The 2017 NBA Draft is officially in the books. With Paul George trade rumors making headlines all week, we thought this would be a wild and unpredictable draft. It turns out that it almost went according to plan, other than that small Jimmy Butler trade.
Here are a few of the biggest winners and losers from last night’s draft.
WINNER: Los Angeles Lakers
Shortly before the draft, the Lakers shipped off D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn in exchange for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick. With the move, the Lakers now have the cap space to offer two maximum contracts next summer.
With the 2nd pick in the NBA Draft the Lakers took UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who some consider the best prospect in the draft. Later in the first round the Lakers also ended up with Kyle Kuzma (27th pick) and Josh Hart (30th pick).
If Lonzo Ball is the answer that his dad claims he is, the Lakers are going to be back in playoff contention as early as the 2017-2018 season. And, if they do land Paul George in 2018, then Magic Johnson just brought the Lake Show back to life.
LOSER: Chicago Bulls
What a mess they were last season, and it looks like that trend continues. John Paxson may be the next Phil Jackson. They gave up their best player in exchange for a few young assets. They landed Jordan Bell in the second round, but then traded him to the Warriors….for cash. Paxson looks like an idiot for pushing the beloved Jimmy Butler out of Chicago. Oh, and if the Bulls do want to go through a major rebuild, they also need to buyout Dwyane Wade’s $24.5 million contract. The Bulls are about to be as messy as the New York Knicks.
WINNER: Minnesota Timberwolves
Speaking of Jimmy Butler, let’s talk about the team that acquired him. Minnesota gained Butler and the 16th pick of the NBA Draft for pennies on the dollar. Wall Street gurus would love the return the T-Wolves received on that trade. With the 16th pick they chose Justin Patton, who will be a great asset to the Timberwolve’s interior. This looks to be a playoff team for next season with a roster including Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns. They can even get better if they choose to contend in free agency.
LOSER: Indiana Pacers
After the news spread of Paul George not returning to Indiana after the 2017-2018 season, it was almost certain that he wouldn’t be on the team’s roster after last night’s draft. Well, PG is still here. Knowing that George will be leaving next summer, Kevin Pritchard had an opportunity to gain assets for George, and nothing happened. Now, the Pacers will lose George next year and be left empty handed, unless something happens between now and then. And don’t forget, with PG still here, that locker room could be a mess.
In addition with Paul George still being on the roster, the Pacers chose UCLA’s TJ Leaf with the 18th pick of the NBA Draft. Although Leaf can shoot, he is a weak player who will need to improve his strength and toughness to succeed at the NBA level. The Pacers also chose UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu in the second round. Anigbogu missed part of last season with a knee injury, and comes with a risk.
The player I felt the Pacers missed out on is Indiana’s OG Anunoby. OG is an excellent defender, where he possesses the ability to defend nearly any position on the court. He can also get to the rim and make an impact off of driving the ball. Yes, he is a work in progress offensively, but he reminds me of another player that has now turned into a NBA All-Star…..Kawhi Leonard.
I am not a fan at all of what the Indiana Pacers did last night. If you thought last year was bad, just wait until you see the turmoil of next season.
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