Well, guys, it’s been a while since we posted. I apologize for that. Life comes up and articles haven’t been coming out frequently. But, I promise to change that, and that starts with this article.
We’ll start with the NBA Draft. Last night, the NBA Draft took place (if you’ve been living under a rock). You probably know that if you’re on this website though… Anyways, 60 players got selected. There were some trades, no big players were moved, however. Things are quiet as we wait for the summer of LeBron.
The story that caught my eye, was the story of Luka Doncic. The 19 year old Slovenian has been tearing up European courts for a few years now and has long been seen as a possible #1 selection. He was arguably the top prospect available, so how did he get to the Mavericks who owned the #5 pick. I’ll walk you through it.
#1 Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, University of Arizona
Once the Suns won the lottery, it was pretty evident that Ayton was the clear #1 selection. After averaging a double-double in college, including over 20 a game, NBA execs fell in love with him. He displayed a jumper that showed he could evolve into the pace-and-space game today. People questioned his defense but he passed the test that’s on everybody’s mind If we play the warriors in the playoffs, will this guy be able to play? And that’s what everybody is asking. Plus, he played at Arizona so you almost wanted to keep him in the hometown. And, on top of that, the Suns are dying for a big man after missing the #5 pick of the Alex Len. Ayton looks like he’ll pair well with current star Devin Booker, this selection was a no-brainer.
#2 Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley, PF/C, Duke University
This is where things got interesting. Once the Kings got the #2 pick in the lottery, Doncic rumors started to surface. Then, it came out that Doncic wasn’t sure if he was going to the NBA and this translated into I don’t want to play for the Kings in the middle-of-nowhere Sacramento. Eventually, he confirmed he would be coming back and Doncic looked like a sure #2. However, this is Sacramento and this is why they’re in the lottery each year. Vlade Divac is a front-office executive who loves big men after being a big guy himself in the league. The team has been dying for a big guy after trading Cousins 17 months ago and drafting De’Aaron Fox last year. This pick screams Bagley averaging 20 and 10 for the Kings as they are picking #8 for the next 5 years. I like Bagley a lot and hoping it goes differently.
#3 Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma University (acquired after trading Luka Doncic)
The Hawks finally stop Doncic’s semi free-fall by selecting him with the #3 pick and all seems right. However, the Hawks already have Dennis Schroeder, who has 3 years and $47M left. With a surplus of point guards, it might be tough to move him. He also needs the ball in his hands like Doncic. And, oh yeah, their GM, Travis Schlenk, is a Warrior’s disciple. So, right as we think Doncic is off the board, we remember that Travis is trying to turn this team into the Warriors of the East. He trades for Trae Young (Steph Curry impersonator) and then selects Kevin Huerter (Klay Thompson impersonator) and the Hawks walk away with Trae Young and an extra first-round pick. (Did I mention Klay and Kevin are the same height?)
#4 Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State University
Last year was difficult for Memphis and that’s how they ended up with this pick. They owe Mike Conley (Go Bucks) $90M over the next 3 years. They have Marc Gasol locked up for a couple years and he’s shooting as many 3’s as Steph nowadays. Their owner Robert Pera was quoted recently as saying “We expect to be a 50 win team next year.” So you got the feeling they were not going to do a long rebuild. They felt like they needed to get back to their winning ways as soon as possible, and that meant holding onto Conley and Gasol. You know who else was apart of the winning ways? A guy named Zach Randolph, a big next to Gasol. And that’s where JJJ comes in. He could play well with Gasol and help them get back to their grit and grind that won them 50 games, got them 7 straight playoff berths and only 4 series wins. There was no chance they were drafting Doncic with Conley on the team.
#5 Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic, PG, Slovenia (acquired after trading Trae Young)
With Dallas selecting, I wasn’t sure what they were going to do. A lot of people said Mo Bamba because they needed a center. However, they had bigger plans. Draft Trae Young, package him and a future first for arguably the best prospect in the draft. Bring him in, have him learn from fellow European Dirk Nowitzki. Put him next to Dennis Smith Jr. who would much rather score than pass and set up the offense. And win the draft.
I look forward to seeing how this article ages, but as of now, it looks like Dallas won the draft.