Best team fits for players in NBA Draft

Yardbarker NBA draft analyst Brett Koremenos offers the best player-team fits in the June 20 draft. (Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and the Lakers, anyone?)

Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland and Los Angeles Lakers

During the 2018-19 season, the Lakers ranked 29th in three-point field goal percentage. Garland may be one of the best shooters in the draft. Should major contributors Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kouzma and, of course, LeBron James be on the L.A. roster opening night, Garland will be in a perfect spot. There will be no pressure for him to start right away, a nice transition for a player who missed most of his only season at Vanderbilt because of a knee injury. If he were to land with the Lakers, Garland would play with a ball-dominant playmaker — either James or Ball — allowing Garland to do what he does best: shoot.

Texas’ Jaxson Hayes and Washington Wizards

When the aging Marcin Gortat was traded last year, Wizards franchise point guard John Wall lost arguably the best pick-and-roll partner he has had in D.C. Enter Hayes. Nothing would help a rookie center find his NBA footing like one of the league’s best passers. As for Wall, he’d find new life having a young, lob-catching big man to help him torture defenses.

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Miami Heat

Ever since the Big Three left town, Miami has become the basketball version of the Island of Misfit Toys. From Josh Richardson to Justise Winslow to James Johnson, the Heat has taken players without a clearly defined position and found a way to make them work. For a hard-working but unrefined forward such as the 6-foot-8 Hachimura, Miami would be a godsend. Somehow Miami’s culture would likely find a way to ensure Hachimura becomes a valuable NBA contributor.

Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson and Detroit Pistons

Detroit’s recent mediocrity mostly can be linked to sub-par wing play. Johnson’s game isn’t super-sexy, but he’s an energetic defender with a jump shot that should require respect from NBA three-point territory. 

Tennessee’s Grant Williams and Utah Jazz

With Donovan Mitchell emerging as the offensive star and Rudy Golbert anchoring the defense, the Jazz isn’t desperate for star power. Instead, the team needs role players capable of executing their savvy brand of basketball and hitting open shots. That sounds exactly like what the rugged but instinctive Williams should bring. Although the shooting isn’t quite a sure thing (yet), the Tennessee forward would carve out a rotation spot quickly in Utah.

Arizona State’s Lu Dort and Portland Trail Blazers

Perhaps the biggest flaw in Dort’s game is the decisions he makes with the ball in his hands. When you play for the Portland Trail Blazers, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard handle those situations. With the Blazers, Dort could emerge as the perfect defensive yin to Lillard and McCollum’s offensive yang. The strong and athletic guard could handle tough backcourt assignments, allowing Portland’s bucket-getting duo to focus solely on tormenting defenses.

Washington’s Matisse Thybulle and San Antonio Spurs

Over the past two decades, the Spurs have developed a reputation. San Antonio will take a raw wing player and, almost under the cover of night, develop him into a crucial cog in their playoff machine. Thybulle has made a name for himself as an athletic, disruptive 6-foot-5 defender oozing potential but lacking refinement. He spent time at Washington playing in a 2-3 zone and doesn’t have much in the way of offensive skills. If any team could unlock Thybulle’s potential and turn him into a two-way force, it’s the Spurs.

Georgia’s Nic Claxton and Brooklyn Nets

After making an appearance in this year’s playoffs, the Nets finally got a chance to show off their innovative offense. It was orchestrated by young players who benefited from the great developmental process in Brooklyn. If you squint hard enough, Claxton has the makings of a rangy, perimeter-savvy center with a respectable outside shot. But like unfinished sculpture, Claxton needs a team to chip away the rough edges. For a Nets offense that likes to have all its players capable of handling themselves behind the three-point line, Claxton would be a perfect addition

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By: Brett Koremenos

CBS Sports’ top college basketball players ranking includes several Wildcats

The Cats get some more preseason love

CBS Sports college basketball analysts Matt Norlander, Chip Patterson, Gary Parrish (Bill Self’s good friend), and Kyle Boone recently released their collective rankings of the top 101 best players in college basketball for this year, and your University of Kentucky Wildcats didn’t get the love that you probably think they should have.

Duke’s own RJ Barrett took the number one spot but really the rest of the list is rather laughable. Only 4 Kentucky players made the list with the highest being Reid Travis at No. 18.

As for the four Kentucky players and their rankings, here they are:

18. Reid Travis – Kentucky Forward, Senior

Kentucky already gets some of the top talent in the country out of high school and then we go and get a first-team, all-conference player that has two years of experience as Stanford’s primary scorer and rebounder as a grad transfer. Travis’ career at Stanford was outstanding enough to stack him up against the program’s best, and now he’s in a position to be a double-double machine while leading the younger players here in Lexington.

29. P.J. Washington – Kentucky Forward, Sophomore

As we all know P.J. Washington highly debated going pro which he probably would have been drafted but thankfully he chose to come back. That’s something that a lot of incoming Kentucky freshman don’t usually have is some experienced players combing back for their sophomore season. Washington plays with great passion and I definitely could see him being the team’s leader. Then can you imagine a lineup with him and Reid Travis in it? I think he will shine in that scenario.

47. Keldon Johnson – Kentucky Guard, Freshman

When I think of Keldon Johnson, I think of what all he can give us and that’s energy, effort, grit, explosiveness, and his overall versatility. Johnson, which was a former five-star recruit, brings all of that to the table for Kentucky and he’s going to make for one of the best overall defensive players on Kentucky’s team this season in my opinion.

69. Ashton Hagans – Kentucky Guard, Freshman

While Hagans doesn’t put up a lot of statistic filled performances, he could definitely still be crucial to Kentucky’s 2019 run. Hagans is a 6’ 3” guard who was the best player in the state of Georgia when coming out of high school, but here at Kentucky there’s a good chance his most notable contributions could be his perimeter defense and being Kentucky’s primary ball handler on offense.

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