1. Boston (from Brooklyn): PG Markelle Fultz
The Celtics cash in once again with a top-three pick and land the player most teams consider to be the most talented prospect in the draft. Fultz will have the luxury of being able to ease his way into the NBA alongside some talented guards.
2. Phoenix: PG Lonzo Ball
While the Suns have a very talented point guard on a very friendly contract in Eric Bledsoe, it remains to be seen how he fits into their long-term outlook with such a young roster. Ball’s size, creativity and unselfishness will fit in well on a roster that ranks dead last in most passing metrics.
3. L.A. Lakers: SF Josh Jackson
The Lakers will be on pins and needles once again on the night of the lottery because this pick will be conveyed to Philadelphia if it falls outside of the top three. A big-time wing prospect would be a great addition to their talented roster, and Jackson’s defense, passing ability and versatility are very attractive.
4. Philadelphia: PG Dennis Smith
North Carolina State
The 76ers are still trying to figure out their point-guard situation, where Ben Simmons may end up spending quite a bit of time offensively. Nevertheless, in a draft that is absolutely stacked at this position, they will have to look at Smith, Malik Monk (whose skill set perhaps fits the roster best), De’Aaron Fox and Frank Ntilikina because the 76ers aren’t in position to pass on talent in order to fill a specific need. A trade could also be something they look at to speed up the rebuilding process.
5. Minnesota: SF/PF Jonathan Isaac
The Timberwolves are one of the youngest teams in the NBA and might not be all that interested in adding another teenager to their roster. Barring a trade, someone like Isaac could be a good fit with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. He can guard multiple positions and stretch the floor, and plays an unselfish brand of basketball.
6. Orlando: PF Lauri Markkanen
The Magic are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA, in no small part due to their lack of shooting. A power forward who can space the floor is a major need, and Markkanen looks like a great fit.
7. Sacramento: SF Jayson Tatum
The Kings will lose this pick if it falls outside of the top 10. They have a gaping hole at small forward, and Tatum could be hard to pass. He has impressive scoring instincts and self-confidence, and will remind some of Rudy Gay.
8. New Orleans: PG De’Aaron Fox
With Jrue Holiday entering free agency this summer, the Pelicans could look to address their future at point guard in a draft that is filled with playmakers. Fox’s length, athleticism and upside would fit well long term.
9. Dallas: PG Frank Ntilikina
Deron Williams is in his mid-30s and entering free agency, meaning the Mavs could start to think about long-term guard prospects. Ntilikina plays the brand of unselfish, intelligent basketball coach Rick Carlisle likes and projects as a multi-positional defender.
10. New York: PG/SG Malik Monk
Regardless of whether Derrick Rose stays in New York, the Knicks could absolutely benefit from Monk’s offensive firepower. The sharp-shooting combo guard won’t have any qualms playing under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.
11. Miami: SF/PF Miles Bridges
Miami’s recent winning streak has taken it out of contention for the impressive crop of potential star guard prospects. Instead, the ultra-athletic Bridges could be an interesting combo forward to pair with fellow combo forward Justise Winslow.
12. Portland: PF/C Robert Williams
Portland will likely be in the market for a big man this summer because it doesn’t have much size inside other than soon-to-be free agent Mason Plumlee. While Williams is unlikely to solve the Blazers’ defensive issues anytime soon, he represents a nice gamble at this stage in the draft. He’s a young, ultra-athletic big man with a huge wingspan and plenty of room to improve.
13. Milwaukee: SG Terrance Ferguson
Adelaide, South Australia (National Basketball League)
The Bucks could definitely use a point guard, but would have to reach for one at this point. Wing is another position of need, and the three-and-D potential of Ferguson, who went to high school in Dallas, could be a good fit.
14. Charlotte: PF Ivan Rabb
Charlotte doesn’t really have a traditional big man on its roster and may look to upgrade on the interior. Rabb rebounds, has a high basketball IQ and likes to operate inside the paint, making him a nice option to pair with the Hornets’ existing big men.
15. Denver: C Justin Patton
The Nuggets may look to add some more athleticism to their frontcourt, which could lead them to the direction of Patton. He’s as explosive a big man as there is in this draft and has shown impressive progress with his offensive game this season.
16. Detroit: SF Rodions Kurucs
Barcelona II (Spanish-LEB Gold)
Detroit is one of the worst perimeter-shooting teams in the NBA and may look to upgrade on the wing. Kurucs has great size for the small-forward position to go along with outstanding scoring instincts.
17. Chicago: PF Isaiah Hartenstein
Zalgiris Kaunas (Turkish Airlines Euroleague)
The Bulls may look to add some scoring to their frontcourt, where they currently lack punch. Hartenstein has impressive physical attributes for a 7-footer, but is also adept at operating on the perimeter.
18. Oklahoma City: SF/PF Tyler Lydon
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/ 205
Oklahoma City has struggled to make shots consistently all season and hasn’t been getting enough out of its forwards offensively. Lydon’s high basketball IQ, sweet stroke and ability to play multiple positions could be the right fit.
19. Indiana: PF Harry Giles
Ht./Wt.: 6-11/ 222
The Pacers may look to take a flyer on Giles, who was once considered one of the top prospects in this class before suffering multiple knee injuries. At this stage in the draft, he could emerge as a steal if he’s able to rediscover the athleticism and intensity level that made him such a coveted prospect.
20. Atlanta: PF John Collins
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/ 225
With Paul Millsap likely to enter free agency and Dwight Howard in his 13th season, the Hawks may look at their frontcourt as an area they’ll need to address. John Collins is a polished scorer and rebounder with significant upside.
21. Washington: C Bam Adebayo
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/ 250
The Wizards could use some more frontcourt depth with Ian Mahinmi battling injury all season and other options struggling to produce consistently. Adebayo has an NBA-ready frame and the explosiveness to play a role as a banger and finisher inside.
22. Denver: SF OG Anunoby
Ht./Wt.: 6-8/ 215
With two first-round picks, the Nuggets can afford to take a swing on Anunoby, who likely would have been picked at least 10 spots higher had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury. Small forward is in flux long term for Denver, and Anunoby’s length, defensive versatility and ability to make spot-up jumpers could work here.
23. Toronto (from L.A. Clippers): PF T.J. Leaf
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/ 220
The Raptors have been searching all season for consistent production at power forward, where a rotating cast of players has been used. Their best option, Patrick Patterson, has an expiring contract, which could lead them to bolster the spot with Leaf.
24. Toronto: C Anzejs Pasecniks
Ht./Wt.: 7-2/ 229
Gran Canaria (EuroCup)
With two first-round picks and a crowded roster loaded with young players, the Raptors may look to draft someone they can stash in Europe for a year or two. Pasecniks’ size, skill level and rapid improvement this season could be a very smart gamble.
25. Utah (from Golden State): SG Donovan Mitchell
Ht./Wt.: 6-3/ 210
George Hill and Shelvin Mack are on expiring contracts, which could lead the Jazz to add a talented guard prospect. Mitchell could bring a level of athleticism, strength and defensive versatility that could help the Jazz.
26. Brooklyn (from Boston): PF Alec Peters
Ht./Wt.: 6-9/ 225
The Nets are among the NBA leaders in 3-point attempts, clearly embracing the pace-and-space era. The problem is they don’t make enough of them. Enter Peters, one of the top scorers in college basketball. He also has extraordinary intangibles, which could go a long way in improving the team’s locker-room culture.
27. Houston: SF Justin Jackson
Ht./Wt.: 6-8/ 193
The Rockets are well-stocked at most positions, but may look to upgrade on the wing, where they don’t have a great deal of depth. Justin Jackson is a much-improved perimeter shooter with a very high basketball IQ.
28. Portland (from Cleveland): SF Jaron Blossomgame
Ht./Wt.: 6-7/ 214
The Trail Blazers have had success using a variety of combo forwards together and may look to increase their depth at that spot with one of the better seniors available. Blossomgame is a multi-positional defender with strong physical attributes and a no-nonsense attitude.
29. San Antonio: PF Johnathan Motley
Ht./Wt.: 6-9/ 230
The Spurs lack some depth in their frontcourt and could look to get a little more athletic inside. Motley is a physically gifted big man who brings impressive toughness and defensive versatility when he’s fully engaged.
30. Utah (from Golden State): PF/C Jonathan Jeanne
Ht./Wt.: 7-2/ 195
Nancy (France-ProA League)
With two first-round picks and plenty of young players under contract, the Jazz may look to draft and stash a European player. Jeanne is a few years away from being ready for the NBA, but has great height and length to go along with solid instincts on both ends of the floor.
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