With the 2020 NBA Draft in the books, teams begin the process of fitting their new rookies into the team. While some prioritized upside over immediate while others were looking for more developed prospects, each team found a player that can contribute in the upcoming season. In no particular order, here are the top 3 draft classes from the NBA Draft.
The Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks continued their march towards a championship with three strong picks on draft night. They started at 18 with Arizona shooting guard Josh Green. A tenacious defender, Green has demonstrated the ability to develop into a prototypical “3 and D” player at the next level. He excels in transition and has shown a nice touch from the outside.
The Mavericks made a move on draft night that freed up a path to playing time for Green early on. The Mavericks traded away shooting guard Seth Curry and received the 36th overall pick (Tyler Bey) and small forward Josh Richards from the Sixers. Curry’s contract was roughly 7 million per year through the 2022/23 season. Green’s rookie deal will be significantly cheaper, and he brings much more of a defensive presence than Curry. Richards’ contract is more expensive at 11 million per season, but he will be a free agent after the 2021 season. Green can take a more limited role behind Richards while Richards finishes his contact. If the Mavericks decide not to bring Richards back, Green will be ready to step in and fill that role.
Second Round Picks
In the first pick of the second round, the Mavericks went with Stanford guard Tyrell Terry. This is an ideal situation for all parties involved. A member of the PAC-12 All-Freshman team, Terry will fit in well with the Mavericks organization. He is a playmaker out of the pick and roll and in the transition game. Terry shot a remarkable 40.8% from 3 this season and was able to create his own shot in any situation. Terry will be able to contribute early as the backup guard behind Doncic. Terry’s playmaking ability and shooting means that the Mavericks don’t miss a beat when Doncic is out of the game.
With their final pick of the night, the Mavericks selected Colorado forward Tyler Bey at 36th overall. Rumors started circulating before the draft that the Mavericks were looking to trade the 18th pick for Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari. While that deal never came to fruition, the Mavs found a similar and much cheaper option in Bey. Like Green, Bey is a great on-ball defender. He stays on high alert and has used his athleticism to create some highlight-reel worthy blocks. He is a limited shooter at this point in his career, having only made 13 in 31 games last season. However, like Green, his shot mechanics are serviceable and, with the right player development, he could quickly become a competent shooter. Bey will be an integral part of what is becoming a defensively stout Dallas Mavericks organization.
The Sacramento Kings
The Kings have struggled in a loaded Western Conference for an extended period of time. They haven’t made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season. During that span of nearly 20 years, they have cycled through 8 head coaches, all of which had a losing record. However, they could be in for a change of fortune after last night’s draft.
The King’s night started at 12th overall, where they selected Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton. This was a great value pick for the Kings as many draft analysts were shocked to see Haliburton fall out of the top-10. Nonetheless, the Kings found a perfect complementary piece to Kings star De’Aaron Fox. Haliburton is arguably the best defender at the guard position in the draft. With a 7 foot wingspan, Haliburton is a very disruptive defender, both in the pick and roll and on the perimeter. While he can be the primary ball-handler, he can also play off-ball and space the floor. He finishes well going to the basket and is a high IQ player. For a franchise in need of a reliable, high floor player, the Kings could not have asked for a better prospect than Haliburton.
Second Round Picks
Sacramento continued their draft in the second round selecting Mississippi’s States Robert Woodard at 40th overall. While he has shown flashes offensively, Woodard’s strengths lie on the defensive side of the ball. At 6’7 with a 7’1 wingspan, Woodward has the size to defend most 3’s and 4’s in the league. He can move his feet well on the perimeter and is stout in the paint as he uses his 230-pound frame to stifle opponents. His sample size from 3 was pretty limited but significantly improved his shot from his freshman season. As a limited offensive player, the backcourt of Fox and Haliburton will allow Woodard to focus on stretching the floor offensively and hustling on defense. Woodard will be able to learn a lot from Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who plays a very similar role to Woodard.
Just three picks later, the Kings made their final selection taking Texas Tech guard Jahmius Ramsey at 43rd overall. This may end up being one of the best picks of the draft. Many draft analysts projected Ramsey to go in the first round. Ramsey’s best trait is his three-point shot. In his lone season at Texas Tech, Ramsey shot 42.6% on 5.2 attempts per game. Ramsey used a picturesque shooting form to hit some critical shots for the Red Raiders last season, whether it was out of the pick and roll or coming around a screen.
Ramsey also plays tough defense, as he defends, drives well, and moves his feet on the perimeter. Similar to Woodard, Ramsey can’t be the first scoring option on a team due to his lack of playmaking ability out of the pick and roll. However, considering the Kings current roster, Ramsey will be able to carve out a niche role in the team that plays to his strengths.
The Detroit Pistons
The Pistons ended the night with three first-round picks after a myriad of trades. However, the use of each pick to fill a need for the team added tremendous value to an ascending Pistons team.
Detroit started their night at number 7 by selecting point guard Killian Hayes. Hayes, a French guard who played most recently for Ulm in Germany, was considered by some to be a top-5 prospect in the entire draft. Standing at 6’4, Hayes boasts a 6’8 wingspan, excellent for the point guard position. He is a creator on offense out of the pick and roll where he can make the right decision more often than not. Hayes has a smooth shot, and the stats reflect it as he shot 39% from 3 on roughly 4 attempts per game this last year. He also shoots a remarkable 90% from the free-throw line. Hayes is the point guard of the future and has a great mentor in former MVP and current Piston point guard Derrick Rose.
The Pistons acquired the 16th overall pick from the Rockets and selected Washington center, Isaiah Stewart. Stoutly built at 6’9, 245 pounds, Stewart will fill the role left by former Pistons center Andre Drummond. Stewart is a similar player to Drummond. While there were questions about his size and how he will match up against other centers, his tape speaks for himself. On offense, Stewart lives in the low block, where he uses his robust frame to finish with authority in and around the rim. He is a solid roll man and has shown the ability to finish with a soft touch from time to time. Defensively, Stewart is difficult to move and used his 7’4 wingspan to block the 3rd most shots in the PAC-12 last season (66). The Pistons hope Stewart will pick up right where Drummond left off.
With the third and final pick in the first round, the Pistons selected Villanova forward Saddiq Bey. This is a pick they acquired in a three-team deal with the Nets and Clippers. During the draft process, draft analysts projected Bey to be a lottery pick by some analysts. Getting him at 19 is an outstanding value. After an average freshman season, Bey made the excellent decision to return to Villanova to improve his draft stock. He nearly doubled his points per game average and was an integral part of a Villanova team that finished first in the Big East.
The most impressive improvement was in his perimeter shooting. In his freshman season, Bey shot 37.4% on just 3.6 attempts per game. Bey finished his sophomore season with a 45.1% on 5.6 attempts. His smooth motion and mechanics shone through as he was one of the best shooters in the country. He is a great defender at 6’8 and 216 pounds and is relentless when defending on the perimeter. Bey will slide in next to Sekou Doumbouya, the Piston’s first-round pick in 2019. A frontcourt rotation of Doumbouya, Bey, Stewart, and a healthy Blake Griffin should excite the fans for Pistons’ future.
Second Round Pick
The Pistons also added Vanderbilt guard Saben Lee. A member of the 2019-20 All-SEC second team, Lee enjoyed a productive career for Vanderbilt. In his final season, he averaged 18.6 points and 4.2 assists. He shot 55% from the field and 32.2% from three. He is more a facilitator than a scorer, ranking 3rd in the SEC in assist percentage last season. However, with the amount of volume he gets, he has been careless with the ball at times. Lee finished 3rd in turnovers in the SEC last season with 99. The Pistons may be looking to use Lee to fill the hole left by Bruce Brown, who the Pistons traded during the offseason.