Drafting for NBA teams is about as inexact a science as punching in a dark room. Despite all optimism, very few connect consistently.
Every draft night, however, brings equal amounts of joy and hope and consternation. Each general manager insists he loves his draft. Most are lying. What they love is the possibility of improving. Few picks ensure that.
Here is one man's subjective opinion of the five biggest winners and losers in the draft completed Thursday night.
1) Commissioner Adam Silver:
Classy move to "draft" Isaiah Austin, the 7-foot center from Baylor whose pro aspirations ended last week when he was diagnosed with potentially fatal Marfan's Syndrome. He already was burdened a prosthetic right eye. Silver's ceremonial move was greeted with a prolonged applause and, across the nation, gallons of tears.
Three Canadians were drafted among the first 18 picks, beginning with forward Andrew Wiggins being selected first overall by the Cavaliers. Shooting guard Nik Stauskas went eighth overall to the Kings and point guard Tyler Ennis was taken by the Suns at No. 18. Easily the biggest draft night in Canadian history.
3) The Celtics:
Architect Danny Ainge is a noted gunslinger. He acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in one summer and later packaged Paul Pierce and Garnett in a deal. Ainge took a PG, Marcus Smart, who can start today, and a wing, James Young, who can contribute tonight. Now Ainge can wait for calls seeking Rajon Rondo.
4) LeBron James:
He's a very big fan of Shabazz Napier, the terrific little PG from UConn. The Heat moved up to draft him while also on the prowl for free agent PG Kyle Lowry. Miami boss Pat Riley to LeBron: your move.
5) The Warriors:
The draft came and went and Kevin Love remains on the market. The dream lives.
1) The Nets:
One of the league's oldest teams got no younger because it had no draft picks. Can New Jersey rely on the old man's money (billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov) to find and buy a fountain of youth?
2) Mario Chalmers:
The Heat PG was not taken Thursday night; "Rio" went in the 2008 draft. His job, however, was. It's time for him to gather his championship rings and take his talents away from South Beach.
3) The Clippers:
The Warriors exposed what happens to the Clips if Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan get into foul trouble. They wither and collapse. To address their need for a backup big man, L.A. drafted . . . C.J. Wilcox. They now have five shooting guards.
4) Gary Harris:
Each year there is a player that, often puzzlingly, slides in the draft. That was Harris. The Michigan State guard was a lottery pick in some mocks. He lasted until No. 19.
5) The Warriors:
They were excluded from the process. They weren't terribly upset about it, but the revivified Warriors of Joe Lacob absolutely hate standing on the sidewalk when the party is on the inside.