Over the course of NBA Draft week, several trades went down – some more impactful than others. We explain why some of these deals caught our attention.

As usual, the NBA Draft – and the days surrounding it – was as action-packed as ever.

During the week, a handful of trades went down – some from contenders and some from teams aspiring to eventually become contenders.

We’re taking a look at the most significant of these deals and analyzing their impact on next season, with the help of data, of course.

The Knicks Acquire Mikal Bridges

In easily the biggest trade of the week, the New York Knicks added the fourth (and final) member of the Villanova Wildcats team that won the NCAA championship in 2017 and is currently in the NBA.

New York also got a 2026 second-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets for Bojan Bogdanovic, four unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027, 2029, 2031), a 2025 protected Milwaukee Bucks first, a 2028 first-round pick swap, and a 2025 second-round pick.

Bridges finished the 2023-24 season ranked 80th in DRIP (1.1), which is a projection of a player’s contribution to his team’s plus/minus per 100 possessions. On Brooklyn, Bridges was miscast as a No. 1 option when he’s really better suited as a secondary/tertiary player (the exact role he’ll play in New York).

For instance, over the last three years, Bridges has been in the 72nd percentile in wide-open 3-point percentage (per NBA.com). That’s a great indicator of his ability to play off the ball. Yes, the Knicks probably overpaid a bit for his services, but you can’t put a price on a title. And this Knicks team, with Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle (potentially), OG Anunoby (who just re-signed on a monster contract), and the rest of its stellar supporting cast, is firmly in the mix for a title next season.

For the Brooklyn Nets, the rebuild is in full swing. Look for guys like Cameron Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith to be on the move soon, too.

The Blazers Acquire Deni Avdija

You have to feel for Avdija, man. Last season, he flashed tremendous growth – posting a career highs in scoring volume and efficiency (see fancy chart below). With that leap, Avdija looked to be the next candidate to live the PJ Washington experience – a young/skilled forward who gets traded from a bottom feeder to a contender and everyone realizes how good he is.

Instead, he’s going to go from one terrible team (the Washington Wizards, who won 15 games) to another (the Portland Trail Blazers, who won 21). The Blazers likely view Avdija as an integral piece of their next great team (he’s still only 23). At the very worst, they can flip him again if it turns out that he doesn’t fit their timeline.

Avdija Scoring Chart

The Wizards, who got Malcolm Brogdon, the 14th pick in the NBA Draft (who ended up being Carlton Carrington), a 2029 first-round pick, and future second-round picks in the deal, sold high on a player who probably doesn’t fit their timeline (they are further behind Portland in their rebuild) and it helps them open up some minutes for their young forward tandem of Bilal Coulibaly and Alexander Sarr.

Carrington was the fifth-ranked player in the draft, per our NBA Draft model, with player comparisons that included Tyrese Maxey and Kevin Huerter. Brogdon (85th percentile in offensive DRIP) could also be flipped for some more assets.

The Timberwolves Trade for Rob Dillingham

The Minnesota Timberwolves (who had the best season in franchise history, according to TRACR) realize their championship window is right now. They also realize how important Mike Conley is to their team (29th in DRIP) and that his days as a productive NBA player are limited (he’ll be 37 at the start of next year).

So, they traded with the San Antonio Spurs to acquire the eighth pick and get Conley’s heir apparent in exchange for a 2031 unprotected first-round pick and a 2030 No. 1-overall protected pick swap.

While they were playing at two different levels, it’s kind of crazy how statistically similar these two were last year. Besides, Dillingham does profile as a similar type of player to Conley. The 19-year-old playmaker could serve as Conley’s backup right now (with Monte Morris likely leaving in free agency) until he matures into the starting role.

Conley and Dillingham Chart

The Spurs already have a ton of young players to develop (including fourth overall pick Stephon Castle), who was third in our player rankings with comps like Jalen Williams and Isaac Okoro. So, they moved Dillingham for future assets that could be used as trade ammo during Victor Wembanyama’s prime.

The Mavericks Acquire Quentin Grimes

Man, what a difference a year can make. At the end of 2022-23, Grimes was one of the best young 3-and-D role players in basketball, averaging 11.3 points on 38.6% 3-point shooting (on 5.7 attempts per game). He also averaged nearly 30 minutes per game during the Knicks’ Eastern Conference semifinals matchup against the Miami Heat.

A down year marred by injuries caused people to forget how good Grimes can be, but not the Dallas Mavericks. In this deal, they acquired the exact type of player they were missing against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals (a role player that can defend without killing their spacing) without giving up a serious part of their rotation (Tim Hardaway Jr. and three second-round picks).

The Detroit Pistons are trying to replicate what the Nets did after the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade hit the fan – take on bad salary (in this case, Hardaway) in exchange for draft capital. But I think they sold way too low on a player who could help them (he’s only 24).

Noteworthy Minor Moves

The Denver Nuggets traded with the Phoenix Suns to draft DaRon Holmes II with the 22nd overall pick. The 21-year-old Dayton product projects to be the uber-rare center who can give you rim protection (92nd percentile block rate in the Atlantic 10) and 3-point shooting (38.6%). Holmes could be the answer they have been searching for to the non-Nikola Jokic minutes.

AJ Griffin fell out of favor with the Atlanta Hawks because he’s a role player who can’t defend (seventh percentile defensive DRIP) on a team that needs defensive-minded role players (they were 28th in D-TRACR last year). But that doesn’t mean Griffin can’t provide value elsewhere. He’s a wicked shooter, hitting 39% of his 3s and 89.4% of his free throws during his rookie year. Plus, he has some promise as a close-out attacker (46th percentile in true shooting on drives in 2022-23). With the Houston Rockets, he’ll be able to spread his wings on a team that has the infrastructure (ninth in D-TRACR) to house his limitations.

The Sacramento Kings consolidated some of their stacked guard room by moving Davion Mitchell and Sasha Vezenkov (and draft capital) in exchange for Jalen McDaniels from the Toronto Raptors. The Kings needed to add some functional size around Domantas Sabonis and this deal gives them two low-risk opportunities to do so. One is with McDaniels – a 26-year-old forward with more than a 7-foot wingspan who posted a block rate in the 72nd percentile in 2021-22. The second comes in the form of Isaiah Crawford – an undrafted rookie who the Kings signed with the extra roster spot created by the trade. Crawford boasts a 7-1 wingspan and was the 38th-best prospect in the draft, per our model.

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