The 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night was full of trades, a few surprises and lots of fashion. The first few picks were a “given,” but there was some guessing on which player between Brandon Miller and Scoot Henderson would go second or third.
After getting through the start of the draft, the sense grew that former Kentucky Wildcat Cason Wallace would be drafted and drafted soon. That was indeed the case when Oklahoma City traded up to No. 10 to draft Wallace. The Thunder also took on David Bertans and his contract as a salary dump from Dallas, while sending the No. 12 pick to the Mavericks in return. Clearly they saw a lot of value in Wallace and wanted to make sure they were able to draft a player they view as a pillar of their team for the future.
Oklahoma City is an intriguing spot for Wallace. The destination pairs him alongside former UK Wildcat and now NBA star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Wallace will be able to slide into a rotation of defensive-minded guards that can also score the ball effectively. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith called Wallace a “safe” pick in the draft because he’s so good at both ends of the floor. Clearly the Thunder agree with that analysis and look forward to having Wallace on their team.
After Wallace went off the board, it felt like that could be it in regards to former Wildcats being selected in the draft. In fact, a report broke during the middle of the second round that Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul was making calls to teams requesting them to not draft Klutch client Chris Livingston. Yes — that’s weird. But one would have to assume Klutch had a verbal agreement that a team in the back of the second round would draft Livingston if he were there and you could assume that specific team would be a title contender/top organization.
Trying to wrap my mind around this. Is this attempting to bluff a team into drafting him? "Get him while he's hot!" https://t.co/ICV3fNhcsl— Chris Fisher (@ChrisFisher247) June 23, 2023
Livingston did end up being drafted. In fact, he was the last pick of the draft. Livingston went 58th overall to the Milwaukee Bucks. Chicago and Philadelphia each has a second round pick that was forfeited, which led to Livingston being the final selection at No. 58.
The former 5-star recruit goes to a recent NBA champion and a team that has clearly developed players well. As each year passes, the NBA tends to lean more towards Livingston’s position and play-style as a “three and D” wing player. Milwaukee should be a decent-to-good fit for him to learn from veteran players and soon receive an opportunity.
As for the other Wildcats who entered the NBA draft, as Oscar Tshiebwe and Jacob Toppin did not hear their name called. Tshiebwe is the first player ever to be a Naismith Award winner and not be selected. Both Toppin and Tshiebwe will next look for their chance to sign an un-drafted free agent contract with a team.
Tweet of the Day
We're grading every pick of the 2023 NBA Draft!— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 23, 2023
No. 1: San Antonio selects Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 Center, Victor Wembanyama
Wembanyama is one of the best prospects in league history.https://t.co/2hPcwTECRf pic.twitter.com/oMSltcTaEU
Not a complete shock.
Never a doubt.
She’s so awesome.
Such an incredible story.
His minutes should drastically increase.
Will he fit with Dame Lillard?
Bring it on.
They better hope it works.