The NBA Draft Lottery Winners, Losers And The Team That Tied
Last night was the kick-off to the NBA’s offseason with the Draft Lottery officially putting into place the order of the NBA draft. No more guessing what the basketball gods’ will would be any more and the basketball gods were fair and just to all. Except the Knicks.
I don’t believe in NBA conspiracy theories, but I really do believe in the basketball gods. They came into play last night and made a draft order fair for all.
Boston and Markelle Fultz
Obviously, Boston is a winner here. It’s always nice to have the number one overall pick, but to have the number one overall pick the same calendar year you make the conference finals is absolutely crazy. If a star player were to become available the Celtics would have plenty of assets to make a compelling trade offer, but there is also a temptation to keep the pick and build for the future. I think Boston keeps the pick. The con to that is the fact Boston already has great guard play and Fultz wouldn’t get his immediate alpha-dog reps most top talents get. The pro to Fultz going to Boston is that Fultz’s only significant weakness to me is his age and lack of high level coaching. Brad Stevens has the opportunity to take a highly skilled guard along slowly and Fultz has the opportunity to develop correctly with a very good team already built around him before he even get there. Fultz might just have to wait until he can legally drink to be the star.
The Lakers and Lonzo Ball
So, assuming Fultz goes first and the Lakers keep their pick, Lonzo Ball and the Lakers were just meant for each other for the marriage to not happen. The UCLA star would be put in his (and his father’s) ideal situation. Like Fultz, Ball needs to mature too, physically and mentally. Ball has the mold of a 6’6” Jason Kidd, but has significant question marks with his shooting and half court offense, but luckily for Ball he will be thrown in with two other developing players that compliment him in D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram. While the Lakers look for their next star player to come to them in free agency they will have three players with high upside that can mature together and create a fun style of play in the meantime.
It was confusing at first. Sacramento's first round pick had a shade under a 10% chance of making it into the top 3, but the pick indeed ended up as the third overall pick. The 76ers came in with their own pick, but because of both Sacramento and LA jumping ahead in the top 3, the 76ers pick fell to 5th overall. This would be a bummer for the Sixers, but in an earlier trade Philly and Sacramento made, Philly had the right to swap picks and claim the higher of the two as their own. This move came in handy and Philadelphia will draft using Sacramento’s 1st rounder (3rd overall) and the Kings will use the 76er’s pick (5th overall). Sacramento is still a winner though because jumping into the top 5 is a lot better than staying at 8.
THE TEAM THAT CAME AWAY WITH A TIE
The 76ers had a best case scenario of coming out of the lottery with both the 1st and the 4th overall picks. Instead they only get the third overall pick. Not bad. They jump from their projected spot at four and next season the Lakers’ 1st pick will be all theirs with no protection. Philly also has the 2019 Sacramento first rounder so even though they miss out on having two first round picks in the 2017 draft, Philly is currently projected to have two first rounders in the next two drafts. A team that was mostly undrafted players a couple years ago will be in the position to have all first round or lottery picks in their rotation for many seasons to come. And just in time for LeBron’s twilight! #TrustTheProcess
The New York Knicks
It’s been a rough 21st century for the Knicks. The 8th overall pick is not where they wanted to be. They wanted lucky number 7 or, Basketball Gods willing, a top 3 pick. They moved back a slot. With the Kings’ pick jumping to 3, the New York Knicks take the hit and fall from an expected 7th overall pick to the 8th overall pick. Think that one pick difference isn’t a big deal? In 2009 the Knicks had to settle for Jordan Hill with that 8th overall pick when their target player, Steph Curry, was taken 7th. It must be tough being a Knicks fan.
The Phoenix SunsThe Suns haven't made the playoffs since 2010. Most of their draft picks with the exception of Devin Booker, have not panned out how they had hoped to this point. The Suns wanted that first overall pick bad to try and figure out how they will go about forming the roster immediately, now they fall two spots to four and will not know exactly who will be there. Luckily for Phoenix, this draft is loaded and they are promised to have at least one of De’Aaron Fox, Jason Tatum or Josh Jackson available at four. Jackson or Tatum both seem like the right pick for Phoenix at fourth. The starting small forward having a chance to develop next to Devin Booker can be good in the long run. Fox isn’t a bad choice either if the Suns are successful in finding trade partners for some of their point guard depth. Still, falling back to four changes how the Suns will operate.
The draft is on ESPN on June 22nd! Lots of stuff will happen between now and then.