The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content around the internet
The big news of the weekend was the reported trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics. The Celtics will send the top overall draft pick in exchange for the third pick and either the Lakers’ pick next year (if it falls between Nos. 2-5) or the Kings’ pick the year after. There are many possible reasons for the trade. Whether the Celtics believe Josh Jackson is a better prospect, that this package has a better chance of landing them either Paul George or Jimmy Butler, or they are simply waiting out LeBron James, the Celtics must have had reasons to trade out of the top draft slot.
Rumors have swirled for some time about Paul George wanting to leave the Pacers in favor of the Lakers, but the floodgates seem to have opened, as Woj reported on Sunday that George informed the Pacers he won’t return when he’s a free agent in summer 2018. George reportedly prefers the Lakers, but other teams could trade for him and try to entice him to re-sign, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been reported as suitors.
The Sacramento Kings haven’t had the best luck in previous drafts. From Ben McLemore to Nik Stauskas to Thomas Robinson, the Kings have either drafted the wrong player, or watched a player move on and become a better player in a different situation (Isaiah Thomas). Buhler argues that the Kings should try to move up in this draft, selecting one of the many guards available at the top of the draft. The Kings pick fifth, but getting in the top four could mean they can draft a franchise point guard who might not be available at No. 5.
A near 7-foot wing with a 7-foot-1 inch wingspan would the talk of most NBA drafts, but somehow Jonathan Isaac seems to have gone relatively unnoticed in this draft, with Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball receiving most of the attention. Isaac, much like Anthony Davis, was a late bloomer in terms of height so he developed his guard skills first. Unlike other prospects in the draft, Isaac projects as one of the best defensive players in the draft, with untapped skills on offense. He isn’t the most recognizable prospect, but whichever team drafts Isaac might get the steal of the draft.
The Celtics-Sixers trade involved more than the two teams making the immediate trade, including the Phoenix Suns. In 2015, the Suns acquired Brandon Knight for the Lakers’ draft pick. The Lakers pick was protected for the top three selections, which was conveyed to the Sixers in a three-team trade that involved the Lakers’ pick going to the Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams to the Milwaukee Bucks, and Knight to the Suns. The Sixers used that Lakers pick to move from the third draft slot to the first, potentially to draft the point guard of the team’s future.