Friday, June 24, 2016

2016 NBA Draft Recap

Just four days removed from a Lebron James block that led Cleveland back to the promise land, the NBA Draft took center stage on Thursday night.
As expected, draft night is met with a full stomach of anxiety and anticipation that's commonly shared with fans and teams. The excitement of adding young talent mixed with the high-stakes drama of making or breaking your organization's future is what makes draft night so special in the association.

Couldn't make it?

No worries, we've got you covered. Here's what you missed (and didn't) on Thursday night:

The Obvious 

We Saw it Coming
Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram were the presumptive #1 and #2 picks, respectively. Simmons is just another toy in the Philadelphia 76ers assembly line of what was their third straight year with a top-3 pick, and Brandon Ingram is off to a Lakers organization that has promise with it's young core of Jordan Clarkson, D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, but hasn't quite been the same since owner Dr. Jerry Buss passed away. Regardless of either situation, both players have the potential to help right the ship and sail in the winning direction.

Reach For The Sky!
With all sorts of different opinions on the scouting of players, where a player should land, value wise, can be spread across a wide range of guesses. This can lead to many debates for many players and their ultimate worth, but yet there is always a common pick that is deemed as a "reach", where a team selects a prospect much earlier than anticipated. And your "Reacher of the Year" goes to...

The Milwaukee Bucks! With the 10th overall pick, Milwaukee dusted off the ol' step ladder and climbed a step or five to select Thon Maker, a power forward out of Australia. Maker was widely acknowledged as MAYBE a lottery pick-end of first round selection, however, the Bucks thought otherwise and gobbled him up before anyone else could take a chance. Time will tell if Maker, who does indeed have exceptional handles and rim protection for his position, will pan out to be worthy of top-ten pick status. We just can't shake the possibility of Milwaukee trading down to gain more and still have the player they so desperately wanted.

The Surprises

Now that we've passed the "gimme" picks of the draft, we arrive at the not-so-obvious portion of the program. This portion is also known as "every single thing that happened after the second pick". Going into the draft, we had an idea of how disorganized and chaotic the draft board would be, but nothing close to what actually took place.

Boston Holds on to #3
Holding the third overall pick were the Boston Celtics, who were heavily favored to trade the pick away for a mountain of reasons, most notably due to already being stockpiled on picks (eight in the next three years along with the original 8 Boston had this year) and the always added interest of teams wanting to trade up. However, the Celtics decided to decline all volunteers to take the pick, and added Jaylen Brown, a 6'7" forward from Cal. In case you're wondering, Boston fans did indeed boo the pick at their own draft party.

International Men of Mystery
The NBA has made an exceptional effort to make basketball a global game, and what better way to help their cause than calling the name of an international player with seemingly each pick? This was the case on Thursday night, as 16 foreign players were announced at the podium, eight of which were selected in the first round. This tied for second-most all time for international players taken in the draft, including the lowest total of US born players (16) taken in the first round since 1973.

Trades, Trades, and More Trades 

If you're a newcomer to the NBA Draft, the NBA, or simply the sport of basketball, you will learn that NBA Draft Day trades come hot and heavy throughout the course of the evening. Sometimes it can be a tad overwhelming to keep track of, and is very easy to get lost in the mix of, say, exchanging second rounders for protected first rounders three years into the future. Some trades are minor, while others are bigger than expected, and the draft once again didn't fail to disappoint.

OKC Comes out on top of Biggest Trade of the Draft
Oddly enough, the most impactful trade of the night wasn't highlighted by a pick, but a once highly-valued defensive prowess. Oklahoma City dealt Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and 11th overall pick Domantas Sabonis.

Ibaka, who was once considered one of the top defensive players in the league at his position, found himself as a simple role player for the Thunder after his declining play the past couple years. Magically, Orlando was not only accepting enough to take Ibaka on their squad, but would also ship some of their most valued pieces in return. Victor Oladipo now gives OKC the two-guard they've been thirsting for, and also creates more cap room to lure back Kevin Durant in free agency. Should Ibaka return to his true form, the Thunder still climb out of this trade victorious.

Suns Don't Choose Between, They Choose Both
After another disappointing season in the desert, Phoenix was more than delighted to receive both the number four and thirteen pick. Their interests met at the notion of adding a big man, but split as which one to choose at number four: Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss. Very rarely is a team able to reel off two prospects they want, yet the Suns managed to do just that, taking Bender at #4 and trading up to take Chriss at #8, acquiring the pick from Sacramento in exchange for their 28th and 2020 second rounder from Detroit, plus the rights to guard Bogdan Bogdanovic. Both are highly thought of within the Suns organization, and Phoenix looks forward to utilizing their new front-court additions. The Suns hope they can move on from the Morris twins debacle, and certainly Thursday night was an indication they are in the right direction.

If you wish to view the full NBA Draft Board and all 60 picks, you can do so by clicking here to go to Sports Illustrated's site.

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