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Paolo Banchero taken at No. 1 in NBA Draft

Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

So, I’m looking at the NBA Draft’s Winners and Losers. The Thunder, once again, won, and teams like the Hawks and Pacers lost again, as usual.


Oklahoma City ThunderChet Holmgren at No. 2. Enough said. They also got Ousmane Dieng at No. 11 and Jalen Williams at No. 12. And then they also got another Jaylin Williams at 34. The Thunder got the safest pick in this draft (Holmgren) and I can’t wait to see him play alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Aleksej Pokusevski and others. Add in Williams and Williams, who are sure to cause a ton of confusion in fantasy drafts, especially of the dynasty variety, and the OKC tank train will continue to roll forward. They’ll be shooting for Victor Wembanyama a year from now and then the tank will be complete. And with all the aforementioned studs, along with Darius Bazley, Luguentz Dort, Isaiah Roby and Tre Mann, the Thunder are going to be a monster for years to come. They made no mistakes tonight. Just look for guys to be shut down midway of the season in fantasy again this year, which is a buzzkill.

Houston Rockets – Jabari Smith falls to Houston at No. 3, which is a nice win for the Rockets. They’ve got a center in Alperen Sengun, they’ve got a borderline point guard at Kevin Porter Jr., they’ve got a stellar SG with Jalen Green and Jae’Sean Tate takes a big hit with the addition of Smith. I like it. The Rockets have one of the most exciting young lineups in the league and they’re also still a mess. Perfect. They also added Tari Eason and TyTy Washington, who won’t make an immediate impact, but could be studs down the road. Eric Gordon seems as good as gone.

Detroit Pistons – The Pistons added Jaden Ivey to their guard stable but I think he and Cade Cunningham can play together. Ivey looks like a steal at No. 5 to me. The Pistons also landed Jalen Duren, who they really wanted, and he’s going to be a great big man to pair with all those guards running around in Detroit. Kemba Walker will never play a game in Detroit and if they can land Deandre Ayton or Miles Bridges, the rebuild is over.

Philadelphia 76ers – They got rid of Danny Green and picked up De’Anthony Melton. I love this move, although, I’m not sure how they’re going to work Melton into the mix. The Sixers will find a way and a starting lineup of Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Melton, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid is simply scary. The Sixers are still looking to move Matisse Thybulle, but if they don’t, they’re just that much deeper.


Orlando Magic – Was Paolo Banchero the right pick at No. 1 in the draft? I don’t know. Was he the No. 1 pick in the draft? YES. This certainly puts Jonathan Isaac on notice, as well as Chuma Okeke and Moe Wagner. I’m not going to call this a win for the Magic, but they deserve some hope because they had the No. 1 pick. I think this might have been a reach and the Magic have rarely made a good off-season move. I’m not holding my breath here.

New York Knicks – Let’s see. They traded Kemba Walker and Jalen Duren and the No. 13 pick to the Pistons and also sent Ousmane Dieng to the Thunder for three conditional first-round picks from the Thunder. So, the Knicks did nothing. And I’m not surprised. Kemba’s NBA career might be over. And maybe they bring in Jalen Brunson and ruin his career, but I bet he stays in Dallas. I’m convinced I could do a better job of running the Knicks.

Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavs went with big man Ochai Agbaji with No. 14. He has talent and is interesting, but that team already has Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. I just don’t get it. They could have really used a small forward to replace, or help, Ike Okoro.

Indiana Pacers – Bennedict Mathurin was the sixth pick in the draft. He’s a 6-6 shooting guard and he has every chance to succeed in Indy, but he’ll need Buddy Hield, T.J. Warren and Chris Duarte to struggle. In short, this is a total Pacer pick, and I don’t love it

Atlanta Hawks – The Hawks drafted A.J. Griffin with the No. 16 pick. He’s basically Cam Reddish, who the Hawks traded to the Knicks, reborn. Boring. Insignificant. Whatever. Finishing in the middle of the standings and being mediocre will bring you more of the same. #Hawksfansforever

Sacramento Kings – The Kings got Keegan Murray. They should have traded this pick for big doings, but they didn’t. I don’t know how Murray is going to blow up in this offense. I would have rather seen them get Jayden Ivey. Everyone had Ivey over Murray, so this is just a flashback to when the Kings took Marvin Bagley over Luka Doncic and Trae Young. I don’t know what else to say. But Jay Bilas says that Murray is ready to play in the NBA, so we’ll see.

Washington Wizards – The Wizards got Johnny Davis at No. 10 – an NBA role player, at best. I don’t like it. Will Bradley Beal be back? Does anyone care? This team is destined for mid-round draft picks forever. No thank you. Bradley Beal needs a new team.