by ASA, Inc.
Spurs: With three first round picks, San Antonio took three freshman who all ooze talent and will benefit from some of the best coaching in the NBA. Jeremy Sochan (6’9) has the versatility that is so vital in todays game, being able to guard multiple positions while still having the offensive ability to fill up the stat sheet. Malaki Branham (6’5) at pick 20 also brings a consistent scoring option. He shined down the stretch for Ohio State, averaging 20.2 points over his last 10 conference games in a loaded Big 10 conference. The Spurs finished out their first round with Blake Wesley (6’4) at pick 25. The Notre Dame guard was 2nd team All-ACC and helped the Irish get into the NCAA tournament and win 2 games.
Rockets: Jabari Smith (6’10) fell to pick number 3 and the Rockets were more than happy to capitalize. The Auburn forward could easily turn out as the best player in this draft and have Orlando and Oklahoma City regretting their decisions. Houston also added Tari Eason (6’8) with the 17th overall pick adding more much needed length and defensive prowess. These two draft picks paired with the shooting guard duo of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. is a sturdy base for the Rockets to improve quickly.
Thunder: It seems like everyone has their take on Chet Holmgren, and whether he will have success in the best league in the world. Big men do not have the impact on the game that they once did, and Holmgren does not yet posses the strength to justify a number 2 overall selection. He has time to develop a bigger frame similar to the way Giannis did, but Holmgren’s skillset is much different. The Gonzaga big man will struggle to score on the inside in the NBA and we do not see him developing into an Embiid or Jokic. Oklahoma City took Ousmane Dieng with their second first round selection at 11 overall. Dieng played for the New Zealand Breakers and only averaged 8.9 ppg on 39% shooting. The Thunder then immediately reached for Jalen Williams from Santa Clara right after at the 12 spot. All three players have promise but the value of these three players as top 12 picks feels like it could have been better used.
Knicks: By trading away Kemba Walker, the number 11 pick, and multiple second round picks, it does open up plenty of cap space for future free agent. The only bad new is that New York did basically nothing to improve their current roster with so much talent available on draft night. Free agents have not flocked to the Knicks in the past and may not be enticed again this year. Jalen Brunson is a key target for them, and if that falls through, New York will remain in the depths in the East.