Playing 2019 NBA Draft Matchmaker, Part 2

Most NBA Lottery teams draft the best player available and then figure out the fit later on during free agency. Teams are scared of leaving a potential star on the board solely because his position is already filled.

Yet, fit is still a strong consideration because current teams also have current stars, and rookies don’t always pan out exactly the way you want.

For this exercise, we’re going to trend towards fit based on a team’s weak positions and where they need a statistical boost. If a player projects as being a mid-lottery selection, but the team drafting second needs someone of his type, that’s where he’ll go. Current draft standings will apply, and the draft will go through the first 14 selections, also known as the lottery.

(Full disclosure, folks. We’re skipping New York and Zion Williamson, seeing as the Duke freshman is such a plug-and-play type, he’d go #1 regardless of who picked. Not even in Draft fantasies will Zion not go #1 .)

NOTE: You can read Part 1 here.

9. Boston Celtics – Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga – PF/C

March 30, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Brandon Clarke (15) plays for the ball against Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Jarrett Culver (23) during the first half in the championship game of the west regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics have a tradition of valuing defense, and given their somewhat noticeable hole at the four, Brandon Clarke makes a lot of sense for them. Even if he doesn’t start—the Celtics like to play small with Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Jaylen Brown and/or Gordon Hayward all interchangeably logging minutes there—Clark is a tremendously skilled shot-blocker (3.1 in 28.1 minutes) who will challenge off the weakside every chance he gets.

This sounds like the best front-court mate for Al Horford, as the two could build one of the league’s most effective interior defenses.

Clarke has taken big leaps offensively, and while he likely won’t transition to the NBA three-point line a lot, he should be able to make a significant portion of his mid-range attempts and convert from the line. Clarke’s motor especially sits him apart; it never stops running. He is undoubtedly one of the most active players in the draft, and if there’s a team in dire need of an energy injection, it’s the Celtics.

10. Minnesota Timberwolves – Cam Reddish, Duke – SF

Mar 22, 2019; Columbia, SC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Cam Reddish (2) walks off the court while North Dakota State Bison guard Cameron Hunter (22) looks on during the first half in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Reddish did not have a good season at Duke, but his physical tools are still tremendously intriguing.

At a streamlined 6’9″, with long arms and long legs, Reddish has great defensive potential solely based off his body. The release on his jumper was clean, albeit ineffective in college (eFG% of 45.9%). But assuming he benefits from the additional space in the NBA and has more time to launch from the outside, Reddish’s potential would fit right into the Timberwolves as a spot-up option next to Karl-Anthony Towns, who could help Reddish get more space to operate in.

Reddish does have significant bust potential, so there’d be a large element of gambling involved here, but he’d fit right in as a Wolf, assuming he does turn into a two-way player who can make open shots and defend the perimeter.

11. Los Angeles Lakers – Bol Bol, Oregon – C

Dec 12, 2018; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks center Bol Bol (1) shoots a basket over San Diego Toreros forward Yauhen Massalski (25) during the second half at Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks beat the Toreros 65-55. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

While JaVale McGee was effective for the Lakers this season, the team is in dire need of more quality at the center position. Enter Bol Bol, who averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks during nine games for Oregon before going down with a foot injury for the rest of the year. The 7’2″ behemoth even hit 13-of-25 three’s during that span.

Bol would give the Lakers another scoring option, this time at a position of need. While not a heavy player who can clog the lane, his height and wingspan allow him to cover a lot of airspace in the paint on both sides of the court.

He’s new-agey enough to stretch the floor when required as well. The Lakers lacked a center like this and didn’t generate enough three-pointers (20th in makes, 29th in 3P%) overall. Bol would be a welcomed addition.

12. Boston Celtics – Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga – SF/PF

Mar 30, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders center Norense Odiase (32) with Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) for rebounding position in the championship game of the west regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics are pretty loaded at most positions, but they could use another strong offensive player who can fill multiple positions both inside and out. Hachimura would be a Brad Stevens favorite on offense, as he is highly selective with his shots (59.1 FG%) and draws fouls at a high rate (6.0 free throw attempts in 30.2 minutes).

He’s one of the most efficient high-volume scorers in the nation (19.7 points, TS% of 63).

Hachimura can play in big and small line-ups due to his agility, with the possibility of even getting small-ball center minutes as his game develops. Pairing him with Gonzaga teammate Brandon Clarke could also be intriguing down the line.

13. Miami Heat – Romeo Langford, Indiana – SG

Mar 14, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Romeo Langford (0) goes to the basket Ohio State Buckeyes during the second half in the Big Ten conference tournament at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Miami loves its shooting guards, and there’s another opening with Dwyane Wade retiring and Josh Richardson filling other wing duties.

While not a great shooter, Romeo Langford is an aggressive scorer who will put up numbers from day one. His 16.5 points came mostly off drives and free throws (6.1 attempts), but he was a willing shooter who will likely improve that part of his game at the next level. His jumper needs to be fine-tuned, but he’s comfortable dribbling into jumpers, just as he is driving into the paint.

Langford projects as very aggressive scorer, one who will diversify his game as he grows older. While it may take a couple of years for him to take that big step forward, his game carries great potential. He’s not overly athletic and has gotten by on strong fundamentals, which is encouraging. He’d get a chance to develop his game at his own pace in Miami, where Richardson and Dion Waiters will likely remain in the mix.

14. Charlotte Hornets – Goga Bitadze, Buducnost – C

Goga Bitadze is an intriguing center prospect, who could provide some assistance for Kemba Walker, (should he decide to return to Charlotte this summer). The 6’11″ center loves to dunk and actively seeks out passes off pick and rolls—instead of rolling with no purpose, as many young centers do.

He’s keenly aware of his own skillset and frequently explores it all during games which, at just 19, shows a layer of confidence not often found in players of that age group, especially internationally.

Bitadze even has some three-point range, and his release suggests it’s transferable to the NBA as it’s extremely consistent. He makes an effort in squaring his shoulders towards the basket and generally has strong fundamentals that can be built upon further.

 

Read Part 3 here.

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