Last year‘s draft did not have a clear-cut number one pick, it was an eye of the beholder type draft. Whoever had the first pick would greatly influenced who went first overall. This year, it’s different. Even though this draft class at the top is having historical buzz due to the abundance of talent at the first five picks, almost anybody who has the first pick would take Cade Cunningham unless he gets into major trouble off the court or something, even then, he still may go #1. After he goes first, similar to last year, the order from pick two to four will greatly depend on who is picking at those spots. Because the lottery isn’t until this coming Tuesday, especially with the flattened odds, we have no idea what the draft order is going to be. Everyone in the lottery currently has a chance to have a high pick. Let’s take a look at who each team should and probably would take if they were fortunate enough to pick anybody on the board besides Cade Cunningham.
Houston Rockets: Jalen Green
The Houston Rockets need a young talent with the potential of being a primary offensive option and the face of an organization, Jalen Green, besides Cade Cunningham, has the clearest path of becoming that guy. You could easily make the argument for Evan Mobley as well, who could be a really good complement a Christian Wood, but Green’s flash, athleticism, ability to score the ball, and general upside is way too enticing for a Houston team, that needs general talent, to pass on. He and Kevin Porter Jr. would also be a really interesting back court to follow going forward.
Detroit Pistons: Jalen Green
Like the Houston Rockets, the Pistons simply need to find a franchise talent, nobody on that roster is proven enough to warrant fit; which some may do this year #2-#4 prospects are so tight. Green’s scoring punch would allow Killian Hayes’ vision to really shine, he would also provide extra spacing and less weight for a Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart, and Saddiq Bey. Most importantly, he would provide a level of star power and Showtime feel that could ignite the pistons in ways they haven’t seen since 2004.
Orlando Magic: Jalen Green
This one was definitely harder than the first two picks, it might feel a little repetitive with a Jalen Green being the preferable choice for every team so far in this article, but there will be more switch up as we get deeper in the lottery. The Magic do have a surplus of young guards, but none of them have true franchise player upside. Jalen Green would give an Orlando Magic, a team that hasn’t had a respectable offense for years, someone they could truly build their offense around. His probable defensive hiccups early would also be hidden by the handful of talented young defenders they have on their roster with Markelle Fultz, Jonathon Isaac, Chuma Okeke, and Wendell Carter Jr.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Evan Mobley
The Oklahoma City thunder have a young franchise guard in Shai Gilgeous- Alexander. Providing him a talent like Evan Mobley at the center spot would be a huge benefit for him. Mobley isn’t somebody that would take the ball out of Shai’s hands, he would be an excellent pick and roll partner, he adds an extra playmaker to that offense, he also would give the Thunder a defensive anchor that they could build around fit a decade. That being said, even if I think Mobley may be the best fit by a hard, OKC is so early in their rebuild, drafting for need cannot be considered since they need everything!
Cleveland Cavaliers: Evan Mobley
The Cleveland Cavaliers offense is centered around two undersized guards that need the ball in their hands in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Adding another ball dominant guard to this offense would not make a lot of sense. Adding a big with defensive anchor potential and offensive versatility like an Evan Mobley does. Sure, the Cavaliers just traded for Jarrett Allen, but he isn’t quite good enough to justify passing on a talent like an Mobley. There is also an Avenue for that front court to work because of the perimeter skills Mobley has on both ends of the floor. If those two indeed work, if this ever were to happen, the Cavaliers would have two legit young bigs that put the absolute rim on the lid and can take defensive pressure off of Garland and Sexton.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Evan Mobley
The Timberwolves already have a million guards on their roster that need the ball in their hands, they already have a culture setting franchise talent in Anthony Edwards. One thing they really lack is rim protection. Evan Mobley is the best rim protector in this draft, which could really change the Timberwolves on the defensive end. He also is capable of playing with a level of pace and versatility that should allow him blend into their offense. The Timberwolves do already have a franchise center in Karl-Anthony Towns, but he may be best suited to guard the perimeter more, which he did very well this year. That being said, if the Wolves end up keeping their pick without the opportunity of landing Cade Cunningham, they should look to deal the pick for a big impact player(s) that can help them next year and going forward. If they can’t get the deal that matches the value of the pick, Evan Mobley would not be a bad alternative once so ever
Toronto Raptors: Evan Mobley
With Fred Vanvleet and Gary Trent Jr., it’s fair to say they could have their back court of the future. With Nick nurse at the helm, they also have a pretty strong culture to go along with it. What Toronto really lacks is big man depth, they don’t have many long-term options there, especially any with star potential. Evan Mobley would be a plug and go guy right away. Toronto would also be an awesome spot for Mobley to continue developing his offensive game and grow out his body. If Toronto can make Mobley not only a very good offensive player, but a great one, they have their franchise star for the next decade, one very similar to a Raptors great Mobley is often compared to, Chris Bosh.
Chicago Bulls: Jalen Suggs
The Chicago Bulls already have All-Star talents at the shooting guard and center position in Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic. Even though Evan Mobley and Jalen Green could find a way to fit in Chicago (and Chicago shouldn’t draft for fit if someone really stands out to them), Jalen Suggs makes the most sense. Chicago lacks a high-end facilitator and perimeter defense, Jalen Suggs is both one of the best passers and perimeter defenders in the class. He also provides Chicago a level of intangibles and upside that can help them take the next step. This would also allow Coby White to come off the bench, which may be his best role in the NBA.
Sacramento Kings: Evan Mobley
The Kings have nailed their lottery picks the past couple years with their guards as they have taken De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. Unfortunately, the one lottery pick they didn’t hit on was a big in Marvin Bagley. Evan Mobley could potentially make up for the Bagley pick and provide Sacramento the front court presence they have wanted for a long time. Mobley would take pressure off of Haliburton and Fox offensively, but most importantly, he would be a huge addition on the defensive end, which makes him a great fit in Sacramento.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jalen Green
Each of the top four picks would fit on the Pelicans seamlessly, which made this one though. Jalen Suggs would be a good Lonzo Ball replacement, if he doesn’t stay in New Orleans, and could bring a little more upside at that point guard position. Evan Mobley could hide Zion defensively in the front court, even though he may not be the perfect offensive partner since he isn’t a fantastic floor spacer. I went with Jalen Green here because he could plug in immediately at the shooting guard position and would be another shot maker from the perimeter that would help Zion maximize his playmaking. Green would also improve the spacing on the floor, which would give Zion clearer paths to the rim. We also can’t forget how showtime New Orleans would be in showtime with Green and Zion in the fast break.
Charlotte Hornets: Evan Mobley
The Charlotte Hornets have discovered their franchise point guard in Lamelo Ball, they also have a really talented back court partner in Terry Rozier. The main hole, while is a gigantic one, is the center position for the Hornets as they might’ve had the worst center rotation in the league last year. If the Hornets got into the top three again and had the opportunity to take a talent like Evan Mobley, suddenly the center spot becomes a strength. Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward are good players, but the question that’s bound to pop up is; does Charlotte have anybody that can at least be a Robin to a Lamelo’s Batman on an eventual championship team? Evan Mobley would have the upside to become that Robin and would be a super dynamic pick and roll partner for Lamelo as well as Charlotte’s defensive anchor.
Spurs: Jalen Green
The Spurs have been stuck in mediocrity since the moment Kawhi Leonard left them, a big reason for that is they have lacked that true franchise player worth being excited about. It would certainly take some time, but Jalen Green could provide them a franchise talent that can help them win at a high level. The interesting thing about this marriage would be that the spurs have not been the flashiest organization throughout their winning years, neither have the Tim Duncan’s or the Kawhi’s of the world. Green’s athleticism, scoring mindset, and swagger would provide San Antonio a showtime vibe they haven’t really had. Sometimes change is good and I think that would be the case for Spurs fans.
Indiana Pacers: Jalen Green
The Indiana Pacers don’t have any clear positional need on their roster, so if fit typically matters to you, it shouldn’t this time. Even though they have a lot of high-end talents with players like Malcolm Brogdon, Domontas Sabonis, Caris Levert, etc, none of those guys have the potential to be leading scorers on a contending team. That’s where Jalen Green comes in. At Green’s peak, he could become the scoring alpha that Indiana can build their offense around. He would also provide really good facilitators in Brogdon and Sabonis another option that could elevate their passing talents. Jalen Green would be the missing piece that could change the entire outlook of Indiana’s future.
Golden State Warriors: Jalen Green
Preferably, it the Warriors somehow went from the 14th pick to all the way up to the second pick, they could use that pick along with James Wiseman and (maybe) the Timberwolves pick to get absolute gold in return. If they had or chose to keep the pick, they probably would and should lean Jalen Green. A glaring reason why the Golden State Warriors offense wasn’t as special as it has been in the past is they were missing a true secondary creator behind Stephen Curry. Jalen Green‘s shot making is definitely the best in the draft, he would take weight off of Steph’s shoulders and gravity would also allow Klay to do what he does, function off the hall and light it up from deep. Plus, the Warriors just invested a second overall pick on James Wiseman, who is still oozing with upside. If they keep Wiseman, they will need to make sure he reaches his ceiling to justify passing on Lamelo Ball for him. Adding another big could hinder his development, which doesn’t make too much sense.