On Saturday, Brandon brought you a great summary of where NBA mock drafts were putting the three UNC players who were consensus first round picks. If you haven't read it, you should because their positions had pretty much coalesced into specific ranges. Brandon also included this passage:
Of the three players, Coby White’s situation may be the one that will be the most interesting to watch. For those that do not follow the NBA very closely, New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis will almost certainly be traded at some point this summer, and there is speculation that the Los Angeles Lakers may utilize their assets to obtain him. If that is the case, we could safely guess that they will have to give the Pelicans their 4th overall draft pick, which means their second pick in the draft may hinge more on need than talent depending on who is available at that spot.
Well, later on Saturday, the trade happened. The New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers kicked off what’s going to be a busy offseason for the NBA by completing a blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis. For our purposes, the domino that leads to Coby White and Nassir Little is the fourth pick of Thursday’s NBA Draft, which is the property of the Pelicans. For now.
Due to rules about when trades can be completed, it’ll still be the Lakers that make the pick on Thursday night, but for now they are making the pick for New Orleans. You say “for now” because the Pelicans also have the top pick and a boatload of young players coming from the Lakers. There are already reports out there that New Orleans has fielded calls about that pick, and another trade could shake up plans that everyone had.
There is agreement at this point that the top three will be Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett. Then the question mark at four appears. Coby White and Darius Garland have been grouped together by a lot of prognosticators, with most thinking Garland is the better guard prospect but his injury history and lack of visibility makes the distance between the two small. Does some team still in the lottery reach out to New Orleans with some veteran talent in order to snatch one of those two? As both have been seen as going in the 6-8 range, it really isn’t much of a reach to jump up to four to make sure you get the guy you want.
The Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls appear to be the two big players here. The Suns reportedly haven’t done much in the way of scouting with Garland, leading people to believe they want to draft White. Do they trade into the four spot to assure themselves of Coby? Or does a team who values Garland higher than Coby trade to that spot and force Phoenix to trade up one spot? Also, does Chicago force their way up the board because they had assumed they would land Coby?
In other words, there are still a lot of dominoes and a certain destination for Coby White as recently as Saturday is now in complete flux. The flux is even higher now that word has come out that the Wizards will work out White as well.
So what about Nassir Little? Well, the domino here is held by the Atlanta Hawks. There is a school of thought that if New Orleans wanted more picks instead of another veteran talent, Atlanta is in the best position to move up to the four and take whomever they desire. This is big for Nassir, as Atlanta was in a prime position to take him with their picks.
Yes, if you’re doing the math, in this scenario it’s absolutely possible that Nassir Little and Zion Williamson end up on the same team.
Teams seem to be readying themselves for the idea that their boards may be all out of whack. The Wizards, for example, aren’t just working out Coby White, but Nassir as well. At the nine slot, the chances Coby falls to them seem slim, but with the injuries to John Wall and how easily competitive the East is going to be, it’s not tough to see Washington aiming to either move up to to the four, or working with Atlanta or New Orleans for the mass of picks around that spot and taking Little.
This doesn’t even get into teams like New York and Boston, who now know they won’t be able to get Davis on their squad. One thing is for sure, a draft that had been seemingly set is thrown into a little bit of chaos, and Coby White and Nassir Little are right in the swirl of it.