to tie teammate Ethan Happ for the second leading scorer on the team. As a power forward, he was actually the second leading assist man with 2.7. One area he’ll need to improve on to make an impact in the NBA is his outside jumper. He shot 39.6 percent from three his sophomore season. This year it was down to 31.4 despite taking a similar number of attempts (2.5 and 1.9 respectively).
Hayes looks to be one of those players in between positions. He lacks the quickness and range to thrive at small forward but is a bit undersized at the NBA level for power forward. He is an incredible energy player, though, and players like that have been able to carve out nice careers. He’ll be in summer league with the Knicks, and given their current state of affairs, they need all the help they can get.
In the mock drafts that projected him to be drafted, L.J. Peak was most likely going to be a second round pick. That’s not to say he doesn’t have first round talent. He’s a big guard that can play both guard positions.
Despite Georgetown’s futile record this season, Peak was a standout. He was the team’s second-leading scorer at 16.2 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field. He was also their top playmaker, dishing out 3.5 assists. In the NBA, he most likely can find a role for some team as a combo guard off the bench. He only shot 32.7 percent from the beyond the arc, however, so if he wants to make an impact in the league that’s one area he’ll need some work.
He’s set to go to summer league with the Houston Rockets. Depending on what roster moves the Rockets make, it will be tough for Peak to make the final team. They already have two guards capable of playing both guard spots off the bench in Lou Williams and Isaiah Taylor. Taylor’s contract isn’t guaranteed, but he probably has the inside track due to his familiarity with the team. In any case, a strong summer showing should lead Peak to a training camp invite with another team, if not the Rockets.
NBA PM: Losers Of The 2017 NBA Draft
Who were the two parties who came out of draft night worse off than they went in? Spencer Davies explores.
As the book closes on the 2017 NBA Draft, the league takes a bit of a break before going full throttle into the free agency portion of the off-season.
Before we get there, though, Basketball Insiders will take a look at the winners and losers of Thursday’s draft to get you caught up. Our own Benny Nadeau already took care of the former, so this piece will focus on the two parties who came out of the night worse off than they did going into it.
Early Entrants Going Undrafted
The amount of talent in this year’s draft class was undeniable, so those that decided to come out of college too soon instead of returning to school for another year suffered tremendously.
Let’s take a look at some notable undrafted players that entered as underclassmen:
Simmons was an interesting story this past season with the Arizona Wildcats. It was a difficult one-and-done season for Simmons, as he had trouble converting on the perimeter (33 percent) and contributing anything other than scoring.
In the first couple of months as a freshman, he was basically an every game starter and played at least 28 minutes per game for the team. As the year wound down, though, the 6-5, 175-pound shooting guard barely saw the court, and the time he was given came during blowouts.
His decision to enter the draft was questionable and a gamble, and most teams saw it the same way. Luckily for Simmons, he was reportedly able to come to an agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies on a free agent contract.
A player that surprisingly didn’t get selected was P.J. Dozier from South Carolina. In his sophomore season, the 20-year-old swingman took on a much heavier workload and dramatically improved his game on both ends of the floor.
Dozier was one of the best defenders in the SEC and in the entire NCAA, as well as an aggressor on offense. He was not bashful and took his new role in stride. Over the course of one year, he attempted six more field goals per game and upped his three-point success by 8.5 percentage points.
He also snatched almost two more rebounds per game and averaged nearly two steals for the Gamecocks. Dozier going undrafted was a head scratcher, but the Los Angeles Lakers made sure he landed on his feet with a deal.
Briscoe is more of a hybrid type with a bulky build for a backcourt player. In two seasons under John Calipari at Kentucky, he was pretty consistent with his game as somebody who will give you a little bit of everything.
He’s not particularly a good shooter, but he can get some rebounds and dish it out to make the right plays. You’ll see that with when he’s playing for the Philadelphia 76ers in Summer League.
Blakeney—a sophomore guard from LSU—proved that he can shoot the basketball and be a pure scorer (17.2 points per game) when given the opportunity, but what about the defensive end of the floor? He’ll need to work on that, as well as his all-around game that won’t make him a one-dimensional threat.
He hasn’t received an offer from a team yet, but he’ll likely get a chance to showcase his talents in either Orlando or Las Vegas.
The trend here seems obvious—if you’re a shooting guard and haven’t gotten at least three years of college experience, it may not be wise to declare. Executives understand that they need players with the “do-it-all” quality and not just pure scorers that can’t bring more than one or two skills to the table.
Over the past week, the writing seemed to be on the wall for Jimmy Butler and his future with the Bulls. There were rumors all over linking him mainly to the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the dark horse candidate to land the All-Star was the one to pull the trigger.
After the first selection in the draft was made, the Minnesota Timberwolves came to an agreement with Chicago that reunited Butler with his former coach of four years, Tom Thibodeau. The deal came a few weeks after an exit interview regarding the team’s direction that reportedly went well.
The 27-year-old’s trainer didn’t hide his displeasure about the move, but it’s understandable from the perspective of VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman, who strived to “set a direction” for the franchise.
However, what they received in return for Butler was not nearly enough for a man that is just now entering his prime as one of the best two-way players in the game today. In exchange for Butler, the Wolves sent Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine to Chicago. Furthermore, the Bulls were able to move up nine spots in the draft, but it cost them their 16th pick to do so.
LaVine is as exciting as a player as any young talent in the NBA, but he’ll enter the season coming off a brutal ACL tear that ended his year prematurely. It will probably be a little while before the 22-year-old sees the floor, and, as the centerpiece of this trade, it’s definitely risky not knowing how he’ll respond to the injury.
While Dunn could have plenty of promise as the starting point guard of the future, his rookie season in Minnesota left a lot to be desired. The only defense of his inclusion as one of the key pieces in this transaction is being a top five pick in last year’s draft with untapped potential.
With the seventh overall selection, Chicago drafted Lauri Markkanen out of Arizona. In his lone season under Sean Miller, the seven-footer was a key cog in the Wildcats’ run in the PAC-12 and NCAA tournaments.
The talent is clearly there as a sharpshooting stretch four or five, but with Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic already in the mix at power forward, the fit may be a problem. He could see some time at center, but remember, Robin Lopez, Cristiano Felicio, and Joffrey Lauvergne are holding down the fort there, too.
Markkanen’s situation will all depend on if qualifying offers are made to Mirotic, Felicio, and Lauvergne.
To add the cherry on top of the Bulls’ rough night, they excited some fans of the organization when they took Jordan Bell out of Oregon early in the second round. That hope quickly diminished when the Golden State Warriors paid $3.5 million for the pick, and Chicago agreed to send him to the Bay.
Bell was one of the sexier names in the draft for a good reason, but the money was more important to the Bulls, who will have some more decisions to make this summer with their veterans on the roster likely not wanting to be a part of the rebuild.
Without their superstar of the last three years, and still with an inexperienced head coach like Fred Hoiberg to develop the young talent brought into the organization, it’s going to be a little while before basketball is king again in the Windy City.
Hawks Didn’t Expect John Collins To Fall To 19
Newly-minted Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schlenk had a relatively easy decision drafting John Collins at 19.
During Travis Schlenk’s first NBA Draft as Atlanta GM, fortune smiled as center John Collins of Wake Forest, a player rated highly on Atlanta’s draft board, fell to the 19th pick.
“Through the whole week, we had guys ranked, and he was the highest guy there,” said Schlenk to assembled media at the Omni Hotel, adjacent to Philips Arena. “We thought he’d go a little higher. We had a couple options on the board to move back, but once we saw that John was going to be there, we didn’t entertain any of those.”
Schlenk added that Atlanta also tried to move up but was unable to execute a trade.
“We did have some conversations about trying to move up,” said Schlenk. “We had one player that we targeted that we really wanted to move up for but were unable to do so.”
The process of building the team’s draft depth chart was collaborative, Schlenk added, which meant Collins’ selection was by consensus rather than by decree. Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was among those whose input factored into the selection.
“I have a lot of faith in the group that was here before I got here,” said Schlenk. “They’ve been a huge asset to me coming in here in the middle of this process. As I’ve stated all along, I view Coach Bud and I’s relationship as a partnership. It doesn’t do us any good to take a guy that he doesn’t like, so he’s got a voice in it for sure.”
Schlenk was asked about areas where Collins needs to improve and didn’t shy away from questions about his defense.
“That was kind of the knock on him at Wake Forest,” said Schlenk. “But a lot of times, especially in college — when you’re the main focal point — you’ll see the best offensive player doesn’t want to get in foul trouble so he can stay on the floor. We interviewed him in Chicago. That’s what he said: “Coach Manning said, ‘Don’t get in foul trouble, I can’t afford to have you off the court.'”
The Hawks GM also talked about Collins’ shortcomings as a shooter.
“One of the first things we’re going to work on with him is a jump shot,” said Schlenk. “In college, all his scoring came in the post. And he’s got a good post game. We just need to extend his range out, especially the way we play and the way the league’s going.”
But overall, Schlenk was extremely positive about the opportunity to add a player with the upside of Collins, a player who is far from a finished product.
“Last year you saw his athleticism, and then the big jump that he’s made from his freshman year to his sophomore year,” Schlenk said. “Obviously, being the most improved player in the ACC, you see the growth he’s made. And he’s still a 19-year-old kid, so there’s still a lot of room to grow.”
In the second round, Atlanta selected shooting guard Tyler Dorsey, who shot 56 percent from three and averaged 23 points during Oregon’s run to the Final Four. The Hawks also selected 6-10 French center Alpha Kaba of Mega Leks, a likely draft-and-stash candidate. With Collins’ youth and lack of polish, it may take some time to judge Schlenk’s first draft. But fortunately for him, the decision was a relatively easy one since the team didn’t expect Collins to fall all the way to 19 where Atlanta could grab him.