The draft came and went last night, and not unlike everyone else, I was pretty off in my mock draft. I expected there to be some things wrong, but I didn't expect my later round picks to be that off. But, as I said, it wasn't just me. I know a lot of people, even big time journalists, were stunned by some of the picks. I'm going to give my thoughts on some of the picks, good and bad. But, I do not do a "losers and winners" thing, or a "hits and misses" thing. We don't know yet. We have not seen these players play one single second in an NBA game. They haven't even played in a summer league game yet, which I am mad excited to watch this year. So, we don't know which teams got the best players yet. Time will tell us that. But, I do have some thoughts on what I deem homerun picks, and uncertain picks. That is how I will view this piece. I will call it, "Homeruns and Uncertainty". There RD, I did some of your work for you.
First off, the first 2 picks, Ayton to the Suns and Bagley to the Kings, were foregone conclusions. I like both these picks. I feel like both of these players will put up numbers, and I think they both have bright futures, Ayton more so than Bagley, simply because of team.
After that, the madness kind of started. Luka Doncic went third, as predicted, but he was part of a package that sent him to the Mavericks, and the Hawks got Trae Young and some future picks. I LOVE this deal for the Mavericks. I LOVE a back court of Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. I think the Mavericks, even though they have a bunch of monsters working for them, have their back court of the future. This is a step in the right direction, as far as putting a good team on the floor goes. I have mixed feelings about Young to the Hawks. He won't have to play savior, which is good. But, he will be expected to put on a show for fans that are starved for an elite level scorer. Young isn't ready for that yet, and he is atrocious on defense. At least he wasn't picked by the Cavs or Knicks though. He will be able to hide out in Atlanta.
The Grizzlies hit the homerun of the draft when they took Jaren Jackson. This was the best fit in the draft, and it will greatly benefit them. They have an NBA ready player to pair alongside Marc Gasol, and he will help Mike Conley in the pick and roll, and get him open looks. I HATE Michigan State, but Jackson is one hell of a basketball player. This might be the pick of the draft.
I am not so stoked about Mo Bamba ending up with the Magic. For his sake I hope they find someone, anyone, to take on Bismack Biyombo's contract so he can step in and play right away. I also hope they resign Aaron Gordon, because he may be the only offensive threat they have, outside of Vucevic. This pick puzzled me, so it is one of my uncertain ones. I just don't understand why they took an offensively challenged big man. All that being said, I still really, really like Bamba. I just don't like him on the Magic.
The Bulls kind of shocked me, in a good way, when they took Wendell Carter. I thought they'd jump at the opportunity to get Michael Porter, but they resisted, and they drafted a much better fit for their team. They now have a true modern big man, and I think he pairs up very nicely with Lauri Markanen. With those 2, and a back court of Zach Lavine and Kriss Dunn, the Bulls are putting together a solid squad. I also love, and yes, it is a homerun pick to me, the Bulls taking Chandler Hutchinson at 22. The Bulls grabbed players in areas of need. They did a great job.
I'm more in the uncertain camp when it comes to Collin Sexton going to the Cavs. I just don't know how he fits there, especially if LeBron leaves. I've made it no secret that Sexton was my absolute favorite player in this draft. But, going to the Cavs is just odd. They do need a point guard, but if LeBron leaves, Sexton will be in NBA purgatory, throwing low post passes to Kevin Love, and trying to find JR Smith and Kyle Korver for open threes. That doesn't sound like a fun life in the NBA. Hopefully Sexton will make the most of it.
I am not a fan at all of the Knicks taking Kevin Knox. I know that he is a big swing man, and I know he can play offense, but how does he fit with this team? How is he going to play off Kristaps? How will he pair next to Frank Nkilitina? There are just far too many questions. It seems like the Knicks got seduced by the workouts, and took a chance. I do not think it will pay off.
It looked at good for Mikal Bridges when he was picked by the 76ers at 10. He got to stay in the same city where he played college ball, his mom works for the team, and he seemed like a solid pick. I was fully on board. Then, 5 picks later, he was traded. All the good will I had for this pick went out the drain. The 76ers did trade him for a very good player, Zhaire Smith, but I just don't understand why. This is another uncertainty for me. Bridges seemed like a much better fit than Smith, the 76ers have a great point guard in Ben Simmons, but they decided they needed a back up to him. I do like Bridges on the Suns, but the trade left a bad taste in my mouth.
The Hornets traded up one spot so they could take a marginal swing man/big in Miles Bridges. I'm pretty sure he would have been there at 12, but they felt the need to trade up one spot to get him. I don't get it, and I don't get Bridges fit in Charlotte. Will he start? Will back up guys like Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky? Will they trade those guys and team Kemba up with young talent? I just don't know. This was another in a long line of odd draft choices by the Hornets.
The Clippers hit a homerun when they drafted Shai Gilgeous Alexander with the very next pick. They finally have a true team leader and a true point guard. They got a younger, and quicker Chris Paul. And. while he is no Chris Paul, he is going to be a very good pro. I really like this pick from a franchise I despise. The Clippers then eschewed getting a replacement for Deandre Jordan, and took another guard, Jerome Robinson. I'm indifferent about this pick. I just don't care.
Michael Porter's slide finally ended when the Nuggets took him 14. I guess, with all the good point guards off the board, the Nuggets went with the top player on their board. I don't like this pick, I don't like this fit, and for him to say, "I'll be the best pick the Nuggets have ever made", makes me even more skeptical. This kid has a ton to prove, and I don't think he will be able to do it in Denver.
After the lottery, the first 14 picks are the lottery, there were some odd picks, but some solid picks to. I don't understand Donte Divencinzo going to the Bucks. How does he fit in there? Where will he play? Is he their 2 guard of the future? I don't know. Lonnie Walker struck gold when the Spurs took him. This kid is good, and the Spurs will make him great. He is their point guard of the future. Kevin Huerter to the Hawks is bland and boring. Josh Okogie should be the starting point guard for the Timberwolves next year. I despise the Jazz taking Grayson Allen for far too many reasons today. I will most assuredly be writing a piece next week why I hate this pick so much. Aaron Holiday to the Pacers is a solid building block for a team on the rise. Anfernee Simons to the Blazers is just odd. Will he be backing up McCollum or Lillard? Is he one of their replacements if one is traded? Does he even have a future with this team? Who knows. I'm torn about Mo Wagner to the Lakers. I'm stoked he was a first round pick, but why did it have to be the Lakers. I'm sure he is excited to play in LA, and he does give their front court a solid floor spacer, but again, why does it have to be the Lakers. Best of luck to him though. The Celtics grabbed a random guard, Landry Shamet. But, as I said yesterday, this was a total vanity pick. Shamet will not be the reason the Celtics are title contenders next year. The exact same thing can be said for the Warriors taking Jacob Evans. He is mature, and very solid, and will probably play some decent regular season minutes. But, in the end, Jacob Evans will not be a deciding factor in the Warriors quest for a three peat. The last 2 picks of the first round were very ho hum as well. The Nets took Dzanan Musa, who I'm sure they took with the intention of him staying overseas for awhile. And the Hawks took big man Omari Spellman, who will be no more than a bench player for them.
The first round was wild and crazy, and fun. I do have a few thoughts on some second round picks. Jevon Carter to the Grizzlies is a match made in basketball heaven. He is the modern Tony Allen. The Grizzlies had a great draft. I do like that the Knicks took a chance on a true big man when they took Mitchell Robinson at number 36. I really think this kid can be good, possibly great. The Nets are giving Hamidou Diallo a chance, and, while this kid is hyper athletic, his stock dropped like a lead balloon this past year. The Rockets got a great, quality pick in De'Anthony Melton. He is a first round talent, and he fell to them at pick 46. He is a great backup to Chris Paul and James Harden. Tony Carr kind of flew under the radar, but if the Pelicans core stays together, I think he will be a contributor. He is a scoring machine off the bench. And finally, the Magic took Giannis' younger brother, Kostas, with the last pick in the draft. This kid won't be as good as his brother, there are very few players in the league as good as his brother, but he is long and athletic. He should be fun to watch grow.
There you have it, my thoughts on the draft last night. I am now excited to see these players play as soon as possible. Come on summer league.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on all the internet.
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