With the 2023 NBA Draft behind us, there are three clear winners from the night. This was one of the most active nights in recent draft history with multiple teams moving around to add their ideal prospect. As a result of this, some players and teams made out much better than others.
The first winner from the draft is the Houston Rockets. Houston selected Amen Thompson with the fourth overall pick, a move that many expected. Thompson is capable of playing the point guard, shooting guard, and small forward positions. With him being 6’7”, he would have incredibly good size if the Rockets chose to play him at the point.
Along with this, he is a strong passer and a very talented perimeter defender. If this was not enough, Houston would also get Cam Whitmore with the 20th overall pick. Coming into the draft, many believed that Whitmore would be a lottery pick. However, due to injury concerns, he slid to the middle of the first round. With another two talented young pieces being added to their already promising core, the Rockets could be a team to look out for in the near future.
Another winner from the draft night is Damian Lillard. While Lillard may have wished that his Portland Trail Blazers would have traded their third overall pick to put a star player around him, Portland using their pick to select Scoot Henderson likely means that Dame will be on the move shortly.
This will allow him to be traded to a contender and compete for a ring, something that was very unlikely in Portland. Lillard has been heavily tied to the Miami Heat, and if he does end up being traded to the team, they could be well on their way to another appearance in the NBA Finals.
The final winner from the draft is the Dallas Mavericks. Coming into the draft, many believed that the Mavericks would trade their tenth overall pick for a star player to put alongside Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, however, this would not end up being the case.
Dallas’s front office was extremely active on the night, making two trades. The first sent the 10th overall pick and Davis Bertans to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 12th overall pick. With that pick, the Mavs would select Dereck Lively II, an elite shot-blocking big. The Mavericks would then trade the 24th overall pick to the Sacramento Kings for Richaun Holmes.
These were two incredible and much-needed deals for Dallas. Their lack of size and interior defense was a big factor in them missing the playoffs. With Doncic and Irving being weaker defenders, bringing in players like Lively II and Holmes to pick up the slack on the defensive end is a great move.
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