Here are what I believe are the best and worst fits for the seven SEC prospects slated to be selected on Thursday night. (Note: This post is looking at teams who may realistically draft these players, otherwise everyone’s best fit would be with great franchises like the Spurs or Warriors).
1. Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
Best Fit: Dallas Mavericks at Pick No. 5
Worst Fit: Cleveland Cavaliers at Pick No. 8
Porter Jr. is possibly the most interesting prospect in this draft. He barely played at Missouri last season due to a terrible back injury which will scare off some teams, but he has incredible talent.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) June 14, 2018
Unless teams are secretly terrified of his injury past, there is no way Porter Jr. falls out of the top 10 picks. Ideally, he should be hoping that he gets selected by the Mavericks.
Dallas still has a solid infrastructure with Rick Carlisle as the head coach, an NBA legend in Dirk to help bring along Porter Jr., and a budding young star in Dennis Smith Jr.
Cleveland would be the worst spot as Porter Jr. would be asked way too soon after returning from such a serious injury to try and replace LeBron James (yes, he is going to leave). That won’t be an easy task alongside such a bad roster.
2. Kevin Knox, Kentucky
Best Fit: Charlotte Hornets at Pick No. 11
Worst Fit: Orlando Magic at Pick No. 6
Charlotte seems like a great fit for Knox’s talent. The Hornets have a nice inside-outside game with Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard, and they are just missing an offensive threat from the forward position.
Nicholas Batum and Marvin Williams took huge steps back last season, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just isn’t good offensively. Slide Knox into the rotation and the Hornets will be in business.
The Magic are one of the worst franchises in the entire league. Combine that with the fact that their roster is full of athletic forwards fighting for playing time, and I’m afraid Knox will get lost in the stupid chaos. In a weird way, I hope he does not get drafted this high.
3. Collin Sexton, Alabama
Best Fit: New York Knicks at Pick No. 9
Worst Fit: Philadelphia 76ers at Pick No. 10
Yes, I know saying that the Knicks are an ideal destination for someone sounds stupid, but hear me out on this one. I’m still high on Sexton’s talent. His flashy style of play will work perfectly with the Knicks who are badly missing an exciting point guard.
Pick and rolls with him and Porzingis would be deadly. Guard Frank Ntilikina is going to be a great defensive guard. Pairing him with Sexton will prevent the Alabama star from spending a lot of energy on defense.
The 76ers drafting Sexton makes literally no sense at all, which is why it won’t happen. They have ball dominant players already in Simmons and potentially Fultz. Landing in Philly means Sexton will struggle to fully translate his talent onto the court.
4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
Best Fit: L.A. Clippers at Pick No. 12 or No. 13
Worst Fit: Milwaukee Bucks at Pick No. 17
“It is what it is, trust me you get what you give” ? pic.twitter.com/xmxudccCW5
— Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (@shaiglalex) June 16, 2018
Personally, I think the Clippers taking Shai would be one of the best fits in the entire draft. They are incredibly weak at the point guard position considering that Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic couldn’t guard a trash can.
He would give them an immediate upgrade defensively from those players and become an active player in their rotation. At the end of a lottery, a player like that isn’t always a guarantee.
I don’t think Shai will fall all the way down to 17, but if he did I have a feeling the Bucks would take him to backup Eric Bledsoe. That franchise has a thing for players with huge wingspans, but I feel like he could get lost in this rotation alongside Bledsoe, Brandon Jennings, and Matthew Dellavedova.
5. Robert Williams, Texas A&M
Best Fit: L.A. Clippers at Pick No. 12 or No. 13
Worst Fit: Washington Wizards at Pick No. 15
I really think it would be in the Clippers best interest to pick Shai and Williams back-to-back on Thursday night. Both players would provide immediate defensive help while also providing potential sparks on offense.
I know that the Clippers still have DeAndre Jordan, but he only has one year left on his contract, and I’m willing to bet he will be getting out of town. Who better to mentor Williams his first year in the league than a fellow Aggie who has a very similar playing style?
The Wizards could potentially select him as they need some rim protection as well. However, they seem like a team with too much drama. Williams doesn’t always play his hardest on the floor, and he certainly doesn’t need to go to a team that will not push him to always play hard.
6. Hamidou Diallo, Kentucky
Best Fit: Atlanta Hawks at Pick No. 30
Worst Fit: Orlando Magic at Pick No. 35
Sneaking into the first round would be huge for Diallo. This draft is supposedly weak at this point which could cause a team like Atlanta to prevent a talented prospect like Diallo from being a second-round pick.
The Hawks are such a young and bad team, and they could really use an athletic defender like Diallo at the two-guard spot. Their current shooting guards are Tyler Dorsey and Antonius Cleveland. Diallo should be an upgrade from those guys.
Can you tell I don’t like the Magic? Similar with Knox above, the Magic are pretty set at Diallo’s position and he could get lost in their terrible infrastructure. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they selected him because they need the defensive help.
7. Jarred Vanderbilt, Kentucky
Best Fit: L.A. Lakers at Pick No. 47
In case you haven’t heard, the Lakers are about to completely change up their entire roster. They are a prime team in the LeBron sweepstakes, plus Kawhi Leonard supposedly wants to play there as well.
If they do transform into a super team, Vanderbilt would be a great selection near the end of the draft. A high-energy rebounder that also provides toughness is an ideal skill set for a bench player trying to earn playing time. Plus, he could be learning from Leonard and James which is perfect.
The Rockets were the best team in the regular season last year, but wow does Vanderbilt not need to go there. All they do is shoot three-pointers, and he pretty much has no outside jump shot right now. It wouldn’t make sense for Houston to draft him, but good teams like selecting good defensive players.