Eli Meredith's Steals of the 2021 NBA Draft
It has been about two years since the NBA has had an in-person draft due to the pandemic, but this year the NBA’s commissioner Adam Silver welcomed 60 new players to the NBA family at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Big names were snatched off the board early like Cade Cunningham going 1st to Detroit and Jalen Green going next to Houston, but let's dig deeper into last night’s draft to see what 3 squads got a steal.
First, let’s start off with the 52nd overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, 2020 Naismith’s Men’s Player of the Year and 2020 Big Ten Player of the Year, Luka Garza. Garza averaged 24.1 points and 8.7 rebounds on 55% from the field and 44% from three at Iowa last season.The Garza-lead Hawkeyes finished third in the Big Ten last season with a record of 22-9 and lost in the Round of 32 to Oregon where Garza put up 36 points and 9 rebounds on 70% shooting. The knock on Garza is his lack of defensive and athletic ability, but he is projected to be an impact player off the Detroit bench with his ability to score from all three levels on the floor and rebound. If he progresses well he might find himself in the starting lineup next season.
Next, the 2020 Atlantic Ten Player of the Year, Nah’Shon ‘Bones’ Hyland was picked 26th overall by the Denver Nuggets. Last year, Hyland averaged 19.5 points and 4.7 rebounds on 45% from the field leading VCU to a 19-7 record (2nd in the Atlantic Ten). Before the draft combine, Hyland was projected to be no more than a high second round pick, but he increased his draft stock during the NBA combine. Hyland showed fearlessness on both ends of the floor and an ability to score with efficiency. In his only scrimmage of the combine he dropped 17 points on 7-11 shooting including 3-5 from three. The two knocks on Hyland are his slight frame and shot selection. Expect Hyland to add some muscle to his 170 pound frame and be a scoring spark off the bench in his rookie campaign.
Last but not least, the 2020 SEC Rookie of the Year, Moses Moody going 14th overall to the Golden State Warriors. Last year, Moody finished third in the SEC in scoring as a freshman averaging 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds on 43% from the field. Just turning 19 on May 31st, Moody has huge upside. Standing 6’6” with a 7-foot wingspan he has the frame to become a great 2-way player. Moody needs to improve his playmaking as a ball dominant guard, but that shouldn't be a problem as he is heading into a system where he will be learning from the best backcourt in NBA history in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. I am looking forward to seeing how all three of their games translate in the NBA.