The much anticipated 2015 NBA Draft has now come and gone. It will take many years for ultimate judgments of certain players and front offices to be validated or scorned. But for now, here are my thoughts…
Draft Night Winner:
-The simple fact that the Timberwolves drafted the most coveted player in draft quantifies as a success. Another impressive acquisition was hometown favorite Tyus Jones, who the Timberwolves were able to take on via a trade with the Cavaliers. It’s scary how much productive talent the team has been able to amass in order to go along with the veterans on the roster. Say what you want about Flip Saunders coaching ability, but he has done nothing short of an amazing job acquiring talent and keeping them in check.
-As premature as it may sound, I truly believe Karl Towns has a chance to go down as one of the 20 greatest basketball players we’ve ever seen. Coupling that kind of talent with Andrew Wiggins, another player who has all-time-great talent, represents an embarrassment of riches. Towns will probably get the starting job from day 1, but there is a lot big man talent in Minnesota, so we shall see how minutes are allocated.
-With Jones, the Timberwolves now have their backup or possible Rubio replacement if he is traded. Jones is a phenomenal passer and floor general, which will mesh well with the widespread scoring ability on the roster. This has to be an awesome experience for Jones, having the opportunity to play right at home.
“What on earth is going on?”
-Yes, there are various reports that the Celtics did indeed try to trade up to #9 and , yes, the team did get two value picks in R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey, but the Celtics did nothing to add an identity to their team. My first issue with their actions was the obvious reach on drafting Terry Rozier, who could have been available with a later pick. That means they passed on the talents of Bobby Portis, Sam Dekker, Jerian Grant, Justin Anderson, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson all to draft Rozier, which I thought was a mistake.
-Even with rumors swirling that the team is shopping its 2014 lottery pick (!) Marcus Smart after just one season, there are as many as five guards on the roster, and the Celtics still decided to draft three more of them. To me, there seems to be no direction for this team outside of throwing a bunch of versatile players together and hoping the sharp Brad Stevens will concoct something.
-While I was disappointed in the Celtics, I respect their valiant effort to move up in the draft, and as I mentioned earlier, were able to come away with some talent.
Underrated draft night:
New York Knicks
“We have been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Led astray. Run amok, and flat out deceived.” -Stephen A. Smith
-Mr. Smith is saying exactly what a lot of Knick fans are thingking (well, at least in a non-expletive form). While the emotion is raw, I do feel like the Knicks had a great night. First, the team acquired Kristaps Porzingis, who I feel will be a very good player down the road. Later, the Knicks executed a trade in which they got Jerian Grant from the Atlanta Hawks while giving up Tim Hardway Jr. in the process.
-You have to admire Porzingis’ rational reaction to being booed and heckled. He clearly wants to play for the Knicks, and has an open mind when talking about the triangle. His shooting will translate immediately while the other aspects of his game will catch up in due time. I don’t agree with the notion that he won’t be ready to contribute immediately. Porzingis is a better player than most give him credit for, and will prove so in the end.
-I am a big fan of Jerian Grant. He is very mature, played in a pro-style offense at Notre Dame, and is a very solid passer and scorer. He’ll be ready to contribute right away, giving the Knicks a solid lead guard to go with the rest of the roster.
Steals of the draft:
To get Emmanuel Mudiay at the number 7 pick is an absolutely great value pick. Mudiay will thrive in a very good situation in Denver under newly hired Coach Mike Malone. This acquisition will allow the Nuggets to rid themselves of their current immature point guard Ty Lawson.
To say the Heat were surprised that Winslow fell into their lap is an understatement. The Heat were desperate for a versatile, young athletic wing, and they got one in Winslow. Next on the dockett for the Miami Heat is the task of securing Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.
Time will tell:
-First off, I feel bad for Jahlil Okafor, as he clearly wanted to be pick by the Lakers. Instead, he has to go to a situation in Philly that is really fluid. Nevertheless, I believe Okafor will love Philly and eventually help them become future contenders. What this all means for Joel Embiid is yet to be determined. But we should not forget thatthe young man from Kansas has immense talent and will contribute big time for a team (whichever it may be) once his injuries subside. For now, the Sixers just have to experiment with the pieces on the roster.