The NBA Draft has been very chaotic but exciting in these last few years, and this year was no different. The chaos actually began earlier in the week (Monday and Tuesday) with some trades and trade talks.
On Monday the Boston Celtics kicked it off by swapping picks with the Philadelphia 76ers, trading the first overall pick for the third pick and future draft picks. “We think there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at 3 is the same player we would have taken at 1. So this was a great opportunity to acquire an impactful asset,“ said Celtics President of Operations Danny Ainge.
Next up was the New York Knicks continuing to show how dysfunctional this front office has become. On Tuesday morning Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported that the Knicks would be listening to teams with offers for fan favorite Kristaps Porzingis. This news was met with much criticism from analyst and anger from fans toward Knicks president Phil Jackson.
“Despite how the Knicks are treating their players, Kris wants to stay in New York,” said Porzingis’ brother Janis. “He loves the city and he loves the fans and he wants to win with this team.”
Fortunately for Knicks fans Kristaps was not traded on draft night due to the high asking price. But with Phil still clearly upset with Porzingis for missing his exit interview, it will be interesting to see if Kristaps is back in a Knicks uniform when the season begins.
Finally the biggest move before the draft, happened Tuesday evening when the Brooklyn Nets traded Brook Lopez and the 27th pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for 2nd year player D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.
Brooklyn who should have had the number one overall pick this year but traded it to the Celtics back in 2013, finally trade Brook Lopez who had been on the trading block for most of his Nets career. In return they get Russell who has yet to reach that super star potential the Lakers believed he had. The Nets can only hope coach Kenny Atkinson can get that superstar potential out of Russell.
The Draft kicked off with the top 2 picks going as planned, The 76ers selected University of Washington point guard Markelle Fultz with the 1st overall pick. While the Lakers selected UCLA product Lonzo Ball (and his dad Lavar Ball) with the 2nd overall pick.
Before the Knicks could make their selection, another eastern conference team made the most surprising move of the night. The Chicago Bulls traded superstar shooting-guard Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kris Dunn, Slam Dunk Champion Zach Lavine and the 7th pick.
With the 8th pick in the draft the Knicks selected a point guard from France Frank Ntilikina (have fun trying to pronounce that). He is an 18-year-old 6’5” point guard who is a great defender with the length and ability to guard multiple positions.
Frank was able to make it to Brooklyn and enjoy the Draft experience with his family.
But he had to catch a 2:00 a.m. flight back to France to help his team Starsboug win the French League Finals. The Knicks would go on the finish out their draft with Daymeon Dotson (44TH pick) shooting guard from University of Houston and Ognjen Jaramaz (58th pick) point guard from Serbia.
After their huge trade on Tuesday the Nets came into the draft looking to add more prospects to their team. With their 22nd pick the Nets selected Jarrett Allen a center from the University of Texas. Allen is clearly a raw talent who has the potential to be great defensively and an outstanding rebounder. The Nets would use their 57th pick on Aleksandar Vezekov a power forward out of Cyprus.
“I see my role being a rim protector and me being athletic I will be able to defend guards in the pick and roll too,” said Allen.
Both the Knicks and Nets are coming off of rough seasons and with mostly young players locked into contracts another tough season looks inevitable. Knicks fans can only hope the front office can get their relationships with their players straightened out. While the Nets hope to see their new point guard and young prospects become great contributors.