1st Overall Draft Pick
Right now it appears to be a three-player race to be the top overall selection in this year’s NBA Draft and BetOnline seems to think LaMelo Ball is the answer. Personally, I think it would take a team trading up into number one for Ball to go first, but his stock has been rising and his floor is arguably higher than any player in this draft. It’s not out of the questions that the Wolves take him.
However, trading up to number one won’t be cheap, and I doubt the Wolves are willing to take less than market rate for such a valuable pick if they go that route. That being said, if the Wolves end up keeping the pick, I could see them passing on Ball and instead going with Anthony Edwards. At +150, he’s a better value play for our NBA Picks and a better fit with Minnesota with D’Angelo Russell running the show at point guard.
2nd Overall Pick
This is where the draft gets interesting, especially if Ball is still on the board. The Warriors have been rumored to want to draft Ball, but in no way would the youngest Ball brother be given the reins in Golden State. He would be a glorified sixth man and probably only play 18-20 minutes per night.
That may not be attractive to Ball (or his dad for that matter) or the Dubs, so James Wiseman may be the play here. The Warriors need young bigs that can play power forward or center. Wiseman, when healthy, is probably the highest upside play in this draft. He is 7 feet tall and his body is almost or already NBA ready. Golden State could draft the best player available and draft for need if Wiseman is the play.
NBA Pick: James Wiseman (+115) with BetOnline
3rd Overall Pick
The Hornets also have a tough decision to make here if Wiseman and Edwards go numbers one and two. The Hornets do not need another ball handler and if Wiseman is gone already, they may choose to trade out of this pick.
That’s where the Knicks and Pistons come in. They are sitting at 7th and 8th and would probably love to have Ball if he is still available at number three. Both would give him the starting point guard spot in day one, and both are teams that with the right talent acquisition could challenge this offseason for one of those final Eastern Conference playoff spots, or one of the play-in game spots at 9 or 10.
This is where I think Ball will go, but I don’t think it will be to the Hornets. If no team gets feisty enough to trade up to one or two to get Ball, I think the Hornets trade down and someone snags Ball here.
NBA Pick: LaMelo Ball (+400) with BetOnline
4th Overall Pick
The fourth overall spot is a tricky one and it’s probably where the draft truly begins. The Bulls have a great spot here to pick a player that will help them now and in the future. Assuming those top three guys are all gone here, I think the Bulls will go with Deni Avdija.
The Bulls have been linked to Kira Lewis Jr and Tyrese Haliburton as well, but I think Chicago can wait on a guard. They need someone who could fill in for Otto Porter (who is perpetually hurt and on an expiring deal) and fill his shoes once his contract is up at the end of this season.
Avdija is a very big play-making forward. At 6’9, he could play multiple positions and give the Bulls some desperately needed wing depth. He’s a good passer and one day could develop into a reliable second or third scoring option for the Bulls. He’s only 19 years old, and after playing in Europe, he will likely come in more seasoned than some of the other players at the top of the draft.
NBA Pick: Deni Avdija (+190) with BetOnline