We have talked about the NBA Draft Lottery already on here today, but one thing bears repeating. The way the lottery plays out tonight is really the determination of fate for at least two UK players. While much is made of the fourteen teams involved and the likelihood that each will get the first pick, absent a statistical abnormality, this is a game that will likely see these five teams shake up the first five picks: New Jersey, Minnesota, Sacramento, Golden State and Washington. The ping pong balls will shake out and one of those teams will likely end up with the first selection. And for two of our players, their likely destination will be set.
Obviously, the ping pong balls will set John Wall’s fate tonight. Chad Ford reaffirmed today that every team picking first in the Draft is likely to take Wall with that pick, even Minnesota, who picked two Point Guards last season. Thus whichever team wins the lottery can also likely print up Wall #11 jerseys at the same time. The Timberwolves are the only team that would even think of going in another direction and Tyreke Evans in Sacramento and Stephon Curry in Golden State, both must salivate at the potential of having another star in their backcourt. Outside of the GMs involved, John Wall has to be the most nervous person in America today, as his likely home for the next 6-7 years is determined tonight.
With not quite as much certainty, but a great deal of probability, Demarcus Cousins will also see his final destination reached as well. With Wall a lock at #1, Turner almost predestined for #2, whoever gets the 3rd or 4th pick, likely sees Boogie or Derrick Favors as their selection. Thus Cousins will see the two teams that hold his fate in their hands and will realize that one of those two cities will be his home. The five teams above are all the most likely candidates again, and all could use Cousins’ production (although New Jersey with Brook Lopez likely needs him the least of the group). While we wont know for sure where Demarcus will go, we will know the two final choices…and the two teams that could see a Boogie influx of UK fans come next season.
As for Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton, their fates are likely held at the end of the lottery. If it plays out as the numbers would suggest, both players are looking at Indiana, New Orleans, Memphis, Toronto and Houston as their likely final destinations. All five teams will find themselves at the end of the lottery and every projection I have seen puts Orton and Patterson right in that group. Indiana or Memphis would allow Kentucky fans to see their favorites play, while Toronto could be a sentence in purgatory for both.
Finally, Eric Bledsoe isnt really involved too much tonight, as his fate is likely either at the very end of the lottery or with playoff teams picking later. Nothing that happens tonight will effect that either way and for Eric, it will be about finding a team that likes his skill set and has needs at the PG position.
So there you go. Cross your fingers for Wall and Cousins tonight. New Jersey or Golden State would probably be the best for Wall, while Cousins could find a home in Sacramento or Washington a positive experience. We shall see. 8 pm tonight. Stay tuned