Under The Radar: 3 Surprise Teams That Won Big At The NBA Draft
The entirety of the sporting world seems to be in agreement on the majority of the NBA Draft “winners.”
The Miami Heat are counting their blessings that Justise Winslow fell to them at the 10th pick. The Denver Nuggets got Emmanuel Mudiay at number seven, when almost everyone projected him to go in the top five. And, the Minnesota Timberwolves got an all-but-guaranteed star in Karl-Anthony Towns, as well as a hometown hero in Tyus Jones.
So, who are some of the teams whose draft night moves are flying under the radar?
While the decisions made at the top of the draft garner the most attention, many teams have made a science out of finding value outside of the lottery.
Here are three teams that made moves few people are talking about, but should pay dividends down the road:
Myles Turner (pick 11) and Joseph Young (pick 43)
Though I was a little surprised Larry Bird didn't opt for sharp-shooting guard Devin Booker to play opposite Paul George, Myles Turner will give Indiana an energetic inside presence with exceptional length.
With the team blatantly shopping expensive big man Roy Hibbert, Turner will provide a cheaper, more versatile alternative to his lumbering predecessor.
Though they missed out on Booker’s offensive capabilities, they made up for it by taking Joseph Young in the second round.
If Young improves his ball handling, he could become a very dangerous point man in the way of Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis. He is a much more dangerous scorer than current Pacer point guard George Hill.
Terry Rozier (pick 16), RJ Hunter (pick 28), Jordan Mickey (pick 33) and Marcus Thornton (pick 45)
The only problem I have with these picks is the Celtics chose two guards in the first round of last year's draft, as well as James Young and Marcus Smart.
Smart has proven himself as a tough defender who shoots poorly, while Young has yet to amount to anything. That being said, I think Rosier and Hunter are two of the most talented scorers in the draft.
Rozier, though small, is quick, shifty and a good shooter. He scores in a variety of ways and, by all accounts, possesses a level of toughness on par with that of Smart.
RJ Hunter has the potential to be, dare I say it, a poor man’s Steph Curry. He possesses a lightning-quick release, similar to the reigning MVP’s, and even has a few inches on him.
His range is seemingly unlimited and does not shy away from big moments (see: Georgia State’s improbable second-round win in the 2015 NCAA tournament).
He certainly does not have Curry’s ball-handling abilities and still has work to do to improve his quickness, but I think RJ Hunter is the biggest non-lottery first-round sleeper.
Mickey will provide a defensive spark and energy to a young Celtics roster, while Thornton is a hustle-bug capable of scoring in a variety of ways.
Devin Booker (pick 13) and Jon Leuer (from Memphis)
I believe the Suns getting Devin Booker with the 13th pick ranks above Mudiay and Winslow as the greatest value pick from the lottery.
If there is anything we learned from watching the Golden State Warriors this past season, it is you can't put a price on a lethal shooter.
There are some who believe Booker will be another JJ Redick, while others believe he could evolve into a Klay Thompson-esque threat. Booker is only 18 years old, and stands 6'6".
Though he doesn’t jump out of the gym, he showed ability to rise up over longer defenders on mid-range pull-up jumpers at Kentucky, and will be able to post up smaller guards as he bulks up under the tutelage of an NBA strength coach.
I believe he will be an All-Star multiple times over and should benefit right away from playing next to Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight in Phoenix.