The 2017 NBA offseason has been a roller coaster and that continued last night as the Bulls expectedly moved Jimmy Butler - but to the unexpected Minnesota Timberwolves.
Much of the lottery played out about as expected and Sean tore it up yesterday to give you a chance to weigh in on the Pistons’ draft pick of Luke Kennard. So let’s talk about everything else going on around the league.
1. Both teams lost the Jimmy Butler trade
The Bulls’ return from Jimmy Butler was already laughable. Then it turned out that they also included the 16 pick to send to Minnesota along with Butler. Wow.
What’s the timeline on the Bulls rebuilding project? Where’s their premium talent, who are they building around? How does a disappointing Kris Dunn, injured Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen really form such a great young core?
Even the draft pick of Markkanen makes for a tough fit, considering one of their most loaded spots right now is at power forward. So Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis, both of whom have shown promise at times, one of those guys are probably out.
But hey, the Wolves were the obvious winners then right? Come on. What’s the point of Jimmy Butler on a 31 win team? Yes, they have some great young talent. But there’s no way the addition of Butler is going to be enough to get them to the point that they’re ready to topple the top of the West. The Spurs won 61 games last year. Butler won’t add 30 wins.
Sure, they’ll be much better. They’re probably a playoff team. But are they a 50 plus win team? If not, that will likely have them in the back half of the conference. So this blockbuster move might have just made them the new Portland Trail Blazers.
There’s plenty of talk about teams aiming for the backside of the Warriors and Cavs dominant years. The Timberwolves were well positioned to grab the baton for those years. Be patient, let your guys develop, work your timeline to its best advantage. This move was just undisciplined and impatient.
2. The Celtics are ridiculous
Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler. Jayson Tatum. Jimmy Butler.
3. Phil Jackson knows what he’s doing
Frank Ntilikina may wind up being the worst pick in the top 13 picks. Phil can thank Pat Riley for drafting Bam Adebayo as a “what are you doing?” move, otherwise he’d probably be the worst pick of the first round.
He has some decent virtues as a prospect, but ahead of Dennis Smith Jr.? That’s a terrible pick. It’s pretty great that it happened to the Knicks.
4. The Magic are going to be fun to watch
Jonathon Isaac has star potential. I think he checks off several more boxes than some of the guys drafted ahead of him like Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox, just because I trust his shooting ability to translate better. And watching him play, he just seems to have some Giannis Antetokounmpo to him.
The biggest thing I’m curious about is how he’ll fit with Aaron Gordon. Both of these guys have that combo forward potential, but are going to be best attacking the rim rather than hanging out on the perimeter. Gordon going from small forward to power forward after the Serge Ibaka trade worked great for him. Seems like these two switching in and out from post to perimeter could work either really well or really badly. I’m looking forward to watching.
And what if Isaac and Gordon are able to fill the four and five spots while Mario Hezonja takes a step forward? They’d be long, smooth, and really able to stroke it.
5. Ike Anigbogu...
One of my favorite players in this draft and he falls to the 47 pick in this draft. And to the Indiana Pacers. That’s just brutal.
18 years old, 7’6 wingspan, he’s one of the best defensive and rebounding big men in the draft. Defensive and rebounding big men tend to be pretty reliable prospects.
I’m in Indiana right now, visiting the family and having to admit to them how much I liked this draft for them...and after bashing them to open last season. Ugh. Well. At least there’s the Paul George card that’s easy to play.
What about you DBB? Anything stand out from around the league last night?