With the college season officially behind us, basketball fans can look forward to seeing some of their favorite players make it big in the pros. For UConn, James Bouknight is slated to be the first lottery pick out of Connecticut since Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond back in 2012. With his skillset, he is sure to have an immediate impact wherever he ends up. But where should that be? In today’s roundtable, the DC Sports section will be giving our takes on what team would be the ideal landing spot for Bouknight to thrive as he takes the next step into the big leagues:
After looking over each team’s needs, I truly believe that James Bouknight’s perfect fit would be with the New Orleans Pelicans. With Eric Bledsoe currently sitting at the starting shooting guard spot, a fresh new face is great for the Pelicans, especially if they can flip Bledsoe for some quality talent off the bench. Even if they decide to keep Bledsoe, the ability to allow Bouknight to come off the bench and get accustomed to NBA level competition is not a bad decision at all. All in all, Bouknight would be the perfect fit for a young Pelicans team if they want to grab some quality talent for the future.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Bouknight specifically said he wanted to play for a team that will let him play almost right away. With that said, I feel like Bouknight is going to end up with either the Detroit Pistons or Orlando Magic. With the Pistons, Bouknight can work alongside Killian Hayes to form an incredibly dangerous backcourt that drives the rebuild forward. With the Magic, Bouknight can help with their rebuild by providing some serious talent and depth to the backcourt that can lead to something magical when Markelle Fultz returns from injury. Am I suggesting that Bouknight is going to start right away? No. Do I think he could get minutes late in blowouts as well as close games when needed? Absolutely. The future is bright for Bouknight, and I am excited to see where his path takes him.
As much as I wish Bouk would stay another season at UConn, making the jump to the NBA is definitely the best decision for him to make. A lot of the early teams are already guard-oriented, so finding the perfect landing spot for Bouknight is going to be complicated. A lot of people are going to say Detroit or Orlando, but Orlando already has a plethora of guards and Detroit is the laughing stock of the league. I think Memphis is the best spot for Bouk and will give him the opportunity to grow as a player. Who knows, maybe we will see a backcourt tandem of Ja Morant and James Bouknight in the near future.
As of right now, the Toronto Raptors have the No. 7 pick in the draft, and I’d love to see Bouknight go there. It’s a really good franchise with a really good coach and a couple of really good players for him to learn from and work with. Even if Kyle Lowry doesn’t re-sign, there’s still Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. Especially if they lose Lowry, the Raptors will be very thin at the guard position, so Bouknight could potentially come in and play a role right away. Toronto isn’t playing well this year, but they’re only a couple of years removed from a championship. Bouknight could be a key piece in getting them back to that level in the future.