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Biggest Surprises of the NBA Draft

Updated: May 31

The NBA Draft had some surprised starting right at the top, when the top 3 picks and the order seemed set in stone.

The NBA Not Using the State Farm Jingle

It was reported by multiple people (including some with verified checkmarks) that the NBA was going to use the State Farm jingle for "the pick is in" instead of the classic jingle that has associated with the NFL and NBA drafts for years. I'm not sure if this was someone making it up, or the NBA seeing the universal negative reactions and stopped it, but they did the right thing in the end.

Paulo Banchero Going #1

It seemed extremely likely that Jabari Smith would go first overall to the Magic, Chet Holmgren of would be the second pick by Oklahoma City and Banchero would go third to the Rockets. However the Magic decided to go with the potential of Banchero over Holmgren and Smith. Banchero ended up going second to the Thunder while Smith went third to the Rockets.

Keegan Murray Going #4

When the draft process started people thought he may even sneak into the top three and was almost certain to go #4, however he started to fall in mock drafts and many I saw had him as the sixth or seventh pick. However, the Kings ended up selected him at #4 where he was expected to go all along.

Thunder Trading Up To #12

The Thunder are all-in on this draft as they key night in their rebuild as they drafted Chet Holmgren at #2, traded up with the Knicks to draft Ousmane Dieng (who probably would have been there at #12) but did not give the twelfth pick as part of the deal. They selected my next surprise at #12.

Jalen Williams Going #12

This is a bit earlier than most expected him to go but it is an even bigger surprise because he was not predicted to be anywhere near the lottery a few months ago but an outstanding season has made him a lottery pick.

Jalen Duren Falling to #13 Then Getting Traded Twice

Duren was projected by many as the #1 overall pick entering the season and most people still had him well inside the top 10 before the draft but fell to #13. May have wished he was drafted even later as instead playing on a possible playoff team in Charlotte (who drafted him) as he was instead traded twice within five minutes of being selected. First to the Knicks (the Hornets got a first round pick and four second round picks back for him) and then was traded along with Kemba Walker, to the Pistons in a salary dump for the Knicks, who will almost certainly try (and likely fail) to get some top free agents again.

A.J. Griffin falling to #16

Seemed like he was a near-certain lottery pick and was thought by some a couple weeks ago as a possible top-five pick but ended up falling to #16 likely because he is an extremely raw prospect (will turn 19 this summer) and missed most of his last two high school seasons with injuries.

De'Anthony Melton Is Traded for the #23 Pick

De'Anthony very solid young player who averaged 17.2 points per 36 minutes last season at age 23 but was traded from Memphis to Philadelphia for just the #23 pick and Danny Green who is 35 and averaged just 5.9 points per game last season. The 76ers seem to have won this trade and could do even better in Philly next season as they reload around James Harden.

TyTy Washington Falls to #29

Washington was thought to be a possible lottery pick once the season ended. Even though his stock had slipped a bit, he was still expected to go in the top 20, but ended up falling to #29.

Jaden Hardy Falls to #37

Hardy was thought of as a possible top-five pick before the season and ended up as the only green room invitee to not be drafted in the first round (although he was predicted in the mid to late twenties) but he ended up well outside the first round at #37.

Kennedy Chandler Falls to #38

Chandler was viewed as a possible top-ten pick at times during the season and was still viewed as a certain first-round pick before the draft. He fell all the way to #38.

E.J. Liddell Falls to #41

Also viewed as a sure first round pick before the draft, some mocks even had him in the teens but he fell outside the first round. Ended up falling to #41.

The Amount of Trades

We won't have confirmation on how many picks were officially traded after the draft until the new league year begins but it feels like there were at least 15-20 trades of players who were drafted earlier that night. Some of these involved multiple future picks and current NBA players and it feels like the majority of picks were traded before or during the draft.

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