1.) New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson PF
Duke – Freshman – 6’7 – 285 LBS
The clear cut number one overall pick. He’s a generational athlete, and he has the potential to be a perennial all-star in the NBA. He’s slightly undersized for the position he’s being drafted at, but with a 6’10 wingspan and vertical leap of more than 40 inches, that won’t be a problem for him. He is a defensive juggernaut with a surprisingly versatile offensive game. Which will likely translate to the next level. Obviously, with his style of play like he relies heavily on athleticism. Zion has too high of a ceiling to even think about picking anyone else first overall.
He is a phenom. He’s drawn comparisons to player like Blake Griffin, Charles Barkley, and LeBron James, which are quite the shoes to fill. He’s a leader on the court, in the locker room, and New Orleans is very fortunate to have this pick.
2.) Memphis Grizzlies – Temetrius (Ja) Morant PG
Murray State – Sophomore – 6’3 – 175 LBS
The Mike Conley Era in Memphis is officially over. As sad as that is for Grizzly fans, it’s not all bad. Ja Morant was just handed to keys to Memphis, and that’s something to look forward to for Memphis. He’s a great playmaker, scorer, and a player who showed some signs of having a high defensive potential during his second season at Murray State. He didn’t face the best competition in college, only facing five power five teams in two seasons. He may need to get used to playing against high competition consistently, but with how talented and athletic he is, it’d be surprising to see him not fulfill his potential.
3.) New York Knicks – Rj Barrett SG
Duke – Freshman – 6’7 – 202 LBS
Rj Barrett wants to be a Knick. New York is the only team that he’s worked out for, so his intentions are very clear. He’s a player who wants to win, and is willing to work hard to get better. He seems like the obvious pick for New York with the third pick overall. It would be a shock to everyone to see the Knicks go another route come draft day.
However, Barrett does have some inconsistencies. He’s not the greatest defender, and he doesn’t show much effort on that side of the ball. He has questionable shot selection at times, and he’s a very good passer when he wants to be, but he’d usually rather create for himself.
4.) New Orleans Pelicans (acquired in Anthony Davis trade from Lakers): Bradley Beal and the 9th overall pick
Washington : The 4th overall pick, Solomon Hill, E’Twaun Moore, and the Pelicans 2023 1st round Swap with the Pelicans
The Wizards start the rebuilding process by getting the #4 overall pick, as well as the Lakers/Pelicans 2023 1st round pick swap. With John Wall missing the entire next season with that Achilles injury, they can start rebuilding. John Wall will most likely never be the same again, so rather than holding on to a small glimmer of hope, they should be proactive and start their rebuild now.
New Orleans can start winning right now, with a core of Lonzo, Holiday, Beal, and Zion. Yes, this would cause a jumble on the wing, which would result in Ingram having to come off the bench, but that would be a scary team (before free agency even.)
PG – Lonzo Ball
SG – Bradley Beal
SF – Jrue Holiday
PF – Zion Williamson
C – Jahlil Okafor
Bench – Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Christian Wood
New Orleans could still even resign Randle, who would then start at center, and push Okafor to the bench. They do need a good backup point guard, and another backup wing, but they’re only 2-3 moves away from having a very solid, well rounded roster.
They can start winning right now, and give their young players winning experience. This team has an incredibly bright future, so giving them that experience will be vital to their development.
Texas Tech – Sophomore – 6’7 – 194 LBS
Washington takes the talented two way shooting guard out of Texas Tech. He carried the Red Raiders to the national championship game, but ultimately fell short against Virginia. In that game he had 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. Culliver also contributed largely on the defensive end of the court. He had a defensive rating of 86.7 on the season, better than other great defensive players like Zion Williamson (87.4), De’Andre Hunter (94.9), and Matisse Thybulle (88). He averaged 18.5 points per game on 46% from the field, and 30% form the three point line. He also only shot 70% from the line. That’s not the greatest all around efficiency, but for a player like him who likes to work a lot in the mid range, the farther out three point line will provide him with more space in the mid range area. Jarrett Culver has very high potential, and could develop into a two way superstar on the next level.
5.) Cleveland Caveliers – De’Andre Hunter SF
Virginia – Sophomore – 6’7 – 225 LBS
De’Andre Hunter is a winner. Yes, he was a part of that Virginia team that got upset by UMBC, but he was also the on the Virginia team that won the national championship. Arguably, he was the Cavaliers best player this season averaging 15.2 points on very good efficiency (52% from the field and 44% from three). On film, he looked like one of the top defensive players in the county, but that’s not really reflected in his stats. Virginia was the best defensive teams in the country, yet he only had a defensive rating of 94.9, which isn’t outstanding for how good he looked. His Virginia teammate, Ty Jerome had a defensive rating of 92.2, despite not being known as anywhere close to as good of a defender as Hunter is. The Cavaliers are very high on Jarrett Culver to fill their needs on the wing, but lack the assets to move up, so they settle for Hunter instead.
6.) Phoenix Suns – Coby White PG
North Carolina – Freshman – 6’5 – 191 LBS
Phoenix needs a point guard. five years ago, Phoenix was loaded at the point guard position with Eric Beldsoe, Goran Dragic, and Isaiah Thomas, but now, they have a gaping hole at the one. Tyler Johnson, De’Anthony Melton, and Ellie Okobo were the three point guards in Phoenix’s rotation this last season, but they definitely need an upgrade. Coby White would come in and provide good size and scoring for the point guard position. He’s not a natural point guard, showing some skills that would more often be attributed to a combo guard, but Phoenix could still develop him into their point guard of the future. He’s more of a safe bet than Garland is, playing against consistent high competition all season, in contrast to Garland who only played five games this season, one of which was against a power five opponent. Coby White is the safer pick at #6, even if his upside isn’t quite as high.
7.) Chicago Bulls – Darius Garland PG
Vanderbilt – Freshman – 6’2 – 175 LBS
Chicago has shown very high interest in Darius Garland, and has even considered trading up to get him, but they probably won’t have to. Darius Garland will likely fall to seven due to his lack of play in college, and the teams prior to seven not needing a point guard (with the exception of Phoenix who took Coby White, and Memphis who took Ja Morant.) He’s a bit of an unknown due to the fact that he only played five games in college, but he’s still the right pick for Chicago. In college he averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 0.8 steals on very good efficiency. Obviously he only played five games, so his efficiency doesn’t have a large enough sample size to reflect how efficient he’ll be in the NBA, but his stats will have a more seamless transition.
8.) Atlanta Hawks – Sekou Doumbouya SG
France – 6’9 – 209 LBS
A lot of teams are very high on Sekou, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s the youngest player in the draft, and looks like 1 of the players with the highest potential. He only averaged 7.5 points, and 3.2 rebounds, but that was in Pro A league in France, where players as young as he is typically don’t get a lot of minutes. He only played 19 minutes a game, so his averages weren’t bad considering his playing time. Obviously, he’s going to be a project with how young he is, but with the amount of attention that he’s gotten so far, it’d be surprising to see his potential amount to nothing.
9.) New Orleans Pelicans – Bol Bol C
Oregon – Freshman – 7’2 – 208 LBS
Bol Bol doesn’t deserve to be lottery pick in this draft. Similar to Darius Garland, he had a season ending injury early, and only ended up playing nine games, in which he scored 21 points, and grabbed 9.6 rebounds, also getting 2.7 blocks, and 0.8 steals showing his defensive impact. He shot 56% from the field, and 52% from 3. He’s a big injury risk, and even though he’s 7’2, he only weighs 208 pounds. Talen Horton-Tucker is a 6’4 shooting guard who weighs 235. Obviously that’s an extreme example, as Horton-Tucker is extremely strong, but it still shows how weak Bol is. He’ll get pushed around in the paint, so he’ll need to add a lot of weight in the NBA. New Orleans doesn’t need to hit on this pick with all the talent they have, so even though Bol is projected to go mid 20’s, it’s very likely that New Orleans will take a big swing with this pick.
10.) Atlanta Hawks – Jaxson Hayes C
Texas – Freshman – 6’11 – 220 LBS
Atlanta takes yet another project player in Jaxson Hayes. Hayes grew from 6 foot his freshman year, to 6’11 his senior year. He’s not the most well rounded player, but he’s an elite interior defender, drawing comparisons to former Texas Longhorn, Jarrett Allen. Hayes and Allen had very similar stats in college, and with how well Allen has been so far, Atlanta will hope that Allen can be a similar player to Allen.
Minnesota Timberwolves : The 13th overall pick, Justice Winslow, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 2nd round pick
Miami : Andrew Wiggins and the 11th overall pick
This trade feels very one sided, with the Timberwolves giving up the better player, and still moving up (Yes, Andrew Wiggins is a good player, he’s just disappointing.) Minnesota can’t win with Andrew Wiggins, so having his contract on the books through the 2022-2023 won’t be ideal. They’re not going to get back in return as much as they should, but that’s the price they’ll have to pay to get rid of Andrew Wiggins.
Minnesota moves back two spots, but with how boom or bust this draft is, that won’t be too bad for them. They’ll also get Justice Winslow, who can pick up some of Andrew Wiggins’ minutes. Winslow will also be reunited with Tyus Jones, who he won a national championship with in college. They’ll also get Kelly Olynyk who is a good stretch 4 who can also step in at the 5.
Miami gets Andrew Wiggins, who’s potential could be filled in Miami. Obviously, that’s very optimistic, as he’s shown little to no signs of progress in the last couple of years, but maybe a fresh start could do that for him. They’ll also be moving up in the draft, which will allow them to get first pickings at these high risk, high reward players.
11.) Miami Heat – Cameron Reddish SF
Duke – Freshman – 6’8 – 208 LBS
He had a very underwhelming freshman season at Duke disappearing at times behind Rj and Zion. Not just that, but his shooting was very underwhelming, especially since that was supposed to be one of his best attributes going in. He’s a player with a high work ethic, but may take a few years to develop. He’s the obvious pick if he falls this far.
12.) Charlotte Hornets – Rui Hachimura
Gonzaga – Junior – 6’8 – 230 LBS
Rui Hachimura averaged 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in his Junior season, and led the Bulldogs to a 33-4 record as well as an appearance in the Elite 8 this season. He can play the 3 or the 4, and is a very versatile scorer, who is well liked by most teams he’s worked out with. He is 21, so he’s not the youngest, but he’s not as raw as some of the younger players in the draft. Charlotte needs to hit on this pick to convince Kemba that they’re moving in the right direction, and Rui is that pick.
13.) Minnesota Timberwolves – Brandon Clarke PF
Gonzaga – Junior – 6’8 – 207 LBS
Clarke is the perfect front court player to play with Karl Anthony Towns. Towns can stretch the floor and doesn’t need to work in the paint, which would allow the very physical Brandon Clarke to do work inside. Clarke is also an elite interior defender, which will help out with KAT’s inconstant shot blocking.
14.) Boston Celtics – Pj Washington PF
Kentucky – Sophomore – 6’8 – 230 LBS
Boston goes with the athletic stretch big from Kentucky with this pick. He’s versatile on offense, and it a decent all around defender, who while not extremely consistent from the perimeter, can develop into a great 3 point shooter. In his sophomore season at Kentucky, he averaged 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He also averaged 1.2 blocks, and 0.8 steals which could help with Boston’s inconsistant defense. He shot 42% from three, on two attempts per game, which is good, but would need to be developed further. He shot 52% from the field, which shows that he can be efficient while still doing a lot on offense. He’s not Al Horford, but he could at least try and fill in for some of what Al Horford did.
15.) Detroit Pistons – Romeo Langford SG
Indiana – Freshman – 6’6 – 215 LBS
Detroit needs more shot creating. Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin can’t do it all themselves, so they’ll take the risk on Indiana’s Romeo Langford. He had an up and down season with the Hoosiers, but he apparently played through numerous different injuries, which could be the reason. He averaged 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.3 assists, on 45% from the field, and only 27% from 3. He has very similar college stats to DeMar DeRozan, so Dwayne Casey would love to get his hands on Romeo Langford. That’s a very optimistic comparison, but Romeo showed flashes of greatness in college. He had a pair of 28 point games against Illinois and Maryland, which really stuck out.
16.) Orlando Magic – Nassir Little SF
North Carolina – Freshman – 6’6 – 224
Nassir Little was one of the biggest disappointments of the 2018-2019 college basketball season. There’s a whole article written about how much of a disappointment he’s been this season (click here.) Not every player is going to be a superstar right away, some superstars need to be made. Nassir Little showed flashes in college, but just wasn’t able to be that superstar on a consistent basis. Orlando already has plenty of project type players that they’re developing (Jonathon Isaac, Markelle Fultz, and Mo Bamba,) so he’d fit in well. They made the playoffs last year, which will help their young players grow into winners. Nassir Little is a risky pick, but the right one for Orlando to make.
17.) Atlanta Hawks – Kevin Porter Jr. SG
Southern California – Freshman – 6’6 – 216
Kevin Porter Jr is one of the riskiest players in the draft. He’s had an up and down season at USC (mostly down,) and he had plenty of off the court issues. He was suspended for “personal conduct issues,” and also only played in 21 games due to a thigh injury (along with his suspension.) He shouldn’t go this high, but since this is Atlanta’s 3rd pick in the 1st round, they can afford to take the risk. He averaged less than 9.5 points, and shot 47% from the field, 41% from 3, but only 52% from the free throw line, which is usually an accurate reflection of how they’ll shoot in the NBA. He didn’t play poorly, he just didn’t do enough. Atlanta already took two project type player in Hayes and Doumbouya, so they’ll likely be willing to take a third.
18.) Indiana Pacers – Tyler Herro SG
Kentucky – Freshman – 6’6 – 192 LBS
Tyler Herro has recently impressed teams, especially hitting 81/100 3’s, which really put him on the map. He only shot 36% from three in college, but with his recent shooting success, it’s safe to say he’s made some improvements. He also shot 94% from the line which bodes well for him. He averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assist as a freshman, and showed a lot of promise. In a game against Arkansas, he scored 29 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block on 9-10 from the field and 5-6 from 3. He also shot 6-6 from the line. It wasn’t all good thought. Against #7 Tennessee, he scored 6 points, and had 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He also had 5 turnovers, and shot 2-11 from the field, and 0-5 from 3. He only scored under 10 points 7 times, scored between 11 and 19 23 times, and scored 20+ 6 times. He’s very underrated, and could be a great player on the next level.
19.) San Antonio Spurs – Goga Bitadze C
Georgia – 6’11 – 245 LBS
The Spurs love their international talent don’t they. Goga Bitadze is a 6’11, 250 pound center from Georgia, who played for Buducnost VOLI in the Euroleague. He averaged 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in only 24 minutes a game. He only played in 13 games this season, but he showed consistency and a high level of talent throughout the season. He could potentially turn into a very solid center in San Antonio.
20.) Boston Celtics – Keldon Johnson SG
Kentucky – Freshman – 6’6 – 216 LBS
If Keldon Johnson falls all the way to 20, Boston lucked out. He’s a versatile scorer on offense, and is a hard worker on defense, which will make any team happy. He’s not the most talented on defense, but he shows willingness on that side of the ball, which shows that he wants to be a winner. He’ll have to develop a little more consistency from three, but for all the things he does well, he’d be a steal at #20. He’d also be reunited with Pj Washington, his teammate at Kentucky this season.
21.) Oklahoma City Thunder – Cameron Johnson SG
North Carolina – Senior – 6’9 – 205 LBS
Cameron Johnson is one of the best shooters in the draft, and one of the most all around efficient players. In his senior season he scored 16.9 points on 51% from the field, and 46% from 3. He also grabbed 5.8 rebounds (1.8 offensive rebounds per game which is very promising,) and had 1.2 steals. He’s 6’9 and has a 6’10 wingspan. He is already 23, which is a little old for most rebuilding teams, but Oklahoma City will have no problem taking him at #21, if he’s still available.
22.) Boston Celtics – Mfiondu Kabengele PF
Florida State – Sophomore – 6’10 – 256 LBS
It’s highly unlikely that Boston ends up taking three players in the first round. They’re trying to compete in a tough eastern conference, but with Horford and Irving seemingly already gone, Danny Ainge may end up retooling the roster with younger players instead. Kabengele is a 6’10, 250 pound power forward/center, and has great athleticism. He has a 7’3 wingspan, and a 35.5 inch vertical. He averaged 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds (2.1 offensive rebounds,) and had 1.5 blocks. He does need to improve on his passing, averaging just 0.3 assists. He also does have some minor injury concerns. He wears huge kneepads every game, implying that maybe he doesn’t have the strongest knees. Despite those flaws, Boston is going to take a risk on his upside.
23.) Memphis Grizzlies – Matisse Thybulle SG
Washington – Senior – 6’5 – 201 LBS
Matisse Thybulle is the best perimeter defender in the draft. He had a defensive rating of 88 on a subpar Washington team. He had 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. His shot has been fairly inconsistent, but with how talented he is defensively, Memphis wouldn’t be able to pass him up.
24.) Philadelphia 76ers – Nickeil Alexander-Walker SG
Virginia Tech – Sophomore – 6’5 – 204 LBS
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is one of the most under appreciated players in this years draft. He’s a very good all around player, but doesn’t have one particular area in which he thrives. He’s a “jack of all trades” type player, which is why he’ll fall as far as he will. He’s a lottery level talent, but he just doesn’t have the appeal of a more specialized player. He averaged 16.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4 assists, on 47% from the field, and 37% from 3. He also had 1.9 steals. He had 11 20+ point games, as well as 12 3+ steal games (including a 6 steal game against Miami.) He could develop into a very good overall player, similar to Malcom Brogdon.
25.) Portland Trailblazers – Luguentz Dort SG
Arizona State – Freshman – 6’4 – 215 LBS
Luguentz Dort would be a stretch to go in the first round, but there is a rumor that Portland gave him a promise if he’s still available at #25. He’s a very strong and athletic player who looks like he could be a linebacker. He averaged 16.1 points, but did so in a variety of way. He also averaged 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. His efficiency isn’t great, but maybe Portland sees something in him that the rest of us do not.
26.) Cleveland Caveliers – Nicolas Claxton C
Georgia – Sophomore – 7’0 – 217 LBS
In the last couple weeks Claxton has shot up draft boards, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s extremely athletic, and has great measurements. He’s 7’0 and has a 7’2.5 wingspan. He averaged 2.5 blocks and 1.1 steals, showing how good he can be offensively. He scored 13 points per game, but only 46% from the field, and 28% from three. He’s not great on offense, and will have to make some improvements, but he’s still a good pick for his defense alone.
27.) Brooklyn Nets – Kz Okpala SF
Stanford – Sophomore – 6’9 – 210 LBS
Kz Okpala is one of the most interesting players in the draft. He’s a 6’9 wing who averaged 16.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 20 assists, as well a 1 steal, and 0.5 blocks. He made big improvements in his sophomore season, bumping up his points by 6.8, rebounds by 2, and field goal percentage by 7%. Brooklyn is great at scouting talent, and it’d be surprising to see them pass on him.
28.) Golden State Warriors – Carsen Edwards PG
Purdue – Junior – 6’1 – 201 LBS
With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both out for a significant amount of time next season, the Golden State will have to rely heavily on Steph Curry. With his injury history, and the fact that he averages 80.6 games per season (including playoffs,) he’s going to have quite a bit on his back next season. All of a sudden, he loses 2 superstar players, and he’s going to have to put the team on his back. Carsen Edwards can makes shots, and would be a great backup point guard to Steph. Steph could have an MVP like season next year, but not if he gets injured. Carsen had very high offensive potential, and could help relieve Steph of some of his added stresses.
29.) San Antonio Spurs – Luka Samanic PF
Croatia – 6’11 – 209 LBS
Luka Samanic has great size for his position. He’s 6’11 and can play both forward positions, and averaged 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds this season. He showed up to the combine with low expectations, but impressed. He unfortunately didn’t show up for day two of the combine. He showed tenacity on the boards, good footwork on defense, and versatility on offense. The spurs love their European talent, so seeing Samanic in a Spurs jersey next season wouldn’t shock anyone.
30.) Detroit Pistons – Grant Williams
Tennessee – Junior – 6’7 – 236 LBS
Grant Williams is one of the most unique players in the draft. He’s a 6’7 power forward, with surprising athleticism. He made improvements every season in college, averaging 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game by the end of his junior season. He also shot 56.5% from the field, 32.6% from 3, and 81.9% from the charity stripe, which is a pleasant surprise considering the volume of it. He shoots 11.2 field goals, 1.2 3 pointers, and 7 free throws per game, which makes his all around efficiency shooting the ball even more impressive.
He’s an aggressive scorer and a tenacious rebounder on both the offensive, and defensive glass, resulting in 7 double doubles on the season. He lead the Volunteers to a 31-6 record while finishing undefeated at home. He could be a steal at #30, but his lack of height and inconsistent 3 point shot is what ultimately has him projected this late in the 1st.
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