Last night I was under the influence of a cocktail of antihistamines, antibiotics and pain pills due to a bout with acute sinusitis. I watched the draft in my semi-intoxicated/sleepy state anyway because ball is life, basketball never stops, I love this game and any number of other cliches that express my devotion to basketball.
Here is what I concluded last night, in my semi-conscious state, about what transpired at the 2017 NBA draft.
Danny Ainge is willing to die on the Isiah Thomas hill
Boston Celtics team president Danny Ainge traded down to the number one pick to 3 and selected small forward Jayson Tatum forgoing opportunities to draft elite point guard prospects like Markelle Fultz or DeAaron Fox to supplant their current point guard and sole shot creator Isaiah Thomas, who is approximately 5 foot 2 inches tall.
Thomas was rated as one of the worst defenders in the leagueand seemed genuinely physically overwhelmed against the Cavaliers in the playoffs, both due to his size (or lack thereof). Pundits all year have stated that this isn’t a sustainable brand of basketball and the Celtics lackluster showing against Lebron confirmed that. Danny Ainge is okay with this though.
Phil Jackson wants to get fired so bad
Phil Jackson hates working for the New York Knicks. He hates owner Jim Dolan, he hates Madison Square Garden, he hates the entire tri-state area, he hates Clyde Frazier, and Dave Debusschere, he hates Spike Lee, he has no love for that team whatsoever.
That’s the only way to explain the bizarre manner in which he runs that team. Everything he’s done during his tenure, from extending Carmelo Anthony, to hiring a coach with zero experience in Derek Fisher then firing him, to consistently undercutting current coach Jeff Hornacek and insisting he runs the antiquated triangle offense has hinted at this. Phil’s leadership style is more like sabotage than management.
But he won’t quit because he makes $12 million a year. Sure he may seem like a crazy old kook but even they like money.
Now Phil is trying to undo the one thing that turned out right during his tenure as President of the Knicks: the drafting of Kristaps Porzingis. I sincerely believe Jackson drafted the 7’3″ Latvian with the full hopes that he would be a flop because honestly there was no reason to believe he wouldn’t be. Instead Porzingis has flourished, becoming a borderline all star at age 21. Phil wants to trade a 21 year old unicorn making $4 million a year when his market value is somewhere around $30 million because Phil doesn’t want the Knicks to succeed, he wants to be on the beach in LA collecting $12 million a year.
The Bulls didn’t make out terribly in the Jimmy Butler trade
During the draft the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler and 16th overall pick Justin Patton to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Chris Dunn, Zach Lavine and seventh overall pick Lauri Markkanen. News outlets have referred to the trade as a fleecing of the Bulls on the part of the Timberwolves but I’m not quite convinced.
Though Jimmy Butler is by far the best player in this deal the Bulls were still a middling team on the bridge to nowhere with him on it. In Lavine they received a 22 year old who averaged 18 a game on 45% shooting and in Dunn a top point guard prospect who was picked 5th overall last year, but who never got a fair chance for playing time behind Ricky Rubio. Both of them are on rookie contracts, both of them are physical freaks with a ton of potential.
The Wolves may have gotten the better end of this trade now but in a few years let’s revisit this.
Jonathan Isaac may be the steal of the draft.
Former Florida State forward Johnathan Isaac went sixth overall to the Orlando Magic and as high a pick as it was it may be the steal of the draft.
Isaac may be the best player out of this draft when it’s all said and done. He is a Giannis Antetokounmpo-ish damn near seven foot ball combo forward who runs like a deer, can handle the rock and may already be a more consistent shooter than the Greek Freak.
If he puts it all together the five teams who passed up on him may regret it.
The Kings low-key made out like bandits
I’m a Bahamian. I like conch in any ingestable form, I drive infinitely better in the State of Florida than I do in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and I root for whatever team Buddy Hield is on. It’s just culture.
And in one night Buddy Hield’s Sacramento Kings got a whole lot better with the acquisitions of DeAaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles.
Fox should be one of the better point guards in the league from the moment he steps on the court thanks to his athleticism, defensive tenacity and court vision, and Jackson may take some time to adjust, but I’ve watched him get better during his 3 years at UNC eventually blossoming into its go-to guy in the process of winning a national title. I think he has the work ethic and willingness to improve to make it in the NBA.
Giles is the real wildcard. He was the top high school player in the class of 2016 before tearing both of his ACLs. He spent most of the year trying to recover at Duke and not really doing much before entering the draft. If he can get healthy he may actually be the biggest steal in this year’s draft having been taken with only the 20th overall pick.
Thanks to modern medical advancements there’s no reason to believe he can’t be the revolutionary power forward scouts thought he would coming out of high school. And even if he shows a shadow of that potential and develops into a merely useful NBA big man that would still make him a steal at 20.
Who the hell is Tony Bradley?
University of North Carolina’s Tony Bradley was drafted with the 28th overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers and promptly sent to Utah. Which left me with the question: Who the hell is Tony Bradley?
I’ve watched a lot of UNC games over the past 3 years, including more in-person games than probably any Bahamian not affiliated with this website. I have no memory of him.
Good for him though.
I’m in love with Jayson Tatum’s mom
I kinda went nuts for a couple of minutes after the Boston Celtics drafted Jayson Tatum. The reason: His mom.