NBA Draft Lottery Preview

Yes the NBA Conference Finals are beginning today, but why focus on the present when you can look forward to the future? We’re taking a quick break from the current slate of games to look at the NBA Lottery, which will be held tomorrow evening and can potentially change the fate of almost every franchise in the NBA. After securing the first pick in the draft via the lottery, teams like the Spurs (Tim Duncan), the Cavs (LeBron James), and the Pelicans (Anthony Davis) have unquestionably changed the history of their franchises. Even last year, the Timberwolves won the lottery and were able to acquire Karl-Anthony Towns, the freshly minted Rookie of the Year and arguably the best young big man in the NBA. Whose fate will change forever tomorrow night? That remains to be seen. But until then, we wanted to fantasize about how we hope the lottery turns out (and how we hope it does not turn out).

Below is the odds for each team securing a lottery pick. The 76ers currently have the highest probability of receiving the number one overall pick, with storied NBA franchises like the Lakers and Celtics right behind them.

2016-lottery-probabilities-b

Note: We decided to leave our beloved Wizards out with their 0.6% chance of the top pick. But you never know!

Best Case Scenario:

Nick Bair:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves
  3. Philadelphia 76ers

Rationale – The East needs a team to realistically compete with Cleveland. The Celtics have a great supporting cast, and adding Simmons or Ingram could vault them into true contender status. Also, the humor of the Nets shortsighted trade to lose this pick. As bad as the Timberwolves have been (and the fact they do not really deserve this pick after lucking into Wiggins and Towns), the thought of putting one of those two studs with that young roster and a great coach is too good to pass up. This scenario gives the Sixers the third and fourth picks (from the Lakers) in what scouts say is a two man draft. Another great opportunity for The Process to almost work.

Jordan Curet:

  1. Philadelphia 76ers
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves

Rationale –  I think anyone who follows the NBA could use one last reminder of the In Hinkie We Trust reign, and what better way than for the 76ers to get the first pick of the draft. Plus, the schadenfreude from watching Philly try to figure out what to do with the pick is even better. They have to take Simmons or Ingram, right? Yet, as much as either of those guys has the ability to play from the outside, they would still be adding another tall forward on top of their last three lottery picks of tall centers in a NBA that is downsizing across the board. I also just feel bad for that franchise at this point, so maybe they can grab a piece that will help them win 20+ games next year. As for Boston, the betterment of the NBA and all our lives in general means that Brad Stevens should be allowed to have either Simmons or Ingram to deploy. He’s already proven to be a top-5 coach with less. Finally, the Timberwolves probably will already be competitive next year. Give them one more, rookie-priced piece to add to their rotation and I cannot wait to see where this franchise goes. BONUS: I wouldn’t hate it if someone, anyone was sent down to help poor Anthony Davis in NOLA, so feel free to let them in the top three, lottery gods.

Sean Demetrakis:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves
  3. Phoenix Suns

Rationale – A good team gets better by doing things the right way. The Celtics have done everything right to rebuild and re-establish greatness in the city of Boston. The C’s are one superstar away from being a real threat to the Cavaliers. They could take that next step by getting Simmons or Ingram. I also really like what the T-Wolves have done the last few years and think they are one guy away from taking it to the next level and competing with the better teams of the West. Just imagine a team of Wiggins, Anthony-Towns, Rubio, and Simmons or Ingram. I think the Suns deserve to get into the top three here as well. They had a serious fall-off this year, but they just missed out on the playoffs the two years prior. The Suns still have a solid core of young guys and Alex Len is finally starting to develop into a solid center (#heaterp).

Randy Haines:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves
  2. New Orleans Pelicans
  3. Phoenix Suns

Rationale – I love the idea of KAT, Wiggins and Simmons as a core. Make this happen ping pong balls. I have New Orleans second. They have been pretty poorly managed the last few years so they really do not deserve to get this lucky, but The Brow needs some help. I feel bad for Phoenix. I like a lot of the things they have tried to do over the last few seasons (minus dumping Isaiah Thomas way too early). These moves just have not worked out.

Worst Case Scenario:

Nick Bair:

  1. Denver Nuggets
  2. Phoenix Suns
  3. New Orleans Pelicans

Rationale – I want Ingram and Simmons to go to teams that I will watch regularly. The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns are not those teams. Sorry to Nuggets and Suns fans, but nothing about either of these teams excites me and the West has enough good players to watch after the East Coast goes to bed. The Pellies have done a terrible job of putting talent around Anthony Davis, so they do not deserve lottery luck either. They should have built a nice young core around him, but have instead made bad trades and signings because the owner wanted to compete for the eight seed right away. They should not get rewarded for bad judgement. I was tempted to put the Lakers in here, but the NBA is better when they are competitive, so as much as I dislike them, we need a good villain back in the West.

Jordan Curet:

  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Orlando Magic
  3. Philadelphia 76ers not in the top 3

Rationale – The Lakers will probably pick in the top three this year (better than a 50% chance), but this seems like rewarding unintentional comedy. They had the Kobe farewell tour, they spent half the year not developing their young players, and they had a coach who still thought strategy from the 1980s was viable. Well, Kobe is gone, Luke Walton is in, and there is no need to make them dangerous ahead of schedule by adding Ingram or Simmons to the mix. As for Orlando, Scott Skiles stepping down so unexpectedly makes me believe there are real problems near Disney HQ. Sending a young player into that situation could mean a stunted development and wasted talent. The 76ers picking outside the top three means we have to listen and read a lot of #hottakes on why The Process was a failure. I just do not need that in my life.

Sean Demetrakis:

  1. Philadelphia 76ers
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Orlando Magic

Rationale – I am a firm believer that teams that try more to lose than to win and put out a roster full of guys that probably do not even belong in the D-League do not deserve to be in the top three. The 76ers have really forced my hand into that belief. I have never been a “In Hinkie We Trust” kind of guy. It is guys like him that ruin the NBA and ruin franchises for me. Sure he has gathered a ton of picks and has gotten some quality players the last few years, but what improvements have we seen in the way that team goes about their business night in and night out? The same goes for the Lakers. Guys like Ryan Kelly do not even deserve to be water boys for NBA teams, yet he gets PT for one of the most storied franchises in the league. The Magic do not deserve to be in the top three either. With “This Magic Moment” still being fresh in my mind, I cannot look past how poorly the Magic handled Shaquille O’Neal.

Randy Haines:

  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Philadelphia 76ers
  3. Chicago Bulls

Rationale – The Lakers are the Lakers. They are going to get free agents, so they do not need to get lucky on top of it. Plus, they lose the pick to Philly if it is outside of the top three from the Steve Nash trade, which is just comical to me. Two months ago, I would have had the Sixers in my best case scenario. Sam Hinkie was obviously not perfect, but I really liked what he was doing as a whole. It took some big stones to stick with a plan like that. Now I do not want to see his work and acquisition of assets benefit someone else. Chicago has the worst odds of any team so this might be a waste of space, but I do not like the Bulls at all. Chicago ownership thinking replacing Thibs with a college coach would be a good idea is laughable. I want nothing good to happen for them for at least the next five years.

May the lottery gods shine down upon your team’s ping pong balls!

-Nick Bair, Jordan Curet, Sean Demetrakis & Randy Haines

Photo Credit: NBA.com

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