We’ll leave it to Chad Ford to determine what will happen. Here’s what should happen.
1. Cleveland: Andrew Wiggins
May never be a superstar, but he’s an established defender with all the tools to develop offensively. I’m with Dan Gilbert on this one. (Sentence I never thought I’d write).
- Eric Goldwein
2. Milwaukee: Jabari Parker
Jabari Parker isn’t the athlete Andrew Wiggins is, but at the moment he’s a much better basketball player. The bet Milwaukee’s making here is that if he drops a few lbs, and picks up some quicks in the deal, he can round into form on the defensive end.
- Tom Sunnergren
3. Philadelphia: Dante Exum
Unlike the real Sixers, I don’t have access to Joel Embiid’s medical records, which steered me right to Dante Exum. He’s a four-years-younger Michael Carter-Williams with freakish quickness, length and athleticism, which should help him fit right into Brett Brown’s up-tempo offense. (Relatedly: MCW is now on the trading block.)
- Bryan Toporek
4. Orlando: Noah Vonleh
Vonleh gives the Magic a nice frontcourt tandem with Nik Vucevic.
- Anthony Calabro
5. Utah: Aaron Gordon
Utah wants to win now, and although they don’t hit a home run with a star here, Gordon could be a terrific role player. He’ll be ready from day one to guard positions 1-4 and lock up the pick-and-roll. But at 18, he’ll also have plenty of time to develop offensively.
- Wesley Share
6. Boston: Joel Embiid
Stress fractures, ailing foot and all, Embiid is simply too good a talent to slide past No. 6. The Celtics are in no rush to expedite their teardown/rebuild, and should be content to wait out Embiid’s rehabilitation process.
- Angus Crawford
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart
The choice comes down to Marcus Smart and Julius Randle, but the Lakers should side with the Oklahoma State guard to study behind Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. His competitiveness should fit well in Los Angeles.
- Marc Nemcik
8. Sacramento: Nik Stauskas
Sacramento may look to trade this pick, especially if Smart and Embiid are gone. If the keep it, look for them to target Stauskas. He can provide some much-needed depth as a secondary ball handler and he’s one of the best shooters in the draft.
- Daniel Christian
9. Charlotte: Doug McDermott
The Bobcats want buckets. McDermott, who averaged 26.7 as a senior, will provide.
10. Philadelphia: Julius Randle
Great value here. There are questions about Randle’s athleticism–his steal rate was staggeringly low, and this matters a lot–and now his health, but he’s an aggresive interior scorer with a high motor. The Zach Randolph comparison here is kind of obvious, and that’s why I’m going to make it. I think he could develop into a Zach Randolph.
11. Denver: Zach LaVine
Denver needs help in the backcourt, and at No. 11, they’re in position to gamble on the upside-heavy LaVine. He’s likely the rawest prospect to be taken in the lottery, but his combination of freakish athleticism and great size for a combo guard could pay serious dividends down the road.
12. Orlando: Elfrid Payton
The Magic are desperate for point guard help, and Orlando is hoping they found this year’s Damian Lillard.
- A Cal.
13. Minnesota: Gary Harris
With Kevin Martin likely on his way out and Flip Saunders looking to win now, Harris would be a great fit. He’ll shoot the ball as well Martin, act as the wing-stopper Martin never was — and for a fifth of the cost.
14. Phoenix: James Young
The Suns are blessed with a bunch of assets that now need to be converted into talent, and Young’s length and shooting capabilities would fit in nicely along side the Dragic-Bledsoe backcourt.
- A Cra.
15. Atlanta: Dario Saric
Saric won’t play in the NBA for another two years, but he is a good fit in Atlanta and will be ready to contribute immediately once he does come over.
16. Chicago: T.J. Warren
Chicago has been looking for a scoring punch to complement Rose for a while now, and Warren could fill the role. Tough to pick him over the rangier Rodney Hood here, but Warren’s defensive potential should appeal to Thibs.
17. Boston: Adreian Payne
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here but a Kevin Love-Adreian Payne front court would be a hell of a lot of fun to watch. If nothing else, it’d make for some really terrible Twitter puns.
18. Phoenix: Jusuf Nurkic
The late riser is–from what I’ve read–very big and very skilled. Chad Ford likes him to the Bulls at No. 16. If that doesn’t shake out, I think Phoenix likes him.
19. Chicago: Rodney Hood
After adding T.J. Warren at 16, the Bulls get another wing player who can light it up from all over the court in Hood. The Duke sophomore could slide in as the Bulls’ starting 2, or he could help spell Jimmy Butler from having to play 40-plus minutes a night.
20. Toronto: Tyler Ennis
Good value here. Assuming Lowry comes back, Ennis upgrades Toronto’s bench for now and will be the heir apparent when Lowry’s time is up.
- A Cal.
21. Oklahoma City: Kyle Anderson
Although he’d be a second-unit presence, the Thunder need shot creators. Anderson isn’t the sharpest defender, but with Steven Adams and Kendrick Perkins covering for him on the low block, his strengths (passing, mid-range shooting) will be best utilized.
22. Memphis: P.J. Hairston
Even with an improbable 82 games of Mike Miller in tow and the likely return of Quincy Pondexter from an extended absence, the Grizzlies need to continue adding shooters. Hairston has size and strength, and could help fill that void.
- A Cra.
23. Utah: Jordan Adams
Utah bolsters its bench by selecting one of the most versatile and complete scorers in this draft.
24. Charlotte: Jordan Clarkson
Charlotte needs some backcourt depth behind Kemba Walker. Enter Clarkson, one of the best athletes in the draft, is capable of playing both wing positions, and has defensive potential on the perimeter.
25. Houston: Shabazz Napier
Morey takes him just to mess with the Heat (and tempt LeBron).
26. Miami: Mitch McGary
I know who Mitch McGary is. Not only have I heard of him, but I’ve watched him play competitive basketball on television. Mitch McGrary is my pick here.
27. Phoenix: Clint Capela
The Suns, armed with three first-round picks, can afford a late-first-round draft-and-stash. Capela is exceptionally raw at the moment, but his length, athleticism and defensive potential should have Phoenix drooling.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Patric Young
Gives Doc a rugged interior guy who can perhaps turn himself into a Udonis Haslem-type player.
- A Cal.
29. Oklahoma City: K.J. McDaniels
McDaniels can run the floor with the Thunder’s second and third units. Plus, he can add to the Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones core of upside-y youngsters that are dangled in every last trade scenario — and never dealt.
30. San Antonio: Walter Tavares
Tavares continues to climb up the board, and with his 7-3 frame and raw skill set, is the perfect candidate for San Antonio to add to their pool of stashed overseas picks.
- A Cra.