The NBA Draft is behind us, free agency is less than a week away, the frenzy of the NBA is currently in it’s waiting pattern, so why not review my top 3 winners and losers from the NBA draft.
Multiple teams did some very good things on draft night – and others, not so much.
- Sacramento Kings – Grade: A+The Picks: De’Aaron Fox (5), Justin Jackson (15, from Blazers), Harry Giles (20, trade with Blazers), Frank Mason (34)
Legion’s View: I absolutely love what Sacramento did on draft night. Heading into their first off-season without DeMarcus Cousins, they did exactly what they needed to do. They landed their franchise point guard and the guy they truly wanted, De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky who has a chance to become the face of this franchise, quickly. Justin Jackson and Harry Giles have potential to be very solid players in the NBA and Frank Mason is a leader and could be the perfect backup off the bench.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Grade: A+
The Pick: Justin Patton (16, from Bulls)
via Trade: Jimmy Butler
Gone via Trade: Zach Lavine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markannen
Legion’s View: When we look back at the Wolves 2017 NBA Draft, you’ll see they selected Creighton big man Justin Patton 16th overall – but that won’t be the story you’ll remember. Minnesota made a blockbuster move, acquiring star guard Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls, setting them up for a major rise in the standings for years to come. Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. I can’t wait.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Grade: A
The Picks: Lonzo Ball (2), Kyle Kuzma (27, trade with Nets), Josh Hart (30, trade with Jazz), Thomas Bryant (42, trade with Jazz)
Legion’s View: The future is bright in Los Angeles, Magic Johnson is handing the keys to the franchise to young guard Lonzo Ball, with high hopes and high dreams to lead this team back into the playoffs. Kyle Kuzma can knock down the 3 ball and really crept up the draft boards of many teams leading up the draft. Magic Johnson’s first draft went very, very well.
- Chicago Bulls – Grade: D-
The Picks: Lauri Markannen (7)
Legion’s View: The Bulls knew it was coming – at some point – they’d have to trade the face of their franchise. While rebuilding isn’t always a bad thing, I question what Chicago got in return for Butler. LaVine is a solid young player, with tons of potential – who’s coming off ACL surgery. Kris Dunn, the former 5th overall pick in the 2016 draft projects to be a tough-nose point guard who can play both sides of the ball, but was it enough? Trading the 16th pick along with Butler didn’t help the cause either.
- Indiana Pacers – Grade: C+
The Picks: T.J. Leaf (18), Ike Anigbogu (47), Edmund Sumner (52)
Legion’s View: Paul George is leaving. The Pacers are about to enter Bulls mode and rebuild. I don’t believe they picked up any pieces in this draft that will escalate the rebuilding process. T.J. Leaf is a serviceable player, who had major help at UCLA with Lonzo Ball running the show. While some around the league are high on Anigbogu – he’s very raw and a project, at best.
- Boston Celtics – Grade: C+
The Picks: Jayson Tatum (3), Semi Ojeleye (37), Kadeem Allen (53), Jabari Bird (56)
Legion’s View: Let me start by saying this – I absolutely love Jayson Tatum. We may look back at the 2017 draft class in 10 years and Tatum might be the best player in this draft, so why the low grade? Danny Ainge was unwilling to trade the 3rd overall pick in any trade for Jimmy Butler, which is baffling to me. Yes, Tatum is going to be a good player, but we don’t know that. Jimmy Butler is a star, a star who can defend the other teams best player on any night and a guy who can lead a Celtics roster far into the playoffs.