It is NBA Draft Week. And while the crowning of the Cavs as the new NBA Champions will make up many of the storylines over the entirety of the off-season, the draft will occupy more and more of our time as we get closer to Thursday. Expect to read more mocks, more articles about who is moving up and down draft boards, and what each team should/will do.
Oh, and expect rumors. Lots of rumors.
This draft, even with the potential for twists and turns, really does seem to have a consensus:
- Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are the top prospects in the draft.
- Dragan Bender intrigues as a versatile European player with a high ceiling, but his youth and lack of playing time/production this past season have teams wondering if he’ll fall out of the top 3.
- After those three players, finding a consensus on who the next best players are is very difficult.
The profile of this specific draft has left some looking for storylines which, more than in year’s past, seem to be manufactured in order to drive the discussion forward in ways that bring intrigue to places where it’s lacking. This isn’t a knock on those throwing out ideas, I just think this year, more than in recent ones, there’s simply not a lot of viable discussion around the players and the picks.
For example, if you have been following, there have been stories saying the Lakers should draft Washington forward Marquese Chriss at #2. Another story surfaced in the last few days stemming from Chad Ford’s comments that the Lakers have interest in obtaining another top 5 pick in this draft with him then speculating on how that might happen.
This is not a knock on Ford. I read the transcript where he gave this opinion and to me it came off as just that — opinion. I did not take his comments as a report that was based on him having any inside information. He didn’t say anything about “sources” or what he “is hearing”. Without those buzz terms, I took his comments as him playing out a scenario from his own perspective.
Which brings me back to my original point. In the absence of real questions or inherent intrigue with the draft, questions and intrigue will be, for lack of a better word, created. It gets boring to have the same stories replicated week after week on the radio and TV. Again, this isn’t a knock on Ford or any other draft-nik whose job it is to talk about what could happen on Thursday. The nature of the beast is that mixing it up and throwing out some ideas — even if a bit farfetched — is fine. It’s why mock drafts change from version to version.
The fact is, though, since the announcement of who would be in this draft and the fallout of the draft lottery, the most likely scenario has remained the same. The 76ers are likely to draft Ben Simmons. The Lakers are then likely to draft Brandon Ingram. There is then intrigue with what the Celtics will do, but that has as much to do with their possession of multiple 1st round picks and their want for a marquee player to add to a roster which is ahead of schedule.
After the Celtics, I expect the draft to play out in a way which has the rest of the top-8 or so prospects go in some order which meshes talent with team need (another consensus is that after the top-8, there is another talent drop off). Maybe there’s a surprise trade or two, but I’ve grown accustomed to GM’s who are selecting in the lottery to start to have dreams of how a good player helps their own team and then simply taking that player.
None of this is to say the draft won’t offer any moves out of left field. But if something does happen, I don’t expect it to happen with the Lakers #2 pick nor do I expect them to make any rash moves which involve either of D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle.
The Lakers are in a position which is pretty much fool-proof. If you think they tinker their way out of that position, it probably means you think they’re capable of making fools of themselves. Which, I guess, is fair, but probably says as much about your opinion of them as it actually does of what they will do.