Which rookies landed in the best situations late in the 1st round?
Nobody can blame a young kid for wanting to be picked as high as possible when the NBA Draft rolls around. A higher picks means more money and immediately justifies all the hard work it took to achieve their dreams. However, it also means higher expectations and, often, a more rushed and chaotic situation.
For those who slip in the draft and feel disappointment, though, there is often a silver lining: they can fall to teams that could properly use their unique skill set and offer a better fit for a developing player. Here are five guys who slipped out of the lottery, but should reap the dividends of their new situation at the next level.
1. Kelly Oubre Jr. (Washington Wizards)
The former Jayhawk didn’t prove much in his time at Kansas, averaging less than ten points a game as a freshman before declaring for the draft. But scouts knew what type of ceiling this guy has if he can put all the tools together. Washington was brave enough to snag him just outside of the lottery, and his upside should pay dividends in the Wizards scheme. His talent may especially shine when the Wizards play small ball with Otto Porter Jr. at the four spot—a high tempo lineup with four tremendous athletes all on the floor at once. While he may need some time to develop into a rotation regular, a small ball lineup should give Oubre a nice transition into the NBA.
2. Jerian Grant (New York Knicks)
Grant can’t ask for a more ideal situation as a rookie. Although he likely won’t be the starting point guard at the beginning of the season, the table is set for him to win that job at some point in the near future. Jose Calderon is a legitimate point guard with excellent 3-point shooting ability, but he shouldn’t be starting on a contender. Grant, on the other hand, can play both sides of the floor and has the pedigree to step into the Big Apple spotlight. At the age of 22 and a big 6‘4” frame to contend with, Grant has both the maturity and the body type to run the show for a team in desperate need of leadership.
3. Justin Anderson (Dallas Mavericks)
Anderson’s stock slipped heading into the draft due to a hand injury that caused him to miss a good chunk of his final campaign with the Cavaliers. But injury aside, Anderson’s ability to defend and shoot the three is unparalleled in this class, making him an ideal wing in the NBA. Anderson dropped to an aging roster that could desperately use a spark, and his high motor will certainly provide that. With Wesley Matthews returning from a brutal Achilles injury, it is expected he will be thrown into the fire early on.
Jefferson’s defensive prowess and high energy should give him an immediate role in Brooklyn’s rotation. With Brook Lopez locked up for the foreseeable future, the Nets desperately needed to complement his offensive ability with a defensive stopper. In Jefferson, the Nets got their man as arguably the best defender in the draft. RHJ has the versatility to guard the 1-4 spots on the floor and pairing him with Thaddeus Young should give the Nets a nice tandem at the forward spot. It doesn’t hurt either that Lionel Hollins is his coach, whom has been a defense first guy dating back to his days in Memphis.
5. Jarell Martin (Memphis Grizzlies)
The Grizzlies ground and pound game may be in for a little bit of a switch up with Martin now on board. The All-SEC first teamer should bring an athletic option to a previously old school yet stout frontline. The Grizzlies hoped Jarnell Stokes would be able to join the rotation in Memphis last season, but even when Zach Randolph was sidelined, he couldn’t manage to break into the rotation. Martin’s long frame gives the Grizzlies a unique option and he has ability to stretch the floor unlike the strictly post-playing Stokes. Memphis’ structured system desperately needs some flare and the LSU product brings a refreshing style of play.
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- Atlanta Hawks
- Boston Celtics
- Washington Wizards
- Dallas Mavericks