The NBA Draft has come and gone and I wanted to break down some the biggest things that I noticed while looking at the draft recap and watching the first round last night.
1. The top of this draft was exactly as we expected, kinda.
Ever since Ben Simmons was announced as the top prospect for the Class of 2015, he has been regarded as the top pick in this draft. There was some competition from Brandon Ingram there during the season but most of the year it was Simmons’ going number 1. I personally thought that the 76ers’ would have taken Ingram but nonetheless they took Simmons, the first once in a generation talent since LeBron. After that the next six picks were all who expected them to be but just different teams, I did not expect Jaylen Brown to go third overall as well as Kris Dunn to fall to 5, more on that in a moment. Buddy Hield got selected in the range I thought he would, it was expected he was going to Denver, as well as the two top 8 picks the Suns made. I did not expect that the Suns would trade back into the top 8 as there were no rumors or anything about them doing so.
2. The amount of trades made was insane
There were 11 trades in the draft last nights, that is a insane amount of wheeling and dealing done. For most of the trades they involved pick for pick trades, but some had current players getting dealt as well. The two big trades were the Thunder and Magic deal where the Thunder received Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilysavoa and Damantas Sabonis in exchange for Serge Ibaka. This trade when it first happened made no sense to me as Ibaka is one of the best defenders currently. Yes the Thunder got Oladipo who is a great young player with a lot of bounce and good athletic ability to come off the bench, and Sabonis who can be just as good as Ibaka when he is ready. The other trade is the one the Suns made to get Marquese Chriss, they gave up a future second, a bench player, and two drafted players that will help the Kings by contributing early off the bench but Chriss was who the Suns wanted at four but they did not expect Bender to be there so they grabbed him and traded for Chriss and got two top 10 talents in this draft.
3. Foreign players owned this down draft
Usually the second round is full of foreign players, they become the draft and stash players who can contribute later in their careers but not immediately, so the team that drafted them keeps them oversees to keep playing. This year that happened again, but I want to focus on the first round where 15 foreign players were taken. That was a record for the draft as the previous record was 12 from 2013, also a weak draft. Is there a better and deeper talent pool outside of the US or was this just a anomaly? I think this was just a anomaly as there could be more talent oversees but the NBA uses the NCAA more as a developmental league and can scout easier than oversees. If these players start doing good they might force the hands of the GM’s and make them scout oversees more.
4. I like what the Timberwolves are doing
The real winner of this draft is the Timberwolves, they got the best guard in the draft and were not expecting it to happen. I was sad to see that they almost traded Dunn away for Jimmy Butler but that would make sense for a Tom Thibodeau, Thibb’s from now on, coached Butler and groomed him before his departure in Chicago. Thibb’s is a defensive coach so with Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony-Towns, and now Kris Dunn this team should be the best defensive team in the NBA. Wiggins is athletic and can cover both small forward and shooting guard while Towns will lock down the interior of the paint and Dunn can lock down the opposing point guard and force them to keep the ball on the perimeter. I really am high on this team going forward as they have a bunch of good young players as well as good coaching and leadership in Thibb’s and Kevin Garnett this team can now get rid of Ricky Rubio and have a replacement ready to step up whenever they feel he is ready.
5. The five best picks of the draft
5: Kris Dunn-Timberwolves, read above.
4: Brandon Ingram- Lakers; He is a possible clone of Kevin Durant as he is slender, can shoot, athletic but needs to add some weight to hang with his peers. He has the potential to make this Lakers team very good, very quickly and adds someone who knows how to win.
3: Buddy Hield- Pelicans; Hield was the best shooter in the NCAA tournament and was one of the most clutch players as well. He shot almost 50 percent overall and over 40 percent from three point land. He will help spread the floor for everyone on the team and make Anthony Davis even better statistically speaking, as well as make more open shots for Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday.
2: Dejounte Murray- Spurs; Murray has the potential to be the next Khawhi Leonard for these Spurs and has the chance to step in to a key spot early, if either Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili leave/retire. If Parker stays Murray can learn from him and be his replacement of the future, he definitely has all the raw talent to warrant this pick, he just needs to put it all together.
1: Isaiah Cousins- Kings; Cousins was almost as good as his running mate Buddy Hield this past year and the Kings find another steal late in the draft. Last year Cousins shot 41.1 percent from three as well as having a average of 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and assists. He is just as good as Hield was and should have been drafted higher, Cousins will light it up from outside and make more room for the bigs that the Kings have on the court at that time.