After much anticipation, the 2019 NBA Draft came and went in a flash, and franchises are now preparing to navigate their futures with the haul of young talent they added. Well, as with any draft, some teams knocked it out of the park, whilst others left their fanbases scratching their heads. Here are three winners and losers from Thursday night's draft.
2019 NBA Draft Winners
1. New Orleans Pelicans
This one is pretty obvious. The Pelicans got Zion Williamson with the first overall pick, and managed to offload Solomon Hill's $12 million annual salary in a multi-pick swap. They parted ways with the No. 4 selection, but managed to turn it into Texas' Jaxson Hayes and Virginia Tech's Nickeil Alexander-Walker. A very solid day of work for David Griffin and Co. With the youth movement going strong in NOLA, Pelicans fans should be feeling great about the AD trade.
2. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks found a trade partner to move them up the draft board so they could land Virginia's De'Andre Hunter fourth overall. They also took the boom-or-bust threat Cam Reddish with the 10th pick. Atlanta added two elite young talents with tremendous upside who could step in and contribute immediately to a Hawks team that is certainly trending upwards.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves landed one of the best prospects in the draft after trading the 11th pick and Dario Saric to Phoenix in exchange for the sixth pick, which they used to select Texas Tech standout Jarrett Culver. Saric, an RFA after this season, likely wasn't a staple in Minnesota's future, so they expedited the process of offloading him and turned it into a potential star in the making. A great move for Minnesota, as Culver has about as much upside as anyone else in this draft class.
2019 NBA Draft Losers
4. Phoenix Suns
Suns fans were already down in the dumps after the NBA Draft Lottery handed them the sixth pick. Well, their moves on draft night didn't do anything to restore confidence from the fanbase. Phoenix traded down from the sixth pick, netting the 11th selection (Cam Johnson) and Dario Saric. They then dumped T.J. Warren's salary and the No. 32 pick to Indiana, getting cap space but nothing else in return. Not a productive day in Phoenix, as the rebuild process seems likely to last a lot longer than the franchise had initially hoped.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Adding Darius Garland to the mix puts a big question mark on Collin Sexton's future role in Cleveland. While Sexton showed signs of promise, it looks as if the Cavs aren't confident in him going forward as their primary ball-handler, taking Garland fifth overall. This is, of course, not to mention Garland played just five games as a freshman for Vanderbilt. The Cavs then traded FOUR second-round picks to trade up to the end of the first round and select USC's Kevin Porter Jr., who has shown character issues in the past. A questionable day, in all, for the Cavs. Sexton was reportedly focused on the Blazers all postseason long, preparing to play with a second guard, Lillard-McCollum style. But is either member of Cleveland's tandem anywhere near that electric a scorer?
6. Washington Wizards
It's safe to say that not many people expected Rui Hachimura to be off the board before the 10th pick, but the Wizards took the Gonzaga standout at No. 9 overall. And according to reports, the Wizards didn't even hold an official meeting with Hachimura before that selection was made. Not having a general manager heading into the draft doomed the Wizards. While Hachimura could turn into a solid player, the pick was a clear reach from Washington, and the player himself had no idea it was coming.