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Friday, July 12, 2024

NBA Draft Recap

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June 26 was an exciting day for the NBA as it hosted its annual draft night for the incoming rookie class. The best young players from college basketball, the G-League Ignite, international leagues, and other leagues around the world were chosen to make their ways to the best level of professional basketball.

New York City has been home to the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn every year since 2013. This was the first year that the arena didn’t host both rounds as the second round took place at ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in Manhattan. New York continues to be a poster child for the NBA.

Knicks and Nets

The hometown teams were fairly silent in this year’s draft as neither had a lottery pick. However, there were several interesting trades, late round choices, and undrafted signings that both the Knicks and Nets made waves with.

The New York Knicks came into the draft with the number 24, 25, and 38 overall picks. The first draft day move was trading pick 24 to the Oklahoma City Thunder for five future second-round picks. This provided more assets to include in trades and saved money for the team to aid in any potential signings during free agency.

The Knicks then drafted Pacome Dadiet with the 25 pick. He is a young player from France that has raw talent. The 18-year-old will certainly be a project, but New York has the luxury to play it out and potentially build up their future while still competing with the talented roster they already have.

The last deal they made was trading two second-round picks to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 34 pick, which they then used to draft former Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek. Despite being an older player in this year’s draft at 23, he is a perfect fit for New York.

Kolek was dominant in college and can provide instant bench depth for the Knicks this season. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.7 assists on 49.6% from the field and 38.8% from three in this past season with the Golden Eagles. He highlighted the productive day that earned the Knicks the label of a 2024 draft winner.

It was a different story for the Brooklyn Nets, who was the only team without a selection in the 2024 draft. There was some speculation of making some trades to earn a spot in the first round, but nothing worked out.

The Nets did make some minor moves after the draft with their undrafted rookie signings. The top deal brought in yet another Villanova player to New York. Wildcat guard Mark Armstrong agreed to a contract with the team after averaging 8.4 points per game in his sophomore year.

Another interesting move they made was for a D-II player named KJ Jones II. It’s rare to see Division II players make the NBA, but Jones made a compelling case after averaging 26.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4 assists per game at Emmanuel College.

Brooklyn didn’t make any flashy moves in this year’s draft, but in their defense it was labeled as one of the weaker draft classes in recent years. The Nets will look to rebuild their roster this season and stock up on picks for future drafts.

Hometown Selection

For NBA fans from Long Island, the highlight of the draft had to be seeing Ryan Dunn selected 28 overall by the Phoenix Suns. Many labeled him as the best defensive player in the draft.

Dunn grew up in Freeport and played basketball at Long Island Lutheran High School. His brother, Justin Dunn, also played a professional sport as he was drafted into the MLB by the New York Mets.

Ryan Dunn attended the University of Virginia where he averaged 8.1 points and 6.9 rebounds this past season. His elite defense was also on display as he averaged 2.3 block per game despite only being 6’8”.

This was enough to get him drafted as he has the potential to be an all-time great defender. He hopes to represent Long Island well in the 2024-25 season.

History in the Making

Another highlight of the NBA draft came towards the very end. With the fifty-fifth pick, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Bronny James Jr. This arguably made the most headlines as the son of all-time great LeBron James was officially drafted into the NBA.

What’s even better is the fact that the father-son duo will be playing together in L.A. It’s incredible for something like this to occur and will be exciting to watch next season. The historic news wrapped up a successful and entertaining 2024 NBA Draft.

James Haupt
James Haupt
James Haupt is The Messenger Papers' weekly Sports Reporter and Staff Writer, covering everything from local little leagues to professional sports teams. James is also a full-time college student at Villanova University majoring in Journalism.