The NBA Draft was a night where the ACC led the way with the most players drafted with 8 and also a night of winners and losers, here they are.
1) Brandon Ingram
Behind much deserve fan fare and hype, Brandon Ingram is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. It begins an exciting chapter into a new beginnings as the Lakers bid farewell this past season to Kobe Bryant. Ingram joins a roster with youth still in guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Julius Randle and joins new head coach Luke Walton in his bid to solidify himself as a star in the NBA. Ingram at 190 pounds will need to put on about 20 more pounds to bang with the NBA wings and big men of today, and it should be of no issue, as word on the street is, he’s eating everything in sight.
2) The ACC
The ACC led the way for the NCAA with 8 players drafted when the night concluded. Worth noting, a record 14 international players were drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft. In a night that saw some fans disappointed and bewildered, truth be told, this wasn’t a very strong draft class for the NBA from an NCAA standpoint. 31 NCAA players were drafted compared to 26 international players, so if you’re paying attention, you may want to look into the overseas option vs. the college option when exploring the NBA, just saying.
3) The Oklahoma City Thunder
Shortly before the draft, the Thunder put Serge Ibaka on the trade market. The Orlando Magic did not hesitate in giving the Thunder the “keys” to keeping Kevin Durant by offering Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilysova, and the draft rights to power forward Domantas Sabonis for Ibaka’s services. This instantly gives Oklahoma City 3 solid players to add more depth as well as another wing defender and 3-point shooter in Oladipo, who can certainly spread the floor with Durant/Westbrook on the floor. Also, not going to lie, Domantas Sabonis on the floor potentially with Stephen Adams is probably going to give teams nightmares. Lets dub them the “Bash Brothers” now, two very physical guys on a very physical team in the Thunder. Look out.
1) Anthony “Cat” Barber
Even though the ACC saw 8 players drafted, it could have been 9 with Cat Barber on the board, however, it was not such a true event. While being a “loser” in this case is no dig, what Barber has to realize NOW is what the NBA Draft is all about: best fit for players who are in a risky position. Unfortunately, Barber was on the downside of risk by entering his name in the draft early, as was freshman Deyonta Davis out of Michigan State who saw his name fall all the way to the 31st pick. However, all is not lost for Barber as he is expected to play in the NBA Summer League with the New Orleans Pelicans, who drafted Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma with the sixth pick.
In a draft that saw a record 59 underclassmen declare for the NBA draft, a record 31 players also went undrafted. With the inability to return to college for these athletes, the options remain limited: overseas or the NBDL. Even with the NCAA’s new rule allowing players to be evaluated before enter the draft permanently, players still took a risk and now some players have limited outlets to recover. Granted, the NBA is not a guarantee for every player but one has to expect something can be done to allow players in this position to develop and still potentially afford an education as a backup plan if the NBA doesn’t work out. The league average of underclassmen entering since 2006 is roughly 42 players. This season there was clearly an influx.
3) The Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic front office must know something us smaller guys don’t to make such a big offer for Serge Ibaka. To top it all off, getting rid of their #8 pick (Domantas Sabonis) and drafting 7 footer Stephen Zimmerman out of UNLV with the 41st pick left most fans wondering if the Magic knew what they were doing. The Magic still have a stable of bigs in Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucecic, Dewayne Dedmon, then add Serge Ibaka to the mix and you’re really left wondering what they’re going to do with another big man, let alone a young 19 year old who will definitely need a few seasons of experience before seeing max playing time. It remains to be seen what will happen going forward, but I really hope the Magic can nab a guard in free agency to play with Elfrid Payton in the backcourt.
For more extensive draft grades and coverage, check out Sam Vecenie’s NBA Draft grades as well.