4. Nemanja Bjelica (F) – Sacramento Kings
Nemanja Bjelica was drafted in 2010 but didn’t make his debut in the NBA until the 2015-16 season as a 27-year-old. The 6-foot-10 Croatian has always bombed threes and is reminiscent of Ryan Anderson. Nemanja Bjelica has a shot chart that would make Daryl Morey blush.
Seventy-seven percent of his shots are either 3-pointers or at the rim and only 6 percent are between 10 feet from the basket and the 3-point line. Bjelica eschews the least efficient shots even better than the Rockets do and, as such, would be a welcome addition.
The Kings are likely in no rush to give up on their mega-sized marksman. Under contract for one more year at $7.5 million, the most likely way for Bjelica to find his way to Houston is through a midseason trade in 2021 if the Kings fade out of the playoff picture.
Bjelica would be a nice piece on a good contract, but I don’t see the Kings giving up on him unless they have nothing to play for.
Possibility of acquiring: 3-pointer
3. Damian Lillard (G) – Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard has made a run at James Harden’s throne for the best offensive player in the league. In the absence of Stephen Curry, Lillard has emerged as the NBA’s premier 3-point shooter.
Lillard’s 2019-20 season has been his magnum opus, even if the Trail Blazers are currently on the outside of the postseason looking in. He has set career highs across the board by upping his 3-point attempts without sacrificing a shred of efficiency.
Lillard takes an almost identical number of threes and shots at the rim as the Rockets do. He only differs in how he distributes his mid-range shots. As much fun as a 2K backcourt of Harden, Lillard and Westbrook would be, in the real world, it has no chance of happening.
Lillard is owed more money than any player in the NBA and Harden and Westbrook are both on max contracts. By 2021-22, each of Lillard, Westbrook, and Harden will be making over $40 million each.
Even if the Rockets had the assets to go and make a move for Lillard, they would be hard-pressed to find a way to fit their salaries together.
Possibility of acquiring: Mid-range
Next: No. 2 & 1