Top Ten NBA Draft Picks Considering Free Agency and Need
The past three NBA drafts, two thirds of all the first round selections have been college underclassmen. May 19th will provide the lottery results with the official NBA draft order.
#1 Pick — Minnesota Timberwolves
Key Personnel Decisions: Kevin Garnett
Best Fit: Jahlil Okafor
Reason: Twolves have invested heavily at center with Nikola Pekovic 4 more years under contract at 58 million. Gorgui Dieng has developed into a suitable backup. Where would Karl-Anthony Towns fit in? Therefore address the power forward need by selecting Jahlil Okafor. Use the Chicago connection; resign Garnett to mentor Okafor on what it takes to be successful in the league.
#2 Pick — New York Knicks
Key Personnel Decisions: Andrea Bargnani, Alexey Shved
Best Fit: Karl Anthony-Towns
Reason: Towns would provide a post scorer to fit nicely in the triangle offense. Interestingly, Towns has some face up game and could play out of the high post in situations in which they use Carmelo Anthony as a post option.
#3 Pick-Philadelphia 76ers
Key Personnel Decisions: No one significant. Three year of salary purging to get to this stage.
Best Fit: Emmanuel Mudiay
Reason: Dynamic point guard could excel as the face of the franchise. Has a year of pro experience in China. Current Sixer’s guard, Robert Covington has shown flashes that he may very well be a significant piece of the long term plan.
#4 Pick-Los Angeles Lakers
Key Personnel Decisions: Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Jeremy Lin, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer
Best Fit: Justise Winslow
Reason: Jordan Clarkson may very well end up being the long term answer at point guard and with Kobe at the two at least for another year, combo guard, D’Angelo Russell may not be the greatest need. Russell needs an environment where he can play and get shots up, that’s not LA. Winslow can play without the ball in his hands and contribute. He’s a lock down defender, good in transition, shoots the “3” with accuracy and is unstoppable to the rim.
#5 Pick-Orlando Magic
Key Personnel Decisions: Tobias Harris
Best Fit: Kritaps Porzingis
Reason: The Magic have invested two lottery selections the past two years into the backcourt, it would be hard to imagine that they would go Russell here and write off one Oladipo or Payton as a mistake. A 19-year old Latvian, Porzingis plays in the Spanish pro league for FC Barcelona. He is incredibly skilled, a good athlete and shoots it well. Could be an a great fit for a trade for someone looking to jump up and snatch up D’Angelo Russell.
#6 Pick-Sacramento Kings
Needs: All but Center
Key Personnel Decision: Rudy Gay
Best Fit: D’Angelo Russell
Reason: Sacramento could be the perfect home for Russell. The Kings have two more years with Darren Collison who may be better suited off the bench and recent shooters Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas may not be the long-term answer.
#7 Pick-Denver Nuggests
Needs: SG, SF
Key Personnel Decision: No one significant
Best Fit: Mario Hezonia
Reason: Team is in transition with rumors swirling of the Nuggets moving their best asset in Ty Lawson. The opportunity to take Herzona, another Spanish pro league player, was considered Europe’s best prospect as a 16 and 17 year old. Missed an opportunity to display his talent for the loaded Croatian National Team last summer due to an ankle injury.
#8 Pick-Detroit Pistons
Key Personnel Decision: Greg Monroe, Reggie Jackson
Best Fit: Frank Kaminsky
Reason: Coach/GM Stan Van Gundy has interesting decisions with his frontcourt this year and next with Greg Monroe’s 2015 free agency and Andre Drummond the following year. Frank Kaminsky’s can fit in as a stretch four, should the Pistons let Monroe walk or potentially even Drummond.
#9 Pick-Charlotte Hornets
Needs: SG, PF, C
Key Personnel Decision: Al Jefferson, Gerald Henderson
Best Fit: Stanley Johnson
Reason: With a stockpile of young forwards selected in the past two drafts (Noah Vonleh, Cody Zeller…), the need for a young scoring wing is critical. Stanley Johnson excels in transition and slashing to the basket, will need to prove he can be consistent from the perimeter. High motor, defensive asset that has a huge upside as a backcourt player.
#10 Pick-Miami Heat
Needs: Guards, Wings
Key Personnel Decisions: Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Goran Dragic
Best Fit: Willie Cauley Stein
Reason: Enables the Heat defensive flexibility, could play Bosh offensively (provided he’s healthy) at the small forward and defensively at the power forward. Also adds insurance in case Hassan Whiteside fizzles out.