The NBA Draft is set to begin on Thursday, June 23. That would make this draft week, the most wonderful time of the year for ridiculous trade rumors, endless rosterbating, and, most relevant for us, rooting for your favorite college players to be drafted.
Colorado faithful will wait all of Thursday to see a glimpse into the future of Josh Scott, fearless leader of men, Buffalo warrior. Apropos of that, the Ralphie Report is here to bring you Josh Scott Week. Today, we’re categorizing every NBA team into three categories: certainly won’t draft Scott, teams that should be looking at him, and teams that will look at him as a potential undrafted free agent*.
*In an article coming soon, I’ll discuss why there’s a strong possibility of Scott going undrafted.
Team that don’t need another big man
- Oklahoma City Thunder (sorry, Andre)
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Chicago Bulls (sorry, Spencer)
- Toronto Raptors
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Detroit Pistons
- Sacramento Kings
- New York Knicks
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Denver Nuggets
A few of these teams, like Oklahoma City and Cleveland, have neither a need for big men, nor an opportunity to draft them even if they did. A few of these teams, like New York and Milwaukee, are trying to go small and have too many big men as is. Others, like Charlotte, have a glaring need for a big man, but their need is so large that they’re expected to fill that hole via free agency.
And then there are the Nuggets, everyone's favorite potential landing spot for Scott. Yes, Scott has worked out for Denver, and yes, it would be a wonderful story, but they don’t really need him. If there’s any one spot the Nuggets have covered, it’s down low, where they employ Kenneth Faried, Nikola Jokic, Josef Nurkic and Joffrey Lauvergne. Even if they did need a big, Denver has a reputation for finding gold in Europe, where the latter three of the aforementioned players hail from. They would likely target another European instead of a college player.
Teams that may target Scott as an undrafted free agent
- Washington Wizards
- Los Angeles Lakers
- San Antonio Spurs
- Miami Heat
- Golden State Warriors
- Portland Trail Blazers
The teams listed here have potential holes in their big man rotation, but no draft picks where Scott would likely be drafted. Golden State, San Antonio and Los Angeles will draft between the 28th and 32nd picks, but there will be better prospects for them (no disrespect to Scott) at those spots.
Washington is not returning power forwards Nenê or J.J. Hickson (Wizards fans are celebrating in the streets), and they may lose the invaluable Jared Dudley. With limited resources to sign free agents (they’re going to max out Bradley Beal), they need to look at undrafted free agents to produce for them, even if they go small (which they should) with new coach Scott Brooks.
Portland is my favorite landing spot for Scott out of these teams, but it’s mostly because I want my favorite college player on my favorite team. There is potential need for Scott, though. Chris Kaman, a.k.a. Extra Foamy, is finally off the books and Meyer Leonard, a restricted free agent, may leave with a massive payday. Portland could be fine without either, but they’d have to rely on Cliff Alexander and Mo Harkless, which is less than ideal. A solid post player and defender like Scott could fit nicely playing next to Ed Davis.
Teams that may target Scott in the draft
- Houston Rockets (37, 41)
- New Orleans (39, 40)
- Orlando Magic (41, 47)
- Atlanta Hawks (44, 54)
- Boston Celtics (45, 51, 58)
- Dallas Mavericks (46)
- Indiana Pacers (50)
- Utah Jazz (52, 60)
- Brooklyn Nets (56)
- Memphis Grizzlies (57)
A relatively quick run-through of the semi-likely destinations:
Houston may lose all three of Josh Smith, Terrence Jones and Donatas Montiejunas. They have the 37th and 41st picks (which would be early for Scott), but seem unlikely to use them on someone who doesn’t fit their team philosophy of threes and layups.
New Orleans is one of the thinnest teams in the league, but with Anthony Davis and backups Alexis Ajinça and Quincy Pondexter, they seem more likely to draft a guard or wing than another big man with their early second rounders.
Orlando, like Houston, may lose all of their primary back up bigs this summer. Jason Smith, a Colorado native, should be gone. Dewayne Dedmon and Andrew Nicholson are both restricted free agents. Orlando usually drafts high-upside players in the second round (see Dedmon), but with pressure to make the playoffs, they may want to draft Scott to replace the skill set of Smith. In they don’t draft him, they should look at him as a free agent.
Atlanta seems to be faced with the impossible decision of choosing between Al Horford and Paul Millsap (he can opt of his contract this summer). Scott would never step in to replace either of those players, and even as backup, his non-shooting skill set isn’t ideal for Atlanta.
Boston has picks all over this draft (thanks, Brooklyn), so they have will have plenty of opportunities to draft Scott. As far as team fit goes, I don’t see a better place for Scott. Boston struggled all season generating points at the rim and never had a consistent post scorer to go to. Defensively, Boston hounds the ball to hide defensive decencies in their big men, most notably rim protection and foot speed. Scott’s lack of athleticism will limit him defensively, but Boston is most capable of game planning around that.
The only issue here is that Boston has the third and sixteenth picks and are poised to draft combo forward Dragan Bender and shot blocking Deyonta Davis with those picks. If they don’t, centers Diamond Stone, A.J. Hammons and Zhou Qi could be available for them at 23, 31, or 35. Boston also will look to use at least a few of their picks on draft-and-stash European prospects, since they only have so many roster spots. The Celtics could draft Scott in the late second round, but will only do so if they fail to address their biggest needs early on.
Dallas, like Houston and Orlando, is losing the majority of their big man rotation. Zaza Pachulia, Charlie Villanueva and David Lee and appear to be on their respective ways out. Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri will vie for minutes next to Dirk Nowitzki, but the Mavs need more depth. Dallas will look for a player to contribute immediately, so Scott seems reasonable for Dallas to target at No. 46 or as undrafted free agent.
(Only four teams to go! I need some tea.)
Indiana is yet another team that could lose the majority of their big man rotation. Breakout star Ian Mahinmi will get paid, but it should be by Indiana. The Hill brothers, Solomon and Jordan (they’re not actually brothers), are also free agents. Indiana has wanted to go small, but have never had the right pieces to do so. As such, it seems more likely for them to target a stretch-four than a post scorer like Scott.
Utah has gained a reputation for their adamant reliance on playing two traditional big men at a time while the rest of the league is going smaller and smaller. If you titans like Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, you would too. Unfortunately for Utah, Gobert has injury concerns and some of their backup big men are about to hit the market. With the 52nd and 60th picks, Utah should look to replace the departed Trevor Booker with a power forward capable of holding up at center for short periods. Utah’s system and need makes them the most logical and possibly most favorable destination for Scott. He’d also get to finally play alongside Alec Burks.
Brooklyn is one of the most hopeless teams I have ever seen, and it’s only getting worse. The 55th selection is Brooklyn’s only pick after they gave up everything to the Celtics in the Garnett-Pierce trade of 2013. They need to fill every single roster spot except center, where they have Brook Lopez. Brooklyn could go for Scott, but hopefully for Scott, they’ll address another need.
Finally, we have the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis’ squad from this past season is one of the weirder case studies in recent memory. After Marc Gasol broke his foot in February, their lack of depth was put on full display. Memphis ran out a who’s who of who-is-who? They literally — literally — started Chris Andersen in the playoffs. To put it lightly, Memphis needs help. With the 57th pick, they need to find a player -- preferably a big man — capable of contributing off the bench right away. Someone like Josh Scott.
* * *
Josh Scott may not be a first round pick or even an early second rounder, but there are teams all over the NBA in need of his services. Even if he goes undrafted, he should have suitors. You can go on pondering which team he would fit best on, which uniform he’d look best in (obviously Boston), or which city he would enjoy living in most. I’ll be here thinking about how wonderful it is that Scott had the career he did, that he deserves to play on the highest level of basketball. I’ll also spend some time customizing my own Josh Scott Blazers jersey.