The first monster move of the NBA offseason occurred Saturday with Anthony Davis heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Pelicans getting this year’s No. 4 overall draft selection, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and two additional future first-round picks.
The Pelicans will likely draft Zion Williamson at No. 1 overall, but what will they do with the No. 4 pick? Trade it? Draft Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter? Take someone else?
Here’s a look at how things are shaping up for Thursday’s NBA draft.
1. New Orleans Pelicans
F Zion Williamson, Duke, 6-8, 280
Williamson is pretty much a lock at No. 1, yet the Pelicans are getting a little bit of baggage with Lonzo and LaVar Ball. Williamson played against Lonzo’s younger brother, LaMelo, in one the biggest AAU games I’ve ever covered (so packed even LeBron and his sons couldn’t get in), so Williamson is familiar with what comes with the Balls. It will likely be a young rebuilding team in New Orleans, but it should be fun to watch.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
PG Ja Morant, Murray State, 6-3, 175
Morant has had a busy couple of months. He recently signed a shoe deal with Nike and earlier this month underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure on his right knee and is expected to fully recover in three-to-four weeks. Although Morant is still likely a lock at No. 2, the Grizzlies invited R.J. Barrett for a private workout, but he declined the offer.
3. New York Knicks
SG R.J. Barrett, Duke, 6-7, 203
Williamson would love to see Barrett fall to the Pelicans at No. 4, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. With Kevin Durant’s torn Achilles changing the landscape and plenty of pricey free agents available, it will be interesting to see if New York keeps Barrett or trades him for an established star to rebuild quickly. Regardless, Barrett’s future is bright with his size, competitive edge and playmaking ability in the lane. He also reclassified to play at Duke a year early, so the 19-year-old really should be a graduating senior in high school.
4. New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
SG Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech, 6-6, 195
When you look at the Pelicans’ projected roster, there’s a minor gap at two guard. Culver is a long shooting guard who can come in and contribute right away defensively. The Big 12 Player of the Year was a streaky shooter in college, but has been having great pre-draft workouts and might have earned a slight advantage over De’Andre Hunter.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
F De’Andre Hunter, Virginia, 6-7, 225
Hunter is the best available player and should be an offensive contributor alongside last year’s top draft pick, Collin Sexton. Hunter shot 52 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from 3-point range in a competitive ACC conference and led his team to a national title. Hunter’s pre-draft workouts haven’t been perfect, but under pressure in big-time scenarios, he’s proven he can make things happen and win games.
6. Phoenix Suns
G Coby White, North Carolina, 6-5, 185
The Suns need a point guard, and White should be a good fit for Phoenix’s young talented group. Reports have surfaced that the Suns prefer White here and have not invited Darius Garland to work out or seen him while he’s training in L.A. White is the best shooting point guard in the draft and can come in and help Devin Booker. White made 82 threes this past season at North Carolina and averaged 16.1 points per game. White can fit any system with his patience in a halfcourt set and his shooter’s mentality.
7. Chicago Bulls
PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt, 6-2, 175
The Bulls need a point guard, and Garland should be a good fit for Chicago’s young, talented group. Garland only played five collegiate basketball games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, but his draft stock hasn’t wavered. Garland is a true floor general who is a good passer, super quick in the lane and a solid defender. He could be a solid piece for a team building with youth.
8. Atlanta Hawks
SF Cameron Reddish, Duke, 6-7, 215
If Reddish finds his 3-point stroke again, he and Trae Young could form a dangerous duo in Atlanta. Both players are familiar with one another after playing together at multiple USA Basketball training camps in high school, so they’re already comfortable with each other’s games. Reddish struggled from behind the arc at Duke, but his workouts have been solid and teams seem to be coming around on the lengthy wing.
9. Washington Wizards
PF Sekou Doumbouya, Limoges France, 6-9, 230
At only 18 years old, Doumbouya should have a long, promising career in front of him. He’s recovering from a recent torn ligament in his thumb, but his potential is immense. He can defend multiple positions with his length and is moving up draft boards. He recently had great workouts with Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington.
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas)
C Jaxon Hayes, Texas, 6-11, 220
Jaxon Hayes is a raw, talented player who will be a project. His ceiling is high, and with added experience and the chance to learn under coach Lloyd Pierce, he could be an impactful center two or three years down the road.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
F Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga, 6-8, 235
Hachimura embodies the term “positionless basketball.” He’s a hybrid small forward/power forward who defends the perimeter well. Hachimura is a student of the game and will grow tremendously playing alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.
12. Charlotte Hornets
SF Nassir Little, North Carolina, 6-6, 220
Little’s minutes were limited at North Carolina, but he is a very talented prospect. Little was the MVP of the McDonald’s All-America Game that featured Barrett and Zion and is a pure athlete. His motor and strength are undeniable, making Little tough to pass up.
13. Miami Heat
SG Romeo Langford, Indiana, 6-6, 210
Langford hasn’t been able to work out for any teams because of a thumb injury, but according to sources, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat have been showing the most interest in Langford. With the departure of Dwyane Wade, Langford can fill the Heat’s shooting-guard need. Langford’s team interviews haven’t been that great because of his quiet demeanor, which sometimes comes across as being passive or uninterested during games.
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia)
SG Tyler Herro, Kentucky, 6-5, 194
This could be the spot for the sharpshooter out of Kentucky after reports of Herro impressing the Celtics. Although Herro struggled in his one year at Kentucky, shooting 35.5 percent from three, he reportedly made 80 out of 100 to end his workout with Boston.
15. Detroit Pistons
PF PJ Washington, Kentucky, 6-8, 235
Washington could have been a late second-round pick last year but elected to return to Kentucky to work on his game, and that paid off. Washington is a bully in the lane, good on defense and has a nice touch from 3-point range for a big. He’ll need to get stronger to face the East’s best big men.
16. Orlando Magic
SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 205
A versatile guard who had to play the point and the two at Virginia Tech, Alexander-Walker has the potential to be a solid contributor. He can shoot the three, and with his speed he could flourish in Orlando. The Magic have a pretty strong frontcourt with Aaron Gordon and Mo Bamba, and Alexander-Walker can come in and be the shooter they need.
17. Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn)
SF Keldon Johnson, Kentucky, 6-6, 215
The Hawks could get a handful of players in this draft class who could be solid complementary pieces to Trae Young. Johnson is a standard wing who can slide down and play the two. He can knock down the three and is explosive in transition.
18. Indiana Pacers
C Goga Bitadze, Buducnost VOLI (EuroLeague), 6-11, 245
There’s a need in the Pacers’ frontcourt behind Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner, and with Bojan Bogdanovic being an unrestricted free agent, Bitadze can be that addition with his size and ability to spread the floor.
19. San Antonio Spurs
PF Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga, 6-8, 215
From an unranked high school prospect to San Jose State to Gonzaga to the draft, Clarke’s transformation to an NBA prospect has been impressive. A solid forward in the pick-and-roll, he could be a complementary addition to the Spurs.
20. Boston Celtics (from LA Clippers via Memphis)
C Bol Bol, Oregon, 7-2, 235
The son of Manute Bol has extreme upside with his size and natural talent, but will be a project for any team. There are a few questions causing him to fall in the draft because of chronic foot injuries and a lack of passion for the game at times. The Celtics will have time to be patient with Bol as he develops. He’s already an elite rim protector and can knock it down from deep.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
SF Cameron Johnson, North Carolina, 6-8, 210
Johnson is one of the best shooters in the draft. At 23 years old, he’s experienced and knows how to switch his game to get the most out of his time on the court. Johnson could get some solid minutes right away on a Thunder team that needs some consistent outside shooting. Johnson appears to be a lock to the Thunder here, but could go as high as No. 17 because of a surge of interest.
22. Boston Celtics
SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State, 6-4, 230
Horton-Tucker is a hybrid guard/forward with size and shiftiness. His shot-making ability off the dribble makes him a true threat in the lane. There are reports that Horton-Tucker has worked out with the Celtics, Thunder and Pacers, but it’s hard to see him slipping past here.
23. Utah Jazz
SF Kevin Porter Jr., USC, 6-5, 220
Kevin Porter didn’t exactly shine in his one year at USC, averaging 9.5 points per game. There were also a few red flags he had to address during the predraft process (injuries and a brief team suspension), but it’s hard to imagine him slipping out of the first round. He can get his shot from anywhere on the court and has hints of James Harden in his game.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
SF Matisse Thybulle, Washington, 6-6, 200
Thybulle was the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year two years in a row and was first-team All-Pac-12. He could be one of the most complete players in the draft. The only reason he’ll fall this far is because Washington only played zone defense, and there are questions about whether Thybulle can play man-to-man (he can). Thybulle should be a great defensive asset coming off the bench alongside Zhaire Smith.
25. Portland Trail Blazers
SF KZ Okpala, Stanford, 6-8, 195
The sophomore is the first Stanford player to leave for the NBA draft before his junior year since Brook and Robin Lopez in 2010. He was a Pac-12 first-teamer after averaging 16.8 points per game. Okpala is a perimeter threat with a great first step who can finish at the rim. He also has an improved shot from 3-point range.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston)
C Bruno Fernando, Maryland, 6-10, 240
Fernando has an NBA body and has been impressing multiple teams in his predraft workouts. The center from Angola could be an instant impact player and solid contributor.
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver)
PG Ty Jerome, Virginia, 6-5, 200
Jerome has worked out for numerous teams leading up to the draft, all but solidifying his spot as a first-round pick. Jerome has a high basketball IQ, is a solid perimeter shooter and has the makings of a role player who does all the small things well.
28. Golden State Warriors
SG Luguentz Dort, Arizona State, 6-4, 215
ASU fans were upset to see Dort declare for the draft after playing just one year for the Sun Devils. Dort has worked out for numerous teams, yet the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year would be a nice addition to the Warriors’ depth.
29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto)
PF Grant Williams, Tennessee, 6-7, 220
An undersized power forward, Williams is a beast on the block with a solid midrange game. He’ll need to work on taking defenders off the dribble and defending the perimeter, but who better to learn from than coach Gregg Popovich?
30. Milwaukee Bucks
PF Nic Claxton, Georgia, 6-11, 220
Claxton was a solid contributor for coach Tom Crean and the Bulldogs, averaging 13 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. The sophomore was one of the most improved players in the SEC, and his ceiling is high. The Bucks can afford to be patient and help mold him while he works with one of the best in the league on a daily basis in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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