It’s tough to pick winners and losers in any sports draft, there are so many variables in terms of who goes where, the culture of an organization, and the mental toughness of those athletes being drafted. However, I do believe you can make an educated guess based on the data provided on who will indeed be a success. On the contrary, you can also make an educated guess on who will flame out and be a bust based on data as well. The past few NBA Drafts haven’t been exactly rich with talent in the lottery pick range; however there have been some big time players picked in those positions, including local boy Victor Oladipo, and this past seasons Rookie Of The Year Andrew Wiggins. This NBA Draft has three potential stars in my opinion, for my money, in this order: #1) Jahlil Okafor, #2) Karl Anthony Towns, and #3) D’Angelo Russell. For any sport, the draft provides an opportunity to not only get elite talent on the top end; but to also find those diamonds in the rough in the middle-late rounds. Here are my winners and losers from last night’s NBA Draft.
Minnesota Timberwolves– They badly needed both a defensive and offensive presence inside; I believe they found that with Power Forward Karl-Anthony Towns out of Kentucky. Towns immediately improves the Wolves on the defensive end. I believe with Towns’ work ethic and under the tutelage of veteran future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, Towns will develop offensively sooner than later. The Wolves also traded with the Cleveland Cavaliers for Duke pure Point Guard Tyus Jones who will have the easy job of dishing out to all these young stud Timberwolves.
Los Angeles Lakers– The Lakers would never admit they are in a rebuild, but even Stevie Wonder can see they need help everywhere. L.A. drafted Julius Randle for inside help last season, but his rookie year was never realized due to injury. With the addition of D’Angelo Russell now on the wing alongside Kobe and Jordan Clarkson, the Lakers are formidable in that backcourt for now and years to come. Russell played both guard positions at Ohio State, but is projected to be an NBA Point Guard, and I believe a future All Star.
Philadelphia 76ers– The 76ers have been experimenting for several years now with big men projects that have yet to develop. It’s about time they took somebody who can play now. The 76ers are weak on both sides of the ball, and struggle mightily scoring the ball. Duke big man Jahlil Okafor is a plug and play double-double waiting to happen in this league.
Miami Heat– Duke Swingman Justice Winslow comes into a perfect situation with the post Lebron era Miami Heat. He has one heck of a mentor in Dwayne Wade, and like Pat Riley loves, Winslow can play real defense. It’s going to take him a little while to develop offensively, but he has showed signs he’s got potential.
New York Knicks– Why am I not surprised? Phil Jackson and the Knicks were in a prime position to trade back and gather more picks (for next season) and could have still selected a solid contributor with smart drafting. Instead; they draft an international project Kristaps Porzingis. All the footage from this guy looks like it was shot on an old VHS Camera, not to mention Porzingis is from a place nobody has ever heard of, Latvia. He’s 7’1 and can shoot the three ball, let the Knicks tell it, and he’s the next Dirk. Let me tell it, I’ve heard that before, the last Dirk I’ve
Charlotte Hornets– It’s not that I don’t like the seven foot shooting big man Frank Kaminsky out of Wisconsin. It’s just that the Hornets passed on sharp shooting guard Devin Booker out of Kentucky and instead chose to reach for Kaminsky. To select Frank The Tank in the top 10 was a mistake. He has peaked athletically, and isn’t quick enough to guard the new stretch fours the NBA is rolling out.
Houston Rockets– I swear I’m not hating on the Badgers here. Honestly, I enjoyed watching that team play last season, I especially like when the Terps beat them this past season! But c’mon people! You can’t honestly think Sam Dekker’s game translates to the NBA do you? Literally he is a shorter, slightly more explosive version of Frank Kaminsky. I think he has peaked athletically and will provide a minimal offensive spark. But defensively, he’s a liability. On that underachieving Houston Rockets team, the last thing they need is another dude who can score and not D-Up.