With the 2019 NBA Draft behind us, we can now take a closer look at the results. In paying homage to shows like the Oscars and Emmys, here are the awards handed out. Like most award shows, there will be some surprises and no brainers.
Rodney Dangerfield “No Respect” Award- Bol Bol
Most scouts and analysts agree he is a Top 10 talent, so why did he plummet to the second round? There have been whispers about his work ethic and love for the game. Many teams will be sorry they passed on this multi-skilled big.
Can’t Win Award- Zion Williamson
There are so expectations on him to not only be great and put up big numbers but also be the savior of the Pelicans franchise. That means leading them to wins and an unreasonable championship. To say this is unfair is putting it mildly.
Immediate Impact Award- Ja Morant
Memphis is in a complete rebuild mode with zero expectations. A perfect scenario for Morant, who will have the ball in his hands to make spectacular plays and mistakes without looking over his shoulder. Expect jaw dropping highlights on a regular basis.
Best kept Secret Award- Eric Pascall
The Warriors may have found another gem in the second round. An undersized, unassuming, productive four year college player who is an all around solid performer (sounds familiar?). He can only hope to have that kind of impact but he’s already a better shooter.
Undrafted Rookie With The Most Potential- Jalen Lecque
He’s just a pup still learning and finding his game. He is a combo guard who is highly athletic with great bounce. With the right teacher, he could be an impact player for years to come.
Just Happy To Be Drafted Award- Justin Wright-Foreman
Foreman wasn’t on anyone’s radar previously, let alone to be drafted. The one thing he can do is score and he has decent size with an NBA physique. He wasn’t even invited to the pre draft combine but it only takes one team to like you.
Can I Get An Invite Award- Chris Clemons
Although diminutive in size and stature (stands at only 5’9”), There is nothing small about his scoring prowess. This kid lit up the scoreboard and finished with the third most points in collegiate history. Small school or not, let that sink in.
Diamond In The Rough Award- Mfiondu Kabengele
He played in relative obscurity in the ACC last season but has loads of talent. He has size (6’10”), guard like handle and can rebound and score on all three levels. He just needs an opportunity to showcase his ability.
Worst Draft Day Trade Award- Phoenix Suns
They had the sixth overall pick in the draft and desperately need a point guard to pair with Devin Booker. Coby White was sitting there for the taking and a great fit for their system. The Suns decided to trade the pick (Jarrett Culver) to Minnesota (who had the 11th pick) for wing shooter Cameron Johnson.
Best Draft Day Trade Award- New Orleans Pelicans
They traded away franchise player Anthony Davis and received the fourth overall pick as part of the compensation. Their day would have been great after selecting Zion Williamson with the first pick. They then turned the fourth pick into three picks (8, 17 & 35) after trading it to Atlanta. Those picks produced F/C Jaxson Hayes, SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Euro SF Marcos Louzada Silva. All will play a role in the Pelicans’ resurrection.
Jackpot Award- Chicago Bulls
The Bulls never expected to see Coby White there at number seven, who simply fell into their lap after Phoenix inexplicably passed on him. Now they have a young good guard rotation with Zach Levine, Kris Dunn and White. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Best Overall Draft Award- New Orleans Pelicans
Not only did they get a franchise player in Zion Williamson, they drafted three other players (Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker & Marcos Louzada Silva) who will play a part in their rebuild. They have assembled quite the young core of players. Especially with the additions of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.
Worst Draft Award- Orlando Magic
Although I really like Chuma Okeke’s versatility, I’m not sure where he fits with Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac playing the same position. With a real possibility of losing center Nikola Vucevic in free agency, another big would have made more sense to go along with Mo Bamba. They could have traded down to acquire more picks, plenty of options were available.
Biggest Stock Riser Award- PJ Washington
Once thought of as a late first round or early second round pick, Washington found himself being selected in the lottery (12th pick). The draft combine gave him a golden opportunity to showcase his talent and versatility. Staying another year in college was a huge benefit.
Fell into The Abyss Award- Nassir Little
Always considered a Top Ten/lottery talent, Little never quite got it going in his only college season. He apparently didn’t do himself any favors at the pre draft combine. His measurables were terrific but his gameplay exposed a lot of holes in his game.
Perfect Fit Award- Rui Hachimura/Washington Wizards
If the Wizards can somehow get John Wall and Bradley Beal to peacefully co exist, Hachimura’s transition to the NBA will be relatively smooth. He can play off both players, who can create scoring opportunities for him. He also fills a void left when they traded Otto Porter Jr.