- Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, Australia, 6 ft 10 in, f
With the regular season finally over and the Philadelphia 76ers having secured the best odds of the number one pick in the league, they can finally begin to speculate on whom they may draft if they receive the coveted number one pick. Right now, that looks to be none other than Ben Simmons.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram, Duke, 6 ft 9 in, sf
The Los Angeles Lakers would love to draft Ben Simmons in June’s NBA Draft, but they know that unless they get the number one pick, odds are not on of that happening. However, Brandon Ingram can hardly be insulted with the tag of “consolation prize”.
- Boston Celtics - Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, 6 ft 4 in, sg
The Boston Celtics are unquestionable the best fit for Buddy Hield in the top-three; Boston are a team that is already good and Hield’s play style would fit into Brad Steven’s playbook perfectly. Hield and the Celtics can only hope he sticks around until it is time for them to pick.
- Phoenix Suns - Dragan Bender, Croatia, 7 ft 0 in, pf
For all his potential shortcomings, Dragan Bender is the best pick for the Phoenix Suns at this stage of the Draft. Whilst I said differently in my last lottery prediction, it’s becoming impossible to ignore Bender’s talent, and his ability to change the league the way similar players such as Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns have in recent years.
- Minnesota Timberwolves - Jamal Murray, Canada, 6 ft 4 in, g
Rounding out the top five is the Minnesota Timberwolves, likely to pick unrefined Canadian guard Jamal Murray. This will be Minnesota’s 11th lottery pick in the last 11 years, leading to league-wide criticism and some to wonder whether all this losing will ever amount to anything. For Timerwolves fans, they can only hope.
- New Orleans Pelicans - Kris Dunn, Providence, 6 f 4 in, pg
This year highlighted New Orleans’ need for a true point guard as opposed to a scorer like Jrue Holiday, who Alvin Gentry often found hard to work with. Drafting Kris Dunn out of Providence not only gives NOLA that pass-first point guard, but also gives them another young player to gel with Anthony Davis from the outset of his career.
- Denver Nuggets - Jaylen Brown, California, 6 ft 7 in, g/f
Jaylen Brown has bounced around the lottery board this year like a pinball, but it looks as if the final landing place for the young swingman will be around the middle of the sweepstakes, potentially to the Denver Nuggets. With Denver going for an on-the-fly rebuild of late as opposed to a complete destruction, Brown would be a nice pick at this stage of the draft, as he has high upside and is at a useable level already.
- Sacramento Kings - Domantas Sabonis, Lithuania, 6 ft 10 in, pf
Whilst he has at times been projected to go a lot higher than this, and he still may, the more sensible side of the lottery for Domantas Sabonis is the lower side, and he would be a good pick for Sacramento at this time in the draft. It would be interesting to see him work with DeMarcus Cousins, but there’s no doubt whoever the next coach of the team is would relish the challenge.
- Toronto Raptors - Ivan Rabb, California, 6 ft 10 in, pf
The Toronto Raptors have long been mooted as a good landing place for Ivan Rabb all year long, and a player of Rabb’s stature and skillset may just be what Toronto need to space the floor. It will be interesting to see if their draft perspective changes whether they make it out of the first round or not.
- Milwaukee Bucks - Jakob Poeltl, Austria, 7 ft 1 in, c
Just as Rabb to the Raptors has been in line all year, Jakob Poeltl seems to have been landing at the Milwaukee Bucks on most people’s boards all year long. There’s no doubt Milwaukee need a defensive post enforcer like Poeltl, and with an extra big (with a capital b) body down low, it takes some of the pressure off Greg Monroe.
- Orlando Magic – 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 Orlando Magic at #11. Korkmaz would have the chance to build a lethal European combination with wing partner Mario Hezonja, with analysts projecting ‘Kork’ to have one of the highest ceilings of all shooting guards in the draft.
- 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 – Deyonta Davis, Michigan State, 6 ft 10 in, pf
I have long had Phoenix picking two bigs in this Draft, and that has still not changed. To go with their earlier pick of Dragan Bender, do not be surprised to see the Suns select another power forward, perhaps a more fundamentally sound player, by selecting Deyonta Davis from Michigan State.
- Chicago Bulls - Dejounte Murray, Washington, 6 ft 5 in, g
With the incredible development staff the Chicago Bulls posses, they could pick almost anyone at this spot and cut them into diamond, and with massive uncertainty over Derrick Rose’s future, Dejounte Murray would be a perfect pick for the last choice in the lottery. Murray is a relatively untapped prospect who has good size for a point guard and a good chance to be an effective pro – all qualities Chicago would be enamored with.