16. Houston Rockets- C Arnett Moultrie (Mississippi State)
The Rockets’ biggest need is at center. They’re trying to trade for Dwight Howard with some of these picks and a couple of their top 3 players, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, and Kyle Lowry, but if that doesn’t work, Moultrie could develop into a starting center. He can play immediately behind Samuel Dalembert and could also play some power forward behind Luis Scola or possibly in place of Luis Scola if Scola ends up getting moved.
17. Dallas Mavericks- SF Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
The Mavericks need depth all around and won’t focus on any one position. Point guard is a major need in the starting lineup, but they’re confident they can get either Deron Williams or Steve Nash in free agency. Jones is a proven, NBA ready player who can play a role off their bench and add depth at both forward spots right away.
18. Houston Rockets- SF Moe Harkless (St. John’s)
With a roster in flux, the Rockets can afford to just take best player available here as well. Harkless is a rising prospect who could sneak into the lottery. If not, he adds depth at a thin small forward position and might be able to play immediately even ahead of Perry Jones, a more long term prospect.
19. Orlando Magic- PG Kendall Marshall (North Carolina)
Jameer Nelson is one of the worst starting point guards in a strong point guard league overall. Marshall is not much of a scorer, but he’s one of the most mature passers and true point guards College Basketball has seen this decade. I think he could be their starting point guard by the end of the season and will have a nice 10 year career somewhere in the league.
20. Denver Nuggets- SG Terrence Ross (Washington)
This is a pure best player available pick for the Nuggets. I haven’t seen him lower than this anywhere. He could sneak into the lottery and I strongly considered him at 17 for the Mavericks. Their depth behind Arron Afflalo at the 2 guard is lacking anyway and Ross can provide scoring off the bench for the Nuggets.
21. Boston Celtics- PF Royce White (Iowa State)
Royce White is a top-10 talent, but he is an enigma because of noted anxiety issues. However, the Celtics are rumored to have given him a promise so they clearly aren’t too worried.
22. Boston Celtics- C Fab Melo (Syracuse)
The Celtics only have 4 players under contract, 5 if you count the 21st pick, so they can really go anywhere with this pick, but they lacked size last year, even when they had everyone under contract. Melo is commonly mocked here. Danny Ainge might see Kendrick Perkins in Fab Melo and if they can bring back Kevin Garnett to help mentor him, he’d have his best chance of capitalizing on his Perkins-esque upside.
23. Atlanta Falcons- SF Quincy Miller (Baylor)
The Falcons need help basically everywhere with 6 players under contract for next season. Here they take a shot on a top-5 talent who had a disappointing college career and hope he pans out. It might be their only chance to break out of their “lose in the 1st/2nd round every year” rut. They need a star.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers- PF Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure)
The Cavaliers are very thin on the wing so they could take a swing man here, but everyone seems to have Nicholson here. I guess they could use some more depth in the front court and teams rarely draft for need this late anyway.
25. Memphis Grizzlies- SG Evan Fournier (France)
Fournier headlines a weak foreign class and could be the only foreigner to go in the 1st round. The Grizzlies draft him as insurance for OJ Mayo and can stash him overseas another year or two if Mayo returns.
26. Indiana Pacers- SF Draymond Green (Michigan State)
With no pressing needs whatsoever, the Pacers could add depth in the backcourt or at center, where they have key free agents. Or they could take a player like Green who best fits their style of play. Their hardnosed coaching staff will love him.
27. Miami Heat- SG John Jenkins (Vanderbilt)
Anyone who watched The Finals knows the Heat’s offensive game is drive and dish. Jenkins shot above 40% from 3 all three seasons at Vanderbilt so he would fit in very well with them.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder- SF Jeffery Taylor (Vanderbilt)
The Thunder don’t really need anything, but they could use another swing man. They have enough big guys and need another player so they can play more small ball. Taylor might be able to become something for them.
29. Chicago Bulls- SG Doron Lamb (Kentucky)
Lamb could mature into a nice bench scorer for them. Immediately, he could provide some depth at both shooting guard and point guard, where they’re thin, especially with Derrick Rose possibly out for all of next season.
30. Golden State Warriors- C Festus Ezuli (Vanderbilt)
They acquired Andrew Bogut, a true center, but he’s no sure thing with injuries. Ezuli can provide some depth and insurance.