With less than 5 months to go until the NBA off-season, the teams are starting to get a good idea of who will be the big names in the NBA draft for this year. But the draft can be unpredictable at times, as last year proved with one of the most surprising drafts in decades.
Before we can really predict which player will be picked first in the NBA draft, we need to know which team will be picking first. But as the first three teams to pick are decided by a lottery system, it’s almost impossible to try to predict the outcome until. Although we can get a good idea of who the first 14 teams to pick will be, and although the worst performing teams get more of a chance of being drawn out first, it’s still near impossible to predict who will be picked in the top 3.
Last year as soon as factors like the draft lottery were decided, the odds of who will be picked first, second and third dropped massively. Last year as soon as the Minnesota Timberwolves were announced to have the first pick, the odds of Karl-Anthony Towns being picked first dropped massively on betting comparison sites like Betting Sports. The team had already shown a lot of interest in him and were true to their word and the young lad from Kentucky was last year’s first pick.
Despite the uncertainty about the team order, the bookmakers and the pundits are already making their predictions of who will be picked first. Of course if you’re impressing in college basketball, no matter what team is picked first you’ll have a good chance of being picked first. At this early stage in the season, there are already two players that are catching every team’s eye.
The first of those is LSU’s Ben Simmons, who at the end of January is averaging an impressive 20.6 points per game. There is a lot of pressure on the young 19-year-old forward who is already being compared to the likes of LeBron James. Despite his incredible performance, there’s also a lot of pressure on him to turn LSU’s fortunes around this season. Simmons is a big name in college basketball in more ways than one, as the freshman stands at a powerful six-foot ten and weighing 239 pounds. Some betting websites already offering odds as low as 3/10 that he’ll be the first overall pick before we even know who will be picking first.
The other name most teams will be keeping a close eye on is fellow forward Brandon Ingram. The freshman from Duke is almost as tall as Simmons at an impressive six-foot nine but weights over 40 pounds less at 196 pounds. Ingram has averaged 16.4 points per game up to January for Duke thanks to his big wingspan that he puts to good effect with his impressive shooting ability. Compared to the start of the season, Ingram has improved massively and was named as CBS Sports’ Freshman of the week both in December and January.
Many will be surprised if these two aren’t the first two picked in the NBA draft, but a lot can change between now and June. So keep an eye on those betting comparison sites, especially after the lottery has been drawn, for more confident odds on who will be picked first.