Tuesday night in New York had some high drama. This year’s NBA Draft is so important to hit big due to the talent that is coming into the league next season which is the best we have seen since the 2007 draft. With eight potential All-Star prospects, even the New York Knicks can’t screw this up. The only way owner James Dolan can’t make a bad pick is to make it idiot proof for him. Strap on your seat belts and see the comparison between the top two picks and their fit with their possible teams.
We start at the top with the Boston Celtics who are in the Eastern Conference Finals due to having a deep and versatile roster. Boston received the top pick in a draft day trade with Brooklyn in 2013 which has left the Brooklyn Nets feeling like someone stole their identity and every number you call to get it back will never answer the phone. Boston has a dilemma on their hands. With the caliber of players like Jimmy Butler and Paul George available from their respective teams, it’s a tough decision to make. Do you want to challenge LeBron James and improve your team now? Or keep on this path where the team is very good but still needs work to get to the Finals?
Insert top pick Markelle Fultz who will be the top pick regardless if Boston trades it or not. Fultz has the speed of John Wall and the scoring ability of Derrick Rose. Fultz can play both guard positions, doesn’t need the ball every possession and has a long wingspan to get steals. The Celtics would be smart to keep the pick, draft Fultz and not have a rental of Butler and George with no certainty of either player resigning. The question Boston has to ask themselves is do you want nine years of Fultz or one year of Butler or George?
The Los Angeles Lakers somehow avoided disaster and kept their top three pick by grabbing the second pick. The Lakers are in desperate need of a playmaker at the point guard position. Expect them to move D’Angelo Russell either on draft night or right after the draft due to Russell not being the answer at the position. The belief of many is that Lonzo Ball will be the better fit. Ball is the best pure point guard prospect we have seen since Ricky Rubio in 2009.
Ball has elite court vision, passing, leading the fast break and say what you want about his shot but it goes in at a high percentage. The ability to want to get your teammates involved and not be the hero or need the ball in your hands at all times to be effective you can’t teach intangibles like that. Another thing that isn’t being talked about that can’t be overlooked is Ball’s work ethic. Anytime a player in college comes into the league and their focus is to keep improving you will make it and become a star eventually. Lonzo is the definition of entering the draft and doesn’t rely on his talent to think he can get by and not have to work hard enough to be a star.
The ability to want to get your teammates involved and not be the hero or need the ball in your hands at all times to be effective– you can’t teach intangibles like that. Another thing that isn’t being talked about that can’t be overlooked is Ball’s work ethic. Anytime a player in college comes into the league and their focus is to keep improving, they will make it and become a star eventually.
Both the Lakers and the Celtics hit gold with getting the top two picks. Lonzo is the perfect fit after the experiment of how Russell doesn’t look good playing off the ball. The Lakers would be crazy not to draft Ball and watch him grow into a transcendent point guard that will be a great floor general. When it comes to Fultz, he will fit fine with Thomas. Expect the Celtics not to resign Avery Bradley or Game 7 hero Kelly Olynyk and expect to see Marcus Smart get resigned and Terry Rozier traded. Boston will contend for a long time to come and could even be better with the potential of what Gordon Hayward will do in free agency come July.