The NBA season is over, and as the casual fan turns its head toward baseball and football, die-hard NBA fans know the most exciting night of the season that does not involve the court is the night of the NBA draft. This year’s draft will take place next Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Unlike years past, this year's draft is loaded and will surely have a lot of drama and countless subplots. Who will do what on draft night? Here are my favorite subplots of the draft:
Lonzo Ball to the Lakers?
Lonzo is the most talked about player in this draft, and not because of his play on the court. Lonzo’s father LaVar has been outspoken about his son’s potential — even claiming he is better than two-time MVP and two-time Champion Steph Curry.
Now, for all the fodder LaVar has given the media over the past six months, the most important and intriguing thing he has stated is that he does not want his son to be drafted No. 1 overall. Instead, he wants Lonzo to be drafted by the Lakers at No.2.
So the question is, when the Lakers are on the clock next Thursday, will they take Ball? The possibility of Lonzo and LaVar staying in Los Angeles is very interesting and something I would love to see. Just for the sheer entertainment of LaVar sitting behind the bench yelling at Lakers coach Luke Walton to play Lonzo more.
Who will Philadelphia take at No. 3?
Since the 2014 draft, the Sixers have been in the top-three every draft. Philadelphia continued to draft “the best player available” and that is how it ended up with three centers that were all drafted in the lottery. Now, Philadelphia needs a shooting guard or a point guard who can shoot.
Drafting Ben Simmons at No. 1 last year has put the Sixers in a tough position. Simmons will be the primary ball handler so the Sixers now need to find outside shooting, and T.J. McConnell will not cut it.
Their conundrum is that the best shooter, Malik Monk, should not be drafted higher than the fifth pick. Will Philadelphia trade down to try and get a shooter and acquire more assets or will it take the best player available? I think trading down helps them in multiple ways. It allows the Sixers to get their man whilst possibly adding a veteran or another bench guy to help their already thin bench.
Will teams trade down or up?
As previously stated I see Philly trading down but how many other teams will look to trade their picks? Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, Ball and Jayson Tatum are all franchise-changing players whose floor is a second- or third-best player on a team.
Sacramento (No. 5) and Orlando (No. 6) are two likely candidates to trade their picks to go up in the draft. Philadelphia (No. 3) is the most likely to trade down.
I also think there are some teams in the backend of the lottery that could be possible trade suitors to climb the board.
Will Frank Mason III be drafted?
Kansas’ sweetheart Frank Mason III has been making the rounds since attending graduation and traveling the country working out for NBA teams. Mason has worked out for the like of the Mavericks, Hornets, Hawks and Kings. Mason just worked out for the Kings for the second time, which is a good sign for him.
Mason will not be a first round pick though. As great of a player as he is, Mason doesn’t have the right body or age to be taken in the first round. I do think Mason will be drafted though.
I see him going in the 40-60 slot range. I think the best fit for him in that range is Washington at No. 52. The Wizards need bench help, especially at point guard and the possibility of Mason backing up John Wall and Bradley Beal is very enticing.
What prospects will drop out of the top 3?
I cannot state it enough: This year's draft will shape the next 10 years of NBA basketball, much like how 2011 draft is shaping our current generation of basketball. I will go into the specifics of each player in my Draft Big Board next week, but some players will miss out on being a top-three, five and 10 pick, each of which holds its own financial benefits.
Fultz, Ball, Jackson, Tatum, De'Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac, Monk, Dennis Smith Jr. and Lauri Markkanen all are worthy and talented enough to be top-three picks but alas, six will miss out. As always, it will be interesting looking back on this draft in the future at who becomes an All-Star and who will be considered a “bust.”