Following the conclusion of last night’s NBA draft lottery, the official draft order has been set. The first 14 selections (the lottery) are as follows.
1. Phoenix Suns
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn Nets)
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Los Angeles Lakers)
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Detroit Pistons)
13. Los Angeles Clippers
14. Denver Nuggets
Barring a legendary combine or team workout, it’s highly unlikely Kevin Knox or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander slip into the top-10. However, they’re almost guaranteed to fall in the 10-14 range.
This isn’t a knock on either player, this year’s draft just happens to be top-heavy with potential Hall of Fame talent in the first few selections.
With that said, here are the two predictions for the former Kentucky Wildcats.
Prediction: Charlotte Hornets, 11th overall
Dark horse: Washington Wizards, 15th overall
Knox is a rare breed, standing 6’9 but being able to handle the ball and stretch the floor. He could use some work on the defensive end and his play-making will have to improve, but at just 18 years of age he’s a tremendous prospect.
The Hornets have a major lack of youth + shooting on the wing. With an overwhelming cap sheet, Knox would be a key block in a rebuild that seems to be 1-2 years overdue.
The Wizards could look to make a move at a sign-and-trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Demarcus Cousins. If so, the piece they’d likely have to move is Otto Porter. Porter went down with a leg injury this postseason and the wing position for Washington was a mess.
If they deal Porter away, don’t be surprised if the Wizards leapfrog a few teams to take Knox as a Porter replacement.
Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers, 12th overall
Dark horse: Denver Nuggets, 14th overall
Los Angeles definitely finessed the Detroit Pistons by acquiring a what-would-be lottery pick for pretty much what was a salary dump of Blake Griffin’s massive contract. Drafting back-to-back, Gilgeous-Alexander seems like a no-brainer here.
The team’s needs are point guard and center, of which I see them taking Gilgeous-Alexander and Robert Williams of Texas A&M. Gilgeous-Alexander has been mildly compared to former Kentucky Wildcat Rajon Rondo, the same player who played under current Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
If Gilgeous-Alexander falls to 14th, the Nuggets could potentially take the steal of the draft. While I seriously doubt Shai makes it past two Clippers’ picks, if he does, the Nuggets are in desperate need of a floor general. Gilgeous-Alexander could step in right away with a strong basketball IQ as well nightmarish frame to defend opposing Western Conference point guards.
The two former Wildcats will certainly fall in the mid-late lottery with the latest being a few spots outside. Both need some work from NBA development coaches but have the potential to be outstanding players in the Association.