NBA draft winners and losers: Hornets make splash with LaMelo Ball; Knicks have a logjam

Trying to evaluate a draft in the immediate aftermath is impossible really. It takes at least a few years to begin to be able to assess a class and even longer to truly know just how good it is.

But that's never stopped fans and pundits from making snap judgements.

We love to debate winners and losers. Every year, as soon as the NBA draft is over, they're always a hot topic as we argue over who made out the best and who didn't do themselves any favors.

Everything else about this year's draft might have been different, but our desire for hasty (and potentially foolish) proclamations hasn't changed. Here are our winners and losers from the 2020 NBA draft:

Winner: Charlotte Hornets

After all the talk of potential trades, we largely got chalk at the top of the draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors made arguably the safest picks in Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. That left Charlotte to use the third pick on LaMelo Ball, believed by many to be the best prospect in the field, without having to give anything up.

The Hornets needed to find a way to spark some excitement in a middling franchise, and they got their man in the 6-7 Ball. He certainly needs to improve his accuracy from long range, but Ball is a dynamic passer and playmaker with excellent vision and court savvy for his size, who brings immediate star power to the Charlotte backcourt.

LaMelo Ball gives the Hornets a potential star scorer and ball-handler (Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung, Getty Images)

Winner: Patrick Williams

Williams surged up big boards in the days ahead of the draft and ultimately landed with the Chicago Bulls at the No. 4 pick. The Florida State product didn't start a game or average double figures during his one season in college, but his combination of size, athleticism and defensive versatility made him an attractive wing prospect for the modern NBA.

Loser: New York Knicks

It's become a time-honored draft tradition to pick on the Knicks for uninspiring selections, and we can't pass up the chance this year. Dayton forward Obi Toppin is a good prospect, the USA TODAY Sports college player of the year. But the Knicks desperately need a perimeter playmaker, and Toppin just adds to New York's logjam at power forward. It's hard for Knicks fans to get too excited about Toppin, who may have a limited ceiling, when a point guard like Iowa State's Tyrese Haliburton was still on the board at No. 8.

Winner: Detroit Pistons

The Pistons used their own pick at No. 7 to take French point guard Killian Hayes, a dynamic playmaker with good size and scoring upside. Then they went to work later in the draft, twice trading back into the first round to select Washington center Isaiah Stewart at No. 16 and Villanova forward Saddiq Bey at No. 19, two rugged defenders with size and versatility.

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