Top 5 Surprises In The NBA Draft

Written By: Spencer Fielding

This NBA draft has been one of the most difficult for general managers. Due to COVID, there have been many measures that have hindered teams’ abilities to really get to know most of the prospects. These measures really hurt a lot of players’ stocks, and it also made it increasingly difficult to make trades because there is so much uncertainty with each prospect. 

5. Kira Lewis Jr. Being Taken By The New Orleans Pelicans

Kira Lewis Jr. had seen his stock rise quite a bit over the past week. He was projected as high as seven and as low as fifteen. To be taken at thirteen isn’t bad at all. He is still in the lottery and to be selected to a team like the New Orleans Pelicans is good too. But it is an odd fit, to be honest. They invested a lot into Lonzo Ball and it seemed as if he was going to be the point guard of the future for them. But with this pick, that is in question. Kira Lewis is an extremely fast guard that has the ability to break down the opposing team’s defense. 

Their plan could be to play Lewis as the two, with Lonzo taking the playmaking duties, but where does that leave Nickeil Alexander-Walker? I would have thought they go with a wing player instead due to their lack of depth at the position. The Pelicans are definitely a team to keep an eye on, especially if they choose to move Lonzo at some point.

4. Deni Avdija Fell Back In The Draft

Deni Avdija was seen as one of the most intriguing players in the draft. He is a 6’9 playmaker that can play defense on multiple positions. He is a crafty finisher that can get around defenders with his length. There is one main concern about his game though, his jump shot. Deni was never really able to develop a solid jumper and that really hurt his draft stock. A telling way to tell whether a player will be able to improve his jump shot is usually their free throw. Deni shot just 55.6% from the line. This was probably one of the reasons he ended up slipping on draft night. 

Deni should be able to make a name for himself in the NBA still. He may never be a star in this league, but he could definitely be a good player. On a team like the Washington Wizards, he should be able to make a name for himself. He can play the three or the four to help out Bradley Beal and John Wall as they navigate through Wall’s first season back from his Achilles injury.

3. Tyrese Haliburton Also Slipped In The Draft

Tyrese Halliburton is a point guard from Iowa State. He stands at 6’5 and has good length as well. He offers really stable playmaking abilities, great shooting (even with an awkward shot), and good defense. So why did Halliburton fall in the draft? Because of his low ceiling. Teams in this draft are going for home runs, and unfortunately, Halliburton just doesn’t fit that category. He was considered one of the safest players in the draft because of how good he would be right away. But there just isn’t much he could improve on. So many teams would end up passing on him for players that had more potential.

Even with all this being said, Halliburton should still be a good pro. He will be able to contribute right away with the Sacramento Kings and he should be a good fit next to De’Aaron Fox. I am not sure what this means for Buddy Hield because I know he won’t come off the bench much longer. But, this is definitely a step in the right direction for the Kings future.

2. No Duke, Kansas, UNC, Or Kentucky Players Were Selected In The Lottery For The First Time Since 2000

This is a crazy stat for sure. It just shows what kind of powerhouses those schools are, and just how many NBA players they produce each season. UNC’s Cole Anthony was selected with the 15th overall pick, just barely missing the lottery to keep this streak alive. 

Unfortunately, neither of these schools had incredible talents this season. They may have been able to keep this streak alive with a deep March Madness run, but due to COVID, the season ended early.

1. Patrick Williams Going To The Chicago Bulls

I am sure that Patrick Williams will be a fine player in the NBA, but this is very reminiscent of Aaron Gordon going to the Orlando Magic back in the 2014 NBA draft. Williams is an uber-athletic player that plays hard on both ends. Very similar to Gordon, especially in terms of athleticism. They were both selected primarily on their athleticism and their potential to grow as players. Williams never started a game in college and he was projected around picks 10-14, so the late lottery. The Chicago Bulls shocked everyone by selecting him.

I think the Bulls would have been better off selecting Deni Avdija instead. The main thing they are lacking as a team is playmaking. Coby White is a great player, but he’s far from a playmaker. Deni would have allowed White to become the scorer he is, and alongside Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., and Lauri Markkanen, he would have been able to help get them all the ball. I believe it was a pretty big reach for Williams at the end of the day.

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