“NBA-NHL Draft-Not a Bad 24-Hours”
You have to be a real sports junkie, and I am, to cover all this, based out of San Diego, but I like to cover it all.
What a present, the NBA draft on Thursday night, and here comes the NHL draft on Friday night.
They drafted big and they drafted really young in the opening round of the Thursday night draft.
That’s what the NBA has become with the overwhelming of 1 & Done players pouring into the draft from college. Once upon a time the NBA was all about great guard play. Now it’s bigs, who can run.
The woeful Phoenix Suns got a home grown talent in Arizona center DeAndre Ayton, the best big man in the Pac 12-conference. They also added shooting forward Mikail Bridges, a shooting talent from Villanova, so they have really added something around young star guard Devin Booker.
Sacramento, forever a loser, will bring in Duke’s freshman sensation Marvin Bagley.
Dallas, which has fallen on hard times, thinks it has another Dirk Nowitzki in drafted Serbian shower Luka Doncic.
Atlanta wound up with multiple picks, and might have had the best night of anyone, in Oklahoma’s high scoring guard Trae Young, followed by Maryland’s 3-point shooter Kevin Hurter.
There were other picks met with mixed reaction. Knicks fans booed the choice of Kentucky shooting forward Kevin Knox, but these are the same people who booed Kristaps Porzingas a couple of years ago, now their hero-leading scorer.
It might have been a good night too for the LA Clippers, getting a whole new backcourt, in Kentucky’s 6’6 point guard Shai Alexander, and then Boston College’s explosive shooting guard Jerome Robinson.
For the Lakers, it was a tough 24-hours. Firstly, they were rebuffed in trade talks with San Antonio for forward Kawhi Leonard, who is not going to be dealt to anyone in the Western Conference. Then 2-shooters they targeted in the draft, went off the board before their pick came up at #25. Atlanta grabbed the 3-point shooter LA liked, in Kenin Hurter, then Utah stepped in and took Duke shooter Grayson Allen.
The Lakers went big finally with their pick, in tabbing Michigan’s warrior forward center Moritz Wagner, their NCAA tourney hero, but there are doubts about his quickness to play at the next level at 6’11.
The biggest disappointment had to be in Missouri’s outstanding 6’10-forward Michael Porter, who missed virtually the entire season with back surgery. He stayed on the board till the Denver Nuggets pick at #14, after many thought he could be a top 3-picks. Only time will tell with they gambled or got a great one.
Virtually all players taken in the second round, don’t get guaranteed contracts, and wind up in the NBA-G League.
Next up, hoops free agency and the decisions on LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard.
The NHL draft began in 1963, and it gave us great players.
For every Guy Lafleur, Sidney Crosby , Mike Modano and Vinny Lecavalier, there have been monumental busts.
Hockey purists know the names Alexander Dangle, Patrick Stefan, Nail Yakopov and more, who buried Ottawa, Carolina, Edmonton when they bombed after being taken so high.
And that’s not to mention Montreal’s Robin Sadler, a first round pick, who then informed the Canadiens, he did not want to play hockey anymore.
The Friday draft is loaded with defenseman, and overwhelmed by players from Europe. The NHL draft has become a huge crapshoot, taking 18-year olds, hoping they develop in the junior leagues, at the NCAA level, or leaving them in Europe another year or two.
Buffalo will have the first pick and will take Swedish blue liner Rasmus Dahlin, and Carolina will try to get it right with a Russian winger Andre .Svechnikov, who scored 40-goals in junior hockey.
But after that, who knows. Montreal might takes Quebec Junior League scoring star Filip Zadina, who potted 45-goals from Halifax, but who knows if he is big enough, tough enough, to be a difference maker in the NHL.
And Brady Tkachuk from Boston University could go 4th, the son of the longtime Ranger Brad, but he scored just 8-goals in college last year and could ge years away.
There are no instant Alexander Ovechkin’s nor Eric Lindross’ in this draft. The NHL has become more ‘pick and hope and wait’, rather than select and win now.
An interesting two days in sports with these drafts. Awful young, both in hoops and puck.
Fun to observe, but but impossible to predict. Sports version of Russian Roulette.