- Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, Australia – 6 ft 10 in, f
With the lottery order decided, and surprisingly, no deviations from the projections, the Philadelphia 76ers win the major prize – the opportunity to pick either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram.
There has been a lot of talk that Simmons has no interest in joining anyone outside his favourite team – the Los Angeles Lakers. But sources close to Ben, and the man himself, are starting to suggest that joining Philadelphia does not bother him.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram, Duke – 6 ft 9 in, sf
The Los Angeles Lakers will have been bitterly disappointed that they (supposedly) have missed out on drafting the top prize since perhaps LeBron James. But they may make away with the Kevin Durant to Simmons’ James.
Either way, as long as they don’t trade the pick, which General Manager Mitch Kupchak has suggested they will not, Los Angeles will end up with a supremely talented player with which to build the post-Kobe era around.
- Boston Celtics – Buddy Hield, Oklahoma – 6 ft 4 in, sg
Despite head coach Brad Stevens quoting that the Boston Celtics are looking at “seven to eight” guys with their number three pick, many within the industry and in Boston would not be surprised to see them trade it.
It’s no secret the Celtics have been trying to land a big fish (already in the NBA) for a long while now, and this high pick in the draft may finally give them the ammunition to do so.
- Phoenix Suns – Dragan Bender, Croatia – 7 ft 0 in, pf
Negative noise around Dragan Bender has been getting louder since the lottery, but still, I expect the Phoenix Suns to pick the Croatian big man at this spot.
Other names mentioned at this spot have been Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray and Kris Dunn, but with a slew of young players at their positions, it is likely Phoenix will go back with their first pick in the Draft.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Jamal Murray, Canada, 6 ft 4 in, g
The Minnesota Timberwolves could go anywhere with this pick, given the wealth of talent they already have on their team. But with recent noise that Ricky Rubio may be traded, I have them selecting Jamal Murray.
Although Rubio has proven to be the purest of point guards, concern over his ability to shoot the basketball has arisen. Among a bounty of other talents, this is one of Murray’s fortes.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Kris Dunn, Providence, 6 ft 4 in, pg
The New Orleans Pelicans will be desperately hoping that Jamal Murray falls to them somehow, but if plan A fails, Kris Dunn is hardly a bad plan B.
Kris Dunn is the kind of steady hand that New Orleans could do with, especially next to Anthony Davis. Whilst Jrue Holiday is proving a nice option at point guard, his passing isn’t quite where it needs to be after seven seasons in the league.
- Denver Nuggets - Jaylen Brown, California, 6 ft 7 in, g/f
Whilst they would love to see Buddy Hield slide to them to round out a pretty imposing young roster, the Denver Nuggets will probably have to settle for the next best thing, Jaylen Brown.
As good a prospect as Jaylen Brown is, he is still a project. He is your prototypical wing athlete who may take a few years to come along. Whether or not Denver want to wait depends on whether they draft him.
- Sacramento Kings – Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga, 6 ft 10 in, pf
NBA scouts are calling Domantas Sabonis the most NBA ready big in the Draft, and he is beginning to look like the perfect foil for DeMarcus Cousins…or replacement?
He is a good shooter, gives great effort on both ends and would be a welcome presence in the Sacramento lineup…if they don’t end up trading this pick.
- Toronto Raptors – Marquese Chriss, Washington, 6 ft 10 in, pf
With Ivan Rabb staying in school and now off the board, the Toronto Raptors’ (and likely a few others teams’) draft plans will have changed. Enter Washington power forward Marquese Chriss.
Most draft analysts regard Chriss as the big “boom or bust” prospect in this upcoming draft, and with Toronto already in a fairly favourable position, they can afford to spend this pick on him.
- Milwaukee Bucks – Jakob Poeltl, Austria, 7 ft 1 in, c
Jakob Poeltl is a relatively safe pick at this stage of the draft – he’s a big, hulking centre who gives you a good presence on both ends of the court, most notably the defensive end.
Given that the Milwaukee Bucks are fairly short on frontcourt size, the big Austrian would make for a fine selection with the 10th overall pick.
- Orlando Magic – Deyonta Davis, Michigan State, 6 ft 10 in, pf
Deyonta Davis impressed most that saw him at Michigan State this year, and whilst the Orlando Magic do not have any pressing needs in the draft, Davis will make a great addition to their young core.
Davis is a fundamentally sound and traditional power forward, and could potentially form a good combination down low with Nikola Pekovic if asked to start, or a nice energy injection off the bench.
- Utah Jazz – Skal Labissiere, Kentucky, 6 ft 11 in, pf
His struggles have been well documented, yet Skal Labissiere still seems to be unmovable from the 12 spot in this year’s Draft. Whilst Utah are not lacking in talented bigs, that is exactly why they be more inclined to pick Labissiere – he would not have the immediate pressure to succeed, such as at Kentucky, and could learn from the immensely talented duo of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.
- Phoenix Suns – Denzel Valentine, Michigan State, 6 ft 5 in, g/f
Denzel Valentine is the one wildcard of the draft. One of the candidates for the Wooden Award, good statistics and a strong final season always provide for some food for thought around draft time.
With Valentine at this position in the draft, Phoenix could not go wrong. They have wing depth already, and if Valentine comes in and contributes immediately, as he is expected to do, they’re looking at quite a potent backcourt.
- Chicago Bulls – Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey, 6 ft 7 in, sg
Furkan Korkmaz has been in and out of lottery projections all year long, but his play of late suggests he may finally be here to stay, and he would hardly be a bad pick for the Chicago Bulls at #14.
Korkmaz is a good chance to go earlier in the draft given his high upside, but it’s likely he falls out of the lottery, especially given Chicago will be looking for wing depth.