The NBA Draft was held on Thursday evening at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn and was the first major event of the new offseason.
All things considered, the draft was pretty straightforward in terms of player selections. There were not many surprises in the actual order they were taken, and the relevance fades fast after the top 10 selections or so as always.
Deandre Ayton from the University of Arizona was selected as the top overall pick in the draft by the Phoenix Suns while Duke’s Marvin Bagley went second to the Sacramento Kings. Previously, the second spot seemed like a tossup between Bagley and EuroLeague superstar Luka Doncic of Slovenia.
I never understood the dilemma between Bagley and Doncic and think the Kings easily made the right decision. The jump from the college game to the NBA is hard enough and hard to judge, but that of the EuroLeague to the NBA is an even harder code to crack. The route from Europe to the NBA has produced a lot of great talent, but a lot of busts as well. Bagley was one of the most dominant players in the college game as a freshman and played under the legendary Mike Krzyzewski.
Instad, Doncic was chosen third overall and responsible for the draft’s biggest surprise. The surprise was not where he was selected, but rather who did the selecting. The Dallas Mavericks traded up to the third spot in the first round with the Atlanta Hawks to add Doncic, who can now endure his transitional period with a player who has done it before. Not just any player, but Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki is originally from Germany and played for DJK Wurzburg of the German League for four seasons until he was noticed by some of the game’s top stars and scouts. He was selected ninth overall in the 1998 NBA Draft at the age of 20 and has been with the Mavs ever since. He has become something of a hero in Dallas after he took down LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.
The only things Doncic and Nowitzki have in common are their employer and the continent they call home, but it is certainly a great ally to have if you are trying to make it at this level.
The rest of the top ten picks in the draft went as follows: Jaren Jackson Jr. of Michigan State to the Memphis Grizzlies, Trae Young of Oklahoma to the Atlanta Hawks (spot traded from Dallas), Mo Bamba of Texas to the Orlando Magic, Wendell Carter of Duke to the Chicago Bulls, Collin Sexton of Alabama to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Knox of Kentucky to the New York Knicks and Mikal Bridges of Villanova to the Phoenix Suns (spot traded from the Philadelphia 76ers).
The NBA Draft is unlike most others because of the limited availability of difference makers. In an intricate sport like football, there are more spots to fill and a reason to keep tabs until the very end. They also have an immediate impact (or a lack of one) because there are no feeder leagues like most sports.