There are always a few surprises, like that guy you drafted you thought was 21 turns out to be 26. Funny, but really that mistake by the Timberwolves was moot because Tanguy Ngombo was never going to play in the NBA.
But there were some surprises when the picks still mattered. Here are the three things that caught me off guard the most.
San Antonio Spurs take Corey Joseph at No. 29. Corey Joseph was going to get drafted, although probably in the second half of the second round, when all the guys considered more risky get taken. He is quick, he has a good shot, but he was an undersized combo guard and scouts were not that high on him. The Spurs were. In a lot of cases this is where I would say “what are they thinking?” but with the Spurs everybody suddenly asks, “what did I miss that they saw?” We’ll see how it pans out, but nobody saw this coming.
Cleveland Cavaliers take Tristan Thompson at No. 4. Make no mistake, Tristan Thompson can play. And you don’t want to put too much stock in his struggles in a couple games of the NCAA Tournament. He can block shots, rebound and you can’t teach length. But they passed over Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesley and other guys many teams had rated higher. This was a surprise because if you are Cleveland right now you need to take the best player, you need the talent, and nobody else had Thompson rated this highly.
New York Knicks take Iman Shumpert at No. 17. Knicks fans hate this pick. I don’t hate it, the guy is one of the best athletes in this draft so they took a calculated risk with him. Not a bad plan in a draft full of risks. But with a good wing defender like Chris Singleton and a rebounding machine like Kenneth Faried on the books, was this the best choice? Did raw athletic guy really address a need? It’s not that this pick was bad that makes it surprising, it’s who the Knicks had Shumpert ahead of on their draft board that shocks. They need defense and Singleton provides it for sure, can Shumpert?
The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.
He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.
Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.
Young, via TMZ:
“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”
Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:
Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.
The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.
Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.
So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.
The Knicks have the No. 8 pick, and tomorrow’s draft will be the most important part of their offseason.
Will they also have cap space to add talent in free agency? That hinges on Enes Kanter‘s player option.
If Kanter opts out, New York will have even more room to operate thanks to Kyle O'Quinn declining his $4,256,250 player option.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Knicks expected this for a while, and they’re probably not disappointed. Steve Mills and Scott Perry want to put their stamp on the franchise. O’Quinn is a leftover from the Phil Jackson era and a reminder of the recent tumult in New York.
O’Quinn’s combination of block percentage (6.1) and defensive-rebounding percentage (27.8) was unmatched last season. He just really struck a nice balance between contesting shots and remaining in position on the glass. He’s also a smooth mid-range shooter with an improved ability to distribute.
How much is that player worth?
It’ll be a tight market, especially for bigs. For his sake, I hope the 28-year-old O’Quinn already has assurances from other teams. He might get a similar salary or, more likely, a larger overall guarantee on a multi-year deal. But it’s also possible he comes out behind by testing free agency.