The Denver Nuggets’ lack of success at the NBA draft lottery is well doc—do we really have to this again? You know the history by now: lottery night is comedically cruel to your Denver Nuggets. Three Stiffs have gathered round the proverbial table to ignore the Nuggets lack of luck and share their thoughts on the three teams who walked away in celebration.
Let’s pass it around
The Phoenix Suns have secured the first top pick in their team’s history. Is this a good result for the NBA?
Mares: There wasn’t any one result that would’ve been good or bad for the league. The Phoenix Suns are a very interesting young team and there is an interesting angle to take depending on who they take with the #1 pick. Luka Doncic played for Igor Kokoskov last summer for the Slovenian national team so there is a great chance Kokoskov would help Doncic flourish. DeAndre Ayton played at the University of Arizona so there is aleady a built-in fanbase for him.
Blackburn: At this point, the NBA has to find a way to work the tanking problem. Having the Suns secure the first pick is a good result. Over the past three seasons, the Suns hold the title of the team with the worst combined record. Devin Booker hasn’t helped them improve, even as one of the best draft picks in the late lottery in the past decade. Having a first overall draft pick changes things, and it may force the Suns to start thinking about winning, bringing competitive spirit to at least one more city.
Vogt: I think this is a win for both the league and those who don’t feel the need to reform the lottery process. At the beginning of the season, there was very little reason to watch the Suns—while that didn’t stop me, I can’t say I enjoyed the product. Had the Suns given it their all this season, the product would still have been lousy, with little hope of the 2018-19 season being any better. But having won the lottery, Devin Booker, and perhaps a somewhat unfairly maligned Josh Jackson will be joined by one of two likely to be transcendent talents. The future is suddenly bright for a perennial cellar dweller.
The Suns and the Hawks were awarded the top picks they so desperately needed, but it looks like a transcendent talent will be stuck with the floundering Kings. How do you feel about the top three destinations in the draft?
Vogt: The Suns clearly needed another piece to begin a proper rebuild, and now they’ll get one. The Hawks desperately needed a blue chip prospect, and depending on how you feel about the top five guys in this draft, it looks like they’ll get one too. Even the Kings, who are a potentially bummer destination for one of Doncic or Ayton, have at least shown an apparent organizational shift towards youth and asset gathering. They had a decent draft last year and even they won’t mess this up. Probably. Maybe. Would you really be surprised if they took Trae Young though?
Mares: The Kings have some intriguing young talent on their roster so it’s not like they are completely directionless. Whether they take Doncic, Ayton, or a surprise pick like Marvin Bagley they’ll have a very nice young core to build off of.
Blackburn: I’m excited for the Kings. They did the right thing last offseason by bringing in veterans to help show young players like De’Aaron Fox how to be a professional. If they continue that trend, it will only help provide stability to a franchise that desperately needed a top five selection.
Which prospect, or team, appears to be the biggest lottery night loser?
Blackburn: It must be disappointing for the Memphis Grizzlies, who watched their team crumble from the inside this year, fired their coach, dealt with injuries to stars and disgruntled veterans, and are bereft of game changing young talent...and with the second best odds in the draft, they fell to fourth overall. They will likely miss out on Luka Doncic or DeAndre Ayton, and there isn’t an obvious fit for their situation anymore.
Vogt: Give me the Orlando Magic—the ugly step-sibling to the Philadelphia 76ers and their nationally embraced process. The Magic have been a bad team for years but they have nothing to show for it. They haven’t really whiffed on their picks so much as the lottery has been unkind to them. The Process isn’t a cheat code, it’s a risk, and the consequences have manifested themselves in Orlando as the Magic continue to float in some excruciating basketball limbo. There’s good, there’s bad and there’s: “oh yeah, I almost forgot the Magic are in the NBA.”
Mares: It’s gotta be the Dallas Mavericks who moved back two spaces in he lottery and will have to settle for 5th. It’s possible there’s an intriguing prospect at five but the top three or four players in this draft were the most exciting.