Joel Embiid, Woj, & A Shiny Jacket: 7 NBA Draft Hot Takes

Last night the NBA Draft happened in New York at the Barclays Center, and many dramatic things happened. The Dallas Mavericks and the Atlanta Hawks swapped picks involving Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Michael Porter Jr., who a year ago probably would've been drafted in the top three, fell to No. 14. And for one hour Mikal Birdges thought he would be staying in Philadelphia. 

There were winners and losers, all that jazz, but here are the real important seven things you need to know: 

1. Jaren Jackson Jr.’s jacket was the shiniest object at the NBA Draft.

On a night with many shiny objects, Jaren Jackson Jr.’s jacket shone the shiniest. 

2. The real winner of the night is . . . Joel Embiid.

3. Least heartwarming story of the night: Mikal Bridges is a hometown hero who works for the team his mom also works for — but only for an hour. 

One second you’re getting interviewed with your mom about playing in the organization for which she works in the city in which you’ve played high school and college ball — and the next you’re shipped to the Phoenix Suns.

Secret theory: Maybe Mikal Bridges is tired of Philly and wanted to go out to the desert. There’s no way of knowing.

4. Most heartwarming story of the night: The Mavericks desperately try to resurrect their franchise by throwing all of their eggs into the Luka Doncic basket.

Dallas won a title in 2011, a well-deserved ring for Dirk Nowitzki. Otherwise they’ve made a pretty big mess of the draft and free agency and team constructions and contracts and pretty much everything else for the last few years, all of which has been the more tragic given Dirk’s aging body and the last vestiges of a once-dominant force crumbling to near-nothingness. 

But lo! Last night Dallas sacrificed a (protected) first-round pick to move up and secure Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic because he’s also European. There is something very dear about watching a hapless thing try very hard to hold onto something that may save them. We at FloHoops rate Doncic very highly — exhibit one, two, and three — so this one may actually work out.

5. The second real winner of the night is . . . Woj. 

Woj bombs were dropping all over the place last night when, supposedly according to various unconfirmed reports, he was asked to cool it with tipping picks and trades. But you can’t ignore who you are, just like in the movie Mulan. So he did his thing anyway:

6. Shorts are not the best way to “be different,” Trae Young — but they’re also not different!

Trae Young wants to be “different.” That’s great! He wore shoes about being different. He talked in his interview about being different. And he wore shorts with his suit because no one had ever done it at the draft before. Just two things, though: Are shorts really the best way to be different? Also, more importantly: LeBron James literally just wore shorts with a suit at the NBA Finals. So it can’t be that different.

7. The best name of a drafted player: Ray Spalding.

The ball is also called Spalding! There could be a conspiracy here that goes pretty deep. This was a mildly difficult choice, as the draft was littered with lovely Euro names — Arnoldas Kulboka, Isaac Bong, another Antetokounmpo — but you can’t ignore the eerie similarity between Ray’s last name and the ball with which the players play.

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