Ping Pong is a very underrated Sport.

Let the NBA draft lottery conspiracies live.

The league should really stop with the whole, revealing the lottery in a closed-off room with no outside communication, thing. I’m only half-kidding. If they want to stop the spooky conspiracy talk, then just let the whole thing play out on TV. Maybe let it air on TNT. They know drama, right? Are the NBA lottery conspiracies real? Who’s to say? All I know is the Lakers did it again, and Boston is more excited about a top pick than an impending Eastern Conference Finals beatdown.

Here’s the order:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Phoenix Suns
  5. Sacramento Kings
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. New York Knicks
  9. Dallas Mavericks
  10. Sacramento Kings
  11. Charlotte Hornets
  12. Detroit Pistons
  13. Denver Nuggets
  14. Miami Heat

Quick Takeaways

NBA conspiracies are fun: The Lakers kept their pick, because of course they did. The Knicks fell — Hard middle finger to James Dolan and Phil Jackson. The Process is still intact. Thank god something good finally happened to Boston sports (kidding, only). Sorry, Phoenix.

  • Lonzo to the Lakers is in play. As much as the possibility of Lavar and Magic clashing makes me want to gouge my eyes out, it’s still probably more fun than any Lakers basketball this season, post-November 2016. However, I am holding out hope that Lavar Ball doesn’t move any NBA needles. I think just as fun as Lavar calling for Luke Walton’s firing on First Take, would be Magic telling him to shut the hell up. There are just so many possibilities if Lonzo ends up in Los Angeles, and not that many of them start with the actual game of basketball. I don’t see any NBA people taking shit from Lavar Ball, but we know he’ll do his best to cause a raucous, if nothing else.
  • Lonzo to the Celtics is also in play? Am I crazy to think that Boston might take Lonzo over Fultz? Isaiah Thomas is quite a bit smaller than one David Ortiz, but it’s starting to feel like he’s equally beloved. IT needs the ball. Lonzo can give it to him, stay out of the way, and provide stability to a back court that is approaching the inevitability of breaking up the Bradley/Smart/Crowder trio. Maybe I’m thinking too hard, but all I’m saying is don’t rule it out. One thing is certain, though. Danny Ainge is a savant. There hasn’t been a team in such prime position since the Lakers in the early 80s, and he deserves a ton of credit. Apologies to Nets fans.
  • Sigh. The Knicks fell to the eight spot. I guess it could be worse. They could be without a pick at all, like they have been so often in years past. But falling to eight might just do the trick if the NBA gawds are trying to make the Knickerbockers pay for their consistent incompetence. Eight might just be far enough down to make them miss out on De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk or Dennis Smith Jr. Smith seems like the one who could still be in play, but with the increasing premium on scoring guards, you never really know. New York has to get out of this first round with a bucket-getter, and being in the eight spot does just enough to return Knick fans to their almost inescapable state of angst.
  • Hey, it’s me. The Process. Did you forget about me? Still here. Philly has another top-tier pick. Everyone not named Lonzo or Fultz is pretty much in play. Either one of Jayson Tatum or Josh Jackson seem to be good fits if they don’t want to “reach” for a scorer like Malik Monk. The bottom line is the 76ers will have plenty of good options. We may learn early what their sense on Ben Simmons is. Do they want to pair him with another slasher like Jackson or Tatum, or do they bring in another guy to maybe challenge for that point guard spot. They weren’t fortunate enough to nab the Lakers pick this time around, but they’ll have it unprotected next year, and are at a favorable spot at three. Lots of possibilities.
  • Phoenix has their own version of the process that has to play out. Sure, they would have loved to snag a top three pick, but at four, they still have a shot to grab a high-level guard to pair with Devin Booker. Marquesse Chriss and Dragan Bender fall under the project category, but the Suns can’t really act like they’re in a hurry. This was always going to take time. Get this pick right, and allow the team to trend in a positive direction. If they want to find that missing link at PG, Smith and Fox will almost certainly be there for the taking. If they want a versatile wing, Jackson and Tatum are good options and if they want a possible Dirk 3.6, Markannen will be there too.
  • The Sacramento Kings have another chance to show they’re not as stupid as we know they are. Two top ten picks is a nice starting point to move on from DeMarcus and add to the overpopulation of tall guys and Buddy Hield. The Kings are one of those team that just need professional basketball players. Two picks in the first ten gives them a pretty good chance.
  • I’m not sure Malik Monk will fall to the Timberwolves at seven, but if that happens, they’re instantly 11 times more fun. They are missing a wing who can shoot the stuff out the ball, and Monk is just that. His pure scoring and microwave capabilites would make him a real cog for a team that is probably only a player or two away from making audible noise. Again, he seems to be rising up draft boards, so not sure he’ll be there at seven, but as a fan of fun, young teams being loud, I’d be thrilled if he ends up in Minnesota.
  • Wish I had something profound to say about Orlando. Good job playing hard at the end of the season, I guess. A lot of their future hinges on who they hire at GM.
  • As far as Dallas, Charlotte, Detroit, Denver and Miami are concerned, they’ll have to work harder to find gems at the end of the lottery, but never forget, Isaiah Thomas was taken last. Draymond was a second rounder. Kawhi Leonard was the 15th pick. Think that group of teams is generally trending upward.
  • Last thing…I wish the draft followed free agency, not the other way around