The NBA Draft Lottery took place tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and per usual, it stayed to script for the most part. The first six picks revealed were all in projected order, but then two of the projected top-5 picks dropped at least one spot. Here are my winners and losers from the 2017 edition of the NBA Draft Lottery.
Boston Celtics (No. 1 pick): Well, to start, the Celtics are the obvious winner because they held on to their projected No. 1 pick. They will likely pick up Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, who averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists per game in his lone freshman year. Boston is even more of a winner because they are playing in the Eastern Conference Finals and will have the No. 1 overall pick, something that rarely happens. Celtics fans have Danny Ainge to thank for robbing the Brooklyn Nets a couple of years ago.
Los Angeles Lakers (No. 2 pick): Magic Johnson looked somewhat nervous before the Lakers pick was revealed, and for good reason. If Los Angeles’ selection would have fallen out of the top-3, it would have been sent to the 76ers. Luckily for Johnson and Co., they snagged the No. 2 pick and will have their option of choosing between Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, and others.
Sacramento Kings (No. 5 pick and No. 10 pick): If you get two picks in the top-10 then I’d say you’re a winner. And that’s exactly what happened with the Kings because of a previously agreed to deal with the Pelicans. The only way New Orleans would have held on to their pick was if it landed in the top-3, and because it fell to No. 10, Sacramento gladly took it. There are going to be a lot of options for the Kings, but they will likely do what other teams have done when they have multiple lottery picks, and that is draft players from different positions (like Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson). The Kings need a point guard so De’Aaron Fox is someone to look out for with the No. 5 pick. Fox averaged 16.7 points and 4.6 assists with Kentucky in 2016-17.
Phoenix Suns (No. 4 pick): It’s not that the No. 4 pick is a bad thing because they will probably end up with Kansas freshman Josh Jackson or Duke freshman Jayson Tatum, both of whom are good players, but they were projected to have the No. 2 spot so it’s disappointing for Suns fans to drop out of the top-3.
New Orleans Pelicans (No pick): New Orleans was in an almost impossible situation in this lottery, being that they had to get a top-3 pick to keep it, and they had the 10th best odds of securing the top selection. And now that their pick is being shipped to Sacramento, the Anthony Davis-led Pelicans are without a First Round pick. New Orleans is two years removed from their most recent playoff team and it seems like they are going in the wrong direction, which only continued with tonight’s lottery results.
Brooklyn Nets (No. 22 pick and No. 27 pick): Did anyone else see this one coming? The Nets made the horrible decision of trading their future Round 1 picks for the likes of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the later stages of their career. And all they got out of it was back-to-back Second Round losses. Brooklyn could have had to No. 3 pick last year and the No. 1 pick this year, but instead, they are the least skilled team in the league and have very little looking up for them. If the Nets want to improve, they must be smart with the picks (No. 22 and No. 27) that they still do have.
Photo Credit: NBA Evolution.