The NBA season has now reached the halfway mark, and the rookies are certainly impressive. Despite having no preseason and limited training, they have mostly put in good performances. However, it has become clear that some teams may have made the wrong choice in the draft. Here is a full redraft of the NBA Draft Lottery, based on stats and team fit.
Pick 1: LaMelo Ball(Minnesota Timberwolves)
At the moment, LaMelo Ball is the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, averaging 15.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists on 44.9/37.8/80.2 shooting splits. Although the Minnesota Timberwolves already have D’Angelo Russell at point guard, LaMelo or Russell could play interchangeably at the 1 and 2 spots, or LaMelo could come off the bench as he did at the start of the season for the Hornets. Adding Ball could definitely have boosted the Timberwolves to potentially a spot in the play-in tournament, instead of their current 7-29 record.
Pick 2: James Wiseman(Golden State Warriors)
James Wiseman is one of the few players who won’t be changed in this redraft. The only doubts here is whether the Warriors would prefer to take Georgia’s Anthony Edwards if the full extent of Klay Thompson‘s injury was known. However, it makes more sense for the Warriors to bring in Wiseman. Despite the fact that Wiseman didn’t get a proper training camp, the center currently averages 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists on 51/37/62.9 shooting splits. He is a very good fit in the organization and is the best choice to bridge the gap between the end of the Warriors dynasty and the beginning of a rebuild.
Pick 3: Anthony Edwards(Charlotte Hornets)
Anthony Edwards is a very underrated player. Despite being taken first overall, he hasn’t been getting too much attention and has been slightly inconsistent anyways. He currently is averaging 14.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, on 37.1/30.2/80/5 shooting splits. Although he hasn’t shot the basketball efficiently, that can be attributed to the adjustment period he might need, along with the fact that the ball ends up in his hands more often than it does with his fellow draftees, because of how poor Minnesota have been. If LaMelo and Wiseman are both off the board before the Hornets, then Edwards is the obvious third pick.
Pick 4: Patrick Williams(Chicago Bulls)
With the fourth pick in the draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Patrick Williams. Although Williams was a complete unknown and seemed like a waste of a pick when the likes of Tyrese Haliburton and Deni Avdija were still on the board, he has impressed Chicago fans so far. With his energetic play and silky midrange shot, Williams has shown that he is worthy of the fourth pick in this redraft, averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 47.4/39/78.8 shooting splits. If he keeps on developing at his current rate, he might justify the Kawhi Leonard comparisons that have been going around in the media.
Pick 5: Obi Toppin(Cleveland Cavaliers)
Obi Toppin may not have impressed many with his current play for the New York Knicks, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t move up the ladder. Tom Thibodeau is famous for his reluctance to play rookies, and that has been the case for Toppin. He has played the fifth-least minutes on the Knicks and has not been able to develop. If he went to the Cavs at pick five, he could develop under J.B. Bickerstaff and become a premier power forward.
Pick 6: Tyrese Haliburton(Atlanta Hawks)
The Atlanta Hawks took Onyeka Okongwu with the sixth pick, which didn’t make sense since they had Clint Capela. However, they have been trying to find a player who can playmake and score when Trae Young is off the court and Tyrese Haliburton is perfect for that role. If they had taken Haliburton, who is averaging 13.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists, they wouldn’t have had to spend a combined $11.7 million on Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn in free agency, which would have helped them save cap space. This move would also help Haliburton grow on this young exciting Hawks team, and his ability to play in both guard spots could be very useful for the Hawks.
Pick 7: Cole Anthony(Detroit Pistons)
Cole Anthony is another player who has impressed despite being taken outside of the lottery. Averaging 11 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists, he has been an important part of a floundering Orlando Magic team, who are missing both Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz to longterm injuries. Since Killian Hayes has been injured, it is tough to judge whether he is worth that seventh overall pick. Instead, the Pistons select Anthony, and he could elevate their play and potentially improve their win-loss ratio.
Pick 8: Immanuel Quickley(New York Knicks)
The Knicks already drafted Immanuel Quickley in real life, but they would most likely use their pick to snap him up as fast as they can, since Quickley is a genuine Rookie of the Year contender. Currently averaging 12.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists, Quickley’s surface stats don’t seem the most impressive, but he also has been an excellent play starter for the Knicks. That is why the Knicks would draft him, especially since Toppin is off the board.
Pick 9: Onyeka Okongwu(Washington Wizards)
If Onyeka Okongwu had slipped to the ninth pick in the draft, it is likely the Wizards would have taken him. Although Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant are both good bigs, Okongwu has currently not been getting too many minutes, since Clint Capela is having a career year. However, his per-36 numbers of 11.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists show that he could be a good center. Another reason why Okongwu would work is because of Thomas Bryant’s injuries. Bryant is confirmed to be out for the rest of the season, and could be out for even longer. In that absentee period Okongwu could thrive, and would also be able to work well with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal.
Pick 10: Tyrese Maxey(Phoenix Suns)
Tyrese Maxey has been looking like a steal for the Philadelphia 76ers. On the other hand, Jalen Smith has not impressed at Phoenix. While the Suns are arguably strongest at the guard spots, adding Tyrese Maxey to come off the bench would make the team even stronger. Maxey currently averages 8.0 points a game, on 45/27.3/88 shooting splits. Although he does need to work on hitting the three more often, Maxey could be a livewire off the bench and could have helped change some Phoenix losses to wins.
Pick 11: Deni Avdija(San Antonio Spurs)
Deni Avdija has been a promising spark in a poor Wizards team. Although he is averaging just 5.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists, he has had flashes of brilliance. The Spurs tried to upgrade their wing with Devin Vassell. If Avdija was still available, then the smartest move for the Spurs would be to pick up Avdija, who was as high as pick four in some mock drafts.
Pick 12: Payton Pritchard(Sacramento Kings)
Payton Pritchard has been a big surprise. Despite being one of the less heralded players in the draft, Pritchard exploded in the absence of Kemba Walker, averaging 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Although those numbers aren’t very impressive, Pritchard would be a third or fourth option at best for the Celtics. On the Kings, who are 14-22, Pritchard would get the ball more, and would be able to back up De’Aaron Fox for the Kings roster. Although it’s unlikely, he could be just as effective as Tyrese Haliburton.
Pick 13: Kira Lewis Jr(New Orleans Pelicans)
Kira Lewis Jr is the fourth and final player who isn’t drafted by a different team in this redraft. Although he hasn’t been the most impressive rookie, averaging 5.2 points, 0.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists, he also hasn’t been getting too many minutes. His per-36 numbers offer a more convincing case, with 14.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 5 assists. Additionally, the Pelicans really wanted a backup guard, and there aren’t any guards substantially better who are still on the board after this redraft.
Pick 14: Saddiq Bey(Boston Celtics)
With this pick in the original draft, the Boston Celtics selected Aaron Nesmith. However, Nesmith hasn’t shown enough to be redrafted in the same position here. In comparison, Saddiq Bey has been impressive after being drafted with the 19th overall pick. Bey is averaging 9.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists. The Boston Celtics have been looking for quality wing depth because they lost Gordon Hayward. If they drafted Bey, they could have a good young wing who can fill in well when Jayson Tatum is not playing.