The NBA Draft concluded late Thursday night, 60 players from Virginia to India off the board and headed to an awaiting team. Here are the best and worst picks, trades, and passes from the Draft:
Winner: Miami Heat
The Heat are a winner in pretty much every article on the Internet. The reason for that is the fact that Justise Winslow of Duke fell to them at the 10th-pick.
Winslow, a small forward that has impressive athleticism and defensive ability, will stretch the floor for the Heat, whether that is as a starter or in a bench role behind Luol Deng.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman even compared him to Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio.
Winslow’s arrival will put him in a lineup that already includes newly-signed point guard Goran Dragic, All-Star center Chris Bosh, shot-blocking machine Hassan Whiteside, and, possibly, Dwyane Wade.
Loser: Jahlil Okafor and the Philadelphia 76ers
76ers’ general manager Sam Hinkie stuck with his strategy of drafting the best player on the board. That meant that Philly, holding the third pick, went with 6’11” center Jahlil Okafor, who will join two other young big men in Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel.
The questionable selection creates a serious dilemma in the future for the 76ers: Who starts among the big men? While that question may not be a problem in the coming season with Embiid expected to miss his sophomore season as well, it is sure to arise at some point.
What they should have done was draft a guard. They would’ve liked to have D’Angelo Russell on the board, but the Lakers stole him at no. 2. That meant Emmanuel Mudiay was the best guard available. He would have been a perfectly viable selection, especially with the guard compilation currently consisting of Ish Smith, Tony Wroten, and Marquis Teague.
Not exactly a recipe for success.
Winner: Denver Nuggets
The 76ers passing on Emmanuel Mudiay meant good news for the Nuggets at the seventh pick.
Denver decided to put an immediate stop to the Ty Lawson-era by selecting the point guard from the Congo. Lawson, whose off-court problems had created skepticism about his future in Colorado, will likely be headed elsewhere this offseason.
Mudiay is much younger than the 27-year old Lawson and will be a starter sooner rather than later. He was once projected as a number-one overall selection and hasn’t declined all that much since then, so this is great value for a Nuggets team looking to find their footing in a crowded Western Conference.
If Lawson reunites with George Karl in Sacramento as expected, Denver will find themselves in possession of a King like Rudy Gay or even DeMarcus Cousins. That just adds to an offseason that seems to be shaping up well for the Nuggets.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Harrison Hamm