By: Denery Noone
1. Philadelphia 76ers (Via Boston Celtics) -- Markelle Fultz
This is the obvious choice here. They traded the third pick and the rights to either the Lakers pick in 2018 or the higher of the Kings pick and their own pick in 2019 to the Celtics for this moment. Fultz is their guy, he is the final piece to that puzzle known as the process.
2. Los Angeles Lakers -- Lonzo Ball
Who else would love to see the Lakers just completely spurn Ball at the last second and make a blockbuster trade with the Kings for picks 5 and 10? Yeah, me too. It probably won’t happen though. After seeing D’Angelo Russell shipped off to Brooklyn for next to nothing, it seems inevitable that Ball is their guy. But hey Magic, you better hope Paul George signs next offseason, because otherwise you will be dreaming of what could have been with him, Lebron, Brandon Ingram, and De’Aron Fox out of the five slot.
3. Boston Celtics (Via Philadelphia) -- Josh Jackson (Please)
As a Celtics fan going through this tumultuous, exciting, promising, nightmare of a process it has been with Danny Ainge, acquiring numerous draft picks all the while living in fear he might trade them for Jimmy Butler, I can confidently say I need Josh Jackson on my team. Ainge made the deal with Philly, got the extra draft pick, and has the chance to really pull off a great draft. Yet, if he gets scared off by Jackson not working out with the team he is just foolish, Ainge needs to go for the guy with the highest upside here, and that is Jackson. Not that bum Jayson Tatum. That is, unless they trade for Porzingis.
4. Phoenix Suns -- Jayson Tatum
Like I said before, I’m not a Tatum guy. I think he’s slow, he refuses to play any defense, and his offensive game is not nearly as polished as everyone thinks it is. His shot is much more troubled than most believe, and he is more likely to become Tobias Harris or Rudy Gay than he is Paul Pierce. With that being said, pairing Tatum with Devin Booker will be far too appealing for the Suns to pass up, and for that reason I lean Tatum here at four.
5. Sacramento Kings -- De’Aron Fox
If Fox falls to the Kings at five, that will be the biggest win the team will have gotten in awhile. Fox is by far the fastest player in the draft, he is tremendous in transition and off the dribble, he is a really strong defender, and his shot will continue to develop. Fox, in my opinion, has a real chance at being the best player in this draft when it is all said and done. Pairing him with Vivek’s new and updated version of Steph Curry will be a dream come true.
6. Orlando Magic -- Jonathon Issac
This is a really unfortunate place for me to put Issac, personally. Issac is one of the most interesting prospects in this draft. His absurd height, strong shooting, and athleticism make his development must see. Yet, there is no way Orlando can pass on Issac here, he is simply too attractive an option long term. What that means is Issac will then fall into obscurity in the depths of NBA hell known as Orlando, Florida, and that will suck for all of us.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Lauri Markkanan
This is also another unfortunate choice, but this time it is for the team and not the player. All Minnesota needed was for Issac to fall to seven, and they would have their guy, and most likely really be ready to start competing. Instead, they’re left with Markkanan, and with it being too early to give up on Kris Dunn, and their infatuation with Zach Lavine, a stretch four makes the most sense here. I am not particularly fond of Markkanan’s game, I think he’s soft, he abandoned his post game in the second half of the season at Arizona, he doesn’t rebound well and doesn’t protect the rim. If you’re Thibs, you better hope this guy shoots lights out.
8. New York Knicks -- Malik Monk
It’s almost as if Frank Ntilikina makes too much sense as the future point guard of the New York Knicks, which means Phil Jackson will almost definitely pick Malik Monk. Monk is the big name, high volume scorer, knock down shooter in this draft that gets everybody’s juices flowing. So we will refrain from mentioning his sub-par defense, streaky shooting, and tendency to disappear as Phil Jackson grabs a shooting guard to play with Kristaps when they ever-so-clearly needed a point guard.
9. Dallas Mavericks -- Frank Ntilikina
Filthy Frank is a guy I personally think will dominate in the NBA for years to come. He is 6’5” with absurd length, he is a knockdown shooter, a dynamic passer, and real potential to defend at the NBA level. Simply put, Dallas would be foolish to pass on him here.
10. Sacramento Kings -- Dennis Smith Jr.
I know they drafted De’Aron Fox with the fifth pick, but the Kings are at a point here where they have to take the best player available. In this case, it is more likely that they flip Smith for something else, maybe the Celtics give them the Lakers 2018 pick/their own pick in 2019 for Smith which is a guy Danny Ainge is apparently extremely high on, but the best move here for Sacremento is to take Smith and see what they can get for him.
11. Charlotte Hornets -- Luke Kennard
This pick SCREAMS Luke Kennard. Michael Jordan and the Charlotte front office will not take a risk on guys like Anunoby or Collins. Look at their most recent picks, they passed on Winslow for Kaminsky. They took Cody Zeller, and Kemba Walker. This is a front office that loves established college players who dominated, and Kennard fits that mold. Charlotte needs a guy that can shoot, which obviously Kennard provides, and he does have a ton of upside, so I think Kennard will definitely be the pick here.
12. Detroit Pistons -- OG Anunoby
There is too much upside here with Anunoby for the Pistons to move on from. His knee injury is obviously a concern, but those concerns should be silenced once a healthy Anunoby showcases his talents this year. Anunoby has the potential to be the best three & D guy in this draft, and I’m confident Van Gundy will propel his development.
13. Denver Nuggets -- Donovan Mitchell
I love this pick for Denver. It is becoming more and more evident that Emmanuel Mudiay is not the point guard of the future in Denver. Sooner or later, they are going to move on from Mudiay, and for a team with really great young talent looking to take that next step soon, they cannot keep starting Jameer Nelson at point guard. This is why Mitchell is the perfect fit here. He has tremendous length, he is super athletic, and his skills are continuing to develop. Look for Mitchell to be the replacement for the disappointing Mudiay.
14. Miami Heat -- Harry Giles
This is strictly an upside pick. With the way the Heat are trending, especially if they land one of Hayward or Griffin, this pick at fourteen will not make significant contributions in year one. With Harry Giles, a guy who was ranked as the #1 college recruit was a guy many believed would be a dominant force in the NBA going forward. After the knee surgeries and the late start to the season, it took a while for Giles to really start to get comfortable and regain that explosiveness. I think Pat Riley takes that into consideration and says, “Let’s take a flier on this guy and hope he returns to form,” (see Skal Labissiere).
15. Portland Trail Blazers -- Zach Collins
At some point somebody is going to have to draft Collins. This is a guy that a lot of people love coming out of Gonzaga (Not me in particular). Some draft experts even have Collins in the top 10. To be honest, that is just too much of a reach when Collins is not a sure thing himself and there are so many guys with higher upside in this draft. With that being said, Collins has a really strong post game, his ability to protect the rim is OK, and if he continues to get stronger he has the ability to start in the NBA. I like the idea of him developing under Nurkic and possibly one day playing alongside him.
16. Chicago Bulls -- Bam Adebayo
Once again, this is a spot where it’s such a tossup as to who will be picked. There are several bigs available (John Collins, Patton, Anigbogu, Bradley, etc.), so it is really just a matter of who the Bulls like best. I believe Adebayo is a guy that the Bulls will view highly. He is an athletic freak, his frame is Dwight Howard esk, and who knows, maybe he pops.
17. Milwaukee Bucks -- Justin Jackson
This is a guy that I love for the Bucks. Right now, they simply don’t need another big. They have Thon Maker, John Henson, Greg Monroe, and an assortment of other bigs. What they should do is grab a proven scoring wing in Jackson that could serve as a plan B should the oft-injured Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker go down. Jackson obviously has some limitations, he isn’t particularly quick, he needs to improve his dribbling, he isn’t a great defender, and he needs to take smarter shots, but he was an awesome scorer at North Carolina and would be a great addition to an up-and-coming Bucks team.
18. Indiana Pacers -- TJ Leaf
Leaf is another guy with some glaring limitations. He is a poor defender and he cannot protect the rim, but he also lead a 31 win UCLA team with Lonzo Ball in scoring. He would be a really nice addition as a stretch four, and with the impending departure of Paul George, the Pacers will be tanking this year anyway. Let’s put Leaf in there with Myles Turner and see how the two co-exist.
19. Atlanta Hawks -- Justin Patton
Patton has to be the pick here. I know guys like John Collins and Ike Anigbogu are still available, but Patton has so much untapped potential. He is a true seven footer, he has the ability to score in the paint, he can defend and rebound, and his shot is continuing to develop. With the recent trade of Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap’s impending free agency, the Hawks have a glaring hole in the front court that can be patched up with the addition of Patton.
20. Portland Trail Blazers -- Terrance Ferguson
Portland has a log jam at both guard and in the front court, but the thing they are truly missing is a transformative wing player. They have Allen Crabbe, Mo Harkless, and Al-Farouq Aminu, but those guys aren’t really pushing the needle. Now, I’m not saying Ferguson pushes the needle, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth a shot. He has the potential to be a really strong three and D guy, and should he hit that could be big for Portland.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder -- D.J. Wilson
This could be a fun pick for the Thunder. Eventually, they’re going to have to get rid of that Enes Kanter contract, he does not provide enough offense to make up for his debilitating defense. Wilson is one guy that I think could really pop. He is super lanky, he is a versatile scorer that really expanded his game beyond the arc and think he could serve as a great stretch four along Adams.
22. Brooklyn Nets -- Jonah Bolden
Another international player seems perfect for the Nets here at 22. They’re obviously not ready to even think about thinking about winning, so why not take the guy with the highest upside at this point in the draft. Bolden is a guy that your boy Scott LOVES, this is his boy, so I’m going to trust my guy Scott and say Bolden thrives in Brooklyn.
23. Toronto Raptors -- Ike Anigbogu
Who even cares about the Raptors anymore? They are a boring team with a boring, aging core, and nothing against Anigbogu, but he’s a boring pick. We know what Anigbogu is, he can play defense, rebound, and provide a spark off the bench, but that just about limits it. Toronto adds Anigbogu here to solidify frontcourt depth that may take a hit this summer.
24. Utah Jazz -- PJ Dozier
I know I’m reaching a little bit here with Dozier, but he’s my dude and I have to put him somewhere in the first round. With the impending free agency of Gordon Hayward and George Hill, should Hayward depart Hill will follow, and the Jazz will need to add another point guard. Dozier provides some excitement with his 6’6” frame, great defensive ability coming out of Frank Martin’s system, and ability to score at the basket off the dribble. His undeniable drawback is his unbearable shooting, but that can always improve, and Dozier could be a Shaun Livingston type player for years should he reach his potential.
25. Orlando Magic -- John Collins
I see Collins being a guy that slides a bit in tonight’s draft. He is a guy that has received mixed reviews. Some love his scoring, some think he was underwhelming at Wake Forest. I think that when it comes to it team will be hesitant to pull the trigger on Collins, and by the time Orlando hits the clock at 25 he will be to much to pass up on. The magic added Issac at 6 and in Collins they will be solidifying their front court depth.
26. Portland Trail Blazers -- Derrick White
With Portland having three picks in the first round, they will likely take a player at all three positional levels. Collins gives them a big, Fergeson a wing, and White a potential role player guard. White is super athletic and has the ability to score, and could really learn a lot from Dame and CJ.
27. Los Angeles Lakers -- Jordan Bell
Bell would be a really nice fit to possibly replace Julius Randle should he leave via a Paul George trade. Now obviously Nance would replace Randle in the starting role, but Bell is a high energy guy, a dominant rebounder, and would allow them to be very versatile with their lineups. Bell really can fit anywhere, and LA would be a great place for him for next year.
28. Los Angeles Lakers -- Tony Bradley
Bradley is another guy that could add a ton of frontcourt depth to this roster. The Lakers should be operating in this draft under the impression that they are adding at the very least Paul George, and maybe Lebron James. With those two in the fold, as well as Brandon Ingram, the Lakers don’t need wing depth, they need to add some bigs. Bradley is a young guy with polarizing height, who on a rookie contract could add a ton of bench value for a team with Lonzo, Ingram, Lebron, and George.
29. San Antonio Spurs -- Frank Jackson
I see this pick as one that is relatively similar to the Dejounte Murray pick. Now, obviously Murray is more of a ball handler, but Jackson really provided scoring sparks for Duke this year, and after a super impressive combine performance, Jackson seems like a guy Pop would love.
30. Utah Jazz -- Jarrett Allen
This is a value pick here at 30 for Utah. Allen is a guy who some had going in the lottery earlier in the process, and Utah could definitely add a guy like Allen and use him.