The NBA Draft Lottery is behind us and conspiracy theories aside, we learned that karma does exist — the basketball gods hate Michael Jordan as a non-player. That said, let’s do our best in guessing which players will be drafted by which team on June 30th.
1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
This is pretty much an “Anthony Davis and everyone else” kind of draft. He’s Marcus Camby thin, but Davis has the body structure that will allow him to get bigger. Like Camby, Davis should make a difference on the defensive end immediately.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
Kidd-Gilchrist has been compared favorably to former Bobcat, Gerald Wallace, as well as Shawn Marion. Considering both are/were All-Star caliber players that still produce in their twilight years, not bad.
3. Washington Wizards – Andre Drummond, PF/C, Connecticut
John Wall, meet your new running big man. Drummond is a big body that can get up and down the floor and has a lot of potential, but the question will be if can he maximize it. I personally don’t think he can and see this as a semi-Kwame Brown bust. But upside is always naturally attractive to teams, so here we are.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
The Cavs won’t be doing so bad considering the whole LeBron James leaving thing. Adding Beal to the team will give the Cavs the best young backcourt in the league. Theoretically of course, since Beal will actually need to play on an NBA court first. However, we do know that Kyrie Irving is pretty good and if Beal fulfills his hype … damn.
5. Sacramento Kings – Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
The Kings will be lucky to have Robinson drop here. He’ll form a potentially scary frontcourt duo with the oft-maligned, but very effective, DeMarcus Cousins. While Robinson could end up being better than Drummond and Beal, the fall in draft position has more to do with the Wiz and Cavs already having fours.
6. Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Lillard is an excellent scoring point guard that can get to the paint almost at will. He showed the ability to run a team and is too big of talent at the lead guard position to skip over at this spot for the Blazers. He’ll bring some excitement to PDX with his ability to hit from anywhere on the court while still being able to find a streaking Nicolas Batum or LaMarcus Aldridge in the post.
7. Golden State Warriors – Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Heading into college, Barnes had a lot of expectations, even being named a preseason first team All-American as freshman. He could fit in nicely with the Warriors and hit a lot of open shots should Andrew Bogut ever become consistently healthy. Barnes could go higher, but the Warriors may be the best opportunity for him.
8. Toronto Raptors – John Henson, PF/C, North Carolina
In Henson, the Raptors will get a player that goes hard inside, rebounding and blocking shots. He’s still very thin by NBA standards, but if Kevin Garnett can get by with his frame, Henson should as well. Like Garnett, Henson should be an excellent help defender with his quickness and length. I’m sure Raps fans would love it if he also had the KG nastiness.
9. Detroit Pistons – Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
Lamb is a talented shooter blessed with a long wingspan that helps him get off his shot fairly easily. He has potential to be a very good defender, but lacks the necessary strength at this point of his career. Lamb should find himself on the end of many Brandon Knight passes for years to come, whether it’s for a spot up J or on the break. They wouldn’t be a bad combo to build on, along with Greg Monroe.
10. New Orleans Hornets – Perry Jones, SF/PF, Baylor
Jones is the enigma of the draft. He has excellent size (6-foot-11) for the three and four position, a long wingspan, and a great skill set. However, he’s still considered raw with humongous upside and will either be boom or bust. The Hornets won’t be contending anytime soon and pairing Jones with Davis could prove to be the league’s best set of forwards in a few years.
11. Portland Trail Blazers – Tyler Zeller, PF/C, North Carolina
Zeller is talented offensively with his ability to post-up and his athleticism to run the floor and finish strong on the break. He’ll need to build his strength, but he’s an otherwise very capable player offensively with potential on defense. He’ll be a solid complementary player for the Blazers that will do a lot of the little things.
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Sullinger is a physical specimen in regards to being able to eat space in the post and use his power game to bully defenders. Despite his bulk, Sullinger has excellent footwork, as well as a high basketball IQ. However, his lack of athleticism will see him drop to a borderline lottery pick.
13. Phoenix Suns – Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
If Steve Nash leaves, Rivers will be the next exciting guard for Phoenix as he has a great knack for scoring from anywhere on the floor, but is particularly adept at getting to and finishing at the rim. He’s a bit undersized for the two, so may have to play the one at times, where his ability to set up teammates is questionable, so don’t expect Rivers to replace a potentially departed Nash. If the latter stays, Rivers game could really flourish.
14. Houston Rockets – Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Kevin McHale will want to draft a big man to help mold and Leonard is likely that player. Leonard is a very athletic big man that has good offensive potential in the post, which McHale, one of the greatest post player ever, will likely enhance. Leonard is very solid defending the post and helping on defense. If he consistently hustles and puts the work in, Leonard has excellent potential.
15. Philadelphia 76ers – Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Ross will be an excellent rotation player for the Sixers at both the two and three spots and may allow Jodie Meeks to move on in the free agent market. Ross is a very good defender with motor, equally adept on the ball and playing passing lanes. Offensively, he’s able to find his teammates as well as finish on the break and hit jumpers.
16. Houston Rockets – Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
If Jones had come out after his freshman season last year, he would have probably been a lottery pick, but he now comes into the draft as an NCAA champion without losing too much value. The talent will be too good to pass up for the Rockets, who will be able to play Jones at either forward spot.
17. Dallas Mavericks – Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
As much as most people think it’s a done deal that Deron Williams will be heading to Dallas, Marshall falling this far may be too perfect for the team to let pass. Jason Kidd is a free agent and Rodrigue Beaubois isn’t the long-term answer at point guard, so Marshall would be an excellent and cheap backup plan should D-Will stay with the Brooklyn Nets or sign somewhere else.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves – Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Miller probably should have gone back for his sophomore season, but his offensive ability and physical traits — size, wingspan, footwork — will have him going in the first round. He’s excellent at shooting off the dribble and getting his defender off balance. Ricky Rubio should make his job easier.
19. Orlando Magic – Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
Harkless has the ability to move up the draft board thanks to his physical attributes and athleticism. He has a solid jumper, but still has room for improvement as the mechanics are there and it’ll just be a matter of putting the work in. He’s a very good defender because of his speed and long arms, but will need to work on his strength.
20. Denver Nuggets – Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
Waiters will be an excellent backup for both guard positions, spelling Ty Lawson and Arron Afflalo, and should contribute relatively significant minutes, especially if Andre Miller walks. Waiters can play both the one and two with equal productivity as he’s a solid scorer with an excellent jumper and can create for others.
21. Boston Celtics – Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State
Moultrie has one of the best motors in the game and has the ability to score inside and out, as well as rebound on both ends of the floor. He has the ability to play the three with his ability to hit the J, but can also play the five with his size and explosiveness. He can defend multiple positions and should be a solid Kevin Garnett replacement with lots of potential to learn a whole ton from KG as a reserve. Could be a really great pick considering draft position.
22. Boston Celtics – Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
Taylor could be one of those players you just plug into the rotation and let him do his thing, particularly on defense. He’s an excellent perimeter defender that can defend one through four because of his athleticism, quickness and strength. Offensively, he’s still working on getting better, but there has been improvement year-to-year while in school, so it should continue at the next level.
23. Atlanta Hawks – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
The Hawks would ideally want Al Horford to slide over to his more natural PF position, but need a center to make that happen. Melo could be that guy, as he has big potential as a defender in the NBA. He can block shots and defend post players to a very good degree, but his problems mainly come from his lack of conditioning.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Evan Fournier, SG/SF, France
Fournier is multi-talented on offense, able to score in a number of ways or set up his teammates. He’s not very explosive, but maximizes his skill set and plays smart basketball. Playing with Irving and earlier pick, Beal, Fournier could really do damage with the Cavs as the third scoring option.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
Jenkins can make it rain from all over the court, and with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in the post, there should be a great symbiotic relationship where there will be a lot of space for all to maximize their offensive ability. Jenkins can also finish on the break and has shown a good work ethic. This pick may allow the Grizz to say goodbye to O.J. Mayo.
26. Indiana Pacers – Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Nicholson has very good offensive skills, both from the outside and inside and could inherit David West’s position when West’s contract is over after next season. Nicholson is a very smart and efficient player and has some nice upside despite coming out as a college senior.
27. Miami Heat – Royce White, PF, Iowa State
White has a big body, but is fleet of foot, athletic and has major handle and court vision for a big man. However, he’s very raw when it comes to his ability to score, has had off-the-court issues and conditioning could be an issue. He’s a high-risk/high-reward prospect and learning the NBA game from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh could be the best setting for him as they’ve taken a young player under their wings before; Mario Chalmers, for example.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder – Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Thunder sold this pick as they are in win-now mode and will need to pay James Harden and Serge Ibaka after next season. However, if the team keeps it, Ezeli is basically a hybrid of Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins and could be an important rotation player down the line, particularly if Ibaka leaves for more money.
29. Chicago Bulls – Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
Derrick Rose could miss the whole next season, and at this point, Teague is the best lead guard prospect left in the draft. To a lesser degree, has the same skill set that Rose had coming into the league: great dribble, can get anywhere on the floor, finishes at the rim in traffic and possesses a raw jumper. Of course, Teague will never be Rose, but he could end up being a great backup.
30. Golden State Warriors – Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State
Green is basically a jack-of-all-trades type of player as he can do a lot of things with the ball. He possesses a high basketball IQ, which makes up for his lack of athleticism and explosiveness. Green should make for a solid contributor off the bench in Golden State.
Agree? Disagree? Where would you make your selection changes? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter by hitting me up @dv140.