1. Hornets – Anthony Davis, PF KENTUCKY
* No brainer. I think the Hornets should go with the ultimate rebranding/rebuilding plan and trade Eric Gordon for another top 7 pick. Then with the #10 pick that they already have they come out of this draft with three pretty talented rooks. This would definitely be in line with the OKC model that is awfully trendy these days.
2. Bobcats – Bradley Beal, SG FLORIDA
* Charlotte needs to trade this pick. They need a franchise face to build around. There’s only one of those in this draft and he’s going #1. Beal is a good player, probably the best scorer outside of Davis but he’s not going to do anything to shore up their atrocious front court. Don’t sleep on this rumor: Wolves deal Derrick Williams, #18 and their 2013 1<sup>st</sup> Rounder from Memphis for this pick. Win-Win. Wolves take Beal and fill their one glaring weakness. Bobcats get more of a #1 talent and the #2 pick in last year’s draft while also picking up some other pieces. Or they should trade down with Portland at #6 and take the hometown kid, Harrison Barnes, if he gets there.
3. Wizards – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF KENTUCKY
* Apparently the Wiz used Jan Vesely almost exclusively as a PF last year. I think Thomas Robinson would be a better pick for them, as he would be a massive talent, heart and IQ upgrade over former front courters, JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche. However, I think they’ll go with MKG, which for me is a concern because although he’d be great in transition with John Wall that also means they wold have two poor shooters starting at the 1-3 spots.
4. Cavaliers – Harrison Barnes, SF UNC
*Thomas Robinson slips again because the Cavs are already invested in Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao. Barnes gives them a wing scorer and a well-known name to market alongside Kyrie Irving. I fully expect Barnes to be a serviceable, if not overrated, player in much the same way that OJ Mayo has been. Just don’t expect stardom, or anything close to it.
5. Kings – Thomas Robinson, PF KANSAS
* Finally. This would be a tremendous acquisition for the Kings. Robinson, known for his incredibly high motor and great character, would round out their front court and be an invaluable counter balance to DeMarcus Cousins’ lackadaisical effort and explosive attitude. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he ends up being one of the top 2 or 3 players from this draft.
6. Blazers – Damien Lillard, PG WEBER STATE
* The first somewhat surprise pick of the draft. The Blazers are desperate for a PG and even though they also have pick #11 they know New Orleans will snipe him at #10. Lillard was a scoring monster in college, but the question will be does the competition at Weber State translate to the NBA.
7. Warriors – Dion Waiters, SG SYRACUSE
* Another surprise pick. Sullinger and Drummond are the two best talents on the board but the Warriors already have Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Andres Biedrins hogging their big spots. They need to replace Monta Ellis and think Klay Thompson might be better at SF. Waiters’ stock is rapidly rising right now.
8. Raptors – Jared Sullinger, PF OHIO STATE
* Not a super need pick but the almost solid production guarantee from Sully forces their hand. Andres Bargnani doesn’t give them enough interior toughness and Ed Davis has been a super bust. Sullinger could be a very intriguing future match with Jonas Valanciunas.
9. Pistons – Andre Drummond, C UCONN
* Maturity issues and a lack of a track record cause Drummond to fall a bit but the Pistons can’t pass on the potential. Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko and Drummond are a nice quadrant to build around. Too bad the contracts of Ben Gordon and Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer are still handcuffing them.
10. Hornets – Kendall Marshall, PG UNC
* Marshall fills a need for them and is a fine floor general type. He just don’t have an offensive game to speak of. He played in a big program. It seems like a pretty big flaw to still go this early but this draft is void of quality PGs so Marshall will have to do.
11. Blazers – Jeremy Lamb, SG UCONN
* Fits the prototype of big time scoring NBA guard perfectly but there are major knocks against his maturity, intelligence, drive and willingness to play within a system. The Blazers can take the risk at this point and hope he begins to fill in for Brandon Roy.
12. Bucks – Meyers Leonard, C ILLINOIS
* The departure of Andrew Bogut and the emergence of Ersan Ilyasova leaves one major hole at the center spot. Leonard certainly looks the part of slow, clumsy white guy center, but he’s surprisingly athletic and has improved drastically every year.
13. Suns – Austin Rivers, SG DUKE
* It’s hard to say where this team stands without knowing the status of Steve Nash. Ultimately, I think they’ll be looking for scoring from their backcourt with their frontcourt occupied by Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris and Channing Frye.
14. Rockets – Tyler Zeller, C UNC
* The Rockets keep drafting big men but don’t have one that can adequately play the 5. So they reach a little bit on Zeller, a true 7 footer who seems like an inevitable bust to me but size sells and the Rockets are still trying to buy a replacement for Yao.
15. 76ers – John Henson, PF UNC
* Philly is thrilled to have the eventual Elton Brand replacement fall to them here. Henson strikes me as another in a seeming trend of soft UNC bigs that can’t hack it in the pros (ie. Ed Davis) but even I’ll admit this spot is good value for him.
16. Rockets – Quincy Miller, SF BAYLOR
*Miller is an enigma type. Tons of talent but an ACL tear and inconsistent performance in college held him back from reaching his top 10 potential. There are a few things the Rockets could do here but I’ll give the nod to the Texas connection.
17. Mavericks – Terrence Jones, SF KENTUCKY
18. Wolves – Terrence Ross, SF WASHINGTON
* This wouldn’t be a homerun pick but would definitely fill a need. It’s almost a bit unnerving for a Wolves fan to hear Ross’ game described as basically what we were supposed to be getting with the Wes Johnson pick. Ross is a great shooter and defender, but his one big weakness (poor handle) does concern me. If Derrick Williams is dealt look for either Perry Jones or Royce White to go here as two big man picks with higher upside than Ross. Another higher upside pick would be the SF out of St. John’s, Moe Harkless. The problem with him is that he can’t shoot very well at this point. That’s a major problem for this team. One other player to keep an eye on is John Jenkins, a SG from Vanderbilt. He’s a one trick pony, but he’s amazing at that one trick – 3 point shooting. He shot 43% from 3-land throughout his college career. He can’t create his own shot, which limits him. Jenkins would be a reach right here but the Wolves need shooting badly.