Get over the fact that the Cavs finally brought a title home to Cleveland; the NBA Draft is on Thursday, and LeBron’s incredible come-from-behind championship is so last season.
While there is always some uncertainty with who is going to be picked where, the top of the board looks settled. Let’s take a gander at the props on the no. 1 overall pick and a few other intriguing betting opportunities.
2016 NBA Draft Props
Odds Ben Simmons (LSU) is picked first and Brandon Ingram (Duke) is picked second: 1/8
Are they seriously still taking bets on this? Barring a Laremy Tunsil-style video surfacing, or a torn ACL walking into the Barclays Center, Simmons is going one and Ingram is two. There is no debate who the two best players are. Simmons has been assured he’s the number one pick, and his incredible upside makes that decision completely justified. The odds indicate this is 89-percent likely; in my view, it’s closer to 99.9-percent.
Over/under on draft position for Jaylen Brown (Cal): 8.5
There aren’t that many high-upside guys in this year’s draft. There are plenty of rotation players, but teams at the top of the draft want a guy who can transform their organization. Brown had a good but not great year as a freshman at Cal. However, he is monstrous for a guard (almost 6’7” and 220 pounds) and has next-level athleticism. While his jump shot is inconsistent, it is not a lost cause. Someone in the top five or six will figure that top-caliber coaching can transform him into a superstar.
Over/under on draft position for Malachi Richardson (Syracuse): 17.5
There have been several credible reports that the Grizzlies – who pick 17th – have promised to draft Richardson if he’s still available. The NBA invited him to showcase his talents in Brooklyn, another sign that those in the know expect he’ll be picked relatively early. He showed flashes of being a big-time wing as a freshman at Syracuse, especially during March Madness. His seven-foot wingspan is appealing to pro teams, and nobody questions his effort or leadership. He’s raw and his offense was inconsistent at SU, but he fits the profile of a good NBA player and team’s prefer to take a chance than select a guy that you can pencil in as your seventh man for a decade.
Odds Kris Dunn (Providence) is drafted ahead of Marquese Chriss (Washington): 2/3
Nobody has moved up draft boards more rapidly than Chriss. He is the classic Michael Olowokandi or Steven Adams: an athletic big that shows promise. There just aren’t that many seven-foot tall human beings who move well; passing on one is difficult. That said, this year’s draft lacks quality point guards. Dunn dealt with injury problems during his career at Providence, but can blow by a defense, is an elite passer, and has great size (6’4″) for a lead guard. The team surgeon for the Celtics, who have the third pick, operated on Dunn’s shoulder a few years ago. They know his health situation. (Think back to the Cowboys/Ezekiel Elliott in the NFL draft.)
Even if Boston doesn’t pick Dunn at no. 3, there are other teams looking for a point guard and this year’s paucity may lead to one of them moving up the board to nab the best in the class.
(Photo credit: TonyTheTiger [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)