Coming out of the NBA Draft, the biggest story of the night was Justise Winslow's fall to the Heat at no. 10. It brought back memories of Kawhi Leonard falling to no. 15 in the 2011 NBA Draft. It's easy to say that sometimes a player just falls for no apparent reason, but this case wasn't that simple. In fact, the Charlotte Hornets (picking at no. 9) were bombarded with trade offers by teams looking to move up and snag Winslow. But the Hornets rebuffed everyone, no matter how enticing the offer was (we'll get to that), because they wanted to draft Kaminsky. And now, the Hornets are gambling that Kaminsky will turn into a star big man in the Dirk mold, while the Heat are pinching themselves after getting Winslow at 10.
Just getting Winslow to fall to 9th required a perfect storm. Entering the draft, Winslow's range was no. 4 – 7. It was thought he wouldn't get past the Nuggets at 7, who desparately needed talent at the wing. But when Emmanuel Mudiay slipped all the way to 7, the Nuggets decided to postpone their wing rebuilding, electing instead to grab their point guard of the future. The Pistons (picking 8th) also needed a wing, but had never been linked to Winslow entering the draft. They picked Stanley Johnson, a player very similar to Winslow but slightly worse in every way (full breakdown here). And with that, Winslow had slid all the way to no. 9, and Charlotte looked to cash in on a trade with any number of teams who wanted Winslow.
While many teams were in talks with Buzz City, the Celtics came closest to a trade with them. They were rumored to be talking all night about a trade for the 9th pick. Per ESPN's Chris Forsberg, the Celtics' final offer to the Hornets was a package that could have featured as many as six draft picks, including four potential first-round selections (a combination of picks from this draft and in the future). While many of these picks probably had heavy protections, that package would've been an absolute coup for Charlotte. Yet they could not be talked out of Kaminsky, and by slipping down to pick no. 16 (the Celtics' top pick in the 2015 draft), they surely would lose their chance at the talented Wisconsin center.
In Kaminsky the Hornets have an NBA-ready 22 year old, but huge questions surround him. His style of play worked in college, but can his 7'1'', 230 lb. frame really handle NBA centers? He's regarded as an elite shooter, but made just 42 threes in his senior season, slightly over 1 per game. If he can't bang inside, can his outside game develop in time to make him a viable scoring threat? No matter how much the Hornets loved Kaminsky, its hard to justify passing on 4 potential first rounders to take him. And if he doesn't produce his rookie season, these questions will only get louder.
For the Heat, the arguable top wing in the class fell into their laps at 10. Once again, we're left shaking our heads at how Pat Riley always gets what he wants. He not only gives them a swingman for the future, but also gives the Heat leverage in negotiations with Dwyane Wade. For a team looking at players like Devin Booker and Myles Turner, getting Winslow is incredible luck. When the Hornets took Kaminsky, every guy in the Heat war room looked like he was getting blown under the table. I think Winslow's going to be a star, especially developed in an organization like Miami's. The Kawhi comparison is easy, but accurate. Getting a young talent onto a team with savvy veterans, top coaching, and a stable front office makes it really easy to succeed. In a few years, everyone will look back and wonder how the hell 9 teams passed on a chance to draft this guy. As for the Hornets, I'm sure they're already doing that.