Every NBA Team’s Best New Weapon | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors


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    The 2022 NBA offseason is officially in the books.

    Sort of.

    Collin Sexton remains stuck in the thorny world of restricted free agency. A Donovan Mitchell deal could, in theory at least, still go down at any moment. A batch of unsigned ballers still await training-camp invites.

    However, virtually all of the heavy lifting is finished, which makes this is a perfect time to recap the action around the Association by spotlighting the best weapon each team added over the summer.

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    The Atlanta Hawks parted with three first-round picks and a pick swap to land Dejounte Murray, and while you can debate the merits of the move, there’s no questioning his prominent position within the franchise. He’s already the most important player in Atlanta not named Trae Young and perhaps the ideal backcourt mate for the two-time All-Star.

    Having been previously established as a defensive elite, Murray made big strides at the opposite end to fuel his All-Star ascension in 2021-22. His stat sheet wound up featuring one career high after the next, ultimately positioning him as the only player ever to average 20 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and two steals.

    He could mean as much to Atlanta’s defense as Young does the offense, and unlike his new backcourt partner, Murray’s importance isn’t solely tied to one end. If he settles into secondary roles as a scorer and playmaker while finding a pinch more consistency with his outside shot, he could easily wind up justifying the steep trade cost.

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    Danilo Gallinari’s meniscus tear is objectively a bummer for Boston, but at least he wasn’t the club’s most critical addition this summer. That distinction instead lands with Malcolm Brogdon, who could prove to be the Shamrocks’ missing piece so long as he stays healthy.

    So far, the 29-year-old has had trouble doing just that. His 36 games in 2021-22 were a career low, but he hasn’t cleared 60 games since 2018-19 and only topped 65 games in 2016-17, his rookie season. That’s perhaps why Boston landed him relatively cheaply, essentially sacrificing only a protected first-round pick and Daniel Theis.

    If the Shamrocks can keep Brogdon upright, he should shine. While he lacks a standout skill, he grades out as above-average to very good in many areas, which should allow him to shapeshift and fill any voids that arise around star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Brogdon’s versatility reaches both ends too, so he’ll be an effortless addition to head coach Ime Udoka’s defensive system.

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    Despite making some massive, juicy headlines this summer, the Brooklyn Nets wound up keeping things relatively quiet. They sat out the draft, let Bruce Brown walk in free agency and resisted making any landscape-shifting deals.

    They did, however, swing a trade for three-and-D swingman Royce O’Neale, who arguably has the best odds of any Nets newcomer to make his presence felt. That said, T.J. Warren previously flashed a level higher than any O’Neale could dream, and if Brooklyn somehow gets a healthy Warren, then this offense could be downright absurd.

    Granted, that’s a major if, as Warren has lost all but four games of the past two seasons combined to injuries. Before foot problems got the best of him, though, he was busy breaking out in the Orlando bubble and unleashing a powerful scoring punch. A full-strength Warren is nothing short of a three-level scorer, and he offers a decent amount of defensive resistance when fully engaged.

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    The Charlotte Hornets have had a glaring hole on their interior for years. The hope is that Williams, this year’s No. 15 pick, can finally cover it up.

    That’s obviously plenty to ask of a 20-year-old rookie, and the fact that Mason Plumlee still resides in Buzz City means Charlotte could be cautious about throwing too much at Williams too quickly.

    Still, they won’t waste a second whenever they think Williams is ready to take the baton. His 7’7″ wingspan, power and energy all have him well-equipped for the middle, and the Hornets will count on him to lift them out of the league’s bottom-third in defensive efficiency (22nd) and defensive rebound percentage (29th).

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    While it’s possible Goran Dragic or rookie Dalen Terry could play the biggest role among the Bulls’ newcomers—particularly if Lonzo Ball can’t shake his nagging knee injury—Andre Drummond is the early favorite to be the cleanest fit.

    Chicago needed a big, athletic paint presence behind Nikola Vucevic, and Drummond can be precisely that. He might have his flaws—namely, anything connected to the perimeter—but he gets hyperactive on the interior and showed last season he can handle a significant role for a contender.

    He nearly averaged a double-double (9.3 rebounds and 7.9 points) across 73 games for Philadelphia and Brooklyn despite seeing fewer than 20 minutes per night. He also contributed 2.0 steals and 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes while shaving 4.9 percentage points off his opponents’ connection rate inside of six feet.

    A Bulls team that was too often muscled around in the middle (fourth-most field goals allowed within five feet) will feel Drummond’s impact early and often.

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    The Cleveland Cavaliers used last season to launch into the competitive portion of their rebuild, so this summer was spent tweaking the supporting cast. Bringing back Ricky Rubio could be a stroke of genius, but considering he’s coming off the second ACL tear in his left knee, it feels a pinch optimistic to make him the choice here.

    So, instead we’re siding with Ochai Agbaji, this summer’s 14th overall selection.

    The Cavaliers needed an injection of two-way talent on the wing, and the former Kansas Jayhawk could supply that lift. He brings NBA-ready length and athleticism, which should help him settle in quickly on the defensive end, while his offensive value will stem from his development as a shaky shooter (30.7 percent from deep as a freshman) to a consistent threat (40.7 percent as a senior) over his four seasons in Lawrence.

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    While the Dallas Mavericks will miss the playmaking and table-setting supplied by Jalen Brunson, who bounced to the Big Apple in free agency, Christian Wood should assume the second scoring duties alongside Luka Doncic.

    In fact, Wood not only outpaced Brunson in points per game last season (17.9 to 16.3), he also did so while posting a superior true shooting percentage (59.5 to 58.3).

    Now, Wood’s defense can leave much to be desired, and he’s prone to bouts to tunnel vision. But he could thrive as the screening partner for Doncic, since Wood has enough bounce to finish plays above the rim and a sharp enough outside shot (38.4 percent over the past three seasons) to pop out for catch-and-fire triples.

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    If the Denver Nuggets catch some breaks on the health front with Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., they may have already had a contending-caliber supporting cast around two-time MVP Nikola Jokic. However, that didn’t stop Denver from making several impact additions, as free-agent signee Bruce Brown boasts impressive versatility on defense, while draftee Christian Braun has a non-zero chance to compete for a rotation spot.

    Yet, the summer acquisition of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope—who arrived in the Mile High City via trade from the Washington Wizards—looms above the rest.

    His point-of-attack defense is top-notch, and with him chasing around guards while Aaron Gordon pesters wings, Denver should have a stopper to throw at most of the league’s premier scorers. Caldwell-Pope’s offensive bag isn’t deep, but alongside a shot-creator like Jokic, it doesn’t have to be. As long as his three-ball keeps falling (39.5 percent the past three seasons), he’ll claim a spot in both Denver’s starting and closing lineups.

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    If you listen closely, you can still hear the echoes of celebration that roared out of the Motor City when the Sacramento Kings spent the No. 4 pick on Keegan Murray, not Ivey. That’s not directly intended as a knock on Murray, but Ivey arguably offered as much star potential as anyone in this year’s draft class.

    Pairing him with 2021’s top pick, Cade Cunningham, could be the type of foundational move that eventually allows this young group to flourish in ways felt across the Association.

    “I’m looking forward to watching those guys play together,” Pistons general manager Troy Weaver said, per Nolan Bianchi of the Detroit News. “[Ivey will] help generate easy buckets, play on the second side, be able to create for others on the floor as well, so we think it’s a big-time fit.”

    Ivey was all-caps AWESOME for Purdue this past season, which he finished with per-game averages of 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists, plus a 46.0/35.8/74.4 shooting slash. He’ll enter the NBA with elite explosion, and if he keeps making strides as a defender and distributor, he could challenge Cunningham for top billing in Detroit.

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    The Golden State Warriors finally had to cut some costs this offseason, which resulted in the departures of rotation regulars like Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. Still, they found enough in the coffers to lure in Donte DiVincenzo on a two-year, $9.2 million deal (player option on the second), which already ranks favorably among this summer’s best bargains.

    “If DV both stays healthy and hits enough of his catch-and-shoot triples—which he drilled at 42.2 percent clip after getting traded to Sacramento—the Warriors just scooped up one of free agency’s biggest steals,” B/R’s Dan Favale wrote after the signing.

    DiVincenzo’s descent into the bargain bin stemmed largely from a May 2021 ankle injury that wrecked his run with the Bucks and saw him dealt to the Kings. However, as Favale noted, DiVincenzo largely returned to form in Sacramento, splashing 36.8 percent of his triples while doubling his 1.8 turnovers with 3.6 assists per outing.

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    In the days before the draft, Jabari Smith Jr. was the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall. That doesn’t mean the Houston Rockets definitely got a discount by drafting him at No. 3, but it is a reflection of his intriguing combination of youth, length and ability.

    “He’s arguably the best teenage shooting big or 6’10” three-and-D player the draft has ever seen,” B/R’s Jonathan Wasserman wrote in May.

    Smith isn’t hyper explosive off the dribble, but Houston has that covered with Jalen Green, last year’s No. 2 overall pick. He also isn’t the most creative ball-mover, but the Rockets are good there with Alperen Sengun, the 16th overall selection last year.

    That trio could be responsible for bringing a spectacular future to Space City.

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    The Indiana Pacers’ pivot toward a rebuild (or at least quick reset) around 22-year-old guard Tyrese Haliburton bought them a little time to draft and develop young talent. Bennedict Mathurin, this summer’s No. 6 pick, is the first player to be put through that process, and he has a chance to join Haliburton in the Circle City’s long-term core.

    Mathurin looks physically ready to level up to the big leagues right now, which is impressive for someone who just turned 20 in June. His game has some rough edges that he needs to smooth out (defensive consistency and decision-making top the list), but that’s to be expected of an incoming rookie.

    In the meantime, the Pacers should be excited about his ability to shoot (both off the catch and on the move), his spring-loaded athleticism and his transition scoring. If he polishes the rest of his skill set, he could be a star.

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    Let’s start with the obvious: John Wall didn’t play at all last season or in 2019-20. He suited up 40 times in 2020-21, but he shot a career-worst 40.4 percent from the field while averaging fewer than two assists (6.9 per game) for every turnover (3.5).

    In other words, it’s hard to say for certain what the Los Angeles Clippers have in the soon-to-be 32-year-old beyond someone with name recognition and an All-Star past.

    Still, if Wall can be even a shadow of his former self—and he reportedly looks great—then he’ll scratch this squad’s itch for an impact playmaker.

    Even in his wobbly 2020-21 season with the Houston Rockets, Wall went for 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per night. He is a clever creator and a relentless attacker, and if he gets some of his old zip back, he could be a problem.

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    The Los Angeles Lakers might have aimed—and might still be aiming—higher than Patrick Beverley this offseason, but their recent trade for the energizing floor general still ranks as their best move of the offseason.

    What Beverley lacks in shot creation, he more than compensates for with defensive tenacity and perimeter sharpshooting (career 37.8 percent). If you listed the desired qualities for a point guard on a team led by LeBron James, you’d want defense and shot-making more than isolation scoring, so L.A. should be willing to live with Beverley’s limitations.

    In return, the Lakers landed a fiery on-court leader whose teams have made the playoffs in nine of his 10 NBA seasons. Beverley is a tone-setting defender who won’t step on anyone’s toes on offense, which should make him a perfect complement to the Lakers’ stars.

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    The Memphis Grizzlies could have swung for the fences this summer, but they’re instead adhering to the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race principle. Considering how far they’ve already come—they tied a franchise record with 56 wins last season—and how much room they have to grow (including 23-year-old centerpiece Ja Morant), it’s a sensible strategy.

    Having said that, this mindset can lead to some sleepy summers, and that’s sort of what went down this year on Beale Street. The Grizzlies had some major offseason moments—maxing out Morant, re-signing Tyus Jones, extending John Konchar—but all of their heavy lifting was done in-house.

    Externally, the Grizzlies only brought in a new batch of rookies (plus an injured Danny Green), so it only feels right to choose the highest-ranked prospect.

    Jake LaRavia impressed after transferring from Indiana State to Wake Forest by upping his production rates across the board and posting a pristine 55.9/38.4/77.7 slash line. He won’t create scoring chances or drop jaws with his athleticism, but his shooting, defensive versatility and instincts will help him find a role.

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    The Miami Heat largely kept quiet this offseason, though not for a lack of trying. Pat Riley’s annual whale hunt included interest in both Kevin Durant, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, and Donovan Mitchell, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

    However, the Heat lacked the picks and prospects needed for a serious pursuit of either star. That means Nikola Jovic, the No. 27 overall pick, gets this spot by default since Miami made no other significant additions this offseason.

    Jovic is as raw as a freshly butchered steak, but he could eventually intrigue as a 6’11” spacer and table-setter, provided his athletic limitations aren’t overexposed defensively.

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    The Milwaukee Bucks largely focused on talent retention this summer, which makes sense for a club that won the 2021 title and might have made a run at the 2022 crown if not for Khris Middleton’s MCL injury in the playoffs. They basically went outside the organization twice: once to draft MarJon Beauchamp at No. 24 overall and once to sign Joe Ingles.

    While the latter would qualify as the most significant addition under normal circumstances—his playmaking, floor-spacing and experience would all make him a natural fit—it’s hard giving him that distinction while he’s working his way back from a late January ACL tear. So, Beauchamp gets the nod, even if his immediate path to the rotation is murky.

    Right now, Beauchamp is a toolsy defender with some handles and explosive finishing. The hope is that his jumper will eventually come around, as that could unlock his two-way value.

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves paid a fortune to get Rudy Gobert—four first-round picks, or five if you count rookie first-rounder Walker Kessler—and clearly see the three-time Defensive Player of the Year as their key to climbing a tier or two.

    “It’s go time,” Karl-Anthony Towns told reporters. “The trade happens. There’s no more time. There are no more excuses. We’ve got to get it done now. It’s championship now or bust.”

    From the outside, the trade looks like an overpay. The Timberwolves still aren’t likely to crack the West’s top tier, but this deal unequivocally makes them better.

    Gobert may not much have utility on the perimeter, but he impacts the interior as much as anyone. Last season, he paced the league in field-goal percentage (71.3) and rebounds per game (14.7) while shaving a whopping 13 percentage points off his opponents’ shooting rates from within six feet of the basket.

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    The New Orleans Pelicans’ summer was really all about Zion Williamson, as all of them have been since he arrived as the top overall pick in 2019. It wasn’t just about getting him healthy after he missed the entire 2021-22 season; it was also getting his signature on a contract extension.

    Time will tell on the health front, but his new deal lasts until 2027-28.

    Outside of Williamson’s megadeal, there wasn’t much activity in the Big Easy. The Pels had previously made their splashes over the past calendar year (trading for Jonas Valanciunas last August and CJ McCollum in February). However, they added the wildly intriguing Dyson Daniels at No. 8 overall using the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-rounder.

    It’s unclear what type of shooter Daniels will be in the NBA, but the rest of his game looks ready to go. He’s a smooth, instinctive playmaker at 6’6″, he was arguably the best perimeter defender in the draft, and he shows good touch around the basket.

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    Jalen Brunson looms as the New York Knicks’ biggest offseason acquisition in years. He may not hold that title for long, as the Knicks are very much still in trade talks for Donovan Mitchell, but Brunson has it for now.

    The 6’1″ guard offers the promise of solving a problem at point guard that New York has endured for decades. He’s more of a scorer than a distributor, although his true identity may not be fully known since he spent his first four seasons supporting Luka Doncic in Dallas.

    If Brunson now gets the green light to attack, it’s possible that he lifts all areas of his game.

    The Knicks are doing some forward projecting here, as Brunson just finished his first season as a regular starter and has never averaged more than 16.3 points or 4.8 assists. He did, however, average 27.8 points on 48.4/36.4/84.6 shooting in Dallas’ first-round series with the Utah Jazz, so buying into his star potential doesn’t require a total leap of blind faith.

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    Chet Holmgren, this summer’s No. 2 pick, had his rookie year wiped out before it ever got started. A Lisfranc injury in his right foot will unfortunately sideline him for the entire season.

    The fact that he’s still an obvious choice for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s best new weapon speaks to the towering height of his ceiling.

    Holmgren is a 7’0″ shot-blocker who has the handles and shooting stroke of a guard. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor likened him to “Rudy Gobert with perimeter skills.”

    Holmgren will almost certainly be worth the wait.

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    Paolo Banchero wasn’t always locked in as the No. 1 overall pick this summer, but you could argue he should’ve been.

    The Orlando Magic needed offensive firepower in the worst kind of way. Their 29th-ranked attack last season was also the Association’s only one without a 17-point scorer. Cole Anthony, the de facto focal point, led the way with 16.3 points per game on only 39.1 percent shooting.

    Orlando had an obvious itch for an offensive centerpiece, and Banchero looks ready and able to scratch it. He’s the most polished scorer of all incoming rookies, and he’s making big strides as a shooter and shot-creator.

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    Giving the 37-year-old P.J. Tucker a fully guaranteed three-year pact is risky, but the Philadelphia 76ers clearly think the potential reward is worth it. Perennial MVP candidate Joel Embiid agrees, having previously identified Tucker as the kind of tough player this team has lacked in recent years.

    Age will catch up to Tucker at some point, but it apparently hasn’t made any progress yet. Last season, he shot a career-high 41.5 percent from three while routinely taking on Miami’s toughest defensive assignment.

    Tucker’s game fits like a tailored suit with James Harden, and it should be no different with Embiid. As long as he avoids any age-related decline, he looks like an opener and closer for the Sixers.

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    It’d be a stretch to label this summer as a snoozer for the Phoenix Suns. They gave Devin Booker a supermax, matched a max offer sheet for Deandre Ayton and played a prominent role in the Kevin Durant trade talks.

    As far as external acquisitions go, though, there wasn’t much brewing on that front. They signed Damion Lee away from the defending champion Warriors, landed Jock Landale in a trade and took a flier on Josh Okogie.

    There isn’t an obvious pick for the top newcomer, but Okogie has the most obvious standout skill (suffocating defense) and therefore probably the clearest path to regular rotation minutes. He also has the most glaring weakness (anything related to scoring), but perhaps playmakers like Booker and Chris Paul can coax more production out of him.

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    The Portland Trail Blazers needed to land an impact player for their attempt to rapidly retool around Damian Lillard. Given their budget constraints, Jerami Grant surely ranked at or near the top of their wish list.

    No, Grant isn’t not a star. Truthfully, he hasn’t been more than a third or fourth option on a good team. But he can be a two-way asset in Rip City.

    The Blazers have long needed a lengthy, athletic stopper on the wing, and Grant will immediately fill that void. There are questions about how much efficient offense he can add since he averaged 20.9 points over the past two seasons but shot only 42.8 percent for some miserable Detroit Pistons teams.

    But as long as Grant doesn’t try to do too much, he should feast on off-ball cuts, spot-up chances and transition buckets.

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    Keegan Murray wasn’t the fourth-rated draft prospect on most big boards this year, but he also wasn’t too far behind that range. He also appears to be a tremendous on-paper fit with De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Davion Mitchell, which makes it easy to see why the Sacramento Kings took him at No. 4.

    “We vetted every opportunity, explored all options, and I think we ended up in a positive place tonight,” Kings general manager Monte McNair told reporters. “I think at the end of the day, with the fourth pick, after exploring all our options, we felt extremely comfortable that the best player available was Keegan Murray.”

    Maybe hoops historians will one praise Sacramento’s selection. Or maybe they’ll pan the pick. Who knows?

    For now, though, it’s fair for Kings fans to get giddy about Murray. His game already has few holes, and he should be able to bend his abilities however needed to fill a critical role.

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    The San Antonio Spurs should be swinging for upside wherever possible as they work their way through their first rebuild since…well, pretty much ever.

    That’s why it made sense for them to spend the No. 9 pick on Jeremy Sochan. His future isn’t entirely clear, but his upside stretches all the way into the NBA’s galaxy of stars.

    Sochan is still far away from that at the moment, and there’s a real chance that he never becomes much of a scoring threat (he averaged 9.2 points per game during his lone collegiate campaign). Still, if he finds an outside shot and a few more go-to scoring moves, look out, because he already brings five-position versatility on defense and a drool-worthy blend of dribbling and dime-dropping for a 6’9″, 230-pounder.

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    The Toronto Raptors could have taken a much bigger swing this summer, but you can understand why they mostly opted to run it back. Virtually all of their key contributors are either in their prime or still ascending, so there’s reason to believe they could be even more potent this season after going 48-34 last year.

    Otto Porter Jr. should help nudge them along, too.

    Fully removed from the All-Star hopes that surrounded his selection as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft, he was able to spend his 2021-22 campaign as an important role player for the world champion Golden State Warriors. The Raptors will make similar use of his defensive versatility, steady three-point shot (career 39.8 percent) and veteran know-how.

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    This is a tricky exercise for the Utah Jazz since they’re seemingly veering into a top-to-bottom rebuild. Or, rather, they’ll get rolling on an organizational haul as soon as they find a workable trade for Donovan Mitchell.

    Assuming that they are playing for the future—as indicated by the pick-heavy package they received for Rudy Gobert—that leaves only three possibilities among Salt Lake City’s newest residents: Kessler, Leandro Bolmaro and Jarred Vanderbilt.

    So, why Kessler? Well, his shot-blocking appears to be the strongest skill possessed by any of the three, and his willingness to shoot threes points to a potentially interesting future. That’s enough to nudge him past Bolmaro and Vanderbilt, both of whom have questionable potential (at best) as scorers.

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    You could certainly make a case here Johnny Davis, this summer’s No. 10 pick, but his skills seem a little redundant with Bradley Beal’s.

    However, this pick has more to do with Monte Morris than it does Davis.

    Washington’s roster doesn’t make a ton of sense right now, but there is a decent amount of talent if the right player can figure it all out. Morris, who more than held his own as a substitute starter for Jamal Murray last season, might have the vision, decision-making and on-floor leadership to do it.

    For his career, he owns both a 48.1/39.4/83.0 slash line and a wide gulf between his 3.7 assists and 0.8 turnovers per game.

    Statistics used courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com. Salary information via Spotrac.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.

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