On Thursday night, the NBA held its 71st draft at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. This week, I’ll review the draft as best as I can considering the numerous transactions involving draft picks and current players.
The first transaction to affect the draft occurred between the Lakers and Pelicans as Anthony Davis finally (as of July 1) become a Laker in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball as well as the fourth pick in the draft (said pick later was traded again to the Hawks). I’m just glad the drama is over with between those two teams although the Lakers sent most of their depth to New Orleans.
The other major pre-draft deal involved the Memphis Grizzlies trading long-time point guard Mike Conley, Jr. to the Utah Jazz for Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen and Kyle Korver. The Grizzlies drafted point guard Ja Morant with the second pick in the draft so they replaced Conley, while the Jazz acquired a seasoned point guard.
To no one’s shock, the Pelicans drafted Zion Williamson from Duke first to start the evening off. Williamson is such a unique player in both dimension (6’7”, 285 pounds) and ability (only question mark is a mediocre jump shot) that people were struggling to find fresh things to say.
After Morant went second, the Knicks drafted R.J. Barrett of Duke third, to raucous approval of the Knicks fans. Barrett finished in the top 10 of the ACC in scoring and assists, but will need a little more discipline in shooting.
The Lakers drafted Virginia’s De’ Andre Hunter, but, as mentioned before, he’ll become a member of the Hawks. He was the key player of the NCAA Champions and should give Trae Young a good wingman.
The Cavaliers drafted Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland fifth despite him only playing five games due to a knee injury. They’ve done it before when they drafted Kyrie Irving first years ago despite him playing only 11 games his only collegiate season. As for Garland, I guess this means Colin Sexton moves to off guard.
The supporting cast around Williamson will be strong as well, with Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Marcos Louzada Silva all selected by the Pelicans on Thursday. Hayes gives them a true center, Alexander-Walker and Silva will help on the wings.
As I said before, these picks will be the subject of trades, such as in the case of Hunter, Hayes and Alexander-Walker whose rights were traded for each other
My last comment about the draft has to do with the Washington Wizards, who despite the fact they only have an acting general manager, drafted Gonzaga’s Rui Hatchmura, a mobile power forward and the first native of Japan to get drafted ever. You can thank the 1992 Dream Team for the influx of good players from overseas since then.
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