2016 NBA Draft Recap: Top Steals and Worst Reaches
The 2016 NBA Draft did not lack for intrigue on Thursday night, as things got crazy immediately after the (expected) top two picks. Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram both went exactly where experts predicted they would, but starting with the Boston Celtics at the third overall pick, the draft quickly went off the rails.
There were trades, there were reaches and there was major steals. To gauge which teams won out the best, let’s take a look at the top reaches and steals in last night’s NBA Draft:
Jaylen Brown (Celtics – 3rd Overall)
This isn’t to say Brown can’t live up to this pick or isn’t a top flight talent – he can and he is. It’s also tough to doubt Danny Ainge and the Boston management, who have pieced together a very good, young, competitive squad.
That being said, Brown was a bad shooter in college and did not provide a sure-fire hit that Kris Dunn seemed to or the unfathomable upside of a Dragan Bender.
Perhaps the lack of sexy here is what makes this one hard to swallow, but at least on paper, this pick is uninspiring and feels like a miss. Only time will tell, but it feels like there were 4-5 prospects worth taking here and Boston could have traded down and still landed Brown.
Thon Maker (Bucks – 10th Overall)
As a fan of the Bucks, I love this pick. Maker is young, already has a nice, well-rounded skill-set and has a ridiculous amount of upside to his game.
When you’re analyzing the draft and considering value, though, it’s tough to grade this pick too highly considering some felt Maker was a round two pick and only a few saw him sneaking inside the top-20.
The problem here is Maker is either super young and raw or no one knows how old he is, and he’s still super raw and inexperienced.
It’s tough to hate on this pick too hard, as Milwaukee has been putting some solid pieces together and has drafted pretty well lately, plus Maker’s talent and potential are clear to see. From a draft perspective, however, this was a reach and it’s worth wondering if they could have traded down and added another asset or player while still getting their guy.
Taurean Prince (Hawks – 12th Overall)
Prince is a fine get in general, as he’s long, athletic, can hit the outside shot and will be a tenacious defender. He’s a bit raw, though, and didn’t seem like enough of a guaranteed hit to be taken inside the lottery.
Viewed by many as a second round talent or a fringe first rounder, this was a total reach for the Hawks, although you can see they badly wanted to get young, longer and more athletic on the wing.
They certainly accomplished that, but Prince could take some time to develop into the player they’re drafting him to be. You want a legit star if you can get it in the lottery, too, and Prince isn’t likely to be that. The field was thinning out at this point, but Atlanta had better options and trading down was probably one of them.
Georgios Papagiannis (Kings – 13th Overall)
This might take the cake for misses in this draft, as the Kings already had two centers behind DeMarcus Cousins and went ahead and spent a lottery pick on a total project, anyways.
There is no doubt that Papagiannis was one of the top overseas prospects and he has the size and strength to pay off in the end, but the pick makes no sense from a positional perspective.
It’s especially troubling when you consider Sacramento’s biggest needs lie at power forward, shooting guard and point guard. Instead of going after a talented guard or scoring big man, they got a project at a position they’re already three deep at. Kings gonna Kings, I guess.
Kris Dunn (Timberwolves – 5th Overall)
How do you get a steal at the fifth spot? You watch the Celtics bypass the best point guard in the draft and nod your head as the Suns take a quality high upside talent in Dragan Bender.
The exact guy Minnesota wanted fell into their lap, as Dunn was the top lead guard and he brings tenacious defense, outside shooting and an incredibly balanced two-way game to the table.
Minnesota still needs to clear up their guard situation and could have a trade or two in the future, but Dunn was a great addition and an arguable steal considering he lasted longer than many predicted he would.
Henry Ellenson (Pistons – 18th Overall)
Ellenson is only a steal in the mock draft community, as many had him rising up the ranks and into the lottery due to a silky smooth jumper and his potential to develop into an elite stretch four.
He is not a great athlete and doesn’t defend, though, so it’s not overly shocking to see him get passed up and slide a bit. Still, he lands in a nice situation in Detroit, while the Pistons get a really nice offensive piece to groom behind their solid depth. Considering he was projected to go as high as 9th, the Pistons get a nice steal.
Ellenson is fantastic scoring depth at the very worst and a potential star if he can correct some of his flaws and improve his outside jumper.
Brice Johnson (Clippers – 25th Overall)
Johnson has rounded shoulders and a mediocre jumper, but otherwise was one of the best players in all of college basketball and can do a little bit of everything.
He could have easily gone closer to the lottery when you look at his size, rebounding and shot-blocking upside, yet the Clippers secure awesome depth with this pick, instead.
Johnson can get easy buckets and is a student of the game, so steep improvement wouldn’t be a shock at all. Even as he stands, he’s a steal for what he can provide in hustle and fundamentals off the bench.
Skal Labissiere (Kings – 28th Overall)
I can’t promote Sacramento’s blatant disregard for other roster holes, but even though Labissiere is their second center taken in this draft (and 4th now on their roster), this is a tough pick to scoff at.
Sal was a serious disappointment at Kentucky in his lone season of college ball, but he was still a good rebounder and inside scorer. He was a lottery talent and he almost slid out of the first round, so perhaps the Kings are looking down the road here and bulking up their center position to prepare for a Boogie trade.
Regardless of what their intentions are, they got a steal if Labissiere can ever turn his talent into actual production.
Deyonta Davis (Grizzlies – 31st Overall)
Last, but certainly not least, is the do-it-all Davis, who can play the four or five, run the floor and do just about anything you ask of him.
Davis is an offensive liability for the most part, but he blocks shots, defends, rebounds and goes and gets easy buckets. He’s a classic tenacious hustle guy that every team loves and some had him pegged as a lottery pick.
His talent is more about upside and energy plays, but if he can ever develop a jumper, he could be a nightmare. Memphis did well to take a shot on him maturing and improving down the road.
Got a different reach or steal? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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