The Atlanta Hawks were last year’s surprise team. This year it is the Boston Celtics. After a 48-win season, they are looking forward to the June 23 NBA draft. The one thing most people seem to forget, however, is that a first-round draft choice in this day and age isn’t anything like a first-round draft pick was 25 or 30 years ago.
These kids are almost all full-time projects and if any of them can gain substantial playing time by their third season, teams ought to consider themselves lucky. So, Boston has three picks in the top 23 — but just how good are the top 23 going to be?
Of the 2015 first rounders (30 in total), only seven started as many as 39 games — and all seven played for non-playoff teams. Only Karl Townes (Minnesota) and the big kid with the Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis, started 70 or more games. Then came Emmanuel Mudiay, with Denver, with 66 starts, followed by Phoenix’ Devin Booker, with 51 starts.
And one of the seven, D’Angelo Russell of the Lakers, Twittered a teammate’s sexual boasts, thus encouraging us to believe he is an idiot.