Last night, one of the most exciting sports events on Earth occurred at 8:30 on ESPN. Fourteen representatives from the fourteen worst teams from this past NBA seasons gathered together to watch ping pong balls decided their position in this years draft. “May the odds be ever in your favor,” said the NBA gods, as the battle ensued between Joel Embiid and Magic Johnson to determine this years Best Facial Expression of 2017. While both the Philadelphia and Los Angeles representatives put on a show last night for NBA fans all across the world, the real winner was Miami Heat representative Alonzo Mourning, who seemed quite surprised that the Heat would be picking 14th, even though the Heat had only a 0.5 percent chance of winning the lottery. His reaction was priceless. All joking aside, this draft is huge for the teams positioned in the bottom half of the league. Whether their priorities are are drafting a franchise altering player, the final piece of their puzzle, or beating the Cavs in this year Eastern Conference Final (thanks Brooklyn), one area that all these teams should be taking a hard look at is the guards.
The NBA is turning into a guard driven season. Teams like Golden State, Houston, Boston, Toronto, and Washington, are all built around strong back-courts. Positions that were once seen as solely for facilitation and game management, are now being asked to do much more. Guards need to be able to score, shoot the three ball, pass, and finish well around the rim. Not to mention be athletic and play moderately well defense. The reason why this position has evolved so much is because guards produce wins. The teams listed above not only have strong guard play but made it to the second round of this years playoffs. Some are even competing for championships. Teams like Portland, Oklahoma City, Chicago, and the LA Clippers, all have experienced success whether it be this postseason or in past because of their strong point guard and or shooting guard play. While it is clear that there are many different ways to win in the NBA, one common denominator is the guard.
The potential lottery picks in this years draft is loaded with guards. With Fultz and Ball headlining this years class, it is easy to forget how many great guards their are available for the lottery teams to have a choice of. Guards like De’Arron Fox, Dennis Smith, Malik Monk, Frank Ntilinkina, and Luke Kennard, all have the potential to be picked between 1 and 14. The presence of these players on team draft boards proves that guards equal wins. Teams like New Orleans and Minnesota learned the hard way how a lack of strong guard presence can only take them so far, regardless of how great their big’s are. This draft will prove that the league is changing, and guards are the future.