3 NBA Draft Picks Who Landed with the Ideal Team
Several players were selected by teams that appear to be the perfect place for them to start their professional basketball careers
As quickly as it came, the 2020 NBA draft is over, having been done in efficient and unspectacular fashion due to the COvid-19 pandemic. Determining how individual teams did with their selections won’t start to be known until the upcoming season starts. However, at first glance, there appear to be a few players who were a perfect match for the team that took them in the hopes they will become significant contributors in the coming years.
James Wiseman, Center- Golden State Warriors: The Warriors won three NBA titles over the past five years largely on the strength of their guard play and unlimited bombs-away range from beyond the three-point line. Unfortunately, age and injuries were cause for significant dings in their armor this past season.
Star Klay Thompson was recently ruled out for the entire 2020–2021 season but the Warriors still have a strong core with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and the recently acquired Kelly Oubre. Adding Wiseman with the second overall selection simply made too much sense. At 7’1” and with freakishly-long arms, the 19-year-old saw his college career consist of all of three games but has so much physical and athletic talent that his future is potentially limitless.
Unlike many star big men entering the league, Wiseman won’t be forced into the stressful role of having to be a star from the start. With a solid cast around him, he can depend on his physicality at first to rebound and play defense and let the rest of his game come more gradually and naturally. As Curry is reaching his final years before retirement, Wiseman should just be graduating to star status, assuming all goes well in the coming seasons.
Aaron Nesmith, Guard/Forward- Boston Celtics: The Celtics were one of the most consistent and successful teams last season, but one area of glaring need was a dead-eye shooter, particularly coming off their bench. It appears they may have finally found their man in Nesmith, who they acquired with the 14th pick.
The swing man was the deadliest shooter in college ball last season, knocking down an impressive 52.2% of his 8.2 three-point attempts per game. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to 14 games, but he was a star when he was on the floor, pouring in 23.0 points per contest with Vanderbilt.
Nesmith doesn’t project as an impact defender, and shooting is certainly his dominant skill. However, such players can provide major impact in today’s NBA. Looking at Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson with the Miami Heat and Davis Bertans with the Washington Wizards, Boston can’t help but be excited about having obtained such an exciting prospect who helps fill a major void on a team that is primed to make yet another run deep into the playoffs.
RJ Hampton, Guard- Denver Nuggets: After starting the year as a likely top-five pick, Hampton landed with the Nuggets with the 24th overall selection after they obtained the pick in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. Denver may have gotten themselves a steal. The guard played overseas instead of college this past year, which gave him much needed experience but still hasn‘t cured him of being raw.
Fortunately, the Nuggets are the perfect team to nourish a project like Hampton. With an incredibly deep roster, there is no pressure for him to produce right out of the gate. Offense is his primary forte, but he will be brought along slowly to try and improve other areas of his game. Denver has already shown themselves to be successful with this strategy of developing prospects, as Michael Porter, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic are cornerstones of the franchise and all began their time in Denver in a similar fashion.
Some young players need more time than others to tap into their true potential. Hampton has shown he has the ability to be a play-making combo guard. With the Nuggets, he will get plenty of time and patience to fulfill such promise, which is a luxury not often afforded to someone in his position.