In a few hours,we’ll finally know the selection order of the NBA Draft once the lottery process has been sorted out in advance of tonight’s Game 2 Western Conference Finals tipoff between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.
From there, we’ll have about a month to debate if Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz deserves to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick, and what teams will be the perfect landing spots for this year’s talented crop.
Will Fultz land in Boston and team up with Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart to form a devastating four-guard rotation? Will Lonzo Ball wind up with the Lakers, his preferred destination, or with the Phoenix Suns, where he and Devin Booker could wreak havoc together?
With the mercurial De’Aaron Fox in their backcourt, what could Philly accomplish with a healthy Joel Embiid and the debut of Ben Simmons? What if the Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves got their hands on Josh Jackson? Can the Knicks get their hands on the wondrous Jayson Tatum? How will the Knicks screw up this time.
Is Luke Kennard the sharpshooter that Russell Westbrook needs to push OKC into the upper echelon? Amid all of the freshman point guard talent with Fox, Fultz, Ball, Dennis Smith, Frank Jackson and others, who is going to regret passing up on Frank Mason? What unknown foreigner will the Spurs snag, who a few years down the road will help Kawhi Leonard hoist the championship trophy?
None of those questions will be answered tonight, but we’ll be debating them over the next few weeks. What is not debatable is the fact that as exciting as these scenarios are, some of the eventual lottery picks will turn out to be worse than Shaq in Kazaam.
For every Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and others that changed the game and delivered championships, there are the likes of Dennis Hopson, Adam Morrison, Anthony Bennett, Darko Milicic, Hasheem Thabeet, Tractor Traylor, Mike Sweetney, Robert Swift, Greg Oden, Trey Burke and Kwame Brown.
But right now, hope springs eternal.
As a long-suffering Knicks fan, tonight will be an evening of longing and hoping, creating the perfect scenarios in my head that will bring Jayson Tatum to Madison Square Garden. And in a few weeks, after the actual draft, I’ll probably be cursing out Phil Jackson for drafting the next coming of Nikoloz Tskitishvili.
Tonight is a time to dream, though.