The winners and losers of the 2020 NBA draft

Mustaqila – The 2020 NBA draft is over, and now we can focus on free agency and the big trades that may still be coming very soon.

But before we do, we’ve got to declare who won and lost on Wednesday night, especially now that a lot of uncertainty about who was going where — would LaMelo Ball be first overall? James Wiseman? Anthony Edwards? — has now shaken out.

So let’s run through some winners and losers from draft night, which include some NBA teams, players who have new zip codes and an ESPN broadcast that was filled with so much emotion for the prospects and their families.

Winners
Minnesota Timberwolves

They were one of the teams to earn an “A” from us, with three great prospects — Anthony Edwards, Leandro Bolmaro and Jaden McDaniels — to add to the roster. But they also brought back Ricky Rubio in a trade, and that’s a help to a team that suddenly looks much, much better on paper.

Philadelphia 76ers

What a Wednesday for the franchise! They had an A-minus draft with the Tyrese Maxey and Theo Maledon picks, they got rid of Al Horford’s contract and got back Danny Green, who’s shot could come back after a rough NBA Finals and who is a solid defender. Then, they got rid of Josh Richardson and got back Seth Curry, a much better fit around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Sacramento Kings

Getting Tyrese Haliburton was huge for this franchise that needed some good news.

Detroit Pistons

The rebuild took a good first step forward. I like trading Luke Kennard for a pick, and taking Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey were great moves.

Sitting back and not trading up
The Hornets got LaMelo Ball at No. 3. Obi Toppin fell to the Knicks at No. 8. The Spurs didn’t need to do anything to get Devin Vassell, and Tyrese Haliburton was a steal for the Kings at No. 12. Heck, even the Celtics must be overjoyed at Aaron Nesmith falling right to No. 14

Point is: this was not the draft to trade up in, and those teams are very, very happy.

ESPN

If they wanted tears and emotion out of a draft that wasn’t done in person, they got it and then some.

Sam Presti

He traded, traded again and traded some more. And the future, murky as it is with all those first-round picks, is still pretty bright. Grabbing Theo Maledon and Aleksej Pokusevski were smart moves that could pan out around the time the Thunder want to move into a playoff spot.

Adrian Wojnarowski’s lexicon

Losers
Golden State Warriors

The Dubs had a good draft. But losing Klay Thompson to what could be a devastating injury a year after his torn ACL is just awful. The team had so much hope of contending this season, and they may still. But losing Thompson is a huge blow.

Phoenix Suns
It is possible to like the player but hate the pick, right? That’s the case with Jalen Smith, who could turn out to be the right kind of big man in today’s NBA, a player who can block shots on one end and hit threes on the other.

But it was a reach by many estimates, and perhaps in a draft where no one really want to trade up, the Suns just took their guy where they wanted to.

Los Angeles Clippers
I just don’t get trading Landry Shamet for Luke Kennard. They’re sort of the same player — I know Kennard was having a much-improved scoring year last season — but Kennard has dealt with injuries in recent years. Is there something I’m missing here?

Houston Rockets
Maybe this is just more about what the heck is happening with Russell Westbrook and James Harden, but if they’re dealing either of them, shouldn’t they keep picks to use on a not-too-distant rebuild?

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