Drafting is no easy thing at all, and while scouting and projections may be off sometimes, more often than not, a hunch or just mere luck wound up sealing the fate of a player that might as well end up becoming a superstar.
Throughout the course of history, we’ve seen some GMs do incredibly bold and risky moves in order to make their teams better, but they’re well aware of the fact that they’re putting their jobs on the line.
Moreover, sometimes teams do things nobody could ever think about, mostly because they may not make any kind of sense at all, and this Draft obviously wasn’t an exception to that rule. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 3 winners and losers from this class:
3. Boston Celtics
Danny Ainge is in the hot seat right now. Well, that may be a bit of a reach, but the truth is Boston Celtics fans aren’t happy with him right now after the team is bound to lose both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford and they struck out on Anthony Davis as well a couple of days ago.
Everybody was expecting the Celtics to pull off some big trades, offload Gordon Hayward, bring Kevin Love or at least do something. Instead, all Ainge did was Draft Romeo Langford – another wing – 10 spots ahead of where he was supposed to be, help the Sixers get the best defender in the Draft and get a couple of role players that aren’t likely to contribute right away.
2. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards were reportedly in the mix to move Bradley Beal to get their hands on the 4th overall pick, or at least try and get as much value in return for him considering John Wall is poised to miss the entire season and they were allegedly bound to enter rebuild mode.
In reality, the team not only didn’t move Bradley Beal but also took one of the most polarizing prospects in Rui Hachimura as high as 9th after not even speaking to him prior to the Draft. This team seems lost and there wasn’t a better time to move Beal than during draft night, but it looks like they’ll just waste another year of his talents.
1. Phoenix Suns
We just can’t seem to figure out what the hell the Phoenix Suns did yesterday. They basically moved their 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, and TJ Warren in order to get their hands on Dario Saric (a great player, I must admit), and Draft Cameron Johnson, a guy that was supposed to be an early 2nd round pick, with the 11th overall pick.
The Suns were supposed to trade up to try and find their point guard of the future, or clear enough cap space to try and acquire one via trade. Instead, they got Ty Jerome, who looks like a great backup point guard, and a player that is already older than Devin Booker, who’s entering his 5th year in the league.
3. Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies got rid of Mike Conley’s huge contract and paved the way for them to land Ja Morant, the second-best prospect in the nation and a guy that looks poised for stardom. He’s confident, fast, strong, and will be incredibly entertaining to watch next to Jaren Jackson Jr.
Also, they were able to get their hands on Brandon Clarke, a guy that may not be the youngest of prospects, but that has proven to be an above the average shooter and a superb defender. This team is going to be really fun for years, and the grit and grind era may be back sooner than expected.
2. Atlanta Hawks
Ok, props to the Atlanta Hawks. Really. This team has done some great moves this past couple of years and have put together one of the best young cores in the league in the blink of an eye, and they were virtually perfect with all of the moves they did, Drafting De’Andre Hunter, Cameron Reddish, and trading for Bruno Fernando.
While Reddish was wildly inconsistent in college, there’s just no denying of his incredible talents and versatility, so getting a potential star at 10th is a great deal for them. Also, De’Andre Hunter is one of the best NBA-ready defenders to come out of college in the last couple of years, and a great fit next to Trae Young and John Collins.
1. New Orleans Pelicans
And obviously, no team fared better than the New Orleans Pelicans, who also own a key part of the Los Angeles Lakers future and have put together quite an entertaining squad looking ahead of next season with Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Clarke.
Clarke is one of the most athletic big men in this class, a rim-running big with great moves and handles and a top-notch rim protector to pair Zion with, while Nickeil Alexander-Winger gives them another ball-handler and a versatile wing that can do a little bit of everything.