On the eve of the 2019 NBA Draft, the calm before the storm started brewing:
I think that record is challenged today.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
Earlier on Wednesday, Cavs blogger Mike Zavagno shared a snippet from a media hit from ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski, in which he expressed a belief there would be “an extraordinary number of trades” on Thursday. Woj added that teams such as the Celtics and Hawks would prefer not to draft three rookies tonight. Further, there are whispers that teams are looking to jump back into the back end of the first round.
Ahhhh, nothing like casual #wojbombs to get the juices flowing for draft day.
Unless something ridiculously unexpected happens, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and R.J. Barrett are locked in to the first three picks of tonight’s draft. But after that, it could go in any number of directions. And because of that uncertainty, trade whispers are all the buzz right now.
For all intents and purposes, the draft begins when the team with the fourth pick goes on the clock. Which team will own that pick is still to be determined, as several teams have reportedly been sniffing around (including the Bulls).
New Pelicans lead exec David Griffin has done a masterful job creating a market for the fourth selection, with teams jockeying for a chance to possibly select Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland. The Bulls are on the radar here for Garland, and have been connected in various trade talks throughout the pre-draft process. Unfortunately, they aren’t the only team that looks like it could use point guard help in this draft. So let’s keep an eye on the Timberwolves and Celtics, who both need point guard help, but are drafting behind Chicago. And part of me wonders if the Suns are wacky enough to trade up a pick to ensure they get the point guard they want, rather than wait it out only to watch a team with aspirations of making a splash (like the Bulls?) leap-frog them to get their guy.
Let’s also keep tabs on the Hawks in a trade. They have three picks in the first round (Nos. 8,10, 17) and five overall (they also own Nos. 17 and 35). And while the Hawks don’t need a point guard after hitting on Trae Young in last year’s draft, they could move up to target a wing (Jarrett Culver? De’Andre Hunter? Cam Reddish?) or a big (Jaxson Hayes). Bulls fans eyeing a point guard with the No. 7 pick might want to secretly root for the Hawks and Pelicans to execute a deal, which would keep open the possibilities of either Garland or North Carolina’s Coby White dropping down to where the Bulls will pick.
And to think, we’re only scratching the surface of possible draft-related trade talk. The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Cavs, Hawks, Celtics, Pistons, and Spurs each have multiple first-round picks. Contenders like the Spurs, Pistons, and Celtics could move up in the draft to snag a target who can help in their competitive window. Teams on the rebuild such as the Grizzlies, Cavaliers, and Hawks could move around and travel various paths.
This NBA Draft has the potential to be as wild as they come (once we get past the first three picks).