Now that the lottery has been held and the order for the NBA Draft is etched in stone, it’s time to take another look at who might be going where on June 28.
1. New Orleans — Anthony Davis, PF, 6’10″, 220 lbs, Freshman, Kentucky
It didn’t take long for conspiracy theorists to start in after the Hornets moved up to No. 1 in the draft. After all, this is the team that the NBA just recently sold to Saints owner Tom Benson. There is no doubt who is going first in the draft as Davis is the cream of the crop. The long, lean shot-blocker is still growing into his body but will be a dominant power forward one day.
2. Charlotte — Thomas Robinson, PF, 6’9″, 240 lbs, Junior, Kansas
All of that losing fails to pay off for the Bobcats as they fall to No. 2 in the draft. They are not guaranteed a franchise player at No. 2 but there are plenty of names with great potential in this draft. With a roster full of holes, they can take whoever they feel is the best available at No. 2. It likely comes down to Robinson, MKG, Brad Beal or Andre Drummond.
3. Washington — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, 6’6″, 216 lbs, Freshman, Kentucky
Washington also fell a spot at the draft lottery but they are still destined to get a good player. The Wizards just made a deal to ship out a couple of players with questionable character so it would make sense for them to grab MKG here. Kidd-Gilchrist is a great defender and a solid citizen to boot. There are other options here as well including Beal and Robinson should he be available.
4. Cleveland — Bradley Beal, SG, 6’4″, 207 lbs, Freshman, Florida
The Cavaliers cannot really complain about falling one spot in the lottery after winning the whole shebang a year ago, especially if they end up getting a player like Beal who will provide a nice source of secondary scoring alongside Kyrie Irving. Judging by how well he handled himself in a stacked Florida backcourt, he would be a solid fit. The other clear option would be Andre Drummond but he is such a risky proposition that it would be a stunner to see the Cavs take him.
5. Sacramento — Harrison Barnes, SF, 6’8″, 223 lbs, Sophomore, North Carolina
The Kings may move Tyreke Evans to small forward next season (or they may move him right out of town this summer) but about the only spot on the roster that this team doesn’t need help is at centre where DeMarcus Cousins roams the paint. Barnes seems like a safe choice for them but they would be wise to consider moving the pick since the team is already so young.
6. Portland (from New Jersey) — Damian Lillard, PG, 6’2″, 190 lbs, Junior, Weber St.
With Brandon Roy’s retirement and the Blazers reported unhappiness with Raymond Felton, they need help in their backcourt and at this point in the draft there will be plenty of value picks to add. Lillard, a little-known product of Weber St. has caught the eye of scouts and would likely be off the board by the time they made their second pick at No. 11 so they either snap him up here or he will be gone.
7. Golden State — Kendall Marshall, PG, 6’4″, 197 lbs, Sophomore, North Carolina
I keep looking at the Warriors roster and wondering how this team did not make the playoffs and then remember how badly they were struck by the injury (tanking) bug. Well, they got to keep their pick and now the big question is: how do they use it. They could trade it but if they were to draft a youngster, point guard would be the smartest move. They have plenty of bigs and Steph Curry and Dorell Wright to provide outside shooting. What they need is someone to orchestrate the offence. Enter Marshall.
8. Toronto — Jeremy Lamb, SG, 6’5″, 185 lbs, Sophomore, UConn
The Raptors No.1 offseason priority is to find an outside shooter, be it through the draft, a trade or a free agent signing. After hearing Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo speak on Tuesday, the odds seem greater than 50/50 for them to deal this pick. Austin Rivers and Dion Waiters would have to also be under consideration here. The team clearly needs help on the wing.
9. Detroit — Andre Drummond, PF/C, 6’11″, 270 lbs, Freshman, UConn
With Ben Wallace nearing the end of his career, the Pistons are in need of a man in the middle to pair with Greg Monroe. If they are able to dump some of their overpriced talent, some help on the wing would have to be a consideration. Drummond is higher on most draft boards and could develop into one of the best players in the draft but he is a high-risk, high-reward type of pick.
10. New Orleans (from Minnesota via Clippers) — Tyler Zeller, PF/C, 7’0″, 240 lbs, Senior, North Carolina
With a pair of lottery picks, the Hornets are primed to get a couple of nice building blocks in place. This would be a great spot to address the gaping hole at point guard left by the departure of Chris Paul. If both Lillard and Marshall are off the board, they are left with taking a reach or filling a hole somewhere else on a swiss cheese roster.
11. Portland — Austin Rivers, SG, 6’4″, 203 lbs, Freshman, Duke
The Blazers plan to build around LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum so everyone else will likely be available this summer. A pair of lottery picks will speed up the rebuilding process and while they could use some size inside, this may not be the place to fill that hole.
12. Milwaukee — Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio St., 6’9″ 281 lbs, Ohio State
The Bucks will need a big body to replace the recently-departed Andrew Bogut so it would make sense for them to stay in the Midwest and grab this former Buckeye.
13. Phoenix — Perry Jones, SF/PF, 6’11″, 235 lbs, Sophomore, Baylor
The Suns continue to be stuck between chasing the eighth seed in the west and full-out rebuilding mode and will remain there until Steve Nash finally leaves. All they can really do is to continue to gather young bodies for the future. Jones has all the potential in the world but couldn’t seem to put it altogether at Baylor as he was playing out of position.
14. Houston – John Henson, PF, 6’10″, 220 lbs, Junior, North Carolina
The Rockets always seem to be drafting in the teens and always seem to be picking up useful talent. A player like Henson who has spent a couple of years in college seems to fit right into the Rockets mold.
15. Philadelphia — Arnett Moultrie, PF, 6’10″, 230 lbs, Junior, Mississippi St.
The Sixers are covered on the wings and in the backcourt so they could use another big body up front in case Spencer Hawes exits as a free agent this summer. Elton Brand’s massive contract also expires after next season so Moultrie could spend a season as an understudy behind Brand before being ready for a bigger role.
16. Houston (from New York) — Terrence Ross, SG, 6’6″, 197 lbs, Sophomore, Washington
With two picks in the ‘teens, the Rockets have a chance to add some talent. It’s a good thing because there are plenty of holes to fill. The Rockets also have plenty of cap space so they could use these draft picks to deal for some proven talent.
17. Dallas — Dion Waiters, PG/SG, 6’4″, 215 lbs, Sophomore, Syracuse
It has been a couple of years since the Mavericks made a selection this low but this team is aging rapidly and could use a breath of fresh air in their rotation. A penetrating guard like Waiters with a ready-made NBA body would be the perfect option to replace Jason Terry who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
18. Minnesota (from Utah) — Meyers Leonard, C, 7’0″, 245 lbs, Sophomore, Illinois
Wonder if the T-Wolves finally realize that Darko Milicic isn’t the answer at centre? If they don’t draft another point guard here, Leonard would a make a lot of sense. GM David Kahn’s draft record has been a little sketchy when you consider how many picks he has made over recent years.
19. Orlando — Quincy Miller, SF, 6’9″, 200 lbs., Freshman, Baylor
With Dwight Howard’s situation continuing to be up in the air, the Magic are really stuck as far as where they are with regards to being in decision-making. That said, Howard’s supporting cast isn’t terrible so the Magic can take the best prospect on the board and let him develop. Miller is another high-risk, high reward type after a mediocre freshman season at Baylor.
20. Denver — Fab Melo, C, 7’0″, 255 lbs, Sophomore, Syracuse
The Nuggets recently shipped Nene to Washington leaving them with a question mark in the middle. JaVale McGee came the other way in the trade with Washington and while he showed flashes of brilliance in the playoffs he has been inconsistent. Picking up this big Brazilian would at least provide the team with options.
21. Boston — John Jenkins, SG, 6’4″, 205 lbs, Junior, Vanderbilt
The Celtics need to get younger in a hurry. The Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are all nearing the end of the careers and the latter pair will be UFAs this summer. Jon Jenkins is considered to be the best shooter in the draft so he may help to replace Allen sooner or later.
22. Boston (from L.A. Clippers via Oklahoma City) — Royce White, SF/PF, 6’8″, 249 lbs, Sophomore, Iowa St.
If the Celtics look at the backcourt with their first pick they could look up front with their second. A centre would be ideal here so they could let KG go back to power forward but they will likely just take the best player available. GM Danny Ainge has a strong track record at the draft in recent seasons.
23. Atlanta — Andrew Nicholson, PF, 6’9″, 220 lbs, Senior, St. Bonaventure
The Hawks have six players under contract for next season with a salary total of over $60 million. For that reason they need to add someone that can help immediately and a senior like Canadian Andrew Nicholson would fit the bill.
24. Cleveland (from L.A. Lakers) — Moe Harkless, SF, 6’8″, 208 lbs, Freshman, St. Johns
With a pair of first-round picks for the second straight season, the Cavaliers have a great opportunity to add some young talent to build around Kyrie Irving. If they can find a shooter with their first pick, look for them to try and add some muscle or wing help with the second pick.
25. Memphis — Tony Wroten, PG/SG, 6’5″, 204 lbs, Freshman, Washington
The Grizzlies need to find a capable back-up for Mike Conley at some point. Either Wroten or Marquis Teague might be the man to do the job in Memphis.
26. Indiana — Fetus Ezeli, C, 6’11″, 255 lbs., Vanderbilt
The Pacers could use a big body to back up Roy Hibbert in the paint or as an insurance policy in the unlikely event that the seven-footer leaves in free agency — especially with Jeff Foster having recently retired. Ezeli is one of the few seven-footers expected to go in the first round of the draft.
27. Miami — Doron Lamb, SG, 6’4″ 200 lbs, Sophomore, Kentucky
The Heat don’t need much right now but a young big body or someone that can stay a little healthier than Mike Miller might be helpful. Given how stretched the Heat are financially they also can’t waste picks on projects. Lamb is a top-notch shooter who is ready to play a role in the NBA very soon.
28. Oklahoma City — Evan Fournier, SG/SF, 6’7″, 206 lbs., International
It’s a weak crop of international players in the draft this year so we could see Fournier being the only player from across the pond to be snapped up in the first round. The Frenchman isn’t a great athlete but can score.
29. Chicago — Marquis Teague, PG, 6’2″, 189 lbs, Freshman, Kentucky
With Derrick Rose out for next season the need is clearly at point guard, especially with John Lucas being an unrestricted free agent and the team holding a player option on CJ Watson. Maybe Teague can hold the fort down?
30. Golden State (from San Antonio) – Jeff Taylor, SF, 6’7″, 226 lbs., Vanderbilt
If the Warriors address the point guard need with their top pick, they can go big or grab a wingman here. Taylor can jump right out of the gym and he’s Swedish to boot.