While NBA Draft night wasn’t as wild as we expected it to be, the actual picks turned out to be surprising. Guys dropped, like Emmanuel Mudiay, and guys went higher than expected, like Willie Cauley-Stein.
We had player trades, but the names weren’t as big as we expected them to be.
The first round of the Draft is where the talent is. The second round is a crapshoot. To confirm that, here’s my 1st round recap. After, we’ll look at second rounders who could make an impact, then examine all the trades that were made.
I’ve been doing this almost a year now, and I still can’t write an intro to any column.
A First Round Recap:
No.1, Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns
Yup, no shocker. I ended up conniving myself this was the right pick. Towns is a two-way player, unlike Jahlil Okafor. He’ll fit in. Minnesota is a couple years from contention, but they’ll be fun next year to watch.
No.2, Los Angeles Lakers: D’Angelo Russell
This is where the chaos started. I really though the Lakers were gonna go with Okafor. They were in love with him. But I guess they didn’t want to over-pay Rajon Rondo. Russell has an amazing offensive skill set. He can score and pass. His defense is very good. I’m not sure he’s the next Magic Johnson, but this is a pick the Lakers needed to make. They needed a playmaker. Now I’m hoping he stays, unlike before.
No.3, Philadelphia 76ers: Jahlil Okafor
It’s just… Wow. This team never fails to mess with everyone. We still have no idea what the 76ers are doing.
I still trying to decide how I feel about this. I could be like “Screw you Philly!”, or I could look at it through their vision, which would be “Haha, screw you, other 29 NBA teams!”
I don’t know which way to feel. It’s just unbelievable that they took another center. They have three guys on their roster capable of starting at center, and it doesn’t seem like they plan on dealing anyone, yet. Sam Hinkie is all about assets, as the later parts of the Draft explained.
With Nerleans Noel and Joel Embiid already at center, this pick makes no sense. But, it is Hinkie. We don’t know what he’s doing. He may not even know what he’s doing. But this pick was so Sixers. So Sixers. Pray for Jahlil. He doesn’t deserve this.
No.4, New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis
At first, I hated it. Then, Friday morning, I loved it, mostly due to this video:
But now I hate it.
It seems Phil Jackson did whatever he wanted to Thursday night, and didn’t really contact anyone else. He’s the Zen Master, yeah, but you should probably talk to your star player about your top five pick beforehand.
I like Porzingis. It scares me a bit that he’s 7’1 and 209 pounds, and is foreign, but I like him. I didn’t like the pick for New York though. I knew when it happened it wouldn’t sit well with Carmelo Anthony, and Friday morning we saw where the frustration was.
He’s not happy, and neither are Knicks fans. Barclays Center booed the crap out of Porzingis Thursday night. That was disappointing. It’s simply mean to do that, especially since he’s foreign, and’ll be playing in a new country.
Anyways, I want to like this pick, and him. But for now, I can’t do it.
No.5, Orlando Magic: Mario Hezonja
Croatian J.R. Smith? Concerning, but entertaining. Since Porzingis was gone, this made sense. He’s gonna play three, which’ll bump Aaron Gordon to the four. I’m starting to like this Orlando team. They’re just super, super raw. This is a team that’s taking the “new form” NBA into consideration. Looking at their lineup, it’s four shooters (with two very good ball-handlers), and a center. That’s the direction they’re going in.
This pick also makes me think they’re letting Tobias Harris walk in free agency, and’ll start a very young lineup out there next season.
Also, I think Detroit was devastated he went this high.
No.6, Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein
So, reportedly, the Kings still don’t want to trade DeMarcus Cousins, and, reportedly, they plan on playing Willie Cauley-Stein and Boogie together.
Still, the Kings display their mismanagement. I could run this organization better.
Yes, WCS is a great defensive player, but he has no offensive game. Perhaps that’s where Boogie cleans up the front-court play, but, these are two guys who’re very similar in body frame. They’re the exact same players, physically. I just don’t see these two working together. We know how Boogie is with teammates and roles. Something still tells me that WCS is Boogie’s replacement.
No.7, Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay
I thought that Justise Winslow was going here. The Nuggets were in best player mode. This was their highest rated player at the time. Mudiay has obvious concerns, but this is all about the fit in Mike Malone’s offense. I think he had a strong impression on this pick. As worth noting: Seems like the Ty Lawson era is over in Denver. He’s officially on the trade block.
No.8, Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson
Detroit desperately needed someone on the wing, and since they lost out on Mario Hezonja, Johnson was their next best pick. I liked Justise Winslow better, but Stanley Johnson is a better defender on the perimeter. He’s outstanding on defense, but needs work with his jump-shot and scoring. This is a solid pick for Detroit, but there is a bust chance.
No.9, Charlotte Hornets: Frank Kaminsky
I lost it when the Hornets picked him. I wanted him so bad for my Suns. Reportedly, the Suns tried to trade up to this Charlotte spot for Kaminsky, but that wasn’t the only team wanting this pick.
Boston really wanted Justise Winslow. At one point, they offered up as many as six picks for this No.9 overall pick. Charlotte didn’t budge because they wanted Kaminsky.
With Al Jefferson wearing down, this pick makes sense. Kaminsky is an offensive specimen who can play multiple positions down low (4,5, stretch 4, stretch 5). That’s why I loved him. He’s so versatile.
We’ll get to this Suns later. After losing out on Kaminsky, we made up for it.
No.10, Miami Heat: Justise Winslow
Bill Simmons is right. Teams help Miami.
With Detroit passing on him, the Heat landed one of the most athletic players in the Draft. Justise Winslow is incredible with the ball, is a good scorer, and a decent defender. The Heat’s one weak spot was wing, and they got someone who’ll probably be plugged right in, and he will produce.
Miami is gonna be scary next year. Winslow’s gonna be a part of the reason why.
No.11, Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner
So I had him going No.6 in my mock draft, which, yeah, I know. It was too high. I knew it when I said it.
Not a lot of people liked this pick, but this is simply about the future. David West just opted out of his contract, which was a tad surpassing giving his age (34). He’s expected to leave. Also, Roy Hibbert opted in, and is now on the trade block. This pick gives the Pacers some youth down low, that they can develop for the future.
No.12, Utah Jazz: Trey Lyles
I think this would’ve been Indiana’s pick had Turner not been there.
This pick made no sense for the Jazz. It’s already a crowded front-court, which’ll revolve around Rudy Gobert next season. Derrick Favors got a big contract at power forward, and now it sounds like they’re planning to recruit Paul Millsap back to Utah. Lyles is a good player, and has a lot of good skills. This isn’t the place for him to succeed.
No.13, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
After we lost out on Frank Kaminsky, this pick made up for it.
Devin Booker fits the Suns mold. A great shooter, is good in transition, and plays perimeter defense. He’s a two-way player. The Suns have guard depth, even after trading away two point guards last season. Devin Booker won’t be a starter yet, but he has star potential, especially with the way the league is changing.
No.14, Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Payne
I believe there was a promise made here, as this was expected pre-Draft. With Russell Westbrook being injury-prone, this was a good pick for the Thunder. Cameron Payne has some faults, but those will be worked out. Oklahoma City just needed some depth.
No.15, TRADE: Atlanta Hawks take Kelly Oubre Jr., and trade him to the Washington Wizards for two future second round picks, and No.19 overall.
So, No.15, Washington Wizards: Kelly Oubre Jr.
I thought Washington was gonna go big with this pick. Kelly Oubre has some issues with ball-handling and shot selection, but can defend on the wing. It’s interesting, since the Wizards already have Otto Porter Jr., and have Paul Pierce to re-sign, that they made this pick. Unless they know Pierce is gone, which seems possible.
No.16, Boston Celtics: Terry Rozier
Man, the Celtics really wanted Justise Winslow. They had no idea what to do with this pick. Why didn’t they trade down?
Anyways, this creates a mess in the back-court. Taking Terry Rozier creates a four player crowd between point guard and shooting guard, with three guys capable of starting. Marcus Smart was being shopped pre-Draft. You have to wonder if him or anyone else will be shipped out after this pick.
No.17, Milwaukee Bucks: Rashad Vaughn
I like this pick for Milwaukee because it’s simple, fundamental basketball knowledge. The Bucks didn’t try to do anything crazy, or please the fan-base. They were smart. They picked for need. That’s how you build a winning franchise. Rashad Vaughn is good scorer, but needs work elsewhere. He’s lengthy, which is something the Bucks really seem to like.
No.18, Houston Rockets: Sam Dekker
You know how I feel about Sam Dekker. This did not make me happy.
The main reason why I don’t like it. Houston already has a Sam Dekker, in Chandler Parsons. The difference? They have a $15.3 million Sam Dekker.
That’s why this makes no sense. The most sensible comparison for Sam Dekker is Chandler Parsons. I love Dekker. I want him to succeed. I’m worried about that in Houston.
The Rockets could’ve easily gone guard here, like Jerian Grant.
No.19, TRADE: Atlanta (with pick from the trade with Wizards) takes Jerian Grant, and trades him to New York for Tim Hardaway Jr.
So, No.19, New York Knicks: Jerian Grant
I’ll get into Tim Hardaway Jr. later.
No one may have liked his first pick in this round… but… ZEN MASTER!
Only Phil Jackson could swing a first round pick for Tim Hardaway Jr.
Anyways, Jerian Grant fills a need for the Knicks. He’s a good player when it comes to versatility and playing multiple positions. His offensive skills need work, especially in the Triangle Offense. But, he’ll probably start for the Knicks, and’ll give them something they haven’t had since Jeremy Lin (who they’re planning to pursue in free agency… I guess??)
No.20, Toronto Raptors: Delon Wright
Delon Wright is excellent on defense, but has shooting troubles. Toronto needed depth at guard, especially after trading Greivis Vasquez. Kyle Lowry is great, but is injury-prone. Wright landed in the right situation.
No.21, Dallas Mavericks: Justin Anderson
I think Justin Anderson would have been a top ten pick had he not been hurt last season. The Mavericks had at a hole at wing, after losing Chandler Parsons in free agency last Summer. Something tells me they wanted Sam Dekker, and settled on Anderson here. He’s a great shooter, is lengthy. His defense needs a little work.
No.22, Chicago Bulls: Bobby Portis
Even with a new coach, the Bulls stick to their old ways. Bobby Portis is a big body, and has good post skills. With Chicago seemingly worried about the age of their big men, which they have many of, this is a good pick. It may get crowded down there, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Chicago takes care of that this offseason.
No.23, TRADE: Portland takes Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, and trades him to Brooklyn along with Steve Blake for Mason Plumlee and No.41 overall (which resulted in Pat Connaughton)
So, No.23, Brooklyn Nets: Rondae-Hollis Jefferson
I’ll get into Mason Plumlee and Steve Blake’s move later. And don’t worry, Pat Connaughton won’t be left out.
The Nets have a lot of expenses on their books. It’s nice that they can fill a need without paying a guy $20 million. Rondae-Hollis Jefferson is a great defender on the wing, but has some issues on offense. Bad shooting is something the Nets have enough of, but they lack great defenders on the perimeter. Jefferson will fill that need.
No.24, TRADE: Cleveland takes Tyus Jones, and trades him to Minnesota for two second round picks, which resulted in Cedi Osman and Rakeem Christmas
So, No.24, Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyus Jones
I called this in my mock draft, though I didn’t get the team and details right.
So then I went on Twitter and bragged about it.
I just had a sense that this would happen. It’s for the fans. It’s for Tyus.
I can’t reiterate enough how much Tyus means to the Twin Cities. He’s already one of the best players to ever come out of this area. I know he’s excited to play for the Timberwolves.
As for the fit, I thought Ricky Rubio might have gotten traded out of town, but that obviously didn’t occur. The Timberwolves have a ton of talent in the back-court, making an interesting rotation back there. But again, this was more about the fans, and maybe even tickets.
No.25, Memphis Grizzlies: Jarell Martin
Memphis, even with the way they play, was a little thin in the front-court. While they could have gone guard, Jarell Martin gives them that little bit of depth they need. Marc Gasol isn’t leaving Memphis, and this pick didn’t have anything to do with that. It’s a depth move by the Grizzlies.
No.26, San Antonio Spurs: Nikola Milutinov
I know nothing about this guy. This pick is soooo Spurs though.
No.27, Los Angeles Lakers: Larry Nance Jr. (!!!!)
Larry Nance was one of my Dad’s favorite players growing up, during his Suns’ days. Now, his son gets to play… for the Lakers (sigh).
Anyways, Nance was great in college. This pick is interesting since they already have Julius Randle, and are looking for a big guy in free agency. His role will be limited at first, but will expand depending on what they do this Summer.
No.28, Boston Celtics: R.J. Hunter
I can’t believe R.J. Hunter fell this far. The Celtics might as well of taken him at No.16. They lack on the wing, as Hunter can play three if he wants to. That’ll most likely be his position, since they’re already crowded in the back-court.
No.29, Brooklyn Nets: Chris McCollough
The Nets are pretty confident they’ll have Brook Lopez back. This pick was more about the future, and protection for Lopez. McCullough won’t play immediately next season, due to a torn ACL last season. He has great paint skills, but needs work on defense. Solid pick, but it may be one where we look back on and say “Could they have gotten him later?”
No.30, Golden State Warriors: Kevon Looney
With David Lee most likely being shipped out of town soon, this is a great pick. Looney fell way back due to concern over a hip injury. The Warriors got a steal.
Current Player Movements (Draft or not):
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Whether Knicks fans liked or didn’t like his first round pick, the Zen Master strikes again. Only Phil Jackson could swing Tim Hardaway Jr. for a first round pick, which resulted in Jerian Grant. Atlanta wanted more wings, but it’s not like Hardaway is that great on offense. He’s a better defender than anything.
Mason Plumlee-Steve Blake
The Plumlee move is a sign of two things:
- The Nets are very confident Brook Lopez is coming back.
- The Trail Blazers are obviously concerned about losing LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez.
Mason Plumlee is a very good player. He’s a great rebounder, and is a bully down low. If Robin Lopez leaves, Plumlee replaces him at center.
How many teams has Steve Blake been on? Man…
The Bucks add guard depth with this move. I guess I like it. I’m not sure it was totally necessary. Vasquez won’t swing a game for anyone, but will give good minutes off the bench.
Matt Barnes-Jeremy Lamb-Luke Ridnour
Poor Luke Ridnour. This guy got traded three times in 36 hours, and found himself on four teams within those 36 hours. He finally ended up in Oklahoma City, which he’ll be role guy off the bench.
The Thunder finally gave up on Jeremy Lamb. He’ll go to Charlotte where he’ll continue to shoot corners threes that won’t go in.
Matt Barnes has also been a pinball lately, and was traded to the Grizzlies for Ridnour. They need as much shooting as possible. Barnes doesn’t have great shot selection, but is an effective scorer.
Possible Second Round Gems:
Unlike the later rounds in other sports’ drafts, the second round of the NBA Draft is a crapshoot. There’s not a ton of talent. However, gems come across. Draymond Green is a perfect example.
- Montrezl Harrell: The Rockets took him at the beginning of the second round. He’s very versatile, and was dominant at Louisville.
- Pat Connaughton: He’s going to Portland in the Mason Plumlee trade. This guy is overall insane. He has a ton of skills, but his athleticism (which can be attributed to his baseball career) stands out over anything. The Trail Blazers love shooting guards (meaning, guards who can make shots, not the position.)
- J.P. Tokoto: There’s a lot of things to be worried about, but the 76ers are okay with taking chances. He’s a very good shooter, but that’s about it. He needs a lot of work. The Sixers though, like project players.
Best And Worst Drafts:
Best: Timberwolves, Rockets, Heat
Worst: Celtics, Jazz
I’m leaving for Phoenix Wednesday. I will though, have at least one more column this week.