The Day After: Looking Back At Last Night’s Draft

Tanking to tank again? McBuckets in Chicago? Rondo on the way out of Boston? These were some of the headlines from last nights exciting draft. Let’s look into what exactly happened, but more so what we think about what happened.

1.cavaliers_150Andrew Wiggins

What do we think? Well, they couldn’t have gone that wrong? Either guy, Wiggins or Parker would’ve been an infallible choice. Ultimately though, the Cavaliers opted for the one with more upside and defensive potential than the one who might be limited to a scorer for his whole career. Thank goodness they drafted the prospect to build around for the future rather than the prospect who could produce now. Who were the Cavaliers even kidding? They’re nowhere near the playoffs, so why draft for right now? They made the right decision and a backcourt of Wiggins and Irving is probably the most exciting thing heading into next season. It also means Waiters is most likely on the way out.

 

2.bucks_150Jabari Parker

We all know Jabari was happy as hell when Cleveland passed on him. We all like to think prospects are just blessed to be there and don’t care about where they’ll end up but Jabari didn’t want any part of Cleveland. And who can really blame him? He grew up in Chi-town and Milwaukee is the closest basketball team to home. I’m not sure what Parker will really develop to be when it’s all said and done but I see a Paul Pierce type of guy who will have some great games, mostly good games and will never have a bad game. He’s the surest thing in the draft for a reason and will be consistent from Day 1. He’s a 17-20 point scorer a game, so I guess that’s good for Milwaukee? What’s funny is that if Parker wasn’t a prospect and someone told you about a slow 6’8″ player who doesn’t play much defense but can score you wouldn’t think of him as all that great. But because he’s hyped to be the next big thing, people peg him as a star. I’m not so sure.

 

3.76ers_150Joel Embiid

What. The. Foot. So let’s just talk about what the 76ers did over the past year. They traded Jrue Holiday for the 6th pick, which was Nerlens Noel. They also acquired the 10th pick in this years draft. Noel sat out the entire year with an ACL tear. Noel is 7 feet, 208 pounds with a 7’4 wingspan. He averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks per game at Kentucky two years ago. The 76ers were led by rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams and performed the most brutal but successful tanking performance in NBA history. The team lost 26 games in a row at one point. This draft was what they were supposedly waiting for. The chance to draft one of the many potential stars in the top of this draft to make a difference next year and make the whole of last season worth it. But… they took Joel Embiid with the 3rd pick… Now if they took him it means he’s not red flagged. It means he’s ok and should heal in due time. But he probably won’t play next season. When completely healthy, Embiid has a real shot at being the next Hakeem Olajuwon – and I’m not even exaggerating. Like Noel, Embiid is also 7 feet except he has a 7’5″ wingspan instead of 7’4″. When together and healthy, they’ll have a combined 14 foot 9 inch wingspan protecting the rim… Good luck scoring in that paint. The problem with taking Embiid is that I’m not so sure they can play together. Offensively, Embiid is the only one out of the two with an offensive game in the post, but defensively in a league that is clearly playing small ball and using stretch 4’s more than traditional big men, I can’t see these two playing many minutes together. If they play the Spurs, Noel could guard Duncan while Embiid runs around the perimeter guarding Diaw? Eh… I’m not so sure. Twin towers have worked before, most notably on the Spurs with Duncan and David Robinson, but Duncan was a natural power forward and the league was different back then. There weren’t stretch 4’s or dynamic players like Diaw, it was a different game, where that kind of approach could work. The Pistons have the same sort of thing, but once again, Greg Monroe is a natural power forward who’s not 7 feet so it’s less of a problem. That’s my only problem with the pairing. THEN, in a trade with Orlando, Dario Saric was sent to Philadelphia – another player who won’t play next season and probably not the one after that either. I love Saric. I think he’s the most skilled player in the draft and certainly the most dynamic but if the entire point of last season was to tank to get someone who could be a star now, then these picks don’t make sense. It’s like buttering a pan and buttering it and just buttering the hell out of it, getting it ready before you crack the eggs, but then you don’t crack the eggs and you’re left with this great foundation but nothing to build on it. The 76ers have a wonderful plan and if it all comes to fruition and it all works out with everyone healthy and gelling then fuck me and fuck everyone else because Sam Prestie would be a genius. But, I wonder how long the fans and players can take playing on a team they know is playing to tank. Next year they’ll be in the high lottery once again looking for more pieces to add.

 

4. magic_150Aaron Gordon

Damn. I was surprised by this. I like that they took a big man and not a point guard with #4 because of the abundance of guards later in the draft and the drop-off of big men later on. I was just thinking that Vonleh would’ve been the better prospect. Gordon surely trumps him with athleticism and quickness but Vonleh is the same in the way he can guard multiple positions both in the post and on the perimeter. Vonleh is also a better shooter than Gordon and can stretch the floor as he hit 48% of threes last season at Indiana. Vonleh is a more promising defensive force with gigantic hands and a 7’4″ wingspan. Maybe the Magic know something we don’t but this was, in the words of Bill Simmons, definitely a “woah” moment for me. Gordon is talented and freakishly athletic but very raw offensively and is a borderline tweener. He barely measured at 6’9 at the combine and he’s 6’7 without shoes.

 

5. jazz_150-1Dante Exum

I guess I like it… Exum is a point guard but with his size and ability to get into the paint, he’ll be able to play off the ball as well alongside Burke. Maybe he even overtakes Burke and lets Alec Burks play some starting 2 guard for a little as he is bursting with potential but played, somehow, behind Richard Jefferson who is finally a free agent. Utah has some pieces, I like it. We’ll see where it goes.

 

6.celtics_150Marcus Smart

Fucking love this guy. He’s got fire. He’s got that fuck you. He’s got attitude and toughness. Those are all intangibles that are essential for a player to make the transition to the NBA. They can’t be soft or lack confidence in their abilities. Smart has the mind to excel in the NBA. He has the body (6’4, 220). All he needs now is the consistent jump-shot and he should be a superstar. I love this pick for Boston, but watch out for Rondo… While Ainge is adamant that Rondo and Smart can play together, I’m not so sure. Rondo can’t shoot, rather he doesn’t even consider shooting, that’s why you see defenders guard him on the free throw line. Smart can’t shoot either. And neither has the size of an MCW or an Exum that would enable them to play with each other. They’re both undersized at the 2, and neither can shoot which makes guarding the duo pretty easy. Despite Ainge’s assurances that they’ll stay together, I’d be on the look out for Rondo’s exit. There have been links to Sacramento but I know every team in the league would love to have him as well. But if Smart were the starting point guard moving forward I wouldn’t be worried if I were a Celtics fan. Smart has all the physical and mental tools to be a star and he’s a lockdown defender who plays with extreme passion – all things you love to have in your floor general. Great pick for Boston.

7.lakers_150Julius Randle

After their rival grabbed their franchise player for the future, the Lakers did the same. Randle, very much like Smart, has that fuck you. He’s extremely tough and has the same bull-doggish type body of Smart… Just at 6’9. Despite being undersized and not that long, Randle is strong, has a very soft touch around the basket and he loves contact on the inside. He’s an unbelievable rebounder and that type of guy that loves to rebound and loves to bang down low is a great sign moving to the NBA. It shows he doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. Randle also has a nice offensive game down low. While it might be hard for him to score on bigger forwards, he has the size and skill to finish around the rim. He shares the same type of mind as Bryant, of course a much toned down version as nobody compares to Kobe, but he wants to suceed and he loves to compete. Under Bryant’s wing he’ll be exposed to the fiercest competitiveness and drive that basketball has to offer. Randle is someone who can come in right away and be productive and consistent, which is exactly what the Lakers need. He’s extremely talented and is a great steal for Los Angeles at #7.

 

8. kings_150Nik Stauskas

Hmm… Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Stauskas but #8 seems very high, especially when the Kings need a point guard and a power forward more than they need someone to take Ben McLemore’s minutes. Stauskas is pretty athletic – he posted a 36 inch vertical at the combine and actually posted the 5th fastest time for the lane agility drill with 10.79, beating other supposedly more athletic guards like DeAndre Kane and Marcus Smart. But his real go-to skill is shooting. The Kings were a very poor shooting team last season but if that’s what they were looking for McDermott would’ve filled that need and filled the hole at power forward as a stretch 4. McDermott is also the more dynamic scorer. But Stauskas is still a nice young talent. He can score off the dribble and shoot from everywhere on the court. Defensively he’ll have to improve but the real issue is what’s going to happen with Ben McLemore. This is why I think McLemore is going to Boston in some package for Rondo. What about a 2016 1st rounder, a 2017 1st rounder, Ben McLemore, and Derrick Williams. Of course, it’d have to be a sign and trade because Rondo is a free agent next summer, but a team of Rondo, Gay, and Cousins is a nice core moving forward. If they could somehow add the previously rumored Josh Smith to that deal then the Kings could maybe play like royalty for once. Overall, probably too high for Stauskas even if he is a stud, and has the nicest shooting stroke in the draft, I fear he’ll end up being J.J Reddick, who isn’t worth the 8th pick in a draft this stacked.

 

9. Charlotte-Hornets_new_logoNoah Vonleh

Well, I’m pretty shocked he fell this low and Charlotte were smart to not let him fall any further. Vonleh has the biggest hands and wingspan in this draft. Add his 37 inch vertical and his 6’10, 247 pound frame and you have yourself a dominant rim protector in the making. Vonleh’s defense will be a great compliment to Al Jefferson’s lack there of. Offensively, Vonleh compliments Jefferson great as well. Jefferson is one of the best post-operators in the NBA and Vonleh who shot 48% from deep last season can stretch the floor for Jefferson to operate on the inside. Great fit, and I think Vonleh is a player that every team before Charlotte will regret not taking.

 

10. 76ers_150Dario Saric (via Orlando Magic)

Saric is the most skilled player in this draft. He’s a more athletic and fluid version of Boris Diaw. He can run the floor, make plays, and shoot from the outside. Unfortunately, he won’t be in the NBA for at least the next two seasons. On the bright-side he’ll be developing and getting better by playing against professional European competition and it doesn’t seem the 76ers are even concerned with being good anytime soon anyway so it’s a perfect fit. I do wonder however where he’ll play. He’ll have to play the 3 because of Noel and Embiid on the front line but Saric doesn’t have three point range and neither does MCW so it might be a tough offense for them. At 6’10 I don’t know if Saric can defend 3’s which he’ll have to if he plays with Noel and Embiid. I love Saric but I don’t know about how it’ll work out when he’s in the NBA.

 

11.bulls_150Doug McDermott (via trade with Denver for 16th and 19th picks)

The Bulls need shooting and scoring. Doug McDermott is the 5th highest scorer in NCAA Men’s College Basketball Division I history. Good fit? I think so! The Bulls had been rumored to pull off a trade for a shooter in the days leading up to the draft and they hit the nail on the head with this one. McDermott can stretch the floor as a 4 and can shoot from anywhere. He can be a spot up shooter as well as someone who can shoot off the dribble and come off screens. With his size and strength he’ll also be able to score in the post with his soft touch and swift turn-around jumper. The Bulls did well with this one.

 

12. magic_150Elfrid Payton (via trade with Philadelphia 76ers)

The Magic needed a point guard and Elfrid Payton is the perfect guy for the job. He’s long and an excellent defender who loves to get into people. Unfortunately, he can’t shoot and neither can Oladipo which might make for a difficult pairing in the NBA but both can develop jump-shots and both are extremely athletic and strong defenders so that makes up for it. Payton is great at getting into the paint and he’s someone who can make plays off the dribble and create for teammates. He has blistering speed and size for his position and with Oladipo in the backcourt they could be one of the best defensive duos in the league.

 

13. timberwolves_150 Zach LaVine

If I were Zach I wouldn’t be pleased either. One more slot back and he’d be the backup point guard to Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe on a playoff team in Phoenix where it’s always hot. Instead he’s a backup to Ricky Rubio on a below .500 team who are likely going to lose their superstar Kevin Love and have to start all over. Oh, and it’s cold every single day. Personally though I love LaVine I think he’ll overtake Kevin Martin in the backcourt and play off the ball with Rubio. After Wiggins and you know what, maybe before Wiggins he might be the most athletic player in the entire draft. He posted a 46 inch vertical! And he’s fast as hell. He also has great shooting range, (38% from deep last season). He also has size for his position, if he can develop some basketball I.Q from learning from Rubio and develop his skills and feel for the game he could end up as one of the best prospects in the draft.

14. suns_150T.J Warren

He’s not a great athlete. He’s just a scorer. He’s a flat out scorer. He isn’t a great defender either but he can score the ball. And that’s something every team needs from time to time – someone who can come in and put the ball in the basket. Their bench already scores 39 points per game and could use some backup wings. Warren will only augment the talent on the bench further.

 

15. hawks_150Adreian Payne

I don’t like this pick at all. Payne is an athletic stretch 4. He’s a great defender who after being coached by Tom Izzo knows how to play. But isn’t he essentially a younger version of Paul Millsap? Why draft a player you have a better carbon copy of? Seems redundant to me. I think there was better players on the board they could’ve taken that also would’ve addressed a need. Not a fan of this pick.

 

16. nuggets_150 Jusuf Nurkic

He’s a big boy. A very big boy. 7’0″, 280… Damn. Once he matures and develops some more offensive skills he’ll be extremely dominant from Day 1. He’s a stash pick for now, but the Nuggets are a potential playoff team when healthy so it’s something they don’t have a problem with doing.

 

17.celtics_150James Young

Interesting. Rondo and Jeff Green’s positions have been drafted… I think that’s a sign. Young is extremely athletic and a very good scorer. He has the length and size to potentially be a great defender but he hasn’t shown consistent effort on that end of the floor. In terms of upside and pure talent Young is a leader of the pack in this years class. The Celtics got a steal here.

 

18. suns_150Tyler Ennis

I don’t think this pick means anything for Dragic and Bledsoe. The Suns know they have one of the best backcourt tandems in the league and wouldn’t split that up for anything. I think Ennis is simply the role-filler for a backup point guard at the moment. The Suns really don’t have anybody to back up Bledsoe and Dragic at the point and Ennis is the purest point guard in the draft. He’s strong, has a great IQ and is very mature for a one-and-done player. He should have an immediate impact and for the Suns who are looking for an extra push into the playoffs, he’s a great pick.

 

19. nuggets_150 Gary Harris

I don’t think the Nuggets are stupid for trading for Afflalo and then drafting Harris. They gave up virtually nothing in return for Afflalo and getting both of these guys adds depth and makes the other expendable if the other is included in Kevin Love trades. I’m not a fan of Harris. He’s not very athletic, somewhat undersized and has an inconsistent outside jumper. On the upside, he’s a great defender, maybe the best perimeter defender in the draft and is very strong. We’ll see where that takes him.

 

20. raptors_150 Bruno Caboclo

What… So yeah, he’s the Brazilian Kevin Durant, but if he’s two seasons from being two seasons away, he’s not a good pick for the Raptors and an even worse pick for the 1st round. Nobody knows about this kid. Are you telling me that he wouldn’t have been available at #37? The Raptors are also a playoff team and this pick could’ve given them someone who could’ve produced now but instead they have someone who’s apparently 4 years away… Masai definitely messed up. Or when he actually becomes the next Kevin Durant, we’ll all look like idiots.

 

21.thunder_150 Mitch McGary

Great steal for the Thunder. McGary is a lottery type talent but because of weed and back injuries his stock plummeted. The Thunder are in need of more big bodies. With Kendrick Perkins possibly being amnestied and Nick Collison slowly withering away, McGary can come in off the bench and give them someone who can rebound, defend, and make smart dirty-work type plays to help them win. McGary has been in the national spotlight before and therefore will be prepared for a deep playoff run with the Thunder. Learning from Collison and Steven Adams will also benefit him greatly.

 

22. grizzlies_150Jordan Adams

Eh… I would’ve taken P.J Hairston. The Grizz need shooting and Hairston could’ve given it to them. Adams is undersized and a tweener. He’s extremely unathletic but can score the ball, kind of like a smaller version of T.J Warren.

 

23. jazz_150-1Rodney Hood

Great pick for the Jazz. They don’t really have athletes on the wings of Hood’s size. Hood can also shoot from the outside as well as score on the inside and I think a lot of team are going to regret not drafting him. The Jazz really improved with the additions of Exum and Hood.

 

24. heat_150Shabazz Napier (via trade with Charlotte

Hornets)

This was a very smart deal for the Heat. The lack of point guard play in the Finals was horrific. Norris Cole wasn’t playing like Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers didn’t show up at all. Napier is immediately better than both of them. He’s one of the most skilled and talented guards in the draft and easily the quickest and craftiest off the dribble. He’s also a shotmaker – from everywhere on the court, which is huge if you’re going to play with the Big 3 because you’ll get lots of spot up threes. Most of all Napier is a leader and a mature player, he led his team to a championship last season and also experienced a run under the tutelage of Kemba. The Heat also won’t have to spend much on him because he’s on a rookie deal, which only adds to their clearing of cap space.

 

25. rockets_150 Clint Capela

Capela is very raw, but a defensive wall in front of the rim. Luckily for the Rockets, they can stash him away as to clear more space for potential stars like LeBron and Carmelo.

 

26. Charlotte-Hornets_new_logoP.J Hairston

I think this is a really great, underrated pickup by Charlotte. They clearly need shooting and Hairston is someone who can light it up from everywhere on the floor. He’s also had a year in the D-league which means he’s played against NBA-type athletes and experienced the grind of a full season. Hairston had two 40 point games in his first week in the D-league… He can score and the Hornets need that.

 

27. suns_150 Bogdan Bogdanovic

Stash pick for the Suns who don’t need immediate impact from draft picks as much. He’s a big guard, who can play the 1 or the 2. Good pick for whats left on the board. Has good upside, with time to develop overseas could become really good.

 

28. clippers_150 C.J Wilcox

This was an odd pick to me. The Clippers need some depth on the wings but more than that they need some front-court depth and I think with Jarnell Stokes on the board, he could’ve helped them more than Wilcox. Wilcox is a great outside shooter, who sometimes falls in love with shooting from there. He’s got good size and length for his position and should be someone who can make an immediate impact.

 

29. thunder_150 Josh Huestis

With Sefolosha probably on his way out, the Thunder bring in Josh Huestis, a defensive specialist who shut down Andrew Wiggins in Kansas’ lost to Stanford in the NCAA tournament. He’s not a great offensive player but he can hit spot up threes. Where he’ll really effect the game is defensively. He has great size and strength for his position (6’7″, 230) and length (7’1″ wingspan) and with quick feet he should be able to shut down a lot of wings in the NBA.

 

30. spurs_150 Kyle Anderson

Wow. The Spurs just keep getting better don’t they. They must be smarter than the entire league. They got a carbon copy of Boris Diaw. Diaw was probably the 2nd or 3rd most important player in the finals and now they have two – just in case. Anderson is a terrible athlete but he has point guard like passing and vision for a power forward body. He’s someone who loves to make plays and will be able to with the Spurs. He’ll have to work on his outside shot though because if you can’t shoot there isn’t much room for you on the Spurs.

 

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