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10 Recent NBA Draft Picks Teams Are Looking To Cut (And Where They Might Go Next)

One of the hardest things to do in life is to admit you’re wrong. And with a proud league like the NBA, a team executive admitting that he has made a mistake is as rare as it can get. Usually, these teams do not verbally admit the wrongness in their doing but they do it by action. When a team knows they screwed up on a player in the draft, they either put him out there for a trade, waive him to create room on the roster, or just flat-out renounce his rights to void any remaining money they owe the guy. The draft is an unpredictable event where the number one pick could be the worst player out of the 60 taken, or the 60th pick is considered an MVP candidate; general managers have all made mistakes in the past and it is a part of their job descriptions to fix said mistakes.

This article will take a look at 10 recent draft picks that teams are looking to cut and where they might go next. By recent, we mean players that were taken back in the 2016 NBA draft, so while the Charlotte Hornets regret taking Frank Kaminsky back in 2015, for instance, he will not make the list. And by cut we will talk about trading, waiving, or just flat-out not re-signing the player itself. And lastly, all the players on this list are young, meaning they deserve a second chance elsewhere, so we will provide teams that can help the player reach their potential in this league.

Tyler Lydon: Denver Nuggets (24th pick, 2017)

Tyler Lydon might be best remembered for the guy that was traded for Donovan Mitchell on draft night 2017. Mitchell was originally set to go to the Nuggets when Tim Connelly and his staff decided to trade down from No. 13 to 24 in order to have more assets while having a shot at OG Anunoby. Of course, Anunoby went one pick ahead at No. 23, forcing them to take Lydon instead. So far the young power forward has been stuck on the bench behind Paul Millsap and Juancho Hernangomez, and rightfully so, as the two provide and contribute more to the surprisingly impressive Nuggets.

Where He Might Go Next: Bayi Nanchang Rockets

If we’re being frank, Lydon getting cut from the Nuggets might mean being cut from the NBA entirely. Lydon is a young player who has plenty of room for growth but unlike other players on this list he is not a household name or does he possess All-Star caliber potential, meaning any NBA team that signs him is getting a low-risk, low reward deal. It might be in Lydon’s best interest to hone his skills overseas before coming back to play in the NBA, and the CBA's Bayi Nanchang Rockets, so far, have no foreign players on their roster.

Frank Ntilikina: New York Knicks (8th pick, 2017)

The New York media and fan base have been surprisingly patient with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, considering he has not looked good so far. Ntilikina has shown flashes of brilliance, like the time he got into LeBron James’ face or the poster dunk he launched on fellow countryman Rudy Gobert on earlier this season. Ntilikina is a young talent that needs time to develop, but you have to wonder how long the Knicks fans can remain patient with their young point guard, considering the fact that backup point guard Trey Burke looks ready to contribute to winning.

Where He Might Go Next: Denver Nuggets

Ntilikina might never live up to being the eighth pick by a proud franchise like the Knicks, but he can certainly be a good player on a great team. So far this year, Ntilikina has struggled to adjust in David Fizdale’s offense which relies on individual talents, as opposed to team play, something the point guard grew up playing in. If the Nuggets are still convinced that Jamal Murray is not a point guard, they can try and make a move for Ntilikina, as he can provide defense and playmaking next to Murray and Nikola Jokic.

Grayson Allen: Utah Jazz (21st, 2018)

The only rookie on this list, Grayson Allen has been disappointing. A former Duke Blue Devil, Allen has not shown any significant signs that point to him being a contributor for the Utah Jazz. Sure, Allen has been bugged by injuries, but his play has been less than stellar, even when healthy. The former college standout was expected to provide shooting and an open-court player for the Jazz due to his athleticism but both have looked average at best. Allen is a lot older than most rookies, so the patience for development is not there for him compared to his draft peers.

Where He Might Go Next: Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers looked to have been interested in taking Allen 25th overall, but of course, he was taken four spots ahead. Allen might be rejuvenated to play with LeBron James and in front of the L.A. crowd, considering he played under the biggest collegiate spotlight with Duke. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope likely gone this year, Allen can step in and fill the shoes of KCP. If the move is to be made, Allen will have to play his way into the rotation, something he is all too familiar with as he played a backup role to Tyus Jones back in Duke's NCAA championship run in 2015.

Justin Jackson: Sacramento Kings (15th pick, 2017)

For someone regarded so highly in college, Justin Jackson has been disappointing. Not only does the former Tar Heel look like a turnstile on defense, but somehow, his offense has also taken a hit since joining the Sacramento Kings. There are times when Jackson looks afraid of physicality in the paint, settling for floaters as opposed to taking it strong, but to be fair to the guy, he has always been that way since college. The Kings are doing so well this season compared to their recent history, and while Justin has improved from last year, it still looks like he has no place in Dave Joerger’s high-octane offensive scheme.

Who Might Take Him: Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not exactly drenched in young talent as of the moment. Year one of any rebuild is always the toughest, since you have a team scrambling for any resemblance of a competitive team, and this Cavs team is the same. Collin Sexton is the point guard of their future, or at least they hope, and not the player to represent the Cavs. This team needs help and Justin Jackson might provide a short term solution until they find someone that will eventually lead this team back to playoff contention.

Skal Labissiere: Sacramento Kings (28th pick, 2016)

Not many players have had the same fall from grace like Skal Labissiere. Skal went from the number one high school player to an afterthought at Kentucky and now a benchwarmer for the Kings. While he has not played much this year, the talent within him has leaked out multiple times in his rookie year; flashes of brilliance got Kings fans excited about Skal and what he might bring to the table. But as it stands, the Kings seem serious on Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley being the better players and the better fit for this team long term, as they are receiving valuable minutes this season.

Who Might Take Him: New York Knicks

Strictly speaking in terms of roster construction, the New York Knicks have very little to lose if they take a shot at Skal. Enes Kanter is their starting center and while he has been excellent for them the future, he, as well as owner James Dolan, will always be unpredictable for a franchise like the Knicks. Skal can provide a fun 1-2 punch with Kristaps Porzingis, as both big men have shooting strokes that easily extends beyond the three-point line. Skal is still young and has a lot of room for improvement much like this Knicks team.

Dragan Bender: Phoenix Suns (4th pick, 2016)

I can confidently say that there is no future in Phoenix for Dragan Bender. Bender has been a total letdown for all Suns fans; he was drafted as a project, and so far, it looks like the project has failed. The Croatian power forward provides nothing in value on the court. Scouts said Bender’s passing, intangibles, and improving shot can help out a young team, but so far none of those three are have shown up in the NBA. The only positive Bender brings to this franchise is his youth and size, luckily for Bender, a handful of teams in the NBA takes a risk when those two are on the table.

Who Might Take Him: Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets have a recent history of taking failed top-5 picks. D’Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor were both given chances to prove their worth in a Nets jersey, with Russell showing he is more than capable of leading a team. If the Nets are serious about building a ragtag team consisting of rejected lottery picks, then Bender might just fit in. This Brooklyn team has no power forward with Jared Dudley and Kenneth Faried as their only manpower at that position; if Bender comes in and provides shooting, passing, and a little bit of defense for the Nets, it might just be enough to keep him in this league a little longer.

Thon Maker: Milwaukee Bucks (10th pick, 2016)

All the drafts in NBA history have had their share of surprise picks and back in 2016, the surprise was Thon Maker going 10th overall. Maker was a talented high school player that oozes talent and potential; for a guy his size to move the way he did and the way he handled the ball was a sight to behold. However, these days, Maker has been riding the bench for the Bucks as the raw player we all saw in high school is still the same player wearing the green jersey of Milwaukee. The Bucks are serious about a championship run and Maker has no business getting significant minutes.

Who Might Take Him: San Antonio Spurs

If there is one team that can revive a struggling young player it’s the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs, most notably head coach Gregg Popovich, are well known for their system and the way they get players to play unselfish basketball. If Maker is to bask in the said system, it might do wonders for him to clean up some of the fundamental errors in his game. Despite the controversy surrounding his age, Maker is still relatively young, as he only entered the NBA back in 2016, meaning he still has a lot of room to grow and what better team to learn from than the Spurs.

Jaylen Brown: Boston Celtics (3rd pick, 2016)

Taken third overall back in 2016, the Boston Celtics had high hopes for Jaylen Brown. Brown answered as he logged in a good rookie year and a significantly improved sophomore year. However this season, Brown seems to have regressed as his efficiency, defense, and overall skill level looks nothing like what we saw from last season. With Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Morris all playing the same position, the margin for error is small for Brown, considering the fact that many believe that the Celtics are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Who Might Take Him: Indiana Pacers

If there is one word to describe the Indiana Pacers, it is that they are “gritty.” No sane man picked the Pacers to be this good, especially Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The city of Indiana finally has a fun young group that can grow and learn together and it won’t hurt to add another gritty young player in Brown. Brown can provide a third offensive threat next to Oladipo and Myles Turner while being a good complementary defensive wing. While the shooting will take a hit, there are plenty of free agents worth looking at if you’re the Pacers.

Dennis Smith Jr.: Dallas Mavericks (9th pick, 2017)

The rise of Luka Doncic has been stellar for the Dallas Mavericks, but the one player taking a hit is Dennis Smith. Smith looks lost on offense when the ball was taken out of his hands and placed onto the Slovenian phenom; oftentimes, Smith finds himself on the corner with both hands on his knees, something he has not experienced playing in high school and college. The two young guards are talented; there is no denying how good they are as individuals. But they might not be suited for one another, and if Dallas was given a choice between the two, then there is no doubt in all our minds they would go with Luka.

Who Might Take Him: Utah Jazz

Utah has a point guard issue that needs to be answered in the near future. Ricky Rubio’s deal has almost come to an end, while young Australian point guard Dante Exum has not lived up to the hype surrounding him, mostly because of nagging injuries. Smith can fit perfectly next to Donovan Mitchell, as the two can form the most athletic backcourt in all of basketball. While the shooting will take a hit, Smith will provide an explosive offensive burst that Rubio never did.

Markelle Fultz: Philadelphia 76ers (1st pick, 2017)

At this point it’s not a matter of if, but when will the Philadelphia 76ers finally get rid of Markelle Fultz. Fultz has been a huge letdown, considering people saw him as a prospect that had no bust potential; Fultz had no clear weakness in his game, yet here we are, talking about what he provides to a basketball team. While there is still some value left in Markelle, the Sixers will look to gain more assets from a trade of some kind. There is no way we enter next season with Markelle still in Philadelphia, as this whole thing has become a nightmare for both parties involved.

Who Might Take Him: Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns are in quite a pickle this season. With the bloodbath that is the Western Conference, the Suns are the lone team not fighting for a playoff spot. People might say the team is tanking but the truth is they are just plain awful. This team is in a dire need of a point guard and it won’t hurt to try and revitalize Markelle Fultz especially since the Suns are well known for their medical staff that saw the revival of Jermaine O’Neal, Michael Redd, and Grant Hill’s careers, which were all plagued with injuries. Markelle and the Suns is a pairing that might benefit both sides involved.

20 Tyler Lydon: Denver Nuggets (24th pick, 2017)

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Lydon might be best remembered for the guy that was traded for Donovan Mitchell on draft night 2017. Mitchell was originally set to go to the Nuggets when Tim Connelly and his staff decided to trade down from No. 13 to 24 in order to have more assets while having a shot at OG Anunoby. Of course, Anunoby went one pick ahead at No. 23, forcing them to take Lydon instead. So far the young power forward has been stuck on the bench behind Paul Millsap and Juancho Hernangomez, and rightfully so, as the two provide and contribute more to the surprisingly impressive Nuggets.

19 Where He Might Go Next: Bayi Nanchang Rockets

via China Plus

If we’re being frank, Lydon getting cut from the Nuggets might mean being cut from the NBA entirely. Lydon is a young player who has plenty of room for growth but unlike other players on this list he is not a household name or does he possess All-Star caliber potential, meaning any NBA team that signs him is getting a low-risk, low reward deal. It might be in Lydon’s best interest to hone his skills overseas before coming back to play in the NBA, and the CBA's Bayi Nanchang Rockets, so far, have no foreign players on their roster.

18 Frank Ntilikina: New York Knicks (8th pick, 2017)

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York media and fan base have been surprisingly patient with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, considering he has not looked good so far. Ntilikina has shown flashes of brilliance, like the time he got into LeBron James’ face or the poster dunk he launched on fellow countryman Rudy Gobert on earlier this season. Ntilikina is a young talent that needs time to develop, but you have to wonder how long the Knicks fans can remain patient with their young point guard, considering the fact that backup point guard Trey Burke looks ready to contribute to winning.

17 Where He Might Go Next: Denver Nuggets

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Ntilikina might never live up to being the eighth pick by a proud franchise like the Knicks, but he can certainly be a good player on a great team. So far this year, Ntilikina has struggled to adjust in David Fizdale’s offense which relies on individual talents, as opposed to team play, something the point guard grew up playing in. If the Nuggets are still convinced that Jamal Murray is not a point guard, they can try and make a move for Ntilikina, as he can provide defense and playmaking next to Murray and Nikola Jokic.

16 Grayson Allen: Utah Jazz (21st, 2018)

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The only rookie on this list, Grayson Allen has been disappointing. A former Duke Blue Devil, Allen has not shown any significant signs that point to him being a contributor for the Utah Jazz. Sure, Allen has been bugged by injuries, but his play has been less than stellar, even when healthy. The former college standout was expected to provide shooting and an open-court player for the Jazz due to his athleticism but both have looked average at best. Allen is a lot older than most rookies, so the patience for development is not there for him compared to his draft peers.

15 Where He Might Go Next: Los Angeles Lakers

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers looked to have been interested in taking Allen 25th overall, but of course, he was taken four spots ahead. Allen might be rejuvenated to play with LeBron James and in front of the L.A. crowd, considering he played under the biggest collegiate spotlight with Duke. With Kentavious Caldwell-Pope likely gone this year, Allen can step in and fill the shoes of KCP. If the move is to be made, Allen will have to play his way into the rotation, something he is all too familiar with as he played a backup role to Tyus Jones back in Duke's NCAA championship run in 2015.

14 Justin Jackson: Sacramento Kings (15th pick, 2017)

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

For someone regarded so highly in college, Justin Jackson has been disappointing. Not only does the former Tar Heel look like a turnstile on defense, but somehow, his offense has also taken a hit since joining the Sacramento Kings. There are times when Jackson looks afraid of physicality in the paint, settling for floaters as opposed to taking it strong, but to be fair to the guy, he has always been that way since college. The Kings are doing so well this season compared to their recent history, and while Justin has improved from last year, it still looks like he has no place in Dave Joerger’s high-octane offensive scheme.

13 Who Might Take Him: Cleveland Cavaliers

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are not exactly drenched in young talent as of the moment. Year one of any rebuild is always the toughest, since you have a team scrambling for any resemblance of a competitive team, and this Cavs team is the same. Collin Sexton is the point guard of their future, or at least they hope, and not the player to represent the Cavs. This team needs help and Justin Jackson might provide a short term solution until they find someone that will eventually lead this team back to playoff contention.

12 Skal Labissiere: Sacramento Kings (28th pick, 2016)

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Not many players have had the same fall from grace like Skal Labissiere. Skal went from the number one high school player to an afterthought at Kentucky and now a benchwarmer for the Kings. While he has not played much this year, the talent within him has leaked out multiple times in his rookie year; flashes of brilliance got Kings fans excited about Skal and what he might bring to the table. But as it stands, the Kings seem serious on Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley being the better players and the better fit for this team long term, as they are receiving valuable minutes this season.

11 Who Might Take Him: New York Knicks

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Strictly speaking in terms of roster construction, the New York Knicks have very little to lose if they take a shot at Skal. Enes Kanter is their starting center and while he has been excellent for them the future, he, as well as owner James Dolan, will always be unpredictable for a franchise like the Knicks. Skal can provide a fun 1-2 punch with Kristaps Porzingis, as both big men have shooting strokes that easily extends beyond the three-point line. Skal is still young and has a lot of room for improvement much like this Knicks team.

10 Dragan Bender: Phoenix Suns (4th pick, 2016)

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

I can confidently say that there is no future in Phoenix for Dragan Bender. Bender has been a total letdown for all Suns fans; he was drafted as a project, and so far, it looks like the project has failed. The Croatian power forward provides nothing in value on the court. Scouts said Bender’s passing, intangibles, and improving shot can help out a young team, but so far none of those three are have shown up in the NBA. The only positive Bender brings to this franchise is his youth and size, luckily for Bender, a handful of teams in the NBA takes a risk when those two are on the table.

9 Who Might Take Him: Brooklyn Nets

Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets have a recent history of taking failed top-5 picks. D’Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor were both given chances to prove their worth in a Nets jersey, with Russell showing he is more than capable of leading a team. If the Nets are serious about building a ragtag team consisting of rejected lottery picks, then Bender might just fit in. This Brooklyn team has no power forward with Jared Dudley and Kenneth Faried as their only manpower at that position; if Bender comes in and provides shooting, passing, and a little bit of defense for the Nets, it might just be enough to keep him in this league a little longer.

8 Thon Maker: Milwaukee Bucks (10th pick, 2016)

Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

All the drafts in NBA history have had their share of surprise picks and back in 2016, the surprise was Thon Maker going 10th overall. Maker was a talented high school player that oozes talent and potential; for a guy his size to move the way he did and the way he handled the ball was a sight to behold. However, these days, Maker has been riding the bench for the Bucks as the raw player we all saw in high school is still the same player wearing the green jersey of Milwaukee. The Bucks are serious about a championship run and Maker has no business getting significant minutes.

7 Who Might Take Him: San Antonio Spurs

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one team that can revive a struggling young player it’s the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs, most notably head coach Gregg Popovich, are well known for their system and the way they get players to play unselfish basketball. If Maker is to bask in the said system, it might do wonders for him to clean up some of the fundamental errors in his game. Despite the controversy surrounding his age, Maker is still relatively young, as he only entered the NBA back in 2016, meaning he still has a lot of room to grow and what better team to learn from than the Spurs.

6 Jaylen Brown: Boston Celtics (3rd pick, 2016)

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Taken third overall back in 2016, the Boston Celtics had high hopes for Jaylen Brown. Brown answered as he logged in a good rookie year and a significantly improved sophomore year. However this season, Brown seems to have regressed as his efficiency, defense, and overall skill level looks nothing like what we saw from last season. With Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Morris all playing the same position, the margin for error is small for Brown, considering the fact that many believe that the Celtics are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

5 Who Might Take Him: Indiana Pacers

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one word to describe the Indiana Pacers, it is that they are “gritty.” No sane man picked the Pacers to be this good, especially Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The city of Indiana finally has a fun young group that can grow and learn together and it won’t hurt to add another gritty young player in Brown. Brown can provide a third offensive threat next to Oladipo and Myles Turner while being a good complementary defensive wing. While the shooting will take a hit, there are plenty of free agents worth looking at if you’re the Pacers.

4 Dennis Smith Jr.: Dallas Mavericks (9th pick, 2017)

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The rise of Luka Doncic has been stellar for the Dallas Mavericks, but the one player taking a hit is Dennis Smith. Smith looks lost on offense when the ball was taken out of his hands and placed onto the Slovenian phenom; oftentimes, Smith finds himself on the corner with both hands on his knees, something he has not experienced playing in high school and college. The two young guards are talented; there is no denying how good they are as individuals. But they might not be suited for one another, and if Dallas was given a choice between the two, then there is no doubt in all our minds they would go with Luka.

3 Who Might Take Him: Utah Jazz

Jeff S.-USA TODAY Sports

Utah has a point guard issue that needs to be answered in the near future. Ricky Rubio’s deal has almost come to an end, while young Australian point guard Dante Exum has not lived up to the hype surrounding him, mostly because of nagging injuries. Smith can fit perfectly next to Donovan Mitchell, as the two can form the most athletic backcourt in all of basketball. While the shooting will take a hit, Smith will provide an explosive offensive burst that Rubio never did.

2 Markelle Fultz: Philadelphia 76ers (1st pick, 2017)

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

At this point it’s not a matter of if, but when will the Philadelphia 76ers finally get rid of Markelle Fultz. Fultz has been a huge letdown, considering people saw him as a prospect that had no bust potential; Fultz had no clear weakness in his game, yet here we are, talking about what he provides to a basketball team. While there is still some value left in Markelle, the Sixers will look to gain more assets from a trade of some kind. There is no way we enter next season with Markelle still in Philadelphia, as this whole thing has become a nightmare for both parties involved.

1 Who Might Take Him: Phoenix Suns

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns are in quite a pickle this season. With the bloodbath that is the Western Conference, the Suns are the lone team not fighting for a playoff spot. People might say the team is tanking but the truth is they are just plain awful. This team is in a dire need of a point guard and it won’t hurt to try and revitalize Markelle Fultz especially since the Suns are well known for their medical staff that saw the revival of Jermaine O’Neal, Michael Redd, and Grant Hill’s careers, which were all plagued with injuries. Markelle and the Suns is a pairing that might benefit both sides involved.

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