Anthony Bennet, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Cody Zeller, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Kentavious Calwell-Pope, Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum, Michael Carter-Williams, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynik and Shabazz Muhammad were all selected before Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Drafting is not an exact science. There is so much that goes into a player's development that you can never really tell how well a player will perform. We think about the on.court stuff, but a lot of it is also how players deal and manage the off-court stuff as well. But, if someone is talented on the court, you can at least go and check them out, right?
Many teams will tell you they were just about to draft Draymond Green, Jimmy Bulter, Isiah Thomas or any other late pick that bloomed into a fantastic player. Out of all the players from that list, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the top pick for "we were going to pick him."
Now we learn 29 teams can make at least some kind of a case to lie to make it seem they know what they are doing at the draft. We know that because 29 teams went to scout the Greek Freak. The only team that didn't? The New York Knickerbockers. (via Finding Giannis on TNT)
We start contacting NBA scouts and GM's, but again they were "Mmph." So we caught up with Jonathan Givony. So after Jonathan came and his footage was out on Draft Express, scouts started flying to Greece. Every day, at practice, at games, executives, GM's, assistant coaches. Every team came, you know. 29 teams, except Knicks...New York Knicks.
Yet another example of "Knicks excellence." This is what drives me crazy about big market teams. If this were any small market team, this would make them look so ridiculous no way a Kevin Durant or any other superstar would consider going there. But because they are in New York, they get a chance.
The only thing I don't get is the Knicks part. The Lakers are not just in LA; they do have a history of championship and basketball excellence. If you want to go to play in New York, why not the Nets? They have better management, a better coach and a much better roster/salary cap situation. Let me just stress that just the fact their owner is not James Dolan should be enough.
It's not a given that Giannis would be this player if another team drafted him. Sometimes teams recognize talent but realize they are not in a position to develop it and maybe another player is a better fit for them at that time. But at least go scout the guy!