1. Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz
After trading up with the Boston Celtics to acquire the number one pick, the 76ers stated that they will take the Washington product first overall. Even though Fultz did not play in the bright lights at Washington, the star point guard dominated the PAC-12. Fultz plays like a point guard, but has the size and scoring ability of a shooting guard. Philadelphia should be excited for this young prospect to pair with Joel Emiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric.
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball
Even though Ball will not be the first player selected, he has received the most recognition because of his play at UCLA and his father’s loud and controversial comments. Ball does not have the greatest shooting touch or finishing ability, but he is a natural leader and a master with the ball. Ball has the passing ability that has not been seen in many decades out of college. Many people compare Ball to Jason Kidd and the Lakers hope that he will fulfill his potential and help lead the Lakers’ revival.
3. Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum
Although the Celtics should opt to draft Josh Jackson with the third overall selection, it seems more and more likely that they will draft the Duke forward as Jackson did not workout for Boston. The Celtics need a player like Tatum that can carry the scoring load when Thomas needs a break from the ball. Even though he does not possess a great three point shoot, which contradicts the Celtics style of play, he can hit shots from anywhere inside the arc. In addition, Tatum’s strong build and size should allow him to become a solid defensive player and durable player under the tutelage of Brad Stevens.
4. Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson
The Suns are getting an absolute stud and future superstar in Josh Jackson at number four overall. The Suns have a lot of offensive firepower with Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, and TJ Warren, but they lack a wing that can lock down opposing stars in the Western Conference. Jackson would be a great fit for the Suns due to his extreme athleticism, competitive nature, and incredible motor. Even though he is not a great shooter, he is an exceptional slasher and finisher around the rim.
5. Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox
Even when the Kings are fortunate enough to move up in the draft order, they have to flip their pick with the 76ers and drop to the fifth overall pick. The Kings have a multitude of needs so they should just look for the best player available, which in this case is De’Aaron Fox. Fox dominated college basketball at the end of the season because of his phenomenal passing ability as well as his surprising scoring touch. Like many of the other players, he does not have a great shot, but he gets to the rim with ease and is a tough on the ball defender.
6. Orlando Magic – Frank Ntilikina
The Magic’s new GM, John Hammond, is from the Milwaukee Bucks’ organization should give good insight into who they will selecting. In Milwaukee, Hammond loved players that could defend multiple positions and handle the ball. The foreign product has both of those abilities along with a great passing ability and leadership skills. Even though he does not have a great jump shot, he is a good slasher, similar to fellow countryman Dennis Schroeder. The Magic could be looking for a new point guard to either replace or pair along with Elfrid Payton for the foreseeable future.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonathan Isaac
The Minnesota Timberwolves may have the best collection of young talent in the league, but they still have not been able to translate that into wins. The collection of Towns, Wiggins, Dunn, and LaVine give the Wolves future stars at every position, but power forward. Although Dieng has filled his role valiantly, he does not have the same upside or athleticism as Isaac. The former Seminole will play well alongside Towns because he will help with interior defense and give Towns more room inside the paint to operate. Isaac is not a polished product in the slightest, but his immense upside, ability to protect the rim, and shoot from behind the arc make him a great fit for Minnesota.
8. New York Knicks – Dennis Smith
The New York Knicks are looking to trade in order to acquire another top pick, even if it means trading star Kristops Porzingis. The Knicks need a point guard of the future and Smith can be the answer to their quarrels. During his time at NC State, Smith dominated the ACC, even the toughest competition, because of his quick acceleration, court vision, and passing ability. Many of the Knicks’ problems can be answered with a point guard that can defend opposing guards and effectively distribute the basketball to Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony. Although he is coming off of an ACL injury, the Knicks should be excited to draft Smith as the future point guard.
9. Dallas Mavericks – Lauri Markkanen
The Mavs are in need of a franchise player to replace future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki and fortunately for Mark Cuban they may be able to find that man in Markkanen. Although it is presumptuous to believe that the Arizona center will have as distinguish career as Nowitzki, he has the attributes and skills to replicate his success. During his sole year at Arizona, Markkanen was able to create success by stretching out to the three point line and using his seven foot size body to shoot over defenders. Like Nowitzki, Markkanen could use help at rebounding and shot blocking, which could happen if he listens to coach Rick Carlisle.
10. Sacramento Kings – Malik Monk
With their second lottery selection, the Kings should look to bolster their wings, especially after drafting multiple big men in last year’s draft and Fox with their first selection. The Kings should look to add Monk, not just because of his offensive prowess, but due to his rapport with Fox. During their time in Lexington, Monk and Fox became the best backcourt in basketball. Fox’s incredible court vision along with Monk’s insane range and scoring ability, the best in the class, made the duo unstoppable. Monk may not possess great size or strength for the position, but he should definitely be considered at this point in the draft.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Luke Kennard
Luke Kennard seems to be a perfect fit for the Hornets at number 11 in the draft. During his two years at Duke, Kennard displayed a drive, intelligence, and shooting stroke, unlike many in college basketball. Kennard’s basketball IQ and three point shooting ability will fit well next to Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, neither of which are great shooters. In addition, Batum and new Hornet, Dwight Howard, should be able to make up for Kennard’s defensive limitations due to his less than exceptional athleticism and strength.
12. Detroit Pistons – Donovan Mitchell
The Detroit Pistons are almost able to return to the playoffs in the crowded Eastern Conference. The addition of a player like Donovan Mitchell should significantly help their chances. Although he does not have great size for the position, his elite strength and explosion allows him to beat defenders and score inside the paint. Mitchell may need work on his shooting, but he should help the Pistons, who are in dire need of offensive assistance.
13. Denver Nuggets – OG Anunoby
The Denver Nuggets are hoping to return to the playoffs and hope that Anunoby can give them the advantage to succeed in the West. Anunoby’s biggest asset that will help the Nuggets is his knack for knocking down three point shots. The former Hoosier may be raw offensively, but he has good range and should be able to draw attention away from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. In addition, if Danilo Gallinari leaves Denver this offseason, Anunoby should be able to fill his shoes as one of the most underrated 3 and D players in the NBA, if he can return from a knee injury that may knock him out for a majority of the season.
14. Miami Heat – Zach Collins
The former Gonzaga Bulldog would be a good addition for the Heat as they hope to return to dominance in the East. Collins did not play major minutes for the Zags as he was only a freshman on a veteran latent team, but he may have been the most talented player on the squad. If the Heat can have Collins paired alongside Whiteside down low, they will be extremely difficult to score against inside the paint. While he does not have the shot blocking ability like Whiteside, although very few do, he can shoot from the outside and force opposing defenders to respect his game.