By Khalid Mohamed
Where to start?
The draft provided countless surprises after being pegged by analysts as a top heavy event with a steep decline after the eighth pick. While the first two selections went according to plan, the night took a considerable left turn when it was Boston’s turn on the clock.
Here’s what happened:
1. The Boston Celtics surprisingly kept their pick after failed attempts to swing a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls, respectively. Selecting University of California freshman Jaylen Brown, the Celtics added a player it seems they didn’t really need. Danny Ainge has a fervent fan-base that’ll be demanding answers. Luckily, Ainge has the support of team owner Wyc Grousbeck.
2. The Phoenix Suns managed to nab the two best big man available not named Ben Simmons. Selecting Dragan Bender with the fourth pick, the Kings than flipped the eighth pick to the Suns who proceeded to draft Marquese Chriss.
3. A word about the Kings: Their work at the draft left many questioning the decision making of vice-president Vlade Divac. At the front of that line is disgruntled All Star center Demarcus Cousins.
Lord give me the strength ??
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) June 24, 2016
4. The Milwaukee Bucks made the biggest splash of the night, selecting Sudanese-Australian Thon Maker with the tenth pick. Originally marked as a mid-second round pick, at 7’1 and a slight 215 pounds, Maker is a project that Jason Kidd and the Bucks seem willing to undertake.
Honestly, this entire section should be a deep dive on the magic of Sam Presti and his ability to weave sorcery so strong that Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan had no choice but to agree to give up Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and their 11th Pick for a player that can ultimately walk for nothing in 12 months’ time. Talk about a gamble.
I’d like to avoid a potentially life altering curse for being the person that exposed Presti’s otherworldly capabilities, instead, let’s take a look at the rest of the nights deals:
5. By trading Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers, the Atlanta Hawks have committed to Dennis Schroeder as the long term answer at Point Guard for the team. Not surprisingly, Schroeder is ecstatic for the opportunity.
— Dennis Schröder (@DennisMike93) June 23, 2016
6. In addition to the Jeff Teague deal, the Indiana Pacers added veteran Thaddeus Young to further shake up the Pacers roster. Team President Larry Bird has publicly committed to rebuilding this team around Paul George with the sole intention of making the team and system catered to George and his skillset.
7. In desperate need of spacing and three point shooters, the Sacramento Kings made the questionable decision to trade Marco Bellinelli to the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets meanwhile add another cumbersome contract, an odd move for a team that would like to resign UFA’s Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lin, and Marvin Harrison.
If the madness of draft day startled you, July 1st should be a day of surprises when NBA free agency opens. Teams will have to learn how to handle the new cap increases on the fly as some of the richest free agent deals in league history will be signed. That is, until 2017!
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