The NBA Draft has finally arrived and takes place tonight on ESPN. Now obviously dozens of college and international players will hear their names called and complete their journey to the big stage. But in recent years the draft has been a new opportunity for teams to get active in trades for players and picks and will surely kickstart the always dramatic NBA offseason and with free agency starting next Thursday, tonight will most likely be filled with drama and big trades. Here’s what you need to know before the draft begins.
The top three picks it seems have already been decided, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Jabari Smith from Auburn is likely to go first overall to the Orlando Magic, and Chet Holmgren will follow going second to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Paolo Banchero to the Houston Rockets. These three prospects are considered the jewels of the draft and some experts have claimed after these three are gone the rest of the class are mostly question marks. There are a couple of other prospects like Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, and Bennedict Mathurin who are more of a sure thing but this draft will be interesting to say the least as many teams on the cusp of contention will try to make plays to rise up the NBA rankings this upcoming fall.
As for the trade rumors, we have heard so much about guys like DeAndre Ayton, Dejounte Murray, John Collins, and Matisse Thybulle potentially being moved. Jerami Grant was already traded to the Blazers and you can bet on much more to come. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that the Spurs and Hawks have discussed a Murray-Collins swap but that moving Murray would require a "Jrue Holiday-like package” aka THREE first-round picks or more. The Pistons are expected to make a run for Suns restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton, Ayton reportedly likes the idea of teaming up with Cade Cunningham, per @TheSteinLine.
Then there are whispers of things to come as it’s been said the Sixers have been exploring trade packages for Tobias Harris, Danny Green, and Thybulle, sources said, and have called several teams specifically searching for a first-round pick in exchange for Thybulle as part of a three-team deal framework to land an impact veteran rotation player, PJ Tucker has been mentioned a lot.
Tonight is going to be fun so make sure your Twitter notifications are on for Woj and Shams, although fair warning they love to break the news of whose being picked before it’s typically shown on TV.