Following the 2020 NBA Draft Class

NomarsFool

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Of course the pre-season is meaningless, and we should never evaluate players based on a couple of games. With that - here's the analysis!

SB Nation: The 9 best NBA rookies in the preseason, ranked

9. Theo Maledon, G, Thunder (Pick #34)
8. Deni Avdija, F, Wizards (Pick #9)
7. Tyrese Maxey, G, 76ers (Pick #21)
6. Malachi Flynn, G, Raptors (Pick #29)
5. Isaac Okoro, F, Cavaliers (Pick #5)
4. Patrick Williams, F, Bulls (Pick #4)
3. LaMelo Ball, G, Hornets (Pick #3)
2. Cole Anthony, G, Magic (Pick #15)
1. Devin Vassell, F, Spurs (Pick #11)
 

Jimbodandy

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Of course the pre-season is meaningless, and we should never evaluate players based on a couple of games. With that - here's the analysis!

SB Nation: The 9 best NBA rookies in the preseason, ranked

9. Theo Maledon, G, Thunder (Pick #34)
8. Deni Avdija, F, Wizards (Pick #9)
7. Tyrese Maxey, G, 76ers (Pick #21)
6. Malachi Flynn, G, Raptors (Pick #29)
5. Isaac Okoro, F, Cavaliers (Pick #5)
4. Patrick Williams, F, Bulls (Pick #4)
3. LaMelo Ball, G, Hornets (Pick #3)
2. Cole Anthony, G, Magic (Pick #15)
1. Devin Vassell, F, Spurs (Pick #11)
Interesting side note to an earlier conversation, but most of those teams are junk. Of course their players will put up volume numbers, probably all year.

Just based on who drafted them though, I'd buy stock in Vassell and Flynn.
 

Kliq

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Wiseman did have 19 points in his debut last night. He took a lot of really deep twos; like within a foot of the three point line. Some more familiarity with that and he should be more efficient. He'd be my pick for ROY because he is going to play and his team won't be total trash.
 

Kliq

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Looking at some debuts.

#1 Anthony Edwards had a decent debut, scoring 15 points with 4 assists and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. He came off the bench, and will probably not have a lot of time on the floor as the primary ball-handler with Russell and Rubio soaking up all the PG minutes. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well, going 5/12, but he showed excellent handling and strength getting into the paint. I think it was an encouraging start, but he'll have to fight for a bigger role than most #1 overall picks since Minneosta does have some real creators on offense.

#2 James Wiseman was one of the few bright spots on Golden State during their disastrous first game in Brooklyn. He had 19 points and shot 7-13 from the field, including several deep jumpers and a three. I'd really like to see him finish some lobs and run the pick and roll with Steph, but there wasn't a ton of that in game number one. Defensively he has a long way to go, as almost all rookies do, but a very promising start.

#3 LaMelo Ball had a rough debut, playing only 16 minutes and scoring 0 points, missing all five of his shots. People are really split on him; I personally am pretty low on him, but some people are really impressed by his passing vision and rebounding. He had three assists and three turnovers in his limited minutes. As the #3 overall pick, he deserves a chance to play, but in Charlotte, easily their three best players are primary ball-handlers in Graham, Hayward and Rozier, so I don't think he is going to get the keys to the car right away, like some people figured. Turning the ball over and being inefficient is not going to earn him more minutes.

#4 Patrick Williams probably benefitted from Chicago getting blown out early by Atlanta, getting to play 33 minutes. He made the most of them, scoring 16 points and looked athletic and made some really quick decisions when he got the ball. Chicago's entire defense was a mess against Atlanta, but a promising start.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Anthony Edwards is an impressive rookie at the offensive end.

View: https://youtu.be/iViGTmachvY
He definitely passes the eye test in terms of shooting stroke, size (he’s no 6’-3”), and smooth, shifty athleticism. Defensive work in progress, obviously, but he apparently bodied up Luka well in preseason. I never worried too much about his sketchy numbers as a young 18 year old getting constant double teams on a bad college team.

Is it too early for Kevin O’Connor to start taking some heat for his contrarian “smartest guy in the room” hyping of Killian Hayes as the best player in the 2020 draft? Dude gets paid for his draft analysis, and effectively told everyone who would listen that if he were an NBA GM picking #1 he’d leave Edwards and Wiseman on the board and take Hayes.
 

the moops

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Is it too early for Kevin O’Connor to start taking some heat for his contrarian “smartest guy in the room” hyping of Killian Hayes as the best player in the 2020 draft? Dude gets paid for his draft analysis, and effectively told everyone who would listen that if he were an NBA GM picking #1 he’d leave Edwards and Wiseman on the board and take Hayes.
Yes, it is way too early for anyone to take any heat about any draft pick
 

Sam Ray Not

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Yes, it is way too early for anyone to take any heat about any draft pick
True, but the overwhelming consensus was always a big 3 of Wiseman/Edwards/Ball (in some order). It's great to raise question marks about those guys, but if you're going to depart from the consensus that drastically — and being accurate in your projections is your stock in trade — a slowish/unathletic 6'-5" PG like Hayes seems like an odd object of affection. How many NBA GMs do you think take Hayes over Wiseman, given the choice?
 

Sam Ray Not

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Wiseman has come back to earth in some ways as his inexperience on both ends begins to show (and his 3FG% drifts below 83%), but everything about this one play v Detroit was pure rookie porn, from the defensive awareness / hedge-and-recover at the outset, to the gentle block to keep the ball in play, to (most notably) the Giannis coast-to-coast move with the Euro-step dunk finish...

View: https://mobile.twitter.com/anthonyVslater/status/1344107584903471104


In other rookie news, one-game sample, but LaMelo massively outplaying Luka (his idealized upside) in their first head-to-head matchup is a nice early feather in his cap. And the low-key best per-minute rookie to date may be Ty Haliburton: 14.0 points per 36 on .760 true shooting, 7.0 assists — to only 1.0 turnovers! — and a net +8.3 on-off for a (so far) solid Kings team. All of which might be small sample theater if it didn’t exactly mirror his insane efficiency in college. And he passes the eye test as two-way basketball savant well beyond his years. Knicks are soooo gonna regret taking Toppin over this guy.
 
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Cesar Crespo

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And the low-key best per-minute rookie to date may be Ty Haliburton: 14.0 points per 36 on .760 true shooting, 7.0 assists — to only 1.0 turnovers! — and a net +8.3 on-off for a (so far) solid Kings team. All of which might be small sample theater if it didn’t exactly mirror his insane efficiency in college. And he passes the eye test as two-way basketball savant well beyond his years. Knicks are soooo gonna regret taking Toppin over this guy.
A lot of people were upset when he was drafted a few spots before the C's pick. Hopefully Nesmith works out and PP being a surprise takes away some of the sting.
 

TripleOT

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So Melo Ball is thought of as a bad shooter, but he’s at 44/45% after five games, with 11/4/4 in 21 minutes. He looks to be a guard with the knack to find defensive rebounds.

He’s good at setting up open jumpers in the p/r, and is comfortable foraying to the rim with either hand. Melo is great at throwing the lob. Very encouraging start that should have the doubters rethinking.
 
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benhogan

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A lot of people were upset when he was drafted a few spots before the C's pick. Hopefully Nesmith works out and PP being a surprise takes away some of the sting.
The Knicks will definitely regret not taking Halliburton.

Saddiq Bey (21) had a nice game last night. 17pts/7rebs 5-8 3pt 6' 8".... Wing

The C's wasting minutes on Crespo favorite, Carsen Edwards, instead of Nesmith is a head-scratcher.
 

TripleOT

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The Celtics have five plus shooters from three six games in: Teague, Smart, PP, Brown, Tatum.

The rest, not including Nesmith, are 9-38 from three. Since there is no G league this season where a rookie can play for a dozen games to find his way, the smart move would be to play Nesmith six minutes each half as he gets his bearings.

It’s not like the Celtics are some defensive powerhouse where a rookie’s poor defense is going to mess things up. If you need a shooter and you draft a shooter, play a shooter.
 

kazuneko

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The Knicks will definitely regret not taking Halliburton.

Saddiq Bey (21) had a nice game last night. 17pts/7rebs 5-8 3pt 6' 8".... Wing

The C's wasting minutes on Crespo favorite, Carsen Edwards, instead of Nesmith is a head-scratcher.
Bey is looking like he's already approaching what we might hope to get out of Nesmith in a year or two:(
 

BigSoxFan

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Bey is looking like he's already approaching what we might hope to get out of Nesmith in a year or two:(
Definitely has more opportunities playing for Detroit but not surprising that he’s more ready out of the box than Nesmith. I’d still rather have Nesmith’s ceiling though. That jumper is so pretty and Bey’s is pretty fugly. It just somehow works for him.
 

nighthob

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Yeah, guys with jumpers that ugly tend to be streaky shooters. Everything looks great when it's falling, but once he bricks a few in a row the misses will add up quickly.
 

Cellar-Door

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The Celtics have five plus shooters from three six games in: Teague, Smart, PP, Brown, Tatum.

The rest, not including Nesmith, are 9-38 from three. Since there is no G league this season where a rookie can play for a dozen games to find his way, the smart move would be to play Nesmith six minutes each half as he gets his bearings.

It’s not like the Celtics are some defensive powerhouse where a rookie’s poor defense is going to mess things up. If you need a shooter and you draft a shooter, play a shooter.
Nesmith isn't just horrifically bad on defense, he's horrifically bad on offense. He doesn't know any of the sets or motions, doesn't know where he's supposed to be. Last time we saw him play his teammates had to point him to where he was supposed to be half the trips down the court.

There was no real pre-season or camp or summer league. Nesmith is going to take a long time to be at a point where letting him consistently touch the floor outside of a blowout is in either his or the team's interest.

Nesmith is a mid-1st round pick, even in a normal year he'd not be expected to get much time on a team like the Celtics.

edit- also those deep bench shooting numbers are skewed by mixing in the bigs (5-26) with the wings. Edwards and Green are each 1-3, Ojeleye and Nesmith are 2-7.

You're talking about a tiny sample from the wings to argue that a wing who is much worse at every portion of the game than them (and is shooting worse from 3) should play over those guys.

The real answer isn't Nesmith needs to play, it's Grant and Theis need to do 1 of the following 3:
1. Make their damn 3s at an acceptable rate
2. Take a lot less 3s.
3. Play less.

Of course at some point Kemba will be back and Grant and Theis will likely play less, and depending on what Langford looks like when he comes back the deep rotation guys will slide even further back.
Nesmith is a glorified redshirt year this year unless something major changes.
 
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benhogan

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Nesmith isn't just horrifically bad on defense, he's horrifically bad on offense. He doesn't know any of the sets or motions, doesn't know where he's supposed to be. Last time we saw him play his teammates had to point him to where he was supposed to be half the trips down the court.

There was no real pre-season or camp or summer league. Nesmith is going to take a long time to be at a point where letting him consistently touch the floor outside of a blowout is in either his or the team's interest.

Nesmith is a mid-1st round pick, even in a normal year he'd not be expected to get much time on a team like the Celtics.
Well it's a guarantee he'll never develop if he's stapled to the bench

Pritchard has figured it out on the fly. Bey looked more than OK, after playing 3 consecutive games.

You need to invest floor time in these guys, especially early in the season.

Learning the sets? good lord it's basketball, they are not splitting atoms out there. He'd mostly be jammed in the corner on offense.
 
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Cellar-Door

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Well it's a guarantee he'll never develop if he's stapled to the bench

Pritchard has figured it out on the fly. Bey looked more than OK, after playing 3 consecutive games.

You need to invest floor time in these guys, especially early in the season.

Learning the sets? good lord it's basketball, they are not splitting atoms out there. He'd mostly be jammed in the corner on offense.
Yeah this is just flat wrong. You can and do learn in practice, you don't magically learn the offense or defense by losing your team games, all that does is break players' confidence.

And at the NBA level offenses are a lot more complex than they look and if all you can trust a rookie to do is stand still in the corner your offense is going to be broken.

Pritchard is a more advanced player, he has a lot more experience. As to Bey... what is the point of that comp? Players are different, they learn and adjust at different rates.

Nesmith is WAY behind, and he hasn't shown any reason to give him game time, nor that a bunch of time would be all that beneficial.

This is an ECF team, not a cellar dweller, they aren't giving 12 minutes a game to a kid who isn't anywhere near NBA ready so that he might be a slightly better 10th man in the playoffs. He'll get his run in practice, and if he shows that he knows what he's doing I'm sure he'll get a shot at a few minutes here and there.

A lot of guys go through this even in seasons where they have a full post-draft experience. They learn what they are doing in practice, then as the year goes along they get more minutes as they show they are ready for them. The only teams that throw clearly overmatched young players out there every game to fail are tanking or badly coached.

Edit- a great example of this is Jimmy Butler, he came in to a playoff team (worse than this Celtics team but still playoffs) and with more experience.... he barely played as a rookie, but he got better through practicing with the team and the occasional stint in garbage time and injury crisis.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Melo Ball is going to be reall really good. Like, special good. I haven’t seen a guard enter the league with instincts like him since Jason Kidd. Sky is the limit for this kid.
 

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Melo Ball is going to be reall really good. Like, special good. I haven’t seen a guard enter the league with instincts like him since Jason Kidd. Sky is the limit for this kid.
I readily admit I may have been wrong about him. He has played much better than I thought he would. 11 steals in 6 games is a great early sign. They won’t be able to keep him on the bench much longer.
 

nighthob

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Melo Ball is going to be reall really good. Like, special good. I haven’t seen a guard enter the league with instincts like him since Jason Kidd. Sky is the limit for this kid.
Yeah, after seeing him in preseason I knew that I was wrong about him. He has to have absolutely insane peripheral vision to hit people in the shot pocket the way he does without ever looking directly at them. He’s like Pete Maravich out there. It looks like, barring injury, that he’ll be everything that the Lonz was supposed to be.
 

lovegtm

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Yeah this is just flat wrong. You can and do learn in practice, you don't magically learn the offense or defense by losing your team games, all that does is break players' confidence.

And at the NBA level offenses are a lot more complex than they look and if all you can trust a rookie to do is stand still in the corner your offense is going to be broken.
...
Yeah, the Celtics have done this plan with every non-Tatum wing and it's worked fine/well.
 

128

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Yeah, the Celtics have done this plan with every non-Tatum wing and it's worked fine/well.
It's a perfectly logical and sensible plan. The main reason some are clamoring for Nesmith now is that his primary strength--his outside shooting--continues to be a weakness for the C's.

Let's hope Nesmith is getting better behind the scenes. With this condensed schedule, though, how much practice time will the C's really have?
 

lovegtm

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It's a perfectly logical and sensible plan. The main reason some are clamoring for Nesmith now is that his primary strength--his outside shooting--continues to be a weakness for the C's.

Let's hope Nesmith is getting better behind the scenes. With this condensed schedule, though, how much practice time will the C's really have?
Not much different than Romeo's situation last year. He picked up a lot defensively just being around the team, being at games, probably film sessions etc.
 

128

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Not much different than Romeo's situation last year. He picked up a lot defensively just being around the team, being at games, probably film sessions etc.
The big difference, IMO, is that Romeo didn't have a particular skill that the C's appeared to desperately need, so fans were more willing to be patient. But Nesmith's time will come, once he starts adjusting to the speed and complexities of the NBA.
 

benhogan

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Yeah, after seeing him in preseason I knew that I was wrong about him. He has to have absolutely insane peripheral vision to hit people in the shot pocket the way he does without ever looking directly at them. He’s like Pete Maravich out there. It looks like, barring injury, that he’ll be everything that the Lonz was supposed to be.
There wasn't much to go on, kind of had to see him play minutes at the NBA level to get a read. But after preseason you could see he belonged.

Melo is sneaky fast with the ball. He covered the length of the court last night in under 3 seconds to get up a paint shot at the end of a quarter. His +handle, speed, vision, and length will lead to some easy transition points for Charlotte.
 

benhogan

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Let's hope Nesmith is getting better behind the scenes. With this condensed schedule, though, how much practice time will the C's really have?
They barely practice in season during a regular NBA year. With a condensed schedule & COVID, I'd expect less practice this season.
 
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Cesar Crespo

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The big difference, IMO, is that Romeo didn't have a particular skill that the C's appeared to desperately need, so fans were more willing to be patient. But Nesmith's time will come, once he starts adjusting to the speed and complexities of the NBA.
I'm sure Nesmith will be fine but there's always an outside chance he never adjusts and flames out too.
 

Imbricus

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Both Celtics late first-round picks seem to be panning out ... unfortunately, the Celtics traded one of them.

Bane last night: 5-8 and 3-4 from three, for 13 points. In six games this year (still early), he's shooting 50% from three.
 

benhogan

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Both Celtics late first-round picks seem to be panning out ... unfortunately, the Celtics traded one of them.

Bane last night: 5-8 and 3-4 from three, for 13 points. In six games this year (still early), he's shooting 50% from three.
Bane and Bey are certainly showing that 3pt shooting translates to the NBA from college. Guess the NBA playbook isn't too much for them to digest if given small complimentary 2nd unit minutes

Bane, Bey and Nesmith were widely considered 3 of the best shooters in this draft

FREE Aaron!
 

Imbricus

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Saddiq Bey lit it up from three last night: 6-10. Looks like he may be able to shoot from distance, which added to a 6' 8" frame, is a nice get for Detroit.
 

Imbricus

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Tyrese Maxey with a really nice line for the Covid-depleted Sixers last night. They've got to be really happy about that. 18-33 from the field, 39 points, 6 assists, 2 steals and only 2 turnovers.
 

Tony C

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Saddiq Bey lit it up from three last night: 6-10. Looks like he may be able to shoot from distance, which added to a 6' 8" frame, is a nice get for Detroit.
I really thought the Clippers and Nets did well in picking up Kennard and Shamet, respectively, while the Pistons getting the 19th pick (and throwing in some other stuff, too, if memory serves) was the short end of the stick in that 3-way. Not so much. Shamet (not so suprisingly) and Kennard (surprisingly, I thought health would be his issue not performance while healthy -- but the Clippers also have a weird culture right now) are struggling while Bey is not just shooting well but showing real defensive skills, too.
 

Euclis20

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It's still super early, but I don't remember ever missing on someone as badly as I missed on Lamelo. Averaging a moderately efficient 13/6/6 in 25 minutes, ten games into his career with no summer league, severely abridged preseason and training camp, not to mention completely missing out on D1 ball because of his dad...just wow.
 

lovegtm

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It's still super early, but I don't remember ever missing on someone as badly as I missed on Lamelo. Averaging a moderately efficient 13/6/6 in 25 minutes, ten games into his career with no summer league, severely abridged preseason and training camp, not to mention completely missing out on D1 ball because of his dad...just wow.
The Hayward and Rozier signings look pretty decent for them now, since it gives Lamelo a strong cast to develop with. I didn't realize how good an outside shooter Rozier is becoming: 44% this year on 9 3PTA/36, after 41% on 7 attempts last year.
 

benhogan

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COVID + compressed schedule will actually lead to plenty of PT for Rookies across the NBA

My too early ROY ballot is in
1. Ball
2. Halliburton
3. Patrick Williams
4. Pritchard (goggles firmly in place)
5. Bey
6. Wiseman
7. Edwards
8. Maxey
9. Bane
10. Cole Anthony

I didn't realize how good an outside shooter Rozier is becoming: 44% this year on 9 3PTA/36, after 41% on 7 attempts last year.
Wonder how MJ is feeling about losing KemBaya and adding Terry now while saving $16MM/yr in the process.
 

lovegtm

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I know everyone here hates Rozier after 18-19, but he was really good defensively when engaged and would be a perfect complementary player now that he's gotten paid and can shoot.
 

chilidawg

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It's still super early, but I don't remember ever missing on someone as badly as I missed on Lamelo. Averaging a moderately efficient 13/6/6 in 25 minutes, ten games into his career with no summer league, severely abridged preseason and training camp, not to mention completely missing out on D1 ball because of his dad...just wow.
It was just so hard for me to know if he was good or not based on what was out there and the limited amount of time I have to look at prospects. Seemed the ultimate boom/bust guy. Given the whole Ball melodrama I was on the bust end of the spectrum with him too.
 

Cesar Crespo

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It's still super early, but I don't remember ever missing on someone as badly as I missed on Lamelo. Averaging a moderately efficient 13/6/6 in 25 minutes, ten games into his career with no summer league, severely abridged preseason and training camp, not to mention completely missing out on D1 ball because of his dad...just wow.
Nothing about his path to the NBA was normal so I'm guessing a lot of people missed. I'm guessing some of it is also because Lonzo didn't live up to the hype so people just figured the same on LaMelo.

LaMelo is going to be what Lonzo was hyped up to be. He's also wont be 20 until August.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Ball's probably front runner for ROY too atm, isn't he? Leads all rookies in rebounds and assists. 2nd in points. I don't see who else it would be.

PP isn't that far off from competing for the award too.

Edit: Desmond Bane would look really good in a C's uniform now too but with PP, that's just being greedy. Getting 2 guys like that in one draft though would be a huge haul.
 
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Sam Ray Not

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Holeee Christmas, I knew Ty Haliburton was good, but just checked his numbers. 15.7 points per 36 on .701 true shooting?? .521 from three on 6 attempts per 36?? 7.1 assists per 36 to 1.6 turnovers??

Dude is still 20 and is meant to have off the charts intangibles. Honestly, it’s not just the stupid Knicks with their lame Toppin pick that are gonna regret passing on this guy ... there may be 11 teams kicking themselves for passing on him when it’s said and done (though I still love the Wiseman pick for GS).

On the other end of the spectrum, early times, but: Isaac Okoro kinda looks like the “rich man’s Jacob Evans” I worried he might be. 6’-6” nominal good defender who cannot shoot, score, pass, or rebound. 8.0 pts on .457 TS, 2.1 reb, 2.0 ast per 36. Yes, that’s per 36!
 

HomeRunBaker

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There is one player on this list who I’d say is tremendous value......and only one. Any guesses?
 

Kliq

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He will need to shoot the ball better but Cole Anthony is going to get a lot of playing time for a playoff team.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I shouldn’t say the “only” one as you could make a valid case for Wiseman at +800......but for me the value is with Halliburton at 6-1 as I have him at #2 early behind Ball. I’m a huge Ball guy in the futures market but with an entire season ahead of us there is the injury risk along with everything else. 6-1 just seems really good for the 2nd choice.

I’ve been watching a lot of Hornets recently and of the mistakes Ball makes it seems like many of them are him not yet understanding how long or athletic a defender is which is going to come with time.