Tonight is the night that we will all finally get to find out what we are all surely anxious about: Where will Andrew Nicholson be playing next season?
I must admit, I'm pretty giddy about it. It's only a few hours away and I know that wherever he's ends up, he's going to be living the dream for all of us.
It's pretty crazy to think that before the college season started there was almost no mention about Nicholson anywhere on the NBA Draft boards, even gurus Draft Express. In a matter of four months, he went from nobody to rapidly ascending somebody. Buoyed by his great performance in the Atlantic-10 Tournament and then the NCAA Tournament, Nicholson has been increasingly looked at as a potential first rounder and now is on the cusp of having that made a reality.
Again, the question begs: Where will Nicholson be playing his basketball next year?
Right now, Draft Express has Nicholson pegged at number 22 to the Boston Celtics and this may not be a bad thing. With the Cs seeing a whole lot of players from this team off the books without contracts, there will be a need for some live bodies. Nicholson, who can play D and has some scoring ability, could help right away as a bench player learning the NBA game before garnering major minutes down the line.
But Nicholson is in that position in the Draft where if a person is available lower than expected, he could be bumped down the order. The amount of elite level talent in Draft is very abundant and this is completely possible.
In my opinion, I suspect that if Boston doesn't pick him up with one of their two first round picks Nicholson could end up in Atlanta or Cleveland and I can't imagine him going any lower than that. (Now I say that with a disclaimer that if something monstrously incredible transpires on Draft day, Nicholson could find himself in the early part of the second round but that scenario seems unlikely.)
Both Atlanta and Cleveland are going to be losing a few of their bigs and will need an infusion of young height and rebounding. Atlanta in particular may be looking for cheap insurance against Al Horford's shoulder injury before they need to snag a veteran free agent as a stop gap. They will have Josh Smith and Marvin Williams but they are not going for be the entire frontcourt all season and Nicholson could fit right in with these two guys and Horford. He can fill an immediate need with two rugged guys to help with the dirty work early on.
Cleveland will be facing a similar situation with the loss of a few of their bigs and with the fourth pick that they have they can pick up a player that can fill an immediate need. Nicholson would, like in the situation in Atlanta, fit right in with fellow Canuck Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao and whomever the Cavs bring in. The team will be in major rebuilding mode so Nicholson could be a very big part of that, at least for the immediate future.
So in short, I suspect that if Nicholson is not picked up by the Celtics (and this seems more likely since the Kevin Garnett's decision to play or retire is still 50/50 right now), he will not fall any further than Cleveland. I've never been a great prognosticator of the Draft in my lifetime, which has seen many a Draft might I add, but I have a strong feeling that these are the teams that I'll be rushing out to get a Nicholson jersey from.