This draft was deep. Real deep. There was legitimate first round value available in the second round this year. That doesn’t happen very often. Last year, first round value was hard to come by anywhere. But this draft was unusual. Teams weren’t as stupid as usual! We didn’t have any Charlie Villanueva or Dion Waiters-like unexpected picks, or Anthony Bennett for that matter. The lottery went, for the most part, as most people predicted. There were some minor hiccups. Noah Vonleh slid a little bit. Aaron Gordon went a tad higher than people expected. Maybe, some people thought Embiid would slide a few picks further. But other than that, things were pretty rational, and that’s saying a lot for NBA GMs! Toward the second half of the first round though, things got a little frisky, as always. Some obscure Brazilian guy no one had ever heard of was chosen 20th! No really, like no one even knew who he was. He didn’t even show up on a single one of Chad Ford’s ten mock drafts, or however many he ended up doing. And the Hornets inexplicably appeased LeBron’s demand that the Heat get Shabazz Napier. The Hornets drafted Napier, and before the entire basketball universe could rejoice over the future 30 for 30 documenting Napier and Kemba Walker reuniting in the pros, Napier was informed he’d been dealt to the Heat. But aside from some of those crazy story lines, there were a couple of very good players that slipped unnecessarily far in the draft.
Harris inexplicably fell to the 19th pick, as part of a trade that sent him and the 16th pick Jusuf Nurkic, both Chicago picks, to Denver in exchange for Doug McDermott. Scouts apparently had concerns over Harris’ size, being a 6’5″ 205 pound shooting guard. Those measures don’t seem that small. He has a smaller frame than some other guards in the draft, but he’s one of the only true two-way players in this draft. Anyone who saw Harris knows he, not Adreian Payne, was Michigan State’s best player. Harris should have been a borderline top 1o pick last night. He might not have the potential of someone like Zach LaVine, but he is much more of a sure thing than LaVine. And Harris’ game is more rounded out and versatile than James Young’s game. Every year, NBA GMs overthink things with a couple prospects at the last second. Harris was projected as a lottery pick leading up to the draft, and then 24 hours before the draft, he slipped because of some lack about his size. The Nuggets got a guy who will make their rotation next season and stay in the league for years to come.
This was one of the most predictable picks in the draft. Of course, the Spurs get a Boris Diaw clone with the last pick of the first round. Everyone knew Kyle Anderson was underrated. He’s not athletic, and doesn’t score the ball. Those are the two most noticeable characteristics that fans judge their favorite team’s draft picks on. But Anderson knows how to play basketball. He’s a perfect for the spurs. He’s a great passer, and easily the most unique player in the draft. The Spurs almost always get that guy who slips way too far because he’s not as athletic. And then Spurs always make the rest of the league feel dumb for not seeing what they saw in that player. The Spurs already move the ball better than any team in the league. Adding Anderson to the mix will only make them more selfless.
I think everyone was confused why Early was sliding last night. He should have been a first round pick last night, easily. The only thing going against him is his age. He’s 23 years old for the draft, that is very old. But Taj Gibson was 24 when he was drafted a few years ago. And he’s been more productive than most of the other players drafted in that 2009 class. Early will be able to contribute right away. Questions about the competition he faced at Wichita State are completely misguided. All you needed to see was how he played in the past two NCAA tournaments. Especially the game last year’s tournament against Kentucky’s NBA-loaded roster. Early scored 31 points off 12-17 shooting. He hit 3’s, he scored in the paint, and he held Julius Randle to 13 points.