By Eli Yankelevich
Selection(s): Robert Williams III, C/PF, Texas A&M
As per usual the Boston Celtics made out like bandits from this year’s draft. With the twenty seventh pick the Celtics have acquired a big man with the potential to replace Al Horford. Williams has a skillset perfectly in line with today’s expectation for rim running centers. He is an excellent rebounder with the size and length to defend the NBA’s premier big men. Even though Williams is elite in regards to his versatility, he projects to never develop a jump shot or face up game. In his two seasons at Texas A&M, he consistently shot below fifty percent at the charity stripe and only attempted 12 three pointers.
New York Knicks
Pick(s): 9, 36
Selection(s): Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky; Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky
The New York Knicks approached this year’s draft rather conservatively as they selected the healthy and reliable forward from Kentucky rather than the risky Missouri star: Michael Porter. Kevin Knox projects to be a solid scorer at the next level and with his size and length could potentially guard multiple positions. Since Knox is only 18 years old, he will need time in order to become comfortable playing in an NBA system but perhaps playing under a “player’s coach” such as David Fizdale the transition could be sooner rather than later. By not risking their high pick on a walking question mark the Knicks acquired a player who can potentially play second fiddle alongside Kristaps Porzingis. In the second round, the Knicks selected Mitchell Robinson. Robinson is an interesting selection as he forwent his college season at Western Kentucky in order to prepare for the draft individually. This raises many concerns because the last time Robinson was seen competitively was at the high school level. Regardless, Robinson appears to have good size and height for a modern day big man.
Pick(s): 10, 26, 38, 39, 56, 60
Selections: Zhaire Smith, SG/SF, Texas Tech; Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State
The 76ers came into the draft with glaring needs on the perimeter. With the status of Ilyasova, Belinelli and Redick questionable the 76ers needed to acquire floor spacers on relatively affordable deals. Originally Philly selected Mikal Bridges from Villanova but they later decided to move him to the Suns in exchange for the rights to Zhaire Smith and a 2021 draft pick from the Heat. Although this move seems questionable on behalf of the executives in Philadelphia, the 76ers clearly tried to save cap space by trading down in the draft in order to eventually have the opportunity to convince high key free agents to sign this coming July. This is ultimately a mistake because with the current arsenal of draft picks that Philadelphia possesses they could have found another way to clear cap space rather than blindly passing on a grade A role player in Mikal Bridges. Although Bridges would have been exquisite alongside Simmons and Embiid, Smith projects to be a solid athlete with the capability of cultivating a consistent jump shot. With the twenty-sixth selection the 76ers struck gold by stealing combo guard Landry Shamet off the board. Shamet has a skill set all teams yearn to acquire as he is an elite shooter with adequate ball handling capabilities. Brett Brown will be able to plug Shamet alongside ball handlers while also maintaining a spaced floor.
Pick(s): 29, 40, 45
Selection(s): Dzanan Musa, SF/SG, International; Rodions Kurucs, SF/PF, International
Sean Marks has done an impressive job with the Nets so far. Year after year he adds lottery level talent in the late first and second round of the draft. Not only is he good at selecting talent but his staff has proven to be fantastic at developing players. This past year they turned their rookie center Jarret Allen from a rim runner to a three point shooter from either corner. In this years draft, the Nets selected the Bosnian Star: Dzanan Musa and also the Latvian Beast: Rodions Kurucs. The current Nets roster lacks length and versatility but with these selections they add two 6’9 forwards with ample shooting ability. While Musa is more of a slasher and mid-range shooter, Kurucs rather spots up along the arc to shoot threes and play within any system. With time and frequent visits to the weight room the Nets will one day be able to assemble lineups with two players towering over all other guards in the league.