Following the Toronto Raptors title success, the NBA draft has crept up on teams and fans quickly. The draw toke place on Thursday, with the New Orleans Pelicans selecting Duke’s Zion Williamson as the No.1 pick, however there were a number of other standout names to keep an eye on.
The NBA’s big 12 with the likes of Talen Horton-Tucker, Jarrett Culver and Jaxson Hayes being among the names who were expected to be in demand – here is where they wind up.
Project at around No.5 in the upcoming draft, Jarrett Culver is one of the biggest stories this year, with the 20-year-old having been a sub-300 prospect in the class of 2017. The Texas State shooting guard is known for his ability as a defender, as well as generally operating out of the mid-post.
Whilst certainly not being the finished article due to his inconsistent shooting, Culver led Texas State to the National Championship game and the Big 12 Player of the Year winner was picked 6th by the Suns before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The 6”7 guard averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season, a potential link-up with Jeff Teague could be interesting even more if the T-Wolves don’t re-sign Derrick Rose and need someone else to carry some of that backcourt offense next year.
Elsewhere, Jaxson Hayes is another player who was set to receive a “top 10” attention at the draft, with the Texas Longhorns forward having the size and athleticism to potentially make a major impact in the NBA. With lightning reflexes and quick feet too, Hayes was believed to be high on the priority list of the Atlanta Hawks, with the 19-year-old having also grown some four inches since the end of his junior year.
While the Hawks are ended up picking him at number 8, he quickly became part of a deal with another emerging young team – the Pelicans. The emergence of Hayes as part of the early entries from the big 12 was clear and ended with 2 Big 12 players in the top 8.
2 Iowa State Forwards in the Second Round
Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker having been backed to join the Orlando Magic, having been invited for a workout with the team back in early June. With many feeling that Tucker, rather than Hayes, should have won the Big 12 Freshman of the Year award, the 18-year-old certainly fits the bill for the Magic.
It was difficult to see the guard returning for another year at school following a consistent season in Iowa, with many predicting that he will be a late first-round pick later this week. While improvements must certainly be made when it comes to shooting and athleticism, Horton-Tucker’s wingspan is hugely impressive – and he was picked by the wingspan lovin’ Magic (at 46th) only to be traded to the Lakers who are looking to add more cost effective players next to the star duo: Anthony Davis and LeBron James who made a team that missed the playoffs last year become the top contender for next year based on leading betting brands (as ranked on the TBS website) as well as NBA analysts.
Marial Shayok, another Iowa State prospect went to the Philadelphia 76ers with the no. 54 pick. At the age of 24, Shayok can provide some minutes right away and help with some much needed three-pointers.