If the Bears don’t get Allen in Round 1 and decide not to force a pick at one of the draft’s weaker positions, they will have options on Day 3, when Clemson’s Carlos Watkins, Iowa’s Jaleel Johnson and/or Michigan’s Ryan Glasglow will be available.
I have Curry fifth over Isaiah Thomas, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, John Wall, and Anthony Davis, in roughly that order. Had Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Kyle Lowry not missed so much time, they would have had credible cases for top-5 inclusion and even higher.
Moving to the East, the wildest, most watchable first-round series won’t be Jazz-Clippers, Rockets-Thunder (although that will be crazy watchable for the two megastars alone), or Cavaliers-Pacers. It’s going to be Celtics vs. Bulls, the East’s improbably competitive 1-8 matchup.
The Celtics are better, deeper, and more well-coached than the Bulls. But Chicago is coming in hot and Boston’s defense has remained underwhelming despite the excellent win-loss record. The Celtics will pull it out, but it’ll take seven games to do it. (An unexpectedly difficult first-round series is a rite of passage for great Boston teams.)
But that’s being unfair. With Rudy Gobert out with an injury, there’s no excuse for Paul’s teammates letting him down late. Paul has Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Crawford, Redick, and so on. He has scorers, all-stars, and bench legends. He has people who can create their own shots and ones who should be able to finish when he creates for them.
Paul tried, again and again, to get everyone else involved. He created sparkling opportunities for them, yet none responded. None seemed to care that they were losing to a Jazz team without its best player. The Clippers were on the verge of being embarrassed, and only Paul seemed aware of the seriousness of the situation.