Zion Williamson
Who are the winners and losers for the 2019 NBA Draft? (Julio Cortez/AP)

The 2019 NBA Draft has come and gone. Now it’s time to declare winners and losers. If we’re being honest, in hindsight, 95 percent of the teams will come out of the draft as losers. 90 percent of the players taken outside of the top 5 never made a real impact. The NBA Draft is a big crapshoot but some dart throws make a lot more sense than others. Let’s declare winners and losers for the 2019 NBA Draft!

Winner: New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans were already a winner on lottery night. They got the best draft prospect since Kevin Durant. Case closed. After that, if we’re being honest, I didn’t love what they did. Jaxson Hayes feels like a project center. He shot up boards after not being a high recruit. I watched some Virginia Tech this year. I never in a million years thought they had a first round pick on their team. Nickel Alexander-Walker is related to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That’s the only reason I’m slightly optimistic. Looking back on it, the Pelicans probably should have just stayed at 4 and taken DeAndre Hunter. Regardless, landing Zion makes you the biggest winner of the night because 95 percent of the other players won’t matter. I question the return for Anthony Davis but ZION!!!

Winner: Atlanta Hawks

I love what the Hawks did here. Atlanta knows they are going to stink. They did what every terrible team should be doing. Eat bad contracts, collect more assets. Somehow they accomplished that and moved up in the draft all in one shot. DeAndre Hunter is the best defender in the draft and a proven college player ready to play now. Hunter can hit shots, defend at a very high level, and even run the offense if he has to.

I also really like the Cameron Reddish pick. Sure, he disappears some times but his hot streaks are impressive. Reddish could be out of the league in 3 years. He could also be an All-Star. The only thing to bang on Atlanta for is selling 2nd round picks. C’mon. That’s pathetic. Take some fliers or trade for future 2nd’s. Overall, still a good night. Actually, I take that back. They gave up Luka Doncic for Cameron Reddish and Trae Young…. LOSERS!

Winner: Boston Celtics

I went from ready to jump off a bridge to talking myself off a ledge; So don’t try to call me a homer. I’m still all over the place on it. Here’s what I do know. They basically got the 14 for free that came with the Jayson Tatum trade. It’s a free pick. What I didn’t like was Romeo Langford. 27 percent from 3-point range is pathetic. Probably another James Young, yuck.

I went into the night really wanting Admiral Schofield. I got Grant Williams instead. I really liked both Tennessee guys so I’ll call this one a win. Williams is regarded as the better player. Williams has an NBA ready body. I can’t understate that enough because most of these prospects don’t and never develop one. Williams should be able to bang inside right away and can hit shots. Williams is also very intelligent which matters too.

The part that put this draft into the winner category for me were the trades. Boston moved down twice. Once with Philly and then with Phoenix. In the process, the Celtics collected a 2020 Milwaukee first rounder and the 33rd pick that turned into Carsen Edwards. I’m a big fan of Edwards. Punch in some Purdue highlights, you won’t be disappointed. He’s a prolific scorer who can provide a spark off the bench. This was the right call. The draft this year stinks. The difference from 6-45 wasn’t a big difference. I was ready to hammer the Celtics. Then I looked at the other teams drafts… They did pretty well.

Winner: Los Angeles Clippers

Jerry West keeps nailing it. He’s proven that he knows what he’s doing. The Clippers didn’t have a first round pick but traded one of the Tobias Harris picks to snag Mfiondu Kabengele. This is a player that I have been all over. I feel even better about it after the Clippers took him. NBA blood lines? Check, related to Dikembe Mutombo. Kabengele is a stretch 4 who can knock down shots, score inside, and arms that seem to go on forever. I don’t see any reason why he can’t do what Danilo Gallinari does. Florida State was a really good team this year and Kabengele was their best player. Or maybe it was Terance Mann. Guess what? The Clippers got him too.

2019 NBA Draft
Congrats to Denver. You may have stuck out but you have hit the biggest home run (Steve Freeman/Getty)

Winner: Denver Nuggets

I truly do not understand how nobody took Bol Bol until the 44th pick. Congrats, Denver. You just won the Draft. Year after year, teams fail to realize that a vast majority of these players flat out suck. Go look at previous drafts. You get 5 good players a year if lucky. If Bol Bol isn’t one of the 5 best players in the draft, it’s because of injury, not talent. Even if injury is the reason for a slide, there’s no reason he still doesn’t belong in the top 10. Denver did a similar thing a year ago drafting Michael Porter. Imagine if both guys pan out. WOW. Bol Bol has the highest pure ceiling in this draft outside of Zion. Denver got him in the 2nd round. Unbelievable.

Winner: Washington Wizards

I’ll keep this short. I like Rui Hachimura. I don’t know if he will ever be able to defend. What I do know is he can score. At which levels? I don’t know but he can put the ball in the hole. That’s the most important thing. I’m also a big Admiral Schofield fan. There is something to be said for guys that play with an edge. The Pat Beverley’s of the world. Schofield is jacked out of his mind and looks like a little bit of a psycho. Sign me up for that.

Loser: Everybody Else

I could go on forever but I’ll just do some quick hits.

Memphis… In what world are you celebrating today? The Grizzlies thought they won after they drafted Ja Morant. Then I saw a graphic that said his favorite player was Russell Westbrook. That’s all I needed to see. Cancer! If I’m a Grizzlies fan, I’m waking up with cold sweats for the next 2 years. Good luck with that. Then I saw a lot of people praising them for Brandon Clarke? Why? He’s going to be 23 by the start of the season. Good, so he dominated much younger competition in a weak Conference. Yeah, good way to scout. I don’t even know what Clarke is. Good athlete. Okay? What else…. Nothing. Can’t shoot with below average measurables. No thanks.

Are you sure the Knicks should be happy? I like RJ Barrett but what if he’s DeMar DeRozan? He kind of looks like him. Shoots like him too (not a good thing). The worst thing in the world is getting stuck with a player like that and being forced to max him while being stuck in irrelevance. I’m not saying it will happen. I’m saying it might.

Cleveland just loses for being Cleveland. Then they drafted Darius Garland and I saw his suit. There’s no way this is a good basketball player with this outfit. They also just drafted a point guard last year in the form of Collin Sexton. What’s the point? The other late first round picks really didn’t make any sense either and Cleveland gave up 4 2nd round picks for Kevin Porter. Never a smart thing to do. Unless Porter pans out but again, this is a bad draft.

Phoenix never gets anything right. This was a classic Suns draft. First, they gave away a pick to clear TJ Warren’s contract off the books. Why? Who the hell are the Suns signing? Warren is a good player too. I wouldn’t call $33 million over the next 3 years for Warren a bad deal? Would you?

Then the Suns traded down from 6 to 11. In fairness, they picked up Dario Saric but Saric is in a contract year so the Suns will probably max him cause they are the Suns. Phoenix then reaches for Cameron Johnson at 11 who nobody saw as a lottery pick. Johnson can shoot. That’s about all he can do and probably doesn’t have a high ceiling as a redshirt senior.

The worst pick of the night also goes to the Suns. They traded away a future Bucks first rounder in 2020 for Ty Jerome who sucks. The Suns also take on Aron Baynes as part of the deal. I like Baynes so I have no issue with that. It’s just Jerome. I’m convinced a 5-year old can beat him one on one. What is there to like about him? He can’t jump over a phonebook. Jerome can’t defend. Jerome would lose a 40-yard dash to a turtle. There’s nothing to like about him. I didn’t even mention the fact that he has the most punchable face I’ve ever seen. This is why they are the Suns.

Somebody has to explain to me what in the world Philadelphia is doing. An idiot is a person that makes the same mistake over and over again. The 76ers traded up with the Celtics for Washington guard Markelle Fultz 2 years ago. That couldn’t have worked out worse. This time they move up for Washington forward Matisse Thybulle in a trade with the Celtics. Who wants to bet this trade turns into a disaster? Thybulle is regarded as a good defender with good length. The problem is he can’t shoot at all. Memo to Philadelphia!!!! You need shooters!!!! The 76ers gave away 2nd round picks like they were candy and moved up for a player that can’t score. Memo to Philadelphia!!!! Your bench is TRASH!!! You could have used some of those 2nd round picks. Especially to save some money while trying to re-sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.

Quick side note: WTF was Chauncey Billups doing on the ESPN desk last night? His player comps were the worst thing I’ve ever seen. ESPN should be embarrassed that they don’t use Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz.