1: Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz – PG
The Sixers traded up with the Boston Celtics to take who they believe will be their franchise point guard. Markelle Fultz is a perfect addition to the Sixers young core. He couldn’t complement Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid any better. Fultz will balances out a top-heavy lineup with exciting scoring and playmaking in the backcourt. He is a pick-and-roll maestro for his age, and NBA spacing will only enhance his abilities. Fultz has that passing vision and sees plays develop early. He is a good shooter off the dribble can pull up on a dime. Fultz has great defensive upside due to long arms and wide frame. Although Fultz has upside as a defender, too often he gets falls asleep and loses track of his man, similarly to James Harden. He settles for too many midrange jumpers, he must work on attacking and finishing around the rim in the NBA.
NBA Comparison – Right-handed James Harden
2) Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball – PG
Lonzo Ball has the potential to become a transcendent NBA player. He will instantly be one of the best passers in the league, he has that passion vision similar to LeBron James. Ball’s potential to change the Lakers’ identity and help Brandon Ingram develop makes him the best pick here. Ball has impressive intangibles and a high basketball IQ. He sees plays develop early and is a creative decision-maker. Ball could easily be a complementary off-ball scorer as he can shoot from deep and make smart cuts. He has excellent instincts on defense, in particular, he jumps passing lanes for steals and flies in from outside to snatch rebounds. His shooting mechanics are strange and is currently a non-factor from shooting mid-range jumpers. Lonzo needs to work on his around the rim finishing, he tends to avoid contact instead of initiating it to draw fouls. Ball may have the highest ceiling in the draft.
NBA Comparison – Jason Kidd
3) Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum – SF
I have been going back-and-forth with this one for a while. I think this could go either way, Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum. After hours of deliberation with my brain, I decided Jayson Tatum is the guy I want with this pick. Tatum is a combo forward with go-to scoring potential in the NBA. Tatum has good wingspan and wide frame. He isn’t amazingly explosive but has excellent body control. He has upside to score from all levels using his outstanding footwork to create space. He scores with ease from the post; can attack closeouts. Capable of feasting on mismatches. He is a good ball handler for his size. He lacks quickness but knows how to change pace, similar to Paul Pierce. Tatum has a lot of work to do defensively if he is to play meaningful minutes as a rookie, especially under Brad Stevens who demands defensive versatility. Needs to improve as a passer and rebounding the ball.
NBA Comparison – Paul Pierce
4) Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson – SF
De’Aaron Fox will be tempting for the Phoenix Suns, but Josh Jackson’s fit looks too promising. He comes off as exactly the type of two-way wing the roster could use between Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss. Jackson could also easily go No. 3, either to the Boston Celtics or a team looking to move up. It also wouldn’t be shocking if Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, who’s in the final year of his deal, traded this pick for a veteran. But if Phoenix stays, Jackson makes the most sense, unless McDonough views Fox as the clear-cut better prospect. Jackson is an athletic, energetic two-way forward whose scoring upside is contingent upon the system in which he plays. He is an explosive athlete who plays with balance, force, and feel, and he’s unafraid of contact. Jackson is capable of playing point forward given his passing vision and accuracy. He must work on his all-round offensive game. His shooting mechanics are noticeably poor, he struggles to shoot off-the-dribble. Many players have entered the league without a jumpshot and learned one, Jackson must do the same if he is to fulfil his potential.
NBA Comparison – Andre Igoudala
5) Sacramento Kings: DeAaron Fox – PG
The Kings take their franchise point guard and a guy they can build their team around. He gives the Kings a playmaker they’ve needed, as well as a strong fit next to Buddy Hield, the better shooter. Fox puts pressure on the defense with explosive driving the Kings don’t get from Hield. He also gives them a needed perimeter defender to deny dribble penetration and force turnovers. DeAaron Fox’s main attribute, his speed, along with the ability to control tempo is similar to that of John Wall. Fox can slow it down or kick it into hyperdrive, making him a major transition threat. DeAaron Fox would have a shot at being taken #1… If he had a shot. Fox’s 3-point shot must improve in the NBA. Fox is great at attacking the paint but must work on his finishing around the rim, he falls in love with the floater which becomes predictable. Similar to Russell Westbrook, he is prone to turnovers as a result of his speed.
NBA Comparison – Left-handed John Wall
6) Orlando Magic: Malik Monk – SG
Monk is an uber athletic scorer who has the tools to grow into a point guard in the right system. He flies up the court and is a monster dunker in the open floor. He’s lean in the waist but has wide shoulders. Monk is an elite shooter from NBA range who is always looking for his shot. Can spot up or hit off-balance coming off of screens, or off the dribble. NBA spacing may unlock his pick-and-roll capabilities allowing him to pull up over screens at will or attack newly open lanes. He has the potential as a great finisher around the rim if he improves his handle. He must improve his defence on and off-the-ball, he has short arms and a lean frame. He loses focus on plays and is an average decision-maker.
NBA Comparison – Young Ray Allen
7) Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonathan Isaac – PF
Jonathan Isaac makes the most sense for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who could use a defensive-minded 4 between Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Isaac has the potential to be a versatile scorer. He can rise over smaller defenders or drive by bigger ones. He is a good spot-up-shooter and will only improve with more reps. Isaac can become an effective off-ball threat. He catches lobs, attacks boards, could be at his best in a motion offense that gives him the ball off handoffs. He is a versatile defender. He fits with Minnesota as he has the length to play small-ball 4, and likes to crash the boards. Good shot blocker. Can slide his feet on the perimeter. Perfect pairing with Karl-Anthony Towns. Isaac doesn’t have strong hands and bobbles a lot of passes. He isn’t as physical as he needs to be and his lack of strength physically and mentally may be an issue.
NBA Comparison – Patrick Patterson
8) New York Knicks – Dennis Smith Jr. – PG
Smith spent most of his high school career as the top point guard prospect in this class. Then a knee injury derailed his senior season year at NC State. Still, he’s an incredible athlete and a great scorer, and he’s got a chance to be as explosive as Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker and maybe even Russell Westbrook. Smith is a shifty ball handler and creative finisher. He has elite scoring potential, but upside hinges on shooting development. He can create space but can’t always sink the shots. Smith is an accurate passer with potential to improve. His decision-making is questionable and he has the tendency to fall asleep on defence. He must improve every facet of his defence in the NBA.
NBA Comparison – Kemba Walker
9) Dallas Mavericks – Frank Ntilikina – PG/SG
The Mavs recently hired Ntilikina’s coach to help with their summer league team, and if Dennis Smith is off the board, Filthy Frank looks like the pick. Ntilikina big (6’5″), he’s got a massive wingspan (reportedly close to 7’1″), and he shoots the three well. In theory he could blossom into a valuable weapon over the next few years, like a 3-and-D point guard. He has natural passing instincts, and his height creates angles. Accuracy is an issue but he has excellent vision passing off the dribble. Ntilikina has good off-ball shooting upside. Filthy Frank lacks the quick first step you see from elite guards. May be better off in a secondary role in two-guard offense rather than the primary playmaker He must improve his shooting off the dribble.
NBA Comparison – George Hill, Avery Bradley
10) Sacramento Kings: Lauri Markannen – PF
It’s a risk for a team to bet its only lottery pick on Lauri Markkanen’s future. He’s a year or two away from being strong enough to play consistent minutes at the next level, his defense is a question mark, and his scoring off the dribble is a work in progress. However, the Kings have two lottery picks and absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain at this point. He is an agile 7-footer with a guard’s skill set. Markannen has the potential to score off the bounce, pull up to shoot, or attack. He is an xxcellent spot-up shooter with NBA range. Projects as a major pick-and-pop and spot-up threat. He has solid footwork when shooting on the move, which teams can exploit by using him off screens like a guard. Markannen is a poor rebounder for is size. He must improve his interior defense, most notably his perimeter defense as he has poor awareness and doesn’t get to closeouts.
NBA Comparison – Dirk Nowitski
11) Charlotte Hornets: Luke Kennard – SG
12) Detroit Pistons: Donovan Mitchell – SG
13) Denver Nuggets: John Collins – C
14) Miami Heat: Zach Collins – C
15) Portland Trailblazers: Jarrett Allen – C
16) Chicago Bulls: OG Anunoby – SF
17) Milwaukee Bucks – Justin Jackson – SF
18) Indiana Pacers: Ike Anigbogu – C
19) Atlanta Hawks: Justin Patton – C
20) Portland Trailblazers: TJ Leaf – PF
21) Oklahoma City Thunder: Harry Giles – PF
22) Brooklyn Nets: Anzejs Pasecniks – C
23) Toronto Raptors: Terrance Ferguson – SG
24) Utah Jazz: Jonah Bolden – PF
25) Orlando Magic: Tony Bradley – C
26) Portland Trailblazers: Kyle Kuzma – PF
27) Los Angeles Lakers: Bam Adebayo – PF
28) Los Angeles Lakers: Sindarious Thornwell – SF
29) San Antonio Spurs: Semi Ojeleye – SF
30) Utah Jazz: Caleb Swanigan – PF
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