1st Pick: Phoenix Suns take Arizona center Deandre Ayton
Reports out of Phoenix have said the team have a few candidates they are looking at taking with the number one overall pick, but in the end, the Suns should be taking Deandre Ayton. Ayton will be a versatile scoring threat from the block out to the three-point line from day one in the league, and will quickly be one of the best players in the league if he can improve defensively. There are several good options to take with the top pick, but Ayton’s already proven talent and potential make him the right selection.
2nd Pick: Sacramento Kings take Duke forward Marvin Bagley
The Kings HAVE to make the right pick with the second overall pick. They have not had a top draft pick reach full potential since DeMarcus Cousins in 2010 and most of their first-round picks since then have not panned out at all. De’Aron Fox was a step in the right direction taken in the last draft and need to get another promising player this year, which is why taking Marvin Bagley should be a no brainer. Bagley is already crazy athletic, will be a double-double machine, and could potentially be the best player in this draft. Sacramento needs a win in this draft and Bagley is the most sure-bet to become an elite NBA player.
3rd Pick: Atlanta Hawks take Texas center Mohamed Bamba
There has been no player who has climbed the draft board like Mohamed Bamba. Everyone already knew he would be a top-ten pick due to his potential to be the defensive anchor of a team, but pre-draft workouts have shown how much his offensive game has progressed. Bamba’s displayed an array of post moves and even is developing his three-point shot. This progression force the Hawks to take him with the third overall pick, giving the Hawks one of the better young frontcourts by pairing him with John Collins. The Bamba/Collins duo is a solid and one that that will lead the rebuild in Atlanta.
4th Pick: Memphis Grizzlies take Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr.
Memphis is another team that really needs to hit the mark in this draft. Memphis has had a rough season, especially with Mike Conley only playing 12 games this year. The best thing to come from the Grizzlies season was the resurgence of Tyreke Evans, who averaged 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists coming mostly off the bench. While they still have a solid big man in Marc Gasol (17 points and 5 rebounds per game), the Grizzlies still will take Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson only averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds but also did so while sharing the court with Miles Bridges. Jackson is extremely athletic, scores from everywhere on the court, and is an elite rim protector. He is young and a project, but he will be able to learn from Gasol while still playing a lot of minutes.
5th Pick: Dallas Mavericks take Real Madrid forward Luka Doncic
Luke Doncic is the most intriguing prospect in this draft. Some think his unique point-forward skillset he dominated in Europe with should make him the number one pick, while others think that Doncic has a high probability of being a bust. Either way, Donic has lit it up in Europe, showing he can do it all. He scores efficiently, creates for others, and has incredible basketball IQ. Doncic could end up being the best player in this draft and the Mavericks need a franchise changing player, so the Mavs can’t pass on him if he falls to them.
6th Pick: Orlando Magic take Oklahoma point guard Trae Young
Everyone knows the story of Trae Young by now. He dominated college basketball by averaging 27 points and 9 assists per game and has already been compared to Steph Curry. Young also has the potential to be a bust due to his small size and his streaky shooting. Either way, he is the kind of dynamic, playmaking guard the Magic desperately need. Orlando has plenty of talent at the forward positions in Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Jonathan Simmons, and Mario Hezonja, but need a good guard to help with the workload. Young can do that while also not having to be the immediate star of the team, taking the pressure off everyone, including himself.
7th Pick: Chicago Bulls take Missouri guard Michael Porter Jr.
The Bulls could go a lot of different ways with this pick. They would rather have a higher pick and will likely try to get into the top five, probably without any luck. If he is still available, the Bulls would be a good team to take a chance on Missouri guard Michael Porter Jr. Porter was widely considered to be the potential number one pick this year but slipped down the draft board after being hurt all year. Porter is a natural scorer and when surrounded by players like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls could have some serious firepower in their young stars.
8th Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers take Kentucky forward Kevin Knox (via the Brooklyn Nets)
Cleveland finds themselves with a lottery pick because of the Nets and are in weird situation. If they feel LeBron is leaving, they will take someone who they feel they can base their new team around. If the front office thinks he is staying, they need to surround LeBron with more firepower. A solid selection with the eighth pick is Kevin Knox. Knox is another guy who has climbed the draft board as of late and is shaping up to be a valuable combo forward. Knox is a lanky 6’9 and will be able to play and defend both the 3 and 4 positions. If he can develop a more consistent three-point shot, Knox will become one of the best players of this draft.
9th Pick: New York Knicks take Villanova forward Mikal Bridges
This pick will create one of the best fits in this draft. The Knicks are an upstart team headed by superstar Kristaps Porzingis. In a time where 3-and-D guys are crucial, adding Villanova forward Mikal Bridges could push the Knicks to the playoffs. He scored 17 points per game and shot 44% from the 3-point line, making him the perfect guy to space the floor for in New York.
10th Pick: Philadelphia 76ers take Michigan State forward Miles Bridges
The 76ers rebuild has gone well and they will be looking to bring more young talent with the 10th overall pick. They have a lot of option here but taking Miles Bridges would be their best bet. Bridges is an athletic, volume scorer who would be perfect for the Sixers bench. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid bring the firepower in the starting lineup but when both on the bench, the Philly offense sputtered. Bridges could come in and be the focal point of the second unit, letting him do just what he does best: score.
11th Pick: Charlotte Hornets take Alabama point guard Collin Sexton
Charlotte will need a strong pick here, especially since the organization is looking at a massive rebuild. The first problem they need to address is at point guard, where star Kemba Walker is all but out the door. Walker has been rumored to be on the trade block and will probably be sent out in order to get picks for the rebuild. That is why the Hornets should take Collin Sexton, who could step right up to the starting role once Walker is gone. Sexton is a potential two-way star who can create for himself and others, making him the perfect guy to be the next star in Charlotte.
12th Pick: Los Angeles Clippers take Duke forward Wendell Carter Jr.
The Clippers are in a good spot headed into this draft. They just missed the playoffs, have back-to-back picks in this draft, and have several really solid pieces in Lou Williams, Tobias Harris, and others. The only question will be whether DeAndre Jordan decides to leave L.A., which I think is likely. Heading into the back-end of his career, he will be looking to head to a contender. That being said, they are going to luck into getting an incredible player with the 12th pick in Wendell Carter Jr. At 6’10, 260 lbs, Carter Jr. is a bruiser will immediately will be a double-double guy. He does not have as much potential as some of the other bigs in this draft, but Carter Jr. is a solid player regardless.
13th pick: Los Angeles Clippers take Miami guard Lonnie Walker
The Clippers have back-to-back picks and should be looking to take a chance on an explosive player like Lonnie Walker. Walker is an incredible scoring threat when hot and in the right situation, he could become a very good NBA player. The Clippers have a decent roster right now and would be able to let Walker grow by playing meaningful minutes.
The Nuggets seemed like a lock for a playoff spot until their collapse late in the season but are still very young and have chance to be good very soon. I believe that by taking Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeuous-Alexander. Gilgeuous-Alexander is a true playmaking point guard who could be a great player off the bench for the Nuggets, but there is also another idea floating around. If they feel confident enough in Gilgeuous-Alexander, he could earn a starting spot at point guard and shift rising star Jamal Murry to shooting guard, where Murry could do more off-ball action. Either way, Gilgeuous-Alexander is a solid pick here for Denver.
15th Pick: Washington Wizards take Creighton guard Khyri Thomas
Washington had an up-and-down season that included bad stretches with John Wall and good stretches without him. Either way, the Wizards have some work to do in the offseason. Even thought the Wizards have strong starting guard play in Wall and Bradley Beal, they should have serious thoughts about taking Creighton combo guard Khryi Thomas. Thomas averaged 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in his junior season at Creighton and really elevated his draft stock. Thomas would be a perfect fit to run point or shooting guard in the second unit or could run alongside Wall or Beal. He is an efficient shooter and could really solidify the entire guard position for the Wizards.
16th Pick: Phoenix Suns take Texas A&M forward Robert Williams (via the Miami Heat)
With their second pick in this draft, the Suns will likely end up taking Texas A&M forward Robert Williams. Williams nearly averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in his sophomore year at A&M and was really solid for the Aggies all year. He is bit undersized height-wise at only 6’9 but plays strong and smart. The Suns have talent on the perimeter and take Ayton early in this draft, but Williams would still be a solid selection. I also would not be surprised to the see the Suns trade out of or later in this draft in order to get later, better picks since this draft class is not very deep.
17th pick: Milwaukee Bucks take Duke guard Gary Trent Jr.
The Bucks seemingly have it all right now. They have their superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo, solid role players in Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, and Malcom Brogdan. The only thing they are lack in consistent shooting from behind the 3-point line. They currently only have two players who shoot over 40% from behind the line in Mirza Teletovic (46%) and Tony Snell (40%) and need to be looking to add a shooter. Duke guard Gary Trent Jr. could just be the guy they need. Trent averaged 14 points a game and shot over 40% himself as one of the main scoring threats last year at Duke and would get many open shots with Giannis and others creating for him. If Trent Jr. is still available at 17th, it should be a no brainer in Milwuakee on who to take.
18th pick: San Antonio Spurs take Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo
The Spurs are in a tough position after missing the playoffs and having star Kawhi Leonard say he wants out, so they need to make a great pick at 18. Taking someone like Donte DiVincenzo, someone with incredible talent and a great work ethic would be perfect for the Spurs. DiVincenzo is an energy guy who is a great athlete that would be a strong rotation player for years to come.
19th pick: Atlanta Hawks take USA guard Afernee Simmons (via the Minnesota Timberwolves)
The Hawks are another team with a top draft pick followed by a later one, one which will be used to take guard Afernee Simmons. Simmons graduate high school and played at a prep school this past year, all while raking in offers from schools like Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Texas A&M, and others. However, he decided to skip college and test his chances in the NBA. Scouting reports peg him as an elusive scorer who can get his shot off at any level and has been compared to 2017 #1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. At 6’3 but only 180 pounds he will definitely need to bulk up. Atlanta’s only perimeter threat comes in Dennis Schroeder, so taking a chance on someone like Simmons late in the first round is not a bad idea.
20th pick: Minnesota Timberwolves take Maryland guard Kevin Huerter
The Timberwolves made strides this year but could use a few things to get them to the next level. Kevin Huerter is a young, good shooter who could help T-Wolves stars Jimmy Butler, Karl Anthony-Towns, and Andrew Wiggins by spreading the floor and give them the sweet stroke from the outside they desperately need.
The Jazz had a surprising run to the playoffs despite losing star Gordon Hayward, a run that was lead by rookie Donovan Mitchell. Despite Mitchell’s presence on the perimeter, I think the Jazz should take Oregon guard Troy Brown. Brown is a 6’7 combo guard who creates well for himself and others. By pairing him up with Mitchell, that duo could become one of the most explosive backcourts in the NBA in a few years. Browns only downfall his is perimeter shooting, where he shot under 30% in college. While that is a problem, his 6’7 frame allows him to still contribute in a Shaun Livingston-type way.
22nd pick: Chicago Bulls take UCLA guard Aaron Holiday (via the New Orleans Pelicans)
With their second pick of the draft the Bulls need to take someone explosive. Holiday is undersized and a little older, but he also has the ability to be a sniper from behind the three-point line. If he makes the most of his minutes and hits shots, Holiday could quickly make a name for himself on the Bulls.
23rd pick: Indiana Pacers take Bosnian forward Dzanan Musa
The Pacers were one of the most surprising teams in the NBA. After trading superstar Paul George for Victor Oladipo, Indiana did not realize they were getting a star of their own. Oladipo tore it up this year and is on a fast track to being named NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year. For their draft pick they would be thinking about taking Bosnian forward Dzanan Musa. Musa, one of the most unknown prospects in this draft class, has been touted as one of the best shooters and scorers and would be the perfect fit to back up Oladipo and Bojan Bogdanovic. Musa is 6’9, very long, and could end up being a good defender on the perimeter. The Pacers are on the come up and Musa would be able to prosper in Indiana coming off the bench.
24th pick: Portland Trail Blazers take Villanova forward Omari Spellman
Portland’s obvious stars in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum both locking down the guard positions, they need to look for help with their big men. Jusuf Nurkic has solidified their center position but someone like Villanova forward Omari Spellman would be a great fit. A double-double guy at Nova, he is able to stretch the floor beyond the 3-point line and could either back up Nurkic or play alongside him at the power forward position. Of all the later first-round picks, the Spellman/Blazers fit is one of the best.
25th pick: Los Angeles Lakers take Cincinnati guard Jacob Evans (via the Cleveland Cavaliers)
The Lakes are headed in the right direction, but as of now, all of their players are focused on the offensive side of the floor. Jacob Evans is a guy who will make defense a priority and could be someone that gets valuable minutes in crunch time for that.
26th pick: Philadelphia 76ers take Duke guard Grayson Allen
This is one of my more interesting picks for this draft. Allen was an incredibly talented player in his years at Duke and always was one of the most prolific shooters. With JJ Reddick ending his one year deal at the end of this season, the Sixers need to ensure they have someone with the potential to light it up from behind the 3-point line. Allen may need to step his game and attitude up to really make this roster, but it could be a good fit for everyone.
28th pick: Golden State Warriors take Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop
Honestly, do the Warriors even need anyone else? They have the most talented starting five, not to mention a bench they utilize to its’ fullest. The only thing they might need is a wing scorer since Andre Igualoda has slowed down a lot in recent years. Someone like Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop could be a great addition to the already bolstered lineup. Bates-Diop played all 4 years at OSU and really burst on the scene this year by averaging 20 points and 9 rebounds per game, good enough to be named Big Ten Player of the Year. He could being another talented player in Golden State.
29th pick: Brooklyn Nets take Nevada forward Caleb Martin (via the Toronto Raptors)
The Nets made solid strides this year but still have away to go. They had a lot of average players this year and D’Angelo Russell looked like he is well on his way to be the scorer he can be. He is looking to be one of their only large scoring threats, so they should take Nevada forward Caleb Martin. Martin averaged 19 points per game after transferring to Nevada this season and proved to be worthy of this selection after leading Nevada deep in the NCAA Tournament. He adds a two-way player and more complete scorer to go along with D-Lo and the rest of the Nets.
With Dennis Schroder out the door and no other good guard prospects, the Hawks need to stock up in the backcourt. Okobo is a good playmaker that will be able to learn early and often on the rebuilding Hawks.