The NBA Draft Lottery is over, and boy was it an interesting night. We saw three teams jump six or more spots in this draft. To put that into perspective, there had never even been a time where two teams jumped five spots in the same draft. We saw major disappointment for some of the worst teams in the NBA, and we saw a bit of excitement from one team in particular.
The New Orleans Pelicans, who originally had a 6% chance to land the No. 1 overall pick, did land the top spot and are obviously assumed to take Zion Williamson with the first overall pick. This change in outcomes can really change a lot in many different ways, and I think it is important to talk about all of the changes that the Lottery can provide.
Here is the full list of the NBA Draft lottery results:
- New Orleans
- New York
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Atlanta (from Dallas)
- Boston (from Sacramento via Philadelphia)
Obviously, teams like Phoenix, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington were all really let down by the NBA Draft Lottery results, but there isn’t a ton of change in the landscape of the league because of those teams, at least not in the immediate future. However, the landscape really changes with the potential changes in the New Orleans franchise. This change can also lead to changes in the Lakers’ and the Knicks’ futures as well.
First off, let’s look at some 2020 NBA Finals Odds.
- Warriors +175
- Bucks +450
- Rockets +1000
- Celtics +1200
- Sixers +1200
- Clippers +1600
- Knicks +1600
- Lakers +1600
- Raptors +1800
- Nuggets +2500
- Pelicans +2500
- Thunder +2500
- Nets +3000
Obviously, the Pelicans odds didn’t look like this earlier in the week, and the clear move here is a result of the addition of Zion and how it could entice Anthony Davis. The early word is that Davis’s stance has not changed and that he still wants out of NOLA. However, I don’t think that the Pelicans are really sold on that thought, and I think they will now be much more hesitant to trade AD in the offseason. The Pelicans have made a lot of changes to the franchise to attempt to convince AD to stay.
I think that the Pelicans are a really good team with a starting five of Elfrid Payton, Jrue Holiday, Zion Williamson, Julius Randle, and Anthony Davis. I think that the Pelicans may be more willing to hold out on trading him in hopes that the first half of the season does enough to convince Davis that they can win a championship.
This change makes me disinclined to take the Knicks in futures because I think that they will have a harder time getting AD, and I think that they may have lost a bit of luster for free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving without the potential of getting a player like Zion for cheap out of the draft.
I do really like how this works out for the Lakers because they were not at all expecting to get a pick this high, and I think they are a good playoff team at full strength. I am concerned that they could throw too many assets at the Pelicans for Anthony Davis, but the hire of Frank Vogel and Jason Kidd hints to me that the Lakers are truly investing in their young pieces. The fourth pick can get a good young player to add shooting or size, or they can trade out and add someone in a trade that fits in right away. I like the Lakers’ odds, and I am bullish on them after this pick.
Now, win totals are not out for next year, but I will really be betting towards the median next season, especially with the teams on the bottom of the pile. Which teams were actively tanking last season in terms of front-office and personnel decisions? Cleveland, New York, Chicago, and Phoenix. All of those teams hit the under in team total this year.
Teams like Atlanta and Sacramento, who went into the year trying to win regardless of their talent, both hit the over. This kind of trend has been the case for a few seasons, and I think that will change moving forward. There are a lot of downsides to tanking like lack of certain player development, lack of fan base happiness, bad team morale and image, and even more. However, tanking for game-changing players is often worth those struggles down the road, which is why teams have disregarded the issues for the most part.
With last night’s NBA Draft Lottery results, I think that fewer teams will be focused on tanking because the 4% chance isn’t worth off of those issues that pop up. I want to attack the over on the lower team totals, and I will likely hit on some team totals on the top end. The NBA is really talented, and we saw a lot of bad teams beat a lot of good teams throughout the season. Even the Warriors vs. the worst team in the league isn’t as big of a lock as it once was. If we see every team looking to win every game, we will see win totals flatten out more than in the past.