With the draft order set, lets dive into how I think the draft may play out.
- Celtics: Markelle Fultz, Washington Guard Come June, I believe the commissioner will be calling Markelle Fultz’s name as he announces the first pick. Fultz was as dynamic as they come as a freshmen. It didn’t produce many wins but he showed that he could run the show as Point Guard while displaying versatility playing off the ball. He should fit well with The Celtics playing alongside former Huskie, Isaiah Thomas. Very crafty driving to the basket as well as creating space with step backs with an array of finishes at his disposal.
Areas of improvement: Intensity on defense, decision making and shot selection.
2. Lakers: Lonzo Ball, UCLA Guard Maybe Lavar Ball’s statements should be taken more serious. A couple of months ago he stated his son would only play for The Lakers. Looks like that will come true. Just like Fultz, Ball was one of the better players in the country last season, leading UCLA to one of the more potent offenses in college basketball. Where Ball shines is in the open court. His end to end speed caused trouble for defenses and his vision and passing is already elite. Could Lonzo bring show time back to LA? His dad sure thinks so.
Area of improvement: Creating his own shot, getting stronger, working in the half court offense
3. Sixers: Josh Jackson, Kansas Forward Jackson will be the choice here. The process is starting to fall in place. After selecting Ben Simmons last year with the first choice and Embiid showing flashes of brilliance in limited action the Sixers are starting to stockpile talent which is always a good problem to have. The addition of Jackson gives them some nastiness on defense. He’s a Solid athlete that will help the Sixers make a push for a playoff next season.
Areas of Improvement: Shooting, ball handling, controlling emotions.
4. Suns: Jayson Tatum, Duke Forward Jayson Tatum will be next off the board here. The Suns have a star in Devin Booker, adding Tatum makes them more athletic and will improve their perimeter defense. Tatum brings a lot of skill in terms of versatility on offense. He can shoot, drive and should be able to play with his back to the basket in small ball lineups.
Areas of improvement: Strength, aggressiveness on offense, consistent shooting stroke
5. Kings: De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky Guard The Kings finally get the point guard they’ve been waiting for in Fox. Similar to John Wall in end to end speed and intensity on defense he may end up as the best guard from this draft if he develops a consistent shot from three. Fox is an underrated play maker and a nightmare in the open court. Really improved his stock with a 39 point performance again Lonzo Ball and UCLA in the tournament. Fierce competitor who will turn around the Kings franchise.
Areas of improvement: Shooting, decision making
6. Magic: Lauri Markkanen, Forward Arizona Markkanen is my splash pick here for the Magic. Shooting bigs are a hot commidity in the league right now and Markkanen is one of the better shooting bigs in this draft. Markkanen will provide the Magic with size and shooting and could be a cornerstone piece for building the Magic going forward. He is big who can spread the floor with his shooting and has shown enough physicality to play down low but still needs to improve in that area.
Areas of improvement: Strength and physicality, working in the post, defense.
7. Timberwolves: Dennis Smith Jr, North Carolina State Guard What kind of draft would it be if the T-wolves didn’t select a point guard?O n a more serious note, The Timberwolves will likely trade Rubio and upgrade the Point Guard position by selecting Smith Jr. Smith jr has elite athleticism and a pretty nice shot from three. He’s pretty streaky but shoots it with confidence which will keep the defense honest. Gets into the lane with ease and is solid at setting up his teammates for easy buckets.
Areas of improvement: Consistency on jump shot, decision making, focus
8. Knicks: Malik Monk, Kentucky Guard Knicks get Malik Monk here. The high scoring guard from Kentucky will bring the Knicks shooting that they desperately need to operate in the triangle while also providing spacing For Melo( if his isn’t traded). Monk competes on the defensive end, which is a big area where the Knicks struggled this past season. If he can develop as a playmaker, Monk would be a nice pick here at 8.
Areas of improvement: Playmaking skills, efficiency on offense, creating shot
9. Mavericks: Jonathan Isaac, Florida State Forward Mavericks get Isaac at nine. With Dirk’s time dwindling down, it would be best to bring in a player he could groom. Isaac has shown flashes of unlimited upside with his ability to handle the ball, shoot, run the floor and be a rim protector. With time to develop under Dirk and his thin frame filling out, Isaac could be one of the better players from this draft.
Areas of improvement: Size and strength, ball handling
10. Kings: OG Anunoby, Indiana Forward Rudy Gay is expected leave once free agency begins so I feel like they will address the forward position by drafting OG Anunoby out of Indiana. Anunoby will contribute right away as he possesses a great skill set defensively. In college, he showed he could guard anyone from guard to centers. He has great size for an NBA small forward and his 7’6″ wingspan will allow to play small ball power forward. He’s made strides on the offensive end but still has a way to go but combining him with Fox will make Sacramento a tough team to score on with how they get after it on defense.
Areas of improvement: Creating his own shot, ball handling, aggressiveness, offensive consistency
Come back next week for picks 11-20!