The wait is finally over. We had the NBA 2017 draft and it did not disappoint. Basketball fans have been counting down the days until this year’s draft as soon as we realized how special the high school class of 2016 was. And, we weren’t disappointed when the first 11 picks (minus Frank Ntilikina because he didn’t go to college) were one and done players. Some teams took advantage of the talent and added multiple franchise pieces, and others flopped at the opportunity to add the talent to get them over the edge. So without further introduction, here are my draft winners and losers.
In my opinion, the Kings won the draft. They were able to get the player they loved, and were willing to trade up for, at their original pick, De’Aaron Fox. Then they traded their 10th pick to Portland in exchange for picks 15 and 20 in which they selected ACC player of the year Justin Jackson and former number one overall recruit Harry Giles, who has unfortunately been plagued by injury, but has tons of talent. Fox and Hield will definitely be a backcourt to reckon with and if you put them alongside the possible front court ofJackson, Giles and Willie Cauley-Stein…watch out. I can tell you first hand from talking to Fox and Giles that the Kings added a couple of humble superstars and for once, the Kings, have a bright future. Not to mention that they were also able to snag the AP player of the year (Frank Mason) in the second round.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland has one of the best backcourts in the NBA, but their front court, is what holds them back from being a force in the West. Well, they may have just solved that problem. The Blazers had three picks in the first round and definitely made it worth while, trading 15 and 20 to jump up to 10 and draft a seven footer who can also shoot, in Zach Collins. And, they were also able to add a very productive big man who I love, Caleb Swanigan. The Blazers addressed their needs and made the moves necessary to fill them with talent.
A deep draft calls for a third winner, and the Charlotte Hornets had a great week. Although Dwight Howard isn’t what he was, he is still a very serviceable big man, and the Hornets got him for a good price. They also added big time player Malik Monk (I was praying my Knicks would take him). Monk has the potential to drop 40 on any given night which in my opinion will make him a superstar. They also were able to acquire my favorite sleeper in this year’s draft, Dwayne Bacon, he has an NBA body at 6’6″ 220 but also has the athleticism to be a 3 in the NBA. Both Monk and Bacon can be huge help to Kemba Walker, especially in the scoring category.
The Raptors have always been a competitive eastern conference team, two years ago they took the Cavs to 6 in the eastern conference finals, only to get swept the next year. I was waiting for the Raptors to make a move, and add a significant piece that could help them beat the Cavs, but it just didn’t happen. They had one pick in the entire draft and settled for Indiana’s OG Anunoby who is very good defensively, but doesn’t fill the Raptors need of another scorer. I felt that in this draft, the Raptors really could’ve made a move to add a key piece to the backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan, but they settled for another project, while everyone else keeps building.
This draft was really special to me because it was the first class I really followed all the way through high school, then was able to meet most of them at the McDonald’s All American and Jordan Brand Games and then enjoyed watching them have very successful one and done years at the top college programs. It’s really crazy to think that just 14 months ago I pulled Markelle Fultz aside on the streets of Chicago and interviewed him, and now he’s the number one pick in the NBA Draft. Good luck to all of these players, lots of exciting talent entering the NBA.