At long last, the NBA draft is upon us and so here’s to hoping that it’s filled with lots of drama and a lot of big-time trades. While preparation for the 2020 season has already kicked off with a blockbuster trade and numerous all-stars turning down their player options the NBA Draft is what really gets it underway. As of 11:00 am eastern, this is what’s expected to happen tonight.
Zion Williamson is going to go number one overall for the Pelicans. Not a spoiler at this point but this guy is going to be the centerpiece for the foreseeable future of the Pelicans organization. The Pelicans got a baffling return from the Lakers in their trade for Anthony Davis. In that trade, they ended up acquiring the number four pick from the Lakers, rumors have been swirling all week about the possibility of them trading the pick. Talks have been that the teams have been talking about trying to trade up for four and also that the Pelicans have been trying to use the fourth as leverage to move up themselves. As of now, they’re still picking fourth, the likelihood of such a bid deal going down in the next few hours is unlikely but if it does it will surely change the entire landscape of the draft.
With Ja Morant and RJ Barrett locks to go two and three, most mock drafts have the Pelicans picking between Darius Garland, De’Andre Hunter, and Jarrett Culver. Many different experts see Darius Garland as the guy the Pelicans would take at four but I wouldn’t rule out any of the guys listed above.
The Cavaliers will pick at number five after an extremely disappointing lottery draw, at the time of this article being written there are rumors that the Cavs are attempting to dump JR Smith for little to nothing and listening to offers for Kevin Love. A team that is going to be stuck in the rebuilding phase for a while the Cavaliers are probably a safe bet to be back next year with another high lottery pick. Not a lot is known about what the Cavaliers will do with this pick, it all depends on if Garland does end up going to the Pelicans. If he does they’d have the choice of De’Andre Hunter and Jarrett Culver or the option of taking a risk and going with the talented winger from Duke and a fan favorite, Cam Reddish.
The Hawks will pick at eight, ten, and seventeen, they’ve had numerous rumors about packaging two of these picks in a trade but so far there’s been nothing concrete about these rumors just yet. Tough to say who the Hawks would pick with so much uncertainty after the first three picks, expect them to take Cam Reddish and Jaxon Hayes if those two are still on the board when it’s the Hawks turn to pick.
Enough talk about who’s going early let’s turn the focus towards some guys going later in the first round. Dylan Windler and Luka Samanic are two guys who I think will have immediate impacts on wherever they end up getting drafted. In my opinion, I think Windler is one of, if not the best shooters in this draft and at 6’8 and with his shot-making ability, he’ll be able to thrive in the right system. The 19-year-old from Croatia Samanic is a beast, at 6’10 he’s got a long wingspan and an ability to drive and get to the basket. From what I could tell he struggles to create his own jump shots but can knock down the open ones. I’ve seen reports of the Spurs being very high on this kid and if he gets into that system I have no doubts he’ll be a great player.
Those two guys I’m pretty high on but let’s take a look at some guys I think teams should avoid in the first round. Romeo Langford, if my team ended up drafting him I would be disappointed, this kid has bust written all over him. A highly rated recruit and Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, Langford elected to try to be the hometown hero and go to Indiana instead of Kansas and well, it was safe to say he and IU were extremely underwhelming. A dismal 27% from three from a guard like him isn’t going to cut it in the NBA. Perhaps it was just the system at Indiana that let him down but I’d avoid him.
Bol Bol is the other one, a guy with a ton of potential and could very well end up being a great player, that’s if the injuries don’t get to him first and to be honest I think they will. I think it’s going to be very difficult for him to be able to play such a long and grueling season and not pick up injuries. Weighing only 236 pounds, it’s going to be hard for him to bang bodies down low with the likes of Cousins or Steven Adams. A tough call for an NBA GM with Bol Bol, I would be nervous about this guy.
Sit back, relax, and get ready for what is sure to be an entertaining NBA draft, the Zion Williamson era will officially begin and teams will look to add pieces to help make their franchise contenders in what is going to be a wide open 2020 title race.