The Nets shook up the draft board with a trade early Thursday, sending veteran forward Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for the 20th pick and a future protected second-round pick.
Brooklyn chose combo guard Caris LeVertout of Michiganat No. 20, which was a slight compensation for the Celtics having its first-round pick at No. 3 this year due to a 2013 trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets. LeVert was slowed by three foot injuries in the last two seasons with the Wolverines, but averaged 12.9 points and shot 40.8% from three in his last full season as a sophomore in 2013–14.
The Nets, as of now, have one more pick in the draft at 55th overall in the second round.
They didn’t try to be too smart. They didn’t try to be too cool. They didn’t outthink it, overthink it or give in to the inviting temptation to trade it.
This time, the Lakers didn’t get fancy. This time, they simply got it right.
With the second pick in the NBA draft Thursday, the Lakers selected the best player in the NBA draft, officially beginning the post-Kobe Bryant era with a guy who could eventually remind people of Kevin Durant.
Their first-round draft pick likes to quote Mike Krzyzewski, talks fondly of fishing with his grandmother while growing up in North Carolina, and, in his down time, loves to sketch with shading pencils and charcoal.
In other words, Brandon Ingram fits perfectly with Lakers Coach Luke Walton’s desire to assemble a roster of players with character.
John Calipari’s face was all over the NBA draft coverage last year, but the Kentucky head coach’s spotlight was a bit dimmer Thursday night.
After seeing six players selected last year — two in the top 10 and four total in the lottery — Kentucky had three players picked in 2016. That included shooting guard Jamal Murray to the Nuggets at seven, big man Skal Labissiere slipping to the Suns at 28 (who reportedly picked for the Kings as part of a proposed trade) and point guard Tyler Ulis to the Suns at 34.
Last year, Karl Anthony Towns led the Kentucky parade when he went first overall to the Timberwolves. After him, Willie Cauley-Stein went to the Kings at six, Trey Lyes went 12th to Utah, Devin Booker went 13th to the Suns, Andrew Harrison went 44th to the Suns and Dakari Johnson went 48th to the Thunder.
The California native played four years with the Golden Bears. He stood out as a versatile defender who had the length to handle wing players. However, Wallace was not particularly impressive on offense; his field-goal percentage was 44.2% as a senior, and he shot just 29.8% from three-point range.
Cousins was a reliable spot-up shooter in college, in part because he shared the court with some dangerous scorers. He made 40.4% of his three-pointers as a sophomore, 45% as a junior and 41.1% in his senior year. But it is worth noting that he played alongside offensive juggernaut Buddy Hield and talented point guard Jordan Woodard. Cousins needs to shore up his ball-handling to create more of his own opportunities off the dribble and to be even more active without the ball. He’s also a solid defender.
Daniel Hamilton, 6-6 1/4, 197, Connecticut, shooting guard
Hamilton is a big shooting guard, but his athleticism allowed him to thrive on the fastbreak in two seasons with the Huskies. He’s not exactly a knockdown shooter, something he’ll need to improve at the pro level, but has a knack for driving to the rim. He averaged 4.7 assists per game last season. And his ability to both score and distribute could overshadow any of his deficiencies at either end of the floor.
Marcus Paige, 6-0 1/2, 164, North Carolina, point guard
He’s not the biggest point guard nor the most athletic, but he showed excellent decision-making in four years with the Tar Heels. Paige is capable of running an offense with a good assists-to-turnovers ratio, and he creates open looks for teammates. He is not a prolific scorer, though, and struggles at times getting to the rim. His mid-range and three-point shooting is solid. Despite his modest size, he showed plenty of effort on the defensive end while at UNC.
Despite his lack of size, Felder led the nation with 9.3 assists per game as a junior last season, plus 24.4 points per game (up from 18.1 ppg as a sophomore). He’s shown steady development as a scorer and distributor. The primary questions about Felder’s game naturally revolve around his size. He compensates with speed, strength and a decent 6-foot-2 wingspan. But in the NBA he’ll have to prove he can compete with guards significantly bigger than him.