It has been more than a week since the NBA draft and teams are actively engaged in the free agency period. Before the free agency madness starts, let’s look at how local products fared in the NBA Draft.
The Milwaukee Bucks select Jabari Parker (Duke) with the 2nd Pick
This was the no brainer after the Cavs took Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins at number 1. But wait a minute aren’t I the guy who said that the Cavs would draft Parker over Wiggins? Credit for paying attention but that was before Parker mailed in his Cavs workout. I also think that the Cavs targeted Wiggins because he is a better fit to play with LeBron than Parker is. You might think LeBron doesn’t play for the Cavs, but the Cavs would like him to.
Parker was from Chicago, so this spot (Milwaukee) appealed to him. There is no question that the Bucks need him and his offense, but they can surround him with able defenders like the Greek Freak, Henson, and Larry Sanders where the Cavs could not. He will be the star in Milwaukee from day 1, and we’ll see if Jason Kidd can use him. Kidd and Parker will be inextricably linked to the Bucks future, for good or ill.
The Phoenix Suns select TJ Warren (NC State) with the 14th Pick
Warren is a scoring machine and his ability to finish will fit well in Phoenix. Phoenix is in the middle of trying to re-sign Eric Bledsoe and open up cap room for a max free agent so it is hard to know how much they will use Warren right away. If they trade Gerald Green for cap room, Warren could start right away. Alternatively he could rotate with Green, always keeping a finisher on the court. If Warren develops a true jumper, then look out.
The Utah Jazz select Rodney Hood (Duke) with the 23rd Pick
Some may remember that I was pretty high on Hood, and he will make a good fit in Utah. He will give them flexibility off the bench to come in for either fellow rookie Dante Exum or rising star Gordon Hayward. If Hayward gets poached in free agency by another team, Hood will become a nice insurance policy. Either way he will provide more defense and a little offense from either the two or the three.
The Charlotte Hornets select PJ Hairston (North Carolina/NBDL) with the 26th Pick
I’ll hold off on Hairston for now, to be touched on in a Hornets specific review later. All action occurred in the first round. Some undrafted players are now trying to make teams through summer league and training camp performance. Andre Dawkins is on the Heat team. Jordan Vandenberg is on the Knicks’ team. James Michael McAdoo is on the Warriors’ team.