PING pong balls. Annually these plastic toys alters the fate of the multi-billion dollar business that is the NBA. Each year lottery teams pray that those ping pong balls work in their favour and regardless of the odds entering the night, they always dare to dream they can hit the jackpot. With last night’s results unfolding a plethora of storylines, here are the ones that matter.
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2017 Draft Order
Lavar Ball Gets His Wish
ONE of the big winners of the night were the Los Angeles Lakers. If their pick fell outside the top three then it would now be residing in Philadelphia. What’s worse is that would have meant their 2019 1st rounder would have ALSO gone to Orlando as continuation from the Dwight Howard trade. Instead they get to keep their pick as the Lonzo Ball to LA storyline almost becomes a formality now.
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The Most Infamous NBA Trade Ever?
THE #1 seed in the East has the #1 pick in the draft. Just let that sink in for a minute. Thanks to a 2013 brain fart by then Brooklyn GM Billy King, Boston owns the 1st pick in the draft for the first time since 1966. Brooklyn sacrificed their 2014 (James Young, 17th overall), 2016 (Jaylen Brown, 3rd overall) and 2018 (to be determined) 1st round picks to acquire Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry some four years ago. Along with the option to swap first round picks in this draft, this trade will go down as one of the most infamous in NBA history. Fear not Nets fans, the pain is almost over. Next years pick is the last one that you must sacrifice to the Celtics, although, the way things are shaping up it will be another high one. Ouch.
The Sixers Win Again…
FORMER GM guru Sam Hinkie continues to come through for Philadelphia. The king of analytics stopped working for the team over 12 months ago, but the moves he conjured are still benefitting the franchise today. A previous trade allowed them to swap picks with the Sacramento Kings, essentially moving them up two rungs now owning the 3rd overall pick. High lottery picks year after year during their ‘tanking’ days have the team poised for success with a great young core and another top three pick to boot. It might be time for the 76ers to raise a banner to the rafters in honour of Sam Hinkie.
…And The Kings Lose Again
COMING away with two top 10 picks is hardly a loss for the Sacramento Kings. They were so agonisingly close to breaking into the top three had it not been for the 76ers owning pick swapping rights. The punishment was only moving back two places to pick 5th and 10th overall so it may be harsh claiming they lost on draft lottery night. Pick #3 could have allowed them to have their pick of the bunch after Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball (consensus No. 1 & 2 in most mock drafts) were off the board. Instead they now have to wait and see who’s left at #5.
THE rest of the draft lottery held to form with the Suns through to the Knicks pushed back a spot and picks 9-14 remaining the same as the standings. It seems that Fultz and Ball will become a Celtic and Laker respectively with the rest of the draft still slightly up in the air from there. Could they renew the rivalry similar to that of Magic and Bird? Big call although not entirely out of the question.
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