After the NBA Draft several fan bases were left shaking their heads while several were elated with how their team picked and plucked in this iteration of the draft.
There was very little surprise that Karl-Anthony Towns the versatile freshman big man from Big Blue Nation would go number 1. The number 2 choice, however, was the subject of much debate in the hours leading up to the draft with several prospects being mentioned as possible new Laker Gold. Jahlil Okafor of Duke and D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State, both freshmen phenoms, were the two most mentioned as probable picks for Laker GM Mitch Kupchak.
Ultimately the Lakers went with guard-play and chose Russell over the 6’10 Okafor. Most believe that picking Russell means that the Lakers will try to pick up, through free-agency, either Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins or LaMarcus Aldridge. Neither of these possible acquisitions are a sure thing but with the Laker history and the chance to play with two talented guards and injured power forward Julius Randle, the Lakers should be able to reel in a center talent.
Only in New York!…
Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks also had a head-scratcher of a night with the pick of Latvian power forward prospect Kristaps Porzingis. The 7’1 big man is, by all accounts, a very skilled prospect, adept at shooting from beyond the arc and scoring off the charts in terms of intangibles.
The problem for most Knick fans, or at least the more vocal ones is that he is considered, by most, a prospect, a project that will take a few years to be a viable starter in the league.
Understandably, drafting a player that the Knicks don’t think can help the team immediately leaves Carmelo Anthony in an awkward position. The 6’9 forward has a small window of time left in his career to win a championship and was surely hoping for a player that would aid in that process sooner rather than later.
Doubling down on Anthony’s frustration was the trade of Tim Hardaway Jr., a player that Carmelo had taken under his wing and established a rapport with. Hardaway was one of the few bright areas in a very forgettable Knicks season.
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Justice Winslow, the do-it-all swingman/small forward out of Duke University was expected by some to go within the 5-9 range. Winslow ended up at 10 to the Miami Heat in one of those rare instances where sliding in the first round actually helps your cause.
Winslow lands on a team with a great coach and recent success.
While teams passed on the 6’6, 225 pound small forward the Heat knew they got a gift and a dynamic player who not only can guard multiple positions but already possesses NBA strength and intangibles.