NBA Draft Debacle Leads to Many Players Wearing Wrong Hats, Sparks Outrage


When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, everyone in the building and watching on TV was two steps ahead of him.

That fourth pick had already been passed around twice — from the Lakers to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis trade, and then from the Pelicans to the Atlanta Hawks in a draft-day deal that brought them the eighth, 17th and 35th picks.

In other words, Hunter was going to the Hawks. Yet, here he was on stage — shaking hands, being photographed and being interviewed — wearing the hat of a team he’ll never play for.

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He wasn’t the only one. Through the first 11 picks Thursday night, five players — Hunter, Jarrett Culver, Jaxson Hayes, Cam Reddish and Cameron Johnson — were being traded to other teams but stood on stage wearing hats of teams they’ll never play for.

Fans found it ridiculous and frustrating, bombarding social media with memes and complaints.

Even an NFL coach found it annoying, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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The problem is the trades can’t be finalized until July 6, when the new NBA season starts.

It’s silly to go through this charade, many fans said, noting the league could fix it by either moving up the start of free agency and the new season or pushing back the draft.

Or, failing that, just ditch the idea of wearing hats all together. It’s basketball, after all, not baseball.

And some of the hats don’t fit anyway.

But seriously, this is the biggest moment of these players’ young lives and they are forever documented wearing the wrong hats. Given the number of draft-day trades we’ve seen in recent years, it’s time for the NBA to figure this out.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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