With the tiebreakers now settled, the teams in the NBA Draft Lottery are set, at least until the lottery on May 14th.
Here is NBCSports.com’s current projection with the existing order. It’s a well thought out piece so let’s look at what they see for Duke’s guys first.
- Zion Williamson #1 to New York
- RJ Barrett to Cleveland at #2
- Cam Reddish to Washington at #6.
Other projections of interest:
- Ja Morant to Phoenix at #3. Everyone is pumped about Zion Williamson of course but Jerry West thinks that Morant is the best prospect in the draft.
- De’Andre Hunter to Atlanta at #5: it makes sense. He can bring things that Atlanta just doesn’t have right now and is highly versatile.
- Nassir Little to the Los Angeles Lakers at #11.
- Coby White to Miami at #13.
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Boston at #20.
- Cam Johnson to Brooklyn at #27.
Also worth noting: Boston will have at least three first round draft picks and depending on where the Grizzlies fall in the lottery, possibly four.
They’ll definitely have #14, #20 and #22.
All of this is crap until draft night of course but still, consider: in this mock lottery that would give the C’s Rui Hachimura, Alexander-Walker and Jontay Porter and that gives them a lot to work with in a potential trade. And given all the games and machinations around the draft, that’s a guess at best.
So what happens if the Celtics get four picks? They can’t really use them all. They could trade them for future picks, which would be smart. They could make another run at New Orlean’s Anthony Davis, which would be smart too. If they’re trading for Davis, they could offer a core player too and almost certainly upgrade.
But if not, it might interest the Cavaliers to trade four players for whoever they draft. Assuming they stay top four, it’ll be either Williamson, Barrett, Morant or perhaps Hunter or, perhaps, whoever Boston wants them to pick to make the deal work.
It’s also possible that the Celtics decide to break the bank and go for Williamson or Morant.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that it’s New York for Williamson, Cleveland for Barrett and Phoenix for Morant.
Are the Knicks as gullible as Philly was when Boston traded down and still got the player they wanted in 2017, Jayson Tatum?
All three teams really need players and Boston has picks and players to work with.
We’d say the chances of prying Williamson loose from anyone are minimal and only Boston has the assets to pull it off. But it’s much more likely that a deal could be swung for Barrett or Morant.
And either one would be a great fit for the Celtics. Barrett would be a dream player for Brad Stevens. He’s intelligent, versatile and he actually plays defense. He’d be a great fit.
And while Kyrie Irving has been vacillating about staying with the Celtics, Morant would allow the Celtics to plan for a future without Irving or, conceivably, to swing a deal.
Everything is speculation until the lottery and even after that teams have plans and schemes and designs that no one else understands. But we do know this: the best chance for anyone to shake up the draft, as has been the case for several years, is Boston and a huge pile of draft picks and talent.