>NBA Draft Winners and Losers

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By Josh Levine

There were more winners than losers in last night’s draft. When the draft concluded I thought most teams made out well, not too many reached and most went after positions of need verses best available player. The Celtics, Bobcats and Jazz all did well in their slots and the Bucks made a great trade to acquire Steven Jackson and shed some dollars. The Kings went all-in on Jimmer Mania and I’m honestly so torn about it I can’t include because I can’t determine if they won or lost. I also can’t give out winner grades to the Cavs and Wolves because I think getting those top picks makes you a winner already.

Winners

Nuggets: The thought of losing Nene clearly influenced their board when they went with Kenneth Faried with their first round selection. Getting Jordan Hamilton in a trade with the Mavs was a steal, he’s got the ability to make up for any of the guys they may lose this summer in Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and/or JR Smith. Acquiring Andre Miller for Raymond Felton was a good idea. Ty Lawson needs more time on the floor to develop and Felton would have impeded that.

Wizards: Besides drafting a sexy girlfriend…err…Jan Vesely, they stood pat with their second first round pick and let Chris Singleton slide all the way down to them. Singleton will be a great fit with the Wizards. He’s a defensive stopper who can make an immediate impact on a rebuilding team and if Nick Young leaves via free agency thats all the more minutes to go to around between he and Jordan Crawford. I love Shelvin Mack, taken in the 2nd rounder, dude is a pure winner.

Warriors: In the Golden State offense Klay Thompson has the opportunity to thrive, pending a trade of Monta Ellis. Other than that, its just a good draft pick. Mark Jackson will find a way to get this kid in the offense and involved very quickly. He has great bloodlines, his father Mychal Thompson was the number 1 pick in 1978 and he came from a program that allowed him to score. Jeremy Tyler has lottery talent but maturity issues are all over the place with this kid. He split last year in Israel and Japan. But overall I like what they did because it allows them freedom to do other things.

Personal Fave – Pistons: I’ve been riding the Brandon Knight bandwagon for a long time now. I fully believe this kid has all the tools to be a great point guard in the NBA and I thought the Jazz should have considered him at number 3. Instead he fell into the Pistons lap as the best available player on the board. He’ll have to contend with Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey for minutes but I think the Pistons will find a way to fit him in. With Knight and Monroe, the Pistons have a nice future.

Trade of the Day -Spurs/Pacers (George Hill for Kawhi Leonard)I thought this was the best trade of the day. It absolutely worked for both teams. I’m sure many Spurs fans hate to see George Hill go but adding youth at a need position was vital to the Spurs. This move changes everything for them. Not only will it free up minutes for Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard will bring defense and energy to a team that looked to desperately need it. In Hill, the Pacers will grab some nice scoring off the bench that Brandon Rush couldnt provide and make a team ready to win now actually ready to win now.

Losers
Rockets: I thought the Rockets took a great opportunity and blew it. They passed on Kawhi Leonard and Chris Singleton to take the second Morris twin, Marcus. I’m sure he’ll be a solid NBA player but the other defensive small forwards had way more upside and clear higher ceilings. The trade for Jonny Flynn also netted them the rights to Donatas Montiejunas, but they also had to give up size in Brad Miller. With Yao’s uncertainty hanging over the entire franchise, giving up size for a high drafted PG who spend time in the NBDL last season doesnt seem like a good idea.

Knicks: Again, another team that passed on Singleton. Maybe myself and all the real draft expects missed something with him, but clearly the Wiz thought otherwise, especially when some had him in the top 12. Instead New York took guard Iman Shumpert. He had come on late as a name to watch as his stock rose but this was definitely a reach. He could fit in well with the Knicks style but he’ll have a tough time finding time with Billups, Douglas and Fields ahead of him.

Blazers: I’m not sure what the Blazers were trying to do last night. They traded away Rudy Fernandez and Andre Miller and acquired the talents of Raymond Felton, which I thought was a great move. Then instead of going with any of the scorers left on the board like Marshon Brooks or Reggie Jackson, they took Nolan Smith. Now if anyone has seen Smith play at Duke for the last few seasons you know hes probably the second coming of Andre Miller. Maybe they thought they had a role to fill but with Brandon Roy’s uncertain future, this team needed a guard who can score in multiple fashions. They didnt get it.

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