Tuesday night, the NBA’s annual draft lottery gave many teams across the association their fate by way of weighted odds and ping pong balls. Here’s what the lottery results mean for each team in the lottery.
Phoenix Suns: Ayton or Doncic
The choice is relatively clear at No. 1 for the Suns: they can either take dominant Arizona center DeAndre Ayton, or they can select EuroLeague MVP and Real Madrid guard Luka Doncic. Either way, it’s hard for the Suns to mess up this pick.
Sacramento Kings: Ayton or Doncic
The Kings should have the easiest pick of the draft. They’ll simply take whichever player the Suns do not. Also, seeing as the Kings don’t have their first-round pick next year, the lottery gods clearly blessed Sacramento.
Atlanta Hawks: Best of the Rest
This might be the hardest pick of the draft to predict. Right now, there are likely three choices for the Hawks at No. 3, and each represent something different: Missouri wing Michael Porter Jr. has the potential to be a franchise player, but had a serious back injury that caused him to miss nearly the entire season; Duke big Marvin Bagley has tremendous offensive upside, but there are questions about his defense and his NBA role; Lastly, Michigan State big Jaren Jackson Jr. has amazing defensive potential, but his offense might take a while to develop. As a Hawks fan, I prefer Jared Jackson Jr., but I’d be fine with Michael Porter Jr. as well.
Memphis Grizzlies: Another Tank Incoming
This year, Memphis looked like they could have competed for a playoff spot before Mike Conley got hurt and David Fizdale was fired. With the Grizzlies falling to No. 4, they likely won’t get immediate production from their pick. That means another year of tanking is likely on the way. As to who they’re picking, at this point, I’d project Bagley.
Dallas Mavericks: Mo Bamba, Less Problems?
One player that Dallas should be looking at heavily is Mohamed Bamba out of Texas. With Dennis Smith Jr. already leading the way at point guard, drafting a Rudy Gobert-esque center would be a huge get for them. Plus, with Nerlens Noel likely out the door, there is a center sized hole in the Mavericks roster.
Orlando Magic: Stuck in the Middle
The Orlando Magic have been perennial mid-lottery pickers. They’re never bad enough to pick in the top-three (except 2013 when they drafted Oladipo at two and traded him a few years later), and they’re never good enough to push for the playoffs. This year is no different. Expect them to take a solid, yet boring pick like Wendell Carter Jr. or a high potential risk like Trae Young.
Chicago Bulls: Hope for MPJ to Fall
The Chicago Bulls right now are hoping for Michael Porter Jr. to fall to them. While he could go as early as No. 3, there is a good chance that he falls and finds himself all the way down at seven. The Bulls need a young player with the potential to be “the guy,” and Porter is just that player for the Bulls.
Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn): Trae Young, or trade?
LeBron James is an avid fan of Trae Young. So, do the Cavs hope that Young is around and available at No. 8? Or do they trade the pick to try and get some reinforcements to try and persuade LeBron into staying? At this point, nobody knows. Good news for Nets fans though: you finally get your first round picks back starting next year!
New York Knicks: Get Wing Depth
The Knicks desperately need help on the wings. Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Michael Beasley, Lance Thomas and Troy Williams are their current players out on the wings, and they clearly need an upgrade. Miles Bridges, Mikal Bridges, and Kevin Knox are all opportunities for the Knicks here at nine.
Philadelphia 76ers: Shooting Guard?
After an impressive 50+ win season that saw Philly become the three seed in the East and advance to the second round, they find themselves back in the lottery thanks to the Lakers. Here, the 76ers are likely to do the same as the Knicks and draft a wing, but it will likely be a shooting guard instead of a small forward. Lonnie Walker, Troy Brown and Mikal Bridges are probably some of the few names that we will hear about for this pick.
Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Trade?
Charlotte needed luck from the lottery and they did not get it. Seeing as they are already capped out, and have no real room to improve, the Hornets being stuck at eleven might mean it’s time for them to deal Kemba and start a full-on rebuild.
LA Clippers (from Detroit): Who Knows
The Clippers are stuck in the middle right now. They have the chance to compete for the playoffs but just as easily could miss out by a few games once again. The Clippers do have two picks, so they could try and trade for a player to compete or they could draft two young guys and try to rebuild a bit.
LA Clippers: See Above
The Clippers have back-to-back picks, thanks to Blake Griffin.
Denver Nuggets: Trade? Or Take Young Talent?
The Nuggets were one game away from making the NBA playoffs. With a healthy Paul Millsap, they might be able to easily make the playoffs next year. Still, they could use some roster additions. Do they try and fix their problems here by drafting a young player, or do they trade the pick to get an established player?