Quick Links

Upon further review: Winners, losers, sleepers from 2017 NBA draft

Upon further review: Winners, losers, sleepers from 2017 NBA draft

Now that the dust has settled until free agency opens July 1 in the NBA, let's look back at the draft. It's all educated (and sometimes uneducated) guesswork because if you ask most people at least 25 of the 30 teams had great drafts and made great "value picks," whatever that means.

When the NBA season tips in October, however, a lot of names won't be mentioned again in such a positive light if at all. Projecting isn't an exact science especially when most of the 30 first-rounders weren't even of legal drinking age. 

Biggest winner: The Philadelphia 76ers. They manuevered their way into the No. 1 pick to grab Markelle Fultz. It seems like a no-brainer (it is), but sometime teams outsmart themselves and trade down or take an unnecessary risk when they have the best option in front of them. The Sixers went upward. They parted with assets to jump from third and made an aggressive move in a deal with the Boston Celtics who currently hold a bunch of chips that have yet to produce any value. The Sixers can now put Fultz with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid for a possible Big 3 of their own that should catapult them into the playoff picture. 

Head-scratcher: The Chicago Bulls. They traded an All-NBA and All-Defensive player in Jimmy Butler for a bunch of unknown quantities. It goes against the rule of thumb in a trade. If the Minnesota Timberwolves are going to benefit from Butler, no matter how much Bulls managment were fed up with their star, getting a proven rotation player back should've been a requirement. Instead, they got back only potential in rising second-year player Kris Dunn who had an underwhelming rookie season; Zach LaVine who is a fantastic athlete but coming off major knee surgery; and a No. 7 pick in 7-footer Lauri Markkanen. The big man can turn out to be worthy but these picks aren't sure things. Plus the Bulls swapped the No. 16 pick which was Justin Patton (Creighton) in the deal. Given they gave up by far the best and most accomplished player, that's confusing. If anything, they should've gotten a future pick(s), too.

Overrated: Sacramento Kings. Yes, they draw a good haul but drafting De'Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Frank Mason and Harry Giles is just the first step. What about the long game as they're stepping into an organization with a terrible track record. Maybe it's a new day, but the Kings still have to prove they have the infrastructure to develop what they have in this group and the wisdom to be patient if it takes time. All four of these players will not turn out to be solid contributors. That's how the draft is.  Sometimes they'll end up sticking in the NBA but with another team and only Fox seems to be a lock based on talent. If this were the Miami Heat, for instance, it would be more a certainty they'd maximize these rookies. This is the Kings' first big test post-DeMarcus Cousins to change how they're perceived. GM Vlade Divac has been the Phil Jackson of Western Conference until proven otherwise.

[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast, Ep. 18: Wiz make a deal, PBT on the draft]

Underrated: Atlanta Hawks. They've gotten little-to-no props for their selections under first-year GM Travis Schlenk. John Collins (Wake Forest), their first-rounder, is a back-to-the-basket presence they'll need after trading Dwight Howard and eventually losing Paul Millsap. In the post is the strength of Collins' game. Tyler Dorsey (Oregon) is a guard that the Wizards liked but knew he wouldn't be there at No. 52 which is why they traded out for a veteran. Dorsey has to get stronger but appears to be the right fit. He may take a year or two but the Hawks did well. And the last pick of the draft, No. 60, turned into 6-10 Alpha Kaba who played in Serbia. An intriguing prospect that could take the longest to come around but he's an incredible finisher at the rim with NBA athleticism.

Sleeper picks: Sindarius Thornwell (South Carolina) and Monte' Morris (Iowa State). Thornwell was taken at No. 48 by the Milwaukee Bucks and traded to the L.A. Clippers. Who knows how the Clippers will look now with the likely departures of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but Thornwell is ready to play now. Defensively, his IQ is there which is rare for rookie second-round picks. He has geat instincts and plays off the ball and is exceptionally strong at 6-5. He's also a good rebounder if needed and can post up smaller guards, the type of the player the Clippers have needed in recent years. Morris may have limitations because of his physical skills -- not blazing fast, could have trouble beating his man so he's not an iso player -- but he knows how to run an offense and doesn't get loose with the ball under pressure. Faced as close to an NBA-style defense as there is in college in West Virginia with long, athletic defenders who trapped and pressured him to no end, and Morris only had one turnover. 

Best undrafted talent: P.J. Dozier (South Carolina). At 6-6, he can create havoc at both ends. The biggest knock against him is his inconsistent shot, an area that can easily be improved with hard work. Most of his other assets can't be acquired. He can slash to get to the rim and finish in traffic.

Most surprising pick: Mason (Kansas) at No. 34. It's not that the national player of the year was chosen that was eye-catching. It was how high he went to Sacramento. At 5-11, Mason will have to not just get his shot over much bigger defenders, but if he'll have to succeed in that area if he's to stick in the NBA. Right now, he's strictly an on-ball player who isn't a threat off it and hasn't displayed the vision to create for others. He's draftworthy but it seems it a big high given that a better point guard option in Morris went a whopping 17 picks later. 

[RELATED: Brooks reminisces about Durant, 1st season in D.C.]

Quick Links

Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career


Jeff Green 'would love to come back' to Wizards, add stability to journeyman career

With six different teams in the past five years, Jeff Green has become one of the NBA's most itinerant journeymen.

Including his early-career move from Seattle to Oklahoma City, when the franchise transitioned from the Sonics to the Thunder, Green has played in eight different cities. Among active players, only Ish Smith (10), Marco Bellinelli (nine), Shaun Livingston (nine) and Anthony Tolliver (nine) have played for more teams.

Being in Washington this past season, though, was different. That's because Green is from the area, having grown up nearby in Maryland. He starred at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, then at Georgetown University in Northwest D.C.

At 32 years old (he turns 33 in August), Green does not prefer being a basketball nomad. He would like to stay with the Wizards this summer as he aims for a new contract in free agency.

"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]."

Green also mentioned playing for head coach Scott Brooks, for whom he played in Seattle and Oklahoma City. Brooks was an assistant on the Sonics staff when Green was a rookie, then took over as head coach in the middle of Green's sophomore season. Green left the Thunder after his third season and, 10 years later, was reunited with Brooks in Washington.

The biggest draw for Green to the Wizards, though, is the fact it is his hometown team. Though playing at home is a drawback for some players, Green found major benefits in being around family and in the town where he played college ball.

"Being in front of family every night was great for me. It allowed me to see my daughters more than a couple of times a year, which was great," he said. 

"Being in a familiar setting from my Georgetown days was great. Being able to go up to Georgetown and watch the guys get better, it was great. [Those are] things I haven’t been able to do since being in the league."

On the court, Green found individual success with the Wizards amid a disappointing season overall. He averaged 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds while setting a career-high in effective field goal percentage (55.5). 

He did all of that while making the league minimum of $2.4 million. On a Wizards team that was in some ways defined by bloated salaries, Green proved a bargain. 

Hoping to come back to the Wizards was a familiar refrain from impending free agents during the Wizards' media exit interviews. Bobby Portis, Jabari Parker, Thomas Bryant and others all suggested they would like to return. 

But with a new front office leadership structure set to be installed, certainty isn't offered for anyone. For Green, the Wizards' new general manager will need to evaluate whether he was part of their problems. 

While Green probably exceeded expectations this season, he was on the floor when the team struggled to rebound the ball and defend just like his teammates were. The Wizards were 27th in the NBA in defensive rating this season at 112.8, according to NBA.com. Green's defensive rating was 112.6.

The Wizards and Green may ultimately not prove a fit in the eyes of the new GM. If that is the case, Green could move on to play in a new city, the ninth of his career. 


Quick Links

Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4


Former Wizards Mike Scott, Jared Dudley deliver the drama in Sixers-Nets Game 4

The 76ers-Nets playoff series has been wild from the start, but the trash talk and physical play reached the next level in the Sixers' Game 4 victory Sunday. 

The contest featured two ejections as well as a game-deciding shot with 19.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the middle of it all? None other than Jared Dudley and Mike Scott, who played for the Wizards in 2015-16 and 2017-18, respectively. 

Tensions between Dudley and the Sixers had been simmering since he slammed Ben Simmons in the media after Game 1.

With 7:42 left in the third quarter Saturday, Joel Embiid committed a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen under the basket. An incensed Dudley shoved Embiid, prompting Jimmy Butler to push Dudley away.

When Simmons to try to separate the two, he and Dudley got tangled up and tumbled into the front-row seats. Both Dudley and Butler were ejected on the spot. 

The Nets held a 67-61 advantage when Dudley and Butler were tossed, but that lead dwindled to one point with under a minute left to go. 

Brooklyn made the mistake of leaving Scott open in the corner, where Embiid set him up for a go-ahead three-pointer with 19.7 seconds remaining.

A pair of Tobias Harris free throws sealed the Sixers' 112-108 win, putting them up 3-1 in the series. Scott and company can finish off Dudley's squad in Game 5 on Tuesday. 

In the meantime, listen as Scott goes 1-on-1 with Chris Miller in the latest Wizards Talk Podcast.