Discover more from No Ceilings
2022 NBA Draft Lottery Preview
All of us at No Ceilings take the time to answer some questions previewing what to expect from the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery as well as what we would like to see happen.
IT’S LOTTERY DAY!!!
Everyone loves the lottery for a variety of reasons, and this year is no different.
The 2022 NBA Draft doesn’t have as well-known of a top overall selection as in past years, like Anthony Davis or Zion Williamson, but there are still a number of talented forwards who could help any team in need of talent.
What helps up the drama regarding the ping pong balls is that no matter what, there’s always one or two teams that make the jump and nab a pick that should’ve been had by a franchise with better odds.
That chaos is what makes the lottery one of the best watches of the year for ANY draft sickos out there like us at No Ceilings.
We root for the wackiness at all times. We embrace CHAOS. So it’s only right we preview the madness and set our expectations straight.
In the spirit of a night in which fanbases across the league are looking to make their opinions heard, we wanted to do the same in today’s piece. Each of us got to answer a handful of questions gauging not only what we THINK may happen but also what we WANT to see.
Without further ado, let’s start at the very top with those teams looking for some lottery luck.
1. Which projected Top 4 lottery team NEEDS to land the number one pick the most?
Nathan: Detroit Pistons. While I have questions about how many of the current Oklahoma City Thunder players will definitely be on the roster outside of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, they have two building blocks on the perimeter. The Houston Rockets just drafted a very nice core to continue to develop with, and the Orlando Magic have interesting pieces all over the roster. Detroit has Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey to move forward with, but little I’m confident in outside of those two. And Bey projects to be a fourth or fifth option offensively. The Pistons NEED a second star prospect to pair with Cunningham.
Tyler Rucker: “ORLANDOOOO MAGIC.” Look, you can make a serious argument that every team projected to pick in the Top 4 “NEEDS” to find themselves dancing at the conclusion of the lottery, but Orlando Magic fans are foaming at the mouth for this one. Detroit, Houston, and OKC could all benefit from having the top choice, but Orlando can really start to create some momentum if they are able to secure the top selection. Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs both look like young talents who could be poised for a big sophomore year, and pairing those two with the possibility of Chet Holmgren (or others) would be a big get for the Magic.
Corey: I’m gonna go with the Houston Rockets. Make no mistake, every team in the Top 4 needs the number one pick, and Orlando certainly needs a franchise building block. If the lottery gods bless the Rockets tonight, though, they immediately have the most intriguing offense/defense pairing in the league. Houston’s young supporting pieces fit like a glove with the skinny dude from the Midwest; it almost feels like he’s their density…I mean their destiny.
Tyler Metcalf: Tough for me to say anyone other than the Orlando Magic. They’ve done a good job of putting together quality, young pieces, but this team still lacks a star. If they can take whoever they think has the most “superstar upside” at number one overall, they could speed up this rebuild by pairing him with Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, and the rest of the young talent on the roster.
Nick: I’m going with the Orlando Magic on this one. While the Magic have put together some great pieces in recent years–Franz Wagner looked like a long-term starter last season, Cole Anthony has shown real flashes, and I’m still holding all of my Jalen Suggs stock–they still need a game-changer to pull themselves out of their recent doldrums. Chet Holmgren would dramatically boost their defense from Day One; if he can live up to his offensive ceiling, he could easily help Orlando climb from the 15th seed in the East to a serious playoff threat sooner rather than later.
Albert: For me, it’s the Oklahoma City Thunder. SGA and Giddey make up one of the more exciting and dynamic backcourts in the league. As fun and exciting as the duo may be, the team has gone through a couple of terrible seasons filled with a ton of losing. It’s great that the team has a strong foundation of young guys, but adding another top pick to that mix could really push the rebuild into the latter stages. What if the Thunder could look forward to a young core of SGA, Giddey, and Chet? A foundation built upon those three guys could lead to a ton of winning in a couple of years, and I’m sure Thunder fans would love to see more of that.
Alex: The Orlando Magic need the number one pick more than any of the other Top 4 lottery teams. While they have some solid young guys like Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs, Wendell Carter Jr., and Cole Anthony, I don’t believe any have star potential. I’m not sure whoever goes number one in this draft will become a star, but Orlando needs one if they want to get back to their glory days with prime Dwight Howard.
Evan: I’m going to go with the consensus here and also choose the Orlando Magic. They’ve got a ton of really good building blocks on their roster currently in Franz Wagner, Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Wendell Carter Jr., Chuma Okeke, R.J. Hampton, Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba, and Jonathan Isaac. However, all of those players seem more like good to great complementary pieces rather than being the guy you build your franchise’s identity around. Orlando has a good supporting cast, but they don’t have that leading man yet, so to say, to glue everything together.
Stephen: I honestly feel like the Orlando Magic need the number one pick the most out of all of the top teams. If you look at Detroit, they have a legit number one option (at least projected) in Cade Cunningham. Looking at Houston, they have a potential star in Jalen Green. OKC has Giddey and SGA. Orlando is the only team that doesn’t have a legitimate first option on their squad. I’m not suggesting that there is a top option on a championship team in this draft, but if any team needs the best shot at landing the top prospect, it’s the Magic.
Maxwell: In my opinion, it’s the Orlando Magic. The Thunder will have several more bites at the apple, the Pistons have Cade Cunningham, and the Rockets have Jalen Green. The Magic have a slew of young players with solid upside who I believe in (I’m not selling my Jalen Suggs stock!), but they don’t have a true franchise-changing prospect. They’ve been thrust back into a rebuild after a stint on the treadmill of mediocrity and don’t have the asset war chest of a team like the Thunder. If they’re good to avoid another stretch of “just okay,” they need to hit a home run sooner than later.
2. You have the First Overall Pick. Who is the prospect you’re most eager to draft at Number One?
Nathan: I have Chet Holmgren at the top of my board for a reason. His IQ on both ends of the floor surpasses the majority of prospects in this draft which leads me to believe he’ll find a way to impact any situation he finds himself in after the draft. The way he processes the game, along with his activity level (particularly on defense), is something to behold. Combined with the fact that I believe there’s more to be unlocked offensively in terms of shot-making and creation off the dribble, and I’ll happily draft the player with arguably the highest two-way upside in this class.
Tyler Rucker: Chet Thomas Holmgren. The frame for Holmgren will be something that continues to be hammered into the minds of fans throughout the upcoming months, but the basketball IQ and tools Chet has on the court are special. The modern big man in the NBA is transitioning to a new type of “star.” These players have the length and size to bang down in the post but also offer versatility to “survive” on the wing. Chet has the ability to go coast-to-coast with the ball in his hands while impacting the games in a variety of ways without recording a stat. Holmgren will offer the ability to become a versatility “poster-child,” and NBA teams will be drooling while dreaming about his two-way impact.
Corey: It’s Chet. It’s always been Chet. When I look at the present of the NBA, I see length, skill, IQ, and versatility; I see the league leaning even more into those three qualities in the future. I recently had a scout unprovoked tell me to “keep all my stock” after they watched him work out. Chet may not be a number one option offensively, but there’s more to unlock on that end at the NBA level, where the extra space and more creative offensive sets will accentuate what he’s capable of doing. Defensively, the shot-blocking stands out, but more importantly, Chet is scheme versatile. There will be no playing him off the floor in the playoffs. The kid is a home run.
Tyler Metcalf: This hasn’t changed for me all season. It was Chet then, and it’s Chet now. He is such a fascinating prospect who is an elite rim protector and has scary offensive upside. Even though he was an important offensive piece at Gonzaga, it feels like we’ve only scratched the surface of what he’s capable of doing. He’s the best player in the draft, and I don’t need to think twice about it.
Nick: I will admit that it took me a couple of months early in the season to reach this point, but I’ve had Chet Holmgren at the top of my board for all of 2022 and have not seen any reason to change that pick since then. While it is a weakness, I think that all of the concerns about his frame are massively overblown. Holmgren’s size will be an issue against a select few big men in the league who actually still post up with some frequency and success; his defensive intensity, shot-blocking prowess, and mobility will make him an excellent defensive weapon against the other 99% of big men sooner rather than later. His shooting and passing on the offensive end will allow him to contribute on that end right away, and his upside as an off-the-dribble shooter and playmaker further solidifies him for me at the top of this draft class.
Albert: Chet. This isn’t really much of a discussion for me anymore. The blend of size, skill, finesse, toughness, and a winning DNA is way too enticing for me to even consider anyone else. This guy can block a shot, grab the rebound, push the ball up the court, and finish the break with a bucket or an assist. He will be the ultimate basketball bridge, someone who can easily connect and have both ends of the floor flow seamlessly. Chet is not a unicorn, and he’s not a freak—he is a bridge, and teams are gonna want a guy like that with the first overall pick in the draft.
Alex: Paolo Banchero. To me, his combination of size and offensive creation is unmatched in this class. Out of the top prospects in this draft, I believe he has the best shot at becoming a number one option on a playoff team. While that may seem like a high bar to hit, he also has a pretty low floor; 6’10” guys who can create their own shot AND create for others do not grow on trees. I have confidence in his shot and defense more than he showed at Duke and am willing to bet on him with the number one pick. Having said that, I don’t think that there isn’t much separating the Top 4 guys in this draft for me (Paolo, Chet, Jabari, Ivey).
Evan: I would choose Paolo Banchero personally, although I wouldn’t push back against anyone picking Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., or Jaden Ivey either. I think all four prospects have the sort of upside you’re looking for out of a potential number one pick. I just really buy into Banchero’s scoring versatility and playmaking at 6’10” and 250 pounds. He’s a rare offensive talent in my eyes and one I’m not sure I could pass up on selecting if I were the GM of the franchise that lands the first overall pick in this year’s draft.
Stephen: What’s the point of having a player at the top of your board if you don’t immediately think of them for a question like this? I love the idea of drafting Jabari Smith Jr. with the top pick in this draft. Out of the consensus Top 3 (4? 5?), Smith Jr. is the player that has the upside and day one skills on both sides of the ball that intrigue me the most. He’s a 30-team player who can shoot at a high level, especially for his position, and has sound defensive chops. The fact that he can come into the league with a valuable skill set, on top of the upside to grow as a finisher and facilitator, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a true freshman who can impact the game in the ways that he can.
Maxwell: It’s Jabari Smith for me. He’s the youngest of the top prospects, and he’s rapidly improved over the past two seasons—6’10” players with his shooting prowess at his age are exceptionally rare, and most of them can’t guard down the line-up with ease. He improved as a passer throughout the season. As he grows older and gains size, I think his rim finishing will get there, and he’ll develop a better arsenal in the post to finish over smaller players. His NBA bloodlines and work ethic make him even more tantalizing.
3. The 2022 NBA Draft falls off at _ in terms of top-tier talent.
Nathan: I know there have been plenty of arguments for Jaden Ivey and Shaedon Sharpe (and even Keegan Murray to an extent) to challenge the “bigs” at the top of the draft, but in the end, I can’t reason to put any of them ahead of Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith. The NBA firmly sits at the intersection of size, skill, and IQ. Even though both Ivey and Sharpe are rife with natural talent and athletic ability, all three of the forwards project to change the game at a different level on both ends of the floor. I’d be ecstatic to have a Top 3 pick in this draft, but after that, I do believe there’s a drop-off.
Tyler Rucker: I feel like I’m a bit more “positive” when it comes to the thought process of this question. I would say there’s an argument to be made that after 4-5 players (depending on fit), you could see a big drop off. Every draft class features the same hesitancy of “wait, is this class not as strong as we think?” The truth about the 2022 class is the “star power” might not be overwhelming, but there’s a bundle of tools throughout that could really offer some fascinating depth. Chet will be the prize, but the options from 2-4 really could blossom with the right situation if everything falls into place.
Corey: I would say the draft drops off at 2, and maybe even at 1. That isn’t to say there aren’t players to get your juices pumping after the second pick, but strictly from a talent perspective, it’s Holmgren, Banchero, and then everyone else. Talent doesn’t guarantee success, and Banchero has some red flags based on what I saw on film and what I saw in person, but there is no denying that the combination of physical attributes and his level of skill could be special if he wants it badly enough.
Tyler Metcalf: This is always tough because there will be a late sleeper who vastly outperforms his draft value like there is every year. The right answer is probably after the top three, but I really feel like there’s a huge drop-off after #1 with Chet. I like Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, and a bunch of other guys, but none of them come close to Chet for me.
Nick: I think that this draft class falls off at right around the fourth pick in terms of talent. I’m willing to be wrong about Shaedon Sharpe potentially being on the same level as the top players in this draft, at least in terms of upside. However, I think that there’s a pretty sizable gap after Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, and Jabari Smith Jr. in the highest tier. Sharpe might end up being as good as any of those players–and could be even better–but I’m willing to bet on my top four ahead of the rest of the prospects in this class.
Albert: I actually think you could make the argument that the draft falls off after the first pick, who should be Chet Holmgren. As much as I like Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith Jr., and even Jaden Ivey, I don’t think any of those guys should be on the same level as Chet. As I explained in my answer to the previous question, I really believe Chet should be in his own tier. After Chet, I think Paolo, Jabari, Ivey, and even Shaedon Sharpe could be in the next tier, and then there’s another drop after that.
Alex: If we are defining “top-tier” as guys like LeBron or Luka, then the drop-off is before the draft even starts. However, for this exercise, I will say there is a big drop-off after four. Paolo, Chet, Jabari, and Ivey are all in the top tier of this class for me and are clearly better prospects than the guys after them. My next tier is larger and runs from 5-14, and then comes another major drop-off, in my opinion.
Evan: I think it’s pretty fair to say that this draft class has a drop off in elite-level talent after the top four prospects in Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr., and Jaden Ivey. I tend to be a little more optimistic, though (probably to a fault), when evaluating the “star potential” of a draft class. From my viewpoint, after the Top 7 or 8 players I’ve got on my board, the drop in upside with the next tier of prospects begins. I’d be pretty excited to have a Top 10 pick in this draft.
Stephen: I could definitely make this answer extremely nuanced, but I’ll try to stick to a more broad-strokes answer. In terms of players I feel project to have top-tier talent, I would say after my Top 5, the players start to project to be third or fourth options at best on a championship team. Jabari Smith Jr., Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Shaedon Sharpe, and Jaden Ivey all possess an upside that I think could help them become some of the Top 50-ish players in the NBA. After that, I have PLENTY of players that I absolutely adore and would love to have on my team…but that’s not the question.
Maxwell: I have three players in my top tier: Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, and Chet Holmgren. Depending on the team making the pick, I’d be okay with any of those three going number one. I think they have the best chance to emerge as the best player on at least one side of the court for a great team. In my estimation, Jabari Smith has the most two-way upside at the league’s most important position, Paolo Banchero has the greatest offensive potential, and Chet Holmgren should be an elite defender who provides excellent spacing for a big man.
4. Who is your best prospect who is projected to go outside the Top 5?
Nathan: I’m tempted to say Keegan Murray here, but to me, it’s Johnny Davis. I currently have Davis sixth on my board, just behind both Shaedon Sharpe and Jaden Ivey. Murray is a more complete player at this stage, especially factoring in his size and processing ability, but Davis has become underrated to a fault. He’s currently sitting as a late lottery prospect on the vast majority of draft boards. However, his underrated passing, feel, defensive ability on the perimeter, and off-ball scoring all lead me to believe he’ll look much better in the NBA with more spacing and less responsibility on his shoulders. And if the pull-up shooting and post game translate to the league as they did in college? Davis has star potential to me, and I’ve had my flag planted on Davis Island for months now.
Tyler Rucker: I would say Keegan Murray here, but I currently have him fifth on my personal Big Board. Johnny Davis is the other name I would be willing to go to war with, and I believe that any team that secures him in the Top 10 should be high-fiving in the War Room. While plenty might be skeptical of Johnny’s shot selection at Wisconsin, it’s important to understand the situation. Davis had to carry that team, and he also spent the majority of the second half of the season playing through injuries. The intangibles are rock solid, and he’s going to be a player that plays with a relentless motor. One of the top wing defenders in this class, Davis has the potential to be a guy who simply thrives anywhere he ends up.
Corey: Since I’m the Draft Stock guy, I’m going to base the Top 5 off of the latest Top 60 $DRFT Stock Update. The consensus Top 5 prospects currently are Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, and Keegan Murray. As to who is the best prospect outside that list? For me, it’s Shaedon Sharpe. I understand the skepticism with Sharpe—he’s a big mystery box that will not have played organized hoops in over a year on opening night. I expect him to struggle early. Similar bouncy buckety dudes like Jalen Green and Anthony Edwards took until the All-Star break to adjust to the speed of the game, and those guys had high-level experience prior to making the jump to the league. But man, Sharpe’s raw tools are crazy. There is an effortlessness to the way he can create his own look, and he’s such a naturally fluid mover with a killer frame. It would be pretty difficult for me to pass up a dude with his kind of star potential if I was on the clock.
Tyler Metcalf: It’s my ride-or-die, Johnny Davis. He’s my fourth-ranked prospect, and so many people are overthinking it with him. He’s not going to be a 30% usage rate guy, which will only bring out the best in him. He’s a lethal mid-range and interior scorer whose outside shot should improve. He’s a good passer, has a crazy high motor, fits whatever role is asked of him, and is one of, if not the, best perimeter defenders in this class. If you’re only looking at his three-point percentage and assist numbers to denigrate him, I don’t know how to help you. Those numbers completely ignore the entire context of his team, what he was asked to do, and what he had to do on a nightly basis for Wisconsin to win games.
Nick: I’m torn here between two prospects who I fully believe in; ultimately, though, I do have Keegan Murray ahead of Johnny Davis on my board, so I’ll happily go with the Iowa forward in this Big Ten battle. Murray tore out of the gates this season with a huge start and then just…kept on going. He’s a solid defender with size at 6’8” with great shooting touch as well. His all-around game gives him one of the highest floors of any prospect in this draft; if I have to bet on anyone as the “best” prospect outside of the Top 5, I’m going to go with Murray as a big wing with an easily projectable skill set.
Albert: Johnny Davis has recently fallen down a lot of people’s boards, but I don’t get it at all. I think Davis might be my favorite guard in this class. After listening to Tyler Metcalf fight for him all season long, I recently saw the light and started to see what he saw, and now I’m pretty much a Deacon of the Church of Davis. I love his shot-making ability, he’s a terror on the defensive side of the ball, and he even flashed a good amount of play-making as well. I know the shooting numbers weren’t perfect, but you have to consider the context and just watch the guy shoot. He easily passes the eye test for me, and he has the “give a shit” gene that you want from a budding young star. He deserves to be in the Top 5 conversation.
Alex: The sixth guy on my board is Shaedon Sharpe, but I actually think the guy I have fifth probably won’t go that high, and that’s AJ Griffin. I understand the potential concerns with his knee injuries in the past, but that didn’t stop him from putting up a DOMINANT shooting season at Duke. He legit might be the best shooter in this class. AJ Griffin hit 44.7% of his 3PA’s this year at Duke on good volume (4.1 3PA per game, 0.537 3PAr per Basketball-Reference). He also had some flashes of self-creation, and I really hope the pre-injury athleticism comes back because then he will be an absolute monster. Yes, the defense wasn’t great, but the tools are there.
Evan: I’ve got Bennedict Mathurin ranked as the fifth-best prospect in this class currently, but I don’t expect him to be selected in the Top 5 come draft night. I’m a big believer in the two-way impact he can have at the next level, and I am equally tantalized by the scoring and playmaking upside he possesses. Mathurin scored at least 25+ points eight times in his sophomore campaign while also sporting a career True Shooting Percentage of 59% during his two seasons at Arizona. It’s almost as if people have gotten bored by his efficiency offensively and aren’t wowed enough by what he does on defense to consider him a Top 5 talent. Ultimately, I think Mathurin’s got the chance to become a better defending and passing version of what Andrew Wiggins has evolved into with the Warriors.
Stephen: Again, if I can’t go to my sixth prospect on my Big Board, then what am I doing? Get your glass of milk ready because you might think this is spicy! Jokes aside, I genuinely feel like Dyson Daniels has the potential to be the best player taken outside of the Top 5. Folks–myself included–will bring up the term “connector” often with Daniels and leave it at that. However, I believe that he has a shot to be an All-Star in the same light as Andrew Wiggins, Mike Conely, or even Kyle Korver. He can play a valuable role as a facilitator and lock-down defender at the best version of himself, while he has all the opportunity in the world to prove that the floor-spacing he showed toward the end of the season is legit.
Maxwell: Folks, there is still plenty of real estate available on Dyson Daniels Island! He emerged as a legitimate initiator at 6’8” for the G League Ignite despite being 18-years-old for much of the season. On the other side of the floor, he’s an absolute terror at the point of attack. His length, paired with his footwork, should allow him to be a great defender out of the gate against 1s, 2s, and 3s. The biggest knock on him is his shooting, but he sped up his release and made over 40% of his shots from distance over the last ten games of the season. If he’s a respectable NBA shooter who can play guard at 6’8”, provide elite defense, and make plays for others, that’s a fantastic value outside of the Top 5.
5. Outside of the projected Top 4 teams with the best percentage odds to land at the top of the lottery, who is the one team you’re rooting for on draft night to jump up and nab that first overall selection?
Nathan: I would LOVE for the Portland Trail Blazers to nab the top pick in the draft. As fun as the storylines always are surrounding the New York Knicks in terms of lottery buzz, the Trail Blazers have had HORRIBLE injury luck dating back to the Greg Oden pick as well as Brandon Roy’s health troubles. Damian Lillard suffered an injury-riddled season last year on top of it. This team deserves a shot at talent in the worst way, and finding someone who could come in and help keep Lillard in Portland (along with pushing the other young guys in the franchise to keep working) would be a great story in my book.
Tyler Rucker: If you know me, you should know I am an absolute fan of chaos. So let’s get weird here…THE NEW YORK KNICKS. The internet might actually break if the Knicks secure the top selection. Seriously, could you imagine the media for the next month if the Knicks somehow jump to the top spot? The Knicks finding themselves at the top spot would create madness because there’s a debate that they would be able to go in any direction. While plenty of Knicks fans might find themselves banging the drum for Paolo Banchero, the idea of Chet Holmgren taking over the Garden would be glorious.
Corey: I’m rooting for the Sacramento Kings to move up. They just broke the record for the longest playoff drought at a mind-numbing SIXTEEN YEARS! These dudes need some luck. While the Haliburton trade was widely maligned by the media, Sabonis is a legit All-Star caliber guy that just turned twenty-six. He’s such a fun pairing with a guy like Chet—not to mention that the defensive angst teams would feel on a nightly basis getting hounded by Davion Mitchell and Chet would be hilarious. Getting by Davion would be like making it past the alligator-infested moat protecting the castle, only to meet the fire-breathing defensive dragon patiently waiting beyond the gate. Winning the lotto certainly wouldn’t solve all of the issues for the Kings, but it’d be a damn good start.
Tyler Metcalf: This isn’t based on personal preference or any level of deserving it, because God knows they don’t, but from a content perspective, it has to be the Knicks. I already regret saying this as I imagine how insufferable the media and process will be, but it will be a goldmine for content, entertainment value, and storylines. Also, the chaos of a potential Julius Randle-Paolo Banchero pairing would be incredible.
Nick: My deeply biased pick here would be for the Sacramento Kings, but I feel obligated to show some semblance of objectivity here. Instead, I’ll go for a slightly less biased answer: the New Orleans Pelicans. They showed incredible fighting spirit this postseason against the Phoenix Suns even without Zion Williamson. They could morph from a team fighting for the play-in into a serious contender if they added Chet Holmgren into the mix.
Albert: Usually, my vote would be for the Knicks, but I actually like where they’re projected to pick now in that 11th pick range. My vote is actually for the Spurs. The Spurs were a powerhouse for pretty much forever, and now they’re just trapped fighting for the play-in every year now. I’d love to see them grab one of these talented bigs and see clips of Tim Duncan working with them in the gym and grooming them to be the next legendary Spurs big. Pairing one of the top bigs with their wings and Dejounte Murray sounds like a pretty fun situation for a young player to walk into in the NBA.
Alex: I mean, this is a biased pick, but it’s the New York Knicks. They haven’t moved up in the lottery since 1985, which just so happens to be the first-ever NBA Draft Lottery, causing many to believe it was rigged with a frozen envelope. The Knicks are a team that needs to figure out their next move. Are they going to build around the young guys on the team? Settle for mediocrity and finish as the 8-10 seed for the next few years? Or are they going to use assets to trade for a star? They are in a fascinating spot but also a scary one. Moving up and getting the number one pick would help.
Evan: It’s gotta be the New York Knicks for me. You’re talking about a team that has been stuck in NBA purgatory for what seems like forever now and hasn’t had luck in the lottery in damn near 40 years. I feel the league is better and more exciting when the Knicks are good, so seeing them leap into the top three of this draft on Lottery night would be fantastic.
Stephen: Is there really a correct answer outside of the New Orleans Pelicans? Seriously. This team is coming off the heels of an impressive showdown with the Phoenix Suns and looked like a team that will be in the mix next year. Without star Zion Williamson, this team relied heavily on an improved Brandon Ingram, the recently traded for CJ McCollum, and two young wings in Trey Murphy III and Herb Jones who play with intensity. If they get Zion to come back in shape and in good health AND land the top pick?! The future would be looking very bright for the Pels.
Maxwell: The San Antonio Spurs. They have so many good, fun young players, and they’re perpetually on the cusp. Landing the top pick, especially given their positional needs and the players projected to go in the top three, would drastically change their trajectory. They’ve been stuck directionally, but the emergency of Dejounte Murray has me hoping that they can pair another star with him in the near future.