The NBA draft presents a franchise changing decision for most organizations choosing in the lottery. Teams have chances of landing future superstars, while others can find integral role players who can become the second option on a playoff team. We will never know how well these draft picks panned out until 5 or 6 years down the road, but some picks looked too good to be true while others were headscratchers.
Landing Jalen Green with the number two selection is huge for the Rockets. One year into the rebuild and the Rockets already have a potential All-Star. Whether it was Even Mobley or Green, the Rockets couldn’t mess up this pick. What the Rockets did after picking number two is what defined their draft. Trading up for the 16th pick, Alpern Sengun, and keeping both pick 24 and 24. Sengun was a projected top-ten prospect, and for the Rockets to get him at 16 might have been the steal of the draft. Adding defensive menace Usman Garuba and a very raw but talented player in Josh Christopher solidifies the Rockets as winners in this draft. Sengun and Green have the potential to develop into All-Star caliber players, while Garuba and Christopher can be solid pieces of the bench. For GM Rafel Stone’s first draft he seemed to have knocked it out of the park.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are in a very interesting situation. After losing both Demar Derozan and Patty Mills, this team will take a step back next year. With young talent such as Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson. The Spurs were selected at 12, a perfect spot to add a young piece who could help the inevitable rebuild. The Spurs added a young talent, maybe a bit too young though. Josh Primo at 12 was probably the biggest surprise of the draft, projected to be a late first round pick it seems like the Spurs might have reached on this pick. The Spurs could have taken someone such as Moses Moody or Jalen Johnson who fit into this range of picks, and traded back into the late first round to select Primo. This would have been a much more reasonable scenario, and they would most definitely not be on the losers side of the draft if they went that route. Primo could develop into a special talent, but the Spurs could have maximized the talent in this draft much better. They will need to do better in future drafts if they don’t want a prolonged rebuild.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC was in a tough spot at the start of the draft. With a boatload of picks and in the middle of a rebuild, the Thunder had high hopes coming into the lottery. They could have the Rockets pick at 5 and their own top-5 selection, and instead they ended up with a single pick at number 6. There was no consensus pick, with a large range of players such as James Bouknight and Jonathan Kuminga being viewed as possible players to land at 6. Instead they took a flier on Australian Josh Giddey. He is a natural playmaker and passer, who could be viewed as a potential partner for SGA in the backcourt. A 6”7 guard with handles and great vision could be exactly what the Thunder are looking for, but the one downside to Giddey’s game is the minimal offensive production that he provides. He will need to continue to work on his production, but if he does reach his potential then the Thunder might have one of the best backcourts in the league. OKC kept adding to their guard depth with Tre Mann out of Florida. Mann is a microwave scorer who could become a vital piece of the OKC bench. Both these players have to develop if they want to become effective in the NBA, and before they do this grade can only be incomplete.
Top Image: Rick Bowmer, STF / Associated Press