We’re less than two weeks away from the 2019 NBA Draft, but there’s so much more to talk about in New Orleans than just prospects. To help us dissect the latest rumors regarding potential Anthony Davis destinations as well as which teams are most interested in trading for his services and what opposing general managers are willing to offer, we asked Sean Deveney for his expert opinion to help us see through the trees.
Much to the dismay of a number of Pelican fans, Deveney thinks that Ja Morant has expectations of being selected with the second overall pick; thus, if New Orleans has a desire to pair up Zion Williamson with another top prospect from the upcoming draft, they’re likely going to have to look at different players at both the Knick and Laker picks at number three and four.
As far as the best fit for Anthony Davis, Deveney feels that the Los Angeles Clippers present the choice landing spot, but it’s unclear whether Davis would re-sign long term as well as would their front office be willing to sacrifice Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in a trade — although Deveney later admits that if push came to shove SGA would be included in a deal. One thing is for sure, players love Doc Rivers and the L.A. ownership group has changed the perception of that franchise, making it an enviable destination for stars who value winning.
In Deveney’s eyes, though, we should expect to see the Boston Celtics make the best offer for Davis because talent-wise they hold the most valuable chips in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and Danny Ainge remains motived.
“I still think the Celtics probably can offer the best package and will,” says Deveney. “I know that there’s been a lot of back and forth and they’re certainly making plans on if they don’t get Anthony Davis — they’d be crazy not to, but I think plan A for them is still lets make our best offer for Anthony Davis, a guy they’ve had their eyes on for two or three years now.”
Although he admits there are some within Boston’s front office who prefer to hang onto the youth, Deveney reminded us of the fact that Danny Ainge is a risk-taker. Remember, he traded for Ray Allen well before Kevin Garnett agreed to come on board and join up with Paul Pierce and Allen on the Celtics.
“He’s willing to kind of gamble on the championship possibility rather than, hey, lets stay around 50 wins and maybe get to the conference finals,” says Deveney. “Certainly there’s people even within the Celtics organization who say, ‘hey, we should really stop this and should focus on developing the guys that we have.’ But I just don’t think Ainge is one of those guys. I think that as long as he’s calling the shots they’re going to pursue Anthony Davis and then just hope that they can convince Kyrie to stay once they have Davis.”
Naturally, we had to include the Los Angeles Lakers in today’s discussion too so we asked Deveney his opinion on Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.
“Talent-wise and as far as that pairing goes, I think that would be pretty good,” says Deveney who understands the allure of a backcourt featuring Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball. “You can see why Alvin Gentry would like that especially with the way that Rondo and Jrue played together.”
Deveney did admit that Ball’s propensity for injury is a concern as well as are his difficulties shooting the basketball. Consequently, he feels Ingram is the most enticing option when examining the young veterans on the Lakers roster.
“You’ve got to remember that Ingram is 21,” says Deveney. “He came into the league as a guy who was 19 but was sort of like physically and almost mentally more like 17, 16. He wasn’t very well-developed when he came into the league. So I think that these first three years, you look at the improvement. You look at what he’s done and the things that he’s gotten better at. It’s a real indication of what you really want to see out of young guy. He’s willing to work, and if he’s willing to do the work, get better and make those improvements, then you know he’s not going to short-change his talent.”
Deveney sees Ingram’s floor as Rudy Gay at his peak. A future outlook of a fringe All-Star is pretty good.
In addition to the Anthony Davis trade talk, Deveney discusses why he doesn’t believe comparing Zion Williamson to LeBron James is fair and he also gives us his two cents on the futures of Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle.
We can’t thank Sean Deveney enough for joining us on our latest podcast. Hope you all enjoy, and if you like what you’re hearing, please rate and subscribe today!