Quick Hits: NBA Draft Analysis

The NBA Draft is now over and it was a crazy night for our favorite college players becoming professionals. Here are some quick hits on what went on last night.

  • 76ers selected Ben Simmons. Lakers selected Brandon Ingram. Nothing to see here move along.
  • Boston couldn’t find a decent veteran available to trade for the third pick so they selected Jaylen Brown. He’s got high upside and athleticism but isn’t a good shooter at this point. Could be a small forward version of Marcus Smart. The Celtics had an underwhelming draft and didn’t make a splash even though they had 8 picks and tons of other assets to play with.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves now have the final piece to their puzzle with Kris Dunn. Skies the limit now with the NBA ready point guard in the mix.
  • Phoenix Suns added some untapped potential with Dragen Bender and Marquesse Chriss. If one of the works out this draft will be a huge success. Love their draft.
  • Thon Maker was picked 10th by Milwaukee Bucks. (I’ll just leave that here so it sinks in).
  • Skal Labissiere and Deyonta Davis both fell way down the boards with Skal picked 28 and Davis picked in the second round. Skal was projected as a top 3 pick before the season and Davis was in the top 10 of many mock drafts including the last College Pride Press student mock draft. This makes Ivan Rabb and Thomas Bryant’s decision to stay in school look really good.
  • Thon Maker was selected 10th by the Milwaukee Bucks. Maker had been in hiding in Canada playing high school basketball. He never played top competition avoiding the best tournaments and some events to showcase his skills and yet the Bucks still took the risk on this mixtape sensation. He has tons of potential but lots of baggage. No one truly knows how old he is as rumors have come out that he could be as old as 24. He also has a guardian who is more like an amateur agent for Thon and his younger brother Matur.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder improved greatly by picking up Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis via a trade for Serge Ibaka. This adds to their team now with very valuable role players but can add potential in case a certain small forward leaves this summer.
  • Aaron Gorden did not have a good night as the Magic traded for a player that plays his position and then drafted another forward.
  • Golden State isn’t to worried about losing Festus Ezeli. They just drafted his younger long lost twin in Damian Jones. Jones will fit perfectly into Ezeli’s role.
  • Wade Baldwin got picked by the Memphis Grizzlies. This pick was to perfect not to happen. The tough and long Baldwin will be a solid player for the Grizzlies. He will not be forced to be a leader with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph already in the fold. (I did have this pick in our mock draft. #subtlebrag).
  • One of the thoughts crossing my mind was the number of the draft picks from underperforming teams. UNLV had two draft picks after being horrible last year. Washington had two first round picks after missing the tournament. Vanderbilt had two first round picks and they didn’t make it to the first weekend of the NCAA tournament getting knocked out in the first four. This blows my mind how teams with two NBA players on them cannot be near the top 25 or at least in consideration for the NCAA tournament.
  • Mini rant over. Jamal Murray to the Nuggets is perfect next to Emmanuel Mudiay. Those two will lock down the backcourt for years to come. The Nuggets also picked up Malik Beasley who can be the third wheel of that backcourt. Be sure to catch a Nuggets game next season.
  • Atlanta Hawks picked up two first round picks that I like in Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry.Two very talented wings who will carve out nice roles for the Hawks next year. If they can retain Al Horford and add some guard depth they can be right at the top of the eastern conference again.
  • The Chicago Bulls really intrigued me with their pick. They will likely lose their starting front court from last season and they selected Denzel Valentine late in the lottery. I don’t love this pick at all. Chicago can’t decide whether to start a rebuild by trading Jimmy Butler or continue to compete by filling an immediate need. Valentine doesn’t fill an immediate need for the Bulls and after 4 years of college their isn’t much upside left in his game.
  • The LA Clippers made a huge splash with their late draft picks adding Brice Johnson, Diamond Stone, and David Michineau. Johnson and Stone can be valuable backups for Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin. Michineau is a young draft and stash point guard who can add value in years to come. With the limited resources available, Doc Rivers made some great picks here to help his team immediately and add some upside for the future. They were a wing player away from being the biggest winners of the draft.
  • Here are a few of the second round picks I wasn’t a fan of:
    • Zhou Qi to Houston….right after drafting Chinanu Onuaku
    • Marcus Paige to the Milwaukee Bucks. Yogi Ferrell didn’t go through a season long shooting slump, just remember that.
    • Jake Layman to Portland. At least Pat Connaughton will have a buddy on the bench.
    • Abdel Nader to Boston. I would rather go undrafted if I am Nader. Boston has to many mouths to feed even on their D-league affiliate.
  • Boston Celtics picked up Ben Bentil with one of their many picks. Bentil can be a really good player in the league and I hope he doesn’t get lost in the shuffling of players in Boston. Boston has so many young players that some of them slip through the cracks (i.e. James Young). Hopefully Bentil can get onto the roster and earn some playing time.
  • Tyler Ulis was picked in the second round by the Phoenix Suns. If John Calipari were to coach in the NBA he would want to go to Phoenix as they have five guards on their roster that played for the University of Kentucky.
  • 31 underclassmen go undrafted showing us that the new combine rules haven’t made that much of a difference. Here are some of the players who went unselected. (I am a college basketball guy so I am very biased on this).
    • Cat Barber could have played alongside a 5-star guard and international forward who scored 91 points in a game with Omer Yurtseven at NC State.
    • Troy Williams turned down a top 10 ranking and Assembly Hall for the life of the undrafted free agent.
    • Tim Quarterman and Isaiah Taylor were rarely talked about through the process but they turned down opportunities to play another season with some really talented teammates.
    • Devin Williams of WVU and Wayne Selden of KU could be fighting for a Big-12 title. Now they are fighting for non-guaranteed contracts.
    • Jalen Reynolds would’ve made Xavier into a top 10 team next season.

It is tough to see those guys go undrafted after leaving college eligibility and education on the table. We wish them all well in their ventures. The NBA draft did select a surprising 15 college seniors which seems like a lot. The 15 were not all second rounders either as Buddy Hield, Kris Dunn,  and Denzel Valentine were all lottery picks. We wish all the players the best in their NBA careers and hope they can come back to campus next season to support their team like we do every game.

Be sure to look out for our NBA Draft recap podcast this weekend and we will breakdown all that went on Thursday night!


Brad Kreppel

Indiana University ’18

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