The Pelicans, Knicks, and Hawks need to nail their first-round selections in 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
Nothing’s going to top the Anthony Davis to LA Lakers trade that transpired this past week. Vegas already has the Lakers as favorites to win the 2020 NBA Championship and they only have three players. No cap.
2019-20 NBA Championship winner updated
GS, Phi 12/1
Bos, Den 16/1
Utah, Por 30/1
SA, Ind, NO 60/1
Orl, Atl 80/1
Mem, Chi, Sac, Phx 100/1
Det, Cha, Mia, Wsh, Cle, Min 200/1
— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) June 15, 2019
With that being said, the NBA Draft is two days away and The Zion Effect is about to take control again as the basketball prodigy will be selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pels have had nothing but good luck since bringing former Cavs exec David Griffin into the fold as executive vice president of basketball operations.
The easy part is over. They were well compensated. Now they have to hit on the 2019 draft pick they acquired from LA and continue to construct a winner, placing them among three NBA teams with Draft picks that could drastically affect the fate of the franchise.
Pelicans No. 1 Overall Pick
New Orleans: It’s all about the future for the Pelicans. The Lakers not only helped New Orleans upgrade its starting five but added some bench depth and three first-rounders, including the No. 4 pick this season.
That No. 4 pick will be vital to New Orleans’ draft process because with the Lakers getting AD, don’t expect LA to produce anything but low-first rounders for the next three to four seasons. Maybe the 2024 and 2025 picks will be high picks if everything eventually falls apart in LA, but the Lakers see this as the rise of another potential LA Dynasty.
By then, who knows what the Pelicans will look like, if all of the potential was realized or if Zion will even still be in New Orleans.
Ingram and Ball haven’t proved that they are on the way to becoming elite NBA players. Right now, they are serviceable. If I was New Orleans I’d draft Cam Reddish. They need some stretch scoring. Jrue Holiday is nice, but he’s not a pure shooter and neither is Zion, Ingram or Ball.
There have been reports that the Pelicans will trade Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to the Washington Wizards for the No. 9 pick and Bradley Beal on Draft night. That would be another blockbuster and then they would be saying something.
Pelicans are seriously interested in dealing the No. 4 pick and pieces for Bradley Beal, per multiple reports. pic.twitter.com/EouKfAbkLJ
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 18, 2019
Reports say they are looking at Darius Garland, the point guard from Vanderbilt. Others say they will grab Texas Tech standout Jarrett Culver and pair him with Zion. Culver has star potential as a 3-and-D floor who should perfectly fit in this new look New Orleans squad. Maybe even De’Andre Hunter who will add his defensive grit to a team loaded with defensive players.
If the Pelicans want to move up the Western standings quickly, they need to land another potential All-Star with this pick.
Knicks No. 3 Overall Pick
Steve Mills and Scott Perry were preparing for a blockbuster summer all season and in a two-month span, everything was obliterated before they could lift a phone.
First, despite tanking to the bottom of the standings, they ended up with the No. 3 overall pick instead of the top prize as every Knicks fan tried to wish into existence.
Zion Williamson was tailor-made for New York. His already formidable brand and marketing reach were going to explode in the Big Apple. When the Knicks didn’t get the No. 1 pick there was still hope because rumors that KD and Kyrie were coming to New York were rampant. Prognosticators were going on live TV and doing things like “it’s a done deal.”
Then KD tore his Achilles and Kyrie started talking that Brooklyn mess. Kawhi is going to either stay in Toronto or got to LA, maybe team up with LeBron and Anthony Davis, another player the Knicks had interest in but won’t be getting.
The free agent well has dried up quickly for New York, which makes their Draft pick even more important. The Knicks really want Ja Morant, but will have to settle for Zion’s college sidekick RJ Barrett.
The hoops world seems to be split on the level of eliteness inside of this 18-year-old.
The Knicks better be 100 percent all in on him. They can’t afford to miss on this kid. He’s coming in with a world of pressure and not much talent around him. He’s got to be the goods. This is the most important draft pick for the Knicks in decades.
Reports say the Knicks are now seriously considering Garland, but Knicks fans would have a heart attack.
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 18, 2019
Atlanta Hawks No. 8 and No. 10 Overall Picks
Bol Bol is the son of a legend. That burden has been hard enough to carry as the 7-foot-2, second-generation NBA baller has worked his way into a viable Top 10 NBA pick.
The former Oregon standout does a lot of things on the court. His 7’7″ wingspan enhances his many offensive skills that include ball handling, perimeter shooting, playing above the rim, as well as his inherited defensive skills as a shot blocker. His dad was one of the all-time NBA greats in that category.
Bol averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while also shooting 56 percent from the field and 52 percent from the three-point line. There aren’t many 7-footers with his skill set and you can’t help but root for him as the son of one of the all-time characters of the game and international heroes. Manute Bol was an icon, instrument for social change and a prince of peace in Africa.
Will the Hawks — who desperately need a franchise face to pair with rising stud Trae Young and give the fanbase something to be excited about — trade this pick? They would love to move up and get their hands on New Orleans’ No. 4 pick. Or commit to drafting a player who could become as legendary as his pops, but with way more game.
With Africa’s new pro league, the rise of African NBA players such as Pascal Siakim and Joel Embiid and the NBA’s interest in developing African talent, Bol Bol would be another tremendous ambassador for the game.