Part 2: Eastern Conference
The Eastern Conference is as wide open as it has ever been. Teams are optimistic that they can make it into the playoffs and beyond. Especially with the possibility to participate in a play in tournament. The 2020–21 NBA season format provides no shortage of opportunity for any franchise to make it out of the Eastern Conference.
Draft night is the first step to the future for many of these teams.
Here are my thoughts on which teams won draft night and those who lost in a tightly contested Eastern Conference.
WINNERS: Eastern Conference
The Wizards landed the best international prospect in this draft. Deni Avdija was supposed to land in the top 5 but fell into Washington’s lap at #9. They did not hesitate to select him when the opportunity arose. A major win for this franchise. Washington did not have to trade up to get a Avdija who very well could turn out to be the best player from this draft.
They did not stop there. Washington went out and traded for Cassius Winston. The Michigan State guard who played 4 solid years in Lansing should benefit greatly under the tutelage of Bradley Beal provided he is still on the roster come December. While it is being reported that John Wall is likely on his way out, that will provide even more opportunity to Avdija and Winston to develop in their rookie seasons. All in all, a great draft night for Washington lands them on the Winners list out of the East.
The Celtics are always busy on draft night. This year was no different. They landed the best pure shooter in the draft with Aaron Nesmith out of Vanderbilt. He will be an immediate positive impact on this offense. With his shooting ability alone, he will be able spread the defense out which will open driving lanes for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Later in the first round the Celtics took Payton Pritchard. The Senior point guard out of Oregon. A tough, relentless defender who will have no problem doing the dirty work necessary to shut down opposing guards. He should bring plenty of energy and intensity off the Celtics bench this season.