As you might remember, every year the SBN NBA sites conduct a mock first round including trades and everything. Ridiculous Upside, one of our sites, publishes each pick with analysis, and that has started today. I encourage you to check out that site for the whole shebang.
There were a lot of emails flying back and forth with trade proposals, and this year there were a ton of trades consummated.
We were involved in one of them: trading the 5th pick to the Nuggets for the 7th and 15th picks.
I was definitely interested in seeing what the fifth pick would bring in trade, and once the first four went off the board in this order: Simmons, Ingram, Bender, and Murray, I was even more motivated, because I wasn't wedded to anyone at that spot. I tried hard to get an established player, but couldn't find anything palatable down that road.
I wound up negotiating with the Nuggets heavily, and pushed to find a way to acquire Danilo Gallinari. I thought it might happen at one point, but in the end the Nuggets didn't want to pull the trigger on that, and I settled for the 7th and 15th pick instead, which I think is pretty good value.
Moving back just two spots in a draft where I didn't see anyone I had to have at five and picking up a mid-first rounder for my troubles is a deal I like.
With the seventh pick, I chose Denzel Valentine from Michigan State. This selection was made prior to rumors coming out that he was dropping due to concerns about his knees. Had I known that before, I might have gone a different direction, but I was very happy with the pick, even if it is earlier than he's been mocked. I knew he wasn't lasting until 15 (and in fact had good reason to believe Sacramento would take him with the 8th pick), so I jumped.
I really like Valentine, who has been a consistent performer throughout his college career and had a monster senior season. His ability to handle the ball, shoot the three, and pass was appealing to me for the Wolves, who obviously can use those skills on the wing. This obviously was a very "Eric in Madison" pick, as I tend to gravitate toward this kind of player, as opposed to the less skilled, more athletic types.
His ability to rebound defensively and make plays in transition with his passing is something that attracted me along with his consistency from beyond the arc, something he has been showing for three seasons at Michigan State. Mostly, of course, I value his demonstrated intelligence on the court, something that can always be put to use.
Check out his Dx profile here.
Stay tuned for our 15th pick.