1. New Orleans Hornets- PF Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
No surprises here. Anthony Davis has been the consensus pick since David Stern gave New Orleans the 1st overall pick in the sale of the team. And no, I don’t beat my wife.
2. Charlotte Bobcats- PF Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
It’s between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Thomas Robinson here, with the Ben Gordon trade eliminating Bradley Beal as an option. The loss of Maggette in the Gordon deal could be a signal that a swing man like MKG will be the pick, but Robinson seems to be the consensus right now. The Bobcats need a power forward as much as they need a small forward and Robinson would fill the gap there. They’re also trying to trade down, possibly to 4, where they’d have a choice between Harrison Barnes and MKG, two small forwards, but if they stay put, I think Robinson will be tops on their board.
3. Washington Wizards- SG Bradley Beal (Florida)
The Wizards acquired Emeka Okafor and Matt Barnes in a salary dump this month, which makes it less likely that this pick will be a big man like Andre Drummond or a small forward like Harrison Barnes or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Shooting guard is their thinnest position and Beal can come in and be an instant starter.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers- SF Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
It’s between MKG and Barnes here with Bradley Beal gone as the Cavaliers don’t have anything on the wings. They’re desperately trying to trade up to 2 to grab Bradley Beal, another sign that the Wizards will take him and that he won’t be here. If they can’t do that, I think Barnes will get the edge over MKG. Reports say that the Cavs will not let Barnes slip past them if they stay put, so while he might not be the consensus top available, he could easily be tops on their board.
5. Sacramento Kings- SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky)
The Kings have good young talent and no problem scoring the basketball. They just can’t stop anyone. They averaged 6th in the league in scoring with 98.8 points per game, most among non-playoff teams, but no one allowed within 3 points of the 104.4 they allowed per game, dead last in the league. I have major concerns about his ability to shoot and, for that reason, I think he has the highest bust potential of anyone in the top 5. However, I don’t think he’ll drop past 5 because of his defensive abilities.
6. Portland Trail Blazers- PG Damian Lillard (Weber State)
As much as they need a center, I think Damian Lillard will be the pick here over Andre Drummond for several reasons. For one, Drummond is a major role of the dice. Speaking of rolling the dice, www.partybingo.com has hundreds of fun games with huge payouts. Two, Lillard seems to be the consensus pick here, which makes sense since he was commonly mocked to the Trail Blazers at 11 before his stock started rising as he took his personal visits. The Trail Blazers need a point guard and Lillard can be that guy. They also have to make this pick with pick #11 in mind. They’ll be able to get a center like Tyler Zeller or Meyers Leonard at 11, but they’d have to reach to fill a need at point guard there. That could end up being the tiebreaker if one is even needed.
7. Golden State Warriors- SG Dion Waiters (Syracuse)
The Warriors are set at 4 of their 5 starting positions, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, and Andrew Bogut, but there isn’t a small forward available here. The Warriors are rumored to be interested in moving down, but if they can’t, they could add depth at point guard or center behind injury prone starters Curry and Bogut respectively. Or they could just take best available, which would probably be Waiters, a rising prospect and a commonly mocked player here. He’s a natural scorer who can come off the bench immediately, allow the Warriors to play some small ball and move Klay Thompson to the 3, and he can also play a little bit of point guard.
8. Toronto Raptors- SG Austin Rivers (Duke)
Another team that needs a small forward that won’t be able to get one, the Raptors will focus on another position. They’ve spent high picks recently on interior guys and could be getting Jonas Valanciunas over from Europe this year so they do a similar thing to what the Warriors just did, take a bench scorer, who can move DeMar DeRozan to the 3 and allow them to play small at times. Rivers could also play a little bit of point guard off the bench.
9. Detroit Pistons- PF John Henson (North Carolina)
The Pistons need another big man to go along with Greg Monroe. Monroe is a good offensive player, but doesn’t do much defensively. Henson might make Kevin Durant look like Shaq at 6-11 210, but he’s got incredible length and upside. He can block shots and rebounds right away, run the court, and shoot the mid range shot. He’s far from a finished product, but he can help the Pistons.
10. New Orleans Hornets- C Andre Drummond (Connecticut)
Andre Drummond was the other option at 9, but rumors say the Pistons are pretty locked in to Henson. Drummond is also going to be an option basically from 4 right on, but falls here to the Hornets at 10, who take him in a heartbeat needing a center after dumping Emeka Okafor on Washington. Drummond might be the biggest boom or bust prospect of the top 10. He’s got no offensive game right now, but he can play defensively and he’s got crazy upside. Of course, everyone said the same thing about Hasheem Thabeet.
11. Portland Trail Blazers- C Meyers Leonard (Illinois)
This is why Portland passed on Drummond at 6. The Trail Blazers have the choice between Meyers Leonard and Tyler Zeller here at 11. A true center will allow LaMarcus Aldridge to play mostly at the 4 and add to their defense. Leonard gets the nod because he’s a rising prospect with better upside.
12. Milwaukee Bucks- C Tyler Zeller (North Carolina)
If Leonard is the upside pick, Zeller is the sure thing. He’s a 4 year player at a great program who improved every year. The Bucks don’t have a true center after trading Andrew Bogut for Monta Ellis. He’s not going to be a star, but he’s pretty safe and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t at least a solid rotational player.
13. Phoenix Suns- SG Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut)
Kendall Marshall is an option here as the Suns prepare for life without Steve Nash, which could start as soon as next season. However, they might not be able to pass on Jeremy Lamb, a top-10 prospect who falls because of circumstance. They definitely need depth on the wing, especially since Grant Hill will likely sign wherever Nash goes.
14. Houston Rockets- SF Perry Jones (Baylor)
The Rockets currently have picks 14, 16, and 18, so while they have needs, they can take best available here and focus on needs later. Perry Jones is a boom or bust player. He has top-5 talent, but he’s inconsistent and it’s unclear what type of player he’ll be at the next level and even what position he’ll play. The Rockets will take a chance on his upside and figure the rest out later with 3 picks in the top 18. He can play some small and power forward for them next year.
15. Philadelphia 76ers- PF Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
Sullinger is slipping for medical reasons, but I think he’ll be the steal of the draft. Before the medical concerns surfaced, I thought he’d be a steal in the bottom half of the top 10. Now I think he’ll be a steal in the mid to late teens. He’s a proven player and a big time producer who has an NBA ready game. He might not be the best athlete or have the highest upside, but he can definitely be a starter. The 76ers need some more size and will have an immediate role for Sullinger.
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