Minnesota: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia Comment: His pro-day was unimpressive, but he’s been compared to Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo, both also coached by Tom Crean. So, hey, why not? I do wonder how this pick sits with last year’s first-rounder, Jarrett Culver, also a shooting guard.
Golden State: James Wiseman, C, Memphis Comment: They lost Klay Thompson to a leg injury again. For how long, who knows? But if it’s any extended amount of time, not even Wiseman will be able to save the day.
Charlotte: LaMelo Ball, PG, USA Comment: In order for LaMelo to make the team, LaVar should have to actually beat Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one, as LaVar makes it sound like he could. And it should be on pay-per-view.
Chicago: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State Comment: The draft’s first surprise! And man, did this draft need something to shake it up. I’m not sure how Williams fits. I bet the Bulls aren’t sure either. Is a trade brewing?
Cleveland: Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn Comment: I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of this guy until, like, a week ago. I hear he’s a good defender. That’s where we are already — drafting “specialists.” And they tried to convince us this draft was deep. Yeah, OK.
Atlanta: Okenya Okongu, F/C, USC Comment: He’s big, he’s athletic, he has compared himself to Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat. If people actually paid attention to the Hawks, they might be excited about this young team.
Detroit: Killian Hayes, PG, France Comment: The Pistons traded for Trevor Ariza earlier in the day (whom I totally expect them to waive). Hayes has drawn comparisons to Frank Ntilikina of the New York Knicks. Never heard of Ntilikina? Yeah, not good.
New York: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton Comment: Hey, look — the Knicks got a power forward! That makes, like, 17. Actually, the Knicks are under new management, and the other power forwards will probably be cast aside. They have to be thrilled Toppin was still there at No. 9. The Brooklyn native may be, too. He may be the only prospect who actually wanted to play for the Knicks.
Washington: Deni Advija, F, Israel Comment: Everybody said the Warriors were enamored with Avdija prior to the draft. Apparently, everybody would’ve been just fine with it if the Warriors had taken him. Word is, he has a long way to go to be an effective NBA player. So he should fit right in with the Wizards.
Phoenix: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland Comment: We have reached the point of the draft where I have to start Googling people. Guess he’s supposed to be a nice player. Who really knows? The Suns traded for Chris Paul. That was their pick.
San Antonio: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State Comment: Finally, someone who is known for making perimeter shots. What else he can do, I have no clue. And what’s with Florida State landing two players in the lottery? Didn’t this used to be a football school?
Sacramento: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State Comment: One of the most-underrated players in the NBA? De’Aaron Fox. He plays point guard. So what do the Kings do? Draft a point guard. Actually, Haliburton is supposed to be able to play shooting guard, too. I’m guessing the Kings hope that’s the case.
New Orleans: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama Comment: His agent also represents Victor Oladipo (and Charlotte Hornets point guard Terry Rozier.) So, there’s that. But some scouts believe Lewis was the draft’s best-kept secret. Better stay ready, Lonzo Ball.
Boston: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt Comment: As pure of a shooter as there is in the draft. At least, that’s what a scout told me. And just watch, the Celtics will get a guy who contributes immediately while everyone else in the lottery ends up promising, “It’s a process,” about their own picks.
Orlando: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina Comment: The son of Greg Anthony, who once got Michael Jordan mad enough that he threw a ball at Greg’s head. Now it’s up to Cole to push former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz in practice. It’ll be the battle of two point guards who aren’t bad, but have yet to live up to expectations.
Portland: Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington Comment: Well, that was some hairdo. This pick used to belong to Houston. Then to Portland (who made the pick). But Stewart is supposedly on the way to Detroit. Maybe he’ll be the next Andre Drummond, because their games are very similar.
Oklahoma City: Aleksej Pokusevski, C, Serbia Comment: The first name that I can’t spell. But I couldn’t spell Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the day, and he sure turned out OK.
Dallas: Josh Green, SG, Arizona Comment: Commissioner Adam Silver tried to pass Green off as being from Australia, just to keep the international feel alive. But he’s an outstanding athlete who likes rugby. I’d take him on my team.
Detroit: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova Comment: Not really sure how the Pistons ended up with this pick, but here we are — dazed and confused on draft night. Sound familiar? Anyway, I like Bey. A lot of people had him pegged as a lottery pick. In order to acquire the pick, the Pistons sent shooting guard Luke Kennard to the Los Angeles Clippers. (With Landry Shamet going to the Brooklyn Nets.)
Miami: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis Comment: Effort, energy, size. He should be an excellent fit for a team that is coming off a run to the Finals. Achiuwa next to Bam Adebayo could downright scare opposing frontcourts. As if the Heat needed the help.
Philadelphia: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky Comment: It’s a whole new day with Doc Rivers as 76ers coach. And man, you can rarely go wrong with a Kentucky guy. He should be able to make the perimeter shots few on the Sixers — are you listening, Ben Simmons? — can make themselves.
Denver: Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona Comment: Where oh where is R.J. Hampton? Nnaji wasn’t projected to go in the first round. But by all accounts, he can play a mean piano.
New York: Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Argentina Comment: Seriously, we should just start the second round after the 15th pick. But hold everything, this pick is being traded to the Timberwolves for Nos. 25 and 33.
Denver: R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers Comment: Finally! He’s 6-foot-6, unbelievably fast with the ball and can run the point. Rookie of the Year. Mark it down. (Hey, I gotta say something to keep you awake.)
New York: Immanuel Quickley, PG, Kentucky Comment: Actually selected by the Thunder, will end up with Knicks. Great range on the jumper. Great last name. From Kentucky. Is it too late to change my Rookie of the Year pick?
Boston: Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon Comment: This kid can score, leading the Pac-12 in both points per game and assists. The rare pick whose college team’s colors (green) are the same as his pro team’s. Reminds some of Jason Williams, only not as annoying.
Utah: Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas Comment: Best player on perhaps the best team in college basketball last year. Sometimes that means something.
Minnesota: Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington Comment: How many power forwards they got up there in the the Evergreen State?
Toronto: Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State Comment: Any guy who wins Mountain West Player of the Year is OK by me. It also makes me wonder if we’ve seen the end of Fred VanVleet in Toronto. That’s a stretch, but I’ve failed if you’re not irritated with me by now.
Boston: Desmond Bane, G/F, TCU Comment: This pick is going to the Memphis Grizzlies. I’m going to bed. I probably win.
Sam Amico spent 15 years covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and NBA.com, along with a few other spots, and currently runs his own basketball website on the side, FortyEightMinutes.com.
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5 CommentsLeave a Reply
Nothing is guaranteed, but It’s highly unlikely Sam is a better evaluator of talent than Troy Weaver.
Thanks for the work. Glad to see someone else uses Google on most of these guys.
Boston had a great draft considering what picks they had.
“ Phoenix: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
Comment: We have reached the point of the draft where I have to start Googling people. Guess he’s supposed to be a nice player. Who really knows? ”
Uhhh… Smith was a five star recruit, McDonalds All American, the best player at a ranked P5 school that won its conference, was named first team All B1G and third team All American, and was included in the first round of virtually every mock draft for the last several months. If this is the point where you need to “start Googling people,” that may say more about your ability to provide post-draft analysis than the pick itself.
The Pacers might have gotten the steal of the draft with Cassius Stanley (Duke) in the second round. NBA body, explosive athlete, great work ethic, and high IQ. Can make any shot on the offensive end, and great defensively. People were saying about him last year that it does not matter what happens with him in college, he has NBA game and is ready now. When he was in high school he was in a workout 1v1 against KCP, a good defender in the NBA, and was getting his shot off as a high schooler and he’s even way better now. Keep an eye on him. My Cavs got a great pick in Okoro. Already a great defender, another explosive athlete. People question his offense but he’s and underrated passer, can get to the rim, post game, great cutter and showed flashes of creating off the dribble. I think he has a chance to develop a similar game to Kawhi where he can really shoot it in the mid-range in a multitude of ways. I like what he said in an interview where this off-season he put up thousands of shots and that what it takes. He known for great work ethic as well. Anyone at high level will tell you, like the great Kobe Bryant once said, great shooters are made not born.