For those of you that haven't been following, here's a link to an explanation of this draft.
For those that have, I'm going to start by lining up the teams, in order of draft choice, based on today's standings. (For the purposes of this draft, we'll assume the lottery results in the teams with the worst, second worst, and third worst records win out with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd pick, respectively.)
Teams will draft in the following order. In parentheses next to each team, I've included the number of big board responses received.
1st) Milwaukee Bucks (10 responses)
2nd) Philadelphia 76ers (15 responses)
3rd) Orlando Magic (33 responses)
4th) uh oh... Utah, Boston, and the LA Lakers are tied in record right now. Never fear, we'll consult random.org to generate a randomized list of the three teams, and use that to determine draft order here. Drumroll please...
4th) Utah Jazz (2 responses...)
5th) Boston (6 responses)
6th) L.A. Lakers (7 responses)
7th) Sacramento Kings (5 responses)
8th) an explanation: The suddenly lively N.Y. Knicks have won 5 in a row. This has moved Cleveland and Detroit (tied) ahead of the Knicks in the loss collumns. At the beginning of last week, Denver would have been picking here, via the Knicks and the Melo trade. Since I only got 1 response from the Nuggets site, I don't have any qualms at curtailing this experiment at 7 picks.
Here are the composite big boards for each team. The number next to each player indicates their average draft position for that team's
|Mil. Bucks||Phi. 76ers||Orl. Magic||Utah Jazz||L.A. Lakers||Sac. Kings|
It should be noted that the majority of these responses were gathered BEFORE Joel Embiid's spinal stress fracture. It's possible, maybe likely, that he's dropped at least a spot or two on most of these lists. It's also telling that he was at the third position on most of these boards BEFORE people had factored this information in.
Without further ado, the draft.
2nd Pick - Philadelphia 76ers - Jabari Parker - The Sixers need help everywhere but at the PG spot, as Thad Young isn't likely to survive this rebuild. Andrew Wiggins is their preferred pick, and it's not even close. Parker will have a decent point man, and lots and lots of volume scoring ahead of him. It'll be interesting to see how his efficiency holds up.
3rd Pick - Orlando Magic - Joel Embiid - I personally think that Embiid's value is going to drop him to at least the 4th or 5th pick by the time draft day rolls around, but I don't see him as a pending bust yet. Given time to heal, Embiid can still have a productive career, but we shouldn't expect him to be as durable as Kevin Durant, Lebron James, or even Dwight Howard have been. I see him more in the mold of Yao Ming, with the potential to put up hall of fame numbers for a few years, and very few injury free seasons.
4th Pick - Utah Jazz - Dante Exum - Exum is trumped as the best point man in this draft, but he IS as combo guard. With the ease that he penetrates and draws fouls, and his size, he should make a great running mate for Trey Burke. That said, using him as a SG doesn't maximize his very developed playmaking. I could see both Orlando and the Lakers trading for him on draft night if he was made available a la Penny Hardaway for Chris Webber.
5th Pick - Boston Celtics - Noah Vonleh - I have to admit, Vonleh is the top 8 player I know the least about. My understanding is that he could be favorably compared to Chris Bosh. There are others that aren't quite as high on him. That said, between Vonleh, Smart, and Randle, the Celtics, Lakers, and Kings each get who they want after the big 4 are off the board.
6th pick - L.A. Lakers - Marcus Smart - With a year to apprentice under Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, Smart could very well maximize his considerable physical gifts. He's arguably the best athlete in the draft taken after Andrew Wiggins, and he could learn quite a bit about playmaking and scoring from the aging Lakers backcourt.
7th Pick - Sacramento Kings - Julius Randle - Projected as a Zach Randolph type, Randle is thought to need an elite rim protector to function effectively. I'm not convinced that he's the best fit next to Demarcus Cousins, but Kings fans valued him equally with Marcus Smart, and more than Vonleh or Aaron Gordon. There's talk on the Sactown Royalty comments sections that it might be best to trade this pick for a guard (Aaron Afflallo and Rajon Rondo were mentioned) or a rim protector to pair with Demarcus Cousins.
This was an interesting exercise, and I intend to repeat it after the Lottery takes place. There were two big takeaways.
1) No two big boards are the same. The top three were often switched around, and the 5-7 spots were pretty interchangeable. At 8 and beyond it was almost a crap shoot. This calls into the question the practice of drafting Best Player Available, as there appears to be some dispute at a number of places in this draft. I would put forth that other secondary concerns like fit, injury history, NBA readiness etc... will play a larger part in the selection process than many people who preach BPA would guess.
2) Change is happening on a daily basis with these boards. I had several responses that were changed after they were originally submitted. People seem to have a particularly hard time judging between Parker/Wiggins and Randle/Vonleh.
All in all, I feel like this draft has captured much more attention across the basketball community than any since the 2003 draft that produced Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. Good luck to all the teams looking for a key piece. I'll see you all again after the lottery.