Outside from the start of NBA free agency in July, and the trade deadline in February, the NBA Draft is one of the best times of the year for basketball fans. However, despite the plethora of trades rumors that are posted to every website and social media network, rarely do most ever come to fruition. But following the conclusion of the NBA Draft, betting sites had already voiced their feelings on the winners and losers of the NBA Draft by updating odds for teams to win the NBA championship. Even Vegas offered offer prop bets for this year’s NBA Draft so that bettors don’t have to turn to offshore bookmakers.
Now, it’s important to note that there were established NBA stars that were traded during the draft, so these odds weren’t just based off who was drafted. However, taking everything into account, there were some obvious winners and losers in the 2017 NBA Draft. With that said, here are three winners and losers:
Philadelphia 76ers – Trusting the process is really looking like it’s about to work out in the end. The Sixers have promising potential studs in Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons. Now they have added a potential superstar player in Markelle Fultz. Don’t forget that Philly has plenty of trade chips left in the form of draft picks, Robert Covington and Jahlil Okafor to use towards bringing in another piece in a trade. Look out.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Initially I was torn about adding them to the “winners” section because their acquisition of Jimmy Butler wasn’t a draft pick. However, you can make the point that right now Butler was easily the best player acquired by any team during the 2017 NBA Draft. Now the T-Wolves have a team that looks like they can make a serious playoff run and depending on the continued growth of players like Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns, they might only be a player or two away from becoming a serious threat to the Golden State Warriors.
Sacramento Kings – This might be the first time the Kings have been on a “winners” list since the days their GM, Vlade Divac, was actually playing for them. But with the drafting of De’Aaron Fox, then turning the 10th pick into Justin Jackson and Harry Giles following a trade with the Blazers, the Kings put together a great core to go with Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Tyreke Evans and Ben McLemore. Second round pick Frank Mason also has upside. The Kings have pieces and young players to build around. That hasn’t been said for a while.
New York Knicks – Boss, Phil Jackson, needs to be fired by owner James Dolan who needs to fire himself – AKA sell the team. First, Jackson was taking calls on potentially trading Kristaps Porzingis – the only good player he’s brought in. Then decided that taking reportedly the number three and seven picks overall – in addition to either Jaylen Brown or Jae Crowder, wouldn’t be enough and that next year’s highly coveted Brooklyn Nets pick would need to be included. Kristaps Porzingis might be a future superstar in this league and he’s well on his way to becoming a very solid player, but Jackson could have flipped the roster had he done this deal and the Knicks could be sitting with this:
PG – Dennis Smith Jr.
SG – Malik Monk,
SF – Josh Jackson
But instead they ended up with:
Frank Ntilikina from France who’s said to be a few years away from even becoming a potential decent player in the NBA.
Sorry Knicks fans.
Boston Celtics – Some thought GM Danny Ainge looked like a genius flipping the first pick into the third pick and potentially another top five pick next year. Let’s face it, on paper the Celtics didn’t need another guard at the moment, right? But by trading the first overall pick, Markelle Fultz, to a division rival, could come back to haunt the Celtics in a big way. The Celtics might have Isaiah Thomas as their star player, but he’s turning 29 next year and eventually his athleticism is going to begin to decline. If the Lakers’ pick doesn’t land inside the top five next season, the Celtics will be forced to choose the more favorable pick between the Sixers or Kings 2019 first round pick. Oh and neither of the picks will go to Boston if it happens to be the number one overall pick of any of the drafts.
There is a very good chance that the Lakers will be much better next season – especially if they land Paul George. Judging by the Kings recent draft, in two years they could be much better than they are now as well. And we all know that Philly looks like they are well on their way to getting out of the basement by 2019.
Thus, the Celtics might end up making one of the biggest mistakes that will go down in history with the Blazers passing on Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant. Boston fans are praying Fultz ends up being a bust – or at least Jayson Tatum becomes the next Paul Pierce.
Chicago Bulls – Out of all the potential trades that were offered to Chicago, they decided to ship Jimmy Butler for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and seventh pick, Lauri Markkanen. Plus, the Bulls had to give up their 16th overall pick.
To add insult to injury – pardon the pun – LaVine is coming off an ACL tear that happened a few months ago.
Markkanen is a seven-footer who projects as basically a stretch four in the pros – where Nikola Mirotic plays. Neither player plays much defense, but both can shoot the ball. Mirotic is probably more rounded, but Markkanen can absolutely stroke the ball from deep. How they both fit in is beyond me, but the hope here must be that Dunn turns out to be worthy of his number 5 draft position last year and LaVine can bounce back when he recovers. That’s a lot of “ifs.”