Many professional basketball teams, perhaps even the one you support, drafted players in the hopes of bolstering their rosters the other night. Here are some snap judgments of their efforts from a fellow who watches a handful of college games per year. The numbers in parentheses are where they fell on ESPN.com draft guru Chad Ford's big board. Save those for posterity because he'll probably change them in a year or two.
Miami Heat: B+
The Heat must feel like they pulled armed robbery in getting Winslow, and all they did was stand pat and wait for him to fall. He'll be groomed for a year by fellow Dookie Luol Deng before taking over for him for good as a three-and-D guy. Winslow does have the handle to drive or go coast-to-coast after a rebound and he's not afraid to mix it up on the glass at both ends. Creating his own shot or shooting off the bounce however may be a bridge too far for him. Second-rounder Richardson is a combo guard with similar strengths and weaknesses, a catch-and-shoot guy, but less of a threat to finish at the basket. They might've been better off with some size here.
Nobody has been busier so far this off-season than the Hornets in remaking their roster. Problem child Lance Stephenson was sent to the Clippers for little-used big-man Spencer Hawes. Versatile Nicolas Batum was plucked from what looks to be a rebuilding Blazers team for Gerald Henderson and youngster Noah Vonleh, their first-round pick from last year. They snagged Thunder bust Jeremy Lamb for Luke Ridnour, who was on their roster for like five minutes. Along the way they also picked up second-round picks in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Of course, the deal everyone wants to talk about is the one that Michael Jordan and GM Rich Cho didn't make, in which the Celtics reportedly offered six picks, including a number of first rounders, to move from the 16th slot to 9th so that they could nab Duke forward Justise Winslow. To be fair to the Hornets front office, some of those picks would've been for future seasons, which introduces an element of the unknown, and if Boston's package was so enticing, how come other teams in the top-10 turned it down too? Besides, there is something to be said for the notion "if you like your guy, you like your guy." Boston could've offered a thousand future first rounders for Tim Duncan in 1997 and Gregg Popovich would've still turned them down.
It all makes for some unfair pressure and expectations on Kaminsky, but for the record I like the pick. He's a late-bloomer, and an average defender at best, but his naysayers kept waiting for formidable athletic front lines in the NCAA tournament to expose him and it never happened. Instead he got the better of first Arizona, then Kentucky and more than held his own against Duke. If he can outplay Karl Anthony-Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Jahlil Okafor, there's problem something to him. Kaminsky can shoot it from outside, but he's got an underrated post game and a good toolbox of moves and counter-moves, as well as a knack for being the kind of "knees and elbows" driver that gets to the line a lot. I'll be surprised if he doesn't turn out to be a good one.
The Magic, with a springy yet shooting-impaired backcourt of Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, badly needed perimeter shooting and they looked to have helped themselves a great deal in that regard with Hezonja, a cocky, athletic Croatian whose range is only exceeded by his bravado, and Harvey, an undersized marksman who canned over 43 percent of his triples the last three seasons for the Eagles. Hezonja seems to be a boom-or-bust type, as there were plenty of red flags with scouts about his attitude, defensive indifference, propensity of trying to make highlight reel passes and inability to draw contact at the rim. If J.R. Smith is your best case scenario, you probably shouldn't be drafted fifth overall. Naturally, Hezonja will wear #23 with the Magic, so I'm sure the transition to the NBA won't be problematic.
Mario Hezonja is already Rookie of the Year for this. pic.twitter.com/lYphllxfqS— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) June 26, 2015
I don't get the Wizards trading for this guy at all. He's athletic and has the measurables, but he was a huge disappointment as a freshman for Kansas last year and doesn't even have a handle. At best he might be a three-and-D guy. Don't they already have a developing one of those in Otto Porter Jr.? Also, his shoes on draft day looked like very dangerous coral. I don't trust the judgment of people with murderous shoes. Meanwhile, the best praise I can find about White is that "he really runs up and down the floor," which is what people say about Jeff Ayres to be nice.
Atlanta Hawks: D-/Inc.
Now that Mike Budenholzer is the General Manager in Atlanta, he's taking another page from PATFO's playbook by electing to save his precious salary cap dollars by playing the draft-and-stash game. The Hawks flipped their first-round pick, Kansas forward Kelly Oubre in a three-team deal with the Knicks and Wizards, gaining two future second-rounders plus Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr., a disappointment in his sophomore campaign in New York but a fellow who's still on a rookie contract. Both Eriksson and Agravanis look like tremendous reaches and you wonder if the Hawks wouldn't have been better off picking better prospects and asking them to play overseas.