Thursday, May 31, 2012

NBA Draft Lottery Reaction

     Teams who did not make the playoffs this year all have the same thought in their minds of "How can we make it next year?" That path to the playoffs starts with the NBA Draft Lottery, where several teams look to rebound, bring in some young talent, and attempt to make a run next year. Most of the picks were near where they were predicted to be, and everything was for the most part, unquestionable. But then there were three, and with odds of nearly 14% to get the first overall pick, the New Orleans Hornets jumped from their predicted fourth spot to win the first pick of the NBA Draft, which will presumably be used on Kentucky big man Anthony Davis. Let's examine the rest of the Draft Lottery, and see who were the biggest winners and losers...


1. New Orleans Hornets: Probably the biggest winner of all. They have two top 10 picks in this year's draft, and will be attracting some buzz this off season. After dealing away Chris Paul, this is what the team and new owner Tom Benson, also owner of the New Orleans Saints, needs. The Hornets' more pressing debate is who they will draft at #10. Do they draft Jared Sullinger out of Ohio State to pair with Davis? Should they take a shooting guard like Syracuse's Dion Waiters in case their two coveted free agent guards, Eric Gordon and Marco Belinelli, sign elsewhere? Or will they take a point guard for the future like UNC's Kendall Marshall, and deal away current starter Jarrett Jack since his contract expires after next season? Hornets fans, be happy for now, but there are a lot of questions your team's management has to answer in the next month that will have a serious impact on who you have on the floor for next season.

The most famous unibrow in the country is
likely headed to The Big Easy in June.

2. Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers made themselves look very smart by dealing Gerald Wallace to the Brooklyn Nets for almost nothing besides the lottery pick they luckily received. They now have two lottery picks, as well as other assets currently on the team. With their picks, they can draft a point guard for the future in either Weber State's Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall. They could also draft a center like UNC's Tyler Zeller after the Greg Oden experiment imploded in front of their face. The Blazers have a bunch of options, but they are shaping up well to make another run at the postseason after this year's disappointment.

3. Golden State Warriors: The Warriors got lucky and were awarded the seventh pick in the NBA Draft, which allowed them to keep their lottery pick instead of it being sent in a deal to Utah. With four picks in the NBA Draft, the Warriors are ready to bring in some young talent to fuel them for a run to the playoffs. At #7, it's widely rumored they will select a small forward like UNC's Harrison Barnes or Baylor's Perry Jones III. That means they will probably deal Dorell Wright or Richard Jefferson, if they can find suitors. Wright has an expiring contract that isn't worth too much, and he will be coveted by several teams. Jefferson however, is on the tail end of his career and making a lot of money, so he will be a little harder to move. Look for at least one of these players to be in a new uniform next season.


1. Charlotte Bobcats: I don't know if things can get worse for this terribly unfortunate franchise. After having a historically bad season, the Bobcats were desperate for the #1 pick of the draft. All GM Richard Cho could do was swallow his throat when his team was handed the second pick of the Draft. Although Cho knows his team missed out, he was not as upset as some would think he'd be. He referred to when he drafted Kevin Durant at #2 for the Seattle Supersonics, and now look at what he's done for the now-Thunder franchise. At #2, the Bobcats can draft Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, whose defense is great but offense is still developing. It's starting to oddly shape out like the 2007 NBA Draft, but only time will tell.

2. Brooklyn Nets: The Nets' bad luck continued at the Draft Lottery, where their questionable deal for Gerald Wallace took a huge turn toward the worst. GM Billy King tried to assure fans that everything would be alright, but was faced with much criticism regardless. Without a top-3 pick, the Nets have lost a potential trade chip for Dwight Howard, or a highly regarded talent that could be paired up with superstar point guard Deron Williams. King cannot do much on Draft night since he doesn't have much to trade, and will most likely have to make a huge statement in free agency starting July 1. Can this team sign enough talent to keep Williams or acquire Howard, or will it go through another disaster similar to the 2009-10 season?

3. Utah Jazz: Nobody but the Bobcats and the Nets really lost in the Draft Lottery, but for the sake of argument, I think the third and last loser is the Utah Jazz. The Warriors got lucky, and retained the pick that was top-seven protected from Utah. The Jazz currently don't have a first round pick in this year's draft, but this is a team who although got swept by the Spurs, made the playoffs this season. They are a very solid team down low, and will continue to improve into next season.

     That does it for the Draft Lottery, where Hornets fans jumped and Bobcats fans cried. The NBA Draft is set to take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on June 28, where young players will achieve their lifetime goals and get a shot to compete in the NBA.

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