Okay, so the NBA Draft just happened. I think we've been waiting for it since the last week of the regular season after our #playoffpush wasn't going to happen. The Utah Jazz had three picks, a lotto pick and two seconds, and not a lot of ping pong balls. After not winning the lotto, and losing a coin-flip to the Indiana Pacers the Jazz were slotted to pick #12, #42, and #54. (Full Draft Coverage here) Utah, under GM Dennis Lindsey, has made a name for themselves. They seem to favor defensive minded players, and are known to make moves at the draft. This year they kept their first two picks, and traded their third -- just like last season. They picked up 19 year old one-and-done Canadian bigman Trey Lyles, 22 year old Canadian combo guard Olivier Hanlan, and jettisoned away Daniel Diez of Spain to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Overall I think our expectations for the draft made the reality of it a little hard to accept immediately; however, in time I think we'll be fine. If Hanlan makes the team or not will depend on him. If he does, the team gets stronger. If he doesn't, it means he wasn't strong enough to help the Jazz. Lyles has the opportunity to be the 3rd big on an emerging force. If he can reach his potential (and head coach Quin Snyder seems like quite a teacher) then getting him could one day be considered a steal.
In fantasy land Lyles was a guy I picked up with the #22 pick in the Blogger mock draft, and in reality he goes ten spots higher. Either real life GM Lindsey knows his true value and the bloggers do not, or I just got really lucky as a fantasy GM. Or both.
These are our new Jazzmen, Lyles will wear the #41 previous adorned by Thurl Bailey. As we know from historical evidence, the #12 pick has been a spot of diminishing returns over the last few decades; but the Jazz don't need a star, but a system player. Lyles, a Kentucky product filled with NBA level talent, may just be exactly what the Jazz are looking for.
As for the rest of the draft . . . well now, that's something else. I was surprised by how well the consensus mock draft experiment seems to line up with this draft; however, I believe that is just chance at this point and not some greater analytic truth. The Minnesota Timberwolves taking Karl-Anthony Towns was nice. And obvious. The Los Angeles Lakers going for need, and not best player available, and picking up D'Angelo Russell was a surprise, but not a shock. Justice Winslow falling to #10, to the Miami Heat, on the other hand was unexpected. But UCLA product, and possible pug breed (hip dysplasia?) fell all the way down to the #30 pick in the draft -- and was greedily snatched up by the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
While this isn't a record, but 18 of the 60 picks were foreign, but it wasn't just ballers from the Balkans getting looks.
The Americas (5):
- Karl-Anthony Towns is from the Dominican Republic
- Trey Lyles and Olivier Hanlan are both Canadian, as previously mentioned
- Juan Pablo Vaulet is from Argentina
- Cady Lalanne is from Haiti
Basketball Europe (9):
- Mario Hezonja is from Croatia
- Nikola Milutinov is from Serbia
- Cedi Osman is from Turkey
- Guillermo Hernangomez is from Spain
- Arturas Gudaitis is from Lithuania
- Daniel Diez is from Spain
- Nikola Radicevic is from Serbia
- Dimitrios Agravanis is from Greece
- Luka Mitrovic is from Serbia
Non-Basketball Europe (2):
- Kristaps Porzingis is from Latvia
- Marcus Eriksson is from Sweden
- Emmanuel Mudiay is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and played in China last season
- Satnam Singh Bhamara is from India
I'm excited for Satnam, as I've been following his career since he essentially hit puberty and was a giant in South Asia. Also, he went to school at IMG, and I know a guy who works there. Lots of kids go to school there, but it used to mainly be a tennis academy. You may remember the name because David Thrope (ESPN) runs that, and that's wherewas sent for a while before the draft. As a guy who claims South Asian heritage was a special moment for me to see him drafted. So please excuse the following tweets:
FACT: Satnam Singh is ALWAYS the biggest kid in class pic.twitter.com/YGlQUVKVe5— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 26, 2015
Though, speaking on behalf of South Asians in North America, who are hoops fans, I think this is exactly how we felt:
I am praying that Satnam Singh gets drafted today. Brown people need this.— Lord Brocktweet (@AtweetVirani) June 25, 2015
Between Vivek and Piyush, brown people been taking Ls this week.— Lord Brocktweet (@AtweetVirani) June 25, 2015
Couldn't have said it better. It's a shame he didn't go to Toronto (one of the largest South Asian populations outside of South Asia), but Dallas is pretty hype too. Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan (father of 2nd generation Bollywood icon and NBA celeb game 2015 participant Abhishek Bachchan, and father-in-law to former Miss World / Bollywood icon Aishwarya Rai) had this to tweet:
T 1910 -#satnamsingh first Indian player to be in the NBA .. congratulations !! India goes to NBA .. now time for NBA to come to India ..!!— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) June 26, 2015
Of course, this goes back to, the Indo-Canadian first South Asian player in the NBA. He put this up on IG.
Congratulations to satnam. Wish you the best. Together we can make indians across the world proud and best of all inspire a generation of kids to follow their dreams and stay on a positive path. The road ahead for both of us is going to be an uphill climb but we can find motivation from our community. #nbadraft #simnation @nbaindia #satnam
Interesting times for the NBA, trying to make that money. Interesting times for South Asian trying to go beyond quiet, good at math model minority status and embrace being the new "it" group in media and popular culture. With a global population greater than a billion it was bound to happen that some of them would be tall.
GO PLANET EARTH! GO BASKETBALL!
IN YOUR FACE SOCCER!
So the Jazz have one new rookie, and perhaps a few others (2nd round picks don't have that security, and summer league, free agency, and training camp can always shake things up). Former rookie who received a lot of torment,, is ready to do what must be done.
@TreyMambaLyles Welcome to Utah homie! Big things coming!!!!— rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) June 26, 2015
A bunch of Canadians (who are not hockey or rugby players) don't strike me as aggressive, take charge guys. Glad we still have Rudy, who has that psychopath level intrinsic motivation . . . something he cleared shared with Karl Malone.
Thats how i feel almost every game https://t.co/RCliwQmQo1— rudy gobert (@rudygobert27) June 25, 2015
And really, we have a very solid group. Getting another young guy, or two, to help fill in the cracks -- while they all improve together -- is going to be awesome to watch and root for over the next decade. The Western Conference will break upon onslaught our bigs will bring to the paint on a nightly basis.
Okay, this is amazing. It's like NBA 2K MyPlayer come to life . . . plus . . . internet duplicity. Or something. (*KINDA* NSFW as there are a few girls who lift up their shirt to this man, but it is blurred out. That only happens for a few seconds during the entire video though, at one juncture.)
Bravo man. This is what the internet was made for. Read the full story here.
What are some of your favorite parts of the draft? The #NBAStyle ? The fan reactions? The things the talking heads say? The reaction to the NBA Comish? Absurd family interviews? Or just the chance that your team is going to get that magical player to make everything better?
Last night for MOST of the night this was pretty much my reaction:
It wasn't the most exciting draft, but these are substantive players that will -- for the most part -- be able to help their teams win some more games next season. Also, I just wanted to show that beleaguered New York Knicks kid cry again.