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The 2013 NBA draft was a mangled mess.
Everyone remembers Anthony Bennett as one of the great busts ever taken No. 1, but the whole first round was riddled with off-base valuations. The top two picks in this re-draft went 15th and 27th in reality, and only four original top-10 picks managed to stay in that group in our do-over.
Even more surprising, five undrafted players now crack the top 30, and one climbs all the way to No. 6.
As a refresher, this is a best-player-available operation. With one notable exception, we’re not going to concern ourselves with team needs and positional fits. That almost never works out in reality, so why make it a focus here?
Though we’re at a point now where most of these players are in the middle of their careers, we still have to measure volume and longevity against shorter peaks. And finally, this isn’t an alternate reality. If a player struggled with injury in the real world, we’ll judge him as if that was unavoidable.
This re-draft runs out of superstars in a hurry, but the role-playing supply exceeds demand. It’s not often you’ll see useful three-and-D snipers hang around until the late 20s, but that’s what we’ve got with this strange class.
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It almost feels insulting to Giannis Antetokounmpo that we have to spend words justifying his spot here.
There’s no case for considering anyone else. In fact, if you gave a general manager the choice of drafting Giannis or any two other players from the 2013 class, it’d be professional sabotage to take, say, Rudy Gobert and CJ McCollum over the 2018-19 MVP.
Antetokounmpo was posting cartoonish numbers before the 2019-20 season stopped, and he’s a virtual lock to add a second straight MVP trophy (not to mention a Defensive Player of the Year Award) to his mantle. Despite spending his first three years growing into his body and finding his game, Antetokounmpo is one of two players in league history to average at least 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal for his career.
He was the best player on a 60-win team last season, and he’s only gotten better in his follow-up effort. His 2019-20 averages of 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists seem like fabrications. That he amassed them in only 30.9 minutes per game makes them seem even more fanciful.
His combination of usage and efficiency is on a historic pace. The only players with more than Antetokounmpo’s four seasons featuring a usage rate above 28.0 percent and a true shooting percentage above 59.0 are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Karl Malone, Stephen Curry and Michael Jordan.
Giannis is only 25, by the way, and still clearly getting better.
There are very good players in this draft—All-Stars and a couple of All-NBA talents. But Antetokounmpo is a generational superstar, a player who might already be a Hall of Famer if he never plays another game.
Now, please remain seated and try not to hyperventilate as you imagine him playing with James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in Cleveland.
Actual Pick: Anthony Bennett
Antetokounmpo’s Actual Draft Slot: 15th, Milwaukee Bucks
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One of the most intimidating and productive interior defenders of the last decade, Rudy Gobert is a three-time All-Defensive first-teamer and two-time All-NBA honoree (second team in 2016-17, third in 2018-19) with two Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
Though the Utah Jazz’s defense has disappointed this season, and though there’s talk that the team is dissatisfied with Gobert, don’t let that distract from the way his presence all but assured a top-three defense in Utah for the preceding three years.
Gobert leads the 2013 class in total blocks and rebounds by significant margins, and he’s tops in effective field-goal percentage if you filter out players with fewer than 300 career shot attempts. That last stat is important, as it helps dispel the notion that the 7’1″ Frenchman is a one-way weapon.
Gobert is about as effective and efficient as a non-stretch center can be, averaging at least 13.5 points and shooting at least 62.2 percent from the field in each of the last four seasons. His career average of 11.0 rebounds per game is almost an afterthought.
There are obvious differences between Gobert and Antetokounmpo, not the least of which are position and skill set. But one best illustrates why the Jazz center, great as he’s been, doesn’t warrant even fleeting consideration for the No. 1 spot: Gobert doesn’t profile as the best player on a title-winner, while it’ll be a surprise if Giannis doesn’t lead his team to a championship in the near future.
Not a bad pick for the Orlando Magic here, who transition from one defensive megastar in Dwight Howard to another in Gobert.
Actual Pick: Victor Oladipo
Gobert’s Actual Draft Slot: 27th, Denver Nuggets (traded to Utah Jazz)
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Second in the class in total points, fifth in assists and first in made threes, CJ McCollum is a clear lead guard whose production to this point would be even greater if he hadn’t spent his career alongside another ball-dominant backcourt player.
The marriage with Damian Lillard works just fine, but it’s a fun thought experiment to imagine what McCollum could do running his own show.
He won’t get that chance with the Washington Wizards, who already have John Wall and Bradley Beal. But we don’t care about positional concerns. Besides, Washington took Otto Porter Jr. in this spot (theoretically a perfect positional fit) and straight-up salary-dumped him in a 2019 trade to the Chicago Bulls.
That’s what picking (and paying) for fit gets you.
Victor Oladipo had a higher peak than McCollum, but the Blazers guard has been far more consistent, averaging at least 20.8 points per game for five straight seasons and shooting 39.7 percent on 2,509 long-range attempts, the second-highest total in the 2013 class.
McCollum is a slithery ball-handler with a seemingly endless variety of feints and tricks on the bounce. An incomparably accurate mid-range shooter, he also uses supreme craft and guile to finish at the rim despite athleticism best described as “serviceable.”
Actual Pick: Otto Porter Jr.
McCollum’s Actual Draft Slot: 10th, Portland Trail Blazers
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Following a 2017-18 season in which he averaged 23.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists while leading the league in steals, Victor Oladipo earned an All-NBA third-team nod and a spot on the All-Defensive first team.
At that point, he was legitimately in the conversation as a top-10 player in the NBA. Lead guards who can shut down either backcourt position, dominate in isolation, shoot with range and devastate defenders in the pick-and-roll are rare, but that’s exactly what peak Oladipo was.
If not for the ruptured quadriceps tendon he suffered in 2018-19, he’d be fighting it out with Gobert for No. 2 in this re-draft.
But the injury cost Oladipo a full calendar year, and the version of him that returned to play 13 games in 2019-20 was visibly diminished. In 2017-18, Oladipo could back the ball out beyond the arc, get downhill against any defender and go around him like he wasn’t even there. That player hasn’t made it back onto the floor yet, and because Oladipo only flashed that dominant form for one season, it might not be fair to assume he ever will.
You can only be so cautious, though. However slim, the chance Oladipo could regain his prime form is worth taking a risk on. Even if he can only be the third-option-level player he was with the Magic and Thunder, that’s worth a top-five pick in a draft that is about to run out of guards with star potential.
Actual Pick: Cody Zeller
Oladipo’s Actual Draft Slot: 2nd, Orlando Magic
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The Phoenix Suns were after a conventional center when they took Alex Len at this spot.
Let’s give them a better one.
Steven Adams is essentially a block of granite (warning: NSFW language) with hair (and arm sleeves) who clogs up the lane on defense, bodies opponents out of the way on the offensive boards, delights in subtle “who, me?” physicality and supplements underwhelming finishing ability inside with a deft floater touch.
Adams became a full-time starter in 2014-15, and Andre Drummond is the only player in the league with more offensive rebounds since then. If stat-hungry Russell Westbrook hadn’t gobbled up all of his defensive boards during that span, we’d probably regard Adams as one of the league’s best rebounders.
Think that’s unfair to Russ? Note how Adams ranked in the bottom quartile among bigs in defensive rebound rate every year until 2019-20 when, without Westbrook, he suddenly found himself in the 79th percentile.
Adams has logged at least 70 games in every completed season of his career, constantly plays hurt, doesn’t need the ball and is always in the right place on defense. There’s no flash in his game, but career per-36 averages of 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 58.9 percent shooting get the job done.
Actual Pick: Alex Len
Adams’ Actual Draft Slot: 12th, Oklahoma City Thunder
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We’ve already hit role-player territory at No. 6, which is a little disappointing. But Robert Covington’s portable three-and-D game works in any system, and it’s not a coincidence that two of the most data-driven front offices (Sam Hinkie’s Sixers and Daryl Morey’s Rockets) both placed high value on the undrafted combo forward.
Covington’s on-ball defense might be a touch overrated, as he’s not quite strong enough to body up the burliest wing scorers. But he’s above average guarding at least three positions, and his real value shows up in his off-ball game. Covington has finished no lower than the 92nd percentile in block rate among wings every year since 2016-17, and he’s been at or above the 95th percentile in steal rate since 2015-16.
Throw in excellent defensive rebounding, high-volume three-point shooting and general defensive flexibility, and you’ve got the ideal two-way player who doesn’t need the ball to make a difference.
The proof that Covington belongs this high is in the on-off splits. His teams have always been substantially better with him on the floor. Just look at the numbers: Covington’s worst on-off differential was a plus-4.5 for the partial year he played with the 2018-19 Sixers. The prior season, Covington was credited with a career-high 2,516 possessions of court time, and his presence on the floor coincided with an absurd net-rating boost of plus-15.9 points per 100 possessions.
Stars still rule. They’ll always come off the board before players like Covington. But if the goal of drafting a player is to improve your team (duh), he has a case to go even higher than this.
Actual Pick: Nerlens Noel (traded to Philadelphia 76ers)
Covington’s Actual Draft Slot: Undrafted
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Porter has the heftier contract and the (real-world) draft pedigree, but he and the originally undrafted Covington are very similar players.
In fact, it might surprise some to learn Covington has higher per-36 averages in points, rebounds, blocks and steals while also featuring a more efficient shot profile and a higher free-throw attempt rate.
Porter is a career 40.4 percent three-point shooter, but Covington’s shot is quicker and more versatile, which is part of the reason why he’s averaged twice as many deep attempts per game as Porter for his career. Accuracy is obviously important, but volume is also key. And while Porter’s defense is passable, Covington makes a major impact on that end.
Porter, who played 37 games as a rookie, 56 in 2018-19 and only 14 this season, has some troubling health red flags. Persistent hip issues and this year’s foot injury don’t bode well for his long-term durability. When he’s right, he’s comfortably the best wing left—a lanky shooter who can put the ball on the floor capably enough to generate a mid-range look or get to the bucket, where he’s an efficient finisher (career 68.6 percent inside three feet).
Actual Pick: Ben McLemore
Porter’s Actual Draft Slot: 3rd, Washington Wizards
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I know we said in the introduction that positional needs aren’t important, but this is an extreme case.
Cody Zeller was originally going to be the pick here, but the Pistons drafted Andre Drummond in the 2012 lottery, and Greg Monroe started 82 games alongside him in the 2013-14 season. They wouldn’t have taken a center here under any circumstances.
So we get the rare chance to align fiction with reality, sending Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the team that originally picked him.
Sorry if that’s less fun than imagining another player in this spot, but KCP is the best wing available, and the reasoning behind drafting him here still stands. Detroit had nothing at the 2 (unless you’re a big Rodney Stuckey guy) and was in desperate need of perimeter defense and three-point shooting.
KCP does both well, as he ranks third in the class in made threes and steals. He’s also played 80 or more games three times and never finished any of his seven full seasons with more than eight missed contests.
Even if we weren’t making an exception to consider Detroit’s positional concerns, Caldwell-Pope would make sense here.
Actual Pick: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Caldwell-Pope’s Actual Draft Slot: 8th, Detroit Pistons
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Kelly Olynyk has already lost enough mobility to render his once substandard defense unplayable against most opposing first units, but he’s been on the board long enough.
Seventh among 2013 draftees in total win shares and easily the most trustworthy outside-shooting big man in the class, he offers offensive dimensions none of his draftmates can match.
A career 37.5 percent shooter from deep (with two seasons north of 40.0 percent), Olynyk is also a heady passer whose 915 assists are second among centers picked in 2013. Mason Plumlee ranks first in that category, but he doesn’t offer anywhere near the stretch Olynyk does.
Lack of lift and routine stationing beyond the arc have always kept his rebounding numbers down, but Olynyk finds ways to affect the game beyond scoring and passing. Thanks to a gritty streak that occasionally brushes up against unsportsmanlike behavior and no shortage of savvy, he’s always posted exceptional steal rates for a big man.
Actual Pick: Trey Burke
Olynyk’s Actual Draft Slot: 13th, Dallas Mavericks (traded to Boston Celtics)
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Tim Hardaway Jr. has done more to bump his draft stock in 2019-20 than any other player, transforming from a volume-based chucker into a much more efficient wing who, for the first time, wasn’t a zero on defense. Though it would have once been ridiculous to even consider it, Hardaway might opt out of his massive player option for 2020-21 and test free agency.
His play has improved that much.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Hardaway has excelled in a Dallas Mavericks offense led by clean-look generator extraordinaire Luka Doncic, but the point still stands: He has shown us over a full season that he can be a quality starter on a playoff team.
At a career-best 40.7 percent in 2019-20, Hardaway has hit a new level in long-range accuracy. And he’s done it while uncorking a career-high 12.1 deep attempts per 100 possessions. He also never turns it over and has generally been an average facilitator for a wing.
The only reservation to slotting him in the top 10 is the lack of evidence that he can sustain this level of play. The fluke risk is relatively high. That said, he’s 13th in win shares among 2013 picks, and his career average of 13.4 points per game is fifth-best in the class.
Actual Pick: CJ McCollum
Hardaway’s Actual Draft Slot: 24th, New York Knicks
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11. Philadelphia 76ers: Dennis Schroder
Schroder has the fourth-highest career scoring total and leads all 2013 picks in assists, but he slides outside the top 10 because his stellar counting stats have often been short on substance. He’s 14th in value over replacement player and 17th in box plus-minus in his class, but 2019-20 is the first season he’s ranked above the 50th percentile in points per shot attempt at his position. His teams have also defended better with him off the floor in five of his seven seasons.
Though he’s been a productive starter for most of his career, Schroder seems to have found his true calling as a dynamite reserve for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Quick, confident and never shy about shooting, he’s a useful leader of second-unit offenses.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cody Zeller
Though he’s had a hard time staying healthy (at least 20 missed games in four of his last five full seasons), Zeller is a serviceable two-way center who makes a positive impact when available. In 2016-17, Charlotte went 33-29 when Zeller played but just 3-17 without him.
That’s an extreme example, and one that overstates the 7-footer’s real worth. But the Hornets’ point differential has been positive with Zeller on the court in each of the last five full seasons. That’s quite an achievement for a club that went 192-218 in that half-decade stretch.
Seventh in total rebounds and eighth in blocks among 2013 picks, Zeller is a solid (if unspectacular) low-end starter whose contributions to winning outweigh his pedestrian career averages of 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Seth Curry
Among players who’ve attempted at least 900 threes, only Steve Kerr has a higher accuracy rate than Curry’s 44.3 percent. Truly one of the league’s greatest snipers, the combo guard didn’t settle in as a consistent rotation player (and occasional starter) until his age-25 season with the Kings. Since then, he’s been a trustworthy defender who can also provide secondary playmaking—while terrorizing opponents away from the ball.
Steph’s younger brother has an elite skill, but he’s a bit more than a standstill marksman. If injuries and a nomadic first few seasons hadn’t kept his games-played total so low (251), he might have been a top-10 pick in the re-draft.
Thirteenth is still a nice upgrade from reality, as Curry went undrafted out of Duke.
14. Utah Jazz: Mason Plumlee
The assist defines Plumlee’s career. The bouncy center is among the NBA’s best passing bigs, one whose lack of scoring craft means he also needs direct facilitation to get his own buckets.
Plumlee is durable, having played at least 81 games in four of his six completed seasons, and he’s averaged 13.9 points and 10.4 boards per 36 minutes over his career. Though he has no touch around the rim, he can still be an effective finisher when set up with lobs or well-timed pocket passes.
A surprising fourth in win shares among 2013 draftees, Plumlee’s game is so obviously that of a role player that there was never any chance he’d go in the top 10. But this is a real value selection for Utah, which unfortunately won’t be leaving this version of the 2013 draft with Rudy Gobert.
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15. Milwaukee Bucks: Gorgui Dieng
The four-year, $64 million extension Dieng signed in 2016 distorted his value, distracting from his legitimate rotation-worthy usefulness by painting him as a player who is underperforming his salary.
Forget the money; Dieng is an excellent backup 5 who can stretch the floor (34.3 percent on treys) and defend the rim (fourth among 2013 picks in total blocks). Dieng, Adams and Antetokounmpo are the only players selected in 2013 with at least 400 steals and 500 blocks.
16. Boston Celtics: Dewayne Dedmon
Think of Dedmon as Dieng Lite.
Both feature perimeter-oriented offense and better-than-average interior work on D, but Dedmon lags well behind Dieng in games played (510 to 394). That volume matters, as does the fact that Dieng can be trusted to make a decision with the ball that doesn’t involve shooting.
Dedmon has a higher turnover percentage, but his assist percentage of 5.7 percent trails Dieng’s 9.3 percent. Though these two centers are mostly similar, a shorter track record and inferior secondary skills like playmaking mean Dedmon has to come off the board behind his more complete counterpart.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Nerlens Noel
Gobert is obviously this draft’s most effective defensive center, but there’s a good argument that Noel is its most disruptive.
When he’s in the game, offenses suddenly can’t stop turning the ball over.
Noel is a rangy 6’10”, and his length and activity level have produced astronomical block and steal rates throughout his career. He’s never ranked lower than the 94th percentile in steal percentage among bigs, and he’s been in the top quartile in block rate every year of his career.
When engaged, it often feels like it’s impossible for an offense to throw a pass he can’t tip away. Unwary scorers around the rim are often shocked to see what seemed like undefended attempts sail out of bounds after Noel darts into the play from somewhere out of frame.
But this guy is a chaos engine off the bench.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Andre Roberson
Injuries have rendered Roberson a nonfactor for most of the last three seasons, which makes it difficult to imagine he’ll make an impact going forward. But the 2016-17 All-Defensive second-teamer has been on the board long enough.
When healthy, Roberson was a menace on D. Though his 6’7″ height and 6’11” wingspan made him an ideal counter to high-scoring wings, the Colorado product was equally comfortable getting low in his stance and staying in front of point guards. When beaten, few were better at recovering to block shots.
Smothering ball-denials, quick hands and terrific help instincts made Roberson one of the most imposing defensive wings in the league. If he hadn’t also been a massive liability on offense—one strategically ignored beyond the arc by every team with sense—he could have been a top-10 pick.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Tony Snell
Snell is a three-and-D wing with a career 38.5 percent hit rate from distance. He’s also a passable defender who can survive against most guards and all but the burliest wings. The reason a player with such an in-demand set of skills only goes 19th in our re-draft is simple: Snell has the remarkable ability to disappear for minutes at a time.
His career 12.6 usage percentage is comically low, and it illustrates a game that blows past “unassuming” and right into “invisible” far too often. Snell is a good shooter, but he rarely attacks off the dribble, never registers assists and almost never turns it over. You’re also more likely to spot Bigfoot in the wild than see Snell register a steal.
Snell doesn’t hurt his teams, but the knock on an otherwise quality player is that he often doesn’t do enough to help either.
Tony, what would you say you do here?
20. Chicago Bulls: Daniel Theis
Three years isn’t much of a career compared to some of the other players in consideration for a first-round spot, but Theis is such a good fit in the modern game that it feels fair to overlook a short track record.
Theis is just dangerous enough from deep (34.0 percent) to keep defenses honest, and he’s comfortable switching onto guards when the Celtics’ defensive sets call for it. He’s nominally a center, but Theis’ 6’8″ frame makes it difficult for him to compete against conventional bigs. But it’s not like there are a ton of those players setting up shop on the block and overpowering smaller matchups these days.
A full-time starter in 2019-20, the undrafted German import was posting career highs with 9.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game before the season’s suspension.
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21. Utah Jazz: Allen Crabbe
Crabbe owns a career 38.7 percent conversion rate on threes, and he’s always understood that his effectiveness depends entirely on the long ball. His career three-point rate (the percentage of field-goal attempts that come from beyond the arc) is 55.3 percent, third-highest among 2013 selections. That number has trended up lately, and Crabbe hasn’t posted a three-point rate under 64.3 percent in any of the last three seasons.
Though unhelpful on defense and the owner of a minus-1.6 career box plus-minus, Crabbe has an elite skill: high-volume, high-accuracy shooting. This late in the draft, that’s more than good enough.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Alex Len
Originally picked at No. 5, the 7’0″ Len seemed to be supplementing his old-school game with some stretch in 2018-19 when he shot 36.3 percent on 2.6 long balls per contest. Sadly, his attempts and accuracy have decreased in a 2019-20 season split between the Hawks and Kings. Had he sustained the growth of the prior year, he would have been an intriguing asset. Maybe it’s not too late.
If the shooting doesn’t return, Len can still impact games with shot-blocking and rebounding, his two most consistent skills. He and Gobert are the only players picked in 2013 with career block rates over 4.0 percent and career rebound rates over 17.0 percent.
23. Indiana Pacers: Michael Carter-Williams
Carter-Williams won the 2013-14 Rookie of the Year Award with averages of 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals. That remains MCW’s most productive campaign, and it was a win-win for the tanking Sixers, who piled up the losses they sought while inflating Carter-Williams’ trade value with gaudy counting stats.
The lanky point guard has never been an efficient enough shooter to make a real difference, despite his unselfishness and quality defense. In fact, MCW’s post-ROY career is that of an off-the-pine stopper, most successfully over the last couple of seasons with the Magic.
MCW and Antetokounmpo are the only 2013 picks with career averages of at least 10.0 points, 4.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds, which might make it seem like Carter-Williams deserves to go higher. But among the 28 players in this class who’ve attempted at least 1,000 shots, MCW’s 47.5 true shooting percentage ranks dead last.
24. New York Knicks: Solomon Hill
Hill does a little bit of everything, but outside of the brief stretch toward the end of the 2015-16 season that made the Pacers regret declining his fourth-year option, he’s never been regarded as a high-end rotation player.
A lot of that late-2016 spike in value had to do with uncharacteristically scorching three-point shooting (57.9 percent from deep in seven playoff games that year), but maybe his 37.8 percent accuracy rate in 2019-20 portends better things next year.
Hill is 23rd in total points, 19th in rebounds and 18th in assists among his 2013 peers.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: James Ennis III
Ennis might be best known for (seemingly) always coming up as “the under-the-radar three-and-D wing contenders should trade for at the deadline.” It’s a weird legacy, but it’s also kind of flattering—if you focus on the fact that players with his skills are always in demand.
Though he’s never averaged more than 7.2 points per game in a season, Ennis sits at 35.4 percent from deep for his career and has the frame—if not the numbers—to suggest he can match up with dangerous wings on defense.
Originally drafted 50th by the Hawks, Ennis has only started and finished a year with the same team in two of his six seasons. Never quite appreciated where he is but always wanted somewhere else, he might be this class’ best-traveled journeyman.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Mike Muscala
Purely a three-point specialist, Muscala has the size of a power forward but lacks the foot speed to hang with most 4s. That renders him a spot-use stretch 5 who can’t offer enough rim protection to play against first units.
Credit him for sticking in the league by altering his game in his age-25 season, upping his three-point-attempt rate and embracing a perimeter role. But barring an unlikely return to significant minutes, Muscala may end up being best remembered as the guy the Clippers somehow turned into Ivica Zubac in a 2019 robbery of the Lakers.
27. Denver Nuggets: Matthew Dellavedova
Yet another undrafted player slides into the top 30, as Dellavedova earns his spot on the strength of solid backup work for a Cavs squad that reached the Finals twice and won a title with him on the roster in 2016.
A defensive pest whose competitiveness sometimes bordered on dirty, the Australian point guard never actually graded out as a good defender, even in his best years. But his manic activity and effort had tone-setting value for Cleveland, which had a tendency to coast.
Though the starting gig he earned with the 2016-17 Bucks didn’t last, Dellavedova is still a playable second-stringer on bad teams and may still have some usefulness as a deep reserve for a winner.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Reggie Bullock
Health has always been the issue for Bullock, who averaged just 45 games per year over his first six seasons. When fit, the 6’6″ wing is among the league’s best shooters. He hit 44.5 percent of his triples in 2017-18 and nailed 37.7 percent on increased volume the following season. He averaged 11.3 points per game in that two-year stretch.
It’s worth noting that Bullock has mostly been a starter over the last three years, which sets him apart from the reserves we’ve been selecting with the previous several picks. Availability is an ability, though, and it hasn’t historically been one of Bullock’s strong points.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Trey Burke
Sixth in the 2013 class in total assists, Burke is actually a score-first guard who does most of his damage from the ill-favored mid-range area. Ideally, teams want their scoring to come at the rim and from deep, but Burke doesn’t have the burst to get to the cup or the quick release to fire off the dribble from beyond the arc.
So he makes do with probing drives and hesitation moves designed to generate short jumpers.
Though not the difference-maker you’d want from a player originally picked ninth, Burke has hung on as a backup by embracing his strengths.
30. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore
McLemore has always looked the part of an NBA shooting guard. A gorgeous stroke and plenty of run-and-jump athleticism made him the No. 7 pick in 2013. But spacey defense and the inability to put the ball on the floor nearly resulted in his slipping out of the league prior to last season.
Claimed off the scrap heap and now a rotation player for the Rockets, McLemore seems to have found a home. If all he has to do is catch the ball and shoot it when open, he can make a positive difference. He has proved that by hitting 39.5 percent of his treys in Houston this season.