The Minnesota Timberwolves were arguably the biggest basketball gambling winners of the 2017 NBA draft, mostly thanks to a draft day trade with the Chicago Bulls. Meanwhile the Memphis Grizzlies did little to stop their downward spiral.
Minnesota Timberwolves +6650 (up)
The T-Wolves had a lone first round pick; they had to trade away their second round selection to the Boston Celtics as a result of a prior trade which allowed the Phoenix Suns – later the Boston Celtics – to acquire their 2017 second round pick if their lottery protected pick wasn’t acquired by 2016. Minnesota drafted Lauri Markkanen as the 7th overall selection and then proceeded to deal him, together with Kris Dunn and Zach Lavine, to the Bulls in exchange for Jimmy Butler and Chicago’s 16th pick in first round selection, Creighton University center Justin Patton. Butler and Patton will join Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins, and Butler will rejoin head coach Tom Thibodeau, who led the Bulls to playoffs on five consecutive occasions from 2010-11 to 2014-15. The Wolves hope Butler and his 23.9 points per game can help them make the postseason for the first time in 13 years.
Philadelphia 76ers +25000 (up)
The Sixers traded their No. 3 pick with the Boston Celtics’ No.1 pick, which became Markelle Fultz, as all basketball gambling signs indicated. Thus, Philly has the last two first overall picks of the NBA draft and two of the last four third overall picks; Fultz, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Jahlil Okafor. In good theory, the 76ers’ starting lineup will feature four players under the age of 24. Unfortunately for them, it’s more like 24 going on 65, what with all of the injuries. For example, Simmons is actually the second Sixers rookie who missed his entire first season, following Embiid – who as a matter of fact missed his first two seasons and played only 31 games in 2016-17. Therefore, people betting on NBA games should take Philadelphia’s slight improvement in the odds-boards with a grain of alt. Or a fistful of salt, as the case may be.
Memphis Grizzlies +12500 (down)
The Grizzlies did not have a pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but acquired draftees Dillon Brooks from the Houston Rockets and Ivan Rabb from the Orlando Magic. Rabb was a top-10 rated prep prospect who led the Pac-12 in rebounds last season and recorded more double-doubles in two seasons with the Golden Bears than any University of California player in the last two decades, while Brooks was instrumental in the Oregon Ducks’ deep run in the NCAA tournament, delivering in the clutch against Tennessee, UCLA and California. All things considered, though, these youthful additions are drops in the aging bucket that is Memphis’ core. Speaking of which, Vince Carter and Zach Randolph – two of the Grizzlies’ four top scorers – are free agents. The former says he would take a pay cut to join the Warriors, while the other says he wants to build his own super team in Memphis. And both are probably basketball gambling pipe dreams.