fits
Onyeka Okongwu is one of the top big men in this draft class. What team would he be a great fit with? (Soobum Im/Getty Images)

The 2020 NBA Draft is three weeks away, and the majority of the prospect-team interviews and workouts have concluded. Teams are putting together their final big boards for draft night. A large portion of the rankings revolves around how the player fits with the team. It would make no sense for a team to draft a ball handler in the first round if they have an all-star point guard and a reliable backup. Player-team fit makes a huge difference in how a team ranks a player.

Drafting a player who fits better and will have a more critical role with the team is arguably a better draft strategy than drafting the best player available. In a questionable draft class, we should expect most teams to draft for fit instead of talent. A few prospects in this class appear to be a perfect fit for a specific team. Let’s take a look at four of those prospects and teams.

Deni Avdija and the Chicago Bulls

Israel’s Deni Avdija has been linked to most of the top teams in this year’s draft. However, Avdija fits best with the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is in a unique position, as they are not ready to compete for a title yet but might be a popular free-agent destination in the coming seasons. Coby White and Zach Lavine are two solid guards, and Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen have proven to be a solid frontcourt.

Chicago is clearly missing talent on the wing. New coach Billy Donovan will likely want to bring in a forward who could shoot and defend the perimeter. Avdija is an experienced forward with a playmaking ability that makes him a threat both with and without the ball. He could take the pressure off White in the backcourt and handle defending an opponent’s top forward. Avdija is reportedly a favorite in Chicago, as he fits in perfectly with the team. If he’s still on the board at pick No. 4, Chicago should heavily consider taking the Israeli League star.

Onyeka Okongwu and the Washington Wizards

It will be a shock to me if Okongwu is still available at No. 9. Washington will likely have to trade up if they want to select the big man from USC. While they may not have the assets to do so, Okongwu’s fit with the Wizards should not go unnoticed. Washington has not had an average center since the days of Marcin Gortat. Okongwu would be an immediate upgrade at the position and offers tons of upside as a point-forward. Alongside Rui Hachimura, the Wizards frontcourt would be young and athletic with unlimited potential.

Can you imagine Okongwu running the pick and roll with a healthy John Wall? Last season, the USC freshman averaged 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on 61.6% shooting from the floor. Okongwu should immediately find himself as the team’s starting center. With Wall and Beal on the court with him, Okongwu should improve daily. With the Wizards, Okongwu would have a genuine chance to become the next Bam Adebayo, as some scouts compare his ceiling too.

Kira Lewis Jr and the Phoenix Suns

Lewis Jr to Phoenix is my favorite player-team fit of the 2020 NBA Draft class. I think this would be a perfect match, even if selecting Lewis at ten may seem too high. Phoenix is a playmaking point guard away from being a legitimate threat in the playoff race. Devin Booker is the man tagged with leading Phoenix to the promised land, but he will need support in the backcourt. Lewis will immediately improve Phoenix’s transition offense and provide more open looks for the wing’s shooters.

Lewis can create his shot but will not have much pressure to do so, as his supporting cast is more than capable. Booker and Ayton should instantly benefit from a young, scrappy, and fast point guard, feeding them the ball. Lewis is arguably the opposite player that the Suns’ current point guard, Ricky Rubio, is. The sophomore from Alabama is much quicker with the ball and has much better burst driving to the basket. The energy that Lewis brings to the court should significantly benefit Phoenix in their quest to become relevant in the West playoff race.

Aaron Nesmith and the Brooklyn Nets

With the nineteenth selection, Brooklyn is looking to contend for a title in 2021. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant should both be healthy to lead the Nets atop the Eastern Conference. However, if there is one thing we learned from the playoffs this year, you can never have enough shooters. This is why Vanderbilt sharpshooter Aaron Nesmith would be a perfect pick for Brooklyn at nineteen.

Nesmith averaged 23 points per game last season, shooting an outstanding 52% from beyond the arc. He is also a capable defender and can create his shot in the paint. Brooklyn has Caris LeVert and Joe Harris as complementary shooting weapons, but Nesmith will offer a strong shotmaking ability off the bench. Nesmith might be a three-and-D player that could very well end up starting at the wing by the postseason.

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