Original Pick: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
For the first time in our redraft, a player will leap up from outside of the first round, although not by much; Nic Claxton originally went 31st in the 2019 draft as the first pick of the second round. In a redraft, he seems like a lottery lock, and we slot him in all the way at ninth.
Claxton has become one of the best defensive players in the NBA, full stop. He missed making All-Defense by a hair this season and should be in the mix for many years to come. He is an excellent rim protector despite his slim frame, but he also can switch onto the perimeter and stay in front of ball handlers. He has quick hands for steals and is growing constantly in his anticipation and positioning.
On offense, he is purely a play finisher, but that’s fine for a player who can make the defensive impact that Claxton can. If he can improve as a rebounder to routinely pull down double-digit boards, his value to teams will only go up.
The Washington Wizards originally chose Japanese forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick. Hachimura will slide down this redraft a bit, as he has been an inefficient scorer who struggled to transition into an off-ball role with the Wizards, although he seems to have found a home in Los Angeles. Claxton would be a better version of what Daniel Gafford has been for Washington, giving them a true defensive anchor as they assembled the rest of their rotation in front of him.