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Our Late July Western Conference Power Rankings

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After a tsunami wave of signings during the first few days of free agency, I thought we should reassess where each team stands in the clog of what is the Western Conference. Arguably eight out of ten (what up Drake) of the best players in the league are now in the West after LeBron signed with the Lakers (my top 10 in order – LeBron, KD, Anthony Davis, Steph, Harden, Kawhi, Giannis, Kyrie, Russ, and Jimmy Butler). You’d think the West would be top heavy with the obvious dynasty in the making in, Golden State, but there’s a lot of fringe playoff teams this upcoming season that could be in contention for a playoff seed. It used to be that you want to build your team to be a playoff “contender”. Now that the Warriors are here, the league has evolved to building your team to beat them. If you’re not equipped to run with the champs, then there’s no point in being content with being competent. Golden State made the league what it has become –  you’re either championship or bust.

1. Golden State Warriors

Departures: JaVale McGee (signed with Lakers)

Additions: Kevin Durant (re-signed 2yr/$61.5M), Kevon Looney (re-signed 1yr/Minimum), DeMarcus Cousins (1yr/$5.3M), Jonas Jerebko (1yr/Minimum), Jacob Evans (draft, 28th pick).

I know what you’re all thinking – how the hell did the Warriors get Kevon Looney to sign for the league minimum?! The league is rigged. Why even play next season? Nah, I know the Warriors once again stole the show and seemingly convinced Boogie Cousins to sign for only $5.3 million. And I know he’s a four-time all-star. The thing people are forgetting is that Boogie is coming off an Achilles injury that, history shows, derails an athlete’s career. They never come back the same – Wes Matthews and Mario Chalmers to name a few. I’m not saying Boogie’s career is over per say, but let’s crank it down a notch when we proclaim the Warriors are going to go 82-0. He doesn’t come back until at least January. It’s a slow moving recovery so he’ll have to wait but being on this team doesn’t hurt. He could be on the bench in dress clothes ‘till April for all the Warriors care. With all that said, he’s still a talent that doesn’t go unnoticed. He’ll spread the floor, dominate down low with all the smaller guys on him after running pick-and-rolls, and he’ll rebound. If Golden State even gets 70% of what DeMarcus Cousins was, they’ll be virtually unbeatable. Barring a catastrophic injury to one of the core four, the Warriors are a lock for the one seed and ultimately the title.

2. Houston Rockets

Departures: Trevor Ariza (signed with Suns), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (signed with Clippers).

Additions: Chris Paul (re-signed 4yr/$160M), Gerald Green (re-signed 1yr/$2.4M), Michael Carter-Williams (1yr/Minimum), James Ennis (2yr/$4.3M), Carmelo Anthony (1yr,$2.4M), De’Anthony Melton (draft, 46th pick), Vincent Edwards (draft, 52nd pick).

The Rockets were a Chris Paul injury away from making, and probably winning, the Finals last year. It also didn’t help that they shot 0-27 from beyond the arc in Game 7 but it’s okay.. they signed Michael Carter-Williams to make those shots! MCW is my least favorite basketball player of all time. The Bucks, who I am heavily invested in, traded for him three years ago in one of the worst trades of the last decade, sending Brandon Knight to Phoenix, MCW to Milwaukee, and the Lakers pick that year to Philly which ended up as Jahlil Okafor. MCW simply can’t shoot, can’t pass, and can’t dribble.

Normally in the NBA, players check off some of those boxes. He drove me insane. Don’t know how he’s still in the league. Anyways, Ariza dipping out to Phoenix for the best deal he’d get hurts, but they can replace him with another replacement level three-and-d guy. Same goes for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who left to play for his old team, the Clippers. There’s been talk the Chris Paul deal was already in place last year when he joined the team. A wink-wink deal. Most contending teams last three to four years, so it was great for the Rockets to now be able to run it back with Paul and Harden the next couple of years. He logged a ton of minutes last season, which could have led to straining his hamstring in game six. Daryl Morey went all in with CP3, so if they win the title or not those last years on his deal are going to bite the Rockets in the ass when he can’t move come 2020. As for next year, they’ll be at the top of the conference again. You never know what Morey has up his sleeve. Washed Carmelo? Is that you?

3. Utah Jazz

Departures: None

Additions: Derrick Favors (re-signed 2yr/$36M), Dante Exum (re-signed 3yr/$33M), Raul Neto (re-signed 2yr/$4.4M), Grayson Allen (draft, 21st pick).

The Jazz quietly reloaded their roster for another year. Favors and Exum are both young, 26 and 22 respectively, and project to be above-average rotation players. Favors is a talented back to the basket scorer that rebounds at a high level as well. Exum might be one of the hidden gems in this years’ free agency class. Again, he’s only 22. He’s 6’6 with an enormous wingspan. He’s got quick feet but his upper body is built like a running back. He defends the ball almost better than anyone. He gave James Harden fits in the second round this past playoffs.

They took a chance in the draft, selecting Grayson Allen out of Duke. Unlike most, I think Allen has the chance to be a solid role player off the bench for this Jazz team. He’s 6’5 and is a bully on defense. He can also shoot the three (37% last year). The Jazz have a bright future. They have a no doubt top five coach in the league in Quin Snyder and a budding superstar in Donovan Mitchell. Add Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and guys who know their roles like Joe Ingles, Ricky Rubio and Jae Crowder, you’re going to be a top three team in the conference.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder

Departures: Carmelo Anthony (traded to Atlanta)

Additions: Paul George (re-signed 4yr/$137M), Jerami Grant (re-signed 3yr/$27M), Raymond Felton (re-signed 1yr/Minimum), Nerlens Noel (1yr/Minimum), Dennis Schroder (acquired from Atlanta), Hamidou Diallo (draft, 45th pick), Devon Hall (draft, 53rd pick), Kevin Hervey (draft, 57th pick).

The Thunder made their biggest achievement in franchise history by re-signing Paul George to a four- year deal. The signing came after basically everyone but Nas thought PG was leaving for Los Angeles.

This was a historic deal for a small market team that doesn’t boast the riches that LA provides, but it does come with a reality check. The Thunder now have a luxury tax amassing $300M (it will go down to around $130M after the Melo trade goes through) and are pretty much stuck with the roster they have now built for the next three to four years. Now, you could say their roster is better than most, which it is, but when you’re a small market team that can’t buy your way out of problems, there’s little to no flexibility. The roster is top heavy with a scary starting five – Russ, PG, Andre Roberson, Jerami Grant, Steven Adams and newly added Dennis Schroder off the bench- but then it dwindles down to a few first and second year guys that haven’t proven they can play on the biggest stage. They re-signed my guy, Uncle Raymond Felton He’s a solid backup that can give you 15 to 20 minutes. They also went out and nabbed Nerlens Noel for the league minimum which was the smartest signing they did out of the four. He bet on himself last year in Dallas by not signing an offer sheet and waiting for this summer to get paid, and he failed. Rick Carlisle never gave him an opportunity to play and instead of taking that as motivation to get better, he indulged in hot dogs during games (insert clip). He’s really talented, but just needs to find the right situation. If the Thunder stay healthy, they’ll win 50 games and get into the second round. If not, it’ll be the Uncle Ray show leading OKC to 35 wins and a slap in the face with the idea that they’re stuck for the next half decade.

5. Los Angeles Lakers

Departures: Julius Randle (signed with Pelicans), Brook Lopez (signed with Bucks).

Additions: LeBron James (4yr/$154M), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (re-signed 1yr/$12M), Lance Stephenson (1yr/$4.5M), JaVale McGee (1yr/Minimum), Rajon Rondo (1yr/$9M), Michael Beasley (1yr/$3.5M), Mo Wagner (draft, 25th pick), Isaac Bonga (draft, 39th pick), Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (draft, 47th pick).

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. The Lakers signed one of the greatest players of all time to a four-year deal (!). The deal gives them some time, if they choose so, to develop their young core and build around a superstar in LeBron James. Or, GM LeBron could blow all of this up by trading most of the young core (probably a package of Lonzo, Brandon Ingram, Luol Deng’s contract and picks) for another established star. After the Raptors landed Kawhi, it is unclear if the Lakers could get him next summer when he becomes a free agent.

Besides the LeBron deal, every deal made has been a one-year deal. You can laugh all you want about the Lakers being a clown show this season with Lance, JaVale, KCP, Rondo and Mike Beasley all on the same team, but it’ll be worth it once they clear out all the one-year guys and pave the way for Kawhi and maybe even another unhappy superstar (Dame Lillard?). No doubt it’ll also be an extremely entertaining team this year, and I have a weird feeling LeBron might coast a little bit come October. He’s been to eight straight finals. He’s looking at a young team with key guys that haven’t been in a playoff run yet. Maybe you save up some energy for the next three years this season, make a run a playoffs, and really gear up to dethrone the Warriors next year with a whole playoff experience under your belt. I don’t really know what LeBron’s mindset is right now. For all we know he just wants to keep showing he’s superhuman and carry this circus of a team to the finals. I just can’t wait to see Lance.

6. San Antonio Spurs

Departures: Kawhi Leonard (traded to Raptors), Kyle Anderson (signed with Grizzlies), Tony Parker (signed with Hornets), Joffrey Lauvergne (signed overseas).

Additions: Rudy Gay (re-signed 1yr/$10M), Davis Bertans (re-signed 2yr/$14.5M), Bryn Forbes (re-signed 2yr/unknown), Marco Belinelli (2yr/$12M), Lonnie Walker (draft, 18th pick), Chimezie Metu (draft, 49th pick).

The San Antonio Spurs dynasty looks like it has finally starting to come to a close. Out of the big three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, Manu is the last one standing. It seemed four years ago there was going to be a second chapter to this twenty year run the Spurs were on. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard looked like the first person to ever do more than get in the way of LeBron James. It was pure domination. The Spurs out-played, out-classed and dethroned the Heat. LeBron would leave for his second stint with Cleveland that summer. Kawhi was going to be Tim Duncan’s replacement at the head of the table. He had the quiet charisma of a Duncan. He went about his business and destroyed team after team, never cracking a smile except when he brought a championship back to San Antonio. Flash forward to today, and we all thought wrong. Ego and an insane uncle running his inner circle earned Kawhi a plane ticket to the anti-LA – Toronto. The return for Kawhi is why the Spurs are getting back in the playoffs. DeMar DeRozan is a guy that could thrive playing under Pop. This is the same guy that some thought was in contention for MVP last year. Pair him with another All-Star in LaMarcus Aldridge and the Spurs are sitting pretty in the clearing dust that Kawhi left.

7. New Orleans Pelicans

Departures: Rajon Rondo (signed with Lakers), DeMarcus Cousins (signed with Warriors).

Additions: Elfrid Payton (1yr/$2.7M), Julius Randle (2yr/$18M), Tony Carr (draft, 51st pick).

The Pelicans were one of the more pleasant surprises last season, winning 48 games and sweeping the Blazers in the first round. Anthony Davis had a monster year (28.1 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.6 BPG) and looks like he’ll be a top three player in the league for the next decade. You’d think losing an All Star center in Boogie Cousins would’ve befuddled the Pels chances of getting into the playoffs last season, but they went 21-13 without him and found themselves in the six spot. Anthony Davis thrived without Boogie in the lineup. Davis is at his best when Alvin Gentry inserts him as a small ball five. He spaces the floor, which opens up the paint for a terrifying Jrue Holiday/Davis pick and roll.

Replacing Boogie Cousins with Julius Randle could and should be a perfect fit with AD. When you first look at Randle, you think of a bully ball four that only cleans up the glass, but he does a lot more. He still has a ways to go, but there’s glimpses of beautiful passing out of the post. He’s an underrated ball handler for a big and runs the floor. He is a bully down low but has a nice inside-out game and can put the ball on the floor to attack the rim. I can’t wait to see Randle and AD dominating the boards night after night. Nikola Mirotic, who I thought was the steal of the trade deadline last year, is back and is another great companion next to Davis. He shoots the lights out and rebounds as well. Every year it seems their biggest X-factor is Jrue Holiday’s health. He played all but one game last year and look where that got them… a trip to the postseason. If Holiday stays healthy, they’re a lock for the playoffs. Anthony Davis is my early pick for MVP. When you have the best player on the floor almost every night, you need to make the playoffs.

8. Minnesota Timberwolves

Departures: Nemanja Bjelica (renounced rights)

Additions: Anthony Tolliver (1yr/$5M-$6M), Derrick Rose (re-signed 1yr/$2.1M), Josh Okogie (draft, 20th pick), Keita Bates-Diop (draft, 48th pick).

The Timberwolves have too much talent not to make the playoffs, but this might be one of the worst ran organizations in the league. The Wolves are one of the last organizations to employ this dying breed of NBA coaches that are “old school” and “defensive minded”. It’s one thing if you’re Tom Thibodeau to preach defense in this day and age of positionless basketball, where the perfect lineup is a bunch of long combo guards that can defend multiple positions, but instead he refuses to believe the league has changed and thinks his Bulls teams of the early 2010’s still matter. There’s proof in the pudding – he just re-signed Derrick Rose (FREE TYUS JONES) to a one-year deal. At least he’s not paying Rose the same amount as superstar Jimmy Butler. Oh wait, he’s paying Jeff Teague almost the exact amount that Butler earns (Butler makes $19.3MM this upcoming season, Teague is due $19MM). He’s also paying Taj Gibson $28M over the next two years!

That’s not even the worst deal Scott Layden has made. The Wolves handcuffed themselves until 2023 to one of the most overrated players in the league in Andrew Wiggins. Nobody is going to want to ever even come close to touch that abomination of an extension. What did Minnesota see the last two years? Wiggins is good for a highlight dunk every few nights but what else does he bring to the table? He’s an inefficient scorer, average shooter and ball handler at best. He doesn’t put in any effort on the defensive end, despite having all the tools to be an All-NBA caliber defender. And did I mention he can’t shoot? I don’t blame Jimmy Butler for complaining about being on this team. They’re a mess. At least Karl-Anthony Towns is there.

9. Denver Nuggets

Departures: Wilson Chandler (traded to 76ers), Kenneth Faried (traded to Nets), Darrell Arthur (traded to Nets).

Additions: Nikola Jokic (re-signed 5yr/$148M), Will Barton (re-signed 4yr/$54M), Isaiah Thomas (1yr/$2M), Michael Porter Jr. (draft, 14th pick), Jarred Vanderbilt (draft, 41st pick).

After re-signing one of the league’s best big men in game in Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets should be looking to get over the hump and finally make the playoffs with the young core they’re building. They’re about one year away from getting over that hump, however. They’ll get a healthy Paul Millsap and another year for their young but talented backcourt of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. Solidifying Will Barton as a 6th man heat check scorer off the bench will provide stability for a bench unit that ranked in the bottom five of the league last year. Trey Lyles and Malik Beasley, who came off the bench last year, are both guys that need to get better at providing meaningful minutes. They also took a gamble signing former All Star, Isaiah Thomas, to a one-year deal. He’ll come off the bench.

It’ll be interesting to see if IT has anything left to give. Most 5’9 point guards have a specific shelf life. The hip injury from two seasons ago altered his career to an extent. This was a guy that was in talks to make between $150M-$200M before he went down in the playoffs. He has a lot to prove this year. The biggest story for this Nuggets team though is the gamble they took drafting Michael Porter Jr., who originally was thought of being a high-lottery pick but fell to 14th due to an ongoing back injury that kept him out of most of his lone season at Missouri. A little more than a year ago Porter was the number one ranked high school player in the country. The kid has talent. I for one am buying all of MPJ’s stock. The back problem is an issue, but if he can stay healthy I think there’s a lot of talent left to show that he’s the player everyone thought he was going to be. He just turned 20 years old. Being in Denver on a competitive team is the perfect fit. He can ease into playing, and there’s a spot waiting for him to snag once he’s fully 100% because the Nuggets just traded their starting small forward Wilson Chandler to the Sixers. The Nuggets ooze confidence, but they’re a year away.

10. Portland Trail Blazers

Departures: Ed Davis (signed with Nets).

Additions: Nik Stauskas (1yr/Minimum), Seth Curry (2yr/$5.6M), Jusuf Nurkic (4yr/$48M), Anfernee Simons (draft, 24th pick), Gary Trent Jr. (draft, 37th pick).

As we’ve seen over the last four years or so, the Blazers are who they are. They’re an exciting run-and-gun team with one of the best backcourts in the league that thrives in the regular season, but can’t make it past the second round in the playoffs. The Ed Davis loss will hurt more than people realize, but it’s basically the same team coming back. Rumors have started that Dame is thinking about LA, which wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Blazers considering he and CJ McCollum ultimately don’t fit together on a contending team. They play well off of each other offensively but on the defensive end you could substitute two chairs and you wouldn’t see the difference. You can’t outscore anybody in the NBA. When Dame and CJ are going up against guys like Steph, CP3, Russ, Jimmy Butler, and Devin Booker every night in the West, there’s no hiding place for either of them. Opposing offenses are going to attack those two and exploit those matchups every chance they get. It’s not a winning formula for the Blazers. Don’t be shocked when one of Dame or CJ is shipped away in the next year. The Blazers are going to be a fringe playoff team. There’s way too much talent in the West for a mediocre team to sneak in.

11. Dallas Mavericks

Departures: Nerlens Noel (signed with Thunder), Yogi Ferrell (signed with Kings), Seth Curry (signed with Blazers), Doug McDermott (signed with Pacers)

Additions: DeAndre Jordan (1yr/$22.9M), Dirk Nowitzki (re-signed 1yr/$5M), Luka Doncic (draft, 3rd pick), Jalen Brunson (draft, 33rd pick), Ray Spalding (draft, 56th pick), Kostas Antetokounmpo (draft, 60th pick).

The Mavs kicked off free agency making up for lost time by officially signing DeAndre Jordan to a real contract. One that he is now locked in to and contractually obligated to stay with the Mavericks for a full year… It’s ok Mavs fans, he can’t get cold feet again and go back to LA. He’s here to stay. And he’ll help, along with incoming European phenom Luka Doncic. I think the Doncic for Trae Young will go down as one of the worst draft night trades of all time, for the Hawks. Doncic is a once in a decade kind of talent. The kid was 18 years old leading Real Madrid, who play in the second best basketball league in the world, to a title and was named MVP. The Euroleague has a lot of former NBA players that make up their league. Doncic was playing against grown men and dominating.

He’s a pure scorer that already has a series of moves, which most kids coming out of college don’t have. He can hit a defender with a stepback, ranging all the way behind the three-point line, and has a fall away jump shot in the post over his right shoulder. His advanced skills remind me a lot of how Jayson Tatum looked as a rookie this past year. Some of Tatum’s moves looked like he’d been in the league for ten years. Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. could make for another really talented backcourt. They look to be the guards of the future of this team and I like that Dallas is building around those two. Harrison Barnes is a nice piece to have on a young team, but as we saw in the 2016 Finals he’s not a top five guy on a championship team. I don’t love the DJ signing for the long term because of how centers have a quick shelf life, but for this upcoming season he’ll be great to have as a lob catcher from the two guards. I like the direction Dallas is going in, but they’re still a bottom five team in the west.

12. Memphis Grizzlies

Departures: Tyreke Evans (signed with Pacers), Ben McLemore (traded to Kings).

Additions: Kyle Anderson (4yr/$37.2M), Jaren Jackson Jr. (draft, 4th pick), Jevon Carter (draft, 32nd pick).

Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are both back and healthy, which makes me question their spot in the power rankings, because when Grit and Grind is healthy, they’re a contender. Needless to say I wouldn’t be shocked if they busted my prediction and won 50 games. The Grizz missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years last season. Out of all those playoff years, two things were constant – Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Problem is, the makeup of the rest of the roster is scarce and in no way resembles those previous Grit and Grind playoff teams. Instead of Tony Allen, it’s Dillon Brooks. Instead of Courtney Lee, it’s Chandler Parsons (are we sure he still plays basketball?). They do however have a replacement for Zach Randolph – the fourth pick in this year’s draft, Jaren Jackson Jr.. He could arguably be the best player to come out of this draft. Jackson possesses elite talent on the defensive end with his shot blocking and rim protection. He also has a rugged and tough post game AND can also shoot the three. Jaren Jackson is the Grizzlies’ future. Maybe it’s time for a new era in Memphis. Conley and Gasol are both on the other side of 30. Conley is guaranteed more than $96M over the next three seasons. That’s a lot of money for a point guard, when historically, point guards start to fall off after they hit the 30 mark. If they could find a suitor to take on that contract, they might need to jump on it right away. Conley’s stock can only go down from here, especially after his injury last season. Trade him and rebuild around a star in the making.

13. Phoenix Suns

Departures: Elfrid Payton (signed with Pelicans), Tyler Ulis (released), Jared Dudley (traded to Nets).

Additions: Trevor Ariza (1yr/$15M), Deandre Ayton (draft, 1st pick), Mikal Bridges (draft, 10th pick), Elie Okobo (draft, 31st pick), George King (draft, 59th pick).

The Phoenix Suns are quietly on their way to becoming one of the best young teams in the league. They have a star to build around (Devin Booker), a solid nucleus of guys under 25 (TJ Warren, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, and Mikal Bridges), and a proven veteran that left one of the best teams in the west to come run with the young guns (Trevor Ariza). Not to mention they just drafted another projected star in Deandre Ayton. Ayton and Booker could be Penny and Shaq 2.0. If Ayton can defend at a high level, they’re going to be a team to reckon with throughout the next decade. People are already getting a little too excited too early over this year’s Suns team. Just because they signed Trevor Ariza doesn’t mean they’re a playoff team. Ayton’s going to need to be broken in. He’s still very raw and has a lot to work on. They also lack a true point guard. Brandon Knight is back from an ACL tear, so that’s already an issue, but he is more of an off the ball guard. I like this Okobo kid from France, but he’s only 20 years old. A year or two of Booker and Ayton gelling is what the Suns need to get them to the next level. Find a point guard in next year’s draft. One more year in the lottery wouldn’t hurt them.

14. Los Angeles Clippers

Departures: DeAndre Jordan (signed with Mavs), Austin Rivers (traded to Wizards).

Signings: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (1yr/$4.3M), Avery Bradley (re-signed 2yr/$25M), Montrezl Harrell (re-signed 2yr/$12M), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (draft, 11th pick), Jerome Robinson (draft, 13th pick).

The big three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan have all finally left town. Lob City is dead, and the Clips are left with a classic Clippers roster of old. A bunch of middle-class players either trying to prove themselves for their next contract (Tobias Harris, Wesley Johnson, and Patrick Beverley all have a year left on their deals) or guys that are paid a little more than they deserve because the Clippers have money to spend (Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams, and Avery Bradley). The good news for Clippers fans is that this team will play hard and try to compete. They did last year. The bad news is they don’t have a great team. I like what they did swinging for the fences by drafting seemingly the backcourt of the future in SGA and Jerome Robinson. Robinson I’m not so keen on but I think SGA could be the version of Michael Carter-Williams that we thought we’d get – rugged defender, playmaker, rebounder, develop a jumpshot, not suck, etc.

I think Doc Rivers is a overrated as a coach but did a decent job last year with the team he was given. Doc the Coach will always trump Doc the GM. I’m glad he gave that job up. This team will be fun to watch but won’t win a lot of games. You’d think the Lakers are the favorite to get Kawhi next summer but don’t sleep on the other team located at the Staples Center. They’re meticulously clearing out cap space for next summer and can give Kawhi just as much as the Lakers can and could offer. Maybe Kawhi wants a challenge. Bring on the Clips.

15. Sacramento Kings

Departures: Bruno Caboclo (released)

Additions: Nemanja Bjelica (3yr/$20.5M), Yogi Ferrell (2yr/$6.2M), Marvin Bagley III (draft, 2nd pick).

The Sacramento Kings are the worst run franchise is the NBA. I don’t even have the energy to write about them. They’ll finish last in the west. Marvin Bagley III will put up big numbers on a bad team. The only thing that motivates me to even peek at the TV when the Kings are on is the potential “blue chip” lineup they could throw out there – Frank Mason (Kansas), De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky), Ben McLemore (Kansas), Bagley (Duke), Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky) / Honorable Mentions – Skal Labissiere (Kentucky), Justin Jackson (North Carolina), Harry Giles (Duke). I think Vlade Divac has only watched games played by Duke, Kansas, UNC, or Kentucky over the last three-ish years. He’s probably sitting in the green room on draft night thinking to himself, “Hmm, I saw that Justin Jackson kid play for UNC a couple weeks ago. He played for Roy Williams! He has to be good right? Book it. Draft him.” The Kings are a dumpster fire. I’d do anything to get De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley out of there as soon as possible. I can already see how the first couple years of their careers will play out. They’ll be lauded as the “good stats, bad team” guys and the “needs a change of scenery” guys. Let’s just step on it while it’s down and get rid of these two Vlade. Please. For the sake of basketball. 

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