From the NBA to the AFL, and even fantasy sports, who doesn’t love a good player draft?
What goes on during draft day brings out the best and worst in NBA teams; general managers and their teams will stop at nothing to hoodwink their competitors and fellow men to make away with as much value as they possible can in what is often be referred to as a crap shoot.
In what was typically referred to as a fairly weak draft outside the top two on the board, there was still plenty of long-term value to be found outside the top 10 players to a team willing to put the work in.
Round 1, pick 11: Domantas Sabonis (to Oklahoma City via Orlando)
It’s hard to really say who pulled off this steal – the Orlando Magic or the Oklahoma City Thunder. Just as soon as Orlando had made a great value pick, taking young big man Domantas Sabonis outside the top 10, they traded him alongside Victor Oladipo to Oklahoma City for Serge Ibaka.
While I’m not about to label this as a bad deal for either side, one thing is certain – Oklahoma ended up with a great draft steal in the young Lithuanian-American. Playing behind both Steven Adams and Enes Kanter in the rotation, he will not be put under any immediate pressure to succeed, and has plenty of time to perfect the stronger aspects of his game, such as his nice post play and good pick and roll skills.
Round 1, pick 19: Malik Beasley (to Denver)
Malik Beasley may not have been the most talked about wing in the draft, but with an excellent jump shot and some nice upside in other areas on the court, scouts still expected him to come off the board around the late lottery. This is why when the Denver Nuggets picked him up at 19th, it was well regarded that they had again made another excellent value choice on draft night.
Whilst Beasley is not predicted to become an elite wing in the league, the comparisons he is receiving now do not differ too dramatically form Kay Thompson’s when he was coming out. Anything close to that range of player would be a dream for Denver, but even if he doesn’t reach that level, they’ve still got themselves an important three and d player.
Round 1, pick 26: Furkan Korkmaz (to Philadelphia)
Predicted by most to go in the lotto, predicted by some to go in the top 10, Turkish shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz somehow fell all the way into the laps of the Philadelphia 76ers at pick 26, handing the title of winners of the draft to the boys from Pennsylvania. Believe it or not, even Philadelphia almost passed on him, taking another wing two picks earlier.
Korkmazs’ most optimistic fans see some of Gordon Hayward in the 19 year old. At his best, he could potentially be the second or third guy on a championship team, which is incredible value at the bottom half of the first round. Even if he does not stretch that far, his highlight tapes show that, when “un-Kork-ed”, Furkan is no doubt a lethal scorer from all spots on the court.
Round 1, pick 29: Dejounte Murray (to San Antonio)
It’s a pretty simple narrative for the San Antonio Spurs – wait for the glut of 10-20 teams to fall in love with a project prospect, outsmart themselves, and take the guy who falls way too far into their lap. Simple, yet San Antonio have looked like geniuses for years doing so.
This year, their man is Dejounte Murray, point guard from Washington initially rated as the third best at his position in the draft. How he reached the Spurs is anyone’s guess, but in the care of Greg Popovich and his development staff, don’t be surprised to see a future Finals MVP of him. The last time San Antonio drafted a point guard this late in the draft was 2001, when they took Tony Parker.
Round 2, pick 1: Deyonta Davis (to Memphis via Boston)
No one knew exactly when Deyonta Davis would go. Most had him as a lottery talent, some just outside that, but the Memphis Grizzlies snagging him from Boston Celtics in the second round is just outrageous.
Granted, Davis is far from the finished product, but that’s the beauty of this pick - superb potential, little pressure for it to be immediately fruitful, and did I mention superb potential? Equally as surprising is Boston’s decision to trade him, given their fairly ordinary selection of big men sans Al Horford. Maybe he was made for Memphis though – he does have “grit and grind” written all over him.