With the NBA playoffs looming, there is no better time to look at the most important part of the season — the offseason — and specifically, the draft. This year’s race to the bottom has been more interesting than ever due to multiple teams deciding that they want to prove just how poorly a professional team can play. The three teams vying for the first pick all have intriguing storylines heading into the draft.
This year, nothing went well for the Knicks, except for the fact that they could quite possibly end up with the most ping-pong balls come draft day. Knicks fans have turned their hopes from the Zen Master, making the Knicks competitive this year, to then somehow coming away with No. 1. Many believe that they will take Karl-Anthony Towns, the seven foot Kentucky center, instead of Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. Provided that the Knicks don’t somehow get bumped from the top two slots, there will be a lot to celebrate in New York.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are also hoping to end up with the first pick, and they have virtually the same chance as the Knicks. They recently added aging superstar and former T-Wolves franchise player Kevin Garnett to their roster with the hope that he will mentor up-and-coming phenom Andrew Wiggins. They are also hoping that their point guard Ricky Rubio will recover fully from ankle surgery and be at 100 percent going into next season. The Timberwolves are not far off from being a very competitive, but very young team. If they manage to get the first or second pick and take Okafor or Towns, then they will be setting up a very interesting future for themselves. They also have rookie leaper Zach LaVine in the mix, whose game is currently very one-dimensional but could be drastically improved in years to come. Minnesota’s bright upside will only be augmented with its pick this year.
Arguably, the most interesting team in the draft is the Philadelphia 76ers. General Manager Sam Hinkie has done his fair share of wheeling and dealing this year in order to secure the most assets for his team. The Sixers will likely end up with the third most ping pong balls, which will hopefully set them up with at least the third overall pick. Now is where it gets fun. If the Lakers end up in the sixth pick or worse, (which seems unlikely but hey, who knows?) they will get that pick. They also have the rights to the Heat’s pick, which is protected if the Heat get the 10th pick or higher. There is also potential for them to take a pick from the Thunder, who currently have a protected top 18. ESPN projects point guard D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State at third overall. Hold your breath, Sixers fans, because the lottery will be fun!
These three teams have the most compelling storylines in the current draft, but with many other captivating picks and moves to be made, this draft will surely not disappoint.