I’ll try to add more articles later. Just wanted to get something up quick.
2nd Pick: "It's Miller Time!" (SF): First Team AP All-America, SEC Player of the Year and NABC Freshman of the Year for the 2022-23 season. He became the first player in conference history to win SEC Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP in the same season, as the Crimson Tide won the SEC regular-season and tournament championships. Miller led all freshmen nationally in scoring, averaging an SEC-best 18.8 points per game. He also ranked first in the conference in three-point field goals (106), second in both 3-point percentage (38.4%) and free-throw percentage (85.9%), and fourth in rebounds per game (8.2).
27th Pick: Nick Smith Jr. (G) The 6-5 Smith Jr. averaged 12.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 25.8 minutes per game in his lone season at Arkansas, where he was limited to 17 games due to right knee management. He was a consensus top-three recruit in the country out of North Little Rock High School, collecting 2021-22 USA Today National High School Player of the Year and Arkansas Player of the Year honors and winning the state championship as a senior. Smith Jr. was also named co-MVP of the 2022 Jordan Brand Classic and participated in the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit.
31st Pick: James Nnaji (C): A 6-10 center, Nnaji spent the past two seasons playing for FC Barcelona in the Spanish ACB league and EuroLeague. In 2022-23, he saw action in 27 games, averaging 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per game, while shooting 67.1% from the field.
41st Pick: Amari Bailey (G). A member of the 2022-23 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, the 6-5 Bailey averaged 11.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 30 games played for the Bruins, increasing those numbers to 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in six postseason games between the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments. During his high school career at Sierra Canyon School, he was named California Mr. Basketball as a junior in 2020-21 and a McDonald’s High School All-American as a senior in 2021-22.
With the 3rd 2-way slot opening up with the new CBA, that would allow more possibilities and we don’t yet know (do we?) if Nnaji will remain w/ Barcelona this upcoming season. Might be more room on the extended roster that we have been anticipating.
-Miller: I never want to cast unreasonable expectations on anyone, but my hope is that he becomes an all star player. Hoping for a knockdown shooter that can be an elite second option (if not first) on an ECF team. A player that can create his own shot and defend multiple positions. An archetype that we’ve quite literally never had. This is heralded as a great draft and we got the second overall pick, high expectations are warranted.
-Smith Jr. This one already terrifies me factoring his medical history and the state of our medical team. But love the upside swing would love him to become a dynamic sixth man or something.
-Nnaji could become a beast could never play for us. Seems super raw but toolsy, again I love the swing.
-Bailey another huge talent. Hopefully a good two way guard that can especially help defensively, maybe someone who plays a Cody Martin type role in the rotation but could offer more offensively
Miller: High level number 2 player on a good team. Shooting, passing, above average D. There’s a lot to like. I do think he plays winning ball. An assassin style rather than an alpha.
Smith: Really like the swing here. Injury hampered him massively, but the talent that made him a consensus top half of the lottery pick coming into the year hasn’t vanished.
Nnaji: I don’t get this pick at all. Staggeringly raw offensive player. The thinking must be he’s a couple of years away, but if he can hit free throws and hopefully the odd jump shot, then he could become a viable defensive specialist. However, there’s no getting away from it. Leonard Miller, Sidy Cissoko & Rayan Rupert, to name just three, are players I would have loved to have seen selected.
Bailey: Like this pick. Good, 6th man type player. Assume he’ll play point for the Swarm and further develop his lead Guard skills. Good physical profile too (length, reach, hand size).
Well sh!t you said everything I was thinking including worrying about that kid’s injury history. So I will just quote everything you said and take a slightly different angle below.
I thought that Nnaji would spell the end for Kai but when I read about his shortcomings, I concluded that there is no way that Nnaji can replace Kai THIS year. The team needs to be fair to Kai and play him at center and Kai needs to get it in gear. Give Nnaji a two-way.
We drafted TWO shooting guards. Bouk should be toast in Charlotte this summer. Plus we have Bryce too. The writing is all over the wall for Bouk.
Very excited to see our first undrafted free agent. Cool!!!
By the way this thread subject is great but the title “New Guys…” could be much more utilitarian thus improved upon and useful.
Miller has been covered enough, so I won’t go too deep here. Probably wont start right away unless a vet is traded. But I expect him in the rotation and to start getting more time as he gets comfortable.
Nick Smith - #1 prospect in his class, was MVP of Jordan Classic, incredible quick twitch athlete with tight handles and a nice jumper. I’m stealing the Ringer’s draft analysis for these other guys, but they were comparing him to a Jamal Murray, Tyler Herro type player.
Incredibly fluid athlete with excellent body control when the ball is in his possession. He has a tight handle that he uses to create shots from all over the court. He naturally changes cadence with hesitations, hang dribbles, and virtually every other move in the book.
Though he’s primarily an on-ball scorer, he thrives off-ball as a cutter, much like Jamal Murray or Tyler Herro. It’s easy to imagine him plugging into a team that uses a big to run dribble handoffs, or on a team that allows him to spot up and look for cuts or relocations.
High motor on defense. He brings the same activity and springiness he has on offense to the defensive end.
I really like the comment on defense, could use that kind of mentality here.
James Nnaji - Can’t say I heard his name before a week ago, cause I can’t keep up with every basketball league in the world. The roster is filled up as is, and Mitch even said predraft that if they were keeping picks, they would look to draft and stash a guy for a year or 2. He’s not NBA ready yet, but he’s also 7 foot, with a 7’7 wing span, and 250+ pounds. If he becomes Capela, or Robert Williams, thats a great stash plan in a couple years.
The Ringer had him rated their 21st prospect.
Long-armed big man who’s built like a tank and has the mentality to dominate on both ends of the paint.
I mean, who doesn’t love that
Amari Bailey - Caught him some at UCLA, but his name was definitely named as a standout at the Draft Combine, showing passing and playmaking skills he hadn’t in his one season.
Exhibited a high IQ, impressive creativity, and composure as a ball handler at the NBA draft combine. This came as a bit of a surprise since he was a score-first player at lower levels.
Aggressive player in transition who loves to spark quick offense with kick-ahead passes or downhill drives.
Shows two-way potential and has quick footwork and a sturdy frame
Man you guys going deep here and I’m hung up on the superficial stuff. I mean, I’m still really shook by Gradey Dick’s outfit. It was just TOO MUCH, man!! Just too much. This may take a few days, then I’ll try to read your great takes.
And I don’t know who this Nnaji is and I don’t think I really care.
After reading up on this guy, I don’t even think he could be an contributor at al this year. He might spend the entire season w the Swarm and come up just to sit on the bench!
Outside of Miller, I don’t think that we improved our bench at all w this draft. I wanted a contributor w the 2nd pick. Instead we got a guy who won’t contribute any time soon. What are we drafting these guys for? 2026? Dagnabbit!
NSJ has 6th man written all over him. Cody, Miller, NSJ & Bryce as a post-deadline wing rotation (on the assumption that Terry and GH are moved) certainly has some potential and excitement. They’ll likely be joined by another lottery pick at season’s end if we are indeed a selling team at the deadline … but I can see it happening.