Tonight, one lucky team will win the top pick in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Fanatics from 14 NBA franchises will be praying for the perfect ping-pong ball combination, and the right to pluck a sure star such as Markelle Fultz. “Deserve got nothin to do with it.”
Nevertheless, here’s the best reason that every club in the mix should walk away with the No. 1 selection.
Adding Markelle Fultz to a backcourt already featuring Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart is something all neutral fans can get excited about. Fultz gets the opportunity to learn from a fellow former Washington Huskie turned All-Star point guard – and the two have already grown close while working out together over the last couple years.
Eric Bledsoe is superb, but given that he turns 28 in December, the timeline to contention might not match up for him in Arizona. Fultz (or even Lonzo Ball) and Devin Booker would give the Suns a backcourt duo that could become the best in the league.
Los Angeles Lakers
In my opinion, Magic Johnson and the Lakers possessing the first pick might make for the most interesting lead-up to the NBA Draft, if only because it’s unclear whom they’d select. L.A. is one of the few teams that might opt for Lonzo Ball over Fultz, and who doesn’t like a little bit of draft-dray drama?
In terms of fit for Philly, it doesn’t get any better than Fultz. And a potential star trio of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Fultz would put the Sixers atop the must-watch list heading into 2017-18.
Elfrid Payton has shown some flashes and sleight of hand, but Aaron Gordon needs a real magician like Fultz or Ball. Air Gordon cannot be wasted, and the Magic have been stuck in the swamp since Dwight Howard was traded in 2012.
Who knows what it would mean for guys like Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn, but the Timberwolves would be set for the foreseeable future. Imagine the pick-and-roll game between Fultz and Karl-Anthony Towns.
New York Knicks
Kristaps Porzingis just endured a season with Derrick Rose at point guard. He might deserve this more than anybody.
It makes two franchises happy. Sixers fanatics go streaking down Broad Street chanting pick swap and the Kings can move up at least a few spots from their current eighth position to wherever Philly’s pick lands.
Dirk has been digging in and doing work on a subpar squad for the last few years. Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry both broke out for a reason last season, but an elite point guard prospect could convince Nowitzki to stick around a little longer.
New Orleans Pelicans
NOLA only gets to keep its first round pick if it falls inside the top three, and there’s just a 1.1 percent chance that the Pelicans win the lotto. Cleveland had a 2.2 percent chance to win it when they wound up with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, and that was the least likely lottery winner in NBA history. New Orleans has had as many injuries over the last few years as any team in the league – they could use a lucky break.
The Hornets appear to be mired in mediocrity, and might be stuck competing for the last few spots of the playoffs or the first few out unless something drastic happens.
Stan Van Gundy is going to be so grumpy over the next several years when this doesn’t happen. For most neutral fans, that’s a win, because an angry Van Gundy is comedy gold. The Pistons should win the lotto since they’re moving the stadium out of Auburn Hills to downtown Detroit.
Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets need a second star to pair with one of the most unselfish ones in the sport.
The Heat had the chance to tank for a top pick and were counted out by everybody, but somehow almost made the playoffs. They’ve done there fair share of winning during their short run in the league. With 0.5 percent chance at winning the lotto, we’re saying there’s a chance.