The 2020 NBA Draft, held virtually on Wednesday, had its share of winners and losers. One of the NBA Draft winners has to be the San Antonio Spurs after they landed value picks in both Round 1 and Round 2.
On the other end of the spectrum, an NBA Draft loser has to be the Golden State Warriors. It has nothing to do with who they selected No. 2 overall. Rather, it’s all about an injury to another star player.
It’s in this that we look at the biggest winners and losers from the 2020 NBA Draft.
NBA Draft winner: Spurs get absolute steal with Devin Vassell
Many draft experts had this former Florida State wing going within the top-eight picks of the draft. That’s why it was shocking that the 6-foot-6 Vassell fell to the 11th overall selection. What a tremendous fit this is going to be for the rebuilding Spurs.
Boasting an ability to play both the two and the three, Vassell shot 42% from three-point range for the Seminoles a season ago. His range and athletic ability fits the modern NBA to a T. Also important to note here is the fact that San Antonio can now move fellow wing DeMar DeRozan knowing it has a long-term replacement for him.
Not to be outdone, San Antonio was then able to pick up former Duke star point guard Tre Jones with the 41st pick in the draft. While there’s some questions about Jones’ perimeter shooting, he’s a ball distributor. That’s needed in Gregg Popovich’s system.
NBA Draft loser: What were the Chicago Bulls thinking?
Rumors leading up to the draft suggested that former Florida State forward Patrick Williams was ascending the draft board. Multiple teams were interested in him within the lottery. However, it was a downright shock to see Williams land with the Bulls at No. 4 overall.
Chicago took him over the likes of fellow forward Deni Avdija and reigning NCAA College Basketball Player of the Year Obi Toppin. All of this comes after the Bulls were talking to the Golden State Warriors about a move up to No. 2 for James Wiseman. Going from Wiseman to Williams seems to be a major downgrade. We’ll see what happens from here on out for the long downtrodden Bulls.
NBA Draft winner: Sacramento Kings land a steal at 12
The Kings’ trade of Bogdan Bogdanović to the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this week fell through. Despite this, Sacramento was said to be targeting a guard to team up with star De’Aaron Fox. They found that and more in Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton at No. 12 overall.
Haliburton was getting play as a likely top-eight pick heading into the draft. The 6-foot-5 guard is not your traditional point man. That’s evidenced by the fact that he averaged nearly six rebounds per game as a sophomore for the Cyclones last season. He also shot at a 42% clip from three-point range while dishing out 6.5 assists and compiling 2.5 steals per outing. This might be the steal of the draft.
NBA Draft loser: New York Knicks go back to the well
Reigning College Basketball Player of the Year Obi Toppin is absolutely legit on offense. The power forward averaged averaged 20.0 points and 7.5 rebounds on a stellar 63% shooting for Dayton a season ago. However, there’s two issues with New York taking the skilled offensive threat at No. 8 overall.
First off, how many power forwards can one team have on its roster? That now includes Toppin, Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson. Something will have to give on this front. Secondly, Toppin is among the worst defenders to go within the top 10. That’s going to set him back early. With Israel’s Deni Avdija still on the board, this seemed like a bad pick.
NBA Draft winner: Washington Wizards pick up elite talent
Speaking of Deni Avdija, most draft experts had the Israeli forward going No. 4 overall after the big three. Obviously, that did not happen. By virtue of the Bulls reaching for Patrick Williams, this stud 19-year-old international sensation was still on the board for Washington.
Boy, was it a value pick at a need position. While Avdija isn’t on the same level as, say, Luka Doncic, he has the skill set to dominate in the NBA. That includes plus-level range and great passing attributes. He’s going to be a great fit with Bradley Beal. That’s for sure.
NBA Draft loser: Golden State Warriors’ injury luck
Golden State got its guy in James Wiseman with the second pick. It was a no-brainer selection. The former Memphis star would have been the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft if it were not for a scrape with the NCAA that forced him to miss all but three games as a freshman. The Warriors also did work later in the draft with Nico Mannion and sharpshooter Justinian Jessup. None of that matters right now.
At issue here was news coming from Southern California in the lead up to the draft that star guard Klay Thompson suffered an apparent Achilles during a workout. The severity of said injury is not yet known. But it does not look great. Remember, Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 season with a torn ACL. The hope here is that this is not a long-term injury. However, it really did act as a dark cloud over the Warriors’ draft Wednesday evening.
NBA Draft winner: Philadelphia 76ers doing things
Swindle god. New Sixers front office head Daryl Morey started the day on Wednesday by finding a way to get out of Al Horford’s bloated contract while acquiring a sharpshooting win in that of Danny Green. In and of itself, this made Philadelphia a huge winner before the NBA Draft itself started.
Then, in Round 1, The Sixers landed former Kentucky star guard Tyrese Maxey with the 21st pick. What value at a position of need. Heck, even LeBron James had something to say about this selection. One of the top recruits in the nation back in 2019, the 6-foot-3 Maxey averaged 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a freshman for the Wildcats. He’s going to be a player in Philly.
If that weren’t enough, Philadelphia was able to move Josh Richardson and a second-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks for Seth Curry. Richardson’s presence was not needed after adding Green. For his part, Curry is among the best three-point shooters in the game. Crazy stuff.