After a lot of trades for a few days that went ahead – Chris Paul to Phoenix, Junior Holiday to Milwaukee – the 2020 NBA draft was set to be a wild night full of surprises and bold trades.
Then it followed the form too much. It wasn’t dull, but it lacked “I did not see that coming” Moments that we have come to expect from the NBA.
Nevertheless, there were winners and losers. Let’s break it all down.
Winner: The Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte needed a star player, an alpha, a north star by which to determine their direction. Which player is the most capable of reaching that level in this draft? Lamello Ball – and he fell to the Hornets at No. 3.
The ball is a 6’7 guard point guard with impressive handles, a true gift for watching and passing the floor, as well as some deep (if inconsistent) shooting range. If he works on his shot, if he improves defensively, if he adjusts to making better decisions when faced with an NBA defenseman, Ball can be an All-NBA player. There are plenty of people around the league who don’t believe he can reach that potential, but if he does, if it hits the pick, the Hornets get their star.
Taking Gamble becomes the Hornet winner on draft night, even if the ball is not quite pan.
Winner: Anthony Edwards
If you draft No. 1, you are the winner. No matter how much basketball you watch.
He should also fit well on the wing offensively between D’Angelo Russell and Carl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota. If this team can stop, they are in a good place.
Loser: NBA fans looking for adrenaline rush of big trades
Minnesota was on the phone when they had to decide to take No. 1 before the final minute, and then they took Anthony Edwards. Golden State was more than willing to trade the No. 2 pick for the right offer, but they ended up taking James Wiseman.
And so it went on all night. In a draft where every player had flaws and the team was across the board on prospects, no one was willing to price the board to take serious steps. The teams were placed extensively. There were a handful of trades, but the most interesting one was not about the draft, but about Josh Richardson moving to Dallas and Seth Curry to Philadelphia.
Winner: Denny Avadija and Washington Wizards
Everyone is a winner here. The Wizards are winners because they did not think the 6’9 ″ point forward would fall to No. 9 (too many fake drafts had them going to No. 4). Avadija is the ball-moving secondary playmaker on the wing who can fit in well with the explosiveness of John Wall and Bradley Beal (or Russell Westbrook, if you want to play that game).
Aviza won the Zoom meeting, which was a draft because he had the best background ever – a restaurant filled with bottles of wine. Or his wine cellar. Wherever we were, we all wanted to be there.
“Hey dad can I do my draft interview in the wine room?” -Dini Awadija Probably pic.twitter.com/iQuTeVR24n
– Dr. RJ Bokomino (@rjboccomino) 19 November 2020
Winner: Sacramento Kings
Sacramento is the winner of this year “I can’t believe he fell to us” award, but he took advantage of it and drafted Tyres Haliburton at No. 12. This is a polished guard who can play the ball next to D. ‘Aaron fox and also point him back. He should fit in well with both of the big handles. For a team trying to make it to the playoffs, it was a strong pick.
The Kings also performed well in the second round. Robert Woodard, a 6’7 man swingman out of Mississippi State, is a good athlete with NBA wing size and has the ability to play either forward if he can develop. Guard Jahmius Ramsey is another strong second-round pick out of Texas Tech. Overall, the Kings performed well on the night.
Winner: Patrick Williams
No one rocked the draft boards like Patrick Williams in the final week, 6’8 of ahead of Florida State. There was a pre-draft report that the Bulls could take him to No. 4, and they did just that.
If it is a Bulls victory then we will see in a few years. Williams has the physical tools to be one of the best players in this draft, but he is also raw and Chicago is confident that this is a player development program. But Williams himself is a winner, picking up a quality pair and landing on a team with other promising young players and an interesting future. Things could not have been much better for Williams.
Loser: Phoenix Sun
The Kings have made this offseason very well, especially for Chris Paul, but their draft-night moves were quite poor.
They could draft Haliburton, but instead made early access to Maryland big man Jalan Smith. This is an odd fit for a team that already has DeAndre Ayton in five (unless Aten wants to be a four, or Smith as a four, which he is not). Most teams saw Smith as a late first / early second round pick; The Sun traded 10 places, yet brought it up and selected a second-round player.
The thing is, the Sun did the same with Cameron Johnson last year. Those who do not learn from history repeat it.