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 this year’s draft:
The Pelicans and Hawks came up big
New Orleans and Atlanta 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 No. 4 overall 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’ll form a young core alongside Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and other promising youth.
Atlanta on the other hand moved up from No. 8 to snag one of its top targets — Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter. It also got Duke’s Cam Reddish at No. 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 Suns made some interesting choices on draft night.
Phoenix is clearly in serious need of a point guard and probably had the worst depth at the position last season. But it neglected to pursue a floor general, despite entering Thursday with the No. 6 overall pick. The Suns instead elected to trade back and surprisingly drafted UNC’s Cameron Johnson with the No. 11 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 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 summer and could drastically improve Phoenix’s backcourt if Brooklyn moves 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’ve 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 Grizzlies at No. 21. Little and Porter dropped to the Trail Blazers and Cavaliers at Nos. 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.