2016 NBA Draft: 5 Pac-12 players selected; 3 go in top 10
Five Pac-12 players were selected in the 2016 NBA Draft Thursday night in Brooklyn, four of whom went in the first round — Jaylen Brown went No. 3 to Boston, Marquese Chriss was selected eighth overall by Sacramento and traded to Phoenix, Jakob Poeltl went No. 9 to Toronto and Dejounte Murray was chosen 29th by San Antonio. Lastly, Tyrone Wallace earned the title of Mr. Irrelevant, going 60th overall to the Utah Jazz. The four first-round picks were tied for the second most of any conference this year alongside the ACC, trailing only the SEC's five first-round selections.
Former Golden Bear Jaylen Brown was selected third overall by the Boston Celtics. He figured to go later on in the top 10, but Boston liked him enough to have him work out twice, so it isn't a huge surprise. No wonder why the Celtics had him in for a couple of workouts -- he's a super athletic player who earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors after averaging 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in helping to lead the Golden Bears to a No. 4 seed for the NCAA Tournament. He'll have to work on his shot, as he only made 29 percent of his 3-point attempts as a freshman, but he has the physical tools to be a major player at the next level. The captain of his middle school's chess team, Brown has opted to go without an agent for negotiating his rookie contract, opting to consult with the National Basketball Players Association instead.
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) June 23, 2016
Brown is also the first Pac-12 player to be a top-3 pick in the NBA Draft since Derrick Williams of Arizona went No. 2 overall to Minnesota in 2011.
Former Husky Marquese Chriss was the second Pac-12er to go off the board when the Sacramento Kings selected him with the No. 8 pick. However, he won't be looking for a house in Sac-town, as ESPN and others are reporting that the Kings will trade him to Phoenix. Wherever he goes, Chriss is a prospect that saw his stock rise dramatically from April to June. Originally thought to be a mid-first round pick when he originally declared, Chriss jumped up to as high as No. 3 on some draft boards at one point or another. Considered the biggest gamble in the NBA Draft by The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks because he has only played basketball for a handful of years, Chriss is considered by some to be the best athlete in the draft and has a nice jump shot, hitting a respectable 35 percent of his 3-point attempts his freshman year in Washington. The Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention selection averaged 13.7 points and 5.4 rebounds his only year on Montlake.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 24, 2016
Right after Chriss heard his name called, Utah big man Jakob Poeltl went No. 9 to the Toronto Raptors, where he will join former Ute teammate Delon Wright. While he could have left after his freshman year, Poeltl elected to come back for another go around in the SLC and improved his stock by averaging 17.2 points and 9.1 rebounds en route to Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. With his selection, Poeltl becomes the first Austrian player to ever be drafted into the NBA. If you're a Utah fan who loves your analytics, you'll enjoy this note — ESPN considers Poeltl to have the lowest bust potential of any player in the 2016 NBA Draft. The former Ute will be a nice frontcourt option to supplement or backup Jonas Valanciunas for the dinosaurs.
.@Raptors No. 9 picks in franchise history:
Jakob Poeltl (2016)
DeMar DeRozan (2009)
Tracy McGrady (1997)
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) June 24, 2016
That's not a bad list. With Brown going third, Chriss going eighth and Poeltl going ninth, this marks the first time since 2009 that the Pac-12 produced three top-10 picks (James Harden, Jordan Hill and DeMar DeRozan).
Dejounte Murray was the second Dawg selected, going 29th overall to the San Antonio Spurs. Read what you will into draft projections, but if you believe them, the Spurs got good "value" for Murray, who was projected by some to be a late-lottery pick. Murray was certainly productive in his lone season for Lorenzo Romar, averaging 16.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists as he earned second team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Freshman team honors. He could certainly improve his shot — he was only 29 percent from beyond the arc and 66 percent at the line — but he'll get a chance to learn from one of the best coaches in the business in Gregg Popovich.
— Christian Caple (@ChristianCaple) June 24, 2016
Murray's selection also made it the third consecutive year that at least four Pac-12 players were selected in the first round.
Tyrone Wallace rounded out the evening for the Pac-12 and the NBA Draft overall, as he was the last pick of the draft, going 60th to the Utah Jazz. Mr. Irrelevant might have hurt his draft stock by returning to Berkeley for his senior season, but he kept his promise to his late grandfather and got his diploma and now joins a Jazz team that just narrowly missed out on the postseason last year. The Jazz will get a productive one — for as much noise as Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb made for the Golden Bears this year, the lefty actually led Cal in scoring at 15.3 points per game and finished his career as the only player in Cal men's basketball history to finish in the school's top 10 all-time in scoring, assists and steals while also finishing in the top 15 in rebounding.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) June 24, 2016
The last Mr. Irrelevant to come out of the Pac-12 was Isaiah Thomas in 2011, so going 60th overall from a juju standpoint might not be a bad thing...