- Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Anthony-Towns, C, Kentucky
Minnesota has already announced they will pick Towns with the number one overall pick.
This is a smart pick by the Timberwolves, as Towns is a player that could wind up being very similar to Anthony Davis. With that type of talent no team would pass on him at pick number one.
- Los Angeles Lakers: D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG, Ohio State
Have the best guard in the draft mentored by Kobe Bryant? Don’t mind if I do.
With Kobe nearing the end of his career, Russell serves as a near mirror image of Kobe’s play type. Learning the game from Bryant in LA will allow Russell to become the best player he can be, which could potentially wind up being the biggest talent out of this draft.
*3. Orlando Magic (from Philadelphia): Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
- Orlando receives 3rd overall pick
- Philadelphia receives 5th overall pick and 2016 protected 1st round pick
The Magic love Porzingis, and may not be willing to wait until pick number five to select their top choice.
No one is quite sure how Porzingis will turn out, however teams have been raving about the 7’1 Latvian teen since last year’s draft. He could join the company of Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol as the next best foreign player in the league if he lives up to the hype.
- New York Knicks: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
The Knicks luck out at this spot, as the prospect they were eyeing when everyone thought they would be in the top three, falls to them at number four.
Okafor is a tremendous low post scorer, possibly the best since DeMarcus Cousins, and has extremely quick feet for a man his size. He can be a liability on defense a lot of the time, but there are many players like that in the NBA that have had a lot of success (Al Jefferson, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, etc.), the Knicks would just need a more defensive oriented person to step up for the defense lacking Okafor.
He has one of the highest basketball IQ’s out of anyone in the draft, and has very good passing skills for a low post player. This in particular is useful for the Knicks with players like Tim Hardaway Jr. and Carmelo Anthony.
This would be a steal for the Knicks in this scenario, and could be the next star big man on a Phil Jackson team.
*5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Orlando): Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China
Mudiay is probably the best pure point guard (I count Russell more as a shooting guard) in the draft, and the 76ers have snagged him and caps off the last of the top tier of players in the draft.
Mudiay is a remarkable player, yet is somewhat of a mystery considering his play in China after opting to forego college despite committing to SMU. He also decided to do private workouts instead of partaking in the combine like most players.
Despite Mudiay’s privatization of skills, he is still slotted as one of the top players on every team’s boards. And after dealing MCW away this past season, the 76ers could use another ball handler and they add a future first rounder as well from the Magic.
This seems to be a dream for Philly as everything ends up falling into the 76ers perfect plan of infinite draft picks for future years and they get Mudiay.
- Sacramento Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
This is a tricky pick.
Sacramento needs a big man down low that can defend, yet with the possibility of DeMarcus Cousins leaving then they would need an offensive threat down low. Despite Cauley-Steins’s lack of offensive talent, he could quite possibly be the best defensive player in the draft.
At six Sacramento Cauley-Stein isn’t a reach, compared to Trey Lyles, Myles Turner, or Bobby Portis, all who are better on the offensive end but don’t have the post presence that Cauley-Stein brings to the table.
Even though Cauley-Stein currently fills a bigger need for the Kings, it is hard to see them pass on the talent of Justise Winslow. Between Ben McLemore, Jimmer Fredette, and Thomas Robinson, Sacramento has a history of taking the best player on the board. However Cauley-Stein addresses an issue that they need filled now, especially if Cousins is on the way out.
WCS should join the club of elite Kentucky bigs in the NBA as a strong defensive presence and a solid starter for the majority of his career.
- Denver Nuggets: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
Even though I don’t like sending another small forward to Denver as they have too many already, Winslow is just a talent that I can’t pass on if I am in the Denver front office.
Winslow is the best all-around player in the draft, and has the potential to be the best player.
He brings a strong defensive presence that the Nuggets desperately need, and can also be a leader on the court, something that could prove to be one of his biggest strengths in a few years. Winslow is a great slasher and knows how to use his elite athleticism to get to the basket with ease.
Despite all of the hype around Okafor, Winslow may end up being the better of the Blue Devils in this draft class.
- Detroit Pistons: Mario Hezonja, SF, Croatia
Hezonja is the most talented offensive player in this draft period.
Despite some chemistry problems while playing in Barcelona, Hezonja is incredibly skillful on the offensive end in shooting, slashing, and just about anything else you could think of. Detroit needs a much better offense to be competitive in this day and age, and that is exactly what they get in Hezonja.
Devin Booker is the only other name that comes to mind here as an option for the Pistons, yet despite Detroit’s bad luck with foreign players in the past, Hezonja is far and away the best player available here.
*9. Boston Celtics (from Charlotte): Myles Turner, PF, Texas
- Boston receives 9th overall pick and 2016 2nd round pick
- Charlotte receives 16th overall pick, 28th overall pick, and Evan Turner
Boston desperately wants to move up in the draft, although I feel like they want to just for the sake of moving up. Although they are probably making a mistake with this trade, I could see it going down.
Boston really likes Myles Turner, and Charlotte needs a shooter that they could grab later in the draft so in theory both teams get what they want.
Turner is a skilled seven footer with a three point shot. Despite a lackluster collegiate performance, Turner is a player that is built much better for the NBA. He is a very lengthy player and has a strong defensive post presence, unlike most stretch forwards.
Although Turner has been put down by many people, I feel like with some added strength and experience he could be a solid player in the NBA.
- Miami Heat: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
Miami has a choice here between Devin Booker and Stanley Johnson, however Booker is a much more NBA ready player and goes along with Miami’s win now attitude.
Booker is one of the top shooters in the draft, as well as excelling at perimeter defense. Booker didn’t get nearly as much attention as many of his Kentucky teammates, yet is an obvious top ten talent.
Even though Stanley Johnson fills a bigger need, Devin Booker is the better player for now, and could potentially fill a large hole if Dwyane Wade decides to leave.
- Indiana Pacers: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State
The Pacers have been notorious for reaching for players they like, and I see that trend continuing in Cameron Payne.
Payne is the best point guard left on the board, and with Indiana’s backcourt looking like a retirement home they could use some youth there. He is a floor general when on the court, and has a knack for finding a way to get the ball to someone anywhere on the hardwood.
Payne is a player not as known as some of the other point guards left like Tyus Jones or Jerian Grant, but he is a terrific point guard and could be a star when it is his time to take control of the Pacers’ backcourt.
- Utah Jazz: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky
Lyles didn’t impress many college basketball fans this past season at Kentucky after being so highly ranked coming out of high school, but like Myles Turner, he will find much more success in the NBA.
Lyles reminds me somewhat of Carlos Boozer; big bodied with the ability to score at will. Although Lyles didn’t broadcast it all that much in college, he should be a dominant low post scorer in the NBA.
After a few seasons of progression I truly believe Lyles will come out as the third best big man from this class, behind Towns and Okafor.
- Phoenix Suns: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
The Suns need another big man in their rotation, and they couldn’t ask for a better one at this selection than Bobby Portis.
Portis won SEC Player of the Year over every Kentucky player this past season, and if you watched him play. Portis puts down more effort than anyone in this draft class, and everyone in an organization loves that from a player, and because of that don’t be surprised if he goes as high as the Pacers at number 11.
Portis is a very talented stretch forward who can shoot, block, rebound, and do anything else you want him to. His potential ranges anywhere from Markieff Morris to Chris Bosh, making him a very safe and rewarding selection this late in the lottery.
Bobby Portis is my favorite player in this draft class, and he has the potential and the will to go far in this league.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona
Yes, I have Hollis-Jefferson as the first small forward off of the board instead of Stanley Johnson, and although it is unlikely that Johnson falls out of the lottery, it is very plausible that Hollis-Jefferson is picked by the Thunder here instead.
With the Thunder already having a star studded team they don’t need to be looking for a project with a high upside when they can draft a player that can contribute from day one. OKC really likes Hollis-Jefferson, and they also have a need for him in their lineup.
Although I said Willy Cauley-Stein is the best defender in the draft, Hollis-Jefferson is not far behind. He can guard any position on the court, much like Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green, but he also excels at getting to and finishing at the basket. Although he shoots an unorthodox free throw that resembles a worm squirming around on a fishing hook, he knows how to draw fouls and can draw a lot in a game if teams allow him to get into the lane.
Hollis-Jefferson can a Tony Allen type player for the Thunder, and a perimeter defender that they have needed since the departure of Thabo Sefolosha.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona
Although it is unlikely that Johnson falls out of the lottery, there is no way that he falls past the Hawks at 15.
Johnson has a high ceiling however is very raw at the moment, especially offensively. He provides tremendous perimeter defense, and he rebounds at a high rate given his size and position. Add a consistent offensive game and he can be a star in this league.
Johnson will fit well on the Hawks if he falls this far.
*16. Charlotte Hornets (from Boston): RJ Hunter, SG, Georgia State
From what I have heard, Charlotte is hooked on getting Hunter, and although they may in fact make a reach for him at nine, my guess is that they could trade back with the Celtics to nab him. In addition to getting an extra pick, Charlotte also gets a veteran player they have wanted in Evan Turner.
RJ Hunter provides the elite sharp shooter that Charlotte has yet to find despite drafting PJ Hairston last season. After trading Lance Stephenson Charlotte has a hole to fill at shooting guard, and although Hunter is not starting material yet, he is still an upgrade and can play valuable minutes off of the bench.
RJ Hunter is a player that had a collegiate career very similar to Damian Lillard, being a scoring machine although not bringing his team much success (despite his final season) in the process. The Hornets may have just found themselves their own version of Kyle Korver or Matt Miller.
- Milwaukee Bucks: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin
Ersan Ilyasova is out of Milwaukee! Oh no, what are they ever going to do?? Maybe replace him with essentially a replica with a much higher ceiling in Sam Dekker?
Dekker is a master at not only the three point shot as Ilyasova was, but showed at Wisconsin he can score at will from anywhere on the floor. He was brilliant in the most recent NCAA tournament, and was the most impressive player in the tournament to me.
What worries me about Dekker is his ability to compete on the defensive side with much stronger players. He can get bullied around sometimes, and will not be as big a threat on the blocks as he was in college.
All in all, Dekker should impress as a role player in Milwaukee and maybe even start eventually if Jabari Parker goes down again.
- Houston Rockets: Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
Tyus Jones is the perfect fit for Houston, and Houston is the perfect fit for Tyus Jones; it truly is love at first pick… ok, maybe 18th pick but still, you know what I mean.
The Rockets are in need of a true point guard on their team and they have needed one for a while, ever since the departure of Kyle Lowry.
Jones is a floor general and a leader, which he showed off at Duke and in the Blue Devils’ run for the national title last season
- Washington Wizards: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
Kaminsky is the best player on the board at this point, and for Washington he is a steal. The Wizards are a team that has a history for picking the best player available, and they are happy that it is Kaminsky this year as he also fills a glaring need for the organization.
Depth behind Nene and Marcin Gortat is crucial right now for the Wizards, especially with both players past their prime and entering the last year on their contracts.
Kaminsky will not be a super star in this league, and honestly I think he will be mediocre. After a tremendous college performance, Kaminsky’s style of play doesn’t translate well to the NBA. It will be difficult to find a way in which Kaminsky could excel as a center which most people consider him to be; to me he is much more of a lengthy stretch forward somewhat like Josh McRoberts or Marvin Williams. At best, Kaminsky could end up like Ryan Anderson, however to do so he will need to improve his shot.
Kaminsky was an exciting player to watch in college and I don’t want to take away from that; however although many teams really like Kaminsky, I don’t believe he will ever be a large part of any team in the future. I hope he can prove me wrong.
- Toronto Raptors: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
When it comes to drafts in pro sports, the Raptors are right up there with the Oakland Raiders for teams that I like making fun of the most. Odds are that the Raptors pass up on this draft day steal and settle for some Icelandic player that no one has heard of; however what they should do is draft Harrell if he is available.
Harrell is a monster in the post. He is athletic as anyone else in the draft, and grabs rebounds and scores with ferocity. I don’t get how he falls this far, however if he does (which it looks like he will) then the Raptors are in luck.
Raptors need help in the front court, and they haven’t had a consistent power forward since Chris Bosh left. Harrell will help add depth to the position and allow the Raptors to create a more efficient rotation between their average power forwards.
- Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas
Oubre is a steal at this point for the Mavericks. Despite a disappointing collegiate performance, Oubre should be able to make up for his lackluster play at Kansas in the NBA.
Oubre is an athletic wing that isn’t a superstar because of his inconsistent offensive play. He can defend on the perimeter better than most players in the draft, and his athletic ability allows him to guard multiple positions.
He resembles a shorter version of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and if he can fix his offensive game then he could go far in this league.
- Chicago Bulls: Jerian Grant, PG/SG, Notre Dame
Chicago may be the perfect destination for Grant.
He adds depth to the Bulls’ backcourt, and is as NBA ready as anyone else in the draft. Although he is not as highly ranked as many other prospects it is hard to find flaws in his game.
Grant was born to score, yet has the handles of a natural point guard and can find the open man when he wants to. His hops seem gravity defying, and he has shown obvious leadership by leading Notre Dame to victory in many key games, including two wins against the national champions.
Grant is a steal here for the Bulls.
- Portland Trailblazers: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia
With Nicholas Batum out of Portland and Wesley Matthews on free agency, Portland needs to find a player to fill the void at the wing.
Justin Anderson is a perfect fit in Portland, as his NBA comparison would probably be Nicholas Batum, the player he is being drafted to replace.
Anderson is a shooter with very good perimeter defense. He is injury prone and can seem nonexistent at times, however should fit in as a solid role player for the Trailblazers.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France
With Cleveland loading up on super stars the Cavs would much rather spend their money on established players instead of a first rounder. With Jaiteh they can leave him overseas for a few years, then bring him into the NBA as a very talented, youthful, foreign center.
Jaiteh has a high ceiling, one of the highest in the draft, but is extremely raw to go straight into the big leagues right now.
Jaiteh rebounds at a high rate given his massive frame, and can score anywhere within a short range of the basket. He fills up the paint and makes it difficult to drive for opposing teams.
My only worry is that he hasn’t played on a big enough stage to prove himself against the other talents in this draft, however given the Cavaliers current roster and selection this is a much lower risk than it would be for most other teams.
- Memphis Grizzlies: Joseph Young, SG, Oregon
Young is one of my favorite players in the draft, and has been improving more than any other prospect in the draft.
Young is a scorer with a killer long range jump shot. He is getting much better at ball handling and can make a solid point guard in the NBA with a little more work. He will be an elite scorer in the NBA, and has the talent of a lottery pick with just his size to blame for a slide in the draft.
Young provides depth for the Grizzlies, as well as an offensive game that can be useful when Memphis needs to score by allowing them to substitute Tony Allen. This is a quality pick for the Grizzlies.
- San Antonio Spurs: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
Do I think that Vaughn will fall this far? No, but I struggled finding a spot for him before this so I stuck with it.
Vaughn is one of, if not the best, scorer in the draft. He can score from anywhere on the court and has great size for a shooting guard. Vaughn will find a way to put the ball through the net even when it seems impossible.
His lack of defense is really his only concern, yet with the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard it is made up for. The Spurs should be hoping that Vaughn falls this far in tonight’s draft.
- Los Angeles Lakers: Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
With their second pick in the first round the Lakers select the fifth Kentucky player in the draft, and the first one outside of the lottery.
Dakari Johnson resembles former Lakers’ center Andrew Bynum in his build and dominance in the post. Johnson has the talent to go a lot higher and could have benefitted from another year at Kentucky, but one of the biggest issues was that he was simply overshadowed by the other Kentucky big men. Playing alongside former teammate Julius Randle in Los Angeles would be incredibly annoying for opposing teams, due to the fatigue that both players create for defenders.
Johnson could be one of the best big men from the draft after a few seasons of work, and could show up big for the Lakers in the future.
*28. Charlotte Hornets (from Boston): Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
After the departure of Noah Vonleh, Charlotte can bring in a similar power forward to take his place.
Although Looney doesn’t have the shooting ability of Vonleh, he grabs rebounds at a very high rate. His offensive game is raw and will need to be worked on, but he has an ideal build for an NBA power forward and could excel if his skills can be tweaked a bit.
Rumors are floating around that Charlotte may be targeting Frank Kaminsky, and while Kaminsky probably won’t be available at this point (Looney probably won’t be either to be honest) I would still take Looney over him any day. Kaminsky is more NBA ready at this point, but Looney has a much higher ceiling.
- Brooklyn Nets: Christian Wood, SF/PF, UNLV
Wood is one of the most talented players in the draft; however a poor personality makes him slip mightily on draft boards.
Brooklyn needs youth in the front court and Wood is by far the most talented available. Wood’s attitude is not an attractive trait for any team, however there are always some unorthodox personalities with teams from New York.
Wood can crash the boards and is an excellent scorer inside. He averaged a double double at UNLV, and if he gets the chance he will be able to do exactly that at the NBA level as well.
- Golden State Warriors: Jarrell Martin, PF, LSU
Martin raps up the first round by being selected by the reigning NBA Champs.
This is a sexy pick for the Warriors, as Martin can help fill the gap that David Lee left behind as a bulky stretch forward.
Martin has a shooting range that extends all the way to three point range, yet has a build that allows him to get good position on the blocks and rebound at a high rate. He is the better of the two talented power forwards from LSU in the draft, and should fit in perfectly at Golden State.