Tha Sports Junkies 101

NBA Draft Review

NBA Draft ICONZ Magazine via Flickr


If you take everything at face value, there were a lot of winners in the NBA draft this year. Almost every team was able to fill some sort of hole in their roster without totally making a mess of their situation. Some did it really well, like the Nuggets and the Grizzlies, while others weren’t so graceful under the draft shot clock. Here’s a look at some of the best and worst performances of draft night while excluding the obvious, such as the 76ers and the Lakers.

Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder

Just when the allure of draft night started to settle down, Sam Presti sent the NBA world into a frenzy by trading Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Damantas Sabonis. Serge Ibaka’s contract is up next year so his trade value was in a steady decline. Sam Presti waited for just the right moment to garner some serious returns on his investment. They netted an incredible talent at a relatively cheap salary for Russell Westbrook to run with. As a sort of combo guard, Victor can be inserted into the starting lineup or play as the 6th man for Oklahoma in the upcoming season. Although, something has to be said for the defense the Thunder lost. Serge Ibaka was a valuable piece to their team. His defense and ability to occasionally stretch the floor was pretty important when facing teams like the Golden State Warriors. With him gone, the Thunder are facing serious questions at the forward position as the rest of their bigs aren’t that capable of stopping an opposing scorer such as LaMarcus Aldridge. That being said, Serge had a down year in a handful of statistical categories. The Thunder saved themselves from a nightmare salary cap wise both this year, and next.

Loser: Sacramento Kings

Just when you thought the situation in Sacramento couldn’t get any worse, Vlade Divac managed to dig his team into another hole. Starting the night, the Kings had issues to address at almost every position. They needed a point guard, they needed a shooter, and they needed a wing. They started off strong by trading Marco Belinelli and the 8th pick in the draft to move down, get another pick, and acquire some assets such as Bogdan Bogdanovic. All was well until they were on the clock. With the 13th pick in the draft, the Kings were finally in position to get DeMarcus Cousins the help he so desperately needs. And with the 13th pick, the Kings selected 7’22’’ Georgios Papagiannis. Someone who 90% of the fanbase had never heard of. Their second selection at 22 went slightly better. They drafted a scorer in Malachi Richardson. It wasn’t a horrible move but it still left people tilting their heads. To cap off their first round, in Sacramento Kings fashion, they drafted another center with the 28th pick. This wasn’t a good night for Sacramento and one should expect them to be on the phones with other GM’s very soon. Although, rumor has it that Vlade wants to run DeMarcus at point and have him play with four 7 footers. Who knows what’s in store for the Kings next season?

Winner: Boston Celtics

How well Boston did on draft night is up for debate. Many fans are torn on whether or not their draft was a success but it’s better to look at the big picture in this situation. With the 3rd pick, neither Ben Simmons nor Brandon Ingram were still on the board. In addition, the Celtics weren’t able to successfully trade their pick. This meant that they had to use their pick how it was intended—to draft the best available. Jaylen Brown is arguably on the same level as the two picks in front of him in terms of talent and potential. He also just so happens to fill a role on the wing that they were missing. After that, it was time to start thinking long term. The Celtics had a lot of picks this year. With almost a full roster, and no trades, they needed to put their prospects into perspective. For the rest of their 2 first round picks, they drafted international players who could be stashed away overseas and used as trade pieces. In the second round, where money isn’t guaranteed, Boston was a bit bolder and ended up hitting home runs. They stole Demetrius Jackson and Ben Bentil from the rest of the league to try out in the summer with zero risk. Even without one of his trademark trades, Danny Ainge was still able to hit it big.

Loser: Milwaukee Bucks

Before the draft, many insiders reported that Thon Maker had fallen off of draft boards completely. He was quickly being painted as a deep second rounder with the way the draft was unfolding. With the 10th pick in the draft, the Bucks decided to not let that happen. Even though they could have waited it out until their 36th pick, John Hammond didn’t want to leave it to chance. They shook up the draft by taking Thon out of the equation early even with other high value pieces on the board. No one knows for sure how Thon will pan out. In five years, he could end up being the best player in this draft. That is how much mystery surrounds this kid. However, when you are struggling in the east, swinging for the fences on the first pitch isn’t the best idea.