By Shawn Dennis
The most anticipated day in the NBA off-season has arrived. This year, however, things seem to be much different than usual and for once, it has nothing to do with COVID altering or preventing something from occurring.
Fans and analysts alike are anticipating this year’s NBA Draft to have the most trades leading up to and during the Draft than ever before.
Whether all of this is simply speculation or the hype turns out to be real, there are a few things that I think need to go down in order for this Draft to be worth watching.
- The Warriors should draft Corey Kispert at No.14 if they don’t trade their picks
Hear me out on this. Kispert is one of the winningest college basketball players of all time, going to two National Championships and winning one of them. He’s never shot below 35% from three in any of his four seasons at Gonzaga, scoring a total of 1,586 points in 137 games.
Aside from his impressive stat line, his stature and playing style fits what Golden State has thrived off of for years now. Sure, he doesn’t have the impressive 3-and-D ability like Klay Thompson has, but his shooting ability is no joke and acquiring another splash brother would be their best bet.
The likelihood of this actually going down is quite low, but for Kispert’s sake, I think he would develop and learn quickly in an environment surrounded by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson more than he would anywhere else in the league.
- Ben Simmons has got to go…
Does anybody have an accurate or realistic trade value for Ben Simmons after social media has done everything it possibly can to make him look like he’s the biggest lottery pick bust since Anthony Bennett?
Everyone seems to forget how great of a defensive player Ben is, along with the fact that he was the Rookie of the Year in 2018. Either way, Simmons should not return to the 76ers for the sheer fact that he would get more boo’s at a home game than he would playing against the Boston Celtics, their biggest rival.
The amount of trade rumors including Simmons are absolutely insane. Who knows what’s true from false, but regardless of that, the Philadelphia 76ers might wait too long for the right trade and miss out on the best case scenario for them.
Yes, his trade stock is the lowest it will ever be, but for the sake of Philly, Joel Embiid, and Doc Rivers’ futures, he needs to be traded. If it doesn’t happen tonight, it should be right around the start of free agency, August 2.
- The Chicago Bulls need to do something
Head coach Billy Donovan must be well aware that his roster is one of the strangest in the league. The East has only become stronger with teams like the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, and Charlotte Hornets, who the Bulls used to be competing with towards the bottom of the seeding, seeming to be better than them now. Especially knowing that they finished 10-games under .500 last season with a 31-41 record, they need some changes if they expect to even get the 8th seed.
The futures for guys like Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic are hard to read when they’re on a team that has a weird mixture of developing young guys and veterans. Only having pick No. 38, Chicago needs to throw some trade offers at teams who either are looking to move on from an All-Star or aren’t necessarily too keen on keeping their pick.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder should make some noise
After trading Al Horford back to Boston in exchange for Kemba Walker, with some picks included of course, they will likely be the highlight of the Draft if there aren’t any crazy trades that happen.
Although the Thunder have a roster that consists of players that I doubt anyone could name all 16 of, they have the assets that any rebuilding team wants. Likewise, the Horford-Walker trade really opened the door for contenders that are looking for a veteran point guard.
Kemba’s short time in Boston has definitely put a damper on his value because of injuries and his dismal shooting, but he’s still an All-Star caliber player when healthy. He has two-years left on that insane contract unless he gets bought out, yet I truly don’t see OKC keeping him around.
I’ve said it once and I’m still sticking to it: a Kemba-Simmons trade makes sense to me. Simmons has the opportunity to work on his game and prove that he can ball on a rebuilding team for a couple of seasons if he doesn’t enjoy being there. Chris Paul’s stint in OKC helped him tremendously with his confidence and playmaking ability, and I believe Simmons would have a similar result. As for Kemba, he can also prove to doubters that he can lead a team into the playoffs, as he didn’t have much of a chance in Boston to do so with the injuries he kept getting.
A lot of other aspects of this trade would have to be thrown into the equation, possibly another team would have to be included if Philly didn’t want to keep Kemba, but I’d love to see it happen.
- The Washington Wizards should clean house
If the Wizards don’t trade either Russell Westbrook or Bradley Beal at some point this offseason, they will never get enough value to make a decent turn around. This draft has all the opportunity for GM Tommy Sheppard to start his team’s rebuild sooner rather than later for several reasons. Mainly because the Westbrook-Beal combo isn’t going to cut it in the East and they don’t have the roster to get them over the top of the ginormous hump they’ve been slumped in since their last title in ‘78.
A trade for either one of these All-Stars will only happen if they request it and if Beal wants what’s best for both himself and for his beloved city of Washington D.C., he needs to speak up today. The Wizards truly have the leverage in basically all trade scenarios, for Beal especially, and a competing team like the Los Angeles Clippers or the Portland Trail Blazers to get a deal done.
The District could steal draft night with a couple of trades that could mix up the NBA this upcoming season if they pull the trigger on a deal sent to them.