In the end, there weren’t quite as many draft night fireworks as some expected, but plenty of interesting stuff took place.
The biggest move of the night took place early, when the Mavericks sent a mildly protected first round pick to the Hawks to move up from the fifth spot and get international sensation Luka Doncic. Being a huge Doncic fan, I think this is fantastic for the Mavs, who now have a player I think they can build around.
Of course this followed the Kings somewhat head scratching choice to take Marvin Bagley with the second pick. In truth, I hope it works out for the Kings, as their fan base has been through a lot.
The Hawks parlayed their picks into lots of shooting, grabbing Trae Young with the Mavs pick, Kevin Huerter with the pick they owned from the Wolves, and stretch big Omari Spellman with the final pick in the first round.
The other big trade in the first round was the Suns sending the 16th pick (Zhaire Smith) and an unprotected 2021 first rounder from Miami to the Sixers for the 10th pick, Mikal Bridges. Bridges had been seen as a terrific fit for Philly, but ultimately they chose to keep adding draft assets while getting the supremely athletic Smith.
It was a very solid night for the Wolves. About five spots before their pick, the wings started flying off the board:
15: Troy Brown
16. Zhaire Smith
17. Donte DiVincenzo
18. Lonnie Walker
19. Kevin Huerter
Huerter had been one of the guys that struck me as interesting, but the Wolves grabbed another in Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie. Ogokie is a good athlete with a terrific 7’0” wingspan at 6’4”. He was probably a bit miscast as a big usage (27 percent) player on a mediocre Georgia Tech team, but has some defensive chops and might be able to make catch and shoot jumpers.
Jackson Hoy at The Stepien had this scouting report on Okogie, who was his 16th ranked prospect:
I have my issues with Okogie as a prospect, but his raw talent and upside are hard to pass on at this point. Still just 19, Okogie has a jacked frame at 6-foot-4.5 with a 7-foot-0 wingspan and plays with excellent motor on both ends, which makes him a hound on the ball on defense and as a rebounder. He’s also shown flashes of high-level ball-handling at times even within Georgia Tech’s anemic offense, a sign that he could be a plus self-creator at the NBA level where he will have more shooting around him. I like his jump shot but his arc is a little flat and he doesn’t get the ball out super quickly. He also isn’t that comfortable shooting off movement or off the dribble. On defense especially, Okogie plays out of control at times and doesn’t show the best understanding of the game. His questionable IQ and terrible body control as a finisher are the biggest things he will need to correct, but his incredible athletic testing and momentary smarts are encouraging for his growth in both areas. Okogie is a two-way wing in a league starved for them, and he has a nice intersection of floor and upside thanks to his youth, physical tools, and creation potential.
Meanwhile, here’s an interview with Okogie at Georgia Tech where he compares himself to Jimmy Butler:
(h/t to Charlie Johnson for the find.)
I wonder if that run of wings affected the Wolves decision making about potentially trading back, something they discussed at some length.
Scott Layden was quoted in the Athletic:
“There were a couple of options, and good options, to move back,” Layden said. “We had identified Josh as a guy we thought would be a good player for us for a long time. Do you forego that and flip back? We didn’t think that Josh would be there. Other players, maybe they’re there or not. We opted to stay where we were and I think that will prove to be a good decision.”
It would be fascinating to know what sort of deals were available to them to move back. I’m very happy with Okogie, but there were other guys I would have been happy with that were available later, and what sort of asset they could have acquired to move back is a question we’ll likely never get an answer to.
Regardless, we should be pleased to get a guy with the talent and potential of Josh Okogie.
Surprisingly, Keita Bates-Diop, who several mocks had going to the Wolves with the 20th pick, lasted until pick 48 where the Wolves gobbled him up. Bates-Diop is a combo forward from Ohio State. The Stepien ranked him 28th:
Bates-Diop doesn’t have a very high ceiling, but his 3-point shot projects easily to the NBA and his physical tools give him a nice floor on defense, making him an ideal 3-and-D rotation forward. Bates-Diop isn’t all that comfortable shooting anything besides standstill catch-and-shoots from beyond the arc, but with his high release point at 6-foot-8.5, he should have no problem getting his shot off at the next level. He does a bit of work in the mid-post and is an underrated cutter and passer, but Bates-Diop will primarily be a shooter at the NBA level. Defensively, his 7-foot-3.25 wingspan is a huge asset in terms of bolstering his disruptiveness on the ball and helping him recover to plays off the ball. He’s not super quick and generally lacks suddenness/explosiveness, but his lateral quickness is good enough that his wingspan makes him tough to get around. Bates-Diop is fluid and coordinated, but he’ll probably be a below-average athlete once in the NBA. That said, his length and shooting give him a high floor to contribute on both ends.
He’s another player with a long wingspan which allows him to get his shot off. He carried a huge usage last season, and led the Big 10 in scoring, so his game will be much different in the NBA. A good rebounder, who should also be able to use his length effectively on defense. He averaged two blocks per 40 over his college career. He’s an older prospect who really emerged as a star and an NBA prospect as a senior, and it always pays to be wary of that profile, but he appears to have the physical attributes required for the league at any rate.
Here is a video of Bates-Diop going for 32 against top-ranked Michigan State:
Overall it was a fun draft night that worked out well for our Wolves. What did you take away from the evening?