Each week I will be giving my opinion on the upcoming NBA Draft. Keep checking back every week for updates and revisions based on team records and possible trades.
Feel free to ask me a draft question by emailing email@example.com. I will respond to all questions.
1. Orlando Magic
The Magic have been pleasantly surprised with the interior play of Nikola Vucevic and the development of last year’s picks Andrew Nicholson and Moe Harkless. With Jameer Nelson aging and seemingly injury prone, look for the Magic to shore up their guard play with the best guard in the draft. If Nerlens Noel can show some serious progress before draft night he will have to be considered as a frontcourt mate of Vucevic.
Selection: Ben McLemore, SG – University of Kansas
2. Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats need someone to stretch the defense and shoot the 3, but the team also gives up the 6th most points in the paint to its opponents and could use another presence inside such as Nerlens Noel. Does the team sure up its perimeter or interior? Even with Bismack Biyombo developing Noel has the highest upside of any player in the draft.
Selection: Nerlens Noel, C/PF – University of Kentucky
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
Ideally the Cavaliers would love for Nerlens Noel to miraculously fall to them here at the third spot so they could add an intimidating presence to a frontcourt that needs it. However, with Noel off the board look for the Cavs to address their biggest hole on the team, Small Forward.
Selection: Otto Porter, SF – Georgetown University
4. Phoenix Suns
The Suns need help badly at the SG and the SF positions. Welsey Johnson, Shannon Brown, PJ Tucker and Jared Dudley just don’t strike fear in opponents on the wing. Phoenix will have no problem pulling a player off the board here who can play both positions, bring athleticism and a defensive toughness the team lacks.
Selection: Victor Oladipo, SG/SF – Indiana University
5. New Orleans Pelicans
The biggest hole for the Pelicans is at the SF position, but the team could also use upgrades to Grevis Vasquez at PG and Robin Lopez at C. The debate here should be between Trey Burke in the backcourt and Alex Len in the frontcourt. Trey Burke may not have the ideal size the Pelicans want in a PG but his leadership and athleticism will be a nice compliment to Vasquez and Rivers.
Selection: Trey Burke, PG – University of Michigan
6. Sacramento Kings
The Kings will be pulling their hair out when they see they player the covet most, Trey Burke, selected one spot in front of them. So what will the Kings do? Add Antony Bennett to make a dynamic frontcourt with DeMarcus Cousins? Draft a point guard who can create that has size which they also need? The answer is neither. Look for them to finally put an end to the John Salmons era in Sacramento. Salmons has been a shell of himself the past two seasons and Shabazz Muhammad is already a household name in California.
Selection: Shabazz Muhammad, SF – UCLA
7. Detroit Pistons
Rodney Stuckey’s days seem to be numbered in Detroit which creates a hole in the backcourt to go along with a gaping hole at the SF spot. Michael Carter-Williams has the size and ability to play both backcourt positions and with Muhammad coming off the board the team will look hard at Anthony Bennett from UNLV.
Selection: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF – UNLV
8. Washington Wizards
Emeka Okafor and Nene Hilario are both more suited to play the PF position, if and when they are healthy. John Wall came on in the second half and showed why he can be one of the best guards in the league plus Bradley Beal showed a lot of promise and ability in his rookie season. Drafting a SF here would be a real reach so look for the Wizards to solidify their post play.
Selection: Alex Len, C – University of Maryland
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
Nikola Pekovic will be a FA heading into the off-season and re-signing him will certainly be a priority. The team could use perimeter help as well but there isn’t a dynamic shooter available here. The chance to get a dynamic and athletic big this late in the lottery is too good to pass up.
Selection: Cody Zeller, C – Indiana University
10. Portland Trailblazers
With JJ Hickson possibly bolting for FA and a bench that is dead last in the league in scoring, the Blazers will have to look at either a big man or a scorer off the bench. Kelly Olynyk is a possibility here but I think CJ McCollum makes the most sense. McCollum can play alongside ROY candidate Damien Lillard or spell him and provide offense and leadership off the bench.
Selection: CJ McCollum, SG/PG – Lehigh University
11. Philadelphia 76ers
One of the biggest moves of last summer was the 76ers acquiring Andrew Bynum from the Lakers. Bynum said thank you to Philly by having knee surgery and sitting out the entire 2012-2013 season. With Spencer Hawes as the only real big man on the roster the 76ers HAVE to add size here. Kelly Olynyk might be a more proven commodity but international prospect Rudy Gobert and his 7’8’’ wingspan is too intriguing to pass up.
Selection: Rudy Gobert, C – France (Cholet)
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (From Raptors)
The rich get richer here as one of the elite teams in the league ends up with a lottery pick again. The Thunder have a complete roster with talent at all positions. Here the Thunder could opt for a big to play behind Kendrick Perkins and ultimately replace him or look for a backup shooting guard to fill in behind Kevin Martin. This draft is loaded with big men and another one will come off the board here.
Selection: Kelly Olynyk, C – Gonzaga University
13. Dallas Mavericks
Lots of options and tough decisions here for the Mavericks. OJ Mayo is likely to opt out of his contract creating a hole at the SG spot. The team needs more size and a stronger defensive presence in the frontcourt, plus Darren Collison is a RFA and may or may not be in the future plans of Mark Cuban.
Selection: Michael Carter-Williams, PG/SG – Syracuse University
14. Utah Jazz
The Jazz once again narrowly miss out on the point guard they covet, a growing trend for the team in the past few drafts. The team obviously needs a PG but there is also a need for a shooter to compliment Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward. Look for the team to address the need for a shooter here with Burke, McCollum and Carter-Williams off the board.
Selection: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG – University of Georgia
15. Milwaukee Bucks
The future of Brandon Jennings will be the dominate subject this off-season in Milwaukee. The jury is split right now on whether or not he will return for another run along backcourt mate Monta Ellis. I think Jennings will ultimately end up back in Milwaukee so the team can turn their focus to adding the SF or the C they need.
Selection: Jeff Withey, C – University of Kansas
16. Boston Celtics
The Celtics need to add size and a shooter if the off-season and here at #16 they will have the opportunity to do either. The potential big men available here seem to be better than the potential shooters. Look for the Celtics to add size here and address the need for a shooter later in the draft.
Selection: Lucas Noguiera, PF/C – Brazil (Estudiantes)
17. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks could use another big to go along side Al Horford and replace Josh Smith who is expected to leave this off-season in free agency. Here they get an athletic big man with size who can step in and be a contributor immediately at the next level.
Selection: Mason Plumlee, PF –Duke University
18. Atlanta Hawks (From Rockets)
The Hawks just added a big with solid fundamentals and athleticism in Mason Plumlee who will come in and contribute right away. Look now for the team to add a perimeter player to the mix who can provide depth and bench minutes.
Selection: Dario Saric, SF – Croatia (Cibona Zagreb)
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (From Lakers via Heat)
The Cavaliers addressed earlier their need for a player with size who can score and defend from the wing. Would not be surprised to see the Cavs package this pick along with picks 31 and 33 to move up a few spots. If they stay put, with several big men left of the board, look for GM Chris Grant to add depth and insurance to a front court that boasts the energetic but often injured Anderson Varejao.
Selection: Steven Adams, C – University of Pittsburgh
20. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls need depth at both the SF and SG position and could use some youth to play behind Joakim Noah at center. Lots of options here for Chicago to consider both collegiately and on the international level. A player who can play multiple positions and has good size seems to be the perfect option for Chicago here.
Selection: Jamaal Franklin, SG/SF – San Diego State University
21. Utah Jazz (From Warriors)
With Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap both schedule to enter FA this off-season the Jazz now must look to add depth to their front court. I doubt both players will be re-signed but the Jazz cannot afford to let both walk away and leave a gaping hold up front.
Selection: Gorgui Dieng, PF/C– University of Louisville
22. Brooklyn Nets
The Nets biggest area of need is at the PF where they relied on Kris Humpries and Reggie Evans this past season. The team is not afraid to go international as they have shown in recent drafts and I expect them to do it again here and get a player who might develop into the best value pick in this entire draft.
Selection: Giannis Adetokoubo – SF/PF, Greece (Filathlitkios)
23. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have a lot of talent, and young talent at that. For the first time in a long time the team doesn’t have a glaring hole to fill and instead can evaluate the players left on the board and add depth with the best player left available on their board. Look for Indiana to go for a risk/reward pick here.
Selection: Tony Mitchell, SF/PF – University of North Texas
24. New York Knicks
The Knicks are one of the older teams in the entire NBA and badly need to add young athletic players to a team of established veterans. The athleticism, pedigree and talent of Tim Hardaway Jr. are a perfect fit for what the Knicks are looking to do going forward.
Selection: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG – University of Michigan
25. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers need to make sure the player they select here fits their very unique, up-tempo style of play. While he may struggle with his shot at times, Archie Goodwin is an elite athlete that plays at a fast pace and can get up and down the court in a hurry. Goodwin will be a welcomed citizen in Lob City.
Selection: Archie Goodwin – SG, University of Kentucky
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (From Grizzlies)
The T-Wolves have the luxury of taking a shot in the dark here this late in the draft after picking up a player earlier in the draft who was once viewed as a potential #1 overall pick. Minnesota lacks shooting depth from the perimeter and can address that here.
Selection: Allen Crabbe– SG, University of California
27. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have talent all over the floor but could lose backup SG Corey Brewer to free agency this summer. Also, while the team has Ty Lawson locked up for the foreseeable future and Andre Miller for the next two years, Miller is not getting any younger and the team could use PG depth.
Team Needs: PG, SG, Depth
Selection: Shane Larkin, PG – University of Miami
28. San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Cory Joseph are the only players signed beyond next season. The Spurs need to simply select the best player available this late in the draft, and will more than likely look for a big body to bolster the frontcourt.
Team Needs: C, PF, Depth
Selection: Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C – France (Boulogne)
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder addressed a need at center earlier with the selection of Kelly Olynyk. The team has enough talent here to take a flyer on an international player with some big upside.
Team Needs: Depth
Selection: Alex Abrines , SG – Spain (Barcelona)
30. Phoenix Suns (From Heat Via Lakers)
As with most teams this late in the draft it becomes a lot tougher to draft for need. However here the Suns can get the best player left on the board who can also make a difference at the SF position and contribute right away.
Team Needs: SF, PF
Selection: Deshaun Thomas, SF – The Ohio State University