The first round is over, and so is our live blog. Porzingis stays a Knick. The various Paul George deals that were so widely speculated about also apparently stalled. Jimmy Butler was the only big name to change teams. What was everyone’s top takeaway from the night?
Nate: In many respects, this draft went to form. It seems like the big winners have to be the Timberwolves for the Butler trade and the Knicks for not doing something stupid.
Neil: The big, obvious winner of the night is Minnesota, grabbing Jimmy Butler for very little. As for draft picks, I also liked Orlando snagging Jonathan Isaac at No. 6. The stats said he was the second-best prospect in the field, and he should be ready to contribute before too long.
Geoff: This is clearly a sentence that should never be written: I like what the Kings did in the draft. I think Fox is going to be star, Justin Jackson has a low ceiling but is a safe role player and Harry Giles obviously has huge upside if he can somehow remain healthy.
Kyle: I think the Wolves are big winners too, but they’re in a more traditional teambuilding scenario now — they have a few stars and need to find talent to surround them with. This is the step that many tank-centric rebuilds (deliberate or otherwise) haven’t had a plan for. Even the Thunder, after their big draft hauls, struggled to find talent. So it’s a win, but also just the first step. But as far as draft picks from tonight, I still think the story is Lonzo. He profiles like a 36-year-old Jason Kidd at age 19. He may be the Rajon Rondo to the Banana Boat crew’s Big Three landing in L.A. And the Lakers are still the Lakers — and could still do something ridiculous before the season starts. And at the center of that is an oversized point guard who passes like a dream, which isn’t the worst thing to have in L.A.
Chris: Clear takeaway is that the Wolves could make some real noise next season, based on what happened tonight. The Bulls are going to rebuild, and they unloaded a legitimate star, which will help Minnesota in a big way. Still waiting to see if any other big dominoes fall, with the Celtics still having the assets to get something done if they opt to go that route.
OK, so the Timberwolves owned the night. That much is clear. Now with the first round over, the basketball conversation can return to the Golden State Warriors. See you in a year, other 29 teams!
Geoff, if you make us do this again next year, I’m going to do my bit about how if the NBA won’t abolish the draft due to it being un-American, it should bring back the territorial draft.
How fitting for the state of college basketball that the most decorated player in the draft goes last.
Geoff, there’s your guy! Josh Hart!
Yeah, all those teams we mentioned being bad at finding those guys to fill out the roster — Dallas, OKC, now Minnesota — had every opportunity to draft the guys the Spurs drafted, because the Spurs are always better than they are.
And if you’re going to take an older player like Derrick White, may as well grab a guy who checked off literally all the boxes for a point guard prospect.
#30 Utah Jazz pick Josh Hart
A partial list of guys the Spurs have drafted 25th or lower in the Popovich era: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, George Hill, Goran Dragic, Leando Barbosa, Luis Scola, John Salmons, Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Kyle Anderson, Ian Mahinmi. They’re really good at this.
San Antonio Spurs pick Derrick White
Mock drafts — and rumors/reporting about who would go where — were shockingly accurate this year. There aren’t a lot of dumb teams in the NBA anymore, and it’s getting harder to find picks that come out of nowhere.
Los Angeles Lakers pick Tony Bradley
PF, N. Carolina
Brooklyn Nets pick Kyle Kuzma
You can probably pull a player with the equivalent of a college senior-type’s talent/skill set off the waiver wire, though, so might as well use the draft on guys with actual long-term upside.
Very good chance that Rookie of the Year this season goes to a 4-year guy: Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks.
You’d think there would be a good match between college seniors at the end of the first round and established teams who would like to round out with a little depth and don’t care about upside. But the Cavaliers and Warriors have been trading their first-round picks, and the Spurs always take a long-term outlook no matter how good they are.
I’m curious to see if anyone pulls the trigger on Josh Hart, who KenPom named his player of the year. He’s a (gasp) senior who played (gasp) four years in college and also won a national championship. That Villanova team from 2016 will easily go down as the team to cut down nets with the least NBA-level talent. Ryan Arcidiacono is in the D-League, Daniel Ochefu got a few minutes for the Wizards. That’s about it.
Portland Trail Blazers pick Caleb Swanigan
Orlando Magic pick Anzejs Pasecniks
That’s one reason they need to be moving on these guys now. There’s a specific moment in time when those old contracts exist and can be used to maneuver around the cap. In two or three years, the stars of George and Butler’s caliber will have contracts that are much tougher to slot in.
They could have had both! Butler and George are on pre-TV-money deals, meaning the Celtics could send back fairly equal money (say, Bradley and change) and retain a max slot.
I wonder if the Celtics’ seeming lack of urgency to acquire Butler or George or another star reflects the fact that they expect to sign Gordon Hayward instead.
Extremely loud boos for LaVar; even louder cheers as he throws some Big Baller Brand swag into the crowd. NBA is the best, dumbest league.
Kyle, they absolutely should let D’Angelo Russell be announced. He’s actually younger than Justin Jackson!
OG says he’s bringing back the short shorts to the NBA. LeBron has long flirted with the short shorts revival but has never full committed to the cause in a non-TV commercial/practice setting.