Another draft is in the books.
The injury to Joel Embiid added some intrigue to the top pick, as it seems like Cleveland had their hearts set on him. However, once the dust settled, they took who we would have thought they would pick last year at this time: Andrew Wiggins. While many seem to consider him a SG, I continue to project him as a SF in the long-run. I think is defensive abilities are what separates him from Duke’s Jabari Parker and makes his ceiling not just really good, but potentially great.
Philadelphia surprised many people by taking a couple of players who are not going to contribute to their team this year. So many people are angry FOR their fans because they are accepting losing as a culture. While they have a very good point that culture is a difficult thing to change once it is established, let’s be honest here: the entire Eastern Conference is playing for second now that Miami’s stars have decided to take less money for the good of the team. Philadelphia is building for the future – and their smart fans understand this – a future that sees LeBron James, Chris Bosh and whomever else they sign past their primes in a few years.
As far as good picks, bad picks. I like how Orlando is building through defense. Oladipo last year, Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton this year. I like how Gordon compliments Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, and Moe Harkless. I liked the trade of Aaron Afflalo to Denver for Evan Fournier for both teams. It allows Orlando to add another young piece in the backcourt who can shoot as well as clear Afflalo’s bloated deal off the books. Denver is a team that is committed to winning now and Afflalo is one of the hardest working players in the league and has improved his scoring average in each of his first seven seasons since being drafted by the Pistons. Denver also made a trade with its picks that I’ll dissect later on.
Without piling on Toronto. Their selection of Bruno Caboclo was a seemingly strange move by a talented young GM. I suspect that he tried desperately to move down and was unable to. Rumors were that Toronto was focusing on Tyler Ennis and Clint Capella; once Ennis was gone they likely could have moved down to secure Capella and an extra 2nd to take Caboclo. Why they went the way they did I cannot explain.
I thought Chicago, who usually draws ‘A’s from me on draft day, made a poor decision trading two picks in a deep draft to move up and get Doug McDermott. They could have had James Young and Gary Harris. What makes it even more strange is that they had to take on the salary of Anthony Randolph too. For a team that is looking to make a run at Carmello Anthony I don’t get it.
Charlotte did an excellent to get Noah Vonleh, P.J. Hairston and Semaj Criston. Their draft haul was one of the best I’ve ever seen. All three could be rotation contributors in some capacity this year.
I thought Sacramento taking Stauskas at 8 was a bit of a reach. I think Minnesota – or any team – taking Zach LaVine in the 1st round was a reach. I was surprised that Rodney Hood and Cleanthony Early slid so far. I thought that Josh Huestis was also a questionable pick. There are almost always teams looking to give up a second and a future 1st to get into the end of the first round where OKC took him, a trade down would have made more sense.
Speaking of Cleanthony Early: the best value pick in the draft. Kudos to Phil for getting the pick and making it count.
Most importantly: I was happy with Spencer Dinwiddie as the pick for my Pistons. A nice value after Early was taken a few picks earlier. I would have been happy with Glenn Robinson III as well in that spot.