On the NBA Beat Ep. 37a: Sam Vecenie: Celtics Should’ve “Taken Kris Dunn and Continued to Negotiate With Bulls, 76ers”

The knowledgeable and passionate Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports checks in to review the 2016 NBA Draft. He discusses the uniquely unpredictable nature of the picks, No. 1 overall selection Ben Simmons, Buddy Hield’s pairing with Anthony Davis in New Orleans, the under-appreciated Malcolm Brogdon and so much more.  

9:28-10:59: “(Drafting and stashing) certainly shook up the first round in a lot of ways. The thing with all these international kids is that none of them really wanted to be stashed outside of a few of them. So, basically, the reason you saw (Guerschon) Yabusele go 16 – he’s willing to be stashed in all likelihood…The factor that all of these teams had multiple picks, and the factor that everyone kind of thinks this draft sucks in terms of domestic prospects made teams going into this uncertain free agency period want to say, ‘OK, we want to keep our rosters as clean as possible and have as few of these guys over here now as possible,’ so I think that that’s where you saw quite a few stashes come into play.”   

11:18-12:56: “I would say that Skal (Labissiere) and (Dejounte) Murray particularly both had pretty volatile draft stocks…Skal was a weird one, where the teams that I think did the most homework on him ended kind of going in different directions…so I think that a lot of the teams in that 10,11, 12, 13 range ended up moving their picks and deciding to go different directions. It’s kind of the way that trades shake up the draft process, because you can only predict so much going into it, and then once you predict it, it might just go off the rails really quickly.    

13:31-13:57 (on the impact of Thon Maker’s age, which is currently in question): “If he’s 23, it throws off his development cycle pretty substantially and throws his performance to this state pretty heavily in question. So, last year, Skal Labissiere and he were at Hoops Summit, and Skal just destroyed him day after day in practice and really just kind of dominated him in a way that would be very concerning if Thon was 22 at that stage.”

16:22-17:42 (on Ben Simmons): “I’m a pretty big fan of his game. He’s No. 1 in a weak draft; I think that that’s fair to say. He’s a really solid, really athletic prospect, who can get to the rim whenever he wants. Obviously, he’s a terrific passer, really good rebounder. One thing I will note is he does have a propensity to pick up some garbage-time stats from time to time, almost like Rondo-ian in terms of chasing stats and doing that, which is a little bit worrisome. It kind of reflects on his defensive game, which is quite substandard at this stage despite him having a ton of potential in the modern NBA, and it kind of reflects on the fact that he hasn’t really improved his game all that much while he was at LSU. I think if you put him on the floor, he’s gonna play hard. He really does want to be great as an NBA player.”    

21:29-21:58 (on the Celtics’ disappointing draft): “I would have just taken Kris Dunn at No. 3 and continued to be able to negotiate with Chicago and with Philadelphia, who clearly both wanted Kris Dunn. I think that you call their bluff, and, if worse comes to worse, you end up with a guy, in Kris Dunn, that is really good at basketball and who I had at No. 3 on my board. Obviously, the Celtics felt differently. And I think that the second critical mistake is taking Guerschon Yabusele at 16, and then, third, they end up moving 31 and 35 with good players still on the board.”

23:03-23:31: “No. 17 is Memphis. You look at what they do: They get Wade Baldwin, who is a really tremendous fit for what they want. They have questions still with what Mike Conley is going to do in free agency. Baldwin fits really well, because Baldwin could be Mike Conley’s replacement if Conley leaves, or he could play next to Conley due to his size – he’s 6-foot-4 with a 6-11 wingspan. He can kind of shoot a little bit. There’s a lot that you can really work with there.   

27:46-28:13 (on how Malcolm Brogdon flew under the radar): “He’s just not that explosive vertically. He plays like an old man’s game offensively in a lot of ways, and I don’t think that’s a thing that a lot of teams want. So it’s gonna be a very situational thing for Malcolm. Luckily, he goes to Milwaukee, where I think it’s a tremendous fit, and he’ll figure it out there pretty immediately. And I think he’ll be the kind of role player that Norman Powell was this year for Toronto, where everyone’s like, ‘Wow! How the hell did this guy fall to the second round?’”  

30:07-30:28 (on Buddy Hield’s future in the NBA): “If he can improve as a ball handler and as a creator of offense, both in terms of his dribbling ability and his passing ability, this kid could be an All-Star, but I’m not quite there on him actually doing that at the next level. I think you’re talking more about just a really solid player in the Kyle Korver-ish, J.J. Redick-ish mold.”   

Music: “Who Likes to Party?” by Kevin MacLeod