The NBA Draft has come and gone, meaning newly-minted NBA athletes are currently meeting the coaches, players, and executives who will make help their transition into the Association much simpler. While some picks from last night were by the book, there were a few that had some hints of genius, and may pay huge dividends in the long run.
1. Goga Bitadze, Center, 17th pick (IND)
Bitadze was the consensus second-best international prospect behind Sekou Doumbouya, and for good reason. The Georgian international has crazy length -- he can practically touch the rim while standing on his two feet -- and is an incredible scorer. Not to mention, he has a chip on his shoulder after being completely overshadowed by Zion Williamson at their presser time slot (half-kidding).
2. Mfiondu Kabengele, Center, 27th overall (LAC)
Kabengele, like Bitadze, is a long big man with an impressive scoring touch. He possesses a nice touch of finesse and smoothness on offense, something hard to find in a player of his size, and at 21, he's already well into his physical development. Kabengele was a core piece for Florida State this season, and with the right training, he could soon be that for the Clippers, too (with his teammate Terence Mann joining him, too).
3. Keldon Johnson, Small Forward, 29th overall (SAS)
The Spurs have had a knack for finding talent at the end of the first round, and it seems they may have found another gem at pick 29. Keldon Johnson has the exact type of personality to succeed under Gregg Popovich -- he's competitive, energetic, and aggressive. He doesn't have the best shooting touch, but he showed flashes of it at Kentucky, and that is something that can be refined quickly with the Spurs.
4. Talen Horton-Tucker, Small Forward, 46th overall (LAL)
The Lakers only had one pick in this year's draft after the Anthony Davis deal saw the No. 4 pick head to New Orleans, but they sure made the most of it. Horton-Tucker is an all-around talent who can play anywhere from the one to the four, a credit to his elite athleticism and feel for the game around him. He dribbles well, he shoots well, and he defends well, meaning the Lakers may have found another second-round steal.
5. Tremont Waters, Point Guard, 51st overall (BOS)
The fact that Waters fell into the late stages of the draft is beyond me. He's incredibly quick, both with and without the ball, he has a polished three-point stroke, and he was the leader for an LSU team that earned a three-seed in March Madness. Watch any LSU game from this season, and this guy will instantly stand out -- and with Kyrie Irving heading out the door, he should see some good minutes right away with Boston.