Is Trae Young headed for Orlando?
The NBA Lottery is in the books, and other than another death blow for conspiracy theorists – Phoenix, Sacramento and Atlanta drew the top three selections – nothing of major interest happened.
Which means Trae Young could be headed to Orlando.
The Sooner sharpshooter, only a year out of Norman North High School, surged to the lottery crowd with a fabulous early season, slipped some when OU’s opponents made him a point of incredible emphasis, but has risen back up the draft prospectus charts in recent weeks.
And now that we know the draft order, Young’s destination possibilities are a lot more apparent.
The teams that seem to be most in the point guard market didn’t move up into the lofty high picks. Even if you need a point guard, if you’re drafting 1-2-3 in this deep draft, you’d likely have to take one of the projected stars – Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic – rather than the need of a point guard.
Orlando, Cleveland and maybe Chicago seem the squads in the middle of the top 10 most in need of a point guard.
The Magic picks sixth, the Bulls seventh and the Cavaliers eighth.
Early projections from respected basketball people show Orlando taking Young, with Alabama’s Collin Sexton, the other highly-regarded point guard, going eighth to the Cavaliers.
Chicago? Well, the Bulls have unconventional point guards in Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, plus Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne. The Bulls have lots of needs.
Here are the point guard situations for the top 10:
1. Phoenix: The Suns have Elfrid Payton, acquired from Orlando in mid-season. Payton is not a point guard in which to build around, but Phoenix has the opportunity for one of the elite talents.
2. Sacramento: The Kings have De’Aaron Fox, and while Fox could be a combo guard, and a good one, no reason for Sacramento to skip over one of the talented big men when it’s drafting second.
3. Atlanta: The Hawks have Denis Schroeder at the point and literal holes at every other position.
4. Memphis: The Grizzlies have Mike Conley Jr. They don’t need a point guard.
5. Dallas: The Mavericks drafted Dennis Smith last season, and he shows great promise, even if he wasn’t the immediate star some of thought. In fact, Donovan Mitchell did what we thought Dennis Smith would do.
6. Orlando: The Magic’s point guard literally is D.J. Augustin. Hard to imagine Orlando not taking Young or Sexton here.
7. Chicago: Probably too much potential with LaVine and/or Dunn.
8. Cleveland: The Cavs probably will pick without knowing LeBron James’ future. That’s tough. The Cavs have George Hill for the next two years, but he’s not a dynamic point guard. If there’s no LeBron, Cleveland needs a dynamic point guard.
9. New York: The Knickerbockers have a bunch of point guards. They don’t have a good one. Trey Burke. Frank Ntilikina, who probably shouldn’t be a point. Emmanuel Mudiay. This could be a darkhorse candidate for Young.
10. Philadelphia: The 76ers have Ben Simmons and T.J. McConnell. But I suppose Philly could think about a sharpshooting point who could play off the ball when Simmons is in the game and run the point when he rests.
11. Charlotte: The Hornets have Kemba Walker.
12 & 13. LA Clippers: The Clips have Austin Rivers and Patrick Beverley. Neither are true point guards. If Young fell this far, he most definitely could end up in LA.
But it seems virtually impossible that Orlando wouldn’t take either Young or Sexton at No. 6, and signs seem to be pointing to Young.