NOTE: This is a series of articles written by individual authors, both in and out of The Draft Class. These are all part of The Draft Class’ NBA Re-Draft, in which all of the current 30 NBA teams are represented and will undergo a simulation through NBA 2K20, with the goal to build the best team over the next five years. All teams have already been formed through the snake draft. These pieces will break down why each team’s representative drafted the way they did, as well as the approach the representative had heading into the draft.
GM: Scott Levine (@ScottLevineNBA)
When Zion Williamson fell to me at pick #10, my question was no longer “How can I acquire the most raw talent?” but rather “How can I best maximize Zion’s strengths and minimize his weaknesses?” I knew I wanted a rim-protecting center who can shoot threes. I also prioritized a three-level scoring guard to run pick and rolls with Zion and a few floor spacing wings.
Since three-level scoring guards who can reliably make correct pick and roll reads are a rarity in the NBA, I targeted one in round two. Does CJ McCollum make the elite-level crosscourt reads we’re used to seeing from LeBron James or Luka Doncic? No. However, he is a threat to score from everywhere and can throw the simple pass to the open shooter or a well-timed pocket pass to the roll man. Since Zion is our roll man, that’s all CJ needs to do.
For my wings, I wanted players who would not just shoot the ball, but also be able to put the ball on the floor. It would make my offense much harder to guard if my wings could continue the advantages created by Zion and CJ with smart closeout attacks. I felt I acquired those players in Marcus Smart and Otto Porter Jr. I will even run a few pick and rolls with Smart and Zion, allowing CJ to run through screens off-ball like he does next to Damian Lillard.
Zach Collins falling to the fifth round was huge. Not only does he represent the coveted stretch five I was looking for, but his perimeter mobility also allows me to play multiple defensive schemes. Need to contain Giannis? Collins and Zion can wall up the middle. Need to contain a Luka pick and roll? Collins is the only big Terry Stotts lets switch onto perimeter players. Smart will do as good as any guard switched onto a big with Zion providing weak side help.
To appraise my starting five honestly, it looks like an offensive juggernaut that could also be great on defense but may struggle on-ball against some of the bigger wings in the league. Otto Porter Jr. weighs about 200 pounds soaking wet. Josh Okogie was a necessary gamble on an on-ball defender against the likes of Kawhi Leonard.
While I acknowledged the importance of defense with the Okogie pick, most of my other bench picks were aimed at bolstering my already strong offense.Tomas Satoransky is a wonderful sixth man who can play either guard position or in three-guard lineups with McCollum and Smart. Justin Holiday and Georges Niang are blisteringly good shooters. The center position was almost squeezed dry by round ten but I am a Bruno Fernando believer and hope he can eventually provide a rough outline of what Collins brings to my team.
I’d like to thank Alex West of Red Team Scouting for being a great draft consultant. He could not resist throwing suggestions at me once I picked Zion, and all of them were helpful. This is as much his team as it is mine.