By Ollie Nash
The rumoured top three picks were proven correct. Photo: CBS Sports
The 2020 NBA Draft is not considered to be one that will produce superstars like the 2003 Draft did with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. It has however, provided some great role players that will be able to contribute straight away and in the future on very good playoff teams. This is what I did and didn't like from the 2020 NBA Draft.
Cole Anthony was one guy who showed how much being drafted meant to him. Photo: Cole Anthony Instagram
THINGS I LIKED
Emotion shown by the players and families
Being drafted is always an emotional time. Every player and family has been through their own separate battles and hardships to get to this point and to see it pay-off is undoubtedly an amazing feeling. It felt like more players than ever cried after hearing their name in the 2020 draft though, representative I think of the tough year the world has endured. COVID has flipped everyone’s world upside down; the NCAA Tournament was cancelled, as was any form of organised or pick-up basketball and players didn’t get to enjoy the usual pathway to the draft. To finally be through that experience and be on an NBA team is no doubt a thrill and it showed on Thursday.
Obi Toppin to New York at pick eight
There’s mixed feelings on this pick, especially from Knicks fans, but I love it. New York have been a basket-case for over 20 years now. They’ve attracted one superstar, Carmelo Anthony, during that time, missing out on guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Their culture is non-existent. What they are getting in Obi Toppin is a New York native, a Knicks fan, someone who loves the franchise and the city and is going to go all-out to put them back in contention. They just drafted their culture for the next 10 to 15 years. Were there guards they could have taken that may fit their team needs more? Probably. However, culture is everything in sports and the key to success. Toppin provides this, now the Knicks can build a team around him and R.J. Barret and give their fans some hope for the future.
Isaac Okoro will be a welcomed defensive presence in Cleveland. Photo: John Reed/USA TODAY Sports
Isaac Okoro to Cleveland at pick five
A great pick for the Cavaliers but probably one of the places Isaac Okoro least wanted to go. Immediately he becomes the best defender on Cleveland’s roster, with that comes the pressure and fun of having to guard the oppositions best player every night. He can guard multiple positions and is a great character guy for a mostly young and inexperienced Cavs roster. Like a lot of players in the draft, given the weakness of it, there are some significant areas for improvement. His comes on the offensive end, shooting 29 percent from the three-point line and 67 percent on free throws this season at Auburn. However, if you were an NBA team and had to pick an area for your draftee to be good at out of either end of the floor, it would be defence coupled with competitive mindset. Okoro has that in spades. Shooting and offence is something that can be improved easier once in the league, but it’s hard to teach toughness and defensive instinct.
Tyrell Terry to Dallas at pick 31
My housemate Will nearly had a brain aneurism when Tyrell Terry dropped out of the first-round, so I had to give him a shout-out once his man finally landed in Dallas at pick 31. Kevin O’Connor believes Terry is the steal of the draft and had him at eight on his big board for The Ringer. He shot nearly 41 percent from deep this past season and moves well off the ball, which is so valuable in the Mavericks system with Luka Doncic. Dallas traded Seth Curry to Philadelphia for Josh Richardson, seemingly opening up that spot in the rotation for Terry. Potentially a Tyler Herro type who will play a significant role right away in helping Dallas advance further in the playoffs.
Landry Shamet will fit nicely alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Photo: Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
Landry Shamet to the Nets
In a three team trade, Landry Shamet and pick 57 (Reggie Perry) went to Brooklyn, Luke Kennard and pick 55 (Jay Scrubb) to the Clippers and Detroit received Rodney McGruder and pick 19 (Saddiq Bey). Lots has been made of the Clippers win in getting Kennard and I agree, but Shamet to Brooklyn is a huge win for the Nets. If they manage to bring back Joe Harris, they now have two elite spot up shooters who can also hit from deep at pace off screens. With the ball dominance of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, these are the players that become so valuable. Don’t need a lot of the ball but can be impactful when given the opportunity. Big win for Steve Nash and the Nets.
THINGS I DIDN'T LIKE
LaMelo Ball’s kit
LaMelo Ball is a high-roller and has been in the limelight since he was 12, I know that. But seriously the kit he rolled with on draft night was one of the all-time worst. Diamon-studded shoes, black-suit pants and jacket with his personalised Puma logo stitched onto the back, a chain with his logo on it also and a rich-man’s version of speed dealers. I’m a Ball family fan and can’t wait to see him play, but c’mon man, do better.
Anthony Edward’s comments
I love Anthony Edwards and entering the draft he was my obvious number one pick. Has that clear drive and intensity to be effective straight away and made enough big shots for Georgia that I am confident he will make it work in the NBA. However, he literally said he’d rather play NFL and would drop basketball if an NFL team offered him a deal. I feel like it’s been glossed over as a comment, but that is something that would be worrying for me if I am Minnesota. Now, as long as that offer from an NFL team doesn’t come, I think he’ll give everything to the franchise, but the whole sequence was a bit fishy for me.
Suns skipping on Tyrese Haliburton
This is not a hate party on Jalen Smith who Phoenix took at pick 10, he’s a player that can fit into their system right away. However, the Suns missed out on Tyrese Haliburton, a really talented combo guard who would have come on in leaps and bounds learning from Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The guard spots are where the Suns need to add depth too, currently with Cam Payne and Jevon Carter backing-up the superstar starting duo. The pick would have made sense in the short-term and the long-term for the post Chris Paul era. A potential big miss for Phoenix.
The NBA needs guys like Klay Thompson playing, a star. Photo: AP Photo/Steve Dykes
Klay Thompson Achilles tear
It’s not specifically draft related but it happened on draft day so I’m counting it. This f****** sucks. Like a lot. An ACL and now an Achilles, they are two of the toughest injuries to endure. It means we are going to miss out on the Warriors fighting their way back to the top of the Western Conference and we are going to miss out seeing Klay Thompson do miraculous Klay Thompson things for a second straight season. One of the best characters in the NBA and one of the best two-way guards we’ve ever seen, let’s hope for a big comeback in 2021-22.
That’s all folks
I was going to have five things I liked and five I didn’t like, but I couldn’t really think of a fifth, so instead of being a sad-sack, I’m going to leave it at four. Positive vibes everyone, enjoy your weekend.
Cover Photo: Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution