37. Dallas Mavericks (via Kings): Jaden Hardy, SG, G League Ignite — A
38. Memphis Grizzlies (from Lakers via Spurs): Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee — B-
39. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Spurs via Jazz): Khalifa Diop, C, Gran Canaria — C+
40. Charlotte Hornets (from Wizards via Hornets): Bryce McGowens, SG/SF, Nebraska — B
41. New Orleans Pelicans: E.J. Liddell, PF, Ohio State — A
42. New York Knicks: Trevor Keels, SG/SF, Duke — B
Mavericks Take a Big, Smart Swing With Hardy
Hardy was supposed to rank favorably among the best prospects in this class, so the fact he went No. 37 speaks to his struggles this past season.
Still, his ceiling is through the roof, as he has shown the dribble moves to elude defenders and the confidence to pull up from anywhere. The questions are whether his inefficiency can be coached out of him and whether he’ll bring anything beyond scoring to the big league.
There’s a non-zero chance he emerges as one of the top scorers in this entire draft.
McGowens Has High Ceiling, Low Floor
Which McGowens is the real one? The one who impressed scouts at the combine, or the one who made just 27.4 percent of his threes during his one-and-done season with the Huskers?
If he’s the former, he has the off-the-bounce shake to eventually settle into a featured scoring role. If he’s the latter, he may not last long in this league, because he’s basically a one-trick scorer.
Midway through the second round, it’s worth throwing a dart and finding out.
Liddell Pick Has Steal-of-the-Draft Potential
No one would have batted an eye had Liddell landed somewhere near the 20th pick. For New Orleans to get him in the 40s might qualify as larceny in certain jurisdictions.
He strengthened his NBA case as a junior with a career-best 37.4 percent splash rate from three and then caught everyone’s attention at the combine when he registered the highest standing vertical—as a 6’6″, 243-pounder.
Stardom won’t be in his future, but if his shooting gains sustain, he can be a helpful role player who defends multiple positions, converts scoring chances from inside and out and consistently makes the proverbial right play.