With another NBA Draft in the books every fan of every team is going to discuss what picks were great and what picks will set a team back another step. After watching and debating what the teams needs were and who each team drafted, here is my perspective of the winners and losers from the draft, along with some entertaining side notes.
Can we now say that the process has worked??? Well no, not yet. Joel Embiid still has to stay healthy for an entire season, Ben Simmons still needs to step on the court, they need some veteran leadership with some playoff push experience, but its a great start. Markelle Fultz was the perfect player to move up in the draft and get to ready to start a big push for a playoff run starting this year. If all of these pieces manage to fall into place, and Jahlil Okafor can stop punching people in the streets, the 76ers start looking like an attractive pick for years to come.
LaVar Ball (and I Guess Lonzo Ball)
Build it and they will come. Well LaVar Ball proves the new saying “preach it and it will happen”. We have all heard about the baggage that comes with drafting Lonzo Ball. Lavarr has been the most outspoken parent in the history of the NCAA and soon for the NBA. He has used his sons phenomenal skill to start his Big Baller Brand. Lonzo stated that he would rather be a Laker than selected number one overall. Well all the chips have aligned and he has accomplished that goal. Congrats to the Lakers and Lonzo Ball, but the headaches are just beginning if success is not instantaneous.
Lets look at this. Jason Tatum is a top 3 pick in the NBA Draft and he is about to go to the top seed in the Eastern Conference last year. Not a bad deal for your first NBA experience. Tatum will give this team an upgrade at the small forward position and could make them more of a threat in the East
Deaaron Fox’s Fashion
No one in the green room tonight could compete with the suit and shoes Deaaron Fox was working with. The lining of his jacket contained breast cancer awareness logos and his shoes had LOVE written across them. He is also going to be great with endorsements after giving a shout out to JC Penny for the attire. No one could touch the story and the emotion behind the entire outfit.
The Sacramento Kings
Yes you just did read these words. The Kings had one of, if not the best draft of everyone. Picking up De’aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Frank Mason makes an elite college team and hopefully a phenomenal start to the mass overhaul the Kings need to get back to winning sooner rather than later. Playing in the west is tough, but this draft could start them on the right path.
With a record number of foreign players being drafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, there had to be a decline from that this year, and boy was there. After 16 players that were born outside the United States and never played college ball in the US were selected last year, only 7 made the draft this year and only 2 in the first round. Many teams like to play the draft and stash game, which is successful if done correctly, but this years crop did not contain many of those prospects.
Any man who has to interview LaVar Ball has his hands full. Having to interview him after his son was picked by the Los Angeles Lakers, horrifying. LaVar wouldn’t let Goodman finish his first question to him in the pre-show, claiming he already knew what he was going to ask him. Then, Lavarr sent out a message that his son was going to lead to Lakers to the playoffs in his first year no doubt, and that he would come back on when the playoffs began wearing a shirt that said I told you so. Jeff Goodman, I did not envy that job one bit.
Slated to be a top 3 player in the NBA Draft as recently as 2 months ago, Monk found himself sliding somewhat when draft night began. It did not help that the Timberwolves, his most likely destination in the top 10, acquired Jimmy Butler right before their pick was coming. Monk is a pure shooter with the best stroke in the draft this year, but he finds himself as a PG/SG tweener in a place that has an established PG in Kimba Walker. Look for Monk to get some valuable experience, but see a lot of bench time in his first year.
In order to feel like a team that is trying to compete in the Eastern Conference with the like of the Cavs and the Celtics, what seems like the most logical thing to do? I’ll give you a hint. The exact opposite of what the Chicago Bulls did. The Bulls traded their best player for a backup point guard, a slam dunk champion, and a rookie 7 footer who has some potential a few years down the road. This does not sound like a team that is ready to compete for anything besides the lottery next year. It’s tough to say that you want to sell when you were a playoff team last year but that is exactly what the Bulls proclaimed to the entire league with this deal.
To round out my list of losers for the draft, Harry Giles was the projected number 1 pick for this draft right after the 2016 draft ended. He was going to change a franchises future with his size, defensive ability, shot making, and all around game suited perfectly for the NBA. The only issue, he tore his other ACL. With teams concerned about his health and his ability to be the same dominant force he was previously, he slid down to the 20th pick by the Kings as more of a hit or miss prospect. It did not help him that he was only able to play a few games at Duke while Jason Tatum took over the team. I hope Harry Giles gets healthy and is able to be the player most experts projected him to be at this level
Overall it was a predictable draft at the top, plenty of excitement in the middle, and a bunch of names deputy commissioner Mark Tatum either could not pronounce or oddly laughed through for no apparent reason. Future millionaires have been made and the future stars of tomorrow are ready to take their final step into their life long dreams. Congrats to all the draft picks and we will see all of them again on October 20th. Unless you watch the summer league.