The 2016 NBA Draft could be summed up in one word: surprises. Besides the two first picks, the remainder of the draft left many scratching their head (or just plain yelling).
For Deyonta Davis and Denzel Valentine, the theme of the draft was applied appropriately. Davis, predicted to be selected ahead of his teammate, fell to the Boston Celtics at the 31st pick, and will reportedly be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Though the slip was a major surprise, Davis will have a chance to grow in a winning system. The Grizzlies already have a star in former MSU one-and-done Zach Randolph, who Davis can learn under. Though he will not get major minutes anytime soon, this is a great opportunity for him. Summer league will be his chance to shine as a starter and improve his skills. The regular season, on the other hand, will be a step-back for a player who has been a major contributor for most likely his entire basketball life. The D-League is also a possibility as the team may want him to gain confidence and to hone his craft. If he embraces it all, it will pay off in the long run.
The other Spartan, Valentine, had a much more enjoyable night. The threat of his knees being run-down screamed late first-round to many. However, the Chicago Bulls at pick No. 14, felt they had their man when they selected the AP Player of the year in college. Valentine responded with a jump and scream when his name was called, and promptly went to the stage to begin his NBA career.
Valentine will be joining a Bulls squad that is in an odd position right now. After trading former MVP Derrick Rose, it seems like the team is in rebuild mode. This will aid in Valentine’s playing experience as minutes should be available. He also has the playmaking ability that the team lacks greatly as of now. His lack of outstanding athleticism may not help, but his basketball IQ could compensate for that. He will never likely be a star, but a wanted role player who is solid across the board.
There were two Spartans not selected in the draft. However, Matt Costello and Bryn Forbes have been given the opportunity to continue their basketball careers. Tbig man, Costello, was signed by the Atlanta Hawks to play in summer league and training camp in hopes of making the team. His chances rest on his effort and hustle.
Forbes was not given a contract, but will play with the San Antonio Spurs during he summer league. His outstanding long-range shooting could see him land a spot on a team that embraces that sort of play. He will need to bring it defensively though if he wants a contract.