Alright guys, we did it, we really did it! We made it through another NBA draft. We spent hours and hours on YouTube highlights and illegally streaming full games from the past year, all so we could argue over whether or not Cam Reddish was good or bad. We watched Bol Bol be very sad sad. We also watched Ja Morant and his dad dress up like Charlie Murphy from the Playa Haters’ Ball episode of Chappelle’s Show. Good times.
So without further ado…here are my winners and losers of the 2019 NBA Draft.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
The Pels got themselves the most exciting prospect since LeBron James in Zion Williamson, while adding two more young prospects in rim running/shot blocking Jaxson Hayes and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s cousin Nickiel Alexander-Walker. They then drafted the guy the Warriors were targeting in Alen Smailagic with the intent of trading him and getting more even more assets to add to their treasure trove. Danny Ainge has to be big mad about all the assets Griff has accumulated the last few weeks.
The Grizzlies were blessed with some lottery luck of their own when they moved up to the second spot in the draft. They unsurprisingly took the electrifying Ja Morant. What we weren’t expecting was for the Grizz to move up a few spots from their newly acquired 23rd pick (from the Conley trade) to pick 21 and land Brandon Clarke. Now I admittedly was not the biggest Clarke fan. I thought the draft nerds got it wrong. I’m worried about his measurements, age, and slight frame. I was worried about his 15 feet and in game and how he’d be used in an offense. I’m not as worried anymore. Clarke was drafted into the best possible situation; he’ll get to catch lobs from Morant and play alongside Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson and Clarke’s games are super complimentary and Jackson can cover Clarke’s weaknesses. I’m in! Lets go Grit and Grind 2.0!
I’ll start out by saying that I absolutely hate the fit with Garland and Sexton. It isn’t going to work and Sexton is the one who will be moved. But…I love Darius Garland and it was smart to go BPA here. I think that Garland may end up as the second best player in the draft long term. The cherry on top for Cleveland is getting Kevin Porter Jr with the 30th pick in the draft. I know, I know, he has some red flags regarding his attitude and they traded a million second rounders to get him, but dude can hoop. He’s worth the risk that late in the draft. Big fan of a Garland and Porter backcourt. Dylan Windler is good value that late as well. Cleveland did a good job getting some pieces. Now can we please get Kevin Love out of there?!
Nassir Little was a guy projected in the top 3-5 range at the beginning of the college season and the Blazers got him at 25. Yes, he underwhelmed at North Carolina, but he’s still a dude with a ton of potential. Although he didnt shoot it that well at UNC, I think his form is pretty good. If Portland can get the game to slow down for him he is going to be a big time steal.
Just…what…are…they…doing?! Ok, you aren’t enamored with any of the guys available at 6. Trade down and pick up an asset. Sure, I’m with it. But then to draft Cam Johnson, a guy who was possibly medically red flagged and could have been had way later in the draft…just a chef’s kiss of mismanagement. And oh yeah they also have a million small forwards. At least they got Ty Jerome? Taking Culver here was very easy and they somehow screwed it up. Steve Nash is rolling over in his grave.
They missed out on their rumored guy, Tyler Herro, by one spot; instead landing Romeo Langford, the antithesis of Herro. Langford is fine, he’s a good athletic finisher with a solid handle who can’t shoot. The Celtics backcourt is now Smart, Langford, and Rozier (if the Celts re-sign him). Three guys who are, um, not good at shooting. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum aren’t exactly light out either. Grant Williams is fine. 6’7” PF’s who are mostly post guys are not exactly my cup of tea, but he’s fine. Love the Carsen Edwards pick though. I just really think Ainge should have used all those picks to trade up a bit and swing for someone with a higher upside.
The number 9 pick was a tough spot to be in and Rui Hachimura was a very blah pick. I get the international marketing appeal. Maybe Rui is a three ball away from being a big time player but I’d have rather taken a shot on Doumbouya or Reddish here. Schofield is a good second round guy but feels like overlap with Rui. It feels weird to go into the draft and free agency without anybody truly in charge of making basketball decisions. The Wizards are a weird basketball team.
Socks had a really bad showing last night. Virtually all of the green room guys opted to forgo them. I’m hoping for socks to make a big comeback in 2020.