USA Today Images

Why the Lakers Are the Anthony Davis Front-Runners After the NBA Draft Lottery

May 15, 2019 - 10:50 am

(CBS Sports Radio) With the New Orleans Pelicans winning the Zion Williamson Sweepstakes on Tuesday, the Anthony Davis Sweepstakes can officially begin.

Who has the best chance of landing AD? Is it the Los Angeles Lakers? The Boston Celtics? The New York Knicks?

Stadium NBA analyst Jeff Goodman dropped by on Wednesday to break it all down.

"Can the Knicks offer the best package to get AD? You've got the No. 3 pick -- where, to me, anything beyond the top three really doesn't have much value," Goodman said on "Taz & The Moose."

"If you're the Lakers and you're trading the No. 4 pick, that just doesn't have nearly as much value. The drop-off from three to four is significant.

"(The Knicks) also got Dallas' first-round pick in 2021, you got your pick next year -- and you're probably going to stink again," Goodman continued, "So the Knicks do have the draft assets, (but) I don't think they have the assets on the court. People are acting like Mitchell Robinson has got value. Mitchell Robinson doesn't have any value yet. Kevin Knox doesn't have any value yet."

The Lakers and Celtics, meanwhile, can offer more than picks.

"The Lakers have players to offer," Goodman said. "They got (Brandon) Ingram, they got Lonzo Ball, they got Kyle Kuzma, and then you've got the Celtics that are kind of a wild card. To be frank, if they threw Jayson Tatum in the deal for Anthony Davis, I think they get it done."

But Goodman doesn't expect Boston to put Tatum on the table.

"I don't because I don't think Anthony Davis, unless he says to (Celtics general manager) Danny Ainge, 'I'm going to sign a long-term deal,' you can't do that," Goodman said. "And I'm not sure (Davis' agent) Rich Paul wants him in Boston, ultimately. I don't think he ends up in Boston. I think he ends up in L.A. because they've got some good young players, and while the 4-pick doesn't have a ton of value, if you package it with a bunch of those good young players, you're in business."

Those "good young players" were all first-round picks. Ingram was the second overall pick in 2016, Ball was the second overall pick in 2017, and Kuzma was the 27th overall pick in 2017. He averaged 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds this past season. Ingram averaged 18.3 and 5.1.

Those are solid players all 23 or younger.

Would the Lakers really part with all of them for AD? Yes.

"You've only got a window for LeBron for a few years," Goodman said. "If you're pairing LeBron with AD, I don't really care what else is around them. They'll fill it out, and they'll get one more free agent that will want to come play for them. Obviously not a max guy, but somebody else of note, and then you've still got enough pieces there and you just make a run at it. I do think he ends up in L.A."