2021 NBA Draft: Biggest Losers
Every NBA Draft, there are teams that make questionable decisions. This year was no different. Here are the biggest losers from the 2021 NBA Draft. Click here to see my biggest winners from the draft.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs had one first-round pick at No. 12 overall, and they used that pick to make the worst decision of the draft. They selected Josh Primo out of Alabama. I gave the selection an F grade because I think it was definitely the worst choice of the first round. It made me question whether San Antonio is competent when it comes to drafting. Most analysts, including myself, had Primo graded as a fringe first-rounder – not anywhere close to a lottery pick. There’s just so many questions here. San Antonio didn’t need another guard, and certainly not a project like Primo. If they wanted another guard that bad, Moses Moody was still on the board. Given the consensus perception of Primo on draft night, it’s also bizarre that the Spurs didn’t trade back to get him closer to where he was evaluated. It’s not that I hate Josh Primo, but using a lottery pick on him was a big L.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are a weird situation because I don’t necessarily hate all the picks they made. Miles McBride was a fantastic selection in the second round, and I think Quentin Grimes and Jericho Sims were decent-ish choices as well. What I do need to say about the Knicks is that they had one of the worst draft strategies I have ever seen. In a ridiculously deep draft like this one, their decision to trade out of Nos. 19 and 21 was mind-boggling. There were plenty of good high-upside players left on the board that would have been way better picks than Grimes in all honesty. Punting on No. 19 felt especially ridiculous given that the Knicks got a heavily-protected first round pick from Charlotte which will likely be completely useless if conferred to New York. There is no good explanation for how the Knicks chose to approach the 2021 NBA Draft. They walked away with worse assets than if they had just stayed put with their original picks.
It’s just now occurring to me that every team I’ve mentioned so far is one that a Vendetta basketball guy supports. I promise I’m not doing that on purpose. Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more I disliked what Memphis did in the 2021 NBA Draft. I like Ziaire Williams more than most, but he probably would have been available quite a few picks later than No. 10. Trading up into the first round to take Santi Aldama was puzzling. I don’t care if the Thunder wanted to take him at No. 34, let them do it! He was projected by a lot of people to go undrafted for crying out loud! It’s just not a good draft when you reach on one player in the lottery, then trade back into the first round to reach on yet another player. Also, Memphis went into the draft needing another primary initiator to take the load off Ja Morant, and they left the draft with the exact same need. That makes the Williams pick a little more questionable because Moses Moody and James Bouknight were right there.
I like Davion Mitchell as a player. My low draft grade for his selection at No. 9 overall is more reflective of the team he is going to. The Sacramento Kings are a terrible drafting franchise (that’s not really news), and taking Mitchell was yet another weird pick for them to make. The Kings already have a young backcourt to build around in De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. Davion Mitchell will now have to compete for minutes with those two, and that won’t be an easy battle to win even with Mitchell’s versatile skillset. If the Baylor product was the Kings’ best player available at No. 9, I can’t really fault them for the pick, but Mitchell finds himself in a situation that is less than ideal.
Fans Wondering Who Their Team Drafted
This draft was an absolute disaster for any fan wondering who their team drafted. Woj was tweeting incorrect trade details all night. The draft broadcast wasn’t any better considering the analysts had no idea what team was drafting which player half the time. On top of that, the NBA still does that stupid thing where trades aren’t finalized until free agency starts, so picks that are traded before the draft technically haven’t been traded yet. Then you get a case like Ziaire Williams wearing a Pelicans hat even though he was really drafted by Memphis. That’s such an annoying thing with such a simple fix. Just give them the right hat so people know what team they will play for! Why are we pretending like these picks haven’t been traded? Make it stop.
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