2021 BBNBA Draft Recap

Alex Weberabout 2 months

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Aritcle written by:Alex WeberAlex Weber

@alexweberKSR

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[caption id="attachment_361250" align="alignnone" width="1920"]draft (Getty Images)[/caption] Kentucky and John Calipari weren't quite as involved in this year's NBA Draft as they typically are, but two Wildcats did get to hear their names called while several other selections and trades from the evening will have implications for other former 'Cats. Let's run through everything Kentucky from an interesting 2021 Draft in somewhat chronological order:

Isaiah Jackson lands in Indy

Isaiah Jackson was hot potato-ed around in several different trades, but he eventually wound up in the hands of the Pacers at pick no. 22 in the first round. Indiana isn't hurting for bigs and it's likely Jackson was selected as more of a project than a plug-and-play forward right away. Personally, I would have liked to see him somewhere that would play him in a shot-blocker on defense/rim-runner on offense type of role -- like the Brooklyn Nets. For the sake of Jackson's playing time, he'll hope current starting center Myles Turner is traded. Turner is an All-Defense caliber player on that end and can hit threes above the league average, but his partnership with Sabonis in the frontcourt has worn its welcome. The Pacers have long been rumored to be looking for Turner trades so they can deploy Sabonis as the primary big and invest more capital on the wing. With Jackson, they may start grooming Turner's defensive replacement. If Turner is traded, Jackson may get a hefty opportunity in year one. If not, he still could factor in as a backup as a rookie -- but either way, he's an investment for years to come, not a pick expected to produce right away.

BJ Boston nearly falls out of the Draft

How do you not feel for Brandon Boston Jr.? This whole last year has been a nightmare for the kid. From COVID to underachieving as a freshman to losing his best friend to dropping almost an entire round after he expected to get picked in the draft...it's just been a rough 365 for that kid. NBA teams were reportedly concerned with Boston's demeanor and confidence, which could explain the fall. I just feel terrible for him. But...even though he'll go down as one of the lower-picked Kentucky guys, he'll still have the full support of the BBN. The Boston pick was traded several times but eventually landed in the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers. Gotta say...not a great spot for a young kid trying to get his confidence back...but at least he's home and perhaps just being close to his family and community will give him an extra boost. Though it's hard to imagine the Western Conference Finalists letting a 19-year-old 53rd pick play a ton of minutes. We'll be pulling for, BJ!

Russell Westbrook gets traded to the Los Angeles Lakers

Adrian Wojnarowski kicked off his NBA Draft tweet-a-palooza by dropping the news that former MVP and Washington Wizard Russell Westbrook had been dealt to the 2020 champs for a slew of assets: [embed]https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1420858110177120257[/embed] I'm not sure how Westbrook fits in with the LeBron James-Anthony Davis duo as a player or a personality. He certainly doesn't solve their shooting issue, his defense is good, but not any better than Caldwell-Pope, and he isn't exactly known for being productive next to other superstars. However, is LA better with Russell Westbrook? Yes. As frustrating as Westbrook is to some fans, the dude has averaged a triple-double in four seasons and will find a way to make an impact, whether that's with his hustle and intensity or with his playmaking and explosiveness in transition.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rumored in trade for 3rd pick

You may have seen my rant the other day on the SGA trade rumors that would have sent him to Detroit for the no. 1 pick. Well, yesterday's trade attempt by Sam Presti was even more outlandish. Oklahoma City considered shipping Shai to Cleveland along with other assets to acquire the third pick, seemingly to select Evan Mobley. Cleveland declined, but what in the world was OKC thinking? Again, you have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a player whose three-year statistical profile suggests that he will be a future All-NBA, multi-time All-Star level player. He's headed straight towards becoming one of the 15 best players in the league and the Thunder are doing everything they can to trade him for a swing on someone who might be as good one day as Shai is now. Guaranteed stardom is so rare in the NBA. That's why Russell Westbrook still fetches a king's ransom in a trade. Shai is a guaranteed star, already. Why dump him? Would someone in Oklahoma City figure this out? Please.

Hornets draft Malik Monk replacement

In my end-of-year recap for Monk, I noted that it was a toss-up whether Charlotte would re-sign him or let him walk in free agency. Their decision with the 11th pick suggests Monk may be finding a new home. With the same pick they took Monk with four years ago, the Hornets selected James Bouknight out of UConn. He's an athletically gifted bucket-getter that plays the two. Sorry Malik, looks like Charlotte is bringing in a cheaper, potentially better sparkplug scorer off the bench. If this does mean free agency for Monk, that's no bad thing. He was likely going to earn a larger offer from a team other than Charlotte anyway, and now, he'll have options heading into next season.

An emotional Terrence Clarke tribute

[embed]https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1420921675323936768[/embed] How are you not going to cry? The NBA did right by Terrence and his family by honoring him at the NBA Draft that would have changed his and his family's entire lives. Such a sad, sad situation.
Well, another NBA Draft in the books. Not quite as active for UK fans as normal, but still exciting to see Jackson and Boston find new homes. Best of luck to those two and the rest of the careers that began last night.

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2021-09-25