Pseudo-Analysis, or Kyle and K Talk the Top 6 Picks of the NBA Draft



K: The NBA Draft is a mess. The trading system is barbaric, archaic, and I’m still not entirely sure who drafted who and whose rights went where. Instead of being content with the innate insanity of the draft, Kyle and I decided to try to review the draft together while he was gallivanting about in Europe. What you get is the Top 6 and some afterthoughts, because it turns out trying to do this over a large timezone difference is stupid, and only highlighted the need for me to find a replacement intern/pledge/groupie.

KYLE: Many things look much clearer after the dust settles and the 60th pick is made in the NBA Draft. You get to see what each team was actually thinking, and it makes a lot of sense. You can visualize starting lineups and see where players fit in. The chaos leading up to the draft becomes order and rational thought triumphs over … Wait what? The Raptors drafted who? BRUNO CABOCLO? Scratch that. The NBA draft is chaos, but it is one hell of a fun ride. Teams gamble on guys who could possibly be Durant 4 years from now, and some honestly seem to have no plan at all. Players are visibly upset by who drafted them, and wear dope suits. Yes, it’s a weird, unpredictable, totally chaotic, beautiful, upsetting night, but it’s fun as hell. So let’s reflect on the chaos of the draft.

K: My favorite part of the night is easily the horrified stares of “OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO SACRAMENTO,” that turns to pure elation when they realize they’ve been traded. In previous years this was known as the “I’m going to Milwaukee,” look, but Jabari is super stoked on some cheese and brats. How did we kick this thing off again? Oh, right.

1. Andrew Wiggins – Cleveland

So after Embiid’s legendary foot thing this was all but a foregone conclusion right? If not for Embiid, Wiggins is easily the top choice since this time last year. Great two way player, gets to the rim, and should get better from behind the arc with a pretty decent stroke. I don’t care what anyone said, it was going to be him over Parker. I would have died to see the Cavs go out and pull another Anthony Bennett at number one, just to see the entire city of Cleveland turn into the world’s largest dumpster fire. Instead, Wiggins/Waiters/Irving is a nice core to build around, especially if Wiggins can improve his work off the ball. Most importantly though, DID YOU SEE THE SUIT? MY GOD IT WAS GLORIOUS.


That’s a true statement piece that comes in a dark time in the NBA’s draft history, where the suits get progressively more blase and I find myself bored by pick 5.

KYLE: I agree with that, and with all the questions about Embiid, Wiggins is the obvious choice. Needs to attack the rim more and use his elite athleticism, but he’s gonna be good really good. Not sure how Cleveland is gonna handle the whole Kyrie and Dion hate each other thing–trade Waiters, don’t play them together, make them like each other etc. but Wiggins gives them the ability to work it out however they want to.
2. Jabari Parker – Milwaukee

I love the pick here, Jabari fits great into the Bucks line up as a stretch 4 with the ability to play some 3. His suspect defense can be covered up by guys like Henson, Sanders, and the Greek Freak. He brings offensive power to a Bucks roster that was severely lacking. Now he can take some of the scoring burden off of Brandon Knight. Most importantly the Bucks love him and he is where he wanted to be. I’m not sure how I feel about him allegedly tanking his workout for Cleveland, but in the end in works out for the best. I see a lot of hope in the future for the Bucks. That being said they still need a point guard, and they are probably not making the playoffs anytime soon. They seem to have put out the dumpster fire, for now at least.

K: It’s just unbelievable to me that someone wanted to go to Milwaukee. Apparently it’s a thing now, since Jason Kidd is all about it. They will always be a dumpster fire in my heart. My biggest deal with the Bucks is the somewhat sudden death of Ersan Ilyasova. I always loved him as a stretch four and crazy good rebounder when he was around the basket, but last season was depressing. You can say the same about LARRY SANDERS last year, too. I feel like a lot of that came from not having someone back there to distribute and OJ Mayo commanding the ball and jacking up ill-advised mid-range jumpers. Whatever. It’s Milwaukee.

3. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia

My favorite guy in the draft. I know I’m REALLY going out on a limb here. I don’t care if he has one foot, one shoulder, and a back made of paper-mache. The man’s game is off the charts good. Can you picture him paired up with Nerlens Noel? I can’t either. My mind isn’t capable of envisioning that many uber-athletic blocks in a single game. Unfortunately for us, we won’t get to see that for a while, given Embiid’s foot, and I’d imagine that even though Noel’s been cleared to play, they’re gonna go easy with him his rookie year. Embiid is absolutely perfect for what Sam Hinkie is trying to build in Philly. Super athletic game changer, who just happens to be unable to play so the team can be trash for at least one more year while they continue to stockpile assets and figure out what they’re going to do with my main Georgia Tech mans Thaddeus Young. If you want to talk dumpster fire, we talk Philly. But it’s a controlled burn, and I love that they’re committing to this thing. The Astros are the only team I can think of that have willingly committed this hard to blowing everything up, and it is glorious.

KYLE: Thad Young makes me pretty sad, everyone else on the Sixers got dumped pretty fast. And he just kind of lingered, a relic of Sixers past. Nerlens plus Embiid? That’s an awesome front court to build around. Sixers still need a 2 guard, and I’m still not sold on MCW. But they will be dang scary in 2-3 years. More on that later.

4. Aaron Gordon – Orlando

First real surprise of this draft, although looking back on it, it makes sense. The Magic saw that PG was deeper than PF in this draft and went for Gordon, an ultra-athletic forward who is a jump shot away from being a star. He will be a big defensive presence to help out Vucevic, and will rebound like crazy. He was one of my favorite freshman coming into this year, although his star might never be as bright as Wiggy’s, ‘Bari’s, and Embiizy’s. But his defense alone will guarantee a starting spot for years to come. The Magic will have a really young starting five next year with Jameer Nelson, Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Gordon, and Vucevic. I hope they keep Jameer, he has really seen it all in Orlando and stuck through it. He is the captain of the team and a leader in the locker room. It would be weird to see him in a non-Magic jersey (YAMADA’S NOTE: Jameer Nelson was waived after this email. Also: HAHAHAHA).

K: Glad to see you are giving Jameer Nelson the Derek Jeter Memorial treatment. Anytime you can keep around a guy who hasn’t played most than 60 games in three of the last six years and shoots under 40% you gotta do it. Fearless leader, grit and heart, blah blah blah.

5. Dante Exum – Utah

Look. I’ve seen the highlight tapes. He’s impressive. He’s an athletic freak and has all the physical tools you can’t teach. I just can’t buy in. He played in Australia, where the competition level is decidedly less impressive than in the NCAA. Team play and being challenged night in and night out are huge to development. Everyone always talks about how the game moves faster at the next level, but he hasn’t even had to run a schedule where he’s dealing with NBA rotation level talent consistently. Looking back at some of the video from the FIBA U-19 championships, he just didn’t impress me. Marcus Smart made him look bad on multiple occasions. Obviously his situation is starkly different from Brandon Jennings in terms of why he was abroad, but I think we’ll see the same things. Athletic, occasional flashes, but bad shot selection and turnovers will hold him back. His defense will keep him in the starting five, and he’s super long for a guard. He’s explosive, but I see more as a pre-2013 Mike Conley than I do Penny Hardaway.

KYLE: Jameer Nelson and Jetes have similar  TGA (total grit added) and Leadership Points. I see where you are coming from on Exum. He’s scary, but the pick makes sense. Utah needs backcourt help in case Trey Burke or Alec Burks don’t pan out. They could have used a center, but there was really only one elite center. And though I love Derrick Favors I don’t see him at the 5. I like the pick, but honestly the Jazz were just out of reach of the players they really wanted.
6. Marcus Smart – Boston
The Celtics lock down their PG of the future. Rondo is probably leaving and even if he does stay he is getting old as well. Smart provides an option for the future that isn’t Rondo. Smart is great player, I think staying in school really hurt him. We’ve over analyzed the crap out of him. He’s a solid PG who can facilitate, score and defend. I don’t quite see the plan for Boston yet though. Who are they building around? Rondo? Olynyk and Sullinger? Smart? Danny Ainge is a smart guy, but dang I just can’t see this team being good anytime soon. Then again, Boston has money and is really attractive to free agents. So I’ll be interested to see what Ainge does in the coming weeks. So we’ll see what happens to this young team.
K: I don’t know if I can actually see Rondo leaving. Unless they commit blowing it up, he stays and they build around him. Otherwise, they don’t have anyone to build around. If Rondo leaves and they truly decide to blow it up in a year or two, everyone including Smart is open season. I just don’t see any of them as a franchise piece worth keeping. At this point half of our emails are already irrelevant and outdated because Jameer Nelson got waived, so why don’t you just round out some highlights and wrap this thing up, because no one wants to read 300 word blurbs on guys who are destined to either wash up or be rotation guys.
KYLE: Poor Nik Stauskas, the best shooter in the draft. I pity anyone that has to go to the talent sucking black hole that is Sacramento. Speaking of broken dreams, Zach Lavine did not want to go to the Timberwolves. The Sixers in two years will have a line up of Embiid, Noel, Saric, 2015 lotto pick, and MCW, which is terrifying. Celtics helped their young corps with James Young. Somehow Gary Harris dropped to 19, when I think he should have been taken much higher, but whatever, the Nuggets got a steal. Bulls also got Jusuf Nurkic, a high potential center, who could help because JaVale McGee is dumpster fire. The Raptors picked up a guy who could be the Brazilian Kevin Durant based off rumors and grainy highlights, but apparently he’s 4 years away from being NBA ready. Oh and they are bringing him over next year. The Raptors gambled hard here and we’ll see if it pays off. The Thunder picking Mitch McGary is a little weird, because they already have Nick Collison and McGary and Collison are essentially the same player. The Grizzlies showed a commitment to analytics by hiring John Hollinger, so picking Jordan Adams, who had the 4th highest win shares per 40 minutes in the draft and the 2nd highest steal rate (translates really well to the NBA) and a PER of 28.3 . This pick fits the Griz commitment to defense (high steal rate, low opponents points per 100 poss., 2.2 defensive win shares), while adding life to their stagnant offense (125.1 points per 100 poss., 4.2 offensive win shares, .603 true shooting percentage). The Heat traded up to get ‘Bazz because Lebron wanted them to and the Spurs got Kyle Anderson. He has drawn comparisons to a better Boris Diaw, who has done really well under the Spurs system.
5 international players were picked in the first round and 2 in the lottery, as basketball continues to grow around the world and become a truly global sport. Also, 2 players were picked from the D-league this year, 1 going in the first round. PJ Hairston found redemption with the Texas Legends after being screwed by the NCAA, and Thanasis Antekounmpo got to play in a league where he would actually be scouted as opposed to the lower Greek leagues. The D-League is growing and developing into a third path besides college basketball and international basketball for NBA prospects, which is great for the league, as the D-League looks more and more like a
legitimate minor league system every year.

This years draft feels special. I think a lot of solid NBA guys just came into the league. These guys right here are the future stars, starters and role players of the NBA. It didn’t feel this way last year, and I think only a handful of those guys will play meaningful minutes in the NBA in years to come. I’m very excited to see what comes of these players a few years down the road. Now we move on to the ridiculousness of free agency and the fun of summer league! There is so much fun and excitement to be had in the new year long NBA season!

K: I want to apologize for how excited Kyle got at the end of that, and I’m 90% sure David Stern took his laptop and wrote that. It’s way too chipper to be Adam Silver, and there’s no way Kyle geeks out enough to get stoked on summer league.

I loathe Nick Markakis

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