The NBA season is nearing it’s conclusion, which means the offseason will be upon us before we know it. One of the key components is obviously the draft, where teams will have the ability to select the next Stephen Curry (if they are lucky). Who is rising up draft boards? Who is falling? Let’s take a look at how our writers currently see the draft falling at this point:
|Pick||Team||Will Overton||Ray Kuhn|
|1||Philadelphia 76ers||Ben Simmons - SF/PF - LSU |
I still have Ben Simmons as the best player in this draft and can't see a good reason for the Sixers to not take him. So far there has been no word about Simmons trying to force his way to LA as some speculated, so I think this is the pick Philly has to make.
|Ben Simmons - F - LSU Simmons has the higher ceiling of the two (Brandon Ingram being the other), and more signs are pointing to Philadelphia taking the talented forward first overall. It is hard to argue with the potential and skill set here.|
|2||Los Angeles Lakers||Brandon Ingram - SF – Duke|
The Lakers job is easy, take the guy who the Sixers don't, because the top two guys in this draft are clearly in a tier to themselves. Ingram gives the Lakers the versatility in the frontcourt that they needed last season and is immediately the best player on that team.
|Brandon Ingram - F - Duke
Not a bad fallback pick for the Lakers at all here as they get a player from a winning program who has a dynamic skill set and is ready to produce at the NBA level.
|3||Boston Celtics||Marquese Chriss - PF - Washington|
It's still a mystery what the Celtics are going to do there, other than try and trade the pick of course. Recent rumors suggest that Marquese Chriss has suddenly shwon up on their radar and while I think some of the guards may be better picks. Chriss is a better fit and more of a need.
|Kris Dunn - G - Providence
Jamaal Murray might be a better player, or at least a better shooter, but Dunn is just what Boston needs. Having Dunn run the point makes Isaiah Thomas that much better.
|4||Phoenix Suns||Dragan Bender - PF - International|
I think the Suns would be extremely happy if the Celtics were to pass on Bender, though they'd probably be happy with Chriss too if need be. Bender gives the Suns someone to compliment Alex Len at the four and stretch the floor to open the lane up for Eric Bledsoe and the guards to penetrate.
|Henry Ellenson - F - Marquette
Ellenson has just one year of NCAA experience under his belt, and while this might be a spot or two high for him, you can’t discount his shooting ability and versatility to potentially slide to center. And we know the Suns need help in the big man department.
|5||Minnesota Timberwolves||Buddy Hield - SG – Oklahoma|
I'm more or less just guessing here, because if the Timberwolves have their choice of the big three guards (Dunn, Hield and Murray), I don't really know which way they will go with it. Hield makes the most sense though to me unless they want to take Dunn as a potential replacement for Rubio at some point. Hield has the size and defense the Timberwolves need at the 2 and should pair well with Wiggins on the wing.
|Jamaal Murray - G - Kentucky
Murray can shoot and is a proven scorer. All indications also are that he is NBA ready off the court. I liked Hield here, but if Boston lets Murray pass by, Minnesota likely will not do the same.
|6||New Orleans Pelicans||Kris Dunn - PG – Providence|
I think it's possible that the Pelicans could go with Jaylen Brown with this pick as reports are his workout there went well and that's a need for them. If Dunn is there at this point though I don't think they can pass on him. He's the best pure point guard in this draft.
|Buddy Hield - G - Oklahoma
The Pelicans are in a great position here as they add the best shooter in the draft, who was also a graduating senior, to an explosive young core. Hield will open the floor up for Anthony Davis as well.
|7||Denver Nuggets||Jaylen Brown - SF - California|
The Denver Nuggets could absolutely take whichever guard is left at this point, but I also think Brown holds some appeal for them. Brown has a ton of upside and could wind up being a top 3 pick in this draft.
|Dragan Bender - F - Croatia
The Nuggets have recently dipped their toes in the European big man pool, and because of that, they are set at the center position. Denver doesn’t have to rely on Bender as his impressive set of tools right away, and he will have time to adjust to the NBA game.
|8||Sacramento Kings||Jamal Murray - PG/SG - Kentucky|
If the draft were to shake out this way the Kings would have to be pretty pumped about it. Sacramento could really use a perimeter scorer, and along with Hield, Murray is the best in this draft class at that. The Kings grab the best player available and fill their need with this one.
|Skal Labissiere - F - Kentucky
It wasn’t the best of freshman seasons for Labissiere, but he certainly is talented. Couple that with his shooting range, and the fact he won’t have to worry much about playing in the post, and you have a good situation as he teams with another former Kentucky big man; DeMarcus Cousins.
|9||Toronto Raptors||Henry Ellenson - PF – Marquette|
I think the Raptors are going to take a stretch four guy here to pair with Jonas Valanciunas, I'm just not sure which one. Rumors are they want Chriss, but it seems like everyone does these days. They also could go with Skal Labissiere and the upside he gives. Ellenson is the more NBA ready and polished guy ready to contribute immediately though and I think Toronto will value that.
|Marquess Chriss - F - Washington
Chriss is athletic, talented, and he did more than most of the other top prospects at the Combine. With that being said, patience is in order here, but the reward could be very much worth it.
|10||Milwaukee Bucks||Jakob Poeltl - C – Utah|
This just makes sense for the Bucks. The interior defense was a serious problem last season and Poeltl is the true center that the Bucks need and the best one in this draft.
|Jakob Poeltl - C - Utah
The Bucks biggest weakness last year was the center position, and Poeltl is the best center in the draft.
|11||Orlando Magic||Skal Labissiere - PF - Kentucky|
The Magic have a frontcourt of Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic and Skal Labissiere would be a nice compliment to those two. Labissiere has a lot of potential and he very well could wind up in the top 10 still, there's also risk too this pick though as well, but this pick makes sense.
|Domantas Sabonis - F - Gonzaga
In general teams draft more on potential that what a player currently is, but Sabonis falls into both categories. He is still ascending, and his absence at the Combine was curious, but he is a big man that can contribute off the bench this season.
|12||Utah Jazz||Furkan Korkmaz - SG - International|
The Jazz are a lottery team with enough depth that they can afford to take a guy like Korkmaz. While Korkmaz has NBA ready range right now he still needs some work and could even wind up spending a year overseas still which the Jazz can handle.
|Dejounte Murray - G- Washington
I didn't have Murray in my original draft, but he is rising fast. The Jazz don't have any true holes, but they also could use some backcourt reinforcements at the point in case last year's lottery pick doesn't pan out.
|13||Phoenix Suns||Wade Baldwin - PG - Vanderbilt|
On the surface the Phoenix Suns don't seem to need anymore guards, but they really don't have a true point guard in the old school sense. Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe and Archie Goodwin are all kind of tweeners. Baldwin gives the Suns another prolific shooter and a solid ball handler to lead the second team.
|Jaylen Brown - G/F - California
With two early picks, the Suns can afford to draft on upside and talent here. Brown has the talent to be a better pro than Ellenson, but whether that happens is still to be determined. His versatility also fits with the Suns’ fast paced offense.
|14||Chicago Bulls||Dejounte Murray - PG/SG - Chicago Bulls|
I think the Bulls could definitely go in a number of directions with this pick, but Murray seems like a pretty good fit with his ability to backup both guard spots as guard depth has been an issue in the past. Also, if Murray proves capable of running the point he could soon make Derrick Rose expendable.
|Wade Baldwin, IV - G - Vanderbilt
Chicago needs point guard help as Derrick Rose can't be trusted to stay healthy, but Baldwin can also slide over to shooting guard and play next to Rose at times.
|15||Denver Nuggets||Deytona Davis - PF/C – Michigan St|
The Nuggets have a lot of frontcourt guys already, but Deytona Davis is too good of a player to pass up in this spot. It may take Davis a little while to fully develop, but he's got top 5 upside in this class.
|Furkan Korkmaz - G -Turkey
Kormaz gives the Nuggets one of the better shooters in this year’s draft. He is raw, and will be eased into action slowly, but is also in a position where he won’t be counted on much to start. And it's even better if he spends a year in Europe as Denver has three first round picks.
|16||Boston Celtics||Denzel Valentine - SG/SF – Michigan St|
I still think this fit makes a lot of sense for the Celtics. It's possible that Evan Turner is headed out of town and Valentine has the flexibility to play anywhere from the point to small forward, like Turner. The bonus is he's a far better shooter than Turner was. Valentine makes an instant impact and makes Boston's bench a good bit better.
|Deyonta Davis - F - Michigan State
The Celtics have multiple picks in the first round, and they can afford to gamble on the talented Davis. Davis is a versatile big man who will only get better.
|17||Memphis Grizzlies||Ante Zizic - C - International|
I could still see the Grizzlies trying to add some offense and backcourt depth with this pick, but one of the internaitonal centers may be too much to pass up. Marc Gasol is still in Memphis, but age is going to catch up to him sooner or later and Zizic is a project that Memphis can develop over time.
|Demetrius Jackson - G - Notre Dame
With Mike Conley possibly on his way out, the Grizzlies could use a replacement, and Jackson is the best available point guard here. Jackson emerged well from the Combine and he has a track record of success as a leader in Notre Dame.
|18||Detroit Pistons||Domantas Sabonis - PF/C - Gonzaga|
The Pistons biggest need is probably at backup point guard, but it'll be really hard for them to not take Sabonis if he is here. Sabonis would be an immediate contributor for the Pistons.
|Denzel Valentine - G - Michigan State
The Pistons are another team that is need of backcourt help as guard play off the bench was a glaring weakness for them last season. Valentine is a versatile player who can fill a variety of roles for Detroit.
|19||Denver Nuggets||Patrick McCaw - SG - UNLV|
Patrick McCaw has been rising up the boards ever since his strong showing at the combine, and at this point I don't think it's a stretch to say he goes top 20. This would be the Nuggets third pick and so far I have them taking two frontcourt guys, so adding McCaw here makes sense.
|Malachi Richardson - G - Syracuse
Well there is a reason why Richardson has remained in the draft, and the fact that he will coming off the board around this time is why. Richardson might be the best pure shooting guard in the draft once Hield is taken, and this pick solidifies Denver’s backcourt.
|20||Indiana Pacers||Juan Hernongomez - SF/PF - International|
The Pacers want to have a small ball lineup, and Hernangomez could be the guy to play the four in that lineup in a couple years. Hernangomez is a versatile offensive player and a much better rebounder than you'd expect from him.
|Malik Beasley - G - Florida State
Larry Bird has already spoken to his desire to improve Indiana’s offense, and Beasley appears to be a good fit here. Beasley can create his own shot, get to the hoop, and also knock down a jumper. This is what the Pacers need to boost their offense.
|21||Atlanta Hawks||Timothe Luwawu - SF – International|
I like Luwawu a lot and could see him going higher than this. If he’s here though the Hawks should be jumping on him. Luwawu is an NBA ready defender and his shooting has come a long way in the last year. I think he could be an immediate contributor for Atlanta.
|Timothe Luwawu - F - France
Luwawu gives Atlanta some help in the backcourt as he is a legitimate shooter.
|22||Charlotte Hornets||Malachi Richardson - SG - Syracuse|
The Hornets are another team who could go in a few directions, but I think it'll be hard for them to pass up a shooter and offensive threat like Richardson.
|Taurean Prince - F - Baylor
The Hornets need a player who possesses Prince’s skill set. Prince is a combo forward who can knock down shot and has 3-point range.
|23||Boston Celtics||Ivica Zubac - C – International|
With as many picks as they have the Celtics need to take a project and Zubac is that guy. Zubac has a lot of upside with some raw offensive potential, but he needs time which Boston could provide.
|Juan Hernangomez - F - Spain
After taking two players who likely be a part of their core moving forward, the Celtics will likely use their third selection on a talented big man with upside who they can keep in Europe.
|24||Philadelphia 76ers||Demetrius Jackson - PG - Notre Dame|
Point Guard is one of many spots the Sixers could use. There has been a lot of talk about trading for or signing a point guard, but even if they do Jackson gives them an NBA ready backup.
|Tyler Ulis - G - Kentucky
This is different pick than Simmons, as Ulis will quickly become a veteran for the 76ers. Ulis can be a stabilizing force, just as he was in Kentucky for a team filled with talented, but inexperienced players.
|25||Los Angeles Clippers||DeAndre Bembry - SF – St. Josephs|
One of the big winners at the combine, DeAndre Bembry has worked his way into the first round. The Clippers need wing guys and Bembry is a strong defender who can also play multiple spots on offense and is a surprisingly good playmaker.
|Cheick Diallo - C - Kansas
Diallo was highly regarded freshman who didn’t make much of an impact last season with Kansas. With the Clippers he can start off in a limited role, and they could use another big man.
|26||Philadelphia 76ers||Cheick Diallo - PF/C - Kansas|
The Sixers love project players, and after drafting a couple of NBA ready guys they can afford to take one here. Diallo is really raw and has a lot of developing to do, but the ceiling for him is really high, especially as a defender and rebounder.
|DeAndre Bembry - F - Saint Joseph’s
Bembry may not have the best jump shot, although it is getting better. Where he really shines, and it was apparent at the Combine, is in an actual game and we know that Philadelphia has a need for players; really of any kind.
|27||Toronto Raptors||Diamond Stone - C – Maryland|
After adding a stretch four with their lottery pick, the Raptors go for more big man depth here. Stone is pretty raw on offense, but he's a tremendous rebounder and shot blocker.
|Brice Johnson - F - North Carolina
Johnson is athletic around the rim, is one of the best rebounders, and his jump shot is also improving.
|28||Phoenix Suns||Taurean Prince - SF - Baylor|
I think this would be a steal for the Suns to add Prince at this point. This is a guy who I think could give them important minutes right from the jump as a backup to both forward spots. Prince is a solid shooter and strong rebounder.
|Diamond Stone - C - Maryland
Stone has double/double potential but is still raw. With all of their draft picks, the Suns can afford to go for the high reward selection.
|29||San Antonio Spurs||Thon Maker - PF - High School|
The Spurs love to draft project guys and Thon Maker is the biggest project guy in this draft. Maker has all kinds of upside with his height and shooting ability. Maker is a few years away, but that's never been a problem for San Antonio before.
|Thon Maker - C - Australia
The Spurs aren’t going to have to rely on Maker next season, so why not draft on talent, youth, and upside here?
|30||Golden State Warriors||Brice Johnson - PF - UNC|
There is a good chance the Warriors will lose both Harrison Barnes and Marreese Speights in the offseason. So adding a big who is pretty well NBA ready is a nice grab with the last pick of the round.
|Stephen Zimmerman - C - UNLV
The Warriors are another team looking for help in the paint, and Zimmerman is a talented freshman who could provide it.