Just a week ago, everyone knew who the Boston Celtics would be picking with the first overall pick. Now, just a day before the draft, trades have shaken everything up. On Monday, the Celtics traded the first overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for the 3rd pick and a future first-round pick. It has been made known to the public that the Sixers will select Washington guard Markelle Fultz with the first pick. Then, on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers made a trade with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire the 27th overall pick and Brook Lopez for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. With the whole draft shaken up, let’s take a look at what to expect this Thursday night.
The Sixers gave up two first round picks so they could move up and select Fultz. He seems to have the best superstar potential in this draft and is a great compliment to the Sixers young core.
2. Lakers: UCLA G Lonzo Ball
Some were questioning whether the Lakers would choose the homegrown talent in Ball. They erased any doubts by trading away former No. 2 overall pick, D’Angelo Russell, in a trade this week. Ball is an elite passer and should be able to run the point for the Lakers in years to come.
3. Celtics (via Sixers): Duke F Jayson Tatum
This may come as a shock to most because many thought the Celtics would select Josh Jackson after trading back. Taking Tatum at 1 would’ve been a risk, but now that the Celtics are picking at three, Danny Ainge can get his guy while also picking up another pick.
4. Suns: Kansas F Josh Jackson
The Suns were targeting Josh Jackson when they had the second-best lottery odds. Then, on lottery night they got bumped down two spots, and their chances looked thin. But now with the 76ers sudden trade, it looks like the Suns might be able to get their guy in Jackson. In his one year at Kansas, Jackson averaged 16.3 PPG and 7.4 RPG.
Just a few weeks ago, the Kings were thinking about trading up to the number 2 spot to draft the former Kentucky guard. Now, it looks like they might be able to get their guy in Fox while keeping all their picks. Fox continues the trend of strong guards to come out of Kentucky.
6. Magic: Florida State F Jon Isaac
Issac is arguably one of the most athletic players in this draft class. Issac also has the most potential of anyone in this draft. He is perfect for a team like the Magic who are starting a rebuild and just need any players with good potential.
7. T-Wolves: Arizona F Lauri Markkanen
Markkanen came onto the scene in Tucson last year after coming over from Finland. Markkanen reminds a lot of scouts of a young Dirk Nowitski. Markkanen has a chance to be a great fit in the T-Wolves young core and next to Karl-Anthony-Towns in the T-Wolves front court.
8. Knicks: NC State G Dennis Smith Jr.
The Knicks have an opening at point guard with Derrick Rose being a free agent. There have been questions about Dennis Smith because his NC State team didn’t make the NCAA tourney. One of Smith’s best games was on January 23rd, where he scored 32 points in a stunning upset against Duke.
9. Mavericks: French G Frank Ntilinka
The Mavericks are starting to build a team with Nerlens Noel and Harrison Barnes. Ntilinka would be a nice addition. Ntilinka is a great perimeter defender and has a high basketball IQ. He has a 7’1″ wingspan, which is great for a guard. This pick is looking very likely to happen, and the Mavs hired Ntilinka’s international coach to head their summer league team.
The Kings should take the best player available in this situation, and here, that is Monk. The Kings would have a back court of both Kentucky guards, which looks very good for the future. Monk is a lights out shooter that provides a lot of scoring.
The Hornets, who recently acquired Dwight Howard, are in dire need for a back court partner for Kemba Walker. Mitchell is a perfect compliment for Walker, who is a score. Mitchell is an athletic guard who is very strong defensively. This is the right step for the Hornets who are in a dark phase right now.
12. Pistons: Duke G Luke Kennard
The Pistons had a very disappointing season this past year. They do have two great young players in PG Reggie Jackson and C Andre Drummond, as well as G Kentavious-Caldwell Pope. Kennard would be a nice fit in Detroit especially because Pope is a restricted free agent. Kennard is a lights-out shooter who played throughout his two years at Duke.
13. Nuggets: Gonzaga PF/C Zach Collins
Collins really came onto the scene in the NCAA tournament as Gonzaga made the final. Collins is the first one-and-done player in Gonzaga history. He should be a great compliment to Denver’s budding star, Nikola Jokic.
14. Heat: UNC F Justin Jackson
The Heat barely missed the playoffs last season mostly because of their horrid start. They have cornerstones at PG and C with Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside. All they need is a forward like Jackson to propel them into the playoffs. Jackson is an athletic forward who made the final in both his years as a Tarheel.
End of Lottery
15. Trail Blazers: Indiana F OG Anunoby
16. Bulls: Wake Forest PF/C John Collins
17. Bucks: Texas C Jarrett Allen
18. Pacers: Creighton C Justin Patton
19. Hawks: Kentucky C Bam Adebayo
20. Trail Blazers (via Memphis): UCLA F T.J Leaf
21. Thunder: Syracuse F Tyler Lydon
22. Nets (via Wizards): UCLA C Ike Anigbogu
23. Raptors (via Clippers): Michigan F D.J WIlson
25. Magic (via Raptors): Duke PF/C Harry Giles
26. Trail Blazers (via Cavs): Latvian C Anzejs Pacekniks
27. Lakers (via Nets via Celtics): Colorado G Derrick White
28. Lakers: (via Rockets): SMU F Semi Ojeleye
29. Spurs: Oregon PF Jordan Bell
30. Jazz (via Warriors): Purdue PF/C Caleb Swanigan