I don't think I've taken a breath yet and I'm almost positive that my mind hasn't stopped racing and won't stop racing for some time.
I'm conflicted. A lot. What we just witnessed--Cleveland somehow creeping up to the No. 1 pick for the third time in four years--was insane, asinine, confusing and all around WELPtacular. And it opens up a ton of different scenarios for Orlando. Seriously: So many different things can happen at this point. It's all so hard to calculate. But allow me to try.
In this draft, having the fourth overall pick is still a very good thing. It's, obviously, better than sixth and better than fifth, two slots that Orlando had a chance in dropping to. But, still, I'm conflicted, mostly because I have absolutely no clue how Cleveland is going to approach this and I never once considered a scenario in which they would be on the clock first. I didn't prepare for this to happen and it really has my mind in shambles.
My initial thought after Cleveland "won" was that Dante Exum was a shoe-in--that the Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers all have their point guards of the future and he'll be in Orlando. But, stay with me here, what if those teams don't necessarily view Exum has a point guard at all. What if they just look at him as a guard? A playmaker? A mystery being with super quick agility and the length to defend two-guards? What if they think his upside is higher than the other guys at the top?
Cleveland is no stranger to pulling a fast one in the draft. So there's always a chance they draft Doug McDermott No. 1 overall. Just kidding, Cavs friends, don't hate me. Brandon Knight is an average point guard with a slightly above-average ceiling, but I highly doubt the Bucks would pass on either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, and they'll get their shot at either.
Philadelphia is where I'm lost. It surely wouldn't pass on Wiggins or Parker either, but what if those two are gone? They already drafted a center with an injury problem last year. An Exum/Michael Carter-Williams backcourt pairing is devastatingly athletic and extremely long. The Sixers played at the league's fastest pace last season; imagine Exum and Carter-Williams terrorizing NBA defenses on the fast break.
What's certain is that Orlando will have at least the left over of Wiggins, Parker, Embiid and Exum. What's impossible to tell at this point is which one is most likely to be there at No. 4.
The only player that I initially think is out of Orlando's reach is Wiggins. Parker has one foot out the door, but there's still the unlikely scenario that the top three is Wiggins, Exum and Embiid in some order. Embiid could be there, depending on how he tests out physically and with team doctors in his individual workouts. There's also the backdoor chance that Embiid slides to Orlando and Julius Randle jumps up in the top-3. Noah Vonleh and Aaron Gordon are even longer shots, but there's still a chance. Remember: Almost no one thought Noel would slide to six last year and yet there he was when the Pelicans were on the board.
So what I'm saying, or what I've convinced myself while writing this, is that there are still a ton of different scenarios. The most disappointing part is that Orlando is likely out of contention for Wiggins and Parker. That's a bummer. I hold tightly that both will be very, very good NBA players for the next decade-and-a-half. For now, though, it's time to catch our collective breath. The Draft is still over a month away. Let the speculation begin.