(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Patrick Gorski)
The NBA Draft lottery is one for serious basketball fans. Its format and processes are full of nuances that only a certain fan can understand and regurgitate. For the regular NBA fan, the fun comes later on at the draft.
This year’s draft stock look strong with some names floating around that some suggest could become franchise players. Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton are two names in particular that are being discussed the most right now. The depth of the draft is also something to note. Impact players throughout make this year’s draft an interesting one.
Coming into the lottery, the top three teams in descending order were as follows: the Phoenix Suns followed by the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks. However, in true lottery fashion, the odds did not play out as that. The revised top three after the balls were picked became in descending order, the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks.
With that being established, who are the winners and the losers of this year’s lottery?
Having a hold of the number one pick in the NBA Draft will always allow the opportunity to become a winner. The Phoenix Suns had the best chance of the top pick and that is exactly what they have ended up with. It was a season to forget for the Suns with the only silver lining the above news.
They have their bright spots, however. Devin Booker looks to be a superstar in the making and has some young talent for support. But for the Suns to emerge from their slump, they need another star to join him.
Enter DeAndre Ayton.
The Sacramento Kings were initially predicted to come away with the seventh pick in this year’s draft but due to a bit of luck, they have ended up with the second pick. In recent years, the Kings have to be one of the most challenging franchises to be a fan of. Bad contracts, turmoil in the front office and losing on the court has led to a team struggling across the board.
A second pick in this year’s draft could change that. The Kings could do with either a wing or a big man to complement guards De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. Marvin Bagley may be a strong choice, but can the Kings look past the Euro sensation Luka Doncic?
The Hawks move up one spot from where they were predicted into third spot, though they had the same chance to land the third spot as third choice Dallas Mavericks due to their result in the standings. The Hawks are another young team with nice pieces but no legitimate franchise players.
They could benefit from several players in the coming draft. Currently, notable Hawk players include point guard Dennis Schroder, small forward Taurean Prince and center John Collins, although Schroder is pushing for a trade as he doesn’t see the franchise headed in the right direction. If Doncic falls to the third pick he could be hard to resist, but the draft is still so open and there are enough good power forwards that the Hawks have a tough decision to make.
The Memphis Grizzlies must have come into the lottery optimistic. They were predicted to come away with the second pick but even in their nightmares I doubt they thought they would have dropped two places into the fourth pick. The Grizzlies have been injury stricken all season but a top four pick combined with some healthy players could project them into playoff contention.
The Grizzlies’ weakest position could be at the four spot so the opportunity to bring in a player such as Marvin Bagley, Jaren Jackson Jr. or even Michael Porter could be very impactful on the team.
The Mavericks have experienced similar despair to the Grizzlies falling from a predicted third spot to the fifth spot. They have just come off the worst season in twenty years and with their talisman in Dirk Nowitzki coming to the end of his twilight years, they need a boost to propel them back into the mix.
Dennis Smith Jr. is a very exciting player going forward and they need Harrison Barnes to play to his contract to be even remotely relevant. The Mavericks could benefit from a big man like Wendell Carter or Mo Bamba with Nerlens Noel a free agent and Dirk Nowitzki taking a step back.
Who should go number one? Who should your team draft? Comment below!
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