Rook vs Shook Part 2: Drop A Gem On Em
The 2017 NBA Draft definitely included some diamonds in the rough. Some post-lottery picks that have value. The Atlanta Hawks grabbed John Collins out of Wake Forest with the 19th pick and managed to get 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks out of him. The Toronto Raptors took O.G. Anunoby as the 23rd pick and he's starting for the Eastern Conference regular season champs. Boston got Semi Ojeleye at 37, the Warriors got Jordan Bell at 38. Both have logged minutes and helped out their teams. Outside of the lottery, there has only been one impact player to come in and make serious noise, the Lakers' 27th overall pick Kyle Kuzma, a pick the Lakers received from the Brooklyn Nets in the D'Angelo Russell trade.
Kuzma gained a bit of a cult following during Summer League and brought it with him to the NBA. He has averaged 16.1 points , 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his rookie campaign and has taken games over in the 4th quarter or overtime showing poise beyond his experience. He has managed at least 30 points 4 times including a 38 point night.
Other than those few outliers the draft was chalk and the results were chalk. Guys pretty much did what we expected them to do. Lonzo Ball has looked like the rookie that he is, occasionally showing a glimpse of what he could one day be, but mostly just being what he is. Some kind of basketball player version of a Kardashian I guess. It's not his fault his father is Lavar Ball but this kind of nonsense is his fault:
Dennis Smith Jr lived up to his scouting report by throwing down a bunch of highlight reel dunks:
Lauri Markkanen played like a guy named Lauri: Clip not available? You get the point. There was the expected and the unexpected. The blue chippers and the Draymond Green (35th overall in 2012) diamonds in the rough.
Jayson Tatum however is no diamond in the rough. He is a polished gem worthy of placement in any jeweler's display case. The Celtics knew what they were getting when they traded down to the 3rd pick. The Sixers made it clear that they wanted Fultz and Lavar Ball would have burned the Staples Center to the ground if the Lakers didn't take Lonzo with the 2nd pick. Tatum is a future superstar, mature beyond his basketball years. He acts like the pro that he is. And on his mixtape he's the performer but not the rapper:
In trading down to the 3rd pick and grabbing Jayson Tatum, Danny Ainge showed the world that while other "genius" GMs are out mining diamonds in the rough, he still knows how to Drop A Gem On 'Em.