Suns and Kings waste the draft
You want to know how bad teams stay bad? They make decisions like the ones in the 2016 NBA draft. There is a reason these two teams have the longest active playoff drought
First, the Suns drafted Dragan Bender with the #4 overall pick. Two spots ahead of Buddy Hield and three ahead of Jamal Murray. Bender’s averages over three years with the Suns are 5.3 ppg and 3.8 rpg.
Kings drafted Marquese Chriss 8th overall, but immediately traded him to the Suns in a package that included picks 13 and 28 and Bojan Bogdanovic
At 13 the Kings would draft Georgios Papagiannis, who played just 38 total games for the Kings, averaging only 12 mpg and 4.2 ppg. He is already out of the NBA. At 28, they took Skal Labissière, a very highly ranked player out of high school who never quite reached that level at Kentucky. He did average 8 ppg in 3 seasons with the Kings (an increase to his 6.6 ppg in college). Labissiere was later dealt to Portland.
In Phoenix, Chriss started 124 out of the 154 games he played, averaging 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg. He never really impacted the game at the level the Suns should have hoped for, for a top 5 draft pick.
Magic make a terrible trade
Whoa boy. If you think the Kings and Suns did bad, well the Magic want you to hold their beer.
Orlando picked 11th. They drafted Domantas Sabonis. He was immediately traded on draft night to the Thunder, along with Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova for Serge Ibaka. Is Ilyasova alone worth Ibaka? Probably yes, but all three is ridiculous.
In fact, it’s so ridiclous that one year later the Thunder turned Oladipo and Sabonis into Paul George, who finished in the top 3 for MVP voting in 2019, while Oladipo was an All Star in 2018 and 2019.
Ibaka played just 56 games and the Magic did not make a miraculous playoff run with him on board. He was traded halfway through the his lone season in 2016-17, to the Raptors for Terrence Ross.
Everyone passes on Paskal Siakam and Dejounte Murray
It’s always fun to judge team’s decision making in hindsight. When the Raptors drafted Paskal Siakam, out of New Mexico State, I barely even shrugged. Raptors had the 9th pick in this draft (good job, Knicks) and Siakam seemed like an after thought. And through last season that was mostly true. But in 2019, Siakam has had his big breakthrough, increasing his scoring average by over 9 points per game (16.9 ppg) and increasing his numbers all across the board, while starting 79 games, after just 43 starts in the two years prior. At times, Siakam has looked like the second best player on the Raptors, if not definitely the third.
Two picks later, the Spurs drafted Dejounte Murray at 29. People shrugged at the idea that he would be the heir apparent to Tony Parker at point guard, but he certainly played like it in 2017-18. He missed 2019 with a torn ACL but will assume the role of starter next season.
This was a pretty bad draft. In fact, the proof in that statement comes from the fact that the 2017 Rookie of the Year was a second round pick, the first time that’s ever happened. When the Bucks drafted Malcolm Brogdon 36th overall, it’s hard to say they knew he’d become a core player for them.