Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Sports Gazette NBA Writers Poll 17/18 Part 3: Number 1 Picks

Posted on 14 October 2017 by Adam Samuel

With the start of the NBA regular season on the horizon, the writers of the Sports Gazette have come together to provide their thoughts on the season to come. In part 3, we name the player that we would draft #1 if we were to start a team today.

 Matt Horsman

  1. LeBron James (3pts)
  2. Russell Westbrook (2pts)
  3. Kevin Durant (1pt)

Do any of those three really need justification? Long live the King! The prospect of him moving West to Los Angeles to bring down the Warrior dynasty next summer is mouth-watering and – probably for good reason – movie-script worthy.

 Louis Olvera

  1. LeBron James (3pts)
  2. Karl Anthony-Towns (2pts)
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo/Anthony Davis (1pt)

Who wouldn’t want to have LeBron James on their team? He is the league’s best leader, passer, role player, and has the highest basketball I.Q. He is as certain at a shot in the Finals as there is. Any GM in the league would do anything to have LeBron on their squad.

After ‘The King’, many would like to have a unicorn in their rotation. The new NBA is now full of them. The playing style of a big man has changed for the good. Now we see exciting multi-threat giants running the ball up the court, rebounding, shooting triples, and putting defenders on a poster. That is what Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo can do.

 Ben Morse

  1. LeBron James (3pts)
  2. Kawhi Leonard (2pts)
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (1pt)

You can’t really answer this question with any player other than LeBron James. He is the leagues best player and probably the best locker room leader, which makes him perfect for a GM just starting to build a team.

Kawhi Leonard is very similar but not at the same level as LeBron. He is an elite-level two-way player, a seemingly good dude and a great person to have in the locker room. He maybe needs to add some of the leadership intangibles that LeBron possesses before we can compare the two but he would be a great building block for a franchise.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of my favourite players in the league. He can play all five positions in modern basketball, as the centre position is getting smaller (see Kevin Love being moved to centre this year by the Cavaliers). From a pure basketball perspective, he would be a dream to start building a team around.

James Pike

  1. Karl-Anthony Towns (3pts)
  2. Kyrie Irving (2pts)
  3. Giannis Antentokounmpo (1pt)

In today’s NBA, if you’re not the Warriors, Cavaliers, Celtics, Thunder, Rockets, or Spurs, you should be thinking 5 seasons away from now, when Warriors will be older, the Cavaliers will be long gone, and the Celtics might be starting to slide.

All three of these players are under 25 and should be around for a while, but KAT is the youngest of the bunch and a genuinely excellent centre. That is a rare and special commodity in today’s NBA, where the pace of play has mostly eliminated the traditional role of the “big man”. Smaller, lighter, athletic and good with a shot: these are the qualities that today’s centres need, and these are precisely what Karl-Anthony Towns does best. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and Anthony Davis end up being head-and-shoulders above every other NBA big man in five seasons.

 Adam Samuel

  1. Karl Anthony Towns (3pts)
  2. Anthony Davis (2pts)
  3. Giannis Antetokoumpo (1pt)

25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds as a 21-year-old sophomore in the loaded west? How do you argue with numbers like that? You don’t. I’ll have this future MVP as my #1 pick thank you very much.

Anthony Davis is a superstar on an extremely mediocre team, and I say that as a Pelicans fan (why I’m such, I’ll never know). AD can score, pass, block, rebound, steal and guard on the perimeter. He is the prototype NBA player, and will continue to be a force for the next decade.

If Davis is a force however, the Greek Freak – Giannis Antetokoumpo – has the potential to be a gail  force wind. A 6’’11 point guard in the East? He could be a dark horse for MVP this season given the weakness of his Conference. Also under consideration: Joel Embiid and Kristaps Porzingis. That’s it. I’m looking to the future, not the past.


1st – Lebron James (9pts)

2nd – Karl Anthony Towns (8pts)

3rd – Giannis Antetokoumpo (4pts)


Part 1: Best Offseason Move

Part 2: Most Disappointing Team

Part 4: Rookie of the Year

Part 5: NBA Champion

Part 6: Most Valuable Player