As you’re reading this, you need to know that whatever you’re doing today is irrelevant.
Tonight represents a seminal moment in Bahamian history – we find out where Deandre Ayton (and the rest of the Bahamas) is headed for the foreseeable future.
Anything else that went down this week in this country has probably happened a few times before, just run by a different rich guy (y’all gotta chill).
This, however, is actual history tonight.
For as long as we’ve been aware that The Promise is a transcendent talent we’ve also been aware that we would be apprehensive about two milestones – where he decided to go to college for a few months and which franchise gets to have him on June 21st on #DREDAY.
Quick aside: Henceforth, the NBA Draft should only be referred to as #DREDAY, calling it anything else would be unpatriotic.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if you were ahead of the curve five years ago, or if you’re a hypebeast finding your way to the bandwagon this summer. We’re all in this together.
We get a first idea which city gets our support and our merchandising dollars for the next few years. Admittedly, as a Bahamian fanbase, we have trust issues (looking at you New Orleans).
I’m a millennial, so I don’t actually know anyone that actually still has cable, but somehow our tired, poor and huddled masses need to find their ways to a television with ESPN at 7:30pm for the Draft Lottery.
Which team wins the DeAndre Ayton sweepstakes will literally come down to who has the most balls. That’s not a Dickensian reference from some ne’er do well character, that’s literally how it happens.
At 25 percent, the Phoenix Suns lead with the best odds for getting the top pick. The Memphis Grizzlies are second at 19.9 percent, the Dallas Mavericks are third at 13.8 percent, the Atlanta Hawks are fourth at 13.7 percent and the Orlando Magic round out the top five at 13.7 percent. The Bulls (5.3 percent), Kings (5.3), Cavs (2.8), Knicks (1.7), 76ers (1.1), Hornets (0.8), Pistons (0.7), Clippers (0.6) and Nuggets (0.5) all have outside chances to win the Ayton sweepstakes.
Both Ayton and Suns rising star Devin Booker has given voice to the fact that they would welcome the possibility of pairing together in Phoenix to create a 2018 and beyond version of Kobe and Shaq. The symmetry of that would be perfect for the Ayton family – high school, college and the NBA all in the same state.
Not so fast though.
The NBA welcomes its drama in every aspect. In a league where the players have the highest public profiles, the most power and the freedom to openly express themselves free of reprisal, the NBA not only encourages that drama but cultivates it.
Deciding where the next influx of talent plays could be as simple as the NFL does it in the most boring mundane manner, the worst record gets the top pick and we progress in ascending order until we get to the Super Bowl contestants.
The NBA lottery feeds into the drama through the lottery. This is what makes #DREDAY so appealing – the speculation, the uncertainty, and the foundation to deliver scorching hot takes.
The Promise could end up at any one of those aforementioned destinations. God bless you David Stern.
Stranger things have happened.
In 1993, the Magic had a 1.5 percent chance of getting the first pick – they did and they drafted Chris Webber, which eventually turned into Penny Hardaway. In 2008, the Bulls had a 1.7 percent chance to get the first pick – they did and they drafted Derrick Rose. As recently as 2014, the Cavs had just a 1.7 percent chance to get the top overall pick which became Andrew Wiggins.
Clearly, there’s a precedence for this and everyone is in play.
Ayton is a consensus top overall pick by every reputable scouting service in the projection business and even the non-reputable ones like 10YS.
Sure, he declined an invitation to participate in the combine this week in Chicago, but it shouldn’t matter. Everyone knows the resume by now: 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game while shooting 61.6 percent from the field, “Karl Malone Power Forward” of the year, Associated Press First Team All-American. He was also the First Team All-American from the NABC, USBWA and Sporting News, Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament in the same season.
I know we’re all apprehensive because of what happened with Buddy and New Orleans. We don’t want to give that same energy to a franchise that’ll just eventually abandons us. That open flirtation between the Bahamas and the Pelicans’ social media team sold us on tons of Pelicans jerseys and paraphernalia all backed by the promise from the front office that Buddy would have a shot at replicating the magic of his tenure at Oklahoma. It was all a lie. The Pelicans had no plans for us…or Buddy. Sure, we felt unwanted and used at first, but now we’re not even mad at you New Orleans. We got over that breakup and now we’re on to so much more.
This relationship is different. When the Promise gets to a city on June 21, we’re there for good.
We have no idea where The Promise ends up in June, but that idea will begin to take shape tonight after the lottery shakes out.
The important thing here is that we get to have a month of reckless speculation, spark debates on social media, in barbershops or wherever you do your best arguing – we’re here for the debate.
We’ll follow through all month long as we bombard you with NBA Draft coverage all inspired by one very important question: