NBA Draft: Winners and Losers

The NBA draft took place last Thursday night and the event allowed teams the chance to take that next step forward. Some teams took that opportunity and maximized their chance, while others failed to impress. After some time for reflection, I’ve identified the winners and losers of the NBA draft. So let’s not waste anymore time and jump into it.

 

Winner #1: Detroit Pistons

No one had a more successful draft than the Detroit Pistons. Having Purdue guard Jaden Ivey fall to them at the 5th pick was a nice stroke of luck. Ivey could potentially end up being one of, if not the best player from this draft. Pairing him with Cade Cunningham gives Detroit a scary backcourt for the next decade. Detroit then snagged Jalen Duren via a trade later in the draft. Giving up a future first rounder for arguably a top five talent is a huge coup for this organization. A great night for Piston fans. 

Loser #1:New York Knicks

If anyone knows what the Knicks game plan is, can they please let me know? Entering this draft there was hope among the fanbase that they would trade up and snag Ivey. Instead, the Knicks somehow managed to leave this draft without a shiny new first round rookie. They traded the 11th pick away for three future lottery protected–meaning less valued–picks. Later on, they traded back into the draft to get Jalen Duren only to use him as a way to salary dump Kemba Walker to Detroit. The Knicks did all of this to potentially go after Jalen Brunson, who isn’t a franchise changing player, later this off-season. We’re here for you, Knick fans.

Winner #2: Oklahoma City Thunder

I mentioned above that the Knicks gave away the 11th pick for basically a collection of inferior picks. Well, the team that benefitted from that exchange was the Thunder. With a whole treasure trove of future draft picks, the Thunder dipped into their less valued ones and made the move up the draft. With that pick they took Ousmane Dieng, and with the 12th pick (that’s right Knick fans, OKC took the 11th pick without giving up the 12th pick), Jalen Williams. Those two talented players join Chet Holmgren–the number 2 pick overall–as a pretty impressive draft haul for the OKC faithful.

 

Loser #2: Jabari Smith

For the last month Jabari seemed destined to be the number one overall pick. In just about every mock draft, he was slated to be the first player selected. Hell, even the morning of the draft he was still the odds on favorite to be the first pick. But when the moment came, the Magic decided to go in another direction. Jabari then saw OKC pass over him with the second pick in the draft. Houston did call his name with the third pick, but the visible disappointment on his face was hard to miss. Houston isn’t a bad landing spot for him, but sliding in the draft will be a bit of a tough pill to swallow for the young man.

Winner #3: Paolo Banchero

One person’s loss is another person’s gain. Jabari Smith fell down to the 3rd pick overall due to Orlando deciding that Paolo was the apple of their eye. It was such a shock to everyone that Paolo himself didn’t know until a few seconds before the selection. Nonetheless, he joins a young and talented Orlando side that will be boosted by his presence. It’s a win for Paolo because not only was he the first pick–a huge honor–but he’s set up nicely to win the rookie of the year award.

 

Loser #3: Chaos Lovers

It seems like this happens almost every year, but once again the draft failed to deliver a ground-shaking trade. The best we got Thursday night was a baffling flurry of trades from the Knicks. In the build up to the draft, rumors of several significant trades were gaining steam. Unfortunately, they weren’t meant to be. We didn’t see our first trade until after the first 10 picks were selected. Some of us watch the draft to see what our favorite teams will do. Others just want to see chaos, and the latter were sorely disappointed last night.

 

[The DC Voice: Sports]

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