Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2017 NBA Draft Lottery Scenarios

With the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery taking place this evening, 13 fan bases could potentially watch their favorite team land the coveted #1 pick in the NBA Draft on June 22. As usual, the Sacramento Kings fan base is left without any chance of the top pick, thanks to a prior trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. To be fair, it's not all bad, as the Kings are most likely to end up with two top 10 picks, albeit #8 and #10.




One thing that's so fun about the NBA Draft Lottery is that the scenarios we can dream up are almost endless. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the more interesting possibilities:


The Lakers Get Screwed


The Los Angeles Lakers currently have the #3 pick in the draft, but most people have been joking semi-seriously for the last few months that they will definitely end up at #1 or #2. There's no denying that the NBA would benefit from the Lakers being a marquee team again, but the way the NBA draft lottery system works today makes it pretty unlikely it's rigged.

Most non-Laker fans are hoping that the Lakers get jumped in the lottery by at least one team, moving them down to #4, sending their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers originally traded this pick way back when they signed-and-traded for Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns, and the Suns traded it in a 3-way deal that sent Michael Carter Williams out of Philadelphia.

Complicating matters even more, if the Lakers do convey their first round pick to the 76ers this season, that would mean they also have to trade their 2019 first round pick to the Orlando Magic, which is top-5 protected. Due to the rule that doesn't allow teams to trade first round picks in back-to-back seasons, (thanks Ted Stepien), if the Lakers keep their first round pick this season, they'll send their 2018 pick to Philadelphia, and then wouldn't be able to trade a first round pick until 2020. If the Lakers keep their pick, they give the Magic a 2017 and 2018 2nd round pick instead.

TL;DR: The Lakers fall to #4, lose their pick to the 76ers, and also lose their 2019 first round to Orlando unless they fall inside the top 5.


The Timberwolves Get Lucky


As a Timberwolves fan, I must admit this is mostly my best-case scenario. But if the Timberwolves are able to win the lottery (or even just get to #2), adding Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz to their already stacked young roster would almost be unfair and would make them a must watch every night for NBA fans.

And as obnoxious as Lavar Ball is, nobody's going to care anymore as long as Lonzo Ball is a franchise changing point guard.

Watching Markelle Fultz and Karl-Anthony Towns run pick and rolls for the next decade could be fun too.

TL;DR: The Timberwolves land the #1 or #2 pick to pair Towns with a franchise point guard.


The Celtics Bring Back the Ghosts of Pistons Past


The Boston Celtics are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals after a thrilling game 7 win over the Washington Wizards, and are in position to land the top pick in the draft thanks to the Brooklyn Nets ineptitude. It's been a good week for Celtics fans.

If they can win the lottery, which they have a 25% chance of doing, it would be interesting to see which point guard they would choose, and how it would effect Isaiah Thomas' future with the franchise over the next season or two. 

Even if they don't win the lottery, they are guaranteed a top 4 pick, which brought back memories of the 2003 NBA Draft. The 2002 Detroit Pistons had advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, getting swept by the New Jersey Nets. Thanks to one of the dumbest trades in NBA history, the Pistons had Memphis' first round pick in the 2003 draft, which was #2 overall. As we all know, a gentleman named LeBron James went first overall, the Pistons selected Darko Milicic second, and the next three picks were Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The 2003 Pistons won the NBA championship, but my goodness did they waste one of the greatest opportunities in NBA history.

The Celtics could very well beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and get even further than those Pistons did, but like the 2002 Pistons this Celtics team has several extremely underrated players who should garner more respect as their careers continue. If they are able to get this pick right, they could lay the foundation for a true dynasty, one we haven't seen in the NBA in 20 years.

TL;DR: The Celtics don't select Darko Milicic.

The Phoenix Suns Stay at #2


Basically since November, pundits have told us that it's a two-man race for the #1 pick, between Lonzo and Fultz. Conventional wisdom suggests that they will be the first two players taken, with a handful of others vying for the #3 spot.

That very well may end up being true, but if the Phoenix Suns do indeed land the #2 pick, I wouldn't be surprised if they have Josh Jackson above one or both point guards. He's a much better fit for their current roster, and while teams drafting this high often make mistakes by drafting for need, I think it's entirely possible their board will be Fultz-Jackson-Ball in that order. If Fultz is the choice at #1, we could see Lonzo fall outside of the top 2.

That'd be worth it just to see what LaVar Ball has to say about it.

TL;DR: Phoenix takes Josh Jackson at #2


The New York Knicks Fire Phil Jackson on National TV


This has a 0% chance of happening, but man, how wonderful it would be. We'll happily settle for the Knicks falling 3 spots in the NBA draft lottery, Phil Jackson tweeting out a bunch of weird nonsensical bullshit, and then him resigning the following morning when he realizes he has no chance to turn this team around.