Get ready for a topsy-turvy, upside down, not-sure-how-we’ll-end-up-getting-through-the-night NBA Draft. If you thought the flurry of trades and trade rumors was wild over the last few days with Philadelphia trading up to the top spot with Boston and Dwight Howard relocating to his fifth NBA team as he moves to Charlotte, you haven’t seen nothing yet! Thursday night promises excitement, surprises, and some sure-fire head scratchers that leave us all wondering how some of these GMs got their jobs.
So before the big, fun-filled night begins, here’s my two cents on what might happen:
1. 76ers: PG Markelle Fultz, Washington
At least we get to start the evening with some predictability. The Sixers didn’t trade up to take a flyer on someone. They know Markelle Fultz, they like Markelle Fultz, and they’re going to draft Markelle Fultz. Pretty simple.
2. Lakers: PG Lonzo Ball, UCLA
A great passer who should make everyone on the floor better.
3. Celtics: SF Jayson Tatum, Duke
Tatum has been called the “most ready” player in this draft. Add him to a 50-win team? Celtics should be thrilled.
4. *PROJECTED TRADE – Knicks (from Suns): SF Josh Jackson, Kansas
This is contigent on Phil Jackson being serious about trading Kristaps Porzingis — and he sounds like he is. The Knicks like the Kansas star but likely will only get him if they trade up.
5. Kings: PG De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
Maybe the best point guard in the draft, if you listen to some experts. The Kings are known for doing, well, shall we say “funny” things when it comes to player personnel. Not even they can screw this one up though. Right?
6. Magic: PF Jonathan Isaac, Florida St.
Orlando’s front office will love this pick if Isaac is available. And I see no reason he’s not.
7. Timberwolves: SG Malik Monk, Kentucky
I’m not too sure where Minnesota really wants to go with this selection. I think they’d love to trade it — Dallas or New York seem the obvious suitors. If not, Monk is the pick.
8. *PROJECTED TRADE – Mavericks (from Knicks): PF Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
The player in the draft who has been compared most often to Dirk Nowitzki. No surprise he ends up in Dallas.
9. *PROJECTED TRADE – Knicks (from Mavs): PG Dennis Smith, NC State
This is a position the Knicks must improve at. It’s Smith or the Frenchman, Frank Ntilikina.
10. *PROJECTED TRADE – Jazz (from Kings): SG Luke Kennard, Duke
Perhaps, the best shooter in the draft. Would be a great replacement for Gordon Hayward, if he leaves.
11. Hornets: G Frank Ntilikina, France
This would be a solid selection for Charlotte. Ntilikina could be a nice backcourt mate with Kemba Walker.
12. Pistons: G Donovan Mitchell, Louisville
Mitchell is tough and versatile. The Pistons shouldn’t pass him up. Although, they may choose one of the Collins kids here to add to their front court.
13. Nuggets: F OG Anunoby, Indiana
Denver is one of the best at scouting overseas.
14. Heat: SF Justin Jackson, North Carolina
Jackson can shoot and is versatile, but lacks great athleticism or else he’d be a top-10 pick.
15. Trail Blazers: PF/C John Collins, Wake Forest
Portland can’t keep and pay all their picks in the first round (they have 3). But this is one they should.
16. Bulls: G/F Terrance Ferguson, Australia
The Bulls will need a scorer — especially if Jimmy Butler is traded this offseason (or Draft night for that matter).
17. Bucks: C Zach Collins, Gonzaga
It’s a bit surprising the Zags big man is still on the board. I imagine the Bucks would scoop him up in a heartbeat.
18. Pacers: C Jarrett Allen, Texas
Super talented center, who’s athletic and long. Pacers need to start adding young talent — with the impending loss of Paul George.
19. Hawks: C Justin Patton, Creighton
Patton will replace Dwight Howard and his offensive skill set should have Atlanta very pleased.
20. *PROJECTED TRADE – Clippers (from Trail Blazers): C Bam Adebayo, Kentucky
Blazers will move at least one of their first round selections. I can see the Clippers jumping up to get a guy who fits the mold of the “new NBA center”. This is assuming DeAndre Jordan is shipped out of LA.
21. Thunder: PF T.J. Leaf, UCLA
Leaf is a big kid, who moves around well and can get out to the three-point arc. Should add a nice dimension to OKC’s offense.
22. Nets: PF/C Harry Giles, Duke
Risky pick with Giles’s history of knee trouble. But his talent cannot be questioned. And the Nets need to acquire talent.
23. Raptors: F Tyler Lydon, Syracuse
Toronto will likely need to reload on the wings with Kyle Lowry probably taking off this summer. Lyon can flat out shoot the 3.
24. PROJECTED TRADE – Kings (from Jazz): C Anzejs Pasecniks, Spain
Utah would give up this pick in order to move up to 10. The Kings are unpredictable.
25. Magic: F Semi Ojeleye, SMU
Long, versatile 3 or 4 fits the mold of what Orlando wants on their roster.
26. Trail Blazers: C Isaiah Hartenstei, Latvia
This is a pick that could (and likely would) remain overseas for a another couple years.
27. Lakers: PF D.J. Wilson, Michigan
A stretch 4 who can get his own shot.
28. Lakers: SG Josh Hart, Villanova
Lakers will not be afraid to shoot. Hart will contribute immediately.
29. Spurs: F Jonah Bolden, UCLA
The Spurs need another scorer who can stretch the floor a bit to compliment Kawhi Leonard.
30. PROJECTED TRADE – Kings (from Jazz): PF Jordan Bell, Oregon
His defensive presence and versatility is outstanding. His motor is always going. Although, he won’t contribute much as far as offense goes.
Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed, @brian22goodwin.