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The draft and free agency in this offseason was supposed to be a prelude, but when two former MVPs want to bolt their team and become available via trade, the ripples will be felt in both conferences.
Before free agency, the 2020 NBA Draft was held. This class was largely inconsequential, and it’s unlikely that one team’s destiny could turn around with the players drafted here. However, we should take note that the last draft class that was as lowly regarded as 2020 was the 2013 Draft Class.
It is quite ironic that the 2013 class was the most recent to produce an MVP — a two-time MVP with Giannis Antetokounmpo. In contrast, the 2014 class, which was supposed to be loaded with “franchise players,” turned out to be the most disappointing. Pundits can be wrong. Very wrong.
The top tier
Despite overtures and insinuations to the contrary, the top tier of the draft still turned out to be Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball. Edwards still ended up No.1, and no one could sway the inevitable Wiseman to the Golden State Warriors prediction. The hope is that they have a younger Kevin Durant on their hands.
Younger, taller and maybe even more athletic, but you take all the skills that made Durant the “Slim Reaper.” They’re hoping that skills can be taught, otherwise, this could be another Stromile Swift situation.
The Hornets would not draft LaMelo Ball because his father taunted Jordan on live TV. Since His Airness always takes everything personally, he would not draft LaVar’s son, even if he is the rightful choice.
Here’s one thing we all need to know about LaVar Ball: he is a novelty — a basketball clown if you want to put it that way. He knows it, and that’s why he says the things he says. Everyone in the NBA knows not to take him seriously and proceed with life like he doesn’t exist. The sooner the fans know it, the faster we get rid of this running joke.
LaMelo has played in the top 3, from No.1 to No.3. Critics said he’ll fall as far eighth place, based on the notion that Jordan would let him pass. That was all propaganda, possibly from the New York Knicks (who will pick at 8th) or the Ball camp themselves (who want him to go to the biggest market Knicks). Jordan ain’t that bad an owner.
There’s not much fluctuation of talent, but high-ranked Tyrese Haliburton, who was projected as high as No.4 right after the top three, fell all the way down to 12th place with the Sacramento Kings.
Sure, the field from fourth to 12th was always in flux. Sometimes you see Killian Hayes, or Isaac Okoro, or Devin Vassell (he’ll be a great fit with the Spurs) right after the top tier, but most of the time, Haliburton was on the upper tier. For him to be the last guy on the bottom rung of the second level was hard to predict.
The Sacramento Kings will banner a young backcourt duo of DeAaron Fox and Haliburton, and if Marvin Bagley returns to his form when he was at Duke, the Kings could become a survivor in the cutthroat Pacific which now features the two LA teams and the rejuvenated Phoenix Suns.
Side note: The Pacific also has the Golden State Warriors as contenders until the sad news regarding Klay Thompson. His season ends now that he has an Achilles injury. The playoff hopes of the Warriors are squashed — unless Wiggins gets serious and Wiseman lives up to his potential.
Another draft still was Tyrell Terry of Stanford. The highest riser during the pandemic (yes, they still ranked them even when they weren’t playing) Terry was projected to make it to the middle of the first round. He fell into the second round, into the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. He is bound to be Luka Doncic’s running mate.
The Mavericks traded Seth Curry to play with his father in law in exchange for Josh Richardson. Now Terry can fill in Seth’s role.
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