Aside from the Milwaukee Bucks, no team was favored more to come out of the Eastern Conference than the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors won 58 games in the regular season and may have the best player in the conference with Kawhi Leonard.
Despite all of their talent and expectations, the Raptors find themselves in an early hole as they lost to the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of their series today.
The Magic pulled off the upset victory in spectacular fashion, as D.J. Augustin hit the game-winning dagger with seconds left in regulation.
People were penciling this series in as a sweep before it even started, but the Magic clearly believe they can pull of the impossible and win this series.
The best team almost always wins in a seven-game series and the Raptors proved to be a better team throughout the season.
For now though, the Magic have at least made things interesting.
Atlanta Hawks Trade Up to No. 4 to Select De’Andre Hunter
The Atlanta Hawks knew exactly who they wanted in the 2019 NBA Draft and they made a trade up to make sure they got him.
As the first three picks in the draft were all but set coming in, the New Orleans Pelicans shopped their newly acquired No 4. overall pick, as a way to acquire more assets in the draft.
The Hawks did not hesitate to pay a steep price to move up, trading three picks, along with acquiring the salary of Solomon Hill to make the deal.
When it came time to make the pick, the Hawks did in fact select Hunter, making him the fourth overall selection.
Hunter played spent two years with the Virginia Cavaliers in college and just won the NCAA Championship this year.
He averaged 15.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this past season and scored 27 points with 9 rebounds in the 2019 NCAA Championship Game.
Hunter joins a talented young core in Atlanta that includes last year’s No. 5 overall pick, Trae Young.
The Hawks may not be a contender this year, but they are certainly building an interesting team that could contend in a few years.
R.J. Barrett Picked with the No. 3 Overall Pick by the New York Knicks
R.J. Barrett was once expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, as he was the top recruit heading to Duke last season.
Then of course, Zion-mania happened, as Barrett’s teammate Zion Williamson became the clear alpha on the Blue Devils and a sensation around the country.
While Williamson took the mantle of the top draft pick away from Barrett, that does not mean that he will have a better NBA career.
The New York Knicks sure hope that Barrett is as advertised, as they picked him with No. 3 overall pick.
Barrett was actually Dukes’ leading scorer this season and will now try to translate his offensive talents to the NBA.
The question now is who will Barrett be playing with, as the Knicks have the cap room to add two max-level players in free agency.
At one point, it was expected that those two players would be Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, as that duo would build super team in Madison Square Garden.
Now with Durant’s torn Achilles, all of that super team discussion is in flux. If the Knicks don’t land those superstars, it will be Barrett’s team from the jump.
Only time will tell where the Knicks go from here, but Barrett is sure to be a great player for them for years to come.
Memphis Grizzlies Select Ja Morant with the No. 2 Overall Pick
As much as everyone assumed that Zion Williamson was going to be picked with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, it was also the same with Ja Morant at No. 2.
Morant, 19, is the best point guard and facilitator in the draft, as he lead the NCAA in assists this year.
Now Morant is the face of the Memphis Grizzlies future, as they confirmed everyone’s suspicions by picking him with the second pick.
Morant could end up being the best pick in this draft for all we know, with his great playmaking ability and extreme athleticism.
The Grizzlies clearly believe that he is ready to take over their offense now, as they traded their franchise point guard Mike Conley to give the keys to their offense over to Morant.
Morant will be joining last year’s No. 4 overall pick, Jaren Jackson Jr. in Memphis, as the young duo try to rebuild that franchise.
In the last year, the Grizzlies have moved on from their two franchise players in Conley and Marc Gasol.
While those players had great career in Memphis, as they own almost all their franchise records, the Grizzlies hope that Jackson and Morant can be even better.
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