The NBA draft is tomorrow night at 7:00. This is such an exciting time, and we wanted to get some more insight at the last second. Thankfully, James Plowright took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us. He is the editor and founder of The Lottery Mafia. We are very grateful that he was able to give us his insight on the draft tomorrow night, and he also gave us information on who the Nuggets might be looking to draft. Check out the Q & A here!
Q: How many superstars do you think will emerge from this years draft class?
A: This is such a hard question, it all depends on a person’s interpretation of “Star”. For example, is Kawhi Leonard a “Star? Or is he just an elite role player? So to try and make it a little more cut and dry, I will look at it in this way “Who from this years draft class will make an all star game”. I guess I see Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Dante Exum and Aaron Gordon all making an all star appearance in their career, it may take over five years for some of them (Embiid & Gordon) but they have all the tools to get there. Parker has been my number one guy all year, I think his worries on defense, conditioning and athleticism are completely overblown. I also disagree with the notion that he is NBA ready but has a low ceiling, due to his size and skill set I think he has a higher upside than Andrew Wiggins.
Q: Who do you think is the best fit for the Nuggets?
A: The Nuggets have been the hardest team to read for me during this entire process, the don’t really appear to be that high on anyone. I haven’t heard much about who they are interested in, so I will have to go off who I believe will be a good fit. The guy I am desperate for Denver to take is Adreiane Payne, I have had them taking him in a number of my mock drafts and believe he would be a terrific fit. Zach Harper & Matt Moore also recently mentioned on the CBS Sports Eye On Basketball Podcast that they too believe he would suit Denver well, so it appears I am not alone on this. I think Payne has the “smash mouth” style that Brian Shaw likes, he is also versatile enough offensively to fill on role, whether it be to stretch the floor next to Mozgov or bang inside when Gallinari is out there. Unlike most stretch fours Payne is very good defensively, he rebounds well and would still be able to protect the rim. Elfridd Payton is another name I like here, I think he could play alongside Lawson at times and could even be an eventual replacement if his shooting improves.
Q: Do you think the Nuggets could take as shot on Dario Saric?
A: Saric is another guy I really like, he is a top 8 talent but doesn’t look like he will be coming over for a year or two. If Denver are happy with their current set of wings and power forwards for the short term he could be a great pick up, I was close to putting him in the “All Star” section from the first question. Personally I don’t see many of the picks here really changing the needle on Denver’s potential playoff push, so why not take a guy like Saric who when he does come over will be one of the best international rookies we have seen? Personally, I think it is worth the risk, unless someone from the top 8 or 9 drops.
Q: Do you think the Nuggets should hold onto their pick or trade it for a veteran?
A: I am kind of biased, but I always like to get rookies as they are normally good value for money and you can hold onto them for a good amount of time. However, the Nuggets already have so many assets and pieces I worry that a rookie may just get lot in the rotation like Fournier & Miller did at times this last season. Personally, I think Denver need to decide who they are sticking with and clear house with the rest, they have been waiting onto all these average-decent players for a while but have failed to make any great moves. If they were able to trade back for Aaron Afflalo or swing a sign and trade for Greg Monroe, which would be a GREAT deal for them, I would pull the trigger. I certainly wouldn’t trade the pick for just a future pick, this is the best draft since 2003 in my opinion, he need to take value while it is there. One option I do like that I have heard a lot about is trading 11 for the Bulls 16 and 19, I think that would give them a few more options, I also don’t think the talent drop off is that severe.
Q: Finally, 5 years from now, who is the best player from this draft?
A: I could give the boring answer here which is Jabari Parker, but I am going to go in a different direction and select Joel Embiid. It may take a while for him to reach his potential but the game came so naturally to him and such a short amount of time it is scary to think what he could do with NBA level coaching. Whichever team takes him will give him the best medical care there is available, I don’t foresee anyone rushing him back early. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he sat the entire 2014/15 season out in a similar way to Nerlens Noel. Some might say the league is moving away from big men, but I think that is mainly because there are not that many quality ones around. Embiid elite physical gifts, a hard work ethic and a diverse skill set, his potentially really is through the roof. Obviously the big question is will his health hold out, I am no medical expert, but man… I hope he gets better because he will be fun to watch for the years to come.