1. Philadelphia 76ers- Markelle Fultz
Well publicized, the 76ers traded up to the first overall pick for Fultz. He fits perfectly with the talent the 76ers have been accumulating and it appears that the 76ers are done tanking. A guard who can play on or off the ball, Fultz will slide into his offensive role almost seamlessly next to a heap of other inexperienced players. He has a 6’5” frame with a 6’10” wingspan. Fultz’s athletic ability and size lead NBA executives to believing he can develop into a versatile player on both ends of the floor. He has a uniquely quick and tight handle while also being an unselfish playmaker who can shoot. Fultz projects to be the most NBA ready prospect in the draft and is going to his best fit in the top 3.
2. Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball
Ball appears to be destined to end up in Los Angeles. He went to UCLA, his Dad famously declared that the Lakers were the only team Lonzo should go to and most importantly: D’Angelo Russell was traded to the Nets earlier this week, making Ball the best fit for the Lakers at 2.
Ball’s shot form is awkward, but his shooting percentages are solid. Ball can run in transition and make the right and sometimes flashy play. At 6’6” Ball has great size for a point guard. How his game develops will depend on the question marks of his game translating to the NBA. Will he need to re-work his entire shot? Can he become a more creative ball handler? Ball is flawed, but still a solid pick at #2.
3. Boston Celtics- Jonathan Isaac
The Celtics are in a rare position. Not often does a team with the best record in a conference have a top 3 pick, but Boston has been in this spot drafting at three back to back drafts. The Celtics are looking for a combination of win now and build for the future. Isaac is a 6’11” small forward who can defend positions 1 through 4. His agility and length make him a contender for the best defensive player in the draft. He also has a budding skill set offensively to be dangerous player from all over the floor.
4. Phoenix Suns- Josh Jackson
The Suns are loaded with young talent and Josh Jackson fits well with Devin Booker and the duo of young players Phoenix took last draft in Marquese Chriss and Dragon Bender. Jackson is a two way player. He can create his own shot and defend multiple positions. His all around skill set is not quite NBA ready, but he has a strong chance to be a low-risk, high-reward player for the Suns. His athletic ability fits well with the Suns’ style and Phoenix doesn’t have to move Eric Bledsoe like they might if they were to go for a point guard.
5. Sacramento Kings- De’Aaron Fox
Fox is an NBA ready player. He is a high level defender and has offensive skills that translate to the NBA. His outside shooting was not ideal at Kentucky, but his shot is not broken beyond to a point of possible reconstruction like Lonzo Ball. Fox would be a top 3 pick in most drafts, but in this situation the Kings benefit from the top heavy draft and get their point guard of the future.
6. Orlando Magic- Lauri Markkanen
The Magic have a lot of players on their roster, but a stretch four is not currently in their arsenal. Markkanen is a deadly shooter and will provide some much needed floor spacing to the Magic. The 7 footer from Arizona via Finland has drawn comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki. Comparisons to NBA superstars are not fair to draft picks, but Markkanen is definitely skilled and should fit well with the talent Orlando already has.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves- Zach Collins
The T-Wolves have young talent at every position except center. Collins is arguable the best center in a draft loaded with big men. Hes athletic and naturally talented on both ends. He fits next to Karl Towns as an athletic and legit 7 footer that can protect the rim and score efficiently in the role he will have to take on playing with so many offensive talents like Andrew Wiggins and Zach Lavine likely to handle most of the offensive ball handling.
8. New York Knicks- Jayson Tatum
The Basketball Gods decided to bless the chaotic Knicks with Jayson Tatum (in my alternate reality where he falls to 8). Tatum is the best available talent left on the board.He has a lot of similarities to Carmelo Anthony, but the Knicks are happy to have a player projected in the top 3 fall all the way to them. Tatum is an offensive minded small forward. He has scoring instincts and an NBA body that will fill out. He also fits very well next to Kristaps Porzingis.
9. Dallas Mavericks- Dennis Smith
The Mavericks need a point guard and Dennis Smith is the best point guard left in the draft pool. Smith is an explosive athlete with a score first mentality. He has a quick first step and a vertical leap that has been measured in the high 40 inch range. Smith’s shooting percentages are solid. His point guard polish is not quite there, but will be something he works on at the next level.
10. Sacramento Kings- John Collins
Collins was the most efficient NBA prospect in the NCAA last season. He finished with an eye popping 36.3 PER, which basically means the accumulation of his stats is extremely efficient. Collins has a frail frame at 6’10”, and average wingspan for his size measured at 6’11”, but he makes up for it in high flying athletic ability and basketball instincts.
11. Charlotte Hornets- Luke Kennard
The Bobcats traded Marco Belinelli earlier this week in the Dwight Howard trade. Kennard is from nearby Duke University so he should be a fan favorite, but he also brings shooting and clever offensive skills to the table. Other than his 6’6” size Kennard is underwhelming physically and athletically. He might need to be hidden on the defensive side of the ball, but he should be a great floor spacer.
12. Detroit- Donovan Mitchell
Mitchell is a talented combo guard. He is a tad undersized to play the shooting guard position at 6’3” in shoes, but makes up for it with a filled out frame of around 210 lbs and a massive 6’10” wingspan. Mitchell is a solid scorer in the half court setting and can play the pick and roll. He should be able to defend multiple positions and help Detroit on both ends of the floor.
13. Denver Nuggets- Justin Jackson
Jackson is a sure-fire 3 and D small forward. He has a winning mentality and can help Denver with their uncertainty at the position in the future. Jackson is athletic and fits with what the Nuggets have been building.
14. Miami Heat- Malik Monk
Monk is a unique prospect. He is a 6’3” shooter and a high energy defender. Given time he could become an athletic J.J. Riddick. His shooting stroke might take some time to develop at the NBA level with bigger and more athletic defenders and his fit on the defensive side of the ball is in question despite his talent to pressure ball handlers. Monk will find his NBA fit as an energy player that runs around screens.