As a shift to the norm, this year’s NBA draft doesn’t have a consensus no.1 pick. It’s only the second time it has happened over the last 14 years, with the other one being 2013, which featured the Cleveland Cavaliers’ infamous Anthony Bennett selection.
That doesn’t mean such drafts are bad, though. In fact, the ‘unknown’ factor makes the event even more exciting. Besides, with or without a consensus top pick, the out-of-nowhere trades that we all tune in for, will still happen, and there may be more than usual since more teams will be willing to engage in talks.
Let’s now list five teams that may trade up:
New York Knicks
Current picks in the first round: 8th, 27th
The Knicks and their fans are hungry for basketball relevancy for two decades now, so it looks like the team’s front office is going to be all-in on trading for a key piece. Outside of the rumoured Russell Westbrook trade, there are rumblings about moving up in the draft as well, particularly for the Golden State Warriors’ second overall pick.
Should the Knicks pull it off, they may be looking at getting LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards, depending on who goes first overall. Big man James Wiseman is also a possibility but he could be out of the picture as they already have rising defensive center, Mitchell Robinson. Having a playmaking or scoring guard alongside RJ Barrett is also more intriguing.
Current pick in the first round: 4th
The Bulls, who are in a tough spot at no. 4, are also said to be in-play for the Warriors’ second pick. Despite having a high-enough position, they may need to trade up to secure their projected selection, Deni Avdija, or be able to get any of the top three guys.
It’s one of the effects of having no consensus no. 1 picks – the rest of the lottery picks are likely to be more random than usual.
Current pick in the first round: 7th
The Pistons were one of the first teams to be rumoured to inquire about moving up. Like the Bulls and Knicks, they too are going to be aggressive as they have mostly underachieved over the last couple of seasons.
Detroit is projected to select a guard in their current spot, either Killian Hayes or Tyrese Haliburton. The need to jump ahead, however, may be due to Hayes’s rising stock.
Current picks in the first round: 14th, 26th, 30th
General manager Danny Ainge has made it a habit to trade down, and it has resulted in a gazillion of first-round picks. For a change, and to finally take advantage of team assets, he’s looking to move up now.
The Celtics are already rich in talent, and they’re poised to add more. The current rumours say they’re targeting to trade with the Atlanta Hawks for the sixth pick to select swingman Isaac Okoro.
Current pick in the first round: 9th
The Wizards made a good pick at no. 9 last year with versatile forward Rui Hachimura, but they are a lottery team in the East, so they don’t want to take such chances again. They also need to load up John Wall and Bradley Beal’s support cast as quickly as they can.
Most are projecting Washington to get a swingman or a bona fide forward, and if they want to grab the top-rated guys in that position, they do need to move three or four spots.
Current pick in the first round: 15th
The Magic have the most interesting rumour in the list as it includes one of their key starters: Aaron Gordon. They are believed to be shopping the 15th pick alongside their super athletic, good-shooting forward.
Orlando is in need of a playmaker, so they may be looking to get any of the top guards or swingman. It’s still unclear who the interested parties are, but all the other teams in the lottery could very well receive a call.