Why does a good NBA front office matter? Well, below there is plenty of reasons for you to choose from.
The 2020 NBA Draft was one of the most wide open drafts we’ve seen in recent memory. There was no clear cut #1 pick. So many undrafted players that could’ve easily went in the first round. Players selected in the top 10 that were projected to go between 15-20. Players in the top ten of ESPN 100 in from the class of 2019 players went second round. This comes in the year and season of the unknown, this draft definitely lived up to that hype.
Some franchises that really stood out on draft day and this off season so far with picks and trades include Philadelphia Sixers, Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks. Free agency begins tonight at 6pm Eastern.
Daryl Morey, Elton Brand and Doc Rivers have already shown they’re going to be an amazing team off the court with the talent and pieces they're putting on the court. With the acquisition of Danny Green who is veteran 3 and D guy with an expiring contract, Philadelphia has put themselves in position to compete now and later. In that deal they were able to unload Al Horford’s contract with 3 years, $81M remaining. It was pretty clear last season he couldn’t play well with Embiid.
With their 21st pick in the draft a kid by the name of Tyrese Maxey fell to them after being a projected lottery pick. This just may have been the steal of the draft. Maxey is known for his shot making ability and defense. He can create his own shot and for others as well. That will take immense pressure off of Ben Simmons and their backcourt defense will improve even more!
The Sixers best move may have come in the middle of the draft when they traded Josh Richardson for Seth Curry. Statistically, Curry is the best shooter in NBA history. One of the best dead-eye shooters in the game from long-range and mid-range, Curry has provided his former teams with instant offense. The pick and roll with Curry and Embiid could be special. Curry can also pick and roll or pick and pop with Simmons. He gives the Sixers much needed floor spacing for Embiid to operate and Simmons to facilitate.
Philadelphia should be excited for what is to come in the Wells Fargo Center! The Sixers will be a championship contender this season and for years to come.
Michael Jordan’s track record has not been the best when it comes to evaluating and selecting talent as an owner. Nevertheless, Jordan has put a front office together that has the resume and experience to help him build the franchise in that area.
Jordan gave the front office his blessing to acquire LaMelo Ball with the 3rd pick in the NBA draft. Some who believe is the most talented player in this years draft. Standing at 6’7 with crafty handles, elite court vision and ability to create his own shot, Ball can help the Hornets right away. Charlotte already has the most interest from fans to attend the games once the NBA approves for fans to be allowed back in arenas. That kind of star power is something this Hornets organization has not had. Ball has a huge international fan base as well due to him playing professionally overseas in his junior and senior seasons of high school. Let’s see if LaMelo Ball can bring the buzz back to the city!
Charlotte maybe had the best second round of them all. Drafting Vernon Carey at 32, Nick Richards at 42 and Grant Riller at 56. Carey was a ESPN top 100 prospect all throughout high school. Senior season Carey was considered a top 3 prospect on most evaluation platforms in his class. After a rocky season at Duke and the pandemic shutting things down early, Carey's stock dropped drastically. Fortunately, for the Hornets Carey was there at number 32. Big man Nick Richards and combo guard Grant Riller will provide more toughness to a young Hornets team. Riller has leadership qualities that will undoubtedly help Charlotte grow.
New York Knicks
There’s been a dark cloud hanging over the Knicks franchise for quite sometime now. New York hasn’t made the playoffs since 2013 and the NBA Finals since 1999. Putting executives in place such as William Wesley and Leon Rose, New York has a plan! Also, with the hire of Tom Thibodeau the Knicks are bound to have a new identity. It all starts with their first offseason together.
The Knicks selected the best player available with the 8th pick. They didn’t over think it. Selecting Obi Toppin the 2019-2020 AP player of the year in men’s college hoops was a step in the right direction to bring this franchise back to contending status. Standing at 6’9, Toppin’s athleticism is off the charts. He’s a good catch and shoot player too. Landing with Thibodeau will be essential in becoming a more consistent defender for Toppin.
New York also had the 25th pick and is in dire needed of guard play. With Immanuel Quickley still on the board the Knicks did not hesitate to select the combo guard from the University of Kentucky. Quickley, another top prospect heading into college did not have the season he had hope for. His game is tailor made for the NBA and with his work ethic he’ll fit in Tom Thibodeau’s system well.
A move the Knicks made that stood out to most was signing Myles Powell. The former Seton Hall guard won the Jerry West Award (SG of the year), and Big East Player of the year. Going undrafted will be fuel for Powell, as if he needs anymore. It all starts with training camp for him. The Knicks desperately need shooting and that’s a speciality Powell can provide.
Lastly, with rumors swirling that the Knicks plan to go after some of this years top free agents, New York declined team options for Theo Pinson and Bobby Portis. The Knicks also waived guards Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, forward Kenny Wooten and center Taj Gibson. These moves put New York in position to get star quality players to make a playoff push.
Golden State Warriors
What a year and a half it has been for the Golden State Warriors. Wow, going from a dynasty to having the worse record in the league. Granted it was due to major injuries to their two best players Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, but this was uncharted territory for the Warriors. Golden State expected to bring a fully healthy team back this year to return to contention, but Klay Thompson tore his Achilles on draft night while working out in Southern California. This was devastating news for the Warriors as they prepared for the draft.
Positioned with the #2 overall selection in the draft the Warriors chose James Wisemen out of Memphis. The 7’1 big man is a very energetic and strong young man. Defense, rebounding and running the floor will be his main priority and Wiseman was the first to acknowledge this. He will fit right into the system. Playing alongside Draymond Green and Steph Curry, Wiseman will get the best of both worlds when it comes to tips on defense from Green and tips on offense from Curry.
Never count out a champion. After the news broke about Klay Thompson’s injury the Warriors made a checkmate move by acquiring Kelly Oubre from the Thunder with their mid-level trade exception. This is such an underrated move with the leap Oubre has taken in the past few years. Pairing him alongside Andrew Wiggins and Steph Curry in the back court will help his development even more. Coming off an 18.7 ppg season with the Suns, Oubre is primed for the spotlight.
Another amazing move by Golden State was drafting Nico Mannion out of Arizona in the 2nd round. Steph Curry needs solid production off the bench so he doesn’t have to play 40 minutes a night if the Warriors expect to make another deep playoff run.
I wouldn’t count this team out. Yes, the injury to Klay is a huge blow, but they have a potential starting 5 of a unanimous MVP, defensive player of the year, a 20 ppg scorer, a 18 ppg scorer and the top prospect from the class of 2019. That is a team I believe can contend.
With free agency on the brink, let's see who takes their franchise to contending status.