May 16th was the night of the NBA Draft Lottery and set the order of the upcoming draft on June 22, 2017. There was a lot on the line in this year’s lottery for teams like the Lakers and 76ers. Who escaped the lottery as winners, and who as losers?
Lonzo Ball has made it clear the last few months that his heart lies in Los Angeles. Lonzo has recently denied pre-draft workouts to any team other than the Los Angeles Lakers and reportedly would prefer to go to the Lakers than be drafted first overall. That should show you how badly he wants to play for his hometown team.
Before the draft lottery the Lakers only had a 48% chance to retain their pick. If it had fallen to fourth in the draft or below, the rights would have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers. Luckily, Magic Johnson brought his magic touch, landing the #2 pick this June.
This makes Lonzo’s path to the Lakers much clearer than it looked previously. He is widely considered the #2 prospect in the draft class behind Fultz, so the Lakers moving up to #2 to grab him was crucial. It also would have been virtually impossible for LA to land Ball if they had lost their pick. All the signs are pointing toward the LA/Ball marriage to come to fruition next month.
What a week it has been for the Celtics and their fans. They march on to the conference finals and get the #1 pick in June’s draft as well. They are going to have a few options at #1 but it will be hard to pass up on Washington star guard Markelle Fultz.
Regardless of what they end up doing with the pick, landing #1 was a huge victory for the franchise. If they decide to trade it then it’s going to have much more value than if it was #3 or #4. If they decide to keep it then they will keep adding to their strong core with a very talented prospect.
Conspiracy theories will continue to fly around the NBA and their draft lottery process. Notable years of “controversy” include the New York Knicks moving up to land Patrick Ewing, the Cleveland Cavaliers getting the hometown hero LeBron James, and many more. This year, these rumors will continue to fly.
The Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers represented the top 3 picks respectively. These are big market teams that the NBA does not like to see struggling. The league is just better when the Lakers and 76ers are contending.
These teams all had good odds to land in the top 3, specifically the 76ers, but the Lakers had better odds to not retain their pick than the alternate. Controversy around the pick began when Magic Johnson guaranteed their head coach they would land the pick and have only gained steam since.
In the long run, Fultz heading to Boston could be perfect for him and his career. It’s a winning culture with great management and would land him on a competitive team. However, agents have been shaky of letting their players meet with the Celtics due to their already loaded roster.
The Celtics have four talented guards all under the age of 30. Arguably, their best two players are Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, both who man the guard slots. Then off the bench they have their defensive anchor Marcus Smart and constantly improving Terry Rozier.
Markelle Fultz is very talented and would absolutely force himself into a role in the rotation. But next year it’s highly unlikely that his role is as large as a typical first overall pick would expect.
The 76ers did get the #3 pick in the draft last night. That should be a win, but in the majority of scenarios they should have landed two top 5 picks. There was real hope for the city of Philly that they walked away with the #1 and #4 picks.
This draft is loaded with talent in the top 10. The 76ers rebuild could have got a huge boost by stealing the Lakers pick and getting two of those guys this June. Instead they will only have one top ten selection. We will continue to trust the process.
The City of New York
The Kicks were projected to grab the #7 pick in the lottery this coming June. There was hope and slim chances they moved up into the top 3, instead they fell back a slot and sit at #8 in the upcoming draft.
This was just another disappointing night for Knick fans who have become used to these over the past few years. Again, this is a very deep draft class and the Knicks should still get a talent at #8, but they are going to miss out on some top tier guys.
The Suns gave up on the season after the All-Star break and executed some of the most blatant tanking in recent memory. They were rewarded by falling back two spots and outside of the top 3. This will basically eliminate their shot at both Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, and could even cause them to miss out on Josh Jackson.