The 2019 NBA draft was a fun one. Before we go into free agency mode, let’s recap last night with its biggest winners and losers.
Loser: Phoenix Suns
Phoenix is eventually going to turn things around but last night didn’t help that cause much, if at all. They made a few trades before the draft began highlighted by trading down to the 11th pick, trading away TJ Warren, and getting back Dario Saric. Warren is underrated but they wanted to get rid of his contract, so whatever. It’s hard to imagine Saric helping much after coming off a pretty poor season. Drafting Cameron Johnson at 11 is mind-boggling. They could have traded down much further and gotten him. Johnson’s injuries are concerning and lacks real potential. Not exactly a night worth bragging about in the desert.
Winner: Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks’ build toward being a showcontinued last night. Atlanta was active and moved up to the fourth pick and selected De’Andre Hunter. A few picks later they added Cam Reddishto play next to their core of young players. The Hawks already had a high-ceiling roster centered around Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and John Collins. Hunter and Reddish project to fit well with them and the team projects to have one of the brighter futures in Eastern Conference.
Loser: Bol Bol
Despite having his dream come true, this wasn’t an ideal night for Bol Bol. Bol fell all the way out of the first round after being invited to the green room. Even with injury concerns, it was shocking to see that type of fall. And his night of surprises wasn’t over once he was finally drafted 44th overall. The Heat right away sent him to Denver in a trade.
Safe to assume the Nuggets got a player with a chip on his shoulder.
Winner: New Orleans Pelicans
To no surprise, the New Orleans Pelicans are this year’s biggest draft winner. They drafted the most hyped prospect in years in Zion Williamson and as a result, will be seen on national television regularly. David Griffin’s wheeling and dealing got the Pelicans some great value, as well. Griffin turned the fourth and 57th pick and Solomon Hill’s contract into the eighth, 17th, and 35th picks in the draft. This led to Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, two players that can help grow the Pelicans into becoming a factor again alongside Williamson and the trio of young former Lakers.
Loser: New York Knicks
Adding RJ Barrett to a team is not a loss. But it’s what it could have been for the Knicks. Though this was expected since the ping pong balls fell, this was still a losing night for the Knicks, their city, and their fans. Their tanking didn’t work out as they fell just short of the two players in the draft that have star-potential. Adding Zion Williamson or Ja Morant would have gone a long way for the Knicks free agency appeal, which as we know, is what really matters. Barrett isn’t going to help in that area, and as a primary option, doesn’t have a skill set that translates to wins for this team anytime soon.
Winner: Social media
It’s never a great feeling to award social media a win for all the harm it causes, but let’s be real, it won last night. Twitter was actually a fun, happy app/website during the draft. Together users got to enjoy a few players early on getting emotional with just some fantastic interviews. There were tears, smiles, laughs, family moments, and even some solid jokes. Social media also had a lot of fun with the suits, which were spectacular. Of course, this was led by Bol Bol who had one of the best draft outfits in years. Check it out:
There were some upset fans online about players wearing the hat of the team that traded them, but overall it was a positive night on the web.