OP ED: Sarcastic Joe’s reaction to 2020 NBA draft
November 19, 2020
The NBA draft is here, and I couldn’t be less excited. This draft is a whole lot of “ifs.” If Anthony Edwards can improve his range, if Lamelo Ball can shoot, if James Wiseman can adjust to the NBA, and if the Timberwolves do a good job with the draft. But will anyone care? We’ll save that for later.
This draft doesn’t compare to last year’s draft at all. Last year’s draft featured Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett just to name a few. As I mentioned above, the stars of this draft are James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, Lamelo Ball, Deni Avdija, and that’s about it.
There are some interesting names like Cole Anthony, Killian Hayes, and Obi Toppin. In my “professional” opinion, this draft is full of sleepers. Cole Anthony could easily be a perennial All-Star. Obi Toppin could be a star, along with guys like Saddiq Bey, and Deni Avdija gets the “Luka Edge.” He’s a foreign-born player who has played in competitive leagues since he was a teenager, just like Luka Doncic.
For now, I won’t focus on the players, I want to focus on the teams drafting these players.
The top ten order is Timberwolves, Warriors, Hornets, Bulls, Cavaliers, Hawks, Pistons, Knicks, Wizards, and Suns. I want to focus on the Minnesota Timberwolves especially because, let’s face it, they’re going to blow the pick.
Just like in 2009 when they had two opportunities to draft Stephen Curry and picked Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. The Timberwolves are such a poorly run franchise, they kill superstar’s happiness as they did with Kevin Garnett, Jimmy Butler, and are currently killing Karl Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell’s.
The ownership fails to build teams around stars, most notably Kevin Garnett. But this is their chance to make up for it and draft. Uh…Anthony Edwards? Honestly, I don’t know who the Timberwolves should draft, but they better get it right.
The Warriors have an obvious choice, James Wiseman. They have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green. That’s (Chris Traeger’s voice) literally a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. Go for the center, James Wiseman, who can easily save the Warriors’ dynasty.
Yet, my sources tell me, they love Deni Avdija, which is cool and all, but he’s a small forward. Unless they try and recreate the “death lineup,” which wouldn’t work out so well. They should go with the talented center, James Wiseman.
I’m not going to go team by team. That would be crazy, so I’m going to skip to the Knicks. I feel weirdly optimistic, and I haven’t used the word optimistic and Knicks in the same sentence ever.
Earlier today the Knicks traded up to the 23rd pick, giving up the 27th pick and 38th pick. Along with the 8th pick, the Knicks now have to two pretty good first-round picks, which puts a lot of pressure on the totally competent Scott Perry (GM). The Knicks are, and have been, in rebuild mode for the last six years, and it’s been excruciating.
And do you know who I blame for this, Jay-Z. Jay-Z moved the Nets out of New Jersey, and into New York. If the Nets stayed in New Jersey, I would’ve been a Nets fan and would currently have future Hall of Famers Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and possibly James Harden, on my team. But instead, I have RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. Yay for me….
In my opinion, the Knicks should draft Killian Hayes if Obi Toppin gets drafted before the 8th pick. Hayes might be a good three-point shooter, but nobody knows for sure. He’s had stretches where he’s very good from beyond the arc and stretches where he is not.
My argument for why he could be a good three-point shooter is his free throw percentage is 84%. This is often overlooked by scouts. Free throw percentage is a great way to tell if a player is a good three-point shooter, and if they can’t make free throws how, can they make three-pointers *cough, Anthony Edwards and Lamelo Ball, cough.*
If the Knicks draft Killian Hayes and he develops nicely along with RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks might have something there.
The draft approaches
7:15: Fresh off of watching Rear Window for the millionth time, my one criticism is how do none of the neighbors see that he’s spying on them? All they have to do is look straight out their window and there it is James Stewart staring at you.
7:30: The NBA Draft is starting and I have a conspiracy theory. Is Anthony Edwards acting out so the Timberwolves don’t draft him, just like Andrew Wiggins did when he was traded over to the T’Wolves? I’m praying right now that Obi Toppin falls to the Knicks. C’mon God, you owe us this one.
Breaking news! Klay Thompson injured his right leg. I wonder how that impacts the Warriors pick?
Not related to the actual draft, but what’s the deal with the pre-draft lineup. Jay Bilas, Jay Williams, Mike Schmitz, and Rece Davis? I know there’s some bad blood between Bill Simmons and ESPN, but I want him back with Jalen Rose and Magic Johnson. At least Woj is there.
7:40: It’s 20 minutes until the draft. I’m hyped, have half a bag of cheese balls, it’s been dark outside since 4:00, and for no reason, I’m wearing sunglasses. Hit it!!!
7:50: I can’t stand this, Mike Schmitz. Is he trying to square up?
7:55: Why is Jalen Rose not doing pregame? This is wack. Jay Williams says Anthony Edwards is going number 1. Mike Schmitz predicts Lamelo (Schmitz and I are about to fight).
8:00: The draft is just about to start, and the T’Wolves are still discussing a trade involving the number 1 pick. Adam Silver kicks off the draft with a mini-speech. Why couldn’t it be a micro speech?
The draft begins
8:05: The T’Wolves are officially on the clock. They have five minutes to choose who they want to draft. The obvious choice is Anthony Edwards, but knowing the Wolves, they’ll pick Lamelo. I should mention Anthony Edwards didn’t impress in any of his workouts for teams. And it’s an open secret among NBA GMs that Lamelo Ball will fall in the draft because of his faults.
8:10: 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1…….. The T’Wolves select…Anthony Edwards!!!! Not a surprise. The Wolves didn’t make their pick until the very last second, so I guess they weren’t wowed by any trade offers. Anthony Edwards is a great scorer, and he is a great inside scorer and a gifted finisher. Although he takes way too many threes, only shooting 29% from downtown, how will he readjust his game? Or will he? Edwards has hinted that he doesn’t care about basketball too much. Schmitz just said that Edwards could be a Donovan Mitchell-type player. I swear he’s on my last nerve.
8:20: The Warriors are on the clock. Do they go for talented big man, James Wiseman, or a guard like Tyrese Haliburton. After it was reported, Thompson seriously injured his lower right leg. The Warriors stick to their game plan and draft James Wiseman. Wiseman is a great finisher, rim protector, and rebounder. His jump shot needs to improve, along with his basketball IQ, but that will come along with the right coaching, which Steve Kerr will provide. With a lot of upsides, I think James Wiseman will become one of the greatest centers of all time.
8:25: The Charlotte Hornets are on the clock, and surprisingly, they are looking like the favorites to draft Lamelo Ball. I hope they draft him so the Knicks don’t.
The Hornets select Lamelo Ball, and Lavar’s reaction is priceless. Lavar looked like a deer in headlights. Lavar and Michael Jordan have to coexist together, which is probably the greatest thing to happen in 2020. Lavar has a huge ego, and so does MJ. That relationship is not going to fare well for Lamelo. He needs to improve his jump shot, improve his passing a little bit, and needs to improve his defense. So nothing important.
8:30: The Bulls pick Patrick Williams, which is a huge shock!!! I’m in disbelief! Williams wasn’t even a starter. He was on nobody’s list for the top ten. The Bulls pass on Obi and Deni for Patrick Williams. I can’t believe it!
On the positive side, he is a pure athlete with a great build. This could be the moment we look back on and say “why did the Bulls pass on Deni or Obi, for Patrick Williams?” Let’s see what Billy Donovan does with Williams, but one thing is for sure: under new coach Billy Donovan, the Bulls will never make it out of the first round.
8:35: The Cavaliers are on the clock, and are fielding offers. Now I’m hearing that they are looking at Isaac Okoro: small forward from Auburn. Could Deni or Obi fall right on the Knick’s lap? Fingers crossed!! Please God please, let Deni or Obi come to the Knicks!
The Cavaliers select, Isaac Okoro. Wooooooohooooooooo! The Knicks might just pull off the steal of the 21st century! Okoro is a great defender and a phenomenal athlete. He is a great offensive rebounder and a great finisher. Okoro reminds me of Demar Derozan, who doesn’t have an elite jump shot but is a great finisher.
8:40: The Hawks are on the clock and Woj is reporting that they are looking at Onyeka Okongwu. Okongwu has been compared to John Collins and Montrezl Harrell. His defense is unbelievably good, and even though his offense isn’t great, he will improve. The Hawks need a great defender to make up for Trae Young. If the Hawks go with Okongwu, they will be a contender in four or five years. The Hawks officially select: Onyeka Okongwu!
8:45: The Pistons are now on the clock, and they are looking at Killian Hayes, which means Obi Toppin will fall right to the Knicks. Let’s go!
Killian Hayes is a point guard who has been compared to Ben Simmons because of his size. Hayes shot 45% from the field, and 39% from the three-point range which is great because he can only go up from there. Hayes is a great playmaker and a good ball handler; however, he is not a great athlete yet and has a long way to go.
8:50: The Knicks, my favorite team, are on the clock, and this could be the defining moment for the Knicks. Will they go big with Obi Toppin or Deni Avdija, or go smaller with Tyrese Haliburton. Schmitz is saying to get Haliburton. Somebody hold me back, hold me back!!!!! YESSSSSSSS! Obi Toppin is a New York Knick!
Toppin is an explosive finisher and a great athlete. Toppin isn’t the greatest perimeter defender and can be beaten easily on the drive, but his upside is way better than his weaknesses. Obi is from New York and now plays for the New York Knicks. He’s home. Take that Schmitz!
9:00: The Wizards are now on the clock, and they select Deni Avdija. I have to say I am very surprised to see Deni fall to 9. He’s a good shooter, a good defender, and has a great basketball IQ. His jump shot is a little funky and could be a problem in the NBA, and he doesn’t have a quick first step, but Avdija’s weaknesses don’t compare to his strengths, and he will be a force for a long time to come.
9:05: The Suns are now on the clock and they select Jalen Smith. Smith is great at stretching the floor, shooting, and he has a monstrous wingspan. His weaknesses are significant, mainly because he isn’t that big. He weighs 230 pounds and doesn’t have a great post-game, which is big for a power forward. Smith is lucky he has mentors like Devin Booker and Chris Paul, and he will grow up with Deandre Ayton.
What happened next?
9:10: The Spurs are now on the clock. Jay Bilas says the best available player is Tyrese Haliburton, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they go with center Popovich. The Spurs select Devin Vassell, a shooting guard from Florida State. Vassell is a versatile two-way player with a lot of upsides.
9:15: The Kings select Tyrese Haliburton, point guard from Iowa State. He has a great basketball IQ and is very versatile and a great shooter. Haliburton could be a sign that the Kings are ready to trade Buddy Hield, who according to reports isn’t returning coach Luke Walton’s phone calls and that De’Aaron Fox is not looking to stay long term with the Kings.
9:20: The Pelicans are now on the clock and are taking offers for their pick, although it looks like Kira Lewis Jr will be their pick. Schmitz just said that the Pelicans should get Saddiq Bey. Someone better get him off the TV before I drag him off the set. The Pelicans select Kira Lewis Jr, a point guard from Alabama. He is now one of the fastest players in the NBA and can play defense.
9:25: Is anyone even reading this still? If not, I would recommend watching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Great acting and great directing. It’s on HBO Max. Also, I would recommend The Hustler, another Paul Newman movie; he should’ve won the Oscar that year, but he eventually won for the sequel, The Color of Money. It’s about a professional pool player who goes around and hustles people for a living. The Hustler is on Hulu, and The Color of Money is on Amazon Prime Video.
9:30: The Celtics select Aaron Nesmith, small forward from Vanderbilt. Nesmith is an elite shooter, shooting 52% from three-point range and leading the country. Although it was only in 14 games, that’s still an impressive feat.
9:33: Woj is reporting that the T’Wolves are acquiring Ricky Rubio, 25th and 28th picks for a 17th overall pick. Poor Ricky Rubio: he signed a long term deal with the Suns last year and he’s been traded twice in the span of 48 hours.
9:37: The Orlando Magic are on the clock, and it’s looking like they will select Cole Anthony, a point guard from North Carolina who is a great offensive player. The Magic officially select Cole Anthony. Hold up…is that Spike Lee? What is he doing there? Or are my eyes deceiving me? Nope, that’s Spike Lee. What’s going on here?!
9:39: Cole Anthony is an ugly crier, he’s gotta stop that right now.
9:41: The Portland Trailblazers are now on the clock. Can there please be a break, I have to go to the bathroom, but there is so much nonstop action! The Blazers select Isaiah Stewart, a center from Washington. A little curious because they have Hassan Whiteside and Jusuf Nurkic, but Stewart has a high motor and is a great physical defender.
9:43: Time for another break from basketball. Let’s talk movies. I was watching The Trial of The Chicago 7. What an Aaron Sorkin movie! First off, it’s a courtroom drama with a lot of dry humor, along with questions followed by questions, and of course exposing indecencies in society. A must watch as well! It’s on Netflix, and is going to sweep this Oscar season.
9:45: The T’Wolves select Aleksej Pokusevski, power forward from Serbia. He is agile, a good shooter, a good shot blocker, and a good rebounder. He is also the youngest player in the draft at the age of 18.
9:47: The Mavericks are now on the clock, and I wonder if they go for a forward or a point guard. OH, I just saw Schmitz on his phone, not interested I see. Schmitz and I are going to go at it sometime soon. The Mavericks select Josh Green, a shooting guard from Arizona. He is a great shooter, a good enough rebounding guard, and a good defender.
9:54: Saddiq Bey, power forward from Villanova, is picked by the Nets. He’s an exceptional shooter and a good defender. High upside defensively.
9:55: Just a thought, but if Tre Jones falls to 23rd overall (the Knicks pick), the Knicks should jump on that. Tre Jones is a great passer and a good defender.
9:57: Rece Davis is interviewing Steve Nash, the new coach of the Nets, and the first thing he does is congratulate all the players on getting drafted?! We get it, Steve. You’re super nice.
The clock strikes 10
10:00: The Heat are now on the clock, and they select Precious Achiuwa, power forward from Memphis. Achiuwa is a great defender and a great finisher. He is a double-double machine. This is a great pick for the Heat, who just came off of a finals loss. Achiuwa looks so unhappy for a player who is being put on a winning team and will be averaging 25 plus minutes as a rookie.
10:06: The 76ers are on the clock, and select Tyrese Maxey, a shooting guard from Kentucky. Maxey is a shot-maker and an energetic defender. This is a great pick for the 76ers, who desperately need a shot-maker and creator. Maxey unfortunately is on an extremely dysfunctional team in the 76ers, who can’t decide whether to trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid.
10:11: Tyrese Maxey’s voice when he cries sounds like my eight-year-old sister. Rece Davis is interviewing Doc Rivers, the new coach of the 76ers; all I’m gonna say about that is Doc River’s will have a memoir.
10:14: The Denver Nuggets are on the clock and select Zeke Nnaji, a power forward from Arizona. Nnaji is an efficient scorer. This is a great pick for the Nuggets, rounding out their lineup nicely. Nnaji is also a talented musician…which is cool I guess.
10:16: I’m so tired. Hey Barbadora, who’s the king of journalism now. 3,079 words and counting.
10:18: The Knicks are now on the clock again, and they select Leandro Bolmaro, a shooting guard from Argentina. Who? The Knicks are at it again, wasting a pick. Classic Knicks…. I knew they would blow a pick. Ugh. They could’ve had Tre Jones or RJ Hampton. The Knicks are sending Bolmaro to the T’Wolve’s for a 25th pick and a 33rd pick. Way to come in the clutch, Knicks! I knew they would come through….
10:25: The Bucks are on the clock and select RJ Hampton, a point guard from the United States. They are trading him to the Pelicans, and the Pelicans just traded him to the Nuggets. A great steal for the Nuggets.
10:28: The Thunder are on the clock and select Immanuel Quickley, a point guard from Kentucky: 2019-20 SEC Player of the Year. He is a great leader and has great range, a very good pick by the Thunder. They must be taking IQ pills or something.
10:29: Let’s take another break from basketball and talk long-form journalism. It is not dead. You can’t censor me! What’s up The New York Times? What’s poppin’?
10:31: I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!!! SOMEONE STOP THE DRAFT FOR A MINUTE, PLEASEEEE!!
The end of the beginning
10:33: The Celtics are on the clock and select Payton Pritchard, a point guard from Oregon. 2019-20 AP First Team All-American. Pritchard is an excellent scorer and a gifted passer.
10:37: The Utah Jazz select Udoka Azubuike, a center from Kansas. Azubuike is a gifted defender and a great rebounder. The Jazz has agreed to trade center Tony Bradley and the 38th pick to the Pistons for future considerations and cash. Does Azubuike’s presence mean Gobert is on his way out? Could things be rocky between Gobert and star Donovan Mitchell after the Covid scandal?
10:45: The Lakers are on the clock, and if they’re smart, they will select point guard Tre Jones. But it doesn’t matter because the pick is going to the T’Wolves, and they select Jaden McDaniels, a power forward from Washington. McDaniels has great versatility, a long wingspan, and is a great athlete.
10:50: The Raptors are now on the clock, and they select Malachi Flynn, a point guard from San Diego State. He is a shot creator and a good playmaker.
10:56: The Memphis Grizzlies are on the clock and select Desmond Bane, a shooting guard from TCU. Bane has an excellent basketball IQ and is a great shooter.
That’s all for me, I ain’t doing the second round for two reasons. One, no one will ever read this. And two, who cares about the second round. This draft was a lot better than I thought it would be, highlighting a lot of interesting players with a lot of talent. Let’s see what the teams do with them.
I’m going to the bathroom and then to bed. PEACE!