Thursday night’s NBA Draft proved to be fairly dull on most counts, with predictability taking precedent for the most part. But, the greatest intrigue of the night had to have come by way of the trade.
Sacramento picking for Charlotte, who swapped picks with Milwaukee, and Boston exchanging with New Jersey or Dallas conceding all draft picks in exchange for a proven player in Rudy Fernandez.
There were plenty of twists and turns and while players were being nabbed off the board under the radar every five minutes, analysts were rushing to try and break down trades and fit the specific pieces in the correct cities.
So, while your mind may still be tingling with confusion and popping with frustration over your team’s selection (Knicks fans I feel for you), here is a breakdown of the biggest winners and losers from Thursday night.
1. The Wiz Kids- A young and talented Wizards team was looking for some good players to implement right off the bat in 2011-12. Taking the very talented and NBA-ready Vesely at #6 was a god send for the D.C. boys. The wing position was arguably Washington’s biggest problem in 2010 and they were in dire need of a long, slasher who could compliment rookie scoring machine Jordan Crawford and take some pressure off of 2010 number 1 pick, John Wall. Vesely is a great talent for the Wiz — plus his girlfriend is an absolute smokeshow – and a terrific value at 6th overall.
The Wizards got a great player in Vesely here, not to mention an absolute steal in Chris Singleton at #18. The lengthy defender can play both the 3 and 4 (in some sets) and should have an immediate impact on defense. Combine his length on the wing with Wall’s ability to guard the perimeter and you could be looking at the start of a great defensive team for years to come.
Don’t knock the selection of Shelvin Mack in the 2nd Round either, he’s a shifty point guard, who could provide some rest for Wall at times or be a good compliment to him, playing off ball in some sets.
Overall, great draft for the Wiz and this could be the start of a long run of quality basketball in the D.C. area.
2. Rudy, Rudy, Rudy! - Rudy has been looking for a way out of Portland and back onto the court for what seems like two years now. The Celtics tried prying the Spaniard away before last season and rumors were swirling around the trade deadline this year. Finally, the desperate shooting guard has found a new home.
Dallas pulled the trigger on a deal last night, trading away their first and second-rounders (26-overall: Jordan Hamilton) for Fernandez, foregoing the draft in order to secure a talented player and add to their already veteran roster .
Rudy now has the chance to reclaim his early career form, when he averaged close to 11 points and shot better than 40% from 3-point land. Dallas should be so lucky to grab Fernandez for what they did, basically a steal, as the sneaky Spaniard should take over the swingman role for the Mavs and be a large improvement over Peja and Brian Cardinal off the bench.
The Jazz gave up their franchise player in Deron Williams mid-way through last season but in return have some great building blocks to work around. Derrick Favors looks like a future superstar, along with former All-Star Devin Harris and Al Jefferson, and last night just added on to the list of talent for the Jazz.
Enes Kanter needs a few years, but his potential is through the roof and may be an All-Star caliber center someday. Meanwhile, Alec Burks is an athletic freak with great guard skills and an ailing shot. Give him a year or two behind a veteran like Raja Bell and you could be looking at a great all around talent.
Two top-10 talents and possibly the best player available in this draft, we’ll have to wait and see on Kanter, Utah has put themselves in a terrific position for the future.
1. Knicks Fans - The frustration could be heard on TV screens across America on Thursday, as the Donnie Walsh-less Knicks took Georgia Tech guard, Iman Shumpert with their first round pick.
Shumpert is a good player with a lot of potential at the next level, but with guys like Jordan Hamilton, Kenneth Faried or even Reggie Jackson still on the board, Knicks fans did not seem very happy with their team’s selection.
The lengthy, athletic guard will be a project in New York, but may benefit from D’Antoni’s system in the long run. Meanwhile, 2nd-rounder Josh Harrellson should add some size for the Knicks but without much of a resume, aside from his late season success at Kentucky, this is a questionable selection by New York.
2. Selby’s Stock- After just about a dozen games in Lawrence, Josh Selby garnered many more questions about his talent than he had coming out of high school.
His offense was stagnant, defense was mediocre, shot selection was poor and injuries plagued him during his lone season at Kansas.
Overall, the top-rated player on many scouts list coming out of high school was now best known for his character flaws and a meaningless 21-point performance against USC in January.
But with his extensive struggles in college and lack of true point guard skills, not to mention some lingering injuries, Selby watched as his lottery-bound talent turned into a 49th overall selection, purely based on “hope”.
He’ll have the opportunity to develop in Memphis behind Mike Conley, but often times these developmental projects don’t pan out as teams initially hope.
3. Hornets get stung - The Hornets traded away the 19th pick along with former first-rounder, Jerryd Bayless, in order to secure Jarret Jack. But, was Jack really worth a possible David West clone in Tobias Harris?
Harris went with the 19th selection to Milwaukee and I’m sure the Bucks are jumping for joy as Harris has plenty of talent and could be a very good starter someday.
Meanwhile, NOLA walks away from the 2011 Draft with the same exact roster they entered the day with. No new players to help out Chris Paul, or keep him with the Hornets after this season.
There has be a definite sense of a disappointment and frustration coming from New Orleans and Paul today, as the Hornets now must rely on trades and free agency to help add to their emerging franchise.