1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, C Kentucky
If the actual NBA works anything like 2K, the Wolves are about 2 years away from winning an NBA title now. With young stars like Wiggins, Lavine, Dieng, Shabazz, and now Towns, this team should now officially be in the “dangerous” category.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C Duke
The jury is still out regarding which big man will be the best, but the Lakers can’t be mad about how this turned out for them. In a few years, the Lakers could go from a team of shooters led by Kobe, to a pick and roll/crash the boards style team with a young core of Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Jahlil Okafor. Suddenly, the future isn’t so bleak for the Lakers post-Kobe.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell, SG Ohio State
This is almost the same as the lottery being rigged, since the Sixers certainly aren’t in the market for a big man at this point. Getting a pure shooter could put the Sixers in the playoff conversation. Plus, the Sixers have made it very clear who they intend to take with this pick.
4. New York Knicks: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG DR Congo
If the Knicks don’t trade this pick, which I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, this could be a blessing in disguise for them. Mudiay is a relative unknown talent, but he could be the second coming of Allen Iverson. He says he’s a competitor, and he certainly has to do that in New York. With the Knicks poised to add Greg Monroe in free agency, the Knicks may not be shaping up too badly despite getting gipped by the lottery system.
5. Orlando Magic: Justise Winslow, SF Duke
So far, this draft is shaping up perfectly for each team based on their draft position. The Magic are in desperate need of a swingman. People are comparing this kid to Melo. Not a bad pick at 5.
6. Sacramento Kings: Stanley Johnson, SF Arizona
This draft doesn’t display depth with point guards, so the Kings should go with the best raw talent in the draft, freshman SF Stanley Johnson. The Kings need to get a pick right soon, especially in the west.
7. Denver Nuggets: Mario Hezonja, SG Croatia
The Nuggets could go with Willie “Trill” Cauley-Stein here, but I think they’re interested in developing Jusuf Nurkic. They’ll add to their European flair by adding “Super Mario”, a large shooting guard who could complement the bruising style of Lawson nicely.
8. Detroit Pistons: Willie Cauley-Stein, C Kentucky
If the Pistons are real with themselves, they should know Greg Monroe is a goner. Cauley-Stein may not having the offensive fortitude of Monroe, but I feel he could have a Joakim Noah-type effect on this team. The Pistons are still a few pieces away, unless Kentavious Caldwell-Pope turns into Jimmy Butler. Brandon Jennings and Reggie Jackson on the same offense is a nightmare waiting to happen, but who knows, it could all work out.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Kelly Oubre, SF Kansas
The Hornets were one of the most perplexing teams in the league last year. This is a big year for them as we try and figure out if they are a playoff team or a perennial tanker. They don’t want to be stuck as an 8th seed forever. With the rise of one-and-done draft candidates, no one can be exactly sure what they get. For the 9th spot, Oubre isn’t a bad pick.
10. Miami Heat: Kristaps Porzingis, PF Latvia
I think at this spot, the heat are targeting Oubre, but if he’s gone as I predict, then they must go with the best player on the board and snatch Porzingis. He could be the second coming of Dirk. However, after the Bargnani experience, teams are hesistant to give European big men a shot. If the Heat can re-sign Goran Dragic, while keeping Bosh, D-Wade, and the improving Hassan Whiteside, this team could be a sleeper in the East.
11. Indiana Pacers: Trey Lyles, PF Kentucky
For a 6’11” guy, this kid has a lot of athleticism. He can make a breakaway slam, or back down in the paint for a post-move finish. The Pacers need a PF to platoon with David West (besides Luis Scola), and having another guy who could run the floor along with a healthy Paul George could put the Pacers in the contender conversation once again.
12. Utah Jazz: Myles Turner, C Texas
The Jazz had a logjam at the big positions last year, and have mostly cleared that out. Now that Enes Kanter is gone, the Jazz need another center, as Gobert (aka the Stifel Tower) is the only C listed on the roster. If Turner has the same complaints as Kanter, they can ship him in a few years.
13. Phoenix Suns: Bobby Portis, PF Arkansas
The Jazz are to big men as the Suns are to guards. Given the unknown situation with the Morris twins and their legal affairs, the Suns need a PF to make sure they have their bases covered. For a team that plays with a very fluid offense like the Suns, this is the best pick they could get here besides Trey Lyles.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Toss-Up
This is one of the most awkward lottery situations I’ve seen in a while. The Thunder have two of the best players in the game, stole Enes Kanter from the Jazz, have an ever-developing Serge Ibaka, and have the likes of Dion Waiters, Mitch McGary and Steven Adams coming off the bench. This team could do nothing in the offseason and it wouldn’t be a shock if they won the NBA title in 2016. Although it didn’t work, the Heat listened to Lebron’s request last year to draft Shabazz Napier with their pick. So maybe since this is a contract year for Durant, the Thunder should post his twitter feed live to see who the 14th pick is. This is one of the deepest drafts in a while, so they can’t really go wrong in this spot.