1. Minnesota Timberwolves
Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns
The Timberwolves have been in constant rebuilding mode since Kevin Garnett left for Boston. However, the Timberwolves finally have a chance to reach relevance with Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is an impressive talent because he possesses range, has the ability to defend the pick and roll, obtains solid inside moves, and will become a rim protector.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Pick: Jahlil Okafor
The Los Angeles Lakers have always been led by a franchise center, O’Neal, Abdul-Jabbar, Gasol, and Mikan. The Lakers believe that Okafor could be the next star because he has huge hands, great size, and fantastic post moves. However, I have doubts about Okafor because he cannot play defense and his game does not fit the modern style of play. If the Lakers can match Okafor with Love and other shooting stars, he may be able to lead the purple and gold back to the top.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Pick: Kristaps Porzingis
Over the past few weeks, no player’s stock has risen like Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is an incredibly interesting prospect because he is 7’2″, possesses a nice jumper, and profiles as a stretch four, which is vital in today’s NBA. However, he does not come without risk because he is weak, young, and people are uncertain if he can make the leap to the NBA. The 76ers have been known to take risks in return for a large reward.
4. New York Knicks
Pick: D’Angelo Russell
The Knicks have went through their worst season in their franchise yet only came away with the fourth overall selection. However, Russell may have the ability to become a star in today’s game. As the Spurs and Warriors demonstrated, it is necessary for point guards to shoot the three and make plays for other players. The Knicks desperately need a point guard and a playmaker to go along with Melo.
5. Orlando Magic
Pick: Emmanuel Mudiay
The Magic have been depleted of talent since Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers. However, they have developed an interesting roster with Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton. However, each of these players do not have the ability to become a franchise player. Although Mudiay is talented, he does not have a lot of experience and major flaws. Mudiay will give the Magic an incredible backcourt that can play great defense and possess fantastic athleticism.
6. Sacramento Kings
Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein
The Kings are one of the worst run organizations in the league and it would be a disaster if they decide to trade DeMarcus Cousins. Instead of trading the young center, the Kings should add Cauley-Stein to play with him. Stein will not provide much on offense, but he is the best defensive player in the league. Stein is incredibly athletic, which allows him to play the pick and roll and protect the rim.
7. Denver Nuggets
Pick: Justice Winslow
The Nuggets are in a transition phase and may undergo a massive overhaul this offseason. During the NCAA tournament, Winslow displayed a level of success that skyrocketed him up draft boards. Winslow is a great slasher and plays lock down defense with the potential to become a great two way player. The Nuggets need defense and Winslow can provide a solid player to build around in the future.
8. Detroit Pistons
Pick: Mario Hezonja
The Pistons were playing great basketball until they collapsed down the stretch. The Pistons are blessed with front court star Andre Drummond and possibly Greg Monroe if he re-signs this offseason. However, they need to stretch the floor with threes and Hezonja can provide that skill to the team.
9. Charlotte Hornets
Pick: Devin Booker
The Hornets are a feisty basketball team that plays great defense and nearly made the playoffs for the second straight season. However, they lack dynamic, outside shooting, which could take them to the next level. The Kentucky product is one of the best pure shooters in the draft and could provide a great service to the team.
10. Miami Heat
Pick: Stanley Johnson
The Heat are facing many difficult decisions this offseason, but none are greater than the decision to keep Dwyane Wade. Wade is not happy with Heat’s front office, which could force him to depart this offseason. However, even if he does not leave, Johnson would be a great fit for Miami. Although his offensive game may need developing, he is another two way player that has become necessary in the NBA. Johnson’s athleticism and potential could lead him to become a star in the future.
11. Indiana Pacers
Pick: Cameron Payne
The Pacers lost their best player and still nearly made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers will remain one of the best defensive teams in the league, but they can use a second playmaker since the loss of Lance Stephenson. Stephenson made the Pacers great because he allowed them to have two ball handlers.
12. Utah Jazz
Pick: Myles Turner
The Utah Jazz are stacked with young talent and toward the end of the season they played like one of the best in the league. However, the Jazz still lack a center that could stretch the floor and play alongside Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. Turner has the potential to be the steal of the draft because he could become the next Serge Ibaka with better shooting, but less rim protecting.
13. Phoenix Suns
Pick: Frank Kaminsky
The Suns nearly made the playoffs for the second time in the Western Conference. However, they still lack win players that can shoot the three at a high level. Two years ago, the Suns selected Alex Len, who projects as a low post center, but Frank the Tank will fit perfectly alongside him. Kaminsky may possess terrible defensive skills, but he is versatile enough to make shots.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
Pick: Sam Dekker
The Thunder have been attempting to find a fourth scorer since James Harden was sent to the Rockets in one of the worst trades in NBA history. Sam Dekker displayed great talent during the NCAA tournament while leading the Badgers to the Finals. Unlike most white guys, Dekker will allow the Thunder to add a fifth starter that can shoot the three. At Dekker’s size, 6’9″, he can play the three or four position.
15. Atlanta Hawks
Pick: Kelly Oubre
During the postseason, the Hawks showed their lack of scoring and versatility. Although Oubre is raw, which keeps him from becoming a top ten selection, Oubre has the potential to be a D and three star. The Hawks, like the Spurs, have showed that one cannot have too many players that can shoot and play great defense against James, George, and Rose.
16. Boston Celtics
Pick: Trey Lyles
The Celtics are almost done with their rebuild, but still lack a starting caliber power forward or center. Lyles showed during his days at Kentucky that he has a versatile offensive game that should continue to develop. Defensively, he may need time to improve. Unfortunately, Lyles is not a rim protector, which the Celts desperately need. However, he should be able to defend opposing stretch fours because he is fairly agile and can go outside of the paint.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Pick: Kevon Looney
The rangy power forward from UCLA would perfectly fit the Bucks’ roster. Looney possesses a 7’3″ wingspan, which enables him to defend multiple positions and dominate the boards. The Bucks recently dealt starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova. Although he cannot shoot like Ilyasova, Looney is a far better athlete and rebounder to place next to Giannis and Jabari. The Bucks love length, ie Parker, Antetekumpo, and Carter-Williams, and Looney fits the mold that Jason Kidd sees in a power forward.
18. Houston Rockets
Pick: Tyus Jones
The Duke star point guard displayed his clutch shooting and high IQ while leading the Blue Devils to the championship. During the playoffs, Patrick Beverley’s absence hurt the team’s ability to run the offense and put excess pressure on James Harden. In addition, they could use someone that can defend opposing guards unlike Jason Terry.
19. Washington Wizards
Pick: Bobby Portis
For the second straight season, the Wizards won a playoff round and nearly made the Eastern Conference Finals. Portis has the talent to pick and pop like Nene and Gortat, but he is substantially cheaper and younger. Portis will add depth so that they no longer need to rely on Drew Gordon.
20. Toronto Raptors
Pick: Montrezl Harrell
The Raptors have a large hole at the power forward position and will probably look to the draft instead of free agency. Harrell brings athleticism and energy that they sorely lacked with Amir Johnson and Psycho T down low. Although Harrell does not possess great offensive talent, he should be an instant double double machine.
21. Dallas Mavericks
Pick: Jerian Grant
The Mavs made a disastrous trade when they opted to acquire Rajon Rondo at the trade deadline. However, Rondo was awful with the Mavs and they need a new starting point guard. Although Grant has his issues, he showed that he could be a dynamic scorer as well as distributor for a great, efficient offense.
22. Chicago Bulls
Pick: RJ Hunter
The Chicago Bulls need to stretch the floor, especially if Dunleavy leaves during free agency. Hunter has one of the best shooting strokes in the entire draft. In addition, Hunter has good size for a shooting guard, but it must be seen if he can score against NBA quality talent.
23. Portland Trailblazers
Pick: Justin Anderson
The Portland Trailblazers suffered a major loss when Wes Matthews injured his ACL. It may become even worse if he leaves during free agency. Although Anderson cannot fulfill the shoes of Matthews, who was one of the best shooting guards in the league, he should be able to shoot threes and play solid defense.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
Pick: Delon Wright
The Cavs had a great season and should have won the championship if they had Kyrie and Kevin in their starting lineup. Without a solid backup point guard, the Cavs looked awful and could not run an offense without LeBron. However, Delon Wright provides length, playmaking ability, and defense. In today’s NBA, it is necessary to have multiple wing and guard defenders.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Pick: Rakeem Christmas
The Memphis Grizzlies have predicated their success around their defense. The combination of Gasol and Randolph has made given options nightmares around the paint. However, both players are climbing up in age and they should look toward a replacement for one of the two. Christmas is a developed big with a lot of talent to become a quality starter or role player in the future.
26. San Antonio Spurs
Pick: Rashad Vaughn
The Spurs may have a dilemma this offseason because many of their wing players are free agents and should command good money. If any of the Spurs leave, Vaughn should be able to fill into a potential starter because of his ability to shoot. The Spurs love to spread the floor and Vaughn has that ability.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
Pick: Rondae Hollis Jefferson
The Lakers have multiple holes and problems so they should look to find the beast available player late in the first round. With the 27th overall pick, Jefferson would be a solid pick. Jefferson has good length and athleticism. As the Warriors demonstrated, it is not possible to have too many athletic wings that can defend many positions.
28. Boston Celtics
Pick: Chris McCullough
Although the Celts would love to draft a big that can become an elite shot blocker, they do not exist this late in the draft. However, McCullough displayed potential and raw talent that could convert into star potential. The Celtics should have time to develop the player.
29. Brooklyn Nets
Pick: Terry Rozier
The Nets need a point guard of the future since Deron Williams and Jarret Jack do not seem to be the answer of the future. Rozier has solid talent to be an eventual quality starter. If the Nets do not go for the point guard, they may select a big that will add athleticism to the team.
30. Golden State Warriors
Pick: Aaron Harrison
The Warriors love to collect players that range between the height 6’6″ and 6’9″ and can shoot the three. During his two years at Kentucky, Harrison displayed the ability to shoot threes. Although he does not have great athleticism and needs experience, he could become a very useful role player if the Warriors want to become a dynasty.