On the whole, the 2017 NBA Draft was a resounding success.
Twenty of the Association's 30 teams received a "B" grade or higher in our instant draft grades, with several more just on the cusp. That means there were far more winners than losers on Thursday night — but not everyone walked away from Barclays Center with a "W".
Here are the five biggest winners and losers from the 2017 NBA Draft, from players to coaches to fans and everyone in between.
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WINNER: The Los Angeles Lakers
As LaVar Ball envisioned, so it came to pass.
The odds were against the Lakers keeping their 2017 first-round pick, let alone landing the No. 2 overall selection, yet the basketball gods smiled upon Los Angeles.
The Lakers landed the point guard who's destined to lead them back to the promised land in Lonzo Ball, which is only a slight exaggeration. I genuinely believe Ball is the best player in this draft class. The concerns over his funky shot have overshadowed the fact he's actually an excellent shooter and outstanding at every other facet of the game.
Don't overlook the Lakers' first-round additions of Kyle Kuzma (27th pick) and Josh Hart (30th), either, or their signing of undrafted P.J. Dozier, who's a really interesting defensive prospect. From top to bottom, the NBA's premiere franchise nailed the 2017 Draft.
Oh, and the biggest winner of all in Los Angeles is the aforementioned LaVar. He's had his gross missteps which shouldn't be overlooked, but the man comes out on top yet again.
If he's the prophet he claims to be, the Lakers are going to be back in title contention far sooner than most people would like.
Maybe that's true. Maybe Danny Ainge steadfastly refused to part with the No. 3 pick in the draft, and maybe Chicago didn't receive any better offers during the past year as it continued to shop Butler while insisting he's not on the market.
I'm not buying it, though. There's no rationale behind this deal other than the Bulls' front office being one of the very worst in the entire NBA. There's no plan in Chicago, just reactions to changes in the breeze. The Bulls gave away one of the most valuable players in the league because they don't know how to evaluate talent — their own or other teams' — and because trading Butler now was easier than building a team around him when you know your own ineptitude guarantees failure.
With Phil Jackson igniting a revolution among Knicks fans with his Kristaps Porzingis comments, Chicago managed to out-clown the Zen Master. From the right perspective, that's almost impressive.
(Shout out to big winner Dwyane Wade, who could opt into his deal, force the Bulls to buy him out, then head to Cleveland to try to win a ring with LeBron and the Cavs. It's a good gig, if you can get it.)
Maybe Divac just needed a little bit of time to learn on the job. That's certainly one explanation for the Kings' astonishing 2017 draft, as Sacramento got the point guard it wanted in De'Aaron Fox then added two more plus-players in Justin Jackson and Harry Giles.
Paired with Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere, the Kings are starting to put together a nice little roster as they emerge from DeMarcus Cousins' long shadow, which is a credit to the Sacramento front office.
The much-maligned Divac earned quite a bit of respect around the NBA with his big night.
LOSER: Teams that passed on Dennis Smith Jr.
Just like the Dallas Mavericks, I'm expecting Smith to light the world on fire right out of the gate.
He's an athletic marvel who wants to prove he was the best point guard in this draft class, and he'll use that motivation to punish every team that took a point guard before him.
On that same note, shout out to Sacramento's Fox, who told reporters he's looking forward to facing Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers four times a year as a member of the Kings.
There's nothing quite like a young point guard with a chip on his shoulder. Both Smith and Fox should make the regular season that much more entertaining starting in October.
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WINNER: The Minnesota Timberwolves
"You still interested in Jimmy Butler?"
"Does a strong-side pressure defense force the opponent to get the ball in the hands of its weakest offensive player?"
" ... sure, Tom. Anyway, I've got a trade idea for you. What about No. 7, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn for No. 16 and Jimmy?"
"I'd love to make that move. We don't have the 16th pick, though, John."
"No, no. We'd be sending you No. 16, Tom."
"Oh. Okay. I suppose."
Do you think Tom Thibodeau had to mute the phone as he cackled maniacally to himself when the Bulls made the call on this trade? I'd be willing to bet a lot of money Thibs had to do exactly that.
What a steal for Minnesota. Now, we wait to see if the Wolves will be players in free agency, as they suddenly have a playoff team on their hands.
LOSER: NBA teams that don't play in Oakland, thanks to the Bulls
As if Golden State's superteam supremacy weren't bad enough, the Bulls went ahead and gifted the Warriors the perfect second-round prospect in Jordan Bell.
Chicago will use that cash to cover buyouts the Bulls have negotiated over the past couple seasons, and it might need a little extra dough to get out from under Dwyane Wade's deal.
You might not like the Philadelphia 76ers and their Process. You might believe anyone could have lost a bunch of games and taken the consensus best player available in each subsequent draft. You might consider them an affront to everything good about basketball.
That's fine. I won't try to change your mind on any of those counts. What I will say is that Sixers coach Brett Brown is one of the nicest, most patient, most deserving people in the entire sports industry.
He has earned the right to coach a real basketball team by playing the part of the good soldier throughout The Process. We just hope he gets a real chance to lead this team instead of Bryan Colangelo switching horses midstream.
LOSER: Ike Anigbogu
Although Anigbogu battled injuries throughout his freshman season at UCLA, we assumed they were minor. Most mock drafts ahead of Thursday had the big man going somewhere in the 17-22 range.
He ended up an Indiana Pacer, but not with the 18th pick, as Anigbogu tumbled all the way to 47. In the process, he missed out on a guaranteed contract and a chance to go to a playoff team looking to add rotation players.
NBA teams must have known something the rest of us didn't for that kind of fall, which is an absolute shame. We root for everyone to make as much money as possible in the NBA.
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WINNER: NBA fans in general
The NBA draft is one of the best dates on the calendar every year, and 2017 didn't disappoint.
There were enough rumors to keep you checking your phone all day long, that big Jimmy Butler trade, riveting interviews, and much more during Thursday's festivities. All in all, it made for a far more entertaining experience than most of the 2016-17 season, the playoffs included.
As long as you're not a Bulls fan, you should have had a lot of fun with this year's draft — and free agency is right around the corner.
God bless the NBA's silly season.
David Liam Kyle
Eleven freshmen were selected in the first round, an NBA record, while just two seniors went in the first 30 picks. Youth is seen almost as a skill these days, with Cal's Ivan Rabb serving as a perfect example.
Rabb was projected as a lottery pick in 2016, but he returned to the Golden Bears to polish his game amid better teammates. Unfortunately for the big man, his stats took a big step backward, and he fell to 35th in the 2017 draft.
Rabb's not even an upperclassman, technically, and his decision ended up costing him a ton of money. That trend shows no real signs of slowing down, as teams turn their noses up at players who go back to school.
Let this draft serve as a warning to anyone thinking about a second season of college basketball: Until the NBA and NCAA come up with a better solution, it's not worth the risk.