The NBA Draft is a time for teams and fan bases to rejoice in the addition of new fresh talent joining the roster. Struggling teams get the chance to land the perfect players to help them rebuild, or a contender can find young talent that can grow within the orginization. Draft day trades are frequent, and often times we can easily see which teams got screwed over on draft day rather quickly.
Many times there are teams that either make huge mistakes during the draft, or players get drafted just a moment before their pick is on the clock. For ever single draft day steal, or for ever team that gets the exact player they wanted, there is always teams that end up losing on draft day.
Here we are taking a look at the teams, players, or others that won the 2017 draft, and highlighting those who should feel unsettled after watching their teams blunder away this summer's draft.
15 Winner: The Process
The Philadelphia 76ers may actually see the results of their extreme tanking finally pay off. The prize in this draft was Markelle Fultz, and Philly went out of there way to land the homerun pick. The team looks like it may start trying to be competitive, especially with Fultz lofty goals of becoming MVP next season. With Fultz, the Sixers gain a point guard that is NBA ready and one of the best pick and roll ball handlers any draft has seen in recent years. Sam Hinkie's plan looks like it has finally paid off, and if the rest of the Sixers young core can stay healthy, particularly Joel Embiid, the Sixers should be in playoff contention and possibly more in the next couple season. Sam Hinkie may be out in the front office, but The Process is still at large in Philadelphia.
14 Loser: Woj's Twitter Followers
Adrian Wojnarowski is the king of the draft. When it comes to sources, Woj has all of them. Trade talks throughout the day were announced, and everyone rejoiced at the possibility of blockbusters being announced via "Woj Bombs." In reality, Woj was spoiling all the draft picks early on. Those who followed him during the draft though were seeing the picks five to ten minutes before Adam Silver walked to the stage. For many, this ruined the experience of the draft, as everyone knew the picks before they were made. This isn't a knock on Woj in the least bit, as he is simply doing his job as an insider, but those who were following him, or those who had tweet notifications set up for him, lost the suspense factor during the event.
13 13. Winner: Minnesota and Chicago
This trade was announced by Adrian Wojnarowski right after the first pick was selected, and this trade couldn't not have been better for both teams. For Chicago, they instill a youth movement, getting three players under the age of 25. Two of the players, Zach Lavine, and Kris Dunn fill a point guard position that was lacking, since the team only has Rajon Rondo to fill that role. They also get the best shooter in the draft, Lauri Markkanen. For Minnesota, they gain an All Star to pair with their front court force Karl Anthony Towns. A backcourt featuring one of the best passing guards in Ricky Rubio, and one of the best defensive wings in the league in Butler can be a force, and gives Minnesota some much needed shooting from the backcourt. Andrew Wiggins and Butler should be able to lead Minnesota to heights they have not seen in quite sometime, meanwhile Chicago gets a haul for their star, and can focus on getting younger.
12 Loser: Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers were expected to do big things during the draft. They had three first round picks, and had been linked to big trades throughout the day. Paul George and the return of Lamarcus Aldridge had been thrown out as possibilities, and many people were expected them to move up and grab someone who could make an impact. They did neither, as they traded the 15th and 20th pick to Sacramento to draft Gonzaga backup Zach Collins. The Blazers already have a 7-foot player who can't guard anyone in Meyers Leonard, and Collins looks to be similar. Blazers fans are not happy about this, and it looks like the fan's biggest request of the night was not made. Blazer fans were begging for their to be a trade involving some of their bigger contracts, Evan Turner, Allan Crabbe, and the mentioned Meyers Leonard. None of this was accomplished, and it looks like the Blazers may not make the leap they wanted to in order to get a higher seed next season.
11 Winner: Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte fans have a lot to buzz about after this week. After getting Dwight Howard for basically nothing, the Hornets finally drafted someone to help their back court shooting. After settling on 7-foot big men for what seems like eternity, the Hornets finally draft a player that can make a difference in their offense. Monk could start along side Kemba Walker right away, and even though that could be problematic defensively, the Hornets are loaded with wing players that can make a difference on that end. The Hornets received Dwight Howard for pennies, and was able to shed Miles Plumlee of their books, and received a player that many people thought would go top five earlier in the season. Monk was a steal after he was still on the board after the eight pick, and to get him three picks later is a win for sure.
10 Loser: Indiana Pacers
The Pacers had a golden opportunity to maximize Paul George's trade value during the NBA Draft, but were not able to get a deal done. It sounds like it was the Pacers who were too picky on the return for a player that says he is leaving next summer, and possibly closed the doors on future talks with teams that have multiple assets to offer Indiana for George. It was reported that the Celtics, directly after drafting Jayson Tatum, were discussing trade talks regarding Paul George as a rental for 2017-18. Boston is the team with more assets than any other team in the league, and any asset is better than someone who will leave next summer. The Pacers may being playing the long game, waiting for someone to panic and trade for the All Star, but time is ticking because of his impending free agency.
9 Winner: John Calipari
As long as multiple draft picks keep getting picked in the first round, including three in the lottery this draft, John Calipari only increases his reign on top recruits. Kentucky is a national powerhouse due to Calipari's ability to get top recruits into the league, and this year was no different. ESPN even gave Calipari screen time to talk about his recruits and his relationship with his former players. He was actively recruiting on national television, talking about how great his program was, and how important it is to get kids into the League. During his screen time, hundreds of potential college recruits saw a coach who knows how to help their goals of getting into the NBA, and that may have been more impactful of a moment than watching so many of his players get drafted this year.
8 Loser: Four Year Seniors
This was a draft of freshman, with a record of them drafted in the first round. This included the first 11 picks being players who were one and done. This means that those who stayed in college for four years, like many players did in the past, were left falling in the draft or were not drafted at all. Only two seniors were drafted in the first round, coming in as the last two picks of the draft. The college landscape is changing, and the recent success of players who are staying in college for as quick as possible is hurting those who choose to pursue an education and work on their games before they hit the NBA. These type of players are slowing becoming extinct in the draft, as NBA teams would rather have a player be developing under their system, as opposed to staying in school for an extra three years, almost the length of a rookie contract.
7 Winner: Russell Westbrook
The Thunder have nailed their draft picks throughout the last decade, so it comes as no surprise that Sam Presti was able to land 6'7 shooting guard Terrance Ferguson and pair Westbrook with an actual shooting guard. Ferguson played his one season outside of high school overseas, playing in an Australian basketball league. Although he did not get many minutes overseas, he showed promise as someone who can be an elite defender and someone who can shoot the three. Westbrook has been a one man team offesnively, and if Ferguson can play like he did in high school, lighting up the Nike Hoop Summit shooting 7/11 from three, that will alleviate some pressure. Ferguson may have a chance to start by the end of the season, and with Andre Roberson being a free agent next summer, Westbrook may have just got his new backcourt mate of the future.
6 Loser: Tyler Lydon
Tyler Lydon would have been a higher pick if he came out last year, helping carrying Syracuse to one of the more improbable final four runs in recent memory. His stock was certainly high after his performance in March, but decided to come back to school for his sophomore year. During that season, he disappeared often. Whenever Syracuse needed a bucket, it was the likes of John Gillion and Tyus Battle taking charge as opposed to Lydon. Syracuse would have been able to make the tournament if Lydon played like a player worth a first round draft pick, and his draft stock this summer was hurt by his disappointing play. He also showed up terribly out of shape, registering the highest body fat percentage out of any player that was measured. Lydon may have been drafted still, but lost out on a higher draft selection by going back to school and not being able to produce.
5 Winner: Phoenix Suns
Phoenix was involved in many trade rumors during the week, and they ended up getting the player they wanted all along. Throughout the summer, it looked like Josh Jackson would be off the board by the time the Suns had a chance to draft, as many people had him as the number three player in the draft. Jackson refused to workout for the Celtics, and that could be due to how much Phoenix was enamored with him. It looks like the love is mutual with this pick, as Jackson has expressed how excited he is to join this young team. The Suns are trying to build something around Devin Booker, and pairing him with an athletic monster like Jackson will help bolster the Suns on both ends of the court.
4 Loser: Old Tweets From Draftees
Mark Cuban has been a huge advocate for players deleting all their old tweets before they start the draft process. For players like new Dallas Maverick Dennis Smith, that may have bee a great idea. People on Twitter will find embarrassing tweets on draft night, as it has happened for numerous years. Zach Collins was also a victim of this, as many of his old, awkward tweets became viral throughout the night. Many tweets become public, and some that referenced players getting drafted by teams that they hate, like Jayson Tatum tweeting that his favorite team was the Lakers. Players cannot risk old tweets going viral, as it can ruin the perception a fanbase has of a player before they even step foot on an NBA floor.
With all that being said, let us enjoy old O.G. Anunoby tweets, showing his ladies man lifestyle:
If your girlfriend says hey to me that's our girlfriend now idc— O.G. Anunoby (@OAnunoby) February 23, 2014
3 Winner: Jawun Evans
Possible the best pick in the second round in terms of fit, Evans will be going to the Clippers to man the point guard position while Chris Paul is off the court. Evans was the best pick and roller player in college basketball last season, and contributed to most of the Cowboy's offense last season. His game translates perfectly for the Clippers, as Evans has never had someone to run the pick and roll with as effective as Blake Griffin or Deandre Jordan. The opportunity should be there, with Jerry West taking over team operations, who knows how long Austin Rivers will remain in the NBA. Evans will have the ability to learn the game behind Chris Paul, if he stays in L.A., and if Paul leaves Evans may see an huge opportunity for minutes very quickly.
2 Loser: Oregon Ducks
The Ducks had national title aspirations during the college season, and many players believed that once they left Oregon, they would be first round draft picks. Tyler Dorsey, Jordan Bell and Dillon Brooks all thought they would be able to join rosters early on in the draft, meanwhile Bell slipped all the way down to 38 being drafted by Chicago. Bell was being talked about as a mid 20s pick, and possibly higher, being linked to Portland at 15. Bell fell out of the first round, which is something that he was not expecting after his breakout tournament performance. It was not all that bad for Bell though, after being draft by the Bulls, the Golden State Warriors swooped in and paid Chicago a significant amount of cash to acquire him.
1 Winner: Big Baller Brand
Love them or hate them, the Ball family is on top. Lavar Ball has claimed that he knew all of his son's life that he would be playing for the Lakers someday. As crazy as the man may have seemed, Lonzo Ball's talent warranted him going this high in a draft that was loaded in the top ten. Ball will now have the ability to play in one of the biggest markets in all of sports, and it is not only a great opportunity in terms or playing time and style of play, but also for his brand. Big Baller Brand might actually start selling shoes now that he will be playing for a city surrounded by people willing to spend that type of money to support their player. Lavar will have as many media opportunities as he wants, and will have the ability to try and make the largest self made shoe brand in all of sports.
Lavar's antics are insane, but Lonzo's talents have not been affected by them so far, and now he has the biggest opportunity to shine.
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