NBA Draft Lottery 2018: What Happened and What It Means for LeBron James
Shortly before the second game of the Eastern Conference finals between LeBron James’s Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, the NBA draft lottery picks were chosen by NBA Commisioner Adam Silver. The fourteen teams who did not make the playoffs learned their place in the draft. With the best odds to win the number one overall pick, the Phoenix Suns secured their place atop the draft board. In a surprising twist, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks received the second and third picks respectively, despite the odds. The Memphis Grizzlies followed with the fourth pick and the Dallas Mavericks owning the fifth.
With the number one overall pick, the Suns have their pick of the crop. Toting the worst record in the NBA, it’s clear the Suns need to add another superstar next to rising star Devin Booker. Deandre Ayton from Arizona poses a very intriguing option. At 7 feet tall, Ayton is a unique combination of extreme athleticism and size. With a soft touch and workable jump shot, Ayton makes a strong case to help the Suns next season. With only two centers on their roster this past season, the Suns could use another big man down low to take the pressure off their shooters. However, Luka Doncic has been making a name for himself overseas playing for Real Madrid. As a 6’8” guard with ball handling capabilities, he could follow in Ben Simmons’s steps as the next oversized point guard to make an impact. In addition, he already has a relationship with Phoenix Suns coach Igor Kokoskov. While he would likely need to adjust to the speed of the NBA, his frame and experience show potential.
Though the most exciting story of the draft might be where LeBron James decides to land this summer. It’s clear that LeBron James will not stay in Cleveland after this season. With possible destinations picking towards the top of the pack, James’s decision keeps the NBA discussion rolling throughout the summer, which is what Silver and the NBA would like. Potential landing spots include the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, and most recently the Boston Celtics. Since Kyrie Irving moved to Boston this past offseason to get out of LeBron James’s shadow, Boston seems an unlikely scenario. New York seems just as unlikely since they aren’t in a position to win now. However, Philadelphia seems like the best spot. This season the Sixers earned the third seed in the Eastern Conference, just one spot above James and the Cavaliers. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid is proving to be one of the best bigs in the game and Ben Simmons is just short of being a superstar, so the Sixers are appealing. Not only that, the Sixers landed the tenth pick in the draft from the Los Angeles Lakers. With a stacked, top-heavy group of prospects, there is still valuable talent, like Mikal Bridges or Miles Bridges, left on the table for the Sixers. Adding young talent to a roster stacked with shooters and two future superstars, it is an enticing landing spot for the king. While Simmons and James would have to argue over ball-handling responsibilities, the opportunity to have Ben Simmons (6’10”), Lebron James (6’8”), and Joel Embiid (7’0”) all on the floor seems too good to pass up.