NBA Draft Winners and Losers

Draft seasons brings it with a deluge of speculation, snide commentary and praiseworthy gestures with analysts sighting personal opinion as the primary pillar of support. While it is their job to formulate judgement on drafts prospects, it assumes such projections are correct and completely ignores the fact NBA organizations are pouring more employees, resources and time into the same exercise. So this won’t by a hypothetical estimation of draftees based on personal views. It will analyze other components of the draft, however, based on personal views because I’m probably going to be the only who reads it. Let’s get to it.

Winners

Trade speculation

There’s something innate in us human beings that draws up to rumor and gossip. We all loved it in high school, even if our entire relationship with it was complaining about how much we despise it, and we still love it now. The best part is the overwhelming interest isn’t disputed and looked upon with scorn by another generation; the youth and elders of today were equally transfixed.

Jimmy Butler was on his way to Boston. Philadelphia was intent on pairing Ben Simmons with another top flight prospect like Kris Dunn, Dragan Bender or Jaylen Brown by trading up to No. 3 and then when that didn’t happen No. 5…and then when that didn’t happen we forgot because Jimmy Butler was getting traded. That fizzled but OKC freaking traded Serge Ibaka! The Kings went rogue again. Heck, the Hornets were reportedly looking to dump contracts for their first-round pick, then traded it for another contract. NBA trades are the zenith of this world! ….Not really, that would be sad.

Positional overloads

No contract is untradeable with so many teams flush with cap space. That groupthink carried over to the draft where organizations displayed no second thoughts of positional and skill overlap.

Minnesota doubled down on the defensively prosperous point guards who are wizard passers but can’t stretch the floor with their jumpers. Boston added another wing to a group of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Terry Rozier and James Young, free-agent-to-be Evan Turner. Smart, Young, Rozier, Brown…can you detect the pattern here? Phoenix coupled Dragan Bender with Marquese Chriss as the new stretch 4 brethren alongside it dual point guard strategy. RIP Morris twins. And then Sacramento….more on that later.

NBA Player comps

Unrealistic player comps make Lakers fans think they selected the next Kevin Durant, and the Timberwolves now have a mirror image of John Wall to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. By the middle of the first round, people were comparing a French dude no one had heard of to Draymond Green for God sakes!

I get trying to keep fans out of the hospital by not declaring someone the next Kyle Singler, but damn, talk about bestowing massive expectations on 18–21-year-old kids.

Losers

Sacramento Kings 5–5 pick-and-rolls

Skal brings the ball up and gets a screen from Boogie, drives, kicks it out to Kosta Koufos who is WIDE OPEN at the 3-point line…wait Koufos can shoot 3s. He swings the ball (yes, we love extra passes and ball movement) to Georgios Papagiannis (Who?! Oh, Greek Freak’s dad?) who has a great look from downtown…oh wait he can shoot either. He…(buzzer sounds)…another shot clock violation, but at least they got into some offense that time. Boogie envisioned this sequence of events during the draft last night and was so infuriated he took to Twitter.

The Kings are moving in retrograde. What are they going to do play five centers? Actually, that could be fun. We need to appreciate the Kings; they linger around in a foul vomit as an organization for the sake of our entertainment — noble, just like a king.

OKC’s 2017 title odds

What a power move by Sam Presti to show Kevin Durant who really calls the shots in the Thunder organization.

All kidding aside, Presti has a pair of testicles larger than any Sam Cassell could imagine if he didn’t run this by Durant and at least get a tepid sense of approval. I get not wanting to dole out a hefty payday for Ibaka next summer, especially, considering the potential unrestricted free agencies of Russell Westbrook and Durant, along with the restricted free agencies of Steven Adams and Andre Roberson. But, hey guess what, Victor Oladipo is restricted free agent next summer too as he is in the last year of his rookie-scale contract.

In the meantime, OKC adds another wing to its collection of them — all complete with a bricky jumpshot. The league is trending toward playing smaller and a premium of wings is necessary to stay atop through the revolution, but sacrificing Ibaka’s versatile skill set for Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Ersan Ilyasova (depending on whether he is waived. Just 400K of his $8.4 million salary is guaranteed before July 1) leaves the Thunder a lesser team in the short term. Have we forgotten Ibaka was the switching 5 that neutralized Golden State’s offensive attack and spaced the floor at the other end. Ibaka was a key cog in a lineup that nearly defeated the team with the most wins of all-time in a Game 7 on the road for the right to play for a championship, and yet Presti sent him packing. Big balls!

ESPN’s telecast

I muted ESPN’s broadcast and paid it little attention, opting for the Yahoo Sports’ much more informative draft show online, while following additional analysis, trade rumors and the actual selections on my phone via Twitter, which was two draft slots ahead of ESPN nearly the entire night. I didn’t need brash commentary by Michael Wilbon and Jalen Rose in my life during that moment, and Jay Bilas is solid, but how long can we analyze a player’s wingspan?

Casual fans

Who is that? I don’t know anything about that guy. Is a that a French name? Are we making people up out of thin air?

The foreign prospects that flooded the first round left fans mistyping their names in Google for hints of who they and their native nations. I was vaguely familiar with some international prospects, such as Croatian center Ante Zizic, Turkish wing Furkan Korkmaz (best name in the draft) and Juan Hernangomez, a stretch 4 from Spain, but who Guerschon Yabusele? Georgios Papagiannis? And what in the hell is a Pascal Siakam?

While there were reports the majority of the first-round prospects were intent on coming over, it isn’t something I would bet on. It would be more advantageous for the players to wait and see if the rookie scale is altered in a potential new CBA after this season, one that would grant them more earning potential in financial negotiations. Also, while teams saver cost-controlled rookie contracts in the new cap environment, those uncharted waters are also leaving organizations licking their chops at the amount of cap space they have available, and if they can avoid linking those rookie cap holds to their sheets, teams can squeeze out an extra couple million as they explore the free agent market.