The NBA Draft is finally here.
It feels like the Golden State Warriors just won a championship last week. And it feels like that because they did a championship about a week ago.
Let’s get the dry stuff out of the way.
The 2017 NBA Draft is today—Thursday, June 22—at 7 p.m. and you can watch it on your TV on ESPN or online with WatchESPN.
So, like, what’s going on?
Boy, am I glad you asked.
The Charlotte Hornets traded for Dwight Howard on Tuesday. Yeah, seriously.
All they sent out was Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli with this year’s second round pick. In return, the Atlanta Hawks sent Dwight Howard and an even better pick back. It was a bit of a fleecing as far as Hornets fans are concerned, but the Hawks managed to dump a ton of salary to help them in the short-term.
Oh, and it’s not just the Hornets making moves, either. The NBA’s as active as I’ve seen it in some time before the draft. Here are some headlines you should know about heading into tonight.
Danny Ainge and Bryan Colangelo are friends again
The Sixers are delighted that they can add Washington’s Markelle Fultz to their young core while Danny Ainge and the Celtics are, as usual, trying to coax a team into giving them a superstar for a pile of lottery picks.
Lucky for Danny...
Several superstars appear to be available
And it’s not just those guys. There are a ton of excellent basketball players available on the market right now if the rumors are true. Of course, we have no idea if they are.
Each of the below players are said to be available, according to the media:
- Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls (link)
- Paul George, Indiana Pacers (link)
- Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers (link)
- Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks (link)
- DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers (link)
Furthermore, several teams are said to be begging to make any moves they can. Everyone’s looking to make major changes this summer.
As for the Hornets, they could be active tonight or they could do nothing. They have options, basically, as they just acquired Howard and have the 11th and 31st overall picks in addition to a plethora of other expendable assets. If Cho’s looking to make a big splash, he certainly could.
Phil Jackson is losing his mind
The New York Knicks are awful, top to bottom. Their only redemption comes in the form of 22-year-old superstar-in-the-making Kristaps Porzingis, and it looks like they’ve pissed him off.
So much so, in fact, that Phil Jackson said, on television, that the Knicks are looking to move him. Look, in no world is it a good idea to move a generational talent on a rookie deal. It’s unprecedented. In fact, I think the last time a player of Porzingis’ caliber forced their way off a team was when Chris Webber got out of Golden State almost 15 years ago.
Swallow your pride, Phillip. Figure out how to make this work.
Grab them by the Balls
Lonzo Ball is widely expected to go second in the draft tonight, making him a Laker. Ball’s enterprising father, LaVar, sees L.A. as an opportunity to make his son a household name.
What’s he doing now?
Apparently LaVar’s wandering around different cities with a legitimate camera crew and body guards, documenting his son’s experience with the intent of selling it. LaVar’s a controversial figure but Lonzo and the kids seem to be okay with everything their dad does. As far as I’m concerned, no harm, no foul.
For kicks I kind of want to see Lonzo fall to the Sacramento Kings.
Okay, so who are the Hornets looking at?
Steve Bob Forrest’s upcoming post will cover this much better than I will here, but the names to keep an eye on are, in no particular order, Donovan Mitchell, Luke Kennard, Malik Monk, and Lauri Markannen.
As for who they’re looking at with the 31st pick, well, that’s up in the air.
Cho made it clear the Hornets will be opportunistic tonight. They need depth at every position, so look for them to break from the script if a good player falls to them.
Anything else I should know?
The NBA awards ceremony is in a couple of days, free agency is literally a week away, and the Orlando Summer League less than a month away. Things are moving quickly.
We’ll have plenty of coverage on what the Hornets do this summer so be sure to check back from time to time.
Anyway, grab some snacks on your way home tonight and enjoy the draft. It’s bound to be a fascinating affair.