A couple weeks ago Adam Silver mentioned that Seattle would be on the shortlist for inevitable league expansion. Once a franchise is about to begin play in the league one of the first things that is done is an expansion draft. All blogs in the SB Nation basketball world participated in figuring out what eight players their team would ultimately keep and what players they would roll the dice on for being taken in an expansion draft. From that list of players, Taylor and myself picked in a draft against a hypothetical Virginia Beach franchise picked by Kristian Winfield from SB Nation NBA.
Taylor spent most of the draft preventing me from taking every Maryland Terrapin that was available. He finally relented and let me pick one at the very end of the draft. There may be a deal secretly on the table for Minnesota to look over in regards to Melo Trimble right now.
Before we get to the players we would like to introduce to you our coaching staff. We poached Shaka Smart from the University of Texas. We wanted a young, brilliant basketball mind to grow up with our young basketball team. His two hand-picked assistants will be Luke Ridnour and Steve Blake. Stevie Blake was chosen for obvious reasons without co-GM Bartle knowing anything about it and Ridnour was selected for when we lose too many games in three straight seasons and have to fire Smart. Hopefully Earl Watson is still coach in Phoenix at this time so we can once again start up the debate of who is better, Watson or Ridnour.
We also traded a commentator to be named later to the Portland Trailblazers to get Kevin Calabro back home where he belongs. We have a contract offer out to Brent Barry to provide color commentary.
Now for the players. This was an alternating pick with the Sonics picking first. We’ll tag who Virginia Beach selected during the round as well.
1. Greg Monroe - Milwaukee Bucks
Why we picked him: While taking a big with the first pick felt a little too Wally Walker-ish, we felt that Monroe was the best player available. He had a bit of a dip last season, which led to him being available, but the hope is that with him as the central part of an offense, he can get back to the kind of numbers he put up in Detroit, roughly 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Virginia Beach: George Hill - Sacramento Kings
2. Tyler Johnson - Miami Heat
Why we picked him: We needed someone to run the team at point guard and we thought Johnson was the type of young player we could build around. He’s not a traditional, pass-first guard but he can score the ball. He has improved every year in the league and we’re hoping that trend continues.
Virginia Beach: Tim Hardaway Jr. - New York Knicks
3. Iman Shumpert - Cleveland Cavaliers
Why we picked him: One word: defense. Shump is a lock down defender on the perimeter and this team needs that. We’re surrounding him with shooters so we don’t need him to score a lot, but he can hit the occasional corner three when called upon.
Virginia Beach: Trey Lyles - Utah Jazz
4. Kenneth Faried - Denver Nuggets
Why we picked him: When “The Manimal” first came into the league, he was one of the most exciting players to watch. Like Monroe, his numbers dipped last season and he was moved to the bench. However, he’s still good for close to 10 and 10 a game and is still incredibly athletic. If nothing else, he should give fans a good show.
Virginia Beach: Robin Lopez - Chicago Bulls
5. Jamal Crawford - Minnesota Timberwolves
Why we picked him: We played with fire letting Crawford fall this far. We were worried we would lose him if we waited much longer. Crawford’s contributions on the basketball court are well known, winning three Sixth Man of the Year Awards, but we also got him so he can end his career at home and join the Sonics front office after he retires.
Virginia Beach: Lou Williams - Los Angeles Clippers
6. Wesley Matthews - Dallas Mavericks
Why we picked him: We were a little surprised not only that Matthews was available, but that he fell this far. He is a guy who can flat out shoot the ball. He actually had an up year last season, averaging 13.5 ppg while also handing out a career-high 2.9 assists. If we can get that kind of production, this pick will be justified.
Virginia Beach: Evan Fournier - Orlando Magic
7. Tyson Chandler - Phoenix Suns
Why we picked him: A still serviceable pick-and-roll big man who can also supply veteran leadership. Chandler is a 10 and 10 guy and a rim protector. He will also help groom Monroe.
Virginia Beach: John Henson - Milwaukee Bucks
8. Ryan Anderson - Houston Rockets
Why we picked him: We’re building a team of shooters in the vein of the Golden State Warriors. Anderson is our stretch-four. He scored 13.6 points per game on a .550 eFG% last season. With him and Crawford coming off the bench, our perimeter game is going to be on point.
Virginia Beach: Marcus Morris - Boston Celtics
9. Bojan Bogdanovic - Indiana Pacers
Why we picked him: Oh look, another shooter. A career 53% eFG% is exactly why we got him. His defense is suspect, but he can get buckets and is also near automatic at the free throw line.
Virginia Beach: Bryn Forbes - San Antonio Spurs
10. Jeremy Lamb - Charlotte Hornets
Why we picked him: This was basically a best-player-available pick. We needed a backup two-guard and we decided to go with Lamb over the Jazz’s Alec Burks. Lamb can hold his own well enough and defense and can usually give you close to ten points per game. That’s a solid contribution from your bench.
Virginia Beach: C.J. Miles - Toronto Raptors
11. Thabo Sefolosha - Utah Jazz
Why we picked him: We needed a defensive presence off the bench and Sefolosha provided that. He can guard three and depending on who is on the floor up to four positions. He has a nice stroke from the corner so you can’t leave him alone while on offense.
Virginia Beach: Taj Gibson - Minnesota Timberwolves
12. Amir Johnson - Philadelphia 76ers
Why we picked him: We needed a backup big man and while Johnson’s numbers don’t jump off the page, he’s a solid contributor who can play the four or the five in a small ball setting. He’s not going to light up the scoreboard or fill up the stat sheet, but he’s a solid role player coming off the bench.
Virginia Beach: Nick Young - Golden State Warriors
13. Frank Mason III aka El Tercero Miedo - Sacramento Kings
Why we picked him: We needed a third point guard and we thought Mason III was the best one left on the board. We love his leadership and his tenacity. We’ll probably put him on a two-way contract so he can split time between the Sonics and our G-League affiliate, the Wenatchee Wildmen.
Virginia Beach: Ian Clark - New Orleans Pelicans
14. Mario Hezonja - Orlando Magic
Why we picked him: We made this pick for no other reason than this is Dontae’s boy.
Virginia Beach: Thomas Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
15. Jake Layman - Portland Trailblazers
Why we picked him: With unlimited upside potential, Layman can slash, shoot the three, play D, get to the line, and make all the ladies in Seattle swoon! He’s also a Terp and there was no way I was going to let this expansion draft pass without showing my extreme bias.
Virginia Beach: Isaiah Whitehead - Brooklyn Nets
Point Guard - Tyler Johnson
Shooting Guard - Wes Matthews
Small Forward - Iman Shumpert
Power Forward - Kenneth Faried
Center - Greg Monroe
Sixth Man - Jamal Crawford
How They Fit
We know this team is two years away from being three years away. We wanted a good mix of youth, depth, and experience to fill up the roster. We have a lot of scoring throughout the lineup without being a complete black hole on defense. We picked a lot of scorers because, well—we wanted to provide the people of Seattle an exciting product. This team is going to score north of 110 points a night (hopefully) and give up more than that on at least fifty of those nights.
How Would They Do?
This is going to be a bad team. Our projections showed that on the high side we could expect maybe 30 wins at most, with 19 being the low point. Most often than not in our simulation this was a 27 win team. Thanks to NBA 2K17 for the simulation.