I love seeing kids fulfill their dreams, change their family’s lives, and finally see the returns on years of hard work and dedication. But, on the real, who cares?!
The MLB Draft makes absolutely no sense to me – Guys get drafted out of High School, then play college ball (in some cases), then get drafted again by another team making the initial process pointless. The NFL Draft is painfully long, there’s eleventy bazillion players to keep up with, and being a defensive guy, watching days upon days of the glorification of the quarterback and skill positions is about as satisfying as the Falcons 2nd Half performance in the Super Bowl.
Then, there’s the NBA Draft.
Of the three major professional sports, I find the NBA Draft the most intriguing. Probably because there are less rounds, and less players, or maybe it’s because I follow collegiate basketball closer than its baseball, and football counterparts. Who knows? One thing I do know, however, it’s still largely pointless.
The biggest stories leading up to this year’s draft came from a cat who’s pushing 50 years old, and hasn’t played a meaningful game since 1987; with “meaningful” being iffy at best. Excluding the lottery picks, most of these kids are relatively unknown outside of their hometowns, and college campuses. The NBA has become largely globalized, and aside from Fran Fraschilla, I’ve never heard anyone talk about the Basketball League of Serbia. The explosion of the one-and-dones not only gives us limited exposure to the player’s games, but also means a lot of these cats are raw, and drafted merely on potential. Oh, and after the 93,000 mock drafts, we pretty much know the results of the 1st round of picks before draft day even comes…
You get the point, watching the draft is an exercise in futility.
Yet, year after year after year, we watch. (I know you guys watched too, because my Roku stream kept dropping, and my internet connection is A1) And, since I’ll have limited chances to write about the NBA for a while, pardon me while I take full advantage and recap last night’s NBA draft.
Here are some of the night’s biggest winners and losers.
Winner: Minnesota Timberwolves
Look, if you get drafted, you’re a baller. Period. These guys are the best of the best, but any time you can flip a couple players, and an unproven 20-year old who’s never touched an NBA floor for an olympic gold medal possessing, 3x NBA all-star, who’s proven to be one of the best 2-way players in the league. You win.
Really not sure who else they picked up, but it doesn’t matter. They won the draft.
Loser: Brooklyn Nets
While the Nets did pick up a former #2 pick in D’Angelo Russell (who’s shown flashes of brilliance over his 2-year NBA career), and Jarrett Allen may just be a decent NBA player, this is more of an indictment on their prior decisions.
The Nets gave up the face of their franchise, went all-in on rebuild mode, are still paying for the abysmal KG/Paul Pierce trade, and took on an equally abysmal Timofey Mozgov contract. But, hey, no need for cap space when nobody wants to play for you anyway.
Winner: Sacramento Kings
With a multitude of picks, and a practical trade, the Kings ended the night with one of the best drafts to be had. Adding De’Aaron Fox, and Frank Mason give them two NBA ready guards – the latter in a reserve role, and the former having limitless potential – then they flipped their 10th pick to Portland, Gonzaga C Zach Collins, for Justin Jackson and Harry Giles – two long, athletic guys who will fit in well with the Kings’ young core, and give them a few pieces to build around in the coming years.
No, they didn’t become instant contender, but for the 1st time in ages, Kings fans have a lot to be excited about following draft night.
Loser: Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies didn’t have a 1st-round pick in this year’s draft as the result of their 2013 cap deal which sent Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby, and this year’s pick to Cleveland for Jon Leuer. In hindsight, the trade was a win for Memphis. Selby never played an NBA game after, and neither Speights/Ellington have been missed.
The problem is, the Grizzlies never did anything impactful with the cap space created by the move. They’ve remained just good enough to miss the lottery, yet bad enough to make it out of the 1st round of the playoffs just once in four years. Leaving them idly perpetuating the cycle of mediocrity, signing free agents who don’t necessarily make them any better, and blowing the opportunity to capitalize on both Conley and Gasol’s prime.
This year’s pick would have been #20 – Harry Giles – whether they used it on him or not, we’ll never know. However, the idea here is to get better on a yearly basis, and the Grizzlies failed to do so.
Winner: Los Angeles Lakers
I couldn’t finish this without mentioning the brand destined to dethrone Nike – Big Baller Brand – and its owner, LaVar Ball, by name. Listen, anytime you draft a guy who’s guaranteed to take your team from 26 wins to the playoffs in his 1st year, you win the draft.
A Bronx cheer for the city of angels.
All jokes aside, Lonzo Ball can hoop. Like his pops or not, the kid can hoop. Then, they went on to select Villanova standout Josh Hart, who can play/guard either guard position, Kyle Kuzma who has the potential to be the steal of the draft, and Indiana big Thomas Bryant – Not a bad haul. Oh, and they added Brook Lopez who still put up 20 & 6 last season.
Not bad, Magic. Not bad.
Drop me a comment with your team’s grade, and as always, be sure to check me out on Twitter: maxingyourodds, or shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with the latest content.