The NBA Draft order is now official after the lottery went chalk on Tuesday night to produce the first ever lottery result that exactly matched the team's
putrid records during the regular season. While I rarely ever watch the lottery, I was glued to the tube last night to see how things would shake out for Providence's Kris Dunn. Dunn attended the Combine last week to do some measurements and interviews before returning to Friartown over the weekend to attend his graduation ceremony at the Dunkin' Donuts Center where many of the highlight reel plays that will be shown on draft night were performed. Speaking of draft night, the date is June 23rd and the event will be held in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Dunn is expected to be gone early and is considered by many draft gurus to be the best point guard in the entire 2016 crop. Now that the lottery has been set and teams know where they are picking and who is picking around them for sure let's take a look at some possible landing spots for the New London native.
*ESPN's Chad Ford ranks Dunn as the No. 4 prospect on his big board. DraftExpress also ranks Dunn No. 4 in their latest player rankings.
Boston Celtics (No. 3, 16 & 23)
I'm skipping right past the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers because Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram seem like locks to go in some order to those teams. The Boston Celtics landed the 3rd overall pick via a draft night trade with the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 and the scuttlebutt seems to be that Celtics' GM and President Danny Ainge may do some dealing of his own with this pick. The Celtics have 8 total picks in the 2016 draft so they are likely to trade and/or sell many of those. Of their 8 picks, 3 are in the first round with 16th and 23rd to go along with 3rd overall. They also have 31st, 35th, 45th, 51st and 58th in the second round. Ainge has been to more Providence Friars basketball games and practices in the last two seasons than many team's scouts combined so he knows what Dunn is at this point. In terms of the team's roster for next season, they have Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter as guards returning. It seems likely they'd have to move on from one of those guys to make room for Dunn. I could certainly see the Celtics drafting Dunn at 3, but I believe it's more likely they draft him as part of a trade than to actually keep him.
Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 5)
The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the best young rosters in the NBA, including the last two NBA Rookie of the Year Award winners in Andrew Wiggins (2015) and Karl-Anthony Towns (2016). Owner Glen Taylor hired Tom Thibodeau as head coach and President and brought in front-office veteran Scott Layden to run the day-to-day front office operations as GM. Taylor spoke about how Thibodeau's "teams have annually been among the league leaders in defense." Taylor continued, "we are excited about the approach and mentality he will bring to that side of the ball." Dunn's elite defensive abilities would seem to fit well with what Thibodeau wants to do on that side of the ball. He also brought Derrick Rose along in Chicago where Rose ultimately won NBA MVP award in 2011 before dealing with a swath of injuries. The Timberwolves do have Ricky Rubio and Tyus Jones on their roster but with a new regime in power in Minnesota, this current coach and front office won't be married to either player drafted by the prior group. This would be an excellent fit for Dunn.
New Orleans Pelicans (No. 6)
The New Orleans Pelicans have an All-NBA star player in Anthony Davis and a Davis/Dunn combo running the pick-and-roll could be a scary thought for teams in the Southwest division of the Western Conference. The Pelicans have long been a popular mock draft landing spot for Dunn and I'm not sure that will change much since the lottery order stood pat. Pelicans' head coach Alvin Gentry acknowledged the teams need to push the pace and create better ball movement and drafting a player like Dunn would certainly improve those areas. ''For any point guard who's going there, who wouldn't want to play with Anthony Davis,'' Dunn told reporters while at the Combine in Chicago. Dunn continued, "to be able to play with a guy like that, it's only going to help me. He makes the game a lot easier for a point guard.'' The Pelicans have Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday on the books for next season but both only have guaranteed money in 2016-17 with New Orleans.