“Good Day-Lakers…Unknown Day-Clippers”
The NBA Draft is complete and the big names went where they were expected to go at the top of the NBA draft board.
Good luck to Philadelphia, adding LSU’s Ben Simmons, to what really is an all-college team lineup of past high draft picks. Adding Simmons to the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Nerlins Noel and Joe Embid, past season high picks, looks good on paper, but the reality is, this is the NBA and not the Atlantic Coast Conference. The fact the Sixers could not move any of their young players for veterans was surprising, but maybe deals are coming as we head towards free agency.
The Lakers got a gifted shooting forward from Duke in Brandon Ingram, who can fire threes, drive to the basket, and sky. He’s rail thin though, and he will have problems with physical players, but there is size to add bulk onto.
The most unique pick was the Lakers second round choice, a 7’1-center from Croatia, Ivaca Zubac. A gifted shooting big man, who might wind up as a forward, think along the lines of a young Channing Frye. But he may be a couple of years away. Next up for the Lakers will be that 66M in salary cap space, and whether they can lure a free agent to LA to play with the kids.
The Clippers wound up with 3-players, and a real gamer with their late first round pick. Brice Johnson, at 6’10, is a wiry leaper, who can go to the glass, plays big, has explosion and can score. The fact the fell to the Clippers was pleasing.
The Clips traded in the 2nd round to get two other players, a guard from France, David Michineau, a 6’4 shooter, and a big rebounder from Maryland, 6’10, Diamond Stone.
So they add 3-young players to a barren bench, where firepower guy Jamal Crawford is a free agent. Austin Rivers has opted out to test the market and doesn’t want to return, as id Cole Aldrich. Doc Rivers needs players to go with the kids he picked up.
The big storyline going into the draft was the Knicks trade for veteran star guard Derrick Rose, known more for his siege of injuries the last three years, than his accomplishments on the floor. Rose is in the final year of his contract. He may be the bait to convince Bulls teammate Joakim Noah to defect from Chicago also as a free agent.
In a world of ‘can you top that’, Oklahoma City, desperately trying to add talent to convince superstar Kevin Durant to stay, went out and made a tremendous deal. They dealt for Orlando shooting guard Victor Oladipo, veteran off the bench forward Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to Gonzaga power forward Damontis Sabonis. It cost them defensive star Serge Ibaka, but they added youth, speed, firepower and grit.
Next up is NBA free agency in a week, and who knows what happens to Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard and a truckload of others.
But for one night, a couple of people really helped themselves at the draft table, and on the trading frontline.