What the hell happened yesterday in the Barclays Center? Actually, a better question would be what the hell didn’t happen yesterday? Boogie Cousins was suppose to be the Lakers’ new hope. George Karl was suppose to impose his dictator-like will and turn the 2015 Sacramento Kings into the 2013 Denver Nuggets (literally; with Ty Lawson and everything). I was suppose to hit on more than 10 percent of my draft picks ( 😦 ).
(Editor’s Note: Rest assured, I will not be quitting my day job.)
Even though the big dominoes do not fall in Brooklyn last night; a lot still happened. Now, I’m not going to give out grades to teams based off of how teams drafted. I’m also not going to grade prospects on how I think they will develop. If Wednesday’s mock draft has taught me anything is that I am not Tom Cruise in Minority Report.
(Editor’s Note: And you can’t replace Precogs with a Magic 8 Ball. Enough though they appear to be virtually the same thing. I mean, why else would they randomly float in water? Think about it.)
In all seriousness, this year proves that no one can really project how a player will develop. Just look at Draymond Green, Khris Middleton, and our very own Jimmy Butler. I can count on one hand ( zero is the magic number) just how many people thought these three would be max-contract players and the prized free agents of 2015. Instead, I am going to go team by team and give my immediate thoughts about them. No projections, no grades, just thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, likes, dislikes: things like that. First up:
1) Minnesota Timberwolves:
Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Tyus Jones, and Zach LaVine appear to be the young foundation for the mediocre T’Wolves. Not to mention that those players are surrounded by intriguing prospects like Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, and Adreiane Payne. Add in the still developing Ricky Rubio and sprinkle in some sage-like wisdom from KG on his farewell tour, and Flip Saunders may have something cooking in the Twin Cities.
2) Los Angeles Lakers:
By picking D’Angelo Russell the Lakers have not only positioned themselves to trade for an asset that can help the team “win-now” (BOOGIE!!!), but they have also positioned themselves to be successful when Kobe Bryant decides to hang them up. O, and they have oodles of cap space, which always helps.
3) Philadelphia 76ers:
Three big men enter: one or two big men leave. By adding Jahlil Okafor, the Ballin’ Bennys (please let that nickname stick) and Sam Hinkie have made the team’s front court situation very awkward. Maybe Embiid learned how to shoot threes during his rehab. Maybe Noel and Okafor are the new Sampson and Olajuwon or Parrish and McHale. Either way, something has to give and I think one of these guys is leaving Philly very soon.
(Editor’s Note: It’s not him.)
4) New York Knicks:
I have no idea why Melo is mad. The Knicks possibly took the best player in the draft (Porzingis) and a young player who can help them win now (Grant). If he doesn’t like their draft picks, then maybe he should pull a LeBron and start recruiting some high profile free agents (Love, Aldridge, Monroe, Jordan, etc.). Trust the Zen Master, Melo, he has 11 rings to your none.
5) Orlando Magic:
I know I said I wouldn’t give out any grades, but Mario Hezonja single-handedly changed my mind. Just watch this:
And read this:
The Orlando Magic get an A+ grade in swag this year.
(Editor’s Note: I am President of the “Super Mario Hezonja Fan Club” and in no way is this review a bias reflection of that fact.*)
6) Sacramento Kings:
7) Denver Nuggets:
Emannuel Mudiay’s arrival in the Mile High City signals the end of the Ty Lawson era, and even he know it.
8) Detroit Pistons:
Does anyone else think that Stan Van Gundy just traded his old Caron Butler for a newer, upgraded version?
9) Charlotte Hornets:
Do you guys think that Michael Jordan is aware of what he’s doing? He loves picking the “best player available” even when they really aren’t.
He loves picking guys who are All-Americans; guys who have won at the college level.
Guys who have won National Championships.
Guys who have a few wrinkles to iron out. Like there shooting ability, toughness, etc.
Or guys who may not have “NBA” athleticism, but sure do have “NBA” skill.
All because he is secretly haunted by his dark past. Haunted by the one player that made the GOAT an utter failure. He’s truly tormented by…
…The One That Got Away.
10) Miami Heat:
What type of black magic does Pat Riley practice. Is he like Bette Midler from Hocus Pocus? Or maybe Severus Snape from Harry Potter? He does have some Alan Rickman in his face. No, he is most definitely Gandolf the Grey. There is no way you win that many championships if you’re not Gandolf. Man, I could only imagine what he said on that phone call to Justise Winslow as he was spiraling into a free fall out of the lottery…
11) Indiana Pacers:
I know Larry Bird runs the Pacers. I know they essentially have their 2013 core returning minus Stephenson and West. And I know they have a hole at the power forward, but how do you not draft Cameron Payne at 11? He’s everything the Pacers need to take the next step. I guess I just need to trust the three-eyed Larry.
12) Utah Jazz:
Trey Lyles may not have three point range yet, but neither did Trevor Booker before he came to Utah. At the age of 27 he only managed to hit a career high 34 percent for downtown, and he did stuff like this:
I think Lyles will be fine.
13) Phoenix Suns:
Booker is a solid pick for a team in desperate need of three point shooting. And boy can this guy shoot the J.
14) Oklahoma City Thunder:
He could be Russell Westbrook insurance, D.J. Augustin insurance, or Anthony Morrow insurance; either way Billy Donovan and OKC got another great young basketball player. The Thunder should be a force next season.
15) Atlanta Hawks:
(Editor’s Note: Guess Al Horford called in sick. Way to step up Kent Bazemore.)
I think it’s sad that their new uniforms are more noteworthy than their addition of Tim Hardaway Jr. With that being said; he is a great scorer and Atlanta could definitely use more of that.
16) Boston Celtics:
I guess Danny Ainge is trying to build a team full of Marcus Smarts. I mean that’s not the worst basketball line-up in the world. That title is a two-way tie between the “Baby Bulls” (starting Eddy Curry at center, Marcus Fizer at power forward, and Tyson Chandler at small forward), and the 2009 T’Wolves (Rubio as “New Isiah Thomas” and Jonny Flynn as “New Joe Dumars”).
17) Milwaukee Bucks:
Greek Freak: check. Jabari Parker: check. Jason Kidd: check. The Bucks could have drafted Larry Sanders again and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Deer have such a strong core that any other young player they manage to develop is just gravy.
18) Houston Rockets:
The Rockets need a secondary ball-handler off the bench, yet they took a jack-of-all trades small forward. Why might you ask? Because Daryl Morey doesn’t care about team needs. He views players as assets and he wants to best assets in the league. Dekker will find a place, either for Houston or another squad, but by tip off of the season opener, Dork Elvis will fill that need.
19) Washington Wizards:
The Wizards felt that replacing Paul Pierce was a more pressing need than finding a great third guard or back up big man. It’s hard to argue that logic with “small ball” becoming the league’s newest scheme. Oubre Jr. lacks a lot of polish and skill, but the talent and athleticism are there. I mean, you can’t be a scrub with shoe game like that.
20) Toronto Raptors:
Not much to say about this pick. The “Drakes” filled a team need. Now they need to be major players in free agency in order to round out the rest of their roster.
21) Dallas Mavericks:
Justin Anderson might be one of the bigger steals in this draft. He’s a 3 and D wing, with the potential to grow into a team’s third or fourth option. With Monta Ellis and Al-Farouq Aminu testing free agency, the team has some holes at the guard and forward spot.
22) Chicago Bulls:
Bobby Portis was suppose to be a lottery pick, and now he’s Chicago-bound. Does this mean one of the Bulls’ front line talents (Gibson, Noah, or Gasol) on their way out? Or is Portis insurance in case all three are too beat up to be effective?
(Editor’s Note: Does anyone else think this guy could be the love child of Tom Haverford and Roy Hibbert? Bobby Portis is “Entertainment 720”. Make this a thing.)
23) Portland Trail Blazers:
Would you rather have a tenacious wing defender who can’t score, or a nimble big man who can’t defend the rim? Portland chose the later, but in the wake of the Warriors’ championship I believe they should have chosen the former. Being able to guard four or five positions has great value. Then again, when you dress like Rodney Dangerfield from Caddyshack, it makes you wonder.
24) Cleveland Cavaliers:
Just finished ordering my Rakeem Christmas Cavs Christmas Day jersey. It’s Christmas on Christmas. I wish this was made up.
25) Memphis Grizzlies:
(Editor’s Note: My favorite owner in the NBA…because he’s the dreamiest.)
Jarell Martin’s highest comparison was to that of Jeff Green. The Grizzlies have Jeff Green. Do they need two Jeff Greens? Or are the Grizzlies writing something on the wall in permanent marker?
26) San Antonio Spurs:
They took an European player whom they can stash for several years. And Popovich wins the draft again.
27) Brooklyn Nets:
Kudos to Billy King and Lionel Hollins for finally making a trade that screws over the other team. Hollis-Jefferson may not set the scoreboard on fire, but he could step out on the court and guard players like Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Korver today. He needs a few months of training before he gets up to LeBron’s level.
28) Golden State Warriors:
Kevon Looney, a potential top 10 pick at the beginning of the season, fell all the way to the Dubs at number 30. The rich keep on getting richer.
29) New Orleans Pelicans:
The Pelicans drafted Branden Dawson in the 2nd round, but the biggest acquisition thus far is new head coach Alvin Gentry. He was the architect of the Warriors world-beating offense, and now he has the league’s most versatile and unguardable player at his disposal. Long live The Brow!
30) Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers didn’t have a draft pick, some big names may leave the team in free agency, and their new uniforms look like they were made at Kinkos. This might be their year after all.