NBA Draft Winners, Losers
The NBA Draft, like life, is full of winners and losers.
One of the positive aspects of the game of basketball is that there is always a clear-cut winner. One team always outscores the other and are declared the winner. There is no grey area. Things aren’t so easy to judge when you move off of the court and in to the front office, especially in terms of ranking a team’s draft day decisions. A good rule of thumb is that you can’t really critique a team’s draft decisions until about five years have elapsed, in order to give players time to develop in the pros. But rules are for losers and we’re rebels, so here are the winners and losers from last night’s proceedings.
Houston Rockets — Pick — No. 14 — Patrick Patterson
We are very high on Patrick Patterson and the Houston Rockets apparently are as well, as he fell in to their laps at pick No. 14. While he might never be a star, he will be an above average contributor in the NBA for years to come. The only problem is the Rockets have quite a crowded frontcourt now, especially if that 7-6 guy comes back.
Los Angeles Clippers — Picks — No. 8 Al-Farouq Aminu, No. 18 Eric Bledsoe, No. 54 Willie Warren
It is confusing having to put the Clippers on the ‘Winners’ side of the ledger, but they deserved it this year. Al-Farouq Aminu was the best player available at pick No. 8 and he should form an athletic, versatile frontcourt with Blake Griffin; they swung a trade to grab Eric Bledsoe, a player with lots of potential; and they got an explosive scoring threat they can bring off the bench in Willie Warren late in the second round. A solid Draft from top to bottom for the Clippers. Strange days are here.
Los Angeles Lakers — Picks — No. 43 Devin Ebanks, No. 58 Derrick Caracter
L.A.’s other team, the Lakers, came out of the Draft like they came out of this NBA season — as champs. In Devin Ebanks they got a guy who was formerly considered a potential lottery pick, and Derrick Caracter is worth the risk as the third to last guy selected in the Draft. The second round is the place to take chances, and the Lakers took a couple smart gambles with their picks.
Orlando Magic — Picks — No. 29 Daniel Orton, No. 59 Stanley Robinson
The Magic turned up winners not so much for the players they selected, but rather for the position in the Draft that they were able to get Daniel Orton and Stanley Robinson at. Orton shows tons of promise, so getting him at pick No. 29 could end up being considered a steal in a few years. And Robinson has the length and athleticism that could see him making the team’s roster, which isn’t always the case with the 59th pick.
Toronto Raptors — Picks — No. 13 Ed Davis, No. 50 Solomon Alabi
First the Raptors had Ed Davis drop all the way to them at pick No. 13, then they were able to snag the very promising Solomon Alabi in a trade. Davis is a left handed power forward who should help replace that other left handed power forward that the team has employed for the past seven seasons. Alabi is a 7-footer who hasn’t been playing hoops for very long, so he is oozing with potential.
Washington Wizards — Picks — No. 1 John Wall, No. 17 Kevin Seraphin, No. 23 Trevor Booker, No. 56 Hamady N’diaye
Picking John Wall first overall was a no brainer, so Washington isn’t being given the ‘Winner’ tag solely for that. Rather it is for the selection of Wall plus their trade with Chicago that netted them the best European in the Draft, Kevin Seraphin, as well as Kirk Hinrich. Now if they could only get rid of Quick Draw Arenas, their backcourt would be set.
Chicago Bulls — Picks — None
The Bulls were real busy last night but came out of it with no players. They shipped Kirk Hinrich and their pick at No. 17 (Kevin Seraphin) to the Washington Wizards for a future second round pick. Now why would they do such a lopsided trade, you ask? Because they are clearing cap space for LeBron James and/or Dwyane Wade and/or Chris Bosh and/or (fill in the blank with a free agent of your choice). So, while we are classifying them as ‘Losers’ at this point, that could all change next week if they are able to snag one (or two) of these coveted stars.
New York Knicks — Picks — No. 38 Andy Rautins, No. 39 Landry Fields
Some things never change. With their two high second round picks, the New York Knicks selected two players who weren’t even projected to be chosen in the Draft. While Andy Rautins and/or Landry Fields might turn out to be decent NBA players, they had no business going that high in the Draft. Could have sworn that Isiah Thomas already got fired.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers picks aren’t listed because the team isn’t being labeled ‘Losers’ for the players they selected and traded for. Rather, they are getting a big two thumbs down due to their unclassy move of firing their very popular GM, Kevin Pritchard, on draft night yet still having him hang around and make the team’s selections. Shame on you.
Utah Jazz — Picks — No. 9 Gordon Hayward, No. 55 Jeremy Evans
Gordon Hayward is a very solid prospect, but he was picked far too early in the Draft. History will probably show that the Jazz passed on far better players who were still on the board to grab Hayward. And Jeremy Evans is a player no one really knew of or expected to get picked last night.