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Syracuse Basketball: Potential NBA Draft Lottery Landing Spots for Malachi Richardson

The NBA Draft Lottery took place last night, and there's a possibility that Malachi Richardson will be selected with one of these picks.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the week it was announced that Malachi Richardson hired an agent, and therefore his career with the Syracuse Orange would come to an end after a season in which he made the Final Four. It was reported that Malachi would only stay in the if given a first round guarantee, so one would guess that he received that guarantee. Following the first day of the Combine ESPN's Chad Ford projected Richardson to be drafted anywhere from number 12 to number 20. So if Richardson is selected in the lottery, he would potentially be selected by the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns or Chicago Bulls based on Ford's projection and the confirmed draft order.

Looking at the Utah Jazz it is highly unlikely that Richardson would land there. The Jazz have six guards on their team and all six of them see minutes. Bringing in Malachi makes little to no sense.

Phoenix also has six guards, but only three of them play significant minutes, so this would be a landing spot that is more likely (at least more so than Utah). The three guards in front of Richardson would be Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Brandon Knight. Of the three, only Booker plays the off-ball guard position that Richardson is likely to play in the NBA. The Suns selected Devin Booker last year with the 13th pick, so I would not bank on Phoenix using the pick to take another guard.

The last possible landing spot in the lottery would be the Bulls. The Bulls have five guards, but three that get major minutes, making them the most likely of the trio of teams named earlier. With Derrick Rose's injury history and Jimmy Butler not being locked into a long-tern deal, they need a guard more than the other teams. Chicago's seemed mildly interested (though the Draft Combine was also in Chicago), so it's a spot to watch for the time being.

In an interview on the Minnesota Timberwolves' YouTube account Richardson stated that the Philadelphia 76ers, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors have expressed interest. The only teams out of this group that have picks in the lottery are the 76ers and Celtics. The problem here is that the 76ers have the number one pick and the Celtics have the third pick. There is no way that Malachi goes this early in the draft making it more likely he lands at number 16 to the Celtics, or at 24 or 26 to the 76ers. It's not the lottery, but they're realistic landing spots. The Celtics do not have many dominant guards and the 76ers have been rebuilding for years, making his selection to one of those franchises more likely.

Memphis also seems possible being that most of the guards on there team that received valuable minutes were aging veterans such as Vince Carter and Tony Allen. Memphis has the 17th pick in the draft and there's a good chance Richardson could still be available when that pick rolls around.

The Warriors also reached out to Richardson. The Warriors will have the 30th pick in the draft and they do not have any real needs. If Malachi is the best player remaining, chances are he can be selected there. If you think about it, his style of play would fit well. He's a true guard, but can play forward in a small lineup, and has the ability to knock down the three-point shot with consistency. He won't be asked to come in and play a major role immediately, so his game can further develop.

Malachi is probably hoping to be selected well before Golden State is on the clock, but the Warriors may actually be the best fit for him in comparison to the others.


Plenty more set to change in the lead-up to the draft in June. We'll stay tuned as the former Orange star's positioning likely continues to shift.