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1) Cleveland - Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Knee concerns aside, Noel is still the choice at #1. Limited on the offensive end, he already has the ability to be a defensive presence. While they could add more offense with some other choices here, Kyrie Irving and company will all benefit from having Noel’s athleticism in the middle.
2) Orlando – Ben McLemore, G, Kansas
Put aside rumors of McLemore’s workouts and you have an athletic, talented scorer who you can build a team around. McLemore will draw attention right away for his shooting ability, but he is also a good defender. He should be the piece the Magic rebuild around.
3) Washington – Otto Porter, F, Georgetown
The Wizards backcourt for the foreseeable future is set with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Porter will provide them with a versatile forward who can contribute immediately in a number of areas. Most important, he doesn’t need to be the star to have an impact.
4) Charlotte – Alex Len, C, Maryland
The need for a big man seems to be a constant for the Bobcats, and they will have a shot at a potential game-changer in Len. Already skilled on the offensive end, Len has the upside to develop into a NBA level player on both ends. Also, with a lack of scoring on the team all around, Len should be able to get all the touches he needs to continue to develop.
5) Phoenix – Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV
Phoenix may be saddled by Michael Beasley for the near future, and there is a logjam at the power forward position, but the talent and upside of Bennett will be too much to pass up here. His ability to play on the perimeter or post should allow the Suns some flexibility with their rotations.
6) New Orleans – Trey Burke, G, Michigan
Austin Rivers was drafted last year to potentially be the Pelicans’ point guard of the future, but realistically, he may never become the distributor that the team will need. Enter Trey Burke. Already adept at running the pick-and-roll, look for the team to see an increased number of good looks based on Burke’s abilities.
7) Sacramento – Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana
Other than the center position, Sacramento has many needs, but I have a hard time believing they pass up a defender like Oladipo, who still has room to grow on the offensive side. Oladipo’s ability to stay in front of players looking to get into the lane should also help DeMarcus Cousins stay out of foul trouble.
8) Detroit – C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh
Brandon Knight has had a chance to show that he can be the point guard Detroit needs, but he isn’t. The frontcourt is set with the duo of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, so look for the Pistons to find the guard who can not only run the offense, but score in a variety of ways. McCollum can do that, defend, and is a natural leader.
9) Minnesota – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G, Georgia
Minnesota expects Nikola Pekovic to re-sign with the team which shores up the frontline needs, and next on the list would be a perimeter threat. Caldwell-Pope didn’t have great shooting numbers, but he was also handling a heavy burden on a bad Georgia team. He is more than capable of knocking down shots as long as he doesn’t force them.
10) Portland – Cody Zeller, F, Indiana
Portland has gotten a lot out of LaMarcus Aldridge the past few seasons, but he needs help in the frontcourt. Meyers Leonard is still developing into the Blazers’ center of the future, but Zeller would fit right in as an athletic power forward who runs the floor, can score in a variety of ways, and is a good defender.
11) Philadelphia – Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Adams certainly didn’t live up to his hype last season, but you can see the physical tools that may have led some people to do that. He is still pretty much a clean slate as far as being a basketball player, so Philadelphia should have a chance to mold them in to the type of big man they need.
12) Oklahoma City (from Toronto) – Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
An unfortunate injury derailed Oklahoma City’s quest to get to the NBA Finals, and there aren’t many areas of real need for the Thunder. A scoring big man could provide some versatility on offense, and Olynyk is coming off a breakout season on that end. He can knock down the mid-range jumper consistently and he runs the floor well for his size, though he has some defensive limitations.
13) Dallas – Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse
While it’s still expected that Dallas will do all they can to free themselves of this pick, and eventual salary, to make sure they have all the space they need to be a contender for Dwight Howard’s services, there is little chance they would pass up Carter-Williams if they still have the pick. At 6’6, Carter has tremendous size for the point guard position to match his court vision. He’s not ready to take over a team yet, but he will be put in a position to learn all he needs.
14) Utah – Shane Larkin, G, Miami
Utah has some potentially strong young frontcourt pieces in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, but there is a big void at the point guard position. Larkin made a big jump his sophomore year at Miami, and he showed he can run a pro-style offense. He will need some work on the defensive end, but he could be Utah’s answer at the position for many years.
15) Milwaukee – Shabazz Muhammad, F, UCLA
Monta Ellis has opted out of his contract, and Milwaukee is going to need to add some scoring to compensate. Considering scoring is the only thing Muhammad does well at this point, he should find an opportunity early to make an impact here.
16) Boston – Dennis Schroeder, G, Germany
No matter how the potential deal with the Clippers turns out, the Celtics will need some help at the point guard position. Schroeder is still developing, but he has great speed and vision. He likely won’t provide any help this year, but he could be the Celtics’ point guard of the future.
17) Atlanta – Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
Atlanta is another team that hopes to be a player for Dwight Howard this summer, but with a good chance they won’t get him they will need to fill a need at center. There are plenty of other needs, but Plumlee will be able to give some valuable minutes right away.
18) Atlanta (from Houston) – Giannis Adetokunbo, F, Greece
With their second pick here, look for Atlanta to try and save some money by picking the very raw Adetokubo and letting him spend a few years in Europe refining his game.
19) Cleveland (from LA Lakers) – Sergey Karasev, F, Russia
This the second of four picks Cleveland has in the first, and look for them to take on at least 1 project. Karasev is a skilled shooter, which all teams can use, but almost every part of his game needs work. Still there is some upside here and worth the risk at 19.
20) Chicago – Allen Crabbe, G, California
The Bulls are one of the many teams in need of perimeter shooting and they have a chance at one of the better ones in this draft in Crabbe. With great size at the shooting guard position, Crabbe will be able to find good looks, and should benefit from a healthy Derrick Rose.
21) Utah (from Golden State) - Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Dieng will provide the Jazz some needed depth in the frontcourt, as well as a rim protector. They may also look for another shooter here, but it will be tough to pass on Dieng.
22) Brooklyn – Rudy Gobert, C, France
The Nets may need some more immediate help in the frontcourt, but if Dieng is gone, they will settle on this French project. Gobert is extremely raw, but in a few years he has the chance to be a strong defender as he continues to improve his offense.
23) Indiana – Reggie Bullock, G/F, North Carolina
Indiana had a great run to the Eastern Conference Finals, and Paul George and Roy Hibbert have established themselves as two of the better players in the NBA. Bullock is a knockdown shooter who should help stretch the floor and give them more room to do what they do best.
24) New York – Jamaal Franklin, G, San Diego State
Franklin would give the Knicks an athletic wing who can defend on the perimeter. His shooting will need to improve, but he should be able to break into the rotation rather quickly and provide some energy on both ends of the floor.
25) Los Angeles Clippers – Tim Hardaway, Jr., G, Michigan
Re-signing Chris Paul is still the Clippers top priority, and a potential deal with the Celtics is still in the works. Either way, Hardaway will provide some depth in the backcourt and give the Clippers an athletic wing who has shown some good, though inconsistent, shooting ability.
26) Minnesota (from Memphis) – Tony Mitchell, F, North Texas
Having added some shooting earlier in the draft with Caldwell-Pope, the Timberwolves can focus on the frontcourt and add a talented, but still developing forward in Mitchell. He is coming off a disappointing sophomore season, and he has had on and off the court issues, but a strong veteran presence in Minnesota should help him.
27) Denver – Tony Snell, G, New Mexico
Denver has gone through some major changes during the off-season with both the General Manager and Coach gone, and Andre Iguodala looking to test free agency. No matter the team make-up, Snell will provide help on both ends of the floor. Underrated as a shooter and defender, Snell also has the athleticism to play in Denver’s up-tempo style.
28) San Antonio – Lucas Noguiera, C, Brazil
Tim Duncan is winding down his career and Tiago Splitter has hardly shown that he can be the frontcourt force the team needs for their system. Noguiera is another raw center prospect, but he has the physical tools to develop well in the Spurs’ organization.
29) Oklahoma City- Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Oklahoma City already took a scoring big man at 12 in Kelly Olynyk and now will look for another defensive presence in the paint. Withey doesn’t have much upside, but he is a tremendous shot-blocker and should be good insurance in case Serge Ibaka has any health issues.
30) Phoenix (from Miami) – Erick Green, G, Virginia Tech
Another team with a second pick in Round 1, the Suns could add some backcourt depth and scoring with college’s leading scorer. Green can score in a variety of ways and should help space the floor with his ability to shoot.
- Sports & Recreation
- Nerlens Noel
- Victor Oladipo