Diego – Yes indeed! Draft Day has arrived and I for one am excited as hell. I believe my compadre Scottie can say the same. This will be the first ever live running diary in Champagne of The Locker Room history so we will make this an entertaining one. These are our unfiltered thoughts as we watch this draft unfold. We will cover the first 15 selections.
You ready Scots?
Scottie – You know I’ve been waiting on Draft Day! Cue my music! “It’s the most, wonderful tiiiiimmeeee of the yeaaaaaarrrrr!”
Diego – Ok, most projections have Arizona’s Deandre Ayton as the #1 overall pick to Phoenix, after that pick, its a crapshoot….I can’t wait for these selections, man. I wish I was a GM LOL!
Scottie – Some team should hire us NOW!
And now….the selections….
#1 – Phoenix – Deandre Ayton – Highlights
Dion – I’m so intrigued by this kid, he has the look of a surefire Hall of Famer. To me, it’s all about if he wants it or not. Package some of those spare parts and pick up some shooters and you have now have the makings of a real team. I’m loving the fact that even with an ever-changing league, the big man is still gonna be a glamour position, as it should be.
Scottie – What a non-shock. However, what I’m hype about is that although the League wants to be all run & gun/pace & space, we KEEP seeing evidence that the day of the big man is FAR from over. Ayton is a monster in the best way, and I really hope the Suns leave him and Booker alone so they can work out chemistry. Hey Suns…go get a competent point guard and some SHOOTERS and let these boys COOK. Vibe-wise, Ayton gives me the good parts of Dwight Howard in a bigger, better-coordinated body with a bit less explosiveness. I can’t wait to see how teams like the Warriors and Rockets try to solve Ayton once he starts putting it together. Not quite a no-brainer pick, but taking Ayton instead of Doncic shows me that they’re resisting the urge to play a thousand wings at once.
#2 – Marvin Bagley III – Sacramento – Highlights
Dion – LOVE the pick for Sacramento. Bagley can flat out do it. If you are 20 and 10 at Duke, you can play. I love his quick twitch jumping ability and his instincts. I absolutely hate Duke but talent is talent. I loved everything I saw from him this season.
Scottie – Okay Sac-Town! FINALLY a top pick actually WANTS to play there. Bagley plays his TAIL off and that’s what you need for culture change. Again, looking at their roster, they’re committed to D’Aaron Fox at the point and allegedly, Vlade Divac wasn’t sold on Doncic, but this is a GOOD pick. I don’t like the Chris Bosh comps because Bagley is more of a run and dunk guy right now but he’s got all the tools…he could evolve into having the kind of stretch game Bosh did because his skill level is high. Sacramento could become the new Lob City with Fox tossing oops to Bagley and Cauley-Stein.
Hawks and Mavs agree to swap #3 for #5, #StayTuned
#3 Luka Doncic – Dallas (via Atlanta) – Highlights
Dion – I’m not 100% sold on Luka only because of his lack of elite athleticism. Everyone raves about him and I guess they know more than I do. I keep seeing Mario Hezonja in my head and I know they aren’t the same players. I’m still wondering if his name was Dion Johnson would he be a 3rd overall selection with that lack of athleticism.
Scottie – Cue my music! “My name is Luka, I live on the second floor…” I’ll go out on a limb…best international prospect we’ve seen since…Porzingis…he’s a safe bet simply because he was dominant against grown men in the 2nd best basketball league in the world. His EuroLeague stats speak louder than putting up similar numbers in the NCAA. Now if he goes to the Mavs, he’ll have a great tutor in the greatest European player ever in the NBA in Dirk. Now, they’ll have Luka next to Dennis Smith, Jr., who will take a lot of pressure off him. I’m not sure he’ll be a sure-fire star immediately, or that his ceiling is SUPER high, but his floor is higher than most of the guys in this draft…he’ll be a solid NBA player. Great passing and feel for the game, although I think the Harden comps are a bit crazy…he DOES seem more like a guy who will have a knack for making plays than a guy who will dominate with speed and athleticism. Again, no issue with this pick…and who wouldn’t want to play for an organization run by Mark Cuban?
Dion – I bussed out laughin at that “My name is Luka” music cue…
#4 – Jaren Jackson Jr – Memphis. – Highlights
Dion – Very high ceiling but huge bust potential IMHO and thats only because of his draft selection position. I thnk he’s gonna have a Michael Kidd-Gilchest esque career (solid NBA performer, great defender, never a star) unless he is able to knock down shots from 3 like his dad.
Scottie – Sooooo…at some point I’m going to write about how basketball has become a suburban sport and how the children of pros have jumped WAY ahead of the pack. Also, shout out to Jaren Jackson, Sr., who was a pro’s pro and worked his behind off to make himself a serviceable NBA player. Also, I have to mention how Jaren Jr. somehow got a JC Penney’s endorsement and wore a tux from them…smart and practical. As a player, he scares me a bit because the Griz are banking on him being a big guy who knocks down shots…it’ll take time for him to figure it out but I like that he’ll have Mark Gasol as a tutor on how to transition to the current game as a big man. I trust his background and environment to help him figure it out but it’s going to be a while.
#5 – Trey Young – Atlanta (via Dallas) – Highlights
Dion – TREE YOUNG ALERT! What a rise for this kid from this point last year. He was must see TV from November – laste January. Then the other Big XII schools had film on the kid and his flaws were magnified on the big stage. This may be a little high for my taste but I love the kid and Atlanta needs someone to put butts in the the seats. If he pans out, he will be a star…if not, he’s Trey Burke.
Scottie – Trae HAS to be the most polarizing player in the draft. Most seem to think he’s either Steph Curry, Jr. or will be in Europe in five years. He was super fun to watch as a college player and he’s more than a shooter…he can find people and is an underrated finisher. I can’t wait to see him in an NBA where you can’t touch him on the perimeter and there are four other guys out there you have to guard….it could get ugly. Smart pick by the Hawks but I’m not sure what this means for German Rondo (Dennis Schroeder)…you can NOT play them together in the same backcourt. Personally, I think you may have been able to get him lower in the first round but the Hawks had to do SOMETHING to make a splash. Smart pick for him and I’m glad to see that his late season swoon didn’t sour people on him. Also, I’d bet cash that Steph tries to tear him apart the first time they square off…gotta love it.
#6 – Mo Bamba – Orlando – Highlights
Dion – Great value pick for Orlando, who is desperately in need for one of these lottery picks to finally hit. Aaron Gordon has become a solid pro but the Magic have really suffered by missing so many times with these selections. Mo Bamba should be an All-Defensive team member sooner better than later.
Scottie – WINGSPAN MO!!!!!!!!!!!! 7’10” is an INSANE amount of space to cover…he’s intriguing for that alone. What impressed me is seeing how thoughtful he was in interviews…seems like a really good, grounded kid. The Magic are going to love him, and they’re building a team with a lot of length. Also, he’s got a lot of offensive tools to uncover…solid perimeter mechanics and a great pick and pop feel…I’d personally like to see him dive and cut a bit more to challenge at the rim. At his best, he’s Rudy Gobert defensively with 3-point spot-up range. So far so good with these first six picks. Everything makes sense so far…but this is also about where that top tier of guys runs out…it’s about to get interesting.
Dion – This is where the draft gets tricky, what do the Bulls do at #7? I’m guessing a wing…which wing is the question.
#7 – Wendell Carter – Chicago – Highlights
Dion – Welp, I was wrong. Duke center Wendell Carter Jr is the pick. I dunno how I feel about the Gucci Print Prince Hakeem scarfy blend he’s rockin but whatever, he’s a millionare. A lot of experts believe he is the better pro prospect than Bagley.
Scottie – Wanna know how great the Bulls of the 90’s were? They’ve been TOTALLY inept since Mike and Phil left. Also, this Wakanda Forever Gucci Print is WILD. So as far as the pick, I don’t know about it…he’s probably the best player on the board, but he’s a bit of a boring choice for them. Him and Lauri Markannen up front, Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn in the backcourt…I’m not buying it but I’m pretty sure he’ll be a solid building block. Good hands, solid moves in the paint and pretty low bust potential. I don’t LOVE the pick, but at this point in the draft, you gotta grab the most value possible.
Now WHAT will the Cavs do here? Personally, I think Lebron is staying and will pick up that option on his contract to give it another year…the Cavs say they’re just going to make their pick and let the chips fall.
Dion – I’d hate for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to get taken here.
#8 – Colin Sexton – Cleveland – Highlights
Dion – Colin Sexton. Someone who could really become a star. One thing I love about him is his sheer competitiveness. He is explosive and really fast downhill.
Scottie – AVERY JOHNSON SIGHTING!!!!!!!!!!! I LIKE this pick for Cleveland…whether Lebron stays or not, they need somebody who can play on the ball and give Lebron some rest. He’s aggressive, will defend big time and attack on offense…I REALLY like seeing they get somebody with some DOG in them. I think he could be good for the Cavs culture. Sexton is the kind of kid I LOVE to coach. Can you tell I’m a fan? His jumper needs some work and his decision-making can be scary at times, but I think playing with the most cerebral player in the game might help, know anybody like that who could be back on the Cavs this season?
Dion – He definitely has that dog in him….
Scottie – The Knicks are on the clock, so I’m pretty sure foolery will ensue shortly…
#9 – Kevin Knox – New York – Highlights
Dion – SHIT! I love the pick for the Knicks. Kevin Knox is going to shock a lot of people. He is going to score the basketball. Very versatile and was very clutch this past season for my Kentucky Wildcats.
Scottie – Cue my music! “And I rock Kentucky BLUE on these &@#%!!!!!!” So…I LIKE Kevin Knox, I really do…and he’s the 2nd youngest kid in the draft…but he’s a LONG way away. Actually, I said that about one of my favorite players so I’d be happy to be wrong again here. The Knicks have a bunch of guards already so I get why they didn’t go with Gilgous-Alexander, but I SWORE they’d go Porter here…Knox COULD actually be better than Porter down the road and he doesn’t have the nasty injury history so I get that part. Knox projects as a shooter although he didn’t make as many shots as I would’ve liked to see for a “shooter”. Really like the kid, not crazy about the pick here, but if anybody sees a Knox Knicks Jersey, cop that and send the bill to my guy Diego.
Dion – LOL!!!!!
Scottie – Bridges HAS to be the guy here, right?
#10 – Mikal Bridges – Phoenix (via Sixers) – Highlights
Dion – The perfect pick. The Villanova kid to the Sixers. Mikal Bridges to me is Trevor Ariza 2.0. I am a huge fan of his game. He won’t be just a spot-up shooter once he develops his role. I’m expecting his teammate to be drafted very soon….possibly at #15…….
Scottie – And Scottstradamus strikes again! Wait, Bridges’ mom is an HR executive for the 76’ers parent organization, isn’t there some rule that prohibits drafting your own kid? So let me say this, the Process Continues! Bridges is exactly what Philly needed…older, mature, super solid, does EVERYTHING and will fit in with the guys they have. He’ll knock down shots and relieve them from playing some of their current guys too much on the wing. If I weren’t a Wizards fan, I’d be REALLY happy about this pick. With all the turmoil in the 76’ers front office, they’re fortunate that they landed where they did to have such an easy selection here.
#11 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Los Angeles Clippers (via Charlotte) – Highlights
Dion – SGA!!! One of the biggest risers I’ve ever seen in one season in all my years watching college basketball. He’s a combo guard and excellent defender, still a work in progress offensively but he didn’t take a lot of bad shots and that alone is a skill. He got better and better every game once he entered the starting lineup.
Scottie – ANOTHER Kentucky guy! I liked seeing this kid improve over the course of the year. This year’s Cats didn’t have much in the way of shooting so he didn’t always has as much space to work in but as a guy who can play in both backcourt slots, he’s shown the ability to get to the rim and make plays. AND he’s Canadian…everybody likes Canada. Seriously though, I’d love to see him play in the backcourt with Malik Monk with that second unit.
Woj says SGA is heading to the Clippers for #13 and two other 2nd round picks. The Clippers haven’t had solid guard play besides CP3 for a while now and I know they’ve been seeking a long-term solution at the two. Doc’s really going to like him.
Dion – SGA to LA….they will have two solid dogs defensively with Patrick Beverly and SGA.
#12 – Miles Bridges – Charlotte (via Los Angeles Clippers) – Highlights
Dion – As a Wizards fan, I’m blown, I’m a huge Bridges guy. Charlotte needs a pick to hit especially since they will probably lose Kemba Walker in the near future. He does everything I like mid-round picks to do. Great athlete, solid defender, great finisher….you will see posters on SportsCenter. He’s a hooper, I don’t care what position he’s supposed to be slotted in, he will compete and shine. I can even envision a couple of All-Star selections from this kid in the future.
Scottie – MAN I wish the Clippers could keep this pick. I’ve been a Miles Bridges guy for a while now, he’s got a lotta toughness and is SUPER bouncy. He’s a bit undersized to play the 4 in the league but he’ll settle in at the 3 in the NBA. Great feel for the game but still has to clean up his skill set to not be a liability with the ball in his hands. He’ll definitely put a few on dudes’ heads in the league this season, and I hope he’s in the Dunk Contest…the question is whether he’ll figure out his jumper and handle enough to be more than an “energy” guy.
Dion – So…..Michael Porter Jr?
#13 – Jerome Robinson – Los Angeles Clippers – Highlights
Dion – Whoa….I’m slightly surprised here. My homie who played at BC (Shout out to the homie Byrd) said he really likes the kid so I’m just going to go with what he said about him. I’m not going to act like I know a whole lot about him.
Scottie – Romey Rome…a bit of a reach here for me. I know he was rising but this feels a bit high for him. I think he may be a tweener in the bad sense where you’re not quite sure what he does for you nightly. He can get you a bucket, but is he a lead guard? Maybe you play him with SGA and let them just figure it out? Let’s see how this one plays out.
Scottie – Mike Porter Time?
#14 – Michael Porter Jr. – Denver
Dion – UGH! My Wizards just aren’t lucky man. Porter Jr could have gone #1 overall last season. This steep drop is injury-related only. This kid has a chance to be something special. Tall and fluid with a pick-and-pop game in his bag already.
Scottie – Diego called it, he wouldn’t fall below Denver and this is a GREAT spot for him. However, if I were Denver, I’d “redshirt” him for this season to make sure that back is healed. He’s a GREAT risk to take this far into the first round. He’s a guy who can play with the ball in his hands, I can’t wait to see how the ball moves with Porter and Jokic. Gary Harris and Jamal Murray, I LOVE the talent they’re pulling together out there. He can guard all along the front line and facilitate the offense while Harris and Murray move off the ball and hunt shots. I’d take a look at some of the action Golden State uses for Steph and Klay while Draymond Green is facilitating. Porter can be SCARY good but back injuries are tough to overcome…I hope we get a chance to see how good this dude can be in the league.
#15 – Troy Brown (Washington) – Highlights
Dion – UGH AGAIN. No offense to Troy Brown, who may become a serviceable player…but you have no centers worth a shit and you have Robert Williams sitting there. Or you could have atleast gotten a possible dynamic backup for Beal in I’m done with Ernie Grunfeld….BEEN DONE! Good night ladies and gentlemen!
Scottie – My Washington Wizards, ladies and gentlemen. We need a pace-changing guard, we need another big man…but ooooooooohhhhh no, we pass up ALL of the options to fill those needs for TROY BROWN…who is a SOLID player, but makes no sense for the team that I watched all last season. Now let’s see what other moves Ernie has up his sleeves, but if we don’t get help behind John and someone else besides Mahinmi or Gortat to turn to, maaaaaannnn. Either way, now I’m rooting for Troy Brown to live up to that Iggy comparison…let’s go Wiz.
Dion – Well, that was fun until our Wiz pick! Thank you Scottie for doing this running diary with your boy!
Readers, I hope you enjoyed our unfiltered thoughts. See you at Summer League!
Scottie – Always a great time my dude, except for #15 SMH. Happy Offseason!