No, not that kind of lottery. The NBA lottery. With the NBA season wrapping up, just a handful of games remain for each team, and the NCAA Tourney narrowing down to its Final Four its prime time to take a look at some potential lottery picks.
As of today a couple of picks will be changing hands as the King’s selection will head east to Boston, and the Maverick’s pick will convey to Atlanta to finish off the Trae Young for Luka Doncic swap of last June.
If you’ve even walked by a television that could possibly receive a signal from ESPN, then you’ll recognize the name of the player being mocked drafted at #1. But maybe this’ll be an introduction to some new players you’re team could be landing in late June. So without further delay, lets mock this lottery.
Picks are based upon standings at the end of 3/30.
1. New York Knicks – Zion Williamson – Forward – Duke
The man child is the presumptive #1 pick, regardless of how the ping pong balls bounce in the lottery drawing. Knicks fans are dreaming of landing Zion, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving in the offseason, but as long as James Dolan is the owner, they should be happy adding Zion as the face of the franchise.
2. Phoenix Suns – Ja Morant – Guard – Murray State
There are 3 epic journeys in human history. The search for the Holy Grail. The search for intelligent life beyond our solar system. And the Suns’ search for a point guard. The explosive ball handler from Murray State will head to the desert to form what could potentially be a very formidable big 3 with wing scorer Devin Booker, and last year’s #1 pick, DeAndre Ayton.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – RJ Barrett – Wing – Duke
For the third time since 2013 the Cavs will use their first round pick on a Canadian. After mixed results the first couple of times (Anthony Bennett was a bust, and Andrew Wiggins was shipped off for Kevin Love), the Cavs may be skittish about doing it again, but the southpaw wing is a smooth versatile scorer who can facilitate when called upon.
4. Chicago Bulls – Sekou Doumbouya – Forward – France
Still a bit raw, the 19 year old has some inside out versatility to his game. A nice wingspan and some good defensive skills. All that leads to teams not wanting to miss out on the next greek freak. Doumbouya would slot in nicely with Wendell Carter and Lauri Markkanen on the front line. With Otto Porter around, they’d be able to bring him along at a proper pace.
5. Atlanta Hawks – Cam Reddish – Wing – Duke
Reddish has gained a reputation for lacking toughness. As I don’t know Reddish, I won’t speak to that. What I can confirm is that he has the potential to be a sniper, and has an NBA body. Considering the Hawks seem to be trying to emulate the Warriors, adding Reddish on the wing with sharp shooters Trae Young and Kevin Huerter already in the fold could make the Hawks a real problem for the rest of the league.
6. Atlanta Hawks – Bruno Fernando – Post – Maryland
The Hawks have a human pogo stick in the form of John Collins, but his talents allow him to be used on the block, or a bit further away from the basket. Fernando would add some bulk to the front line. They could opt to go small ball, and draft someone like Gonzaga’s Hachimura, or Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, but the double double machine out of Maryland feels like a nice fit.
7. Washington Wizards – Rui Hachimura – Forward – Gonzaga
With the trade deadline deals that sent away Otto Porter and Markeiff Morris the Wizards will be looking for another forward capable of playing the wing, with a bit of post up to their game, and that suits Hachimura well. Honestly the Wizards should trade Beal and kick off a complete rebuild, but with Wall’s albatross contract I’m not sure they will.
8. Memphis Grizzlies – Jarrett Culver – Wing – Texas Tech
Protypical size for a scoring guard, Culver has the ability to shoot deep, shoot medium, and put the ball on the deck and get to the rim. He’d instantly be the best scorer on the Grizzlies and would form a potentially nice inside-outside combo with last year’s first rounder Jaren Jackson Jr. as future Grizzlie building blocks.
9. New Orleans Pelicans – Jaxson Hayes – Post – Texas
While the Pelicans have zero chance at replacing Anthony Davis’ skills, they can attempt to replace some of his length. The freshman center for the Longhorns has an impressive wingspan and good frame to add some weight. After receiving an injury scare in the Big 12 tourney, Hayes has received word that there was no structural damage to his knee. I’m sure NBA teams will review, but if the diagnosis holds up, he has lottery potential.
10. Los Angeles Lakers – Keldon Johnson – Wing – Kentucky
The young scorer for the Kentucky Wildcats showed some flashes in the tourney. A nice wingspan for an off guard, he can score at all 3 levels when given the chance. What the Lakers are looking for here I’m genuinely not sure. Shooters around Lebron? Play maker types that they looked to add around Lebron last year? Draft n stash potential to save cap space? Trade bait? Genuinely not sure, so we’ll just give them the old “best available player”.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Darius Garland – Ball Handler – Vanderbilt
One of the top rated freshman coming into the season, Garland went down 5 games into Vandy’s season. As a result, there wasn’t much shine that came off his diamond status. He withdrew from Vanderbilt in January to focus on rehabbing his knee and preparing for the NBA draft.
12. Charlotte Hornets – Nassir Little – Wing – North Carolina
The lanky wing didn’t live up to the hype he had entering the season. But he did flash enough to remind everyone that the potential is there. A candidate to be the classic “better in the pros” player, he would buck the Hornets trend of drafting production over potential (see Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, and Miles Bridges). Plus he went to that school in Chapel Hill, same as some other famous guy associated with the Hornets.
13. Boston Celtics – Goga Bitadze – Post – Republic of Georgia
A potential draft n stash candidate depending upon the moves Danny Ainge makes in the off season. He needs to work on his ability to defend on the perimeter. He’ll never be Al Horford in that regard, but he has the bounce in his step to be serviceable. Also in regards to bounce, he shows good shot blocking instincts and good second jump ability. On offense, he shows decent range, and a nice easy stroke that would lend itself to extending to 3 point range.
14. Orlando Magic – Kevin Porter Jr. – Wing – USC
Problem. That’s the best word to describe Kevin Porter’s season in Los Angeles. The talented scorer had a turbulent season under Andy Enfield. An injury, a suspension, and a conference tourney exit. The latest in the long line of NBA caliber talent coming out of Seattle, Porter could fill bench scoring hole that will be left should Terrance Ross leave.
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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