Tonight by NBA presidential decree, the draft will be re-instituted. At least for a night. The dreams of 60 young men will be realized tonight as they’re welcomed into the fraternity of the NBA.
Before they do though, we’re going to speculate on how the night will play out. That’s right, we’re gonna do our best Nostraduckmas impersonation and project all 60 picks, including trades! I know, I know, you need to go change your underwear you’re so excited. Go on, we’ll wait.
Okay, you’re back? Great, lets get into this then, I know you’re busy, and we absolutely appreciate you taking the time to read this.
1. New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson – Forward – Duke University
The Pelicans make the no-brainer move to add a replacement face of the franchise talent with Anthony Davis now residing in La La Land.
2. Memphis Grizzles
Ja Morant – Ball Handler – Murray State
With the shipping of Marc Gasol to Toronto in the spring, and now the trade of Mike Conley to Utah, the Grizzlies have signaled they’re finally embracing the remodel. The emerging Morant will pair with Jaren Jackson Jr. to give Memphis 2 cornerstone talents.
3. New York Knickerbockers
RJ Barrett – Wing – Duke University
With rumors swirling of last minute workouts with Coby White and Darius Garland could there be a trade in the works? A Kevin Love and #5 from Cleveland to move up to 3? I think its just due diligence and ultimately the Knicks select Barrett who should develop into an alpha scorer in New York.
***TRADE*** (The Timberwolves acquire the #4 pick from New Orleans for Dario Saric and the #11 pick)
4. Minnesota Timberwolves
Darius Garland – Ball Handler – Vanderbilt University
The Pelicans parlay the #4 pick, acquired from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis deal into a stretch 4 man in Dario Saric who is still young and fits with the Zion/Ingram/Ball age grouping, as well as a late lottery pick. For Minnesota, they are hoping that Garland can find some chemistry with Karl Anthony Towns to give them a playoff worthy inside-outside combo, something they’ve failed to develop with KAT and Wiggins.
***TRADE*** (The Hawks acquire the #5 pick from Cleveland for picks #8 and #17)
5. Atlanta Hawks
Jarrett Culver – Wing – Texas Tech University
The Hawks have little to no intention of using all 3 first round draft picks they own. Considering they already used 3 first rounders last season (Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and Omari Spellman) it’d be tough to go into the season knowing 40% of your team is made up of rookies or 2nd year guys on guaranteed deals. Culver gives the Hawks that third scoring option covering all three levels of scoring to compliment the Trae Young/John Collins pairing.
6. Phoenix Suns
Coby White – Ball Handler – University of North Carolina
Floppy hair don’t care, he’ll easily assert himself as the Suns’ lead guard, taking pressure of Devin Booker by relieving him of ball handling duties and allowing him to resume his natural role as a scorer. His ability to run the break should also open up opportunities for DeAndre Ayton and Josh Jackson. He could be the final piece of the puzzle for a talented, but immature young Suns group.
***TRADE*** (The Rockets acquire the #7 pick from the Bulls for Clint Capela and a future 1st)
7. Houston Rockets
Sekou Doumbouya – Forward – France
When its all said and done, looking back on this draft years from now, I think people will blanche at where Doumbouya went. For the Rockets as much as anything this is about balancing payroll and starting to bridge to life beyond the Chris Paul/James Harden pairing. It’ll be tough (damn near impossible) to move Chris Paul and his contract, but if Doumbouya develops he could either become Harden’s new sidekick, which will take a few years of development, or maybe he’s added as a sweetner to a deal to get rid of Paul.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
DeAndre Hunter – Forward – University of Virginia
The Cavs moved down from 5 and still get a guy they were considering at 8, while also picking up an additional first rounder. I’m not as high on Hunter as others are. But I do think he can carve out a solid NBA career as a tough defender who can stretch the floor a bit
9. Washington Wizards
Cam Reddish – Wing – Duke University
The 3rd Duke player, and 5th ACC player in the top 9, Reddish was the odd man out seemingly in Duke’s 2 man circus act. He has a real nice shooting stroke though and gives the Wizards a nice young piece that they thought there were getting in Otto Porter. Much like Barrett, Reddish’s skill set would appear to translate better to the NBA than the college game. He could end up being a steal at 9.
10. Atlanta Hawks
Bol Bol – Post – University of Oregon
The beanpole with loads of talent, the biggest question mark is his ability to physically hold up over an NBA season, let alone an NBA career. The popular pick for the Hawks has been Texas’ Jaxson Hayes, who while still skinny, is certainly more physically put together than Bol. But Bol is an ELITE shot blocker, and more importantly has the extended shooting range to profile into what the Hawks are looking to do system wise. Imagine Trae Young, Jarret Culver, Kevin Huerter, John Collins, and Bol Bol all coming down the floor at you? Who is stopping at the 3 point line, and who is cutting through? The Hawks are on the come up, and with all the picks they’ve had recently, they can afford to swing for the fences here.
11. New Orleans Pelicans
Jaxson Hayes – Post – University of Texas
With Anthony Davis out the door, the Pelicans will need some sort of replacement. They picked up the team option on Jahlil Okafor, and Okafor has made some strides, but I wouldn’t count on him. Jaxson Hayes is still developing and has some nice upside. In the short term he fits the profile of a rim runner to play with Lonzo Ball.
12. Charlotte Hornets
Rui Hachimura – Forward – Gonzaga University
Ideally the Hornets would like to package this pick with someone on their roster as an enticement to land another quality vet in an effort to get Kemba Walker to stay. I just don’t know who that would be. So we’ll leave the Hornets where they are. It’ll be Michael Jordan’s instinct to select fellow Tar Heel Nassir Little, and that wouldn’t be the worst thing. But at the end of the day I think they settle upon selecting Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura
***TRADE*** (Cleveland acquires the #13 pick and Josh Richardson from Miami in exchange for JR Smith and the #17 pick)
13. Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Porter Jr. – Wing – University of Southern California
In this deal the Heat surrender Josh Richardson for the right to waive J.R. Smith off their books (only about $4 of Smith’s contract is guaranteed, acquiring and waiving Smith allows the acquiring team to wipe away about $12 million dollars off their cap), in addition to Richardson the Cavs move back up 4 spots. For them Porter is a bit of a gamble due to off the court issues. On the court he is believed to be a top 10 talent in the draft. With the steady DeAndre Hunter taken earlier, the Cavs can attempt to go big or go home here.
14. Boston Celtics
Goga Bitadze – Post – Republic of Georgia
The young foreigner has a nice developing shooting touch, is decent around the rim, and can block a shot or two. The Celtics, with Aron Baynes on the trade block (more to come on that), Al Horford gone, and Daniel Theis a restricted free agent could use another big. Bitadze offers true big man size (as opposed to 6’8” forwards with some post ability like Marcus Morris or PJ Washington), while also possessing perimeter skills the Celtics like.
15. Detroit Pistons
Nassir Little – Wing – University of North Carolina
To say the Pistons need wing help is an understatement. They struck out with the Stanley Johnson selection a few years ago, and just yesterday traded for Tony Snell. Little failed to live up to expectations at UNC, but still has loads of talent, and was only a freshman last year. Not everyone is going to burst onto the scene like Zion Williamson, in fact, that is the exception, not the rule.
16. Orlando Magic
Tyler Herro – Wing – University of Kentucky
With bench scorer Terrence Ross a free agent, the Magic may well look to find his replacement here. With Nic Vucevic also a free agent, the Magic may not be able to retain both. Drafting Herro may help them narrow their focus with regards to what the team needs. They could use a point guard, but drafting Ty Jerome or Carsen Edwards this early feels like a stretch
17. Miami Heat
Romeo Langford – Wing – Indiana University
This pick has been passed around more times than a drunk raver at burning man. From Brooklyn to Atlanta, to Cleveland to Miami. With the 17th pick though Miami settles in and selects Indiana’s Romeo Langford. Another highly touted collegiate prospect who went to class for a semester before bolting for the league. Langford falls in with the rest of the Heat roster, pretty good, but not great.
18. Indiana Pacers
PJ Washington – Forward – University of Kentucky
The sophomore forward was the “veteran” leadership for a perpetually young Kentucky squad this year. With Thaddeus Young a free agent the Wildcat may be the perfect replacement in case Young’s market exceeds what the Pacers are comfortable paying. The Pacers have some cap space to add a big name, they’re rumored to be targeting D’Angelo Russell. Washington allows them to renounce Young to clear that room while having a new “glue guy” forward on a rookie deal.
19. San Antonio Spurs
Mfiondu Kabengale – Post – Florida State University
The big forward led the Seminoles in scoring while coming off the bench. With a backcourt full of blossoming talent, and an aging LaMarcus Aldridge, adding Kabengale feels perfect. A young guy you can develop who is not only comfortable, but excels at coming off the bench. The Spurs don’t screw up the draft too often, and this feels like they’d keep in their tradition of hitting the nail on the head.
20. Boston Celtics
Brandon Clarke – Forward – Gonzaga University
The Celtics could go from having minimal rim protection presence to heavy minutes coming from Robert Williams III and Brandon Clarke, a pair that would swat shots left and right. Clarke is an older rookie at 24, which by NBA standards makes him practically ancient. With Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, and Brad Wanamaker all free agents, they could use a ball handler for sure, and Ty Jerome is a possibility, but Clarke just feels right.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Keldon Johnson – Wing – University of Kentucky
The Thunder could use a solid 3 and D player like you wouldn’t believe. A guy on a rookie contract who can defend the wing, and actually knock down an open jump shot would be like a breathe of fresh air in the mid-west. Keldon Johnson can do just that. He has all the makings of a guy who can be an Arron Afflalo type player. Not a super star, but certainly a guy you’d like in your rotation.
***TRADE*** (The Bulls acquire Aron Baynes and the #22 pick for the #38 pick, and a future conditional second round pick)
22. Chicago Bulls
Ty Jerome – Ball Handler – University of Virginia
The Bulls essentially get a free first rounder for taking on Aron Bayne’s expiring contract. The Celtics did not intend to have 3 guaranteed rookie contracts on the books for this year, and are looking to clear some cap space by moving Baynes. The Bulls get a cheaper alternative to Robin Lopez, while also taking another swing at adding a point guard. Jerome will likely top out as a good rotation back up guard, but there are worse things to be.
23. Memphis Grizzlies
Darius Bazley – Forward – Should have been Syracuse
The Grizzlies use one of the picks acquired in the Mike Conley trade to take a chance on Darius Bazley. The 6’9” forward from Ohio was a 5 star recruit who was supposed to have played at Syracuse last year before deciding to skip college and spend the year training for this moment.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
Nickiel Alexander Walker – Wing – Virginia Tech University
The Sixers need depth. Should they be able to retain all of Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick, their payroll would be bursting at the seems. Having a cheap quality rookie who can contribute would go a long way towards balancing their books. Worst case, should Redick, and/or Butler leave, the 76ers would have someone in house who could be an option to fill minutes.
25. Portland Trailblazers
Matisse Thybulle – Wing – University of Washington
Thybulle is generally considered to be the best defensive prospect in the draft, a wing capable of putting the clamps on opponents at multiple positions. The Blazers have guys capable for dropping 40 on any given night, but could use a guy with Thybulle’s abilities, especially with Farouq El Aminu being a free agent. At this point in the draft if you can get a get with a defined role for your team, considering yourself lucky.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers
Nic Claxton – Post – University of Georgia
The athletic 7 footer has a developing skill set where he can face the basket, put the ball on the floor, and score around the rim. It may take a bit to develop him fully, but the Cavs do have capable vets in the post already with Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson around, allowing them to afford the time Claxton will need.
***TRADE***(Sacramento acquires the 27th pick in the draft from Brooklyn for picks #40 and #47)
27. Sacramento Kings
KZ Okpala – Wing – Stanford University
The Kings trade back into the first round by sending 2 second rounders to the Nets. Brooklyn, which is not looking to have guaranteed contracts on their roster would jump at the chance to move back a baker’s dozen spots and clear a cap hold off their books. For the Kings it affords them the chance to add another wing would could slot into their rotation immediately if Harrison Barnes doesn’t return following his opt out.
28. Golden State Warriors
Alen Smailagic – Forward – Santa Cruz Warriors (G-League)
Smailagic spent the season with Golden State’s G-League affiliate, and now that he is draft eligible has barely been heard from. The assumption is that the Warriors expressed their intent to draft him. A lot of theories have them using their second rounder (one of, they bought another one from Miami yesterday) to select Smailagic, but the feeling here is that they don’t chance it, and select him here.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Luka Semanic – Forward – Croatia
It wouldn’t truly be an NBA draft if the Spurs weren’t selecting a foreign player at the end of the first. The talk is that Semanic has no desire to be a draft n’ stash player, and intends to come over this season. As the Spurs are in quasi rebuilding (reloading is probably the better term as it doesn’t feel like the Spurs are ever rebuilding) mode they probably wouldn’t mind the opportunity to get Semanic over here ASAP to begin working with their staff.
30. Detroit Pistons
Chuma Okeke – Forward – Auburn University
This will likely be a bit of a red-shirt year for the Auburn forward who suffered an ACL injury during the Tigers’ tourney run. Having already added Nasir Little and Tony Snell in the last couple of days, the Pistons can afford to wait on the talented Auburn forward who has a toughness that just feels like a Piston.
31. Brooklyn Nets
Grant Williams – Forward – University of Tennessee
32. Phoenix Suncs
Dylan Windler – Wing – Belmont University
33. Philadelphia 76ers
Carsen Edwards – Ball Handler – Purdue University
34. Philadelphia 76ers
Daniel Gafford – Post – University of Arkansas
35. Atlanta Hawks
Bruno Fernando – Post – University of Maryland
36. Charlotte Hornets
Cam Johnson – Wing – University of North Carolina
37. Dallas Mavericks
Dallas Schofield – Forward – University of Tennessee
38. Boston Celtics
Jontay Porter – Post – University of Missouri
39. New Orleans Pelicans
Deividas Sirvydis – Wing – Lithuania
40. Brooklyn Nets
Talen Horton Tucker – Wing – Iowa State University
41. Golden State Warriors
Eric Paschall – Forward – Villanova University
42. Philadelphia 76ers
Marcus Louzada Silva – Wing – Brazil
43. Minnesota Timberwolves
Isiah Roby – Forward – University of Nebraska
44. Miami Heat
Sagaba Konate – Post – University of West Virginia
45. Detroit Pistons
Luguentz Dort – Wing – Arizona State University
46. Orlando Magic
Tremont Waters – Ball Handler – Louisiana State University
***TRADE*** (Lakers buy the #47 pick from Brooklyn for cash considerations)
47. Los Angeles Lakers
Ky Bowman – Ball Handler – Boston College
48. Los Angeles Clippers
Brian Bowen – Forward – USA but Played in Australia last season
49. San Antonio Spurs
Kyle Guy – Wing – University of Virginia
50. Indiana Pacers
Jalen Lecque – Ball Handler – Supposed to be NC State
51. Boston Celtics
Jaylen Hoard – Forward – Wake Forrest
52. Charlotte Hornets
Shamarie Ponds – Ball Handler – St. John’s University
53. Utah Jazz
Joshua Obiesie – Ball Handler – Germany
***TRADE*** (Lakers buy the #54 pick from Philadelphia for cash considerations)
54. Los Angeles Lakers
Naz Reid – Post – Louisiana State University
55. New York Knickerbockers
Tacko Fall – Post – University of Central Florida
56. Los Angeles Clippers
Yovel Zoosman – Wing – Israel
***TRADE***(Rockets buy the #57 pick from New Orleans for cash considerations)
57. Houston Rockets
Miye Oni – Wing – Yale University
58. Golden State Warriors
Tyus Battle – Wing – Syracuse University
59. Toronto Raptors
Ignas Brazdeikis – Post – University of Michigan
60. Sacramento Kings
Adam Mokoka – Wing – France
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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