5 Teams With The Biggest Questions After The NBA Draft

The NBA’s first-ever two-day draft featured plenty of noteworthy moments. From three Frenchmen going in the top six to the Minnesota Timberwolves trading up to draft Rob Dillingham in the top ten to Bronny James being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 55th pick, what was deemed “the worst draft in recent memory” provided an abundance of entertainment. 

While some teams used the two days to gear up for another year of championship contending or other drafted players that will lead their franchises into the future, a select few teams left the draft still unsure of their next steps. These teams are amid pivotal offseasons, trying to decide the direction of their franchise, yet have not addressed any of their problems. So, who are the five teams that left the NBA draft with the most significant questions remaining?

5 Teams With Looming Questions Following The NBA Draft

Detroit Pistons

The Picks: Ron Holland II – Round 1 (5), Bobi Klintman – Round 2 (37)

When the Pistons won the 2021 NBA draft lottery, many thought the franchise would finally start heading in the right direction. Cade Cunningham was an elite prospect and was expected to be the Pistons’ franchise player. Yet, three years later, they still find themselves as bottomfeeders of the league. This year’s draft was the third year in a row that the Pistons have used the fifth overall pick to draft a player with major shooting concerns (Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Holland).

They gave Monty Williams a record-setting contract to be their head coach and fired him a year later. Most recently, the Pistons traded away the 24-year-old Quentin Grimes for an aging Tim Hardaway Jr. These moves lack a clear direction and have no end goal. It seems that Detroit is in an endless cycle of failure, and selecting the unproven Holland in the draft certainly did not answer any of these questions. Next for the Pistons is free agency, where they are one of the few teams with cap space, but does signing an older veteran move the team forward? 

Charlotte Hornets

The Picks: Tidjane Salaun – Round 1 (6), KJ Simpson – Round 2 (42)

On draft night, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Hornets were in talks with the Memphis Grizzlies to trade down to the number nine pick. Instead of doing this trade, obtaining more assets, and likely still getting their guy at nine, the Hornets panicked and took Salaun higher than they needed to. Most draft experts had Salaun outside their top 10, and many had him outside their top 15. Salaun is an incredibly raw player and, at 18 years old, is multiple seasons away from being a large contributor to the team. However, the Hornets’ most significant problem is that their star player, LaMelo Ball, is never on the court.

Next season will be year number five with Ball, and the Hornets need to think about a change. The draft was an opportunity to put pieces around the talented Brandon Miller. Still, instead, they took a swing on a project player that won’t help Miller’s immediate development.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Picks: Jared McCain – Round 1 (16), Adem Bona – Round 2 (41)

The 76ers being here is less about their actual draft picks and more about the other players on their roster, or lack thereof. Their draft was good; McCain and Bona were both excellent value picks and have the tools to be impact players. However, the 76ers came into the offseason bragging about their cap space, and now their options are drying up. OG Anunoby resigned with the New York Knicks, Paul George is in heavy rumors to go to the Warriors, and even a guy like Klay Thompson is rumored to be signing with the Dallas Mavericks.

Once the 76ers sign Tyrese Maxey to an extension, they will pay their top two players more than $100 million, yet have failed to develop a successful ecosystem around them. Joel Embiid is 30 now, and his time in Philadelphia may be running out. While the Boston Celtics, and now Knicks, continuously improve, the 76ers are falling behind. Philadelphia did nothing wrong during the draft, but they did not address any of their major issues or calm any worries.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Picks: AJ Johnson – Round 1 (23), Tyler Smith – Round 2 (33)

The Bucks used their first-round pick on a guy whose game needs time to mature. Johnson is 19 and is viewed by many as a long-term project. So why are the contending Bucks drafting a player for the future? Seriously, I’m asking; it doesn’t make much sense. Milwaukee is getting older and older, and their championship window is closing. Damian Lillard has already started regressing and has maybe two years left of high-quality basketball. Johnson may be a great player in five years, but the Bucks needed someone to help them next season.

Quality college veterans like Terrance Shannon Jr. or Baylor Scheierman will be able to play impactful minutes on contending teams next year, but the Bucks decided against this. Giannis Antetokounmpo may be a ticking time bomb, as he has already expressed his requirement of winning, and their draft pick will not make him happy. The Bucks need to change something up this offseason, and that became even more apparent after the draft.

LA Clippers

The Picks: Cam Christie – Round 2 (46)

The Clippers didn’t have much they could do in the draft but selected a talented shooter in Christie in the second round, who could potentially be a future rotation player. The Clippers’ questions lie outside of the draft. Paul George seems to be leaving, and James Harden is yet to sign a contract. But say Harden does resign, and the Clippers trade George to the Warriors for Andrew Wiggins, young players, and picks. Kawhi Leonard and James Harden are no longer good or healthy enough to win a championship by themselves.

The Clippers are entering a sort of purgatory and have $150 million invested in a 33-year-old player who is never around for the playoffs. It doesn’t seem like the Clippers have a way forward right now. They just spent $2 Billion on a new stadium, yet will always live in the shadow of the Lakers and have no real hope of winning a championship. Like the 76ers, the Clippers didn’t do anything wrong in the draft; just as younger Western Conference teams continue their ascent, their Clippers are stuck with stars that peaked five years ago. Drastic change is needed.

The draft was just the beginning of the NBA offseason, and there is no doubt that there is still drama to come. In one of the craziest periods of NBA history, where player movement is at an all-time high, the most important thing for a team is having a solid plan with clear steps forward. Nurturing a championship-level team takes time, and skipping that developmental period only sets you back further in the long run. Yet, there are still several teams unsure of how to progress.

Main Image: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

3.8 4 votes
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
3.8 4 votes
Do you agree with this article? Let's see your vote!
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rose Fish

I agree with your assessment of the Pistons! They need shooters and didn’t get it!

Jim Fish

Another spot on assessment of the action in this year’s draft.
Great job again Donovan.
Jim Fish

David W

Great article. What’s your take on Sixers nabbing Paul George?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x