This was the first draft in Chicago for the Bulls’ new front office regime of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley, and nobody really knew what they were going to do. There were rumors all over the place; I saw that they were looking to trade up for LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman, trade down, or take Deni Avdija at four. But after the top three in the draft went chalk, and the rumors of a trade up or down did not come to fruition, the Bulls went with Florida State freshman Patrick Williams.

Round 1, Pick 4 — Patrick Williams

This pick was a little bit of a reach by consensus; Williams was consistently getting mocked later in the top ten. …


Winner — Oklahoma City Thunder

Sam Presti is a shark on the trade market. In the past couple days he has traded:

With draft night finally over, they’ve supplemented their rebuild with 17(!!!!) future first-rounders between now and 2026, a potential unicorn in Aleksej Pokusevski, and two European prospects in Theo Maledon and Vit Krejci. On top of that, Horford could be a good piece for the Thunder; he was good two seasons ago in Boston and looked bad with a roster where he did not fit in Philadelphia. Don’t be surprised if Presti is able to get assets for Horford at draft-time next year. Admittedly, we sometimes overvalue future picks in NBA internet communities, but it looks like Presti nailed it. Now we’ll see if he does something other than take a million wings who can’t shoot with all those picks. …


A few weeks ago, I published a model projecting three-point shooting numbers in the NBA for this year’s draft class. I used a linear model based on college statistics, and it was pretty good, but it did have some problems, particularly around upperclassmen and players who did not take a lot of free throws (which is somewhat common among three-point specialists).

To improve my projections, I switched to using a tree-based model from a linear one. In a linear model, you create an equation like y = mx + b (think back to algebra). y is what you are predicting (in this case, NBA three-point percentage), and x is the value (or values-there can be more than one) you are using to predict; the x values (or predictor variables) in the first model were college numbers for three-point percentage, three-point rate (the percentage of field goal attempts that are threes), two-point jumpshot percentage, free-throw percentage, and position. …


The consensus on internet mock drafts had been centering on Ball as the top pick until some late action for Edwards yesterday. Still, Ball is the better prospect. He has been famous for years, but LaMelo has some real game, too; he is a 6-foot-7 point guard who can make all the passes in the book and has a great handle to boot. Sure, his game has warts-namely shooting and defensive effort-but Ball has the most potential of anyone in this class. Andrew Lawlor

The Warriors have been linked to countless players, and it is very possible they trade it for immediate help. If they do keep it, Wiseman is a good fit for their current roster as a center with the size to effectively protect the rim and the quickness to step out and defend on the perimeter. He is still very raw and only played three games in college, so this pick is a risk, but the potential benefits are enormous. …


I love when a team zigs when the rest of the league zags. Stylistic differences are good for the league; it is better when not every game looks the same. With that in mind, what Jeff Weltman has been building with the Orlando Magic is fascinating.

Since Weltman was hired in 2017, the Magic have focused on building the tallest, longest, most athletic team possible, jumpshots be damned. He has spent first-round picks on Jonathan Isaac (7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan), Mo Bamba (7-feet, 7-foot-10!!!! …


In this era of big twos, the Washington Wizards are often forgotten. It is easy to see why: John Wall has been hurt or ineffective for much of the last three seasons and Bradley Beal, while great last year offensively, was a zero on defense. The team is thin beyond them; when last we saw them, they were busy going 1–7 in the season restart bubble after a string of opt-outs, including Beal. But Wall is looking healthy again, and Beal just finished second in the NBA in scoring with 30.5 points per game. …


Nothing gold can stay. Just two seasons ago, the Milwaukee Bucks were the darlings of the NBA, a small-market team with a young, likable superstar that captured the hearts of neutral fans, along with the East’s top seed. But now, it looks like dawn might go down to day. After two ignominious early playoff exits in a row, the Bucks face Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free agency after this coming season. If he does leave, they immediately exit the ranks of title contenders. This is the Bucks’ most dramatic season yet.

The Bucks could be tempted to run it back. After all, this same roster is a little over a year removed from a double-overtime Game 3 loss against the Raptors from going up 3–0 in the Eastern Conference Finals that likely would’ve secured them a Finals bid. This season, they were rolling through the regular season when play paused due to the pandemic, and then they had to come back months later to play in the playoffs without the home-court advantage they had earned. …


On draft night in 2017, the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the pick that would become Lauri Markkanen, kick-starting a rebuild for a squad that had made the playoffs as the eighth seed the previous season. Three years later, Butler just led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals, while the Bulls do not have much progress to show for their efforts.

The Bulls have not won more than 27 games in any of the past three seasons, and have not come close to the playoffs. This past season, they went 22–43 and were one of the eight teams to be left out of the Orlando bubble. In response, Chicago made big changes, bringing in a new GM (Arturas Karnisovas), assistant GM (Marc Eversley), and head coach (Billy Donovan). …


It is a new day in Detroit. After years of mediocre front offices making misguided moves, the Pistons have a new general manager in Troy Weaver, who comes over from the Oklahoma City Thunder with a good reputation around the league. Weaver had been with the Thunder since 2008, and was part of the front office when the Thunder drafted and developed Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and Steven Adams, among others (Kevin Durant was drafted the year before Weaver got there).

It is good that he can draft well, because Weaver is walking into a bleak situation. The Pistons have an aging, oft-injured, expensive star in Blake Griffin, and not a lot else. Griffin could still get back to his best; he is 31, and only one year removed from an All-Star season in 2018–19 in which he averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. But even then, Detroit was only good enough to land the eighth seed and a first round sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, and the East has gotten stronger since then. …


In Mario Kart on Nintendo 64, the mother of all tracks is Rainbow Road. With its length and difficulty, it separates the pros from mere amateurs. Racers have a choice at the beginning of the track. If you jump off the edge, and time it juuuuuuust right, you bypass a large part of the track and give yourself a huge advantage over your opponents. …

Andrew Lawlor

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