IT’S DRAFT NIGHT!
The most heated draft in recent NBA history is now a few hours away. If you know Phil at all, than you must know already I like it new and shiny, whether right or wrong or even in working order. This NBA draft gives me all that and more and this final few hours will be my Ritalin, my Adderall acquired suspiciously from a former BALCO operative.
What’s not to love?
You’ve got LeBron James Jr. in Ben Simmons.
How much did he care as me-marked time at LSU waiting for his NBA destiny? Why couldn’t he accomplish at least a visit to the NCAA tournament if he’s truly the “next big thing?”
Projected at #2 is Brandon Ingram out of the storied program of the man who invented basketball, as he’d have the world believe. For me the Ingram choice goes beyond talent and directly to his alma mater. I’ll wait as you make a list of the great NBA players from Duke taken in the first round. You should be finished. However, if we assign the same quiz to the “bust” container then pack a lunch. May not scare you, but I believe an NBA GM has to have a moment of pause as he ponders precedent with the value of the 2nd overall. Ultimately the pick by the Lakers will be Mr. Ingram, barring a bone jarring trade by the 76ers.
According to my Sixers’ source, despite their open declaration Tuesday that they would be selecting Simmons with the 1st overall pick, there is a scenario brewing where Philadelphia (who own six 1st round picks over the next 2 drafts) are being courted by multiple teams. These deals all involve the 76ers ending up with 2 of the first 5 selections tonight. Sixers will not, if they acquired the 2nd of two first fives, select Simmons. The whispers in my ear say they would select Ingram 1 and either Kris Dunn or Buddy Hield depending on how high the second pick is. The preference obviously would be Dunn and that trade partner would have to be the Celtics, who openly covet Jahlil Okafor yet seem to on the verge of sending that pick to Utah.
That enough intrigue for you? I got more. There are some x factors in the top of the draft that will make for scintillating, cell phone ringing, Twitter exploding moments. Who is really the 3rd pick? My heart screams Jaylen Brown as the default 3rd. Yet many NBA scouts believe there is not a possibility Dunn goes beyond three. Phoenix takes Brown without hesitation and tier 1 of the 2016 NBA DRAFT is complete.
Buddy Hield kicks off tier-2. After his selection you got to own a crystal ball. Exactly why today will be an amazing run of NBA TV. There will be exactly zero moments that allow for an exhale. Who drafts the man child Thon Maker? What top ten projections will slide precipitously out of the lottery and into the green room of misery? Who wears the most outlandish suit/outfit? What player will we ignore in the bottom ten of round 1 who becomes Paul George or the emergent beast for whom simplicity demands I identify simply as “the freak?” Denzel Valentine scares me and I want it on record. Taurean Prince too. Both will be drafted tonight in round 1.
Tier 3 seems simple. Dragan Bender seems slightly overvalued to me. Those who profess to know have him in their first 5 but I don’t see a fit. Most likely he belongs at 8 to Sacramento and he well should. Tier three will also feature the Celtics taking over the draft with 4 of the first 31 selections barring a trade. One of those picks will be an enigmatic Skal Labissiere who seems to grow in stature despite a resume that belies this late love. Finally, what does the Hawks trade of Jeff Teague do to tier 3 as they also own pick 21 and this is why tonight will be “Must See TV.”
Finally, what makes the NBA DRAFT 2016 the spectacle I truly believe it will be is that, by the time you read this, things will have changed. Again.
N The Zone promises to have a full recap and breakdown of NBA Draft 2016 online and on air. Stay tuned.