Winners

Los Angeles Lakers:
2. Lonzo Ball
27. Kyle Kuzma
30. Josh Hart
42. Thomas Bryant

After a questionable trade of D’Angelo Russell prior to the draft, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka absolutely crushed their first draft ever.

Lonzo Ball was the best pick in the draft– both Boston and Philadelphia had the option to take him and both opted for inferior players, and the Lakers ended up with the #1.

Kyle Kuzma has appeal as a tall, fluid, point forward who is rumored to be better at shooting than his NCAA stats suggest. He was a solid choice at #28.

Then Magic channeled his inner Hinkie to trade #28 to Utah (who drafted Tony Bradley) for a nice haul of #30  who he used on one of my favorite sleepers in Josh Hart as well as Thomas Bryant at #42. Bryant will struggle to survive defensively as a pro, but he had good stats and is a decent flier in the mid-2nd.

Toronto Raptors
23. OG Anunoby

A 19 year old freak with Kawhi’s physical profile tears his ACL, and he drops all way to 23 because of it. Yes, he is raw offensively and may never be decent on that end. But I had him as the #9 prospect and he has far more upside than most of the players that were taken ahead of him. He should not have slid outside of the lottery.

San Antonio Spurs
29. Derrick White
59. Jaron Blossomgame

Every year the Spurs take a guy that I rate as a late 1st steal, and every year it makes me second guess whether I didn’t rate him highly enough. White does a little bit of everything, as he has legit point guard skills to create his own shot at the rim, pass, shoot, and he’s a great shot blocker with SG size. Easy to see him as a big steal.

Blossomgame is fine at #59 but this draft is all about White.

Portland Trailblazers
10. Zach Collins
26. Caleb Swanigan

The Blazers had a pretty good night as traded #15 and #20 for my clear best player available at #10 in Zach Collins, and then also took my best player available at #26 in Caleb Swanigan.

Factoring in Jusuf Nurkic’s, they are a bit heavy on bigs but it is no matter. They have plenty of room to develop all three and then decide who to hold and who to deal.

Orlando Magic
6. Jonathan Isaac
33. Wesley Iwundu

Isaac was a great steal at #6 and the 2nd best value pick in the draft after Ball. This alone makes Orlando’s night great.

And it better because the rest of their draft was weak. They traded #25 for an OKC 2020 top 20 protected 1st, reached for Wesley Iwundu at #33, and then traded #35 for something.

Golden State Warriors
38. Jordan Bell

Of course the best team makes the best possible use of $3.5M to buy into the second round and draft a great value and perfect fit. Bell is an incredibly versatile defensive piece who can do it all from protect the rim to switch onto LeBron. He’s raw offensively but he fits well on GSW’s shooting heavy roster.

Losers

Chicago Bulls: Jimmy Butler and #16 (Justin Patton) for #7 (Lauri Markkannen), Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn

I don’t know how the Timberwolves convinced them to send #16 back for a package centered around Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, and Kris Dunn. Kris Dunn is a 23 year old defensive specialist at PG who posted an 8.1 rookie PER, and is worth about a late 1st pick. LaVine has developed into a solid offensive threat, but is still hardly a centerpiece for the deal.

I had Markkanen as the best player available at #7, but that’s after the draft fell off a cliff with the 6 great talents off the board. He should be a useful role player with a bit of sneaky upside, but he’s too one dimensional to be a justifiable centerpiece for Butler.

The fact that the Bulls sent #16 back is just insanity. They got crushed in the deal for just #7, LaVine, and Dunn, and somehow Minny convinced them they were getting such a great haul they needed to balance it out by throwing back a mid-1st.

Of course Minnesota completely blew the pick on Justin Patton, a big reach who doesn’t fit with KAT. But Minny is nevertheless a clear winner and Chicago is a big loser.

Boston Celtics: 3. Jayson Tatum
Philadelphia 76ers: 1. Markelle Fultz

It’s hard to say who will look better on the Fultz for Tatum and LAL/SAC pick swap. I may slightly favor Boston, simply because Tatum gets to play for Brad Stevens while Fultz is stuck fighting for touches on a team over indexed on ball dominant players. But overall the deal is close, and it could go either way.

Where both teams failed is that they both had the chance to draft Lonzo Ball, and they both failed. The #1 pick is a crucial decision for the franchise, and neither team made the correct choice here.

They also picked other guys later, but who cares. Both teams had access to a stud at #1, and both teams blew it.

New York Knicks
8. Frank Ntilikina
44. Damyean Dotson
58. Ognen Jaramaz

The Knicks got off to a bad start when Phil Jackson publicly suggested that Kristaps Porzingis needs to be traded, then failed to do so.

Then he reached for Frank Ntilikina with Dennis Smith Jr. at #9 and Zach Collins at #10 being clearly superior options. Damyean Dotson isn’t good value at #44, and I don’t know who Ognen Jaramaz is but I highly doubt he redeems the draft whatsoever.

The Knicks are a joke. They have an awful owner who is paying a senile Phil Jackson $12M/year to throw his stars under the bus and make awful decisions, and they are going to stay awful as long as Dolan owns the team. The rest of the NBA is rapidly getting smarter while Dolan stays as out of touch as ever, and as bad as I feel for Knicks fans I would just quit.

If I lived in NY, I’d start caring more about Brooklyn as they are somehow rebuilding faster without having any veteran talent or draft picks.

Detroit Pistons
12. Luke Kennard

Stan Van Gundy is really struggling to both GM and coach the Pistons. If he wanted a quality role playing SG, Donovan Mitchell was on the board as the glaringly obvious best option. There was also a slew of more interesting players at other positions.

Instead he took a one dimensional shooter who doesn’t have the tools to defend anybody in the NBA, but at least he has great intangibles.

Detroit is doomed until they find somebody new to build the roster.

Milwaukee Bucks
17. DJ Wilson
46. Sterling Brown

Jon Horst had his first draft as Bucks GM, and DJ Wilson is not an inspiring first decision. He is tall, long, can shoot, and move, but doesn’t really stuff the statsheet in any bulk category and does not feel like a sharp pick at #17 with players like OG Anunoby, John Collins, Harry Giles, and many other better gambles on the board.

It’s not super harmful, just bodes ill for the future given that Horst was a questionable hire to begin with.

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