Celtics win the Anthony Davis lottery

Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis demanded a trade back in January. (Flikr)

Tuesday night’s chaos has led to some legitimate reshaping of the NBA landscape in a matter of minutes. The New Orleans Pelicans, who entered with the 7th-best odds to land the top pick, actually won the NBA Draft lottery. I would argue though, that based on how the rest of the lottery shook out, the Celtics actually won the night.

There is no question the Pelicans are in a much better place than they were prior to the those ping pong balls bouncing their way on Tuesday. The opportunity to (most likely) select Zion Williamson in June could be a franchise-altering moment. However, it sounds like their current superstar Anthony Davis still wants out of New Orleans.

It sounds like the Pelicans will still need to move the former Kentucky star this offseason, even if they hope to convince him otherwise. There have been some landing spots bandied about over the past few months, but with the Pelicans already in possession of the top pick, it changes a lot. And it all shook out in the Celtics’ favor.

For one, the Knicks don’t have the top pick, significantly hurting their ability to pry Davis from NOLA. RJ Barrett would be a nice piece to add, but if that is the piece that headlines the trade deal for Davis, there is a lot less to be excited about considering the Pelicans are already in line for the best prospect in the draft.

While the Lakers jumped into the top 4, there is reason to be skeptical a deal will get done between these two franchises. Los Angeles started this whole Davis sweepstakes and New Orleans accused LA of tampering as well. Part of me believes the Pelicans will remain spiteful and refuse to deal Davis to the Lakers. The package of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma and the fourth pick, probably DeAndre Hunter or Jarrett Culver, is much more enticing than anything the Knicks could offer.

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Jayson Tatum is only 21 years old and average 15 points and six rebounds this year in Boston. (Wikimedia Commons)

With the Knicks in a much worse position and the Lakers still viewed as the enemy, that leaves the Celtics. Boston landed the 14th overall pick, which is what most expected, but that pick could have gone to the 76ers if the Kings had won the lottery (the NBA is complicated sometimes). So hanging onto the pick was good for Boston, either to add another young player or as ammo in a trade for Davis.

What Danny Ainge has that no one else does is a budding star to offer in return in the form of Jayson Tatum. Boston could send Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart and that 14th pick to New Orleans in return for Anthony Davis. They can offer a better package than anyone else in the NBA. Hayward is included to balance out the money being swapped, but that also means the Celtics could keep a max contract slot open this offseason to attract, say, Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis would present Boston with its best big three since, well just 2010 actually, but you get the idea. The key would be locking up Davis to a long-term deal, but that is a core more than capable of winning a title in Beantown.

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A trade for Tatum could pair Zion Williamson with another former Duke star. (Wikimedia Commons)

The reason why I like the Celtics to land Davis is because of what the Pelicans feel they can build in return. A team boasting Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Zion Williamson and Jrue Holiday has a lot of potential to be great. It would give them a good mix of cost controlled deals and max contracts to build a true contender, something New Orleans seemed intent on doing with Davis after hiring former Cleveland general manager David Griffin as executive vice president of basketball operations.

It is a rare situation where both franchises get exactly what they are looking for. The Celtics add a superstar to keep Kyrie in town and make it the most popular free agent destination in the league, while still hanging onto young talent like Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. With two other first round picks, they can still add new rookie contracts or acquire another veteran via trade. The Pelicans go through an accelerated rebuild and create one of the most exciting young teams in the league pretty much overnight.

After months of feeling like AD was headed for Los Angeles or New York, the Pelicans are back in control and can listen to the best offer available. That will definitely come from Boston, who is desperate to win a title very soon.

It is all speculation at this point, but Tuesday night was a very good night for the Boston Celtics.

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Fixing the NBA season

Alright, let’s be honest. The NBA regular season was more entertaining than I expected with the Bucks taking a huge next step and the Nuggets coming out of nowhere. I definitely stand corrected on my initial take that the season was not worth watching.

That being said, there are still some major issues with the NBA regular season. It doesn’t really mean much. Between the 82 games and excessive number of playoff teams with 7 game series in the postseason, it really diminishes the value of performing well in the regular season.

Last year offers a clear example of this issue. The Rockets and Raptors earned one seeds in each conference. The Cavs entered as the 4 seed and still made it to the finals. It took 7-game series for Golden State and Cleveland in the conference finals, but the two best teams still made it through to the finals (well the two best teams that could, the Rockets and Warriors were the best two teams in the league overall).

In short, the regular season is too long. 82 games is unnecessary to determine who the best teams are. 16 teams is too many for the playoffs and history shows how little success those bottom seeds have in the postseason. The reason for the limited success is the format of a 7-game series in every round. Let’s fix that and set the league up to be even more entertaining in the future.

Cutting down regular season to 60 games

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver is considering the idea of altering the league schedule and game rules. (Wikimedia Commons)

This has been a complaint for quite a long time. The NBA regular season is far too long to hold fans interest the whole way. There are highlights to the schedule, but 16 divisional games and 62 games in the conference. It is completely unnecessary to have that many matchups between conference foes is excessive. The solution is to cut down on the regular season. Before you call me crazy, this is very possible. Adam Silver is considering shortening the season and games.

82 is an arbitrary number. 60 might sound like another random number, but it actually works really well for scheduling purposes. With 30 teams in the NBA, each team will play two games against each of the other 29 teams (English Premier League style). That only adds up to 58 games, so then each team will play against the two teams that finished in the same divisional position as them in their conference, which is exactly what the NFL does.

What does this accomplish? This almost entirely eliminates strength of schedule, which doesn’t really have much use in the NBA. It is great to see in college basketball, but not needed in the pros. A 60-game schedule also creates more incentive to win every game.

Take a look in recent years at how many teams rest their top players (now frequently dubbed Load Management to avoid league fines). Just 7 players started all 82 games this season. That speaks volumes about the length of the season. Tons of teams chose to rest their stars players throughout the regular season to maximize effort and health in the playoffs. That also underlines the issues of general wear and tear NBA players deal with. Even if players are not resting, we see so many players missing games or strings of games due to minor injuries. Blake Griffin missed a win-and-in final game of the season due to knee soreness, likely due to overuse.

There is some evidence that shorter seasons might really help keep top players on the court for more games. The 2011-12 season was shortened to 66 games due to a lockout. 15 players started in all 66 games that season. That is not a huge uptick, especially looking at the next season, which had the same number of players starting every game in an 82-game season. You have to wonder though if the previous season being shorter, possibly reduced the overall wear and tear on players. In the 2013-14, the number of players dipped back down to just 12. It has continued to drop since then, bottoming out in the 2016-17 season when only five players started every game.

Go back further to the lockout season of 1998-99 and we start to see some significant differences. 39 players started all 50 games in that regular season. The following year, back to a 82-game slate, 27 players started every game. It went down to just 20 by the 2000-01 season. There is no denying this trend, and a shorter season is likely the best way to maximize the number of top players appearing in every game. The NBA is a star-driven league and the best version of the product is when more stars are on the court.

Reducing the number of playoff teams to 12

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Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks blew out the Pistons 121-86 in Game 1 of their 1st round series. (Wikimedia Commons)

For some odd reason, the NBA has more than half the league reach the postseason. It really doesn’t make any sense. The lower-seeded teams almost never make a run to the Finals. It is rare for the bottom two seeds in each conference to even advance to the second round.

It has been seven years since a seven or eight-seed won a playoff series. Since the NBA moved to a seven-game series in the first round back in 2003, there have only been four times where the one or two seed failed to reach the second round. That means the higher seed in those series won 93.3 percent of the time. I get there is always a chance for an upset, but after watching Game 1 of the Bucks-Pistons series, I am pretty sure it isn’t worth it.

For a frame of reference, the NHL has the exact same set up, with 16 teams qualifying for the postseason, eight from each conference. They play seven games in each series. In the same time frame, the last 15 years, a bottom-two seed advanced to the next round 17 times (I considered the “wild cards” the NHL now uses 7 and 8 seeds.) Comparatively, NHL 7 and 8 seeds pulled off the upset 28.3 percent of the time, while NBA 7 and 8 seeds made it out of the first round just 6.6 percent of the time. NHL teams have a fighting chance. The NBA feels like a forgone conclusion.

With that in mind, it’s time to reformat the playoffs. Moving to a 12-team setup means the top-two seeds in each conference would receive a first-round bye. To avoid making that too much of a competitive advantage for the top-seeds, the first round should be cut to just three-game series once again. The NBA actually did this back before it expanded to 16 teams. The higher seed still has home-court advantage, hosting the first and third games. At most, this would give the top seeds a week off to get healthy, somewhat like the NFL giving it’s top two seeds in each conference a first-round bye.

This adds further incentive to the regular season, with earning a top-two seed now a priority for each team. It also would mean we trim the mediocre teams making the playoffs from the picture. Ideally, this should reduce the overall wear and tear on players as well.

Suddenly, the playoffs are much more competitive and intriguing from the start. A best-of-three series this season between the 76ers and Nets would be amazingly intense. As would Celtics-Pacers and Blazers-Thunder. The margin for error is shaved down immensely and provides an exciting introduction to the postseason, rather than the lackluster games we’ve seen so far (although that Raptors-Magic finish was pretty sweet).

After the initial three-game series, the ensuing rounds would all be best-of-seven affairs. Once we work our way down to the final 8 teams in the league, it is worth it to watch some extra basketball and see the drama unfold over a long series.

Change draft lottery odds

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Instead of playing a brutal 1st-round playoff series, the bottom seeds in each conference could have a chance to draft one of Duke’s incredible freshmen. (Wikimedia Commons)

One of the biggest issues the NBA has had to fight is teams tanking in order to secure a better draft pick. The league has the draft lottery in place to limit the incentive to lose. It even made some tweaks recently to dissuade teams even further by giving the teams with the worst three records the same odds of landing the top pick.

However, under my proposed system, there would be 18 teams in the lottery as opposed to the previous 14. That is going to require different odds to land the top pick.

The new odds would be as follows:
3 worst records – 11 percent
4th-worst record – 9 percent
5th-worst record – 8 percent
6th-worst record – 7 percent
7th, 8th, 9th-worst record – 6 percent
10th-worst record – 5 percent
11th, 12th, 13th, 14th-worst record – 3 percent
15th, 16th, 17th, 18th-worst record – 2 percent

A new lottery system would hopefully increase parity in the league by reducing the temptation to tank. It could also lead to significant playoff turnover from year-to-year if teams who came close to qualifying for the playoffs land a top-tier college player. Imagine what the expectations would be for the Clippers if they added Zion or Ja Morant.

These new odds also increase the chance for the teams who just missed the playoffs to land the top pick. In this scenario, the Spurs, represented as the last team to miss the postseason cutoff, would have a two percent chance to land Zion Williamson. The Charlotte Hornets, who were actually the last team to miss the postseason this year, only have a 0.5 percent chance. It is small, but this change is significant. That’s the difference between having 200-1 odds and 50-1 odds.

It might be a little tricky then for the teams truly lacking talent to build their way back up, but it would require shrewd drafting and smart team building, overall increasing the competitive landscape of the league.

Looking ahead

Obviously, these would be some drastic changes for the league to undertake all in one year. It would probably need to be spread out over time.

There are some obvious financial issues that would come up as well. Fewer games being played each season likely means less lucrative television contracts. However, producing a better night-to-night product could replace some of the value lost in terms of volume of games to sell. Additionally, Silver is rumored to be interested in adding some sort of midseason tournament as well, which could potentially offer another incentive for television deals.

The only thing that seems clear is that change is on the horizon for the NBA. Silver has proven to be one of the most open-minded and progressive commissioners in sports history, willing to push the envelope on what is accepted and use other sports as an inspiration for change. With the league looking to embrace the future, there is no doubt resetting the competitive format is the place to start.

Solving college basketball’s one and done problem

Every year we see it at Kentucky. A bunch of 19-year old kids leave school after just one year, as they enter the NBA draft. They leave behind an incomplete education with hopes of making millions in professional basketball.

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Karl-Anthony Towns only spent one year at Kentucky, but has transitioned well to the NBA. (Wikimedia Commons)

Kentucky isn’t the only school where this is happening though, as it has morphed into a problem across the entire NCAA landscape. This “one and done” phenomenon is a product of the NBA’s rule requiring players to spend one year in college or playing overseas before entering the league’s rookie draft. This leads to several, I won’t say all, student-athletes heading to school to essentially major in basketball.

They take a couple of classes to keep their GPA up to be eligible for the basketball season and then leave school after one year with no real education. This year, we saw potential number one overall pick Ben Simmons withdraw from classes early, after the season had ended so he could focus on training for the upcoming draft combine.

Many of these players make millions at the next and have no need for an education, but for those who fall through the cracks and fail to take hold in the league, they suddenly find themselves out of a job without a college education.

The quality of play has dropped off as well. Back in the best days of college basketball, you had players staying for three or four years at their respective schools, developing into polished players before making the jump to the pros.

Think back to the days when Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Patrick Ewing and so many others stayed in school long enough to become superstars and transcend college programs. College basketball lacks that right now, with very few of the game’s top players staying for more than a year at the collegiate level.

That is what college basketball needs to increase the level of play again. The NBA could use the same thing to be honest. Most of these rookies enter the league and require a year or two essentially sitting on the bench or playing in the D-league because they aren’t ready to compete at the next level yet. Very few come in as polished products ready to contribute on day one.

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Ennis was drafted in the first round in 2014 by the Phoenix Suns. (Wikimedia Commons)

Look at Tyler Ennis as an example. He had one great year at Syracuse and then decided to make the jump to the pros. Ennis would have benefited from another year in college, but as a result of the one and done culture, felt that he needed to enter the draft. Over the last two years, Ennis has only played 79 games, averaging around 14 minutes per game. He is constantly bouncing back and forth from the NBA to the D-league and while he is still young, his NBA career has gotten off to a very slow start.

Ennis is far from the only one either. Anthony Bennett failed to translate to the NBA after just one season an UNLV. Austin Rivers is still only a role piece as he left Duke after just one year.

To solve all of these issues, the NCAA and the NBA needs to work out a new structure for how long college athletes must stay in school and about the requirements of going to school.

The NCAA should adopt a system similar to what it has set up for college baseball. Players are not require to play a year before entering the professional draft. However, if these high schoolers decide to attend a college as a student-athlete, they must spend three years at the school before they can enter the draft. I would also like to add some other provisions as well.

Universities would be required to honor a player’s scholarship if he chose to come back and finish his degree after his playing days had ended or if he decided to complete it during the summer. They would also be required to honor the scholarship of student-athletes in the event of an injury that cost them their career.

This system would actually solve so many different issues. First and foremost, players would finally have a more complete education having to finish three years of school rather than just one. That additional year required to finish most undergraduate degrees would be much easier to complete at a later time and the athletes would have it covered by their scholarship. The student-athletes would also be able to continue their education in the event of an injury, which happens way too frequently and results in a loss of scholarship.

While it seems like the NCAA is giving up a lot here, there would be some major benefits. To start, they would see a huge jump in the quality of play for college basketball. With players staying school longer, they can become more marketable to fans and television networks, meaning an uptick in revenue.

The schools would also see an increase in Academic Progress Ratings. The NCAA describes this as, “hold[ing] institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete for each academic term.” With a higher retention rate and increased graduation rates of players, schools would be able to boost their ratings.

College basketball as a whole would benefit from this system as the talent would begin to spread. With student-athletes staying school longer, coaches would not need to recruit as heavily each year, which would mean that players would have to start looking at schools other than the traditional powerhouses if they wanted playing time right away.

We would also see an improvement in play at the NBA level. The guys who are ready to compete right out of high school would no longer have to waste a year playing college ball without a real educate in place. There are still plenty of them that transition seamlessly into the pros after just one season in college. Those who need a little time to develop would have three whole years to hone their skills and refine their game before jumping to the NBA. That would lead to an increase in pro-ready prospects.

This system is not perfect, but it is certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to repairing the current dysfunctional method to college basketball.

Land of 10,000 Mistakes

Not every NBA draft pick turns into a Hall of Famer, a five-time all star or even a starter. A lot of making these picks is just luck. However, there seems to be one team who just cannot seem to get it right. The Minnesota Timberwolves seem to manage to blow the draft worse than anyone else in the Association. You might think I’m crazy but hear me out.

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O’Neal won three straight championships in LA.

The Wolves were founded in 1989 in the heart of the Twin Cities. In the past 26 years, they have found some spectacular ways to strikeout when it comes to the NBA draft. Some of it was bad luck, some of it was stupidity.

Fast forward to 1996, when the T-wolves found themselves on the clock with the fifth overall pick. They drafted a guard out of the University of Connecticut who looked like a promising shooter. However, they were enamored with the player who went the selection before them, a kid named Stephon Marbury. So they swung a trade with Milwaukee to get Marbury, which included the UConn guard. Marbury left Minnesota after three years when he said he wanted to sign somewhere else so the team traded him. Oh and the guard they sent to Milwaukee turned out to be NBA all-time three point leader Ray Allen.

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Allen joined forces with Paul Pierce and fellow Timberwolves draft pick Kevin Garnett to win a title in Boston.

The year Marbury left, 1999, Minnesota owned the sixth pick and selected Wally Szczerbiak. Szczerbiak was by no means a bad player, but some other notable names that went that year include Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Baron Davis, Richard Hamilton, Andre Miller, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Steve Francis and Metta World Peace. Yet somehow, Minnesota ended up with the kid from Miami University.

After several years of avoiding the lottery altogether, the Timberwolves found themselves with the sixth pick in the 2006 draft. They selected Brandon Roy and sent him to Portland. That ended up being the right move because Roy spent six injury-marred season in the league before retiring. However, the Wolves missed out on Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry. All of those players were drafted after Roy.

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Curry is the league’s reigning MVP.

The 2000s just got worse for Minnesota. In 2007, they drafted Corey Brewer. Brewer has had a solid career, carving out a role as a reliable bench player Joakim Noah went two picks later and the Wolves missed out on another All-Star.

2008 went pretty well for Minnesota as they gave up O.J. Mayo and got Kevin Love in return. That small bright spot was quickly forgotten in 2009 when the Wolves managed to have their worst draft ever. The Timberwolves had four first round draft picks. They selected Johnny Flynn, Ricky Rubio, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington. On draft night, they sent Lawson to Denver, where he became a star point guard. They kept Rubio and Flynn, whom they selected with consecutive picks. Flynn flamed out of the league after three years and Rubio has never developed into a reliable shooter. The player that went after those two: Stephen Curry.

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Garnett made it past the first round once in eight years with the Wolves.

The following year wasn’t much better. The Wolves took Wesley Johnson fourth overall and he ended up being a dud. Players who were picked in the top ten after Johnson included DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward and Paul George. Cousins and George have both been All-Stars while Monroe and Hayward have been the cornerstones for their respective franchises for the past few years.

The last two years have brought some optimism to the franchise with the selections of Zach LaVine and Karl-Anthony Towns. Underscored in all of that is the return of the one true draft success Minnesota has in its history. Kevin Garnett was the face of the franchise for the Wolves for many years, becoming one of the league’s best players. Unfortunately, even Garnett’s greatness is not enough to wipe out all the years of draft failure from the Minnesota ledger.

NBA Draft Rapid Reactions

The draft is barely in the books but it is time to react to all that happened tonight. There were plenty of winners and losers and even more head scratching selections. The implications going forward are huge as well. Let’s get started.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Selections: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky, Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
Towns will be a superstar and compares well to another Timberwolf in Kevin Garnett. He, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine give the Wolves an exciting young core to build around. The Jones selection is a little troubling. He is unproven and Minnesota has a number of young guards.

Los Angeles Lakers
Selections: DeAngelo Russell, PG, Ohio State, Larry Nantes Jr., PF, Wyoming, Anthony Brown, SF, Stanford
The Lakers made the right choice in selecting Russell. He and Julius Randall certainly give the Lakers some hope for the future. Nantes and Brown infuse some youth and some potential into a team that desperately needs it.

Philadelphia 76ers
Selections: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke, Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green, Arturuas Gudaitas, C, Lithuania, J.P. Tokoto, SG, UNC, Luka Mitrovic, PF, Serbia
Philly had the most picks in the draft and still came away with more. Okafor will be a great player and his presence makes either Joel Embiid or Nerlens Noel expendable. If one of the second rounders can develop then this will be a success for the 76ers rebuilding project.

New York Knicks
Selection: Kristaps Portzingis, PF, Latvia, Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame, Willy Hernangómez, C, Spain
Knicks fans aren’t happy with Portzingis being selected at four and it might have been a bit of a reach. However, if they are patient he could be a steal. I love that they landed Grant though as he should be a playmaker on a team that lacks one.

Orlando Magic
Selections: Mario Herzonja, SG, Croatia, Tyler Harvey, SG, Eastern Washington
All signs say that Herzonja is a lights out shooter and with his size he could be a small forward. That might lessen the blow of Tobias Harris potentially leaving. Harvey needs some time but the Magic have to be happy with their draft.

Sacramento Kings
Selection: Willie Caulie-Stein, C, Kentucky
When your star player demands you take a certain prospect, you usually do it. DeMarcus Cousins and Caulie-Stein will be quite the frontcourt duo in Sacramento. Shame he is the only rookie they got.

Denver Nuggets
Selections: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China, Nikola Radicevic, PG, Serbia
Apparently the Nuggets felt they needed a point guard. Mudiay is a huge question mark but oozes upside. Ty Lawson is likely on his way out though with Radicevic being selected as well.

Detroit Pistons
Selections: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona, Darrun Hillard, SG, Villanova
Johnson may very well be great someday but with Justise Winslow still on the board I don’t fully understand this one. Darrun Hillard offers some playmaking ability but nothing eye-popping. Decent hall for Detroit but could have been better.

Charlotte Hornets
Selection: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
Only one pick means that Charlotte failed to do more. Kaminsky is a talented player though and should contribute immediately. Won’t make Charlotte a contender overnight but definitely a step in the right direction.

Miami Heat
Selections: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke, Josh Richardson, SG, Tennessee
Winslow at 10 might end up being a huge steal for the Heat. Richardson won’t contribute right away but he could be a key bench player in a year or two. Good draft for Miami. If only they could find a way to pay all their free agents now…

Indiana Pacers
Selections: Myles Turner, C, Texas, Joseph Young, SG, Oregon
The selection of Turner means that Roy Hibbert is moving. Plain and simple. The team has already begun shopping him. Young is a bit undersized for a shooting guard but he could still turn in a solid player to spell a starter down the line.

Utah Jazz
Selections: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky, Olivier Hanlan, PG, Boston College
Lyles is without a doubt a talented player. He is very raw all the way around but he has a lot of potential. Pairing him with Rudy Gobert will be a lot of fun to watch. Hanlan is a good pick too and could be a future starter for the Jazz.

Phoenix Suns
Selection: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky,
Only one pick but they made it count. Phoenix didn’t make themselves a contender in the draft but they took a valuable piece who should be a starter soon. His shooting alone with get him on the court this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Selections: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State, Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
Drafting a pro ready point guard to spell Russell Westbrook means the Thunder are realizing how small their championship window is at the moment. Selecting Johnson helps them prolong that potential window a little longer too.

Atlanta Hawks
Selections: Marcus Erikkson, SF, Spain, Dimitrios Agravanis, PF, Greece
Two second rounders don’t exactly scream championship builders. Neither does Tim Hardaway. No idea what the Hawks were thinking, especially when they had a talent like Kelly Oubre fall into their lap.

Boston Celtics
Selections: Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville, R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State, Jordan Mickey, PF, LSU, Marcus Thornton, SG, William & Mary
Rozier is good but a bit of a head scratcher with Jerian Grant still on the board. Mickey and Hunter are very solid picks though and should immediate contribute to this young Celtics team.

Milwaukee Bucks
Selection: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
He is a steal. Vaughn is a talented scorer coming from a good program. He will be a solid bench piece right away and help a woefully bad Bucks team on offense. Griveis Vasquez isn’t a bad add either, but it came at too steep a price.

Houston Rockets
Selections: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin, Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
Passing on Jerian Grant seems a little foolish but Dekker is a top talent. He showed he could do it all this year at Wisconsin. Harrell will be a good bench asset right away. If the Rockets find a point guard in free agency, they could very easily find themselves in the finals next year.

Washington Wizards
Selections: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas, Aaron White, PF, Iowa
Landing Oubre for jump change was ingenious. He is in a spot too where he can develop for a year as well coming off the bench. Aaron White provides some depth, about what you would expect from a second round pick.

Toronto Raptors
Selections: Delon Wright, PG, Utah, Norman Powell, SG, UCLA
Wright landed in a good spot and now the Raptors have a contingency plan when Louis Williams or Kyle Lowry becomes too expensive. Powell won’t see much action to start but could be in the mix next season.

Dallas Mavericks
Selections: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia, Satnam Singh, C, India
Anderson could one day be an All-Star if he reaches his full potential. Rick Carlisle will probably get it out of him too. Singh is another big body who can eventually rotate in and disrupt the paint when Tyson Chandler needs a breather.

Chicago Bulls
Selection: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas,
The frontcourt is looking very crowded at the moment and with it likely that either Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler will be gone next year getting a guard might have been good. However, Portis is a steal at 22 and will give the Bulls some depth, or a bargaining chip.

Portland Trailblazers
Selections: Pat Connaughton, SG, Notre Dame, Daniel Diez, SF, Spain
Add in Mason Plumlee as well. With LaMarcus Aldridge set to leave and Nicolaus Batum already gone this team is thinking youth movement. Portland certainly accomplished that.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Selections: Cedi Osman, SF, Macedonia, Rakeem Christmas, PF, Syracuse, Sir’Dominic Pointer, SF, St. John’s
Cleveland landed too high floor, low ceiling prospects in Christmas and Pointer as well as one for the future in Osman. This team is trying to win a title. They made some really good strides toward doing that.

Memphis Grizzlies
Selections: Jarell Martin, PF, LSU, Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky
Athleticism with lots of potential was the trend for Memphis. These two picks were definitely risky but they could pay off in the end. No short term help for the Griz though.

San Antonio Spurs
Selections: Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia, Cady Lalanne, PF, UMass
Of course the Spurs took an international player that most of us had never heard of. I can’t fault them though cause that usually works out pretty well for them. Lalanne could be a role player as well as the Spurs make one last push for a title with their current core.

New Orleans Pelicans
Selection: Branden Dawson, SF, Michigan State
About all you can hope for when you are picking on in the second round. Dawson has some upside and had flashes of brilliance this season for Michigan State. It is doubtful but he could end up like another former Michigan State second-rounder (Draymond Green).

Los Angeles Clippers
Selections: None
Not much to say other than they better have a plan. The Clippers really could have used some new blood so this really hurts.

Brooklyn Nets
Selections: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona, Chris McCollough, PF, Syracuse, Juan Vaulet, SF, Argentina
Giving up Plumlee is no fun but Hollis-Jefferson could be a star one day. McCollough has a ton of potential as well as a highly recruited prospect before he tore his ACL. Vaulet is a prospect for down the road. Good draft for Brooklyn.

Golden State Warriors
Selection: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
Looney fits Golden State’s idea of small ball as a stretch 4. With all of Looney’s potential as well, this could be a great pick for the defending champs when we look back in about three years.