For the most part, yesterday’s draft was pretty vanilla in terms of shocker. There were teams that I believe did not make the right choices based on who was available at the time. I am only going to highlight a few. For every winner there is a loser!
Honor Roll: The Cleveland Cavaliers
Make no mistake about it, I still believe the Cavs made a mistake here. Should Joel Embiid stay healthy enough to where he can make an impact down the road than the Cavs missed out on a huge opportunity. I believe that is why it took them so long to figure out who they wanted to take. The reality is that their decision to take Wiggins over Embiid is all based on Kyrie. The Cavs taking Wiggins is directly to appease Kyrie Irving so that he does not leave the team in the coming years like Lebron did.
Regardless they still got a hell of a player. And because of that the Cavs made the honor roll. Wiggins has the potential to change the fortunes of the Cavs for years to come. Let us all hope that Dan Gilbert, Owner of the Cavs, does not mess it up because his history with great players wanting to stay in Cleveland is not too great. The signing of their new head coach is a great pick up as well. This has the chance be a few key players away from being a force in the East again.
Loser Hole: The Orlando Magic
Aaron Gordon may end up being a great player. But his offensive short comings worry me a lot. Blake Griffin has only been able to grow as the player he is because he plays with one of the best point guards in the NBA. Gordon does not have the same luxury and may not for a while. Oladipo and Gordon could develop a unique pick and roll game. However the Magic can not expect their new undersized PF to create much offense from the paint. His only saving grace are his defensive intangibles.
Unlike Griffin, Gordon uses his athletic abilities on defense. In the long run with is why he would be valuable, but it may take a long time to see this pick pan out. time will tell but for now I am not a fan of the pick, especially when players like Exum, Randle, Vonleh and even Stauskas were available.
Taking Dario Saric could be a saving grace, but he may never come. And if he does, you have two power forwards that are expected to start. Because his status is unknown, he can not be included in the assessment yet.
Honor Roll: The Milwaukee Bucks
Like I wrote in my article a couple of weeks ago, I predicted that the Bucks would take Parker and doing so will upgrade their team’s interest level. I personally believe that Parker will pan out to be a better player than Wiggins.
While the Bucks have won the battle, they need to focus on the war. They need to surround Parker with the talents he needs if they are serious about taking their franchise to a higher level. If not, Chicago is literally not that far away from Milwaukee and in four years the Bulls will make way to sign the young Buck.
If they are serious about change, this is as good of a new start as they are going to get. Injuries aside, let us hope they do not squander it.
Loser Hole: The Boston Celtics
I like Marcus Smart. Give him a few years and he has the ability and potential to become an elite point guard. My biggest issue with the pick was the pick itself. When I saw this pick, I believed that this signals that the Celtics are done with Rajon Rondo. I do not believe they are going to trade him right away, but with in the next year or two. Smart has a similar game to Rondo, both are great defensive players and can facilitate and offense effectively. Both have long arms and both don’t shot very well from far. the difference is that Smart is a better shooter from the field and a better free throw shooter than Rondo.
To me they are willing to let Rondo show Smart the ropes, and then show Rondo the door.
I do not agree simply because I believe that Rondo has a few more years and has not quite reached the end of his peak yet. They are either afraid of his injury, or making a rash move. Only time will tell if it was a smooth move or a noob move. But when Randle, Vonleh, Stauskas, McDermott where all available I have to question whether taking another point guard was needed this early. Taking Young is a sign that the Celtics want to move toward Brad Steven’s high scoring offensive game plan.
Honor Roll: The Los Angeles Lakers
Taking Randle at 7 in my opinion was a steal. This is a player the Lakers can look to build around. We do not live in an era where the name L.A Lakers automatically entices big name players to flock to the city. The CBA agreements also do not support a team hording too many big names as well. The Lakers need to start to be in rebuilding mode, and this is the time to do so. It is unknown how much longer the Black Mamba Kobe Byrant can play basketball. The Lakers need to do change along with the times, and that means they need to grow a team rather than buy one.
But then again, it is the Lakers so I would not hold my breathe.
Time will only tell. Regardless the Lakers got off to this rebuilding process on the right foot. Lets just see if they can follow it up with another smart pick up.
Loser Hole: The Philadelphia 76’ers
I like 76’ers taking Embiid. I do not like them taking a point guard in Payton. So why are the 76’ers in the Loser’s hole? because for the second year in a row, they drafted the same positions.
Think about it. The 76’ers have have 4 lottery picks in two years. They take 2 point guards and two centers. I am all for stockpiling assets, but not when there isn’t a clear game plan. The result is what happens in Detroit who are trying to unload Josh Smith in the name of keeping Greg Monroe to player with Andre Drummond. Without a teacher coach like Larry Brown for example, this team is just going to have a surplus in players. Noel did not play all last season. If he performs well what do you do? Why more MCW to shooting guard if he has had success at point guard? There are a lot of questions that do not appear to have answers to.
Honor Roll: The Charlotte Hornets
In my opinion the steal of the Draft. Vonleh’s defense alone will give this team all the rim protection they will need. Playing with an elite center like Jefferson will raise Vonleh’s offensive game dramatically. This was an ideal situation for both Vonleh and the Hornets, and in a very short time will raise this team’s level of play. Do not be surprised by an immediate impact from this player.
The Sacramento Kings
Oh the kings are far from their kingdom. There is no doubt that Nik fits this team. My doubt comes from the purpose of this pick. the team already has offensive assets like Thomas, Gay, and Cousins. I am not sold on the concept that they needed more offense. While Stauskas can pass, he is far from a facilitator. The best facilitator the Kings have is Cousins, and he is their center.
Do not expect Stauskas to get a lot of touches. Between the trio I mentioned, I am not sure when or how he would fit into the offense. Nik is used to a team oriented offense when he was in Michigan with him as the focal point. Now he has to share the ball with a team of, let’s be honest people, ball hogs. The Kings are a one on one team. I believe the Kings missed out on changing that look for their team.
Honor Roll: The Denver Nuggets and The Chicago Bulls
The Nuggets made a smooth move here. The Bulls got a lottery pick in McDermott, a player they can use on the bench for offense, and the Nuggets got two solid players in Jusuf Nurkic, A versatile center that has a ton of upside and will be a much better replacement for Javale McGee, who did not pan out to be the player he was expected to. Also picking up Gary Harris was a solid pick up, coming off the bench with Nate Robinson will have potential to be an explosive back court coming off the bench
Meanwhile McDermott will be a great asset for the Bulls and eventually growing into a 6th man role. The Bulls needed offense, and grabbing McDermott is step one.
Loser Hole: The Minnesota Timberwolves
The Bulls had offered the Wovles Taj Gibson, Tony Snell, and both 1st round draft picks.
Instead they sat on it before it was pulled. Now they have a point guard in Zach Lavine who is a shoe-in for the dunk contest. Other than that, I do not see him becoming much of a productive NBA player. The Wolves have shown poor management yet again. The could have taken the offer, which is probably going to be the best offer for Kevin Love, and turned it to either 3 solid picks, or 1 higher pick.
Where they go from here, it is not known. LaVine is not the kind of player that would make Love want to stay. I believe the chances at a quick rebuild was squandered over pride. If Love is not moved by the trading deadline, the wolves will truly be left with their pants down. At this point any offer made for Love, the Wolves will not get players that will help the growth of the franchise for a while. TL;DR? The Wolves made a noob move.
Honor Roll: The NBA and Adam Silver
Adam Silver made another positive mark in his young career as the NBA commissioner. Only a couple of days ago, NBA hopeful Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome which effectively signals the end of a promising career.
As both a heart warming gesture and a powerful statement, Adam Silver invited and announced that Isaiah Austin to be drafted in the 2014 NBA draft. As you can imagine, the news to Austin was heart breaking. While his playing career has ended, he has been offered a coaching job in Baylor. Overall, this was the best moment of the night, and a fantastic way to start off the 2014-2015 NBA season.