On the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast, host Michael Scotto is joined by HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky. The duo discussed why the Warriors, Knicks, Magic, Thunder, Pelicans, and Nets are teams who could trade their draft picks. They also discussed whether a Collin Sexton trade could be in play for the Cavaliers and which players scouts believe are boosting their stocks and rising leading up to the draft.
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:35 Golden State Warriors trading their lottery picks?
Scotto: One team to keep an eye on that has two picks in the lottery is the Golden State Warriors, who have picks No. 7 and 14. That’s a team I certainly have my eye on as a team that could look to move their picks. With the core they have of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson coming back from injury, and Draymond Green, they’re in more of a win-now mode for me. In talking to other teams around the league, that’s their vibe as well. They’ve got James Wiseman, as well, another young asset that they could look to potentially flip if they deem it noteworthy.
Kalbrosky: Amongst the scouts that I’ve spoken to, I think many of them feel that it’s a six-player draft in terms of who the most notable players are at the top that is most likely to receive heavy consideration. Those players being Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Scottie Barnes. I think that Keon Johnson may have done himself some favors, maybe in that seventh spot by breaking the record for the highest max vertical recorded ever at the combine at 48 inches.
3:35 New York Knicks trading some of their draft picks?
Scotto: The Knicks have four picks No. 19, 21, 32, and 58. Given where they were last year and surpassing expectations by going to the playoffs and making some noise there and looking to build on that, a lot of people around the league aren’t looking at the Knicks coming out of that draft with four picks. I expect them to be a team looking to either try and move up or move those picks to try to get some veteran help.
8:36 Orlando Magic trading their lottery picks?
Scotto: The Magic have three picks, No. 5, 8, and 33. They’re a team, for me, that I think is going to be interesting because having No. 5 and 8, you wonder if you can package that and move up a little bit more if there was a guy they really liked.
John Hammond has always been a guy that’s always believed in length and athleticism. You saw that with Giannis Antetokounmpo when he was there (Milwaukee) as part of that draft. Something to monitor when they’re picking at No. 5 depending on who falls to them.
10:20 Oklahoma City Thunder trading their draft picks?
Scotto: They have six picks right now, No. 6, 16, 18, 34, 36, and 55. In a six-player draft, let’s say Scottie Barnes or Jonathan Kuminga ended up going to them, I’d say those are the two guys that could end up there. Although, I’d put my money on Barnes as of now.
Kalbrosky: Barnes, I think, is a perfect fit for that roster, especially the way he plays on-ball and pairing him with someone like (Aleksej) Pokusevski. The duo of those two guys could give them the chance to do something crazy the way they bring out ball handlers and have a really tall lineup. He’s one of those guys who lack shooting, but if you look at Sam Presti drafting Russell Westbrook, a freak athlete coming out of college who had excellent court vision and playmaking but didn’t have quite a shooting touch yet, I think you could see a similar thing with Barnes, who’s significantly taller. With Orlando (one pick ahead of OKC), Jonathan Kuminga has one of those prototypes that the Magic tend to covet.
Scotto: Kuminga is a guy that’s been compared by coach Brian Shaw of the G League Ignite to Jaylen Brown and OG Anunoby.
12:18 New Orleans Pelicans trading their draft picks?
Scotto: The Pelicans have four second-round draft picks No. 35, 40, 43, and 53. Looking at that team, they’ve got a lot of young guys right now, and I don’t see them carrying four second-round picks, whether it’s draft and stash, I certainly expect them to be working the phones, and I think others around the league feel the same way at this point.
Kalbrosky: Moses Moody is somebody who I think is a really good value at No. 10 and somebody that I think would be a really great role player for that offense, giving them a floor spacer. That’s what New Orleans needed last year. They need guys that can shoot next to Zion Williamson, and that’s what Moody can do.
16:15 Brooklyn Nets trading their draft picks?
Scotto: The Nets have four picks, three of which are in the second round. For them, in particular that No. 27 pick is interesting to see if they move it due to future luxury tax implications.
17:45 Who could the Toronto Raptors take at No. 4?
Kalbrosky: Toronto was the second biggest winner at the lottery outside of Detroit. They don’t have to have any egg on their face by picking the wrong guy. The way I see it, some combination of Mobley, the Jalens (Suggs and Green), potentially Kuminga go before, and then you pick the one that wasn’t picked if you’re Toronto. You’ve got an insurance policy in the backcourt for an aging Kyle Lowry with either of the Jalens.
20:32 Who could the Houston Rockets take at No. 2?
Scotto: I think it’s Mobley because you’re pairing him with Christian Wood, and Rafael Stone, the Houston Rockets’ executive, said the other day that they’re positionless. When you’re young and starting over after the James Harden trade, you’ve got to get the best guy available.
21:19 Could the Cleveland Cavaliers take Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green and trade Collin Sexton?
Scotto: Cleveland has a backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. If Mobley’s off the board, to most people, you’d look at the guards, and Jalen Suggs and Jalen Green would be there, but is that a fit? If you take one of those guys, then you’re probably looking at moving Sexton or Garland because that would be a crowded backcourt for three guys that need time to develop. Sexton is coming up on the opportunity to have a contract extension. From what I can gather within Cleveland, one of Sexton’s biggest values to them is his durability, and they value that there. Is he a guy that’s a maximum extension guy? No. Not in my opinion. He’s a really good scoring guard, and they have to decide while trying to keep Jarrett Allen, you’ve got to figure out if you’re paying both because then the salary cap is locked in tightly?
25:00 Which prospects are rising in the draft according to scouts?
Kalbrosky: I think the No. 1 name that’s come up is Scottie Barnes. People are getting really excited about his unique size and athleticism. I think that he was seen as a notch below the top five guys before the combine. I think he’s kind of solidified himself in that same tier with a 6-foot-7 height and a 7-foot-3 wingspan, as well as one of the best shuttle runs among all participants. He’s a great playmaker and on-ball defender who is versatile and switchable. He can play almost any position on the court. If his shooting comes along, he’s going to be a special guy to watch for sure.
Another guy who’s really risen for a lot of people is Jericho Sims out of Texas. One scout I spoke with said he’s pretty sure that he’d bet anything Sims gets drafted based on what he saw from him in a team workout. Now that he’s had the combine workouts to show his athleticism, it became even more apparent. He had a 44.5-inch vertical. He’s also one of the faster guys out there with a 7-foot-3 wingspan.
I think Scottie Lewis is somebody worth watching as well. He changed my mind a lot during the combine so far. He had a 42-inch vertical leap that was among the best among all participants outside of Jericho Sims and Keon Johnson. He also had the best mark at the three-quarter court sprint and the fastest lane agility time. With his unique length as well, he’s somebody, who I think, with a 7-foot wingspan, can guard multiple positions and is a great defensive playmaker in a similar mold to Marcus Smart and De’Anthony Melton.
The last guy is Joe Wieskamp out of Iowa. He was a little bit behind the scenes, almost playing alongside Luka Garza, who was the consensus college player of the year. I think he’s done a lot to help himself during the combine so far, especially in the eyes of scouts who notice that he’s not only a 40-plus percent three-point shooter in college but surprisingly athletic. He is somebody who finished in the 97th percentile off the catch, shooting three-pointers last season but also had a 42-inch maximum vertical.
Across the board, there are some guys changing their bodies a little bit that are raising some eyebrows. Luka Garza and Daishen Nix of the G League Ignite program both come to mind in that sense.