1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – C
Noel is the consensus #1 pick on multiple draft boards for a reason. The man is a monster in the middle, nearly averaging a double-double in points and rebounds as well as 4.4 blocks per game. The Cavaliers haven’t had a great big man since their Brad Daughtery and Noel can be that guy. Noel also makes Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller expendable and the two can be packaged in order to find a good wing player for the Cavaliers.
2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, Michigan – PG
With Jameer Nelson getting older, the Magic need a point guard for the future and Burke can be that guy. The “Naismith College Player of the Year” can dish dimes, averaging 6.7 assists per game for the Wolverines while leading them to a National Championship appearance. Many critics say that Ben McLemore would be the ideal choice for the Magic, but the Magic already have young guns occupying the wing positions in Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris, players who have shown signs of development in the past year. Every team needs a floor general and Burke can be the leader for this young Magic squad.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown – SF
Porter has the size at the wing position the Wizards so desperately need, something McLemore doesn’t have. Standing at 6’9″ and with a wingspan measuring 7’1″, Porter will be able to dominate players defensively at his position. He’s also a very versatile player as he can drive to the hoop, drain the outside shot, pass the ball and pull down boards. Many scouts compare him to Tayshaun Prince, which is exactly the type of player the Wizards need. He will fit in well with the likes of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Emeka Okafor.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas – SG
There’s no way the Bobcats are going to let a talented player like McLemore slip all the way down to the forth pick. He is a versatile scorer as he can not only slash to the basket, but knock down threes like nobody’s business. The Bobcats need a scoring threat to take pressure off of Kemba Walker and McLemore can be that guy. McLemore also averaged 5.2 rebounds per game, showing he is a solid rebounder for his size.
5. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, UNLV – PF
The Suns lack an intimidating force in the front court and Bennett can be that guy. Bennett averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in college and will pair well in the frontcourt with Marcin Gortat, who is nowhere as athletic as Bennett. He can also shoot the three ball, stretching defenses out. Bennett has huge upside and the Suns can afford to wait a little to let his short term injury heal, with decent options at the power forward position such as Luis Scola and Marcus Morris.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, Maryland – C
With Anthony Davis more of a power forward than a center, Len is the perfect option for the Pelicans to play center. At 7’1″, the man can do some serious shot blocking. Pair him with Davis and the Pelicans have a dangerous front court. Len’s low post game is very good and is getting better each day. Drafting Len will also move Ryan Anderson to the sixth man role, which he prefers a lot more rather than being a starter. The Pelicans can pass on Victor Oladipo with the development of the young Al Faroq-Aminu going smoothly.
7. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse – PG
The Kings will get a big boost at the PG position with Carter-Williams. He is a good six inches taller than their current point guard, Isaiah Thomas. Carter-Williams is a very good passer and can create opportunities for his teammates, which will bode well for Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins. While he is known as a passer, he is also more than capable of getting a few buckets with his name. Carter-Williams also is a solid defender, since he is much bigger than most of his matchups.
8. Detroit Pistons: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, SG
The Pistons are known for scooping up the best player at their draft position and conveniently Oladipo fits exactly what the team needs: an athletic scorer who can hustle all around the court. Oladipo had a 42″ vertical leap. With the failed Rodney Stuckey experiment and Jose Calderon set to hit free agency, Oladipo is a safe pick for the Pistons. He is a solid defender, which the Pistons so desperately need at the guard position. Oladipo also has a competitive edge that will motivate this relatively quiet Pistons squad.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG/SG
This is a guy that can get buckets. McCollum averaged 23.9 points per game while in college and he shot the ball just about everywhere. Even with his lack of height, standing at 6’3″, he still managed to average five rebounds per game. McCollum is also a solid defender, something the Timberwolves have been lacking as a team. With McCollum on the team, he will take the scoring pressure off of Kevin Love, who has been injured often last season.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, C
The Blazers need a defensive force in the front court and as good as LaMarcus Aldridge is, he is not a very good defender. Enter Steve Adams, who averaged two blocks a game in college. The seven footer provides size and hustle at the center position, two things J.J. Hickson couldn’t give to the Blazers. Add in the fact Hickson is hitting the market this summer and Adams is a good fit for the Blazers. While people might argue with this pick after the Blazers scooped up Meyers Leonard last year, he is still developing.
11. Philadelphia 76ers : Shabazz Muhammad – UCLA, SG
The 76ers currently uses Jason Richardson and Nick Young as their SG and Muhammad can be an upgraded version of those two guards. Like the two other guards, Muhammad is an athletic scorer who can shoot from anywhere on the court. Muhammad has one thing the other two guards don’t have: potential. Muhammad was originally slated to be a top-5 pick before falling down the boards and this still doesn’t mean Muhammad can’t grow as a player. Nonetheless, he is a lot more talented than the other shooting guards on the roster and will give Jrue Holiday a go-to-guy to pass to.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cody Zeller – Indiana, C
The Thunder lack a low post scoring presence and that’s exactly what Zeller is. He can move around on the low block and pull down boards, averaging 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game at Indiana. Zeller also averaged 1.3 blocks per game, showing he can defend the paint as well. Pairing him and Serge Ibaka will make fortify the low post on defense for the Thunder. He is certainly an upgrade over Kendrick Perkins who, at this point, just takes up space on the court. Zeller also has the character that Sam Presti looks for in players.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Schroeder – Germany, PG
With the failed Darren Collison experiment, Schroeder is the perfect guy to take over the reigns of the point guard position. He scored 17 points and dished out eight assists at the Nike Hoop Summit, showing that he is a capable scorer and passer. Schroeder would be a good floor general for the Mavericks, something they didn’t have since the departure of Jason Kidd. Seeing Kidd’s success with the Mavericks, there’s no question Schroeder would perform as a Maverick. He’ll have plenty of weapons to pass to such as Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion and Chris Kaman.
14. Utah Jazz: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Georgia, SG
It doesn’t look like Alec Burks is going to pan out to be the player the Jazz hoped for, so why not Caldwell-Pope? Caldwell-Pope is a great scorer who has been improving in the art of the long ball. He will help stretch defenses as most of the Jazz’s scoring takes place in the low post (with players like Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson, why wouldn’t they get the ball?) He can also contribute to pulling down boards when needed.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin – San Diego State, SG/SF
The Bucks have a choice: Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis. Whoever they choose, there will be a hole at the SG position and Franklin can fill the need at the position. Like Ellis/Jennings, he is a great scorer and he can shoot all over the court. He is a great at crashing the glass, pulling down over nine rebounds per game. He is also a very capable passer for a swingman. Whoever the Bucks choose to keep, the Bucks will be sure to give Franklin a roster spot.
16. Boston Celtics: Rudy Gobert – France, C
Gobert looks like the center of the future for the Celtics. With Kevin Garnett not getting any younger, the Celtics can take time to develop Gobert into the defensive behemoth he is slated to become. Garnett can mentor Gobert to be a solid defensive player. He is a solid inside scorer and can defend the paint well due to his size (he is seven feet tall). While he can’t stretch out defenses, he won’t have to thanks to the surplus of shooters the Celtics possess.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric – Croatia, SF/PF
The Hawks have a gaping hole at the small forward position and Saric can fill that role quite well. He is a smart player who can pick his spots on offense and provide a scoring boost when needed or put himself in position to pull down boards, which are two things Saric is capable of doing. He can help set up his teammate as he is a reliable passer and can play both forward positions, which is convenient for the Hawks with their massive amounts of salary cap and a desire to sign a big free agent.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga, C
While Al Horford can be the rim protector, Olynyk would fit in well as scoring big man. He can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court, even the three point line. He will be able to stretch out the defense with the range he has and With the Hawks pursuing Dwight Howard, Olynyk could be a good spark plug off the bench if the Hawks end up signing Howard.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Tony Mitchell – North Texas, SF
The Cavaliers can add another great shot blocker to their arsenal by drafting Mitchell. The 6’9″ forward averaged an impressive 2.6 blocks per game. Mitchell can also pull down boards, averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in college. While he may be a force defensively, this doesn’t mean Mitchell lacks an offensive game. Mitchell can utilize his athleticism to drive to the hoop and score.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tim Hardaway Jr. – Michigan, SG
With the failed Rip Hamilton experiment, the Bulls are, again, searching for the two guard that can shoot the long ball. Hardaway Jr. is the perfect fit for this Bulls team. Hardaway Jr. isn’t only a great shooter, but a solid passer as well. He can take pressure off of Derrick Rose to handle the ball all the time. As the Bulls try to assemble a championship squad, a competitor like Hardaway Jr. is key as he helped lead Michigan to a National Championship appearance.
21. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin – Miami, PG
As great as Mo Williams has been, he is getting older by the minute. Enter Shane Larkin, a monster athlete and a good floor general. He’s exactly what the Jazz need. Larkin is also a solid defender and a good three point shooter, which will help the Jazz stretch the court. He is comparable to Kemba Walker and has the potential to be as good as he has been in the NBA. The Jazz will overlook his lack of size and take 5’11″ spark plug.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Gorgui Dieng – Louisville, C
The Nets need another big man to join forces with Brook Lopez and Dieng is the guy the Nets are looking for. He is a force in the paint as a shot blocker and rebounder. Dieng also isn’t limited to the low post as he has a solid mid range jumper. Dieng is a good passer for a big man and can shift Brook Lopez to the power forward position. The combo of Dieng and Lopez will make the paint a danger zone for opponents.
23. Indiana Pacers: Mason Plumlee – Duke, PF
David West is scheduled to come off the books this summer. Whether he resigns with the Pacers or not, Plumlee is the right pick for the Pacers. He is another force in the paint as a rebounder and a shot blocker. Plumlee has a solid mid range game who can move around the court and handle the ball. If West decides to stay, he can be a valuable asset off the bench. If West decides to pack his bags, Plumlee can start and learn on the job, as seen with his praise for being a hard worker.
24. New York Knicks: Allen Crabbe – California, SG
With J.R. Smith set to seek out a bigger contract, Crabbe is a good fit in the blue and orange. Like Smith, Crabbe can score from anywhere on the court whether it’s slashing to the hoop or popping the corner pocket three. He is also another guard who can rebound for his position after averaging 6.1 rebounds last year.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock – North Carolina, SG
With Chauncey Billups looking elsewhere, the Pacers will need to find a replacement and Bullock fits the bill. He is a sharpshooter from the three point line and can crash the glass well for his size. He is a very underrated defender and a solid athlete for his size. The Clippers can start him right away and he will be able to produce, while keeping Jamal Crawford in his more useful sixth man role.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sergey Karasev – Russia, SF
Andre Kirelinko isn’t getting any younger, so why not pass the torch to another Russian small forward? Karasev has got mad range and a quick lefty release. He is also a solid passer and a very intelligent player. While Kirelinko is still with the Timberwolves, Karasav can serve as a shooter off the bench. Given the Timberwolves injury history, there’s no doubt Karasev is going to get minutes with the Timberwolves.
27. Denver Nuggets: Lucas Nogueira – Brazil, C
Noguiera is a project and he is likely to be kept overseas for a couple seasons, but the Nuggets will make this pick since they have time. The team is loaded with talent and Nogueira plays the team’s weakest position: center. While Javale McGee and Kosta Kofous will do a decent job holding down the fort in the United States, Noguiera is a big man who has a solid inside game. He can team up with Kenneth Faried in the future to provide a low post presence that pairs well with all of Denver’s shooters. Noguiera is developing other aspects of his game, but given his size and potential, he can be one of the biggest steals in the draft.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Giannis Antetokoumpo - Greece, SG/SF
The Spurs search for the next Manu Ginobili begins and ends with Antetokoumpo. He is a great athlete and playmaker who can score inside the paint well. Antetokoumpo, like Ginobili, will take a couple years before he will be able to come into the NBA. Given time, he will pair well with Kahwi Leonard as athletic wing players for the Spurs.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tony Snell – New Mexico, SG
The search for the next Thunder sixth man begins with Kevin Martin expected to search for a bigger contract elsewhere and while Jeremy Lamb seems like the next sixth man, he has a lot of development to do before he takes on that responsibility. Snell, like Martin and former Thunder sixth man James Harden, is a sharpshooter who can get to the basket when needed. Along with his scoring ability, Snell is a solid defender and can provide enough defensive relief when Thabo Sefalosha is on the bench.
30. Phoenix Suns: Glen Rice Jr. – Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBDL), SG/SF
Wesley Johnson just isn’t a reliable starter for the Suns. That being said, Rice Jr. has played with former NBA players in the NBDL and is a great option for the Suns at SG to start right away. His biggest strength is his scoring ability as he can pull up for a jumper just about anywhere on the court. Rice Jr. can also pull down boards well for a guard, averaging 6.2 rebounds last year. His basketball IQ and competitive drive should help motivate a sluggish Suns team.
About the Author
Written by Mark Kim
A student at the University of Missouri-Columbia looking to major in Sports Journalism.