Another NBA draft is over and done, and as always, certain teams made very solid picks while others left us scratching our heads.
Obviously, it’ll take us years to really know which picks are gold and which are not, so the following are just initial reactions about a very intriguing draft. Note that a lot of the more obvious picks, like by the Hornets and Warriors, are not being discussed as they were good fits that went as expected.
WHO PICKED WELL
The No.1 pick wasn’t an exactly envious position this year, but the Wolves did well because they didn’t try to be cute or sell low just for the sake of getting out of the spot.
When in doubt or unable to trade down, pick the best player available, and that’s what they did by selecting Anthony Edwards. He’s a good fit role-wise whether they like him or not.
Edwards was the clear pick, but it’s the other moves that the Timberwolves made that make their overall draft worth discussing.
Later at the 17th spot, the Wolves traded down for an extra first-rounder (25th and 28th) and also nabbed veteran floor general and former Timberwolf, Ricky Rubio, who’s still fresh from being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the 25 and 28 picks, they went with Leandro Bolmero and Jaden McDaniels, both of which are nice pick-ups on that spot.
The Pistons are on a new regime under first-year general manager, Troy Weaver, and he wasted no time making deals. He used the 7th pick to address the need for a playmaker and selected point guard Killian Hayes, arguably one of the best talents in the draft. He then used the 16th pick (acquired pre-draft) for big man Isaiah Stewart and then traded back in on the 19th spot for ‘3 and D’ guy, Saddiq Bey.
The Kings have been rough for more than a decade, but it’s encouraging that they possibly made one of the better steals in the draft. They got point guard Tyrese Haliburton with the 12th pick, a tall, smart, and flashy playmaker that’s regarded as a top 5 talent. He’ll be an interesting mix with De’Aron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Marvin Bagley.
Watch out for the second-round picks too. Robert Woodard is a great shooter with a 7’2 wingspan and Jahmius Ramsey is a first-round talent that shockingly fell.
The Heat are a top-notch franchise in developing talent, and it helps that quality players keep falling in their spots. This year, Precious Achiuwa fell on their lap at no. 20. Last season at the University of Memphis, he filled the void left by James Wiseman and became the only freshman to average a double-double. He’s a classic Heat player, and should be a good addition that’ll take pressure off Bam Adebayo.
San Antonio Spurs
Like the Heat, the Spurs are also proven masters of getting the right guy for their system, regardless of the position they’re in. They selected top-rated ‘3 and D’ forward Devin Vassell with the 11th pick, and considering how smart and high-motored he is, it will be very, very interesting to see him be under Gregg Popovich’s tutelage.
Chicago Bulls – Patrick Williams, 4th pick
Williams showed out in his one-and-done stint for Florida State University, and he’s a nice fit with new Bulls coach Billy Donovan’s defensive-minded approach. Ultimately, though, he’s a reach as a 4th pick as he’s projected to go somewhere around the no. 9 and no. 15 selections.
New Orleans Pelicans – Kira Lewis Jr., 13th pick
Lewis is a speedy and downhill point guard that’s simply exciting to watch, but you can’t help but wonder how he’ll fit in the Pelicans’ rotation. Lonzo Ball is there and the team just traded for Eric Bledsoe and George Hill.
New York Knicks – Immanuel Quickley, 25th pick
The Knicks were busy in the draft as they traded up and traded down again. While they had fairly nice selections overall, though, their pick at no. 25, Immanuel Quickley, was one of the surprising reaches late in the first round. They also have the 33rd pick and could’ve easily selected him there.