When the NBA gets back on the court, it’s likely to be just for a made-for-TV playoff tournament. That leaves several big stars on the sidelines. At the same time, there’s a chance that a long layoff will lead to injuries among teams who do continue their 2020 campaigns, as well as the chance that players will have to be pulled from competition due to the coronavirus.
With that in mind, one idea would be to let playoff teams draft players, on loan, from non-playoff teams. If this is going to be a season with a million asterisks on it, why not put together some real superteams and see some incredible basketball?
So, we did it.
Four Deadspinners participated in the NBA Restart Draft, each representing four teams.
DeArbea Walker: Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers
Carron Phillips: Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers
Jesse Spector: Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors
Eric Barrow: Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks
The draft order was made by going from the eight seeds through the one seeds, with the team with the worse record at each seed going first. The only rule was that players had to be drafted from teams in the opposite conference.
Here’s how the draft went. The Magic went on the clock first…
DW: Magic select Devin Booker
Between him and Markelle Fultz in the backcourt, some real damage could be done. Fultz averaged almost 6 assists a game before the NBA hiatus due to COVID-19 and struggled tremendously with 25.4% from the 3-point line this season. That is a speciality for Booker and that is an area the team across the board could use a little help with.
CP: Grizzlies select Andre Drummond
Memphis is young, fun and flashy. But In the playoffs, those kids are going to need rebounding and an occasional low-post bucket.
JS: Nets select Stephen Curry
Even with Joe Harris, the Nets have been one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league this season. And if Kevin Durant does come back, we know he and Curry can win a title together, and there’s a lot less drama with this addition than, say, Draymond Green.
CP: It’s also makes them a LOT softer
JS: ”Brooklyn, we go hard” is just words.
CP: Two of the softest dudes in league history back together again one willingly left....and KD isn’t coming back
JS: So long as Steph’s hitting shots and finding the various big guys in the paint, he can be soft all day. This isn’t the Last Dance era!
JS: The main reason is KD is better! As far as 2015 goes, it’s not like Curry was a chump in that series... he averaged 26/6/5.
CP: Only when you add in the garbage-time points
JS: He scored 9.7 more per game than anyone on the team, and Klay Thompson shot 30 percent on 3s in the series. I didn’t have a problem with Andre Iguodala being MVP, but you’re making it sound like Curry had nothing to do with them winning.
EB: Mavericks select Bradley Beal
Adding another dynamic scorer to go along with Luka Doncic on the perimeter and Kristaps Porzingis.
JS: 76ers select Dame Lillard
He’s everything they’ve been missing, not least of which is being the guy to take — and make — the big shot in the big spot.
CP: Mike D’Antoni has publicly admitted that during the Suns run that they let outsiders influence them, and that they should have doubled down and played even faster back then. So with that said....
Rockets select Trae Young
And become the team in which you can’t double anybody on the floor.
JS: I would honestly love to watch him in that lineup and the 175-173 games the Rockets would play.
DW: Pacers select De’Aaron Fox
Victor Oladipo is still trying to find his way back. Fox, while a starter with Sacramento, could be used as a two guard or back up to Oladipo where their minutes would be evenly split. Fox could run with the first unit so that Oladipo can ease back into things.
JS: Thunder select Kevin Love
For some much-needed rebounding and the ability to stretch defenses more than Steven Adams, who’s better suited to coming off the bench as a role player.
EB: Heat select Zion Williamson
Adding some needed help on the boards and some energy on the offensive end. Just the sort of player to get fans’ asses out of their seats.
CP: Jazz select Zach Lavine
They’ll need an actual bucket getter on the wing that’s over 6-1 and who can score in late-shot clock situations.
EB: The Nuggets select Lauri Markkanen
Gives us two 7-footers with Nikola Jokic who you need to defend wherever they are on the floor.
DW: Celtics select Klay Thompson
The Celtics don’t need much but they could utilize a perimeter defender and more consistent shooting, which Thompson can provide.
CP: Clippers select Luke Kennard
They have a bunch of dudes who can shoot. But don’t have a shooter....Enter Kennard off the bench with the green light.
JS: Raptors select DeMar DeRozan
He missed out on the title last year, but he should fit right back in with Kyle Lowry and the rest of the defending champs.
DW: The Lakers select John Wall
Even though Wall lately has performed below expectations, there is hope that he could be a solid ball handler outside of LeBron. The Lakers are in need of that. When he was at his best a few years ago he was one of the best in the league.
JS: Here’s a question for not today... is Wall a successful No. 1 pick?
CP: Hell yeah he is! Ain’t his fault he plays for the worst franchise in the nba outside of Sacramento. We can draft injured players?
DW: Right. I was assuming he was healthy but I can change my pick if we’re only going with healthy players.
JS: I guess the question is if he’ll be healthy when they start playing. But, yeah, you can pick an injured player. Wall was playing in the G-League, so I assume he’d be good to go.
CP: Y’all made me pick from East teams and are choosing injured players....this is me
And if y’all don’t get the reference, we’re gonna fight.
JS: What if I take Rodney “Quills” Dinkins with the Nets’ second-round pick? He knows the law, that’s important.
JS: Address that softness problem!
EB: Bucks select Karl-Anthony Towns
Significant upgrade at center position over aging Brook Lopez. Towns’ rebounding should get extra opportunities for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
JS: Alright, you got me back for Lillard (who wasn’t allowed to be picked for the Mavericks as a Western player), I was gonna grab Towns with the Nets’ second-rounder.
EB: Feel better now
DW: Magic select Julius Randle
He would be a great addition for them in the frontcourt coming off the bench. Going back to his Kentucky days, he played well when his role was defined. He has been lacking that in the NBA, sorta being asked to do everything.
CP: Grizzlies select Derrick Rose
Since I gave Memphis some much needed experience in the front court in the first round, I’ll do the same for the backcourt in the 2nd.
JS: Nets select Hassan Whiteside
I’m gonna lean in on the Nets being “soft” ... by perception, anyway, because I don’t really buy it. Whiteside is underrated and I like him here.
CP: So you go even softer with Whiteside?
Brooklyn is in full gentrification with this surburban-esque roster lol.
JS: You want to build a team that represents the place, right?
CP: Biggie is rolling over in his grave
EB: Mavs select Wendell Carter Jr.
Should provide some needed help on the defensive end of the floor and some strength inside.
CP: DAMN YOU!!!!!!
EB: Oh yeah!
CP: It’s cool. I keep a backup plan
JS: Sixers select J.J. Redick
Wrote about this as a possibility in my piece, so it would feel wrong to have it available and not do it, even with Lillard in the fold.
CP: Rockets select John Collins
Big enough to screen, roll & rebound. But small enough to keep the floor spread. Plus, it puts him and Trae back together.
DW: Pacers select LaMarcus Aldridge
Domantas Sabonis was signed to an extension last year pairing him with Myles Turner in the front court which has proven to work. But this team needs a veteran. Aldridge could be a solid option off the bench for them.
CP: Off the bench?!!!?!!
DW: I mean, he could play with Sabonis but idk how him and Turner would work. They’ll figure it out. Ha.
CP: Turner would be on the bench. That’s how it would work. And Sabonis would figure it out
CP: Aldridge has more All-Star appearances than that entire roster.
DW: Yep that was the point in putting him there.
JS: Thunder select Mitchell Robinson
He’ll join their collection of guys who do a few things well and fit together as a puzzle.
CP: Damn you too Jesse.
JS: I did not realize that he led the whole dang league in offensive rating. I also don’t fully understand offensive rating.
CP: Nerd stats
EB: The Heat select Jrue Holiday
Miami needs a legit PG, who can score, is battle tested, and fits in its culture of defense and toughness. Holiday and Butler would be a nightmare on the defensive end. And he knows how to pass to Zion.
CP: Jazz select Cam Reddish
I’m giving Utah some youth, defense, another ball handler, shooting and scoring. And a guy who was figuring it out before the pandemic.
EB: Love yourself some Duke guys.
CP: Utah’s bench is full of ’em.
EB: Nuggets select Kevin Huerter
Denver needs a shooter who doesn’t actually need the ball in his hands.
DW: Celtics select Carmelo Anthony
Because why not? The Celtics don’t need much and Melo would have a similar role to what he has in Portland. It works for both sides.
JS: Thank you for saving me from myself with Melo!
CP: Clippers select Clint Capela
They’re gonna need a backup for Montrezl Harrell.
JS: Noted Atlanta Hawk Clint Capela
JS: Raptors select Draymond Green
Don’t think I have to explain this, and I’m kind of amazed he’s still on the board.
CP: This is easy given what the Lakers need
JS: DO IT DEARBEA! Take Vince Carter!
DW: Lakers select Otto Porter Jr.
He’ll come off the bench for them. They could use another wing.
CP: Scary Terry was right there.....And you airballed.
DW: Oh shit, I forgot about him with the Hornets, oh well.
JS: There’s a theoretical third round!
CP: Hell nah lmao
JS: I said theoretical!
EB: Bucks select Buddy Hield
Adding a 40% shooter from 3-point range is never a bad thing.
And that does it. Would Terry Rozier make it down to the Lakers in that theoretical third round? Who’s now best positioned to make a title run? It’s fun to imagine what these already excellent teams would look like with their on-loan reinforcements. Now it’s up to the NBA to figure out, for real, how to handle its season resumption.