Now that the dust has settled, its time to take look at our winners and losers from the 2019 NBA Draft.
Many teams had specific needs heading into the draft, and while a few of them were able to plug some holes, other made head-scratching moves.
Here’s who we think did the best and worst on Thursday night:
New Orleans Pelicans
It should be hard not to be a winner when you have the No. 1 overall pick, but you’ve got a guaranteed W by grabbing F Zion Williamson with the top spot.
Then, the team was able to turn the No. 4 pick it acquired from the Lakers for F Anthony Davis into Texas C Jaxson Hayes, Virginia G Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and a future first rounder among a few second rounders and international prospect Marcos Louzada Silva.
While Hayes may be more of a project, Alexander-Walker is one of my favorite players in the draft, and someone I think will be able to start Day One in the league.
After trading Anthony Davis, the Pelicans look much younger, but deeper overall. I’m not sold on F Brandon Ingram and G Lonzo Ball, who the team acquired from the Lakers, but the rest of the team’s young core, including Gs Josh Hart and Jrue Holiday, look solid for the future.
The Hawks have been draft wielders-and-dealers the past two years. After trading G Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks for G Trae Young and other assets in the 2018 Draft, the Hawks traded up to the fourth spot this year to grab Virginia F De’Andre Hunter at the No. 4 spot. Then, at No. 11, the team grabbed Duke F Cam Reddish, who had fallen out of the top 10 after being a projected top 5 pick entering the season.
Now, the Hawks have a young, solid core made up of players who played at big time, winning college programs. With former Sixers’ assistant coach and defensive expert Lloyd Pierce at the helm, and Young entering his sophomore year with an improved roster, the Hawks should be considered a threat for a playoff spot this season.
Cleveland Cavaliers (kind of)
While I like the Cavaliers selections of Vanderbilt G Darius Garland at 5, and G Kevin Porter, Jr. at 30, I’m not sure I like the fit of Garland and G Collin Sexton (who the Cavs took in the first round last season) in the same back court.
However, nabbing Garland at 5 and an absolute steal in Porter, Jr. at 30 were great gets for a Cavaliers roster desperate for any type of talent. Both should see big minutes right away.
Over time, one of Garland or Sexton may need to be moved if the fit doesn’t work out, as I fear. That’s exactly why I can only call Cleveland a “kind of” winner here.
The team was also able to bring in Belmont F Dylan Windler at No. 26, and it will be interesting to see how he is able to carve out playing time.
While I like offloading F T.J. Warren’s contract off on the Indiana Pacers and I think the pickup of F Dario Saric was underrated, I believe the Suns could’ve done much better during this draft.
G Jarrett Culver, who ended up going to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the trade for Saric and draft picks, wouldn’t have been the best possible fit on the Suns’ roster next to G Devin Booker, but I think it could’ve worked in a scheme that let Culver see more time at the 3.
Instead, the Suns traded down and reached for UNC F Cameron Johnson with the 11th overall pick. Johnson was almost unanimously not projected to go until the late teens or early twenties of this draft, so it leads me to believe that Phoenix may have been able to trade down again to recoup even more assets while still drafting Johnson with a later pick.
Only time will tell.
Everyone who didn’t take Bol Bol, beginning with the 12th overall pick
Yes, I know.
C Bol Bol comes with big injury concerns.
So did, C Joel Embiid. And C Nerlens Noel. And C Greg Oden. And others before them
While some of these players do truly struggle with injuries, like Oden, other players get it together and are able to have relatively healthy careers, like Noel.
The difference is that Bol comes with the potential of an Embiid: a possible franchise-changing big man who could be a perfect fit for today’s NBA.
Obviously, Bol comes with ridiculous size, but his athletic ability and three-point shot are what make me drool at the potential.
I believe Bol could’ve gone anywhere starting at pick number 12 but he fell all the way to 44 (FORTY FOUR!) The Denver Nuggets were able to land what I believe will be the biggest steal of the draft, and can allow Bol to develop behind C Nikola Jokic. What a tandem of centers.
Let us know what you think in the comments, and keep your eyes peeled for our Free Agent Predictions!