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The NBA Draft has come and gone once again, and with it some big moves and surprising trades. We had our draft grades out on Wednesday night, and today, we have our largest and most surprising moves from the 2019 NBA Draft.
Best Overall Pick: Zion Williamson to New Orleans
Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Williamson’s stellar defense, high basketball IQ, and electric dunks should make an immediate impact in the ‘Big Easy’. Does the Anthony Davis trade happen if the Pelicans don’t get the #1 pick? Maybe, but it doesn’t matter now, as New Orleans has their next franchise star.
Best Pick Outside the Top 3: Jarrett Culver to Minnesota & Coby White to Chicago
Minnesota moved up five spots to select Jarrett Culver at #6, and they didn’t give up much to do so. Culver is a versatile two-way player who can play at either guard position while defending just about anyone in the back court. Seen as one of the best players outside of Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett, the Timberwolves will be thrilled with this selection.
As for White, the Bulls had a need at point guard that was covered here. He’ll need to work on his decision-making, but he should have the chance by becoming an instant starter for the Bulls. Adding more shooting should help as well.
Biggest Reach: Cameron Johnson to Phoenix
Tyler Herro and Grant Williams were also options here, but the most shocking move of the night went to Phoenix. Johnson does provide some solid shooting, but it’s worth wondering if the Suns could’ve picked up some more assets by moving down again. He is the oldest player in the draft at 23, and many expected him to fall to the second round. We’ll see how the value on him ends up working out.
Most Surprising Pick: Darius Garland to Cleveland
It’s understandable that the Cavaliers were going for talent over need here, but there will likely be a fit issue between Garland and last year’s first-round pick in Collin Sexton. Garland is also coming off an MCL injury that kept him off the court for most of his freshman year.
Best Second-Round Pick: Carsen Edwards to Boston
Edwards showcased his shooting ability during the NCAA tournament, including an incredible performance against Virginia in the elite eight. He doesn’t have the best size, but his athleticism and scoring ability could make him a steal in the second round.
Biggest Steal: Bol Bol to Denver
A top-five recruit coming out of high school, Bol was a projected lottery pick early on in the season. However, injuries and off-the-court issues forced him to fall to #44, where he was selected by Denver. He has the size and talent to put up solid NBA numbers, but he will need to work on his defensive work outside of the paint, as well as staying healthy. Still, the best value pick of the draft may reside in Denver.
Ben Simmons Award: Potential 2020-21 ROY: Chuma Okeke, Orlando
A torn ACL in Auburn’s sweet 16 match against North Carolina caused Okeke to tumble down draft boards, but only to the middle of the first round. Even though he will likely miss most of his rookie season, Okeke will have a full season to learn behind big men in Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. He can already shoot the three and provide solid defending, so a year waiting in the wings could do him a ton of good.
Featured Image: Julio Cortez/AP