The time in between the end of college basketball (congratulations Villanova) and the NBA playoffs are a boring time for basketball fans. While the Western Conference playoff picture is still shaking out, there is still not much to watch right now. With that being said, it makes it the perfect time to speculate which prospects will be taken where in the upcoming NBA Draft. So, let’s take a look at who will be taking who in the draft this summer.
The Phoenix Suns have the most holes of any NBA team. Besides prolific scorer Devin Booker, they are filled with question marks. Tj Warren, Josh Jackson, Elfid Payton, and Marquese Chriss all have potential, but what the Suns are really missing is a centerpiece big-man. DeAndre Ayton immediately fills that void. Ayton averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds in his freshmen year at Arizona and proved to be an incredibly versatile scorer. He was strong and efficient down low and utilized post moves, as well as being able to step out and show hit jump shots. Ayton would come to Phoenix as a double-double guy from day one and would be the perfect emerging star to pair next to Booker.
2nd Pick: Memphis Grizzlies take Duke forward Marvin Bagley
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 is 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 6’11 Duke forward Marvin Bagley. Bagley, who should have been playing in high school this year but instead reclassified to the class of 2017, was incredible in his only year at Duke. He averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game, proved he could score from anywhere on the court, and was a great interior defender. Bagley will be the perfect complement to Marc Gasol and is the future in Memphis.
Atlanta is a young and rebuilding team, but the process is slow. Dennis Schroder averaged a solid 19 points and 6 assists and proved to be the only solid player on the team. They have a bunch of guys who do a lot of good things, but the biggest thing they are missing is a dangerous scoring threat. Michael Porter Jr. is exactly what they need. Porter missed almost the entire season due to injury at Missouri until the last couple games. Coming out of high school he was already thought to be a top pick in this draft and is probably the most complete scorer in the draft if he’s fully healthy. Adding MPJ won’t immediately make the Hawks great, but he will make them dangerous since he has the ability to go on a scoring frenzy any night.
4th Pick: Orlando Magic take Oklahoma guard Trae Young
Orlando had higher hopes heading into this year but were unable to put anything together. They have good players in Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, and Mario Hezonja and will be looking to find a guy to bring it altogether. Trae Young was the most explosive player in college basketball for a part of season, but his NCAA best 27 points per game won’t be why the Magic will take him. It is Young’s playmaking at the guard position. He averaged almost 9 assists per game and was able to make his below-average Oklahoma team into the NCAA Tournament. Trae Young will score himself and, more importantly, will make his teammates better.
5th Pick: Dallas Mavericks take Real Madrid forward Luka Doncic
The Mavericks are looking for a player to change the dynamic in Dallas. Dennis Smith Jr. is young and learning, but he still needs help. Harrison Barnes and Wesley Mathews are solid but are not elite players. If the Mavs are really looking to bring a franchise changing player in, they will be taking 18-year old phenom Luka Doncic. The Mavericks have proved to not be scared to take a chance on European stars (see some guy named Dirk Nowitzki), and Doncic is about as sure as a bet can get. He has been playing professionally for years now and has taken over the European basketball scene. Doncic is a point forward who literally does it all: score, rebound, make plays, everything. Bringing in Doncic could immediately take the Mavericks from the rebuilding phase to being competitive.