- Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards
This is probably the right pick for them. They couldn’t take Wiseman or LaMelo Ball because they have KAT and D’Angelo Russell playing the same positions, and there isn’t really anyone else who fits the T-Wolves’ bill like Edwards. I’ve never liked guys who have an 85-15% athleticism to skill ratio, but the potential is definitely there.
2. Warriors: James Wiseman
I’m glad Golden State didn’t try to get too fancy with this pick. With Klay Thompson injured again it makes sense for the Warriors to take a swing on a prospect with the upside of Wiseman. He’s raw and inexperienced, but with Curry feeding him in the Warriors’ system I expect Wiseman to have a really good rookie year. Athletic monster. Could easily be the best player in the draft.
3. Hornets: LaMelo Ball
Again, not a huge fan. His ego and his dad are immediate red flags, but for a team like Charlotte who’s just looking for an offensive identity LaMelo is the perfect pick. Playing for the Hornets, he’ll put up big numbers as the whole offence flows through him Harden style, except they will lose over and over and over again. The Hornets are one of the few teams who have my blessing to take LaMelo Ball
4. Bulls: Patrick Williams
Ummm, ok. I know Chicago is drafting for the future and not the present but Patrick Williams is a stretch, especially with guys like Okoro and Avdija on the board. The positives? Williams is the 2nd youngest player in the draft with elite size, athleticism, and the makings of 3-point range. The negatives? He came off the bench his freshman year at Florida State and averaged 9 points. Patrick Williams is the Marvin Williams of this draft.
5. Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro
Good pick. Solid player. Good defender. Good roll player. This was a no risk low reward pick by Cleveland. I don’t know where this selection takes the team but it’s not an embarrassing move. Don’t know why they didn’t take Avjida here.
6. Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu
Might be a little redundant next to Clint Capela, but Okongwu’s gonna create a really nice defence/offence frontcourt with John Collins. This might be more of a system pick by Atlanta than someone with unlimited potential, but with Trae Young as the conductor of the team, a nice rim runner/rim protector is a good choice at pick 6.
7. Pistons: Killian Hayes
Perfect. This is the right pick. The Pistons need a creator, someone with the potential to be the lead guard on a playoffs team. I would’ve accepted Tyrese Haliburton here too, but Hayes has a little more scoring upside which works for Detroit. Expect to see Derrick Rose being shopped around now.
8. Knicks: Obi Toppin
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO NO NO!
Just when I thought the Knicks were getting smart for a change, they go and do this? I was praying they take Tyrese Haliburton here. An outstanding playmaker with 3-point range to set up R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson while being able to move around off the ball. Instead, the Knicks take yet another power forward who can’t shoot from 3, can’t play defence, and can’t make his teammates better. This just means another year of my man R.J. Barrett having to slog through 3 help defenders because everyone on his team plays like it’s the freaking 70s.
I’m like Lewis Black level upset about this.
9. Wizards: Deni Avdija
About time! Deni fell far enough and this is a great pick for Washington. He was my favourite player in this draft, and he goes to an organization that despite sucking last year has the exoskeleton of a playoff team. Playing with all-stars Wall and Beal will help him adjust to the league and focus on his off-ball play and shooting (something he’s shown flashes of but nothing consistent yet). With this pick the Wizards just went from 12-8th seed range to the 10-6th seed range.
10. Suns: Jalen Smith
This is higher than I thought he’d go but this is a great pick by the Suns. Just another modern NBA player for Chris Paul to feed. Smith’s greatest strength is his ability to space the floor at the 4 or the 5 position, so while there were probably more talented players left on the board there wasn’t anyone bringing Smith’s skillset to the table.
11. Spurs: Devin Vassell
Spursiest pick ever here. Another low-risk low reward, 3-and-D type who won’t be an all-star but won’t be a bust either. I thought the Spurs might want to gamble on someone who could make a splash for them but Vassell was right if they didn’t want to risk wasting a pick.
12. Kings: Tyrese Haliburton
I don’t know how I feel about this. Haliburton was my favourite guard in the whole thing and while I think this was a great move by the Kings, I kinda bummed that we won’t get to see Haliburton with the ball in his hands. I think that backing up De’Aaron Fox (who I like) or playing the two-guard is a waist of his passing talents. Still, kudos to the Kings for taking the best guy available.
13. Pelicans: Kira Lewis Jr.
Smart to get another guard after shopping Jrue Holiday. Young, with a lot of tools and work to do. Lewis Jr. should be a good fit next to a point forward like Ingram, or when Lonzo goes cold scoring.
14. Celtics: Aaron Nesmith
Good size and experience, Aaron Nesmith was the most efficient shooter in college hoops last season with an insane 52% clip from deep. This isn’t a bad pick by Boston, but I’m surprised they didn’t pick up Cole Anthony (who had already fallen) to play backup to Kemba Walker, or a rim protector to round out their frontcourt.
15. Magic: Cole Anthony
Weird fit, but this is undoubtedly the best guy available here. He’ll probably take some minutes away from Markelle Fultz but maybe that’s a good thing? Anthony had an underwhelming season at North Carolina but it was mostly due to his injuries and weak supporting cast. I like his style, he’s a really good guy and has a little VanVleet in his game. Cool hair too.
16. Trail Blazars (traded to the Pistons): Isaiah Stewart
Detroit gets a player with similar strengths to Andre Drummond. A sort of bruising, inside center. Stewart is big at 250 lbs but is a bit more mobile in the open floor at 6’9. Not a bad trade for a team looking to rebuild. The Pistons sort of need everything though, so…
17. Timberwolves (traded to the Thunder): Aleksej Pokusevski
Damn! I wanted him on my Raptors. I love the Timberwolves taking him here and I love the Thunder trading for him. Poku is the weirdest prospect in the draft with maybe the highest ceiling and lowest floor. Playing for a young rebuilding team like the Thunder is great though because we’ll be able to see what he is right away. I’m excited to watch him play alongside SGA and the rest, hell I’m just excited to see him on the floor.
18. Mavericks: Josh Green
An ideal athlete at 6’6, Green will never be a star in this league but what he will do is perfectly compliment Luka Doncic. The Mavs were defensively bankrupt on the perimeter in these last playoffs, matching up Seth Curry on Kawhi straight up. With Green, Dallas gets a multi-positional wing defender who thrives without the ball in his hands.
19. Nets: Saddiq Bey (now on the Pistons)
Another solid defensive wing. Another guy who won’t be a star. Another guy who won’t flame out. Cool.
20. Heat: Precious Achiuwa
This is the kind of player that lucked out because he was drafted by the team he was. A bruising, mobile athlete, Achuiwa shows a lot of the same physical gifts that we love in Bam Adebayo. On a lesser team he might never develop a real jump shot, never have his very particular strengths harnessed and emphasized. He’ll get all the goods in Miami.
21. 76ers: Tyrese Maxey
Love this pick for them. Tyrese Maxey has that Marcus Smart/Kyle Lowry/Patrick Beverly pit-bull energy on D. The Sixers were an incredible defensive team last year at almost every position, the only thing they were lacking was a stopper at point. Maxey will slide in perfectly there. For a team restructuring their identity, having one more dog in the lockeroom can only be a positive.
22. Nuggets: Zeke Nnaji
Another talented pick, Nnaji’s energy on the boards and soft hands inside make him a dangerous double double man, but my concern is the fit with Denver. His shortcomings lie on the defensive end, and I thought that if the Nuggets wanted to target a big then they would go for a rim protector (something Jokic is not). What I see here is Mason Plumlee insurance. If Plumlee walks in free agency then the Nuggets will be able to slide Nnaji in the backup 5 spot.
23. Knicks: Leandro Bolmaro (traded to the Timberwolves)
Looks like Manu, plays like Manu, is he Manu? No, but he does have the same twitchy, unselfish, euro-style Manu Ginobili brought to the table. Just another high ceiling guy for a Timberwolves team swinging for the fences.
24. Bucks: R.J. Hampton (traded to the Nuggets)
Really good pick up here. I’m surprised Hampton fell this far, and while his stats in New Zealand aren’t eyepopping, you have to consider the lesser role he had playing for a competitive team in a top international league. Hampton has the size to become a pest defending opposing lead guards, which will take the pressure off Jamal Murray to defend the point guard loaded Western conference.
25. Thunder: Immanuel Quickley (traded to the Knicks)
At least the Knicks have one guy who can shoot.
26. Celtics: Payton Pritchard
Celtics get a smart, reliable guard here. Might not see time in the rotation but should be a good piece in case the lead backcourt has injury trouble. I’m surprised they didn’t take Tyrell Terry here.
27. Jazz: Udoka Azubuike
Gobert insurance as a defensive force in the middle, Azubuike should work well with Mike Conley in the pick and roll with his blistering screens and rim running.
28. Lakers: Jaden McDaniels (traded to the Thunder)
Long, rangy stretch 4. Just another young peace for the Thunder. McDaniels was highly regarded out of high school and has higher upside than most at this point in the draft.
29. Raptors: Malachi Flynn
In researching Malachi Flynn, I was really impressed by his passing and shooting stroke ( a little John Stockton in him). He’s a really solid all-around point guard. Passes, shoots 3s, defends really well (positionally), and is a solid ball handler. The only issue is that he probably won’t break the rotation that much. He’s too small to play the 2 guard, and between Lowry and VanVleet there isn’t much undersized point guard time to go around. I understand taking a sound fundamental guy like this as insurance for VanVleet in free agency, but I wish the Raps took a swing on a more hit or miss guy in the front court. They need that now without Gasol.
30. Celtics: Desmond Bane (traded to the Grizzlies)
A savvy, athletic, senior wing; Bane should fill the Grizzlies need for a backcourt defender. He should be able to help their young core succeed immidiatley. This a smart pick for a smart team.