1. Boston Celtics
It’s not often you finish with the best record in your conference and then get the top pick in the draft. When it happens you would be smart to take advantage of it. Boston has their point guard of the near future but he is a novelty that may prove to be a liability in the near future. That gives Fultz a chance to come in and prove he deserves a shot to try to help this team make the next step.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
The rumor is that the Lakers don’t want him, but I don’t think there is another player out there that matches this team so perfectly. They are young and like to run and that’s what he does best. Plus, he wants to play there and bring that team back to greatness. Might as well let him.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are building a squad in the East and they know that the reward for improving is that they get to eventually square of against the Cavs. Taum’s big body makes him a great candidate to match up with LeBron James. He is an above average defender, a very good rebounder and most importantly a team player.
4. Phoenix Suns
Jackson seems to me like one of those rare type of players you can build a team around. He’s a great defender who can have a positive affect on both sides of the ball. Yes, he’s had some character issues, but a fiery personality can be exactly what’s needed to spark a stagnant franchise.
5. Sacramento Kings
As a pro I could see Fox being similar to Klay Thompson in the way that the latter has these flashes of superhuman play on the court and then becomes a very average star at times. This should work out just fine for a team in which he will be the sidekick to Buddy Hield, at least to start out.
6. Orlando Magic
I have a feeling that when the dust settles on this draft and we are looking back and marveling about the talent, this will be the guy we are focusing on. Being a project player used to be a really big knock on a kid entering the draft but we are starting to see more of these options work out and turn into major stars. The Magic could really benefit from taking a risk on Isaac.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
This is the piece the Wolves need to take the next step and start becoming great in this league. He’s already a top shooter which takes pressure off of their established stars. In the meantime he can keep progressing in other areas, and by the time he does, this team will be very competitive.
8. New York Knicks
This may not be the flashy, earth-shattering pick that the Knicks and their fans were hoping for but it just may be exactly what they need to start finding stability. Smith and his workmanlike style may be able to help dig them out of the holes they made by trying to go “all in” on numerous other occasions.
9. Dallas Mavericks
This seems like as perfect a landing spot as possible for a seven-footer who had his path to the NBA paved by another European shooter like Dirk Nowitzki. This team needs a new star and this kid can definitely be that for years to come. If he ever develops the rest of his game he could be a major steal.
10. Sacramento Kings
Its hard sometimes to judge what a player’s value will be when he has never played in the system we are used to seeing the majority of the other players play in. Sacramento is in a position where they can gamble a bit though and if they are right they could get instantly better and be very competitive.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Collins probably wouldn’t be the popular choice here, especially, since he doesn’t really represent a major area of need for the Hornets. However, they do need playmakers that they can grab at a decent cost and this could turn out to be a major steal if he reaches his potential.
12. Detroit Pistons
This kid is very athletic around the rim and the perfect “four” in today’s era of basketball. He seems to materialize out of thin air to slam home an “Alley Oop” or to reject an opponent who thinks he’s going in for an easy layup. With very few holes in their roster, this team has the luxury of being able to draft for want more than for need this time around.
13. Denver Nuggets
The reason this uber athletic big man doesn’t go higher in this draft is that he struggles a bit fundamentally. However, on the right team, I think he will be able to mask those weaknesses and still be able to put on an air show with his love of rebounding and dunking.
14. Miami Heat
Jackson can come in and contribute immediately for the Heat. One of the knocks on him is that at 22 years old he may be done growing and improving. Even if that is the case, he is a solid player who can plug in nicely to an established roster and the fact that he doesn’t offer many surprises can also be a positive.
15. Portland Trailblazers
Leaf is still young and has shown some explosiveness on offense. He is going to be a welcome addition for a team that wants to score a ton of points in a hurry.
16. Chicago Bulls
Somebody is going to get a big ball of passion and excitement when they draft this kid who is determined to be one of the greatest. The good thing is he can play a little bit as well.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks seem to always be looking for that guy that can hit consistently from the outside. Kennard can be that for them from day one and eventually try to work his way into a deeper role.
18. Indiana Pacers
The Rumor is this kid has more than a 7-foot-6 wingspan. What teams like the Pacers have to decide is if it’s worth dealing with an ACL injury or not.
19. Atlanta Hawks
You see the impressive “ups” but what if I tell you this kid is just as impressive on defense? His athleticism was impressive in the combine and he just keeps climbing.
20. Portland Trailblazers
Right now, Allen projects as a post player who can give you great defense and decent scoring. That makes him a good match for the Blazers and their second pick.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Due to missing a large portion of the season because of injury this pick is based mainly on upside. That should show you what kind of potential this kid has.
22. Brooklyn Nets
This kid is tall, very coordinated and extremely athletic. He will dunk on you all day if you let him.
23. Toronto Raptors
Big, tall and athletic. Should provide at least some decent depth for a team who is alway right on the brink of being in serious contention.
24. Utah Jazz
The Jazz are familiar with this kid and he should be able to come right in and help as a much needed stretch four.
25. Orlando Magic
Orlando needs a point guard. Evans has the skills to excel as a scorer and/or passer.
26. Portland Trailblazers
Ojeleye is a fierce competitor who is strong enough to play inside but also has a great outside shot.
27. Brooklyn Nets
Ferguson has already showed he’s a smart businessman in choosing to go overseas and make money rather than play college for free.
28. Los Angeles Lakers
The only thing holding Giles back right now are question marks about his surgically repaired knees.
29. San Antonio Spurs
A great combine has helped this hardworking guard earn his way up to a possible first round selection.
Wilson isn’t necessarily NBA “starter” ready but has tremendous upside that will make him a legitimate prize for a team that is willing to gamble.