The NBA draft is a month away and the Syracuse Orange have four players up for selection. Some have left early and others are only going because the NCAA says they're not allowed to play anymore. Drafting the Orange will follow Scoop, KJ, Fab and Dion as they prepare for the draft and the next phase of their basketball careers.
The NBA draft lottery was held on Wednesday and the New Orleans Hornets beat the odds to win the first overall selection. After finishing the season with a 21-45 record, the Hornets had the fourth best chance of securing the top pick and did so, jumping the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and statistical favorite Charlotte Bobcats. The Unibrow, (aka former UK freshman Anthony Davis) is still projected to be the #1 overall pick. Big surprise there.
What's not a surprise is that the Bobcats once again failed miserably. After setting an NBA record for worst winning percentage for a season, the perpetually incompetent Cats couldn't even get the ping-pong balls to cooperate. Still, this was a lottery, and given majority owner Michael Jordan's track record with gambling, failure was almost inevitable.
So, what does this shakeup at the top of the draft order mean for the Orange players up for selection? Honestly, nothing much. Scoop and KJ are fringe second round selections. So far, Fab is still projected to be out of the lottery, in the 15-25 range, so it's unlikely anything that happened there would have affected him.
The only former Orange player who might possibly have been affected was Dion. ESPN's Chad Ford still has Waiters going 8th to Toronto. The shuffling at the top of the draft order, though, has caused some changes to the projected picks in the 5-10 range that Dion falls into. This type of thing is to be expected as teams fine tune their draft strategy based on their needs and who is likely to be available when they select. Dion, though, has been projected to be the second SG, and first PG, prospect selected for the past couple weeks. None of the changes in the draft order really affect that. Most of the teams selecting before the Raptors are looking for bigs and wings, so Dion should still be there if they want him.
Former Florida SG Bradley Beal is the first back court player projected to be taken at #3. With the NBA Draft Combine coming up next weekend and what's certain to be a slew of team workouts over the next month, it's possible that Dion could place himself at the top of the SG hierarchy. Beal, though, is a much better shooter than Dion, which gives him an edge that's unlikely to be erased in just a few weeks. Waiters' work is likely to be to solidify his projected spot rather than to improve it by much. Still, there are some who think that, outside of Anthony Davis, Dion is the only other potential superstar in this draft. With that kind of hype, it's possible that a team in the top 5 might reach for him, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
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