Our trade deadline roundtable series concludes with a review of the acquisition of guard Bones Hyland from the Nuggets for two second-round picks.
Shapan Debnath: A
I don’t expect Bones to be a big difference maker this year: the Nuggets shopped him to a contender knowing he’d be unlikely to help them in the playoffs this year. But, from an asset management standpoint, he’s a fantastic swing that has a ton of upside on a team that barely has any youth making a real dent in the rotation. We were pretty vocal about wanting Bones in his draft, and while I think there is real downside to a tough shot maker from deep that is slight of frame and can’t score close to the rim (some concerning Brandon Jennings vibes), he has some real star potential and at minimum feels like a guy that can be a microwave off the bench. Worth the swing for minimum cost.
David Mendez-Yapkowitz: B
Hyland doesn’t figure to be featured in the rotation this season and he’s a developmental piece. He’s a talented player but he did have some issues with the Nuggets in terms of efficiency and shot selection. It’s possible the Clippers send him down to Ontario to get some reps in with their G League squad. Overall, it’s not a bad move. He has some upside as an instant offense type player off the bench and his best-case scenario is probably a high-level starter. The Clippers have done a good job using their G League team and getting their young guys valuable reps, and they should do the same for Hyland.
Niels Pineda: A
Although Bones Hyland may not be my favorite type of prospect (ball dominant scorer that can’t defend), I have long been saying that the Clippers need to get younger and more exciting as a team. Bones does just that. What he lacks in defense and passing, he makes up for with electrifying plays and absurd range. The All-Rookie guard will undoubtedly have us up off of our seats with some dazzling plays and infectious swagger. Best of all? We got the high upside Sophomore for only two 2nd rounders! The value alone made this a no brainer.
Lucas Hann: A
The sophomore guard has been terrible this year. He gets his numbers, but the Nuggets–the best team in basketball–get blown out in his minutes regardless of the lineup he’s in due to his erratic shot selection, poor finishing in the paint, turnovers, and defense. So, why do I give the Clippers an A? Because he’s still the player that was much more competent as a bench scoring guard for Denver last season, earning All-Rookie honors, and the cost of LAC’s own 2024 and 2025 2nds (both presumably 50 or later) is essentially 0. There’s some stuff to work out for Bones in the short-term, but I genuinely think he has quality starter upside due to his scoring/playmaking ability and truly elite three-point shooting (the combo of efficiency, volume, diversity, and degree of difficulty is already at Damian Lillard levels). The Clippers, who are not positioned to get high-pedigree prospects anytime soon, just had one drop into their laps. The 22-year-old will compete in the Rising Stars challenge at All-Star Weekend.
Ralston Dacanay: B+
This was probably the easiest move the Clippers’ front office ended up making Thursday, which makes sense considering it was the first of the three that got done. I was a big fan of Bones heading into his draft and it pained me to see how fun he was to watch as a rookie, especially with a conference rival. Seeing how rapidly he’s gone from beloved to headache in Denver this season has tempered my expectations for him a bit, but he’s certainly worth the flier considering the low cost. If the presence of Bones in LA also helps just a little bit in warding off the Clippers from looking at a certain point guard in the potential buyout market, or getting some consistency out of Marcus Morris Sr., this move is a home run for me.
Robert Flom: A-
In terms of sheer value, getting Bones Hyland in a trade for two second round picks is an easy A grade. Bones is a ridiculously capable shooter who also has ball-handling and passing chops. Even though he’s an awful defender, he’s young and will improve on that end to some extent. So why is this anything less than a full A, or even an A+, considering how on the Bones bandwagon I was before the 2021 draft? Well, the reason the Nuggets were willing to sell low on him was due to some attitude and locker room issues. And while Mike Malone can be a bit of a taskmaster and the Nuggets did do him dirty in some regards, I’m always wary about that sort of stuff, especially since Bones is going to a situation where his playing time might be limited. I hope this doesn’t crop up, but it’s something to keep an eye on.