Tanking Is Officially Overrated
Teams like the Pheonix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Chicago Bulls might all want to take a hard look in the mirror after this lottery draft. Despite still obviously remaining in the top 10, their odds projected them to be to five selectors in the upcoming draft. Instead, they were dropped down three spots from their projected positions, while the Lakers, Pelicans, and Grizzlies all moved up six or more spots.
With the New York Knicks being the only team that had a 14 percent chance at the top pick still remaining in the top three, it just goes to show you that tanking does nothing more than deprive fans of good basketball during the regular season. Looks like karma came for the teams that thought this was okay.
Everyone Else Is Fighting For 2nd Place
If you are even remotely a basketball fan, everybody and their grandmother know that the New Orleans Pelicans are going to draft Zion Williamson number one overall now that they have secured the pick.
The issue now is that compared to most, if not all, of the mock drafts I have seen all year, the draft order has been significantly shaken up. What this means is that the teams that have moved up get to re-evaluate their big boards and aim a little higher, while some have to start from scratch and just pray someone they like falls into their lap.
With prominent prospects like Ja Morant, RJ Barrett, Darius Garland, Jarrett Culver, and others, the Rookie Combine will be a perfect place for these prospects to jockey for position. This draft is very top heavy, so drafting for fit is not really in the question. Regardless of the college tape, this part of the process will be about anyone not named Zion Williamson trying to win over some teams.
Potential Duke Team-Up in The Big Easy
With the number one overall pick secured and multi-time all-star Anthony Davis (A.D.) still on the roster as a trade piece, the Pelicans are looking dangerous. So dangerous that they could potentially get two "first pick in the draft"-caliber players in the same night. With rumors swirling around that the Knicks are interested in trading for A.D., the Pelicans could send A.D. over to them in exchange for this year's third pick and few assets.
Considering that Zion will obviously be picked by them first and Ja Morant will get scooped up by the Memphis Grizzlies, this gives the Pelicans the chance to get R.J. Barrett at number three. New Orleans would be relatively starting from scratch after trading A.D., but they would be starting on a high note.
With a young core of Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and potential trade pickups Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, this team could be on the rise early. The Pelicans general manager might want to get the Knicks on the phone ASAP if they want to start the post-Anthony Davis era with a bang.
What Will The Lakers Do With the Fourth Pick?
After jumping all the way from the 11th spot to the number four position with only a 9.4 percent chance of doing so, the Lakers have snuck their way into a good position. I don't know if Lebron put a call in to Adam Silver or what, but now they are playing with house money. They already have their trade chips set up and this top four pick is the icing on the cake in terms of competing with the Knicks and the Boston Celtics when it comes to trading for Anthony Davis.
With so many players coming off the books this offseason, I personally do not think they should trade away another chunk of their roster for one player. Nonetheless, most experts project them to select Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland if they keep the pick.
What do you think? Should they keep the pick or try to trade it in exchange for AD?
Don't Let The Top 3 Fool Ya
As of right now, there is a consensus belief around the league that the top three players are Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and R.J. Barrett. I do not disagree with this, but there are a few people you should keep on your radar.
Players like Jarrett Culver, Nassir Little, Bol Bol, Kevin Porter Jr., and Cam Reddish are all top tier talent that could show out at the combine. For players like Little and Reddish who did not have good seasons statistically, the Combine will allow them to redeem themselves and assert themselves as lottery pick-worthy.
Although we know who the draft starts off with, there are a ton of gems in this draft that could contribute from day one despite not being a top 10 pick. Guys like Louis King, Sekou Doumbouya and Brandon Clarke are all prospects that have major upside on either the offensive or defensive end that could help teams looking for quality role players. This year's draft may be top heavy, but it definitely does not lack talent.
The playoffs are not even over and I am already excited for next season. All the free agents moving around and this crop of young, budding superstars looking to make a name for themselves.