It's hard to believe we're already here, back for the start of another NBA season. After fast and furious offseason, we collected the Hoop on Hoops family to share their takes and predictions on the shortened season ahead:
Another one in the books! After all the spicy rumors, things certainly could've been a bit more wild, but props to all parties for doing their best considering the circumstances. Here's our grades for the picks made by the lottery teams:
The lifting of the NBA moratorium created fireworks across the league. Multiple teams with plans for trades that had been brewing for months were finally able to fire them off, and did so immediately. Most notably, Chris Paul is heading to the Arizona desert, Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic are bound for Milwaukee, and Robert Covington is joining Dame and the gang in Portland.
The Lakers drew first blood on the offseason with their swap for Dennis Schroder. As was suggested in our Draft Predictions Roundtable, the Lakers were expected to move on from Green after his lukewarm showing in this year's playoffs, and the path they've now chosen is to use him to upgrade from Rajon Rondo with Schroder.
Jalen Smith should probably be rated much higher than a mid first rounder. He's being touted as what every team seems to want: a long, athletic big who can protect the rim and hit threes. He showed those skills in spades in his two seasons at Maryland, posting a 15.5 PPG / 10.5 RPG / 2.4 BPG while hitting 37% of his threes in his sophomore year. His performance this year didn't go unnoticed, landing him on the First-Team All-Big 10 team, Big 10 All-Defense Team, and onto the Late Season Wooden Award Watch List.
Does our model see his reputation as legitimate? Emphatically, yes:
Every year I fall in love with a prospect. In 2017 it was the Collins twins, Zach and John. In 2018, Jevon Carter. And last year, Grant Williams. It tends to be a player who pops in our model and feels severely underrated as well as simply who I like watching the most. It's also like finding that one unknown, up and coming band that no one else knows and is yours alone. It's just not as cool to say "yeah I really like that Zion guy this year".
In the 2020 draft, I had plenty of potential suitors. Tyrese Haliburton is a delight, but he's a little too highly ranked to hitch my wagon to. Desmond Bane is already every other draft nerd's sleeper pick. I'm a huge fan and believer in Aleksej Pokusevski (side note: how is Chet Holmgren this year's #1 high school recruit and Pokusevski isn't a top ten pick this year boggles my mind) but it's hard to truly fall in love via grainy video. And even though I've been patient and given the field a thorough review, I knew Jahmi'us Ramsey was going to be this year's titleholder right away.
Ramsey was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year this year, playing on the wing for Texas Tech. He's 6'4" and 195 pounds, and has a prototypical shooting guard frame. He's an explosive two-footed jumper whose highlight tapes start with him rejecting unsuspecting big men at the rim. He put up 15.0 PPG / 4.0 RPG / 2.2 APG and hit 43% of his threes using his effortless jumper.
Ramsey isn't perfect, as love never is, but our model says that he's got major NBA talent:
The 2020 Draft is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable nights of NBA transactions in a long time. Naturally, we thought we'd take a stab at predicting how it's going to play out. Below, friends of Hoop on Hoops share their visions for how they see Wednesday playing out:
Tyrese Maxey entered Kentucky as a consensus top ten recruit and had nice season in his one year in Lexington, garnering 2nd Team All-SEC honors and averaging 14.0 PPG / 4.3 RPG / 3.2 APG. He's currently forecasted to be drafted somewhere around the late lottery to mid first round range, with experts seeing elements of NBA stalwarts like Kyle Lowry, Ben Gordon, and Avery Bradley.
Our model and frankly most projection systems struggle to predict how well Kentucky players are going to do at the next level because of the overabundance of talent the Wildcats have year after year, which creates smaller roles for prospects that would be alpha dogs at most other programs. Despite this volatility, we're still confident that Maxey is the most overrated prospect in this year's draft:
Cole Anthony entered this season as one of the most ballyhooed freshman in the nation - a consensus top three recruit and son of former NBA player Greg Anthony. He had a nice individual year in his one season in Chapel Hill, averaging a 18.5 PPG / 5.7 RPG / 4.0 APG line, but a disappointing year for the Tar Heels and poor efficiency for Anthony has caused many to sour on his NBA potential.