With the NBA Draft a week away, here's a look at how things could shake out...
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
The Cavs blew their pick last season and shocked everyone by skipping the “can't miss” guy Nerlens Noel. Since Anthony Bennett hasn't worked, do the Cavs take a shot on another big man? They need a long rim protector with raw skills. Embiid is that dude. Don't be surprised if they opt to team-up Kyrie Irving with Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Jabari Parker may have the best career ahead of him. He definitely has the biggest potential for immediate impact compared to Wiggins. Parker and last year's 1st rounder Giannis Antetokounmpo could push the Bucks back toward the playoffs.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
The 76ers have a LOT of youth. Too much to win immediately, but loaded with potential. They'll take the top player on the board and Wiggins will fill some holes. Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and Wiggins teamed up could turn into a dynamic threesome in the near future.
4. Orlando Magic – Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Some have the Magic going with a PG, but it’s a little early for Marcus Smart and Dante Exum may not be the pure point guard they need. Instead the Magic go for Randle despite the reports about an upcoming foot surgery, he’s the big with the highest ceiling in the draft.
5. Utah Jazz – Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
Vonleh has a good inside/out game that will be attractive to many teams. With Randle gone, The Jazz opt for the next best big on the board.
6. Boston Celtics – Dante Exum, PG, Australia
The only great thing going for Boston is Rajon Rondo. Picking Exum could be a win-win. Many see him as more of a shooting guard and in that capacity he can share the floor with Rondo. Rondo is in the last year of his contract and if he goes, Exum could step in and run the point after this year.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma St.
The Lakers need playmakers and Smart is one with great potential. Steve Nash isn’t going to get the job done anymore and who better to learn from for Smart?
8. Sacramento Kings – Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton
The Kings need a power forward and shooting help and they could kill two birds with one stone here. It would be only fitting after the Kings took the last “Great White Hype” Jimmer Fredette a few years ago.
9. Charlotte Hornets – Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
The Hornets need a sharpshooter, which is exactly what Stauskas does. He shot 47% from the floor overall as a Wolverine and hit over 44% of his threes. He’s lacking on the defensive end, but a defensive-minded coach could help him become a well-rounded player.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Gary Harris, SG, Michigan St.
The Sixers need a lot of help and an experienced, well-rounded backcourt mate for Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams hits the nail on the head. The makes a starting five for Philly in ’14-’15 of MCW, Harris, Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Nerlens Noel.
11. Denver Nuggets – Dario Saric, PF, Croatia
Saric is expected to be near the top 10, if not in it. He’s said to be a well-rounded player, but people also comment about his inconsistency shooting and lack of defensive prowess. He’s the best on the board and the Nuggets are looking for the best available.
12. Orlando Magic - Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
This is when the Magic should address the Victor Oladipo at PG situation. Oladipo, really a shooting guard, was forced to run the point this past season and struggled. LaVine excelled at UCLA despite being a point guard forced into the shooting guard role. The Magic may strike gold if they can get both back to their natural positions.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
With Kevin Love likely heading for greener pastures, the T’wolves need a high-motor defender and rebounder. That’s what Gordon would bring, along with inside scoring ability.
14. Phoenix Suns – Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
Phoenix needs scoring and Hood fills that role nicely. If they don’t trade the pick, Hood is the best option.
15. Atlanta Hawks – Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
Nurkic is an up-and-comer and could be a nice piece coming off of the bench behind Paul Millsap and Al Horford. If either gets hurt, he’s in at center and the other playing the 4.
16. Chicago Bulls – Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
The Bulls must face facts that Derrick Rose can’t stay healthy and they need good backcourt scoring. Ennis could bring that. If he blossoms quickly, they could play a two-point offense with Rose playing more of a combo role.
17. Boston Celtics – Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan St.
The Celtics need another body in the frontcourt to go with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk. Payne could beat out both of those guys with his scoring ability and intensity on D.
18. Phoenix Suns – Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
If the Suns can’t find the right trade for this pick or the previous one, they should draft Capela and stash him overseas for a couple of years. The 20 year-old shows signs of developing into a key player, but is not immediately ready for primetime.
19. Chicago Bulls – Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
Jarnell Stokes is an impressive, aggressive, intimidating player who could learn well from Carlos Boozer (if Boozer isn’t traded). Stokes is strong with good rebounding instincts. He attacks the basket regardless of the matchup.
20. Toronto Raptors – James Young, SF, Kentucky
This may be low for James Young. It would be a steal for the Raptors if he falls here. Young would provide some much-needed scoring for a team that tried to make a push in the playoffs. Not yet 19, Young possesses a lot of upside.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends
The former Tar Heel had a great season in the D-League averaging over 20 points per game. I can’t see the Thunder bringing back Thabo Sefolosha. Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and P.J. would give the Thunder more than enough weapons at the position.
22. Memphis Grizzlies – T.J. Warren, SF, NC State
The ACC Player of the Year gets no love from the gurus. He’s slated, in some cases, going 30 or lower. He’s an outstanding scorer that any team should be lucky to get. The Grizz don’t have much offensive fire power from the position, making this pick a no-brainer.
23. Utah Jazz – Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
If the Jazz are serious about Trey Burke being their point guard of the future (and they should be), they won’t draft another one in the 1st round, after just picking up Burke last year. They need scoring help and Anderson has a sweet stroke, is a good passer and is long. His biggest problem is a lack of spped and need for improvement on defense.
24. Charlotte Hornets – Elfrid Payton, PG, LA-Lafayette
A young back-up point guard for Kemba Walker could be a good way to go if there is no T.J. Warren. Payton is a scorer and a good defender. He averaged nearly 3 steals per game last season. At 6-4 he has the length and the speed to play in the NBA. His jump shot needs work though.
25. Houston Rockets – Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
Adams is not just a young guy who can score, he’s a hell of a defender. He racked up 168 steals in two years at UCLA. The Rockets have struggled with perimeter D.
26. Miami Heat – Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn
I will not understand why some don’t feel Napier is not a 1st rounder. The Heat cannot stand pat on the PG position with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Napier could be a young leader of veteran stars.
27. Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Daniels, SF, UConn
The Suns have three 1st rounders and should try to trade one or two. If they keep this 3rd one, they’ll go after a small forward. DeAndre Daniels improved is stock greatly in the Huskies’ run to the title. He needs some work to be successful at the next level, but very few rookies don’t.
28. Los Angeles Clippers – Mitch McGary, C, Notre Dame
McGary was a projected lottery pick before he sat out last season with a back injury. If he can return to form, he’ll make for a great backup to DeAndre Jordan. McGary is speedy for a big man and plays physical underneath.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
When was the last time a Clemson basketball player did anything of note?
McDaniels just by being drafted on a potential championship team would accomplish something. McDaniels could be a good role player playing behind KD.
30. San Antonio Spurs – Glenn Robinson, III, SF, Michigan
The Spurs often draft best player available or an international guy they can stash away for later. As the team ages, stashing won’t help. At this point Robinson is the best guy on the board. He comes from good stock obviously, and is a threat to hit big buckets.