Three takeaways from 2019 NBA Draft
The 2019 NBA Draft is over, and quite a few interesting things happened.
Picks were swapped and players rose on the boards, while others remained unclaimed longer than expected.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday's draft in Brooklyn:
Pelicans and Hawks came up big
The New Orleans Pelicans and the Atlanta Hawks both brought in sizable hauls of young talent in 2019.
The Pelicans secured the field's most coveted player in Zion Williamson and managed to turn the fourth pick into two more first-round selections, via the Hawks. The Big Easy also added Texas big man Jaxson Hayes and a poised Virginia Tech Guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Not a bad night's work considering they will form a young core alongside Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and other promising youth.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) June 21, 2019
Atlanta, on the other hand, moved up from eight to snag one of their top targets — Virginia's De'Andre Hunter. They also got Duke's Cam Reddish at number 10 to compliment budding stars like Trae Young and John Collins.
Both sides appear to be stacking valuable assets for the future.
Phoenix made some questionable decisions
The Phoenix Suns made some interesting choices on draft night.
Phoenix are clearly in serious need of a point guard and probably had the worst depth at the position last season. But they neglected to pursue a floor general, despite entering Thursday with the sixth overall pick. The Suns instead elected to trade back and surprisingly drafted UNC's Cameron Johnson with the 11th pick and passed up on top prospect Coby White. They also parted ways with TJ Warren in an apparent salary dumping effort.
It appears like Phoenix could be preparing to pursue 23-year-old Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell, who is close friends with Suns star Devin Booker. Russell is coming off a career year and made his first All-Star appearance in 2018-19. He could become a restricted free agent this offseason and could drastically improve Phoenix's backcourt if Brooklyn move on from him.
The Suns are reportedly interested in acquiring a veteran point guard as well though.
Some notable names saw big drops
Some players were projected to be drafted in the lottery, but fell further back than expected.
Among the draft's most notable names to slip were Brandon Clarke, Nassir Little, Kevin Porter Jr., and Bol Bol.
Clarke could have gone anywhere in the first round and was expected to be picked in the lottery in some mock drafts. But the undersized forward out of Gonzaga landed with the Memphis Grizzlies at number 21. Little and Porter dropped to the Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers at 24 and 30 respectively.
But one of the biggest surprises was Bol, who dropped to the second round. Worries about the foot injury that kept him out for a large chunk of 2018-19 and his slim frame were likely significant contributing factors to his slide.
All of these players are talented and could turn out to be huge steals in this draft.
Plenty of pieces could be still be moved in the coming weeks, but next season's NBA rosters are beginning to take shape as next month's summer league approaches.