International players, Thunder come out ahead on draft day

The first two picks in the 2016 NBA draft didn’t surprise anybody.

Ben Simmons was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, becoming the second LSU player taken with the first pick (Shaquille O’Neal).

The Los Angeles Lakers then took Brandon Ingram with the second pick, making him the fifth top-two pick for the Lakers in the common draft era.

The rest of the draft may have delivered a bit of a shock.

Thunder get magical haul for Serge Ibaka

The Orlando Magic acquired Ibaka from the Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis (No. 11 pick).

The Thunder are getting three pieces for what was essentially a rotation player by the end of last season. During the playoffs, Ibaka ranked fifth on the Oklahoma City Thunder in PER and seventh in usage percentage.

Boston Celtics had multiple first-round draft picks, tried to package them in a deal and ended up using each pick.

In the 2015 draft, Danny Ainge offered the Charlotte Hornets four first-round picks to move up and select Justise Winslow. The Hornets ultimately turned down Boston.

The Celtics drafted not one, but two foreign players in the first round of the 2016 draft. Prior to this draft, the only time the Celtics drafted an international player in the first round was in 2013, when they took Lucas Nogueira.

He was traded on draft night for Kelly Olynyk.

International men of mystery

There were eight international players drafted in the first round, tied for the most international players ever taken in the first round (there were also eight in 2003).

Only 16 of the 30 players taken in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft were born in the United States.

Elias research reports that’s the lowest total of American-born, first-round picks in an NBA draft since 1973. In that year’s first round, 16 of the 18 players were born in the USA.

The same trend applies to college players taken. Six college players taken in the first round were born outside the United States: Ben Simmons, Jamal Murray, Buddy Hield, Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam and Skal Labissiere.

The 2016 draft started predictably and was followed by controlled chaos. Time will tell if the events from Thursday night will pay off for any of the teams to make selections or trades.

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