If media members were allowed to run the NBA for one week, it would look a lot like this madness.
Over at Bleacher Report, their NBA department dove deep into their bag of quarantine ideas and came away with a full-blown fantasy league. 30 B/R employees chose 30 different NBA franchises with one week leading up to a fantasy draft. Their goal was to create an exact model of the NBA’s current salary cap one week before the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft. Trading picks and players were encouraged and each GM went through the draft selection process. A group consisting of other B/R staff members, business students, a current and former Western Conference executive, and a player agent decided which GM made the best moves.
Everything was taken into account when judging the team’s moves; from the value of acquired future picks, to how new teammates might play together, and how each GM drafted in regards to B/R’s Big Board.
The result was mass chaos.
40 trades were executed in just six days and by the time the draft came around, the league as we all know it was shuffled like a deck of cards. Before we get into the draft results, here are some of the highlights from the mess of trades.
Julius Randle traded away from the New York Knicks to the San Antonio Spurs.
Hamidou Diallo traded away from Oklahoma City Thunder to Charlotte Hornets.
Jamal Murray traded away from Denver Nuggets to Orlando Magic.
*The Murray trade to Orlando was shocking to me, as it split up the deadly offensive duo of himself and big man Nikola Jokic on the Nuggets. But Denver managed to add a good shooter in Evan Fournier to make up for Gary Harris’ recent dropoff while bringing in Aaron Gordon to work alongside Jokic. They also added Derrick White from the Spurs to assume Murray’s role as the lead guard. In Orlando, Murray would take over as the go-scorer with another big man who can score at a high volume in Nikola Vucevic.*
On Saturday night, it was time to draft. Each pick was given a grade by the same committee that would eventually declare a “Fantasy Executive of the Year”.
Three Kentucky Wildcats had their name selected within the 60 picks and it was the same trio the Big Blue Nation has been expecting to hear have their names called during the actual NBA Draft; Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, and Nick Richards.
Maxey was taken 13th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans (@PrestonEllis), Quickley went 45th to the Orlando Magic (@csnguyen), and Richards fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder (@Jakeley_BR) with the 51st pick.
Here’s how they were graded along with what the experts had to say about the picks.
13. Pelicans: Tyrese Maxey
Maxey is a safe bet outside the top five because of his strong build, versatile shot-making ability and coordinated finishing package. He lacks athleticism and playmaking ability, which lowers his ceiling, but Maxey has the skill set and mindset to be a role-playing scorer.
45. Magic: Immanuel Quickley
A limited athlete and creator, Quickley will lean on his jump shot to try to find an NBA role as a shooting specialist.
51. Thunder: Nick Richards
Even if his shooting development stalls, Richards has a chance to stick in the right role that values his athleticism for finishing and shot-blocking.
In the end, the Houston Rockets’ GM (Michael Vernon) came away as the Executive of the Year for trading away players such as Chris Paul, PJ Tucker, Austin Rivers, and Danuel House Jr. in exchange for the likes of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Trevor Ariza, Dennis Smith Jr., Wayne Ellington, Furkan Korkmaz, Taj Gibson, and others. You can check out all of the 30 final rosters by clicking the link here.
It seems as though the three former Wildcats are all falling in the same general range; Maxey as a late lottery pick, Quickley a mid-second round choice, and Richards a late second-rounder. It’ll be interesting to see how close these projections are once the real NBA Draft finally rolls around.