The future stars of the NBA will be finding out which teams they’ll be playing for to start their professional careers come Friday, Oct. 16. That’s when the annual NBA Draft will be hosted at the Barclays Center in New York.
The draft order was decided via a lottery on Aug. 20 with the Minnesota Timberwolves earning the No. 1 pick. The Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets were awarded the second and third picks while the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns round out the top 10.
The question everyone is asking — including sports betting players — is who is going to get their name called first?
The oddsmakers currently favor Anthony Edwards (-155) as the potential No. 1 NBA Draft pick, though LeMelo Ball (+300) and James Wiseman (+350) aren’t far behind.
From that point, the odds start to really separate the other prospects. Dani Avdija (+1300) and Obi Toppin (+1500) are in the top five on the current odds board, while Onyeka Okongwy (+3000), RJ Hampton (+5000), Killian Hayes (+5000), Cole Anthony (+8000), Tyrese Maxey (+8000), Tyrese Haliburton (+8000) and Isaac Okoro (+8000) are the others at the top of the list.
Who’s going to be the first pick?
A lot of draft experts are going with Edwards, which makes sense. The Georgia freshman, who is 18 years old, stands at 6’5 and has a 6’9 wingspan. He’s an extremely durable scorer who knows how to create space for himself and has the ability to make shots from all around. He is athletic, and has great ball handling, but his critics point out that he needs to improve his decision-making.
Ball, who is also 18 and played overseas as a guard for the Illawarra Hawks, is a playmaker who has the ability to make ridiculous passes. He’s got a strong feel for the game and excellent ball handling, but he has to work on his scoring efficiency. At 6’7 and with a wingspan of 6’10, he definitely has the makings of a future star.
An athletic big, the 19-year-old Wiseman showed the ability to be a two-way contributor during his time at Memphis. His strengths are definitely shot blocking and rebounding, but he has a lot of potential to become much more.
Who’s a long shot to consider?
This is going to sound a bit crazy, considering his odds are currently +5000, but one player to think about placing a bet on is Hayes.
The 6’5 guard was born in Florida, but he grew up in France and has played there throughout his basketball career. He’s left-handed, has an outstanding feel for the game, is a playmaker and can not only shoot outside the perimeter, but is also a solid off-ball defensive player as well.
Hayes is 18 years old, but he is already showing his ability to create plays with off-the-dribble precision passes and thrives in a pick-and-roll scenario. His outside shooting has benefited from him adding a stepback and sidestep to his three-point arsenal and he has a free-throw percentage of over 80 percent.
He has a lot of improvements that need to be made, such as picking up his dribble too often when he gets in trouble, and he lacks the ability to use his right hand very well.
But the upside on this kid is pretty high, and a team like the Timberwolves might just see the potential as being worth the risk of taking him in the top spot.