We begin our special NBA Draft Edition of Odds & Ends with the Sacramento Kings and their outstanding draft. With many in NBA circles criticizing the team last year over their confusing picks, it was up to general manager Vlade Divac to prove that he was up for the job and capable of bringing quality young talent to the team.
On Thursday,he delivered.
With the fifth pick, the Kings took the player that the fans most coveted and nervously hoped would fall them, that player was Kentucky’s De’ Aaron Fox. Fox was intrigued with the team when he worked out with them before the draft and was one of his hopeful destinations. The team felt the same way. They liked what they saw in the 19-year-old and selected him with their first round pick.
At draft parties,fans were cheering beforehand when every player not named De’ Aaron Fox was drafted. They erupted when their point guard of the future was taken. I absolutely like Fox a great deal, not just his play on the court,but also his character off the court.
The team then had the 10th pick,which was traded to Portland in exchange for the 15th and 20th picks. I actually liked that trade a lot because I knew there would be a guy available to them that would be great for them,that being Justin Jackson from North Carolina (who I mocked at their original spot at 10). With that 15th pick,Jackson was drafted by Sacramento. What I like about him is that he’s been a winner in college and he also finds ways to score. I think that’s what attracted him to the Kings and I think he’ll be a great player for them.
With that 20th pick is a guy who some are dubbing “high risk,high reward” in Duke power forward Harry Giles. The freshman has had a couple of knee injuries in the past and many are concerned that they might not hold up. Apparently those concerns weren’t enough for the Kings to take him in the first round.
With their final pick in the second round (34th overall), they selected Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason III. Mason was named the national college player of the year, won the Bob Cousy Award,and was named the Big XII Player of the Year. He’s the kind of player who’s polished enough to make a difference on a young team.
The Kings get an A from me as far as their draft goes. They absolutely redeemed themselves from last year and are showing the rest of the league that they have a plan in place to get this team back to being good again and that starts with the 2017-18 season.
They may not be any good to start out, but I think in two or three years they will be back in the postseason and making great strides.
Another big winner in this draft was the Minnesota Timberwolves. They traded the seventh overall pick along with Zach Levine,Kris Dunn to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler (More on who the Bulls selected and how they did in the draft a little later in this piece). Minnesota also received the 16th pick from Chicago and selected center Justin Patton from Creighton.
Now, the reason why they had a great night on draft night didn’t have much to do with Patton,but with acquiring a talented shooting guard in Butler to play alongside a young Timberwolves team that features Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Also, Butler reunites with his former coach in Chicago, Tom Thibodeau.
This was a big move for Minnesota. They haven’t been in the postseason since 2004 and they have a good young nucleus with a star player in Butler coming over and I think this team has a good shot of making the postseason next year.
We have to talk about who was picked first and second. We all knew that the 76ers would take Washington point guard Markelle Fultz,and rightfully so.
Philadelphia needed to get a young point guard to add to the mix of their already young team with rising stars Joel Embiid,Dario Saric,and Ben Simmons. He’s capable of scoring from anywhere, he’s a great passer (which was overlooked by his talent to score) and he brings it all together. I think he’ll play well with this team and was worth not only pick swapping with Sacramento,but with Boston,too.
This team is looking better by the season,they won 28 games in 2016-17 and if Embiid stays healthy,they might do even better than that. Maybe not a postseason berth,but I think they’d be pretty darn close. They’re going to be exciting to watch next season.
The Lakers picked the guy that not only wanted to be there,but so did his overbearing father. That player is Lonzo Ball from UCLA.
No matter how you feel about Ball,or his dad, he is a very good uptempo guard that passes first and can help lead Los Angeles into the future. Before the draft,the team traded D’ Angelo Russell to Brooklyn in exchange for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick. Once they moved Russell, you knew that Ball was going to be their guy.
I can speak for fans of the other 29 teams by thanking the Lakers for taking him because if I were a general manager for a team and he fell,I would probably pass because of how involved his dad is and how arrogant he is. I appreciate that he wants the best for his kids, but he’s getting too involved and that could spell disaster the longer it continues. At some point, Lonzo is going to have to tell his dad to butt out. Besides that, what general manager is going to want to deal with LaVar and his antics?
In any case, Ball is a Laker just like he and his dad wanted and basically,the show there will one day be his.
Now to who lost in the NBA Draft and let’s start with the Chicago Bulls. Not only did they trade their best player away in Jimmy Butler, they selected a guy who I think was slightly overrated in Lauri Markkanen.
Markkanen is a nice player and does a lot well,but he’s not very fast or a great athlete in my opinion. He was in a lot of mock drafts in the top 10,but not mine. I had him going to Portland around the 15th spot (which eventually turned into Justin Jackson for Sacramento). He could be a very good player in Chicago and I could be very wrong about him,but I still think he was a reach,especially since guys like Malik Monk, Dennis Smith Jr., and Zach Collins were there and I think had more value.
Also, the Bulls traded away the 38th pick to Golden State,who picked Jordan Bell from Oregon, thus making the rich a lot richer. Chicago could have done a lot better.
I also think the Miami Heat missed the mark a little by drafted Bam Adebayo from Kentucky a little too high with the 14th selection.
Adebayo is quite a raw talent right now and probably should’ve been taken a little lower than where Miami picked him,especially since the Heat need some backcourt help and depth. Adebayo’s got great size, but he’s not a great interior scorer and misses the mark defensively in the paint.
Sure,there’s always a chance he improves in these areas, but as I stated this pick makes no sense considering the team’s other needs that are still unfulfilled.
That’s gonna do it for this edition of Odds & Ends, until next time!