By Travis Stahl
When watching the NFL draft last April it was interesting to see the drastic change that took place in team’s draft philosophy. Team’s no longer just sat and waited for a player to fall to them in draft order, they were aggressive in trying to acquire the player they coveted most. Last night, watching the NBA draft, there was another change in philosophy that I never thought I would live to see. Teams during the NBA draft last night actually drafted players that filled their team needs and with the intention of playing those players in live games.
NBA teams have realized throwing away draft picks on wasted players leads to heavy losses. Picking up players that can actually have an impact on your team and contribute is how teams are built. Even the NBA champions the Miami Heat added key pieces through the draft in past years with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. That being said, there were some teams that added pieces to their puzzles that fit better than others. Overall I liked most of the picks and thought NBA teams did a great job in realizing their draft plans had to change but some stood out more than others.
Charlotte Bobcats – The worst team in the league that somehow lost the No. 1 pick in the lottery made up for it by sticking to its plan. The Bobs drafted Michael Kidd-Gilchrest with the No. 2 pick and then added Vanderbilt forward Jeff Taylor in the second round. MKG and Taylor were considered by many the two best defensive players in the draft and are now teamed with last year’s pick, Serge Ibaka clone Bismack Biyombo. Charlotte could have a stifling defense very soon.
Houston Rockets – Houston’s plan to move up in an attempt to get Dwight Howard didn’t pan out. But the Rockets did manage to get three of the best players in the draft with Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrance Jones. That’s a heck of an infusion of talent for a team trying to get back in the playoffs.
Golden State Warriors – Typically, anything the Warriors touch turns to crap. But Golden State may have actually struck gold with this draft. First the Warriors got Harrison Barnes from North Carolina at pick No. 7 and then added center Festus Ezeli with the last pick in the first round. Golden State followed that up by adding the hard-working Draymond Green from Michigan State in the second round. The Culture in Golden State might be changing.
Typically a draft produces two or three standout players and then a handful of players who are average. This draft was so deep with talent it could produce 10 to 12 future all-stars as well as players who are solid starts for some teams for the next 10 years. It will be very interesting to see how the talent added in the draft last night affects free agency. Did Orland do enough to convince Howard it can win now, did Brooklyn do anything at all to improve its team, and will Perry Jones III put Oklahoma City over the top? It will be very interesting to see how this draft pans out in two or three years.