In the span of just over two days, the NBA off-season has went bonkers and it’s not even officially underway. The Lakers traded away D’Angelo Russell, the Hawks traded away Dwight Howard and Paul George is done being a Pacer.
And that’s not even mentioning the fact that the Sixers traded for the number one pick what seems like weeks ago.
The aftermath is a completely jumbled draft order that is likely only going to be mixed up even more in the short time between now and the NBA Draft.
1. Philadelphia 76ers - Markelle Fultz, G, Washington
Lock this one in. The Sixers traded up with the intention of taking Fultz. Next to Ben Simmons, Fultz is the perfect lead guard who can play off-ball and on-ball. Sixer fans should be excited.
2. Los Angeles Lakers - Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA
With the Lakers trading away D’Angelo Russell yesterday, the message was clear. Lonzo Ball is the guy in Los Angeles now and all eyes are on him.
3. Boston Celtics - Jayson Tatum, G/F, Duke
When the Celtics initially traded down, it seemed like it was to take Josh Jackson, who would likely still be there at three. But Jackson has yet to work out with the Celtics while Tatum has twice. Tatum brings an instant scoring punch that was badly needed in Boston.
4. Phoenix Suns - Josh Jackson, F, Kansas
Somehow, after how everything has played out, the Suns are going to come away looking rosy. Jackson is a perfect complement to Devin Booker in every way. He’s a secondary play-maker, an underrated passer and a great defender.
5. Sacramento Kings - De’Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky
Since the draft process started, Fox has not been quiet about his desire to play in Sacramento, a weird destination for a prospect to desire. But with former Kentucky big men Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere in the front court, maybe Fox wants to swap stories about Cal walking along the beach.
6. Orlando Magic - Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
I’m higher than most on Monk. He’s an elite shooter and that’s a skill that will translate immediately into the NBA. He’s been pigeonholed at Kentucky, but I think he could explode on the scene in Orlando.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
Depending on your stance on Isaac, this is either too low or too high for him. For me, the Timberwolves feel like a perfect fit as he can slide into the four next to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and complement both nicely.
8. New York Knicks - Dennis Smith Jr., G, NC State
Who knows what the Knicks might do with this pick. There was talk early on Tuesday that the team might be looking to draft Lauri Markannen here, making Kristaps Porzingis expendable (at least in Phil Jackson’s world). What they need is a dynamic point guard, which Smith absolutely is.
9. Dallas Mavericks - Lauri Markannen, F, Arizona
Prepare yourself for the Dirk Nowitzki comps. They aren’t fair - or accurate - but Markannen is a solid player to nab at nine and could potentially fill the void in the starting lineup that Nowitzki will leave after this season.
10. Sacramento Kings - Luke Kennard, G, Duke
There’s lots of ways the Kings could go with this pick. Zach Collins would be the best player available in this instance, but they’re already log-jammed in the front court. By drafting Kennard, they alleviate one of their biggest needs, which is shooting. He could pair nicely in the backcourt in spurts with Buddy Hield.
11. Charlotte Hornets - Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
While the Lakers were stealing all the headlines, the Charlotte Hornets had their own bone-headed move by trading for Dwight Howard. Now, they badly need a two-guard. Kennard would be ideal, but Mitchell has been someone who is growing on me.
12. Detroit Pistons - Zach Collins, F, Gonzaga
Somehow, Collins slips to 12 here and the Pistons thank their lucky stars. If he’s available at 12, I’d expect a hefty amount of calls to come to Detroit with teams looking to trade up for him. Teams like Portland and the Lakers both would make sense.
13. Denver Nuggets - Frank Ntilikina, G, France
The Nuggets don’t necessarily have a glaring need. They’re loaded with young players. If there’s one spot they need help with most, it’s on the wing with Danilo Gallinari likely leaving. This could be a landing spot for OG Anunoby, but I expect them to take the best player available, which is Ntilikina.
14. Miami Heat - John Collins, F, Wake Forest
At this point, the draft gets bonkers. Any number of players could be taken here and I wouldn’t be surprised. The Heat do have an opening at the four, but don’t be surprised by any name announced with this pick.
15. Portland Trailblazers - OG Anunoby, F, Indiana
The team maybe most-commonly associated with Anunoby throughout the draft process has been the Trailblazers. Considering they have three first-round picks, they can afford a risk like this. The pressure would be off for Anunoby and he wouldn’t need to rush back. It’d be a great pick for both sides.
16. Chicago Bulls - Justin Jackson, G, North Carolina
With Dwyane Wade opting into his contract in the most baller way possible Tuesday night, the Bulls are again going to need outside shooting. I’m not high on Jackson, but he does provide shooting.
17. Milwaukee Bucks - Justin Patton, C, Creighton
What the Bucks ideally need is outside shooting, but they’re at a spot in the draft which is big-man heavy. They could move for T.J. Leaf as a floor-spacer, but Patton seems more like the best player available.
18. Indiana Pacers - Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
The direction the Pacers go with this pick will be heavily determined by how the next ~36 hours with Paul George play out. I’m anticipating he’ll be traded and, if so, the team will look toward some longer-term prospects. Adebayo is that and could be a monster next to Myles Turner down the line.
19. Atlanta Hawks - T.J. Leaf, F, UCLA
Somehow, the Hawks got out of Howard’s contract, which is admirable. Now, they reportedly want to play a more up-tempo style. Leaf would fit into that style as a stretch four.
20. Portland Trailblazers - Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
I’m not really sure which way the Trailblazers will go. Maybe they look to move up. Otherwise, it’s just a series of best player available picks, which happens again here.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Derrick White, G, Colorado
The Thunder are clearly in a win-now mode and are looking for instant-impact guys. White is that guy. At 23, he’s someone who can step in and contribute right away, somewhat similar to what Malcolm Brogdon did in Milwaukee last year.
22. Brooklyn Nets - Harry Giles, C, Duke
Considering the situation surrounding the Brooklyn Nets - a lack of draft picks in the coming years - the team needs to take risks on higher-ceiling guys. If Giles works out, a core of Russell, Giles and Caris Levert (if he stays healthy) would be solid.
23. Toronto Raptors - D.J. Wilson, F, Michigan
The Raptors have long-searched for a power forward to put into the lineup next to Jonas Valanciunas and, more recently, Serge Ibaka. If Ibaka re-signs and Wilson pans out, that could be an interesting offense in Toronto.
24. Utah Jazz - Ike Anigbogu, F, UCLA
At this point, it’s safe to assume the Jazz will take a big man they can develop and turn into a starter/regular contributor in three years.
25. Orlando Magic - Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU
I’m really high on Ojeleye. He’s the perfect type of big wing player for where the NBA is headed. With Aaron Gordon a great smallball five option, Ojeleye could play the four and make Orlando actually entertaining.
26. Portland Trailblazers - Jonah Bolden, F, Australia
Bolden has been getting a lot of buzz in the days leading up to the draft and will likely be a first-round pick. With Portland, he could fill in at the four next to Jusuf Nurkic and hopefully offer more production than previous power forwards have.
27. Los Angeles Lakers - Josh Hart, G, Villanova
I’d say there’s roughly a 10 percent chance the Lakers keep these two picks. If they aren’t included in a Paul George swap, they’ll likely be packaged to move up in the draft. If they keep them, the Lakers will likely look to the backcourt where they now have a massive void in at the shooting guard spot.
28. Los Angeles Lakers - Dillon Brooks, F, Oregon
Again, the Lakers need wing/perimeter players. I’m higher on Brooks than most, but he makes sense for the Lakers who want to play small and spread the floor.
29. San Antonio Spurs - Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia
Briefly, Pasecniks took Twitter by storm thanks to some workout footage. Turns out workout footage doesn’t increase draft stock too much. Still, he’s a great snag for the Spurs at 29 as they badly need an injection of youth in the front court.
30. Utah Jazz - Wesley Iwundu, G, Kansas State
The Jazz are likely going to lose Joe Ingles this summer and have had depth issues at the guard spot. They could go Jawun Evans if they want a back-up point guard since the Dante Exum experiment hasn’t panned out, but Iwundu can be a little bit of both.