A couple of interesting NBA sidebar news stories popped up recently.
And that got us to thinking about just which new players on each NBA team may be fun to watch, either in development as rookies or as veterans looking for a fresh start.
The first story involved Kyrie Irving and his 2019 free agent status. Apparently, it’s rumored that the New York Knicks have stated they will take a run at Boston’s superstar guard if he opts out of the last year of his contract.
If they did get him, he would certainly make the Knicks a lot better, instantly.
The other story involves Dwyane Wade’s return to the NBA. The superstar guard, who last played for Miami after a short sojourn with Cleveland, hasn’t decided yet whether to retire or give it another go with the Heat — the only team he’ll play for, or retire from. He’s still got some game, so we’re sure the Heat would love to have him back.
We spent some time recently extolling the virtues of every team’s most important player, which in the case of a guy like DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns, is also one of their newest.
For the sake of this list, we have left off Ayton and others like Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, to name two, and are focusing on other intriguing new players.
Atlanta Hawks – SG Kevin Huerter
The Hawks lost Kent Bazemore for the last 17 games of the 2017-18 season and in the off-season traded Dennis Schroder to OKC. Earlier in the year Atlanta also waved buh-bye to shooter Marco Belinelli. You can see where we are going with this then, when we say that drafting Maryland sophomore Kevin Huerter at no. 19 (after Trae Young and before PF Omari Spellman) was a smart move. The native of Clifton Park, NY is a proficient three-point shooter who missed summer league due to a lingering wrist injury, but who can also fly under the radar a little more heading into his first season. He’s already penciled in behind Bazemore on the depth chart — in front of newcomer and veteran Vince Carter no less. With the Terrapins, Huerter averaged 14.8 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and shot an admirable 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. Honorable mention: Carter, Spellman PG Jaylen Adams.
Boston Celtics – PG Brad Wanamaker
Should he make the Celtics roster as a depth guard, Brad Wanamaker will be a very old rookie at age 29. However, GM Danny Ainge is an astute judge of talent and in Wanamaker, a former Pitt Panther standout, he gets a seasoned pro who has been grinding it out in Europe in hopes of scoring a tryout — which he is getting with Boston. Wanamaker, who was a teammate of current Celtic Daniel Theis in the German Bundesliga for two years, also had stops in Italy, France and Turkey after graduating from Pitt. He also helped the Austin Toros of the D-League win a title in 2012 and was the 2016 German BBL MVP. He signed a one year deal for a team friendly $838,000 and will apprentice behind Kyrie and Terry Rozier. Honorable mention: C Robert Williams.
Brooklyn Nets – SF Dzanan Musa
Due to that awful trade they made years back to make an ill-fated run — and which we’ve pointed to many, many times — the Nets were in danger of not having a first round pick this year (Cleveland got theirs at no. 8, which turned into Collin Sexton). However, they were able to secure a pick via Toronto at no. 29 and we think they did well with selecting Bosnian shooting guard Dzanan Musa. The phenom first played professionally at the tender age of 16 with Croatian team Cedevita of the top tier EuroLeague. At age 18 last season, he averaged 10.5 points and 3.2 rebounds with Cedevita and was awarded the EuroCup Rising Star Trophy. He’s been a top scorer in the FIBA Europe U-16 championships twice and the U-17 and U-18 championships once each. He is earmarked as the Nets third-string SF behind DeMarre Carroll and Joe Harris.
Charlotte Hornets – PG Tony Parker
Is it still possible to teach an old NBA dog new tricks? In Tony Parker’s case, he may teach starting guard Kemba Walker a thing or two, ditto second round pick Devonte’ Graham. After 17 mostly great seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, the Belgian born four-time champion signed with the Hornets as insurance for Walker. In 55 games with the Spurs last year, mostly as a back-up, Parker averaged 7.7 points and 3.5 assists. In his illustrious career, the Parisian Torpedo has logged 15.8 PPG, 5.7 assists and 32.6 percent shooting from three-point range. He will be a valuable addition in that he can spell Walker well, but also mentor 34th overall pick Graham, who had a great four-year career at Kansas. Parker’s value will be further increased if the Hornets make the playoffs, where he has contributed 17.1 points per game in 226 contests. Honorable mention: SF Miles Bridges.
Chicago Bulls – Tie, C Wendell Carter Jr. and SF Jabari Parker
There are two very intriguing new players with the Bulls and we just couldn’t settle on which one would be more fascinating — 7th overall pick Carter from Duke or fifth-year man, forward Jabari Parker. After Orlando took highly rated center Mohamed Bamba from Texas, insurance for aging center Robin Lopez was needed. Thus the Blue Devils Carter was the best option. In his one-and-done season under Coach K, Carter averaged 13.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 37 games. He also showed a bit of deft touch from the outside, dropping 19 of 46 three-point attempts for a solid 41.3 percent average. As for Parker, the Bulls have taken a huge gamble, in that a wonky knee limited the noted shooter to just 31 games last season. In fact, he played just 82 games over the last two campaigns. He brings plenty of scoring prowess, having averaged 15.3 points over 183 total games.
Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Collin Sexton
With Bron-Bron gone, having a top-10 pick in the draft was a God-send for the Cavaliers. It may be a long, long season ahead for the Cavs, then, which may be the perfect time for former Alabama superstar Sexton to show his worth. Picked 8th overall, courtesy of Boston by way of Brooklyn (who else!?), Sexton was SEC Freshman of the Year and averaged 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and shot 33.6 percent from three-point territory in 33 games with the Crimson Tide. Sexton will have time to develop in Cleveland too, considering he’ll learn the ropes from veteran guards George Hill and JR Smith. Sexton pretty much carried the Tide to just their second NCAA tournament appearance in 12 years and helped get the team to the second round, where they lost to eventual champion Villanova 81-58 (Sexton scored 17 of his team’s points and contributed three assists).
Dallas Mavericks – PG Luka Doncic
From just about every corner of the Dallas Mavericks franchise, first round pick Luka Doncic is already earning high praise. If any further confirmation of his potential future greatness was needed, none other than 20-year veteran and superstar Dirk Nowitzki said that Doncic, a fellow European, could be even better than he was when he first entered the NBA. All the signs are certainly there for the third overall pick who the Mavs obtained in a draft day trade. He started playing pro at 16 and played a big role, being named final four MVP, in Real Madrid’s EuroLeague title earlier this year. Now 19, Doncic averaged a league high 21.5 points per game for Real in 2017-18, along with 4.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, a 45.1 percent shooting average and 1.1 steals. He is also quite versatile, able to play both guard positions as well as small forward.
Denver Nuggets – PG Isaiah Thomas
It is with a bit of trepidation that we include the much maligned Isaiah Thomas here as an intriguing player to pay attention to. However, should the two-time All-Star be able to avoid the injury bug and not chafe at playing second banana to sound PG Jamal Murray, he may be big asset going forward for the improving Nuggets. That last part, about being humble, may be a bigger hurdle for Thomas in the grand scheme considering his vocal outbursts about playing time with Cleveland before they shipped him out to L.A. Now with the Nuggets, Thomas needs to get back to the All-Star form he showed in Boston, where he averaged 24.7 points and 6.0 assists in 179 games. Last season, he appeared in 32 games (15 with Cleveland and 17 with the Lakers) and averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in a season marred by hip ailments. Honorable mention: SF Michael Porter Jr.
Detroit Pistons – SF Khyri Thomas
Every once in a while a second round player emerges to make a big impact in the NBA. The Detroit Pistons drafted one in 2012 in Khris Middleton at no. 39, now a star with Milwaukee. They are probably hoping, then, that Creighton product Thomas can achieve the same level of career satisfaction in a Pistons uniform. The swing man had a great three-year career with the NCAA’s Blue Jays, topping out at 15.1 points per game and a 41.1 percentage from three-point range in his third and final year in 2017-18. The Pistons were impressed enough, then, to draft him 38th overall after swinging a deal with Philadelphia (via Brooklyn) at the draft. As of this writing, Thomas is listed as the no. 3 small forward behind Stanley Johnson and Glenn Robinson III, both of who could use a push from behind. Honorable mention: C Zaza Pachulia.
Golden State Warriors – C DeMarcus Cousins
Life as a Golden State Warrior has to be one of ultimate contentment. In the wake of their third championship in four years, the Dubs allowed centers Zaza Pachulia (Detroit) and JaVale McGee (Lakers) to walk and immediately signed four-time All-Star Cousins for a low, low price of $5.3 million. If he can stay healthy — that’s a big if — he makes the Warriors favorites to win a rare third straight championship. Before he ruptured his Achilles tendon, Boogie was having a fine season with New Orleans in 2017-18. In 48 games, he averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks. Cousins also dropped threes at a respectable rate, going 104 for 294 (35.4 percent). The sticking point in any contribution to the Warriors success is the fact he hasn’t been medically cleared to play, yet, and may not be back until December earliest. Should he stay in the line-up, too, it will result in his first foray into the post-season.
Houston Rockets – PF Carmelo Anthony
Much like Isaiah Thomas in Denver, ‘Melo has to silence his critics with the Rockets. Houston has been on the edge of greatness for a couple of years running and if they have any chance of knocking off the juggernaut that is Golden State, they need Carmelo needs to return to the form he showed just a few short seasons ago. As the Rockets nominal starting power forward he also has to bring more to the table in the post-season than he did with OKC, where he chipped in a dismal 11.8 points per game in the six contest the Thunder played. He’ll have just as good a starting cast to be part of Houston — probably better — so that precipitous dip in his production last year needs to move back up. In 78 games, all starts, Anthony averaged 16.2 points (nearly eight points below his career average and over six below his 2016-17 mark) and 5.8 rebounds. There is more in the tank for the 34-year-old, we believe. Honorable mentions: PF Marquese Chriss, PG Brandon Knight.
Indiana Pacers – SG Tyreke Evans
With Tyreke Evans in the fold, the Pacers may have one of the best one-two punches as shooting guard in the whole NBA. Evans, who was limited to just 52 games last season with Memphis, managed to average 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 39.9 percent three-point shooting. The 2010 Rookie of the Year complements budding superstar and 2017-18 steals champion Victor Oladipo, who averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals. Evans, who will be 29 on Sept. 19, signed a one-year deal with the Pacers at a very friendly $12.3 million. Used correctly, Evans will be a huge secondary playmaker and a leader who can shepherd guys like Aaron Holiday, Myles Turner, and T.J. Leaf along.
Los Angeles Clippers – C Marcin Gortat
The Polish Hammer has some big shoes to fill in L.A. DeAndre Jordan is now a Dallas Maverick, taking with him his defensive prowess and elite inside scoring ability. Gortat flourished in Washington and proved to be very durable, missing only eight games in five seasons before being traded to the Clips. In 402 games the 34-year-old averaged 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and shot 55.5 percent from the field. He was only slightly less proficient in the playoffs for the Wizards, averaging 10.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 53.8 percent shooting in 40 playoff contests. He will most likely be a mentor for 24-year-old C/PF Montrezl Harrell. Drafted in the second round of the 2005 draft by Phoenix, Gortat has 759 games of experience to draw on. Honorable mention: PG Shai-Gilgeous Alexander; SG Jerome Robinson.
Los Angeles Lakers – PG Rajon Rondo
When Lonzo Ball needs advice this season, he can look down the bench to find the knowledgeable face of veteran Rajon Rondo. Of course, Ball can always talk to LeBron James, but Rondo plays his position. And while it seems like Rondo has been in the NBA forever, he is still just 32 (a year younger than James). Drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft out of Kentucky, Rondo seemed entrenched with the Boston Celtics (who traded for him at the draft), spending eight and half seasons in Beantown. The defensive wizard was named to four straight All-Star games there and led the NBA in assists twice (three total) and steals once. Since 2014-15, though, Rondo has been a journeyman, playing with four different clubs including Dallas, Sacramento, Chicago and last year with New Orleans. With the Pelicans, Rondo averaged 26.2 minutes per game, 8.3 points, 8.2 assists and 1.1 steals. Honorable mention: C Moritz Wagner; SF Michael Beasley; SG Lance Stephenson.
Memphis Grizzlies – PF Jaren Jackson Jr.
The future of the Grizzlies front court is looking rather good. After a horrid 22-60 season and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the Grizz held the fourth pick in the draft and plucked Michigan State super freshman Jackson. He along with 2017 draft picks, C Ivan Rabb and SF Dillon Brooks will be a formidable force sooner than later. Jackson followed up a season with the Spartans where he averaged 10.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 39.6 percent three-point shooting by being superb in the Summer League. He has the pedigree — his Dad Jaren Sr. played in the NBA for 12 seasons — the size (6’11”, 89.25″ wing span) and elite defensive ability to become a legitimate star at his position. Honorable mentions: SG MarShon Brooks; PG Jevon Carter.
Miami Heat – C Marcus Lee
Second year man and first round draft pick Bam Adebayo ought not get too comfortable playing second banana to Hassan Whiteside. Why? Because undrafted, and hungry, Marcus Lee has inked a contract and will battle Adebayo in camp for the no. 2 spot at center. Lee spent three seasons as a spot starter with Kentucky before transferring closer to his Antioch (Oakland area), California home to play with the University of California Bears. He started 31 of 32 games for the Bears and averaged college career highs in points per game (11.4), rebounds (7.2), assists (1.3) and blocks 1.6. Lee then played with Cleveland’s summer league team after going undrafted, averaging 6.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in seven games. He signed for one-year at the league minimum, with an option for 2019-20.
Milwaukee Bucks – PG Donte DiVincenzo
The Bucks may have gotten one of the steals of the draft at no. 17 with Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo. One of four national champion Wildcats to be taken in the draft (three in the first round), DiVincenzo represents the kind of game-breaking talent who didn’t even have to start to be effective. In 40 games with Villanova last year, he started just 10, not including the national final against Michigan. But, he came off the bench to shoot 5-for-7 from three-point territory for a game-high 31 points, along with five rebounds and three assists. For that, DiVincenzo was named to the All-Tournament team. He finished his junior year with 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 40.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Honorable mention: C Brook Lopez.
Minnesota Timberwolves – SG Josh Okogie And SF Keita Bates-Diop, Tie
With a good young line-up, there wasn’t much need for the T-Wolves to do much off-season tinkering. And courtesy of the Ricky Rubio trade with Utah in 2017, Minnesota got the 20th pick in the draft, to go with the 48th they already had. With that selection, the Timberwolves got a good one — Okogie — to apprentice behind Jimmy Butler. The Lagos, Nigeria born Okogie was a standout for Georgia Tech in two seasons. In 24 games last year, he averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.0 blocks and shot 38 percent from beyond the arc. Even better than taking shooter Okogie at no. 20, the T-Wolves got a consensus steal with Bates-Diop, who fell out of the first round and was taken 48th. Bates-Diop was the Big 10 Player of the Year for the Ohio State Buckeyes. In his senior year, he averaged 19.8 points in 34 games, along with 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
New Orleans Pelicans – C/PF Julius Randle
Maybe Randle, who was let go by the Los Angeles Lakers after four seasons, will be able to unlock all the potential the Lakers saw in him when they picked him seventh overall in 2014. Randle signed for two years with ‘Nawlins at an average of just over $8.8 million. Last year, as a center/power forward, Randle appeared in all 82 games, starting 49 and averaging 16.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 0.5 blocks. He will most likely slot into starting minutes at center when the Pelicans go with a smaller line-up and spell PF Nikola Mirotic otherwise. Even though he played admirably with a sub-par Lakers team in 2017-18, Randle was made expendable by the arrival of LeBron James at power forward and JaVale McGee at center. His qualifying offer, though, was rescinded and the money earmarked for Rajon Rondo. Honorable Mentions: PG Elfrid Payton; PG Tony Carr.
New York Knicks – SF Kevin Knox
Tim Hardaway is going to have a good no. 2 behind him and potentially a guy who could usurp his starting status if he and the Knicks don’t get off to a good start. Knox, a freshman with Kentucky, was the first of four Wildcats taken in the draft, at no. 9. He was SEC Freshman of the Year, as well as First Team All-SEC after averaging 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and shooting 34.1 percent form three-point range. The 6’9″ forward played great in the summer league for the Knicks, with 23.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, as well as shooting 8-for-21 from three-point territory. He, along with a healthy Kristaps Porzingis on the wings (Porzingis isn’t due to return right away) represent the future of a fairly dynamic Knicks front court. Honorable Mention: C Mitchell Robinson; SF Mario Hezonja.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Nerlens Noel And Dennis Schroder, Tie
After the disappointment of yet another early exit from the post-season, a shake-up was needed in OKC. Exit Carmelo Anthony, enter controversial point guard Dennis Schroder and yet-to-fulfill-his-potential center/power forward Nerlens Noel. Schroder was obtained in a three-way trade and will slot in behind Russell Westbrook, while Noel was let go by Dallas after a mediocre season to sign a minimum contract with the Thunder. Schroder, who wasn’t the greatest of locker room presences in Atlanta, was actually pretty good in Atlanta, averaging a career high 19.4 points in 67 games, along with 6.2 assists and 1.1 steals. Noel, who was drafted sixth overall by New Orleans in 2013, played in a career low 30 games for the Mavs last season (six starts) and averaged just 4.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 0.7 blocks. He needs to jump start his career or disappear all together, especially since he was NBA All-Rookie in 2015.
Orlando Magic – C Mohamed Bamba
The Magic were very busy at the 2018 draft, having three picks and trading down to get Justin Jackson at no. 41. They also took Tulane’s Melvin Frazier at no. 35, but the big prize was Texas center Bamba at sixth overall. The Harlem, NY born 7-footer was a heck of a rebounder in his lone season with the Longhorns, grabbing 10.5 rebounds per game in 30 contests. He also added a thunderous 3.7 blocks to up his status as a top 10 pick. Otherwise, he had 12.9 PPG and shot 60.3 percent from the field. In his final showcase, a first round 87-83 loss to Nevada in the NCAA tournament, Bamba was fairly brilliant, recording 13 points, 14 rebounds, a steal and three blocks in 31 minutes of floor time. Bamba has a draft combine record wingspan of 7’10” and played well enough in the summer league to merit early notice for Rookie of the Year.
Philadelphia 76ers – SF Wilson Chandler
The Sixers are a team on the rise with a pretty solid starting five. Thus, the off-season hunt for secondary scoring and defence off the bench was imperative. While they did have two first round picks and four second rounders — three they dealt away — getting a veteran forward like Chandler is a nice bridge until the youngsters mature. Heading into his 11th season, Chandler brings decent scoring touch but some questions about his ability to stay healthy for a full season. He had a good year with Denver in 2016-17, but fell off in productivity in 2017-18, averaging just 10.0 points per game after recording 15.7 the year previous. He is decent three-point shooter, logging a career percentage of 34.1 and is an average rebounder, registering an average 5.4 in 590 career games. He will make $12.8 million this season before becoming UFA in 2019. Honorable mention: SG Zhaire Smith; PG Landry Shamet.
Phoenix Suns – SF Mikal Bridges
DeAndre Ayton was the biggest fish in the draft pond, taken no. 1 overall by Phoenix. However, he is also the last place club’s most important player, so we are focusing our attention on the guy they traded up from no. 16 to no. 10 to get, Villanova’s Mikal Bridges. The national champion small forward will have plenty of time to adjust to the NBA game, given that the Suns also acquired veteran SF Trevor Ariza and PF Ran Anderson from Houston to player leadership and mentorship roles. Bridges played three seasons with ‘Nova and distinguished himself in the team’s national championship season, making the All-Tournament team. Over the course of 40 games, all starts, Bridges averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.1 blocks and superb 43.5 percent shooting from three-point range. Honorable mentions: Anderson and Ariza.
Portland Trail Blazers – SG Gary Trent Jr.
As much as first round pick and high schooler Anfernee Simons has garnered attention for untapped potential, we think Gary Trent Jr. may have a higher ceiling. That is due to playing under Coach K at Duke and sporting some impressive shooting skills. Originally taken 37th by Sacramento, Trent Jr. was dealt to the Trail Blazers. In Summer League play he was noticeable and in a rookie survey got six percent of the vote (tied for third) for Biggest Draft Steal. In 37 games with the Blue Devils, Trent Jr. — son of Gary Sr. a former NBA player — averaged 14.5 points, 40.2 percent three-point shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He was true to form in four NCAA tournament games, registering 16.3 PPG, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 33.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Honorable mentions: Simons and SG Seth Curry.
Sacramento Kings – PF Nemanja Bjelica
He’s known as Professor Big Shots and for very good reason. Bjelica, a 6’10” power forward, showed a very deft touch from three-point range while playing mostly a reserve role in three seasons with Minnesota. The big Serb from Belgrade got a three-year free agent contract with Sacramento and will battle Zach Randolph and big time draftee Marvin Bagley III for playing time. In 192 games with the Timberwolves, 22 of them starts, Bjelica shot 37.1 percent from three-point range, while scoring 6.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.7 steals. Bjelica already has a close friend on the squad, fellow Serb and Belgrade native Bogdan Bogdanovic. The two worked out all summer back in their home country, which should make Bjelica’s transition that much easier. Honorable mention: SG Iman Shumpert.
San Antonio Spurs – C Jakob Poeltl
With little fanfare as part of a bigger trade that saw Kawhi Leonard go to Toronto and DeMar DeRozan come back to San Antonio, was young center Jakob Poeltl. The Raptors first round pick, ninth overall in 2016, was very solid in a reserve role during his sophomore season. He played in all 82 games (zero starts) and averaged 18.6 minutes, 6.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. The former University of Utah standout was an unsung hero for Toronto, doing spade work like setting screens, grabbing offensive boards and protecting the rim. That kind of yeoman effort earned him praise from teammates and should help him fit in very well with the Spurs scheme. Poeltl will find plenty of guidance in the front court from veterans like Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay. Honorable mentions: SG Marco Belinelli; PF Chimezie Metu and SF Dante Cunningham.
Toronto Raptors – C Greg Monroe
With the loss of up-and-coming center Jakob Poeltl to San Antonio in the DeMar DeRozan/Kawhi Leonard deal, finding a good two-way center to back up Jonas Valanciunas was job one in Toronto. Enter Monroe, fresh of a topsy-turvy season that saw him play with three different clubs — Milwaukee, then Phoenix and finally Boston. Despite all the upheaval, Monroe still managed to do good things in 51 games, mostly as bench depth. He finished the campaign with 10.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals and a career high 56.5 percent in field goal shooting. Monroe’s role in Toronto will be yin to Valanciunas’ yang, in that JV is a better overall shooter and rebounder who will get the majority of the minutes. Honorable mention: SG Danny Green.
Utah Jazz – SG Grayson Allen
For a guy just entering the NBA, Grayson Allen sure is carrying a lot of extra baggage. And a lot of it isn’t good, as he was known during his four years as a Duke Blue Devil for being a dirty player and a poor sport. However, the Jazz saw enough in Allen to take him 21st overall in the draft and in Salt Lake City he can wipe the slate clean. He brings several good things to the table for his new club, including outstanding three-point shooting (38 percent in 142 collegiate games), defence (1.0 steals per game; 1.7 in his senior year) and knowing how to win (he won a national title in his freshman season) and played in 15 pressure packed NCAA tournament games overall. In Utah, he’ll have to share floor time with fellow shooting guards Donovan Mitchell and Alec Burks, but he will a good one off the bench for a defensive minded team.
Washington Wizards – PG Austin Rivers
It probably pained him to leave his Dad Doc Rivers behind in L.A. but Austin Rivers may find life as a Washington Wizard to be more fulfilling. Traded for Wiz big man Marcin Gortat, Rivers joins a Washington team where there may be more potential for post-season success, given that Cleveland is now LeBron-less and the Eastern Conference is pretty much up for grabs. The Wizards should be excited to have Rivers in the fold, coming in as he is off a season where he recorded all kinds of personal bests. Those were points per game (15.1), starts (59), steals (1.2), assists (4.0), three-point percentage (37.8) and minutes (33.7). Those numbers were all very close to his production in one season of NCAA hoops with Duke and why the New Orleans Hornets made him a 10th overall selection in 2012.