BY SAM SPIEGELMAN
The 2014 NBA Draft is in the books, and of course teams left New York City as either a winner or a loser.
Selecting a player may only be the first step in facilitating a bigger trade or luring a free agent to town, cough Miami, and such notions are reflected in the XN Sports Winners and Losers column:
I say jump, you say how high.
LeBron was reportedly a fan of Connecticut's Shabazz Napier, so that's exactly who the Miami Heat went out and traded for. However, I don't know if one point guard is enough to lure LeBron back to South Beach for the long haul.
Doug McDermott was one of college basketball's all-time best offensive weapons, and that's something the Bulls consistently lack. Whether or not they can land Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony remains to be seen, but McDermott is a strong starter at the 3-spot or sixth man just in case.
Marcus Smart, James Young, plus a Bill Simmons fist pump. What a night for Boston!
I have high hopes for Smart and Young, but I question - like most - whether the selection of a point guard means Rajon Rondo could be on his way out of town. If Rondo is gone I'm not so sure Boston is a winner anymore.
I know what you're thinking: Nick Johnson and two cats named Clint Capela and Alessandro Gentile who may never ever come play in the NBA, and they're a winner? The Rockets avoided any guaranteed salaries, so they can continue to pursue LeBron and Carmelo Anthony. I'm surprised they weren't able to save even more money by dealing Jeremy Lin, too.
Los Angeles Lakers
I just really like the pick of Julius Randle, especially him falling to the Lakers at No. 7. Now it seems as if he won't need surgery either. Randle adds youth to the Lakers up front as a future successor to Pau Gasol. He's been likened to Zach Randolph, which is extremely high praise, but can also score in more ways.
San Antonio Spurs
The champions added Kyle Anderson with the 30th pick, which is considered one of the steals of the draft. And not surprisingly, they found another European player, which seems to be working out well for San Antonio.
Dante Exum is one of the biggest unknowns in this year's class, but a top-four projected pick slipped to Utah at No. 5, and now the Jazz can get some attention with one of the 14 commercials the Aussie point guard starred in immediately after his selection. I also like the addition of Rodney Hood, a strong insurance policy should the team lose Gordon Hayward as a restricted free agent.
Prior to the draft the Nets found out Kevin Garnett will return in 2014, meaning the oldest team in the league is even older. So beginning the night without a pick, the Nets wound up with three, drafting Markel Brown, Xavier Thames and Cory Jefferson, three young players that could be thrust into action right away.
One, I wanted to say Charlotte Hornets. Two, I like the addition of Noah Vonleh to play alongside Al Jefferson. Nice grab, MJ.
Many expected the Minnesota Timberwolves to deal their All-Star forward prior to or during Thursday night's draft, but instead nothing matriculated. The best deal in my mind - Love to Golden State for Klay Thompson and David Lee - may be losing steam, too.
The Kings made an offer to Minnesota for Love, and wound up drafting another questionable player in Nik Stauskas.
Previously the team added Jimmer Fredette and Ben McLemore, whose future with the organization remains a question mark. Whoever is calling the shots for the Kings needs to take a look at his recent picks and decide if he's the right guy for the job.
Having nothing to do with the draft, it was reported that the Raptors may be willing to do a sign-and-trade to deliver Miami Kyle Lowry in exchange for perhaps ... Chris Bosh. That instantly makes you a loser, Canada.
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