Despite the incredible amount of time and resources that goes into scouting the college and international games, preparing for the NBA Draft will always be an imperfect process. Scouts have a hard job: They obsess over film and dedicate their lives to psychoanalyzing 19-year-olds. But you can never really know how well a player will translate to the NBA.
Exhibit A: Just 20 months after the 76ers selected Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall in the 2017 draft (he was supposed to be the next James Harden!), Fultz had massive issues with his shooting form and numerous shoulder injuries before Philly traded him. Fultz’s performance in his first season and a half hardly warranted selection in the lottery, let alone the No. 1 pick. The Sixers will (deservedly) get flack from their fans for whiffing on Fultz for years to come since they missed the opportunity to add a franchise-changer like Jayson Tatum or Donovan Mitchell.
When we conducted our first NBA re-draft last year, Fultz fell to No. 11. And Mitchell, who slipped all the way to No. 13 on draft night, claimed our top position, with Tatum right behind him.
So, what about this year? If Phoenix had the chance to re-do its decision at No. 1, would the Suns stick with Deandre Ayton or select differently? Which player would be the biggest riser of all? Who would plummet?
Read on to find out.
For the sake of clarity, we’ll assume all pre-draft pick swaps happened exactly the same way (meaning trades that happened after the picks were made are invalidated). In this hypothetical scenario, as each team goes on the clock, they find out everything we know now.
Start the countdown for Phoenix…here comes Adam Silver...