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FIVE NBA TEAMS THAT LOST DRAFT DAY

@TheWillBaldwin

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns for the second straight year proved they have no concept of value. Even if Jalen Smith was the guy they zeroed in on as the perfect player to fix the hole of Aron Baynes leaving, the reality is no one was drafting him until 15 at the earliest and even then it’s questionable. Why not switch back with Boston who was supposedly rumoured to be trying to move all night and acquire additional assets? I understand having a guy in mind but to completely ignore potential other avenues to improve your team is dumbfounding and the second straight year James Jones has done it. I hope for their sake Smith works out and someone explains to Jones how value in the draft works.

Selections

10. Jalen Smith

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder had a weird night. Firstly, taking on Al Horford’s contract makes no sense to me at all. For a team that moved Chris Paul in part to cut salary, adding Horford’s for only one first round pick and a draft and stash’s rights is weird over valuing of random first round picks. Worse about the Horford deal is the fact that playing him with Steven Adams creates the same problems he had last year in Philly so either they’re going to make those two assets worse or force themselves to flips Adams? I just don’t get it. Then in the draft, I like the Maledon pick and understand the shot in the dark on Aleksej Pokusevski but I also wish they added a pick in the top ten. Although the allure of 500 picks in 2026 is fun, at some point those have to become players and as players like Haliburton slid, OKC was in the perfect position to take advantage and just didn’t.

Selections

17. Aleksej Pokusevski

34. Theo Maledon

37. Vit Krejci

Utah Jazz

Utah had two selections in this draft and used them on a developmental wing and an old-fashioned centre. Simply, there’s no argument they got any better on Wednesday and that’s disappointing considering the quality players still on the board. A guy like Desmond Bane would’ve made a ton of sense for them but instead they go with Azubuike who will never play once with Gobert. Bane wasn’t even the only guy that was on the board there that could’ve conceivably played major minutes in their rotation in the playoffs. I don’t hate the Hughes pick but for a team with depth issues, Wednesday was a poor effort.

Selections

27. Udoka Azubuike

39. Elijah Hughes

Boston Celtics

Once again Danny Ainge spent the entire lottery trying to move up and once again he failed. Then, stuck with too many picks, he was forced to take a guy in Aaron Nesmith who although is a good player, was not the 14th best player in this draft. Nesmith pretty easily would’ve been there in the early 20’s but Ainge wanting anything other than more picks had no choice but to stay there in order to get him. I don’t mind the Pritchard pick, I think there’s a world where pretty easily next season he upgrades the Wannamaker spot and I love the shot in the dark on Madar. That said, Ainge once again got burned by the keeping off too many assets and if you’re a Celtics fan, that has to hurt at least a little.

Selections

14. Aaron Nesmith

26. Payton Pritchard

47. Yam Madar

New York Knicks

I’m higher on Obi Toppin than most but, Mitchell Robinson is the exact opposite centre I’d want next to him. Right now Toppin’s best traits are as a roller and with Robinson camped out down low, that makes his best skill less valuable. I understand falling in love with the person of Toppin and his story but unless they revamp their logjam at forward, his minutes will be tough to come by. For me, passing on Haliburton in a bigger position of need and better player is a tough pill to swallow. Later on in the draft, Quickley has potential as a shooter but selecting him that high was quite possibly the biggest reach of the draft. If he turns out to fit the need of shooting the Knicks need that’ll be great however, like the Suns, this new management team needs a lesson on draft valuation.

Selections

8. Obi Toppin

25. Immanuel Quickley

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