1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson (F, Duke)
This one’s a no-brainer. Zion is clearly the best player in the draft right now, and someone who New Orleans hopes will be their next big star after Anthony Davis.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant (PG, Murray St.)
Another easy one — Morant is an amazing talent and arguably the most electrifying player in the draft. The Grizzlies just traded Mike Conley and Morant would become their point guard for the future.
3. New York Knicks: R.J. Barrett (SG, Duke)
Barrett actually matched Zion in scoring last season at Duke, averaging 22.6 points to go along with 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He has the potential to be the face of the franchise in New York someday.
4. New Orleans Pelicans: Jarrett Culver (SG, Texas Tech)
After acquiring this pick from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade, the Pelicans have a few different routes they could go with it. They are probably most in need of a big man, but this is too early to take a center in this draft. It wouldn’t be surprising if they traded back a few spots to take Jaxson Hayes, but if they keep the pick, Jarrett Culver would be a great prospect to put behind Jrue Holiday.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: De’Andre Hunter (SG, Virginia)
If Culver goes at 4, the Cavs are likely to take Hunter with this pick, as they already have a solid young point guard in Colin Sexton, and it might be too much of a reach to take Cam Reddish. Hunter doesn’t have an extremely high ceiling, but he has a high floor and is more of a sure-thing who will be a great player on both ends and would fit great with Sexton and Kevin Love.
6. Phoenix Suns: Darius Garland (PG, Vanderbilt)
Garland left the draft combine early, and it is rumored that the reason behind it is that he got a promise from a team that they would select him. Many believe that team was the Suns, as they have been in need of a great point guard for a long time. Garland has star potential and could become their point guard of the future.
7. Chicago Bulls: Coby White (PG, UNC)
The Bulls could take a chance on Reddish here, but they are in need of backcourt depth, and White is the safer pick and an extremely talented player. The Bulls aren’t really in a position where they can afford to miss big on top-10 pick, so I expect them to go with the safer choice here.
8. Atlanta Hawks: Cam Reddish (F, Duke)
Atlanta now has 3 of the first 17 picks in the draft and 5 selections overall, so they are the type of team that has flexibility and can maybe take more chances. Reddish is arguably a top 3 talent in this draft, but he had a disappointing and inconsistent season at Duke, and there are questions about his work ethic/competitiveness that make him a risky selection. The Hawks’ abundance of picks allows them to use one of them on a “boom-or-bust” guy, and if Reddish pans out, he could quickly become a starter for a Hawks team that needs depth at small forward.
9. Washington Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya (F, France)
The Wizards don’t really have a core identity and are severely hampered by John Wall’s huge contract, so they are in need of talent and are likely going to try to draft the best available player and just go from there. Doumbouya is a project, but he is extremely talented.
10. Atlanta Hawks: Jaxson Hayes (C, Texas)
The first center of the draft gets taken here as the Hawks are looking to find a guy to pair up with John Collins in the frontcourt. Hayes is the best center in the draft and worthy of a top 10 pick. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go 8th or 9th, either.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Rui Hachimura (PF, Gonzaga)
The Timberwolves are in need of a point guard, but aren’t in a very good position in the draft to get one. They also need a guy who can complement Karl Anthony-Towns in the frontcourt, and there are rumors that they made a draft promise to Rui Hachimura that they would take him if he was available.
12. Charlotte Hornets: Nassir Little (SF, UNC)
Charlotte is in need of talent, as Kemba Walker is their only great talent, and he is possibly leaving in free agency. Nassir Little is one of the most talented players in the draft, and despite a disappointing year at North Carolina, he has the potential to be a very good NBA player. Little has the talent that the Hornets are in need of.
13. Miami Heat: Romeo Langford (SG, Indiana)
The Heat need a player on the wing who can create offense, and Langford is that guy. He is an athletic and talented player with offensive versatility, which is usually what Miami is looking for. He has great potential to be an impact player very quickly.
14. Boston Celtics: Brandon Clarke (PF, Gonzaga)
It’s tough to tell which direction Boston will go in this draft since their roster might be completely different in a few months. It is possible that they trade up into the top 5 to get a point guard to replace Kyrie (if he leaves), but if they keep the pick, Brandon Clarke would be a player who can have an impact right away as the Celtics shift from having a lot of potential to needing results.
15. Detroit Pistons: Keldon Johnson (SG/SF, Kentucky)
The Pistons are in need of guards/wings as they are committed to Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin long-term. Keldon Johnson is an athletic 3&D player with the potential to become an all-star someday, and he would be a terrific young addition for Detroit to help them fill their long-standing need.
16. Orlando Magic: Tyler Herro (SG, Kentucky)
The Magic need backcourt depth, and Herro would give Orlando some much needed perimeter shooting off the bench. He would be a good shot creator and playmaker for a team that needs help in those areas.
17. Atlanta Hawks: PJ Washington (PF, Kentucky)
The Hawks very likely could end up trading a couple of their first round picks to move into the top 5, but if they keep their picks, it is likely that they try to use some of them to boost their frontcourt. After taking Jaxson Hayes 10th, PJ Washington is a guy who can play behind John Collins and give the Hawks some depth at power forward.
18. Indiana Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (SG, Virginia Tech)
Indiana needs wings and shooting, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker can give them both. He is a versatile scorer who could give the Pacers some depth and playmaking alongside Victor Oladipo.
19. San Antonio Spurs: Goga Bitadze (C, Georgia)
The Spurs are in need of a big man as LaMarcus Aldridge gets older, and Bitadze has a versatile offensive skillset that would fit well in San Antonio’s system.
20. Boston Celtics: Bol Bol (C, Oregon)
Bol Bol is one of the more interesting draft prospects. Standing 7’2″, he was having a great season at Oregon averaging 21.6 points and 9.6 rebounds before getting injured. His injury (stress fracture in his left foot) has teams very wary of drafting him, but he has a great deal of offensive potential if he can stay healthy.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cameron Johnson (F, UNC)
The Thunder desperately need shooting, so who better for them than the best three-point shooter in the draft? Johnson shot 46% from three on nearly 6 attempts per game last year, so he would definitely help with OKC’s shooting needs. If he improves his defense he could become the perfect 3&D player.
22. Boston Celtics: Grant Williams (PF, Tennessee)
As previously mentioned, it is tough to tell where the Celtics will go in this draft. These picks very likely could be traded, but Grant Williams would be another player who can add depth at the power forward position and make an impact right away for the Celtics offensively.
23. Memphis Grizzlies: Talen Horton-Tucker (SG/SF, Iowa State)
The Grizzlies recently acquired this pick when they traded away Mike Conley. Tucker has a lot of raw talent and potential, but he is a great defender and just needs to improve his offensive game. The Grizzlies aren’t looking to win right away, so they have time to let him develop and potentially become a star alongside their young core of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Ty Jerome (SG, Virginia)
The Sixers have a lot ahead of them this offseason, as Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick are all free agents. Ty Jerome would be a good pick who can give them shooting and be a solid backup behind Ben Simmons in the backcourt, which is something they’ve been looking for.
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Mfiondu Kabengele (PF/C, Florida State)
The Blazers need depth and shooting at the forward position, and Kabengele could play that role as a bigger power forward for them. He is an athletic big man who can space the floor and also protect the rim on defense, and he could give the Blazers some depth in the frontcourt.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Porter Jr. (SG, USC)
Porter has the skillset and physical tools to be a very successful player in the NBA. He has a lot of talent and potential and could become a star someday. He’ll need time but the Cavs clearly aren’t ready to win now yet, and Porter would be a great talent to put alongside Sexton, Culver, and Kevin Love.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Darius Bazley (SF/PF, Princeton High School)
The Nets need depth at forward, and Darius Bazley is a very versatile forward with a lot of raw talent and athleticism. At 6’10” with a 7-foot wingspan, he could be used to help Brooklyn gain more frontcourt depth.
28. Golden State Warriors: Carsen Edwards (PG, Purdue)
The Warriors are looking for someone who can contribute right away, and Edwards looks like he could become a great bench scorer at the next level. He averaged 24.3 points per game last year at Purdue and was amazing in the NCAA Tournament, and he could give the Warriors some immediate bench scoring.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Matisse Thybulle (SG/SF, Washington)
Thybulle is arguably the best defender in the draft, and has potential on offense as well. He will need time to develop his offensive game, but in the Spurs’ system he has the chance to become an excellent two-way player.
30. Detroit Pistons: Dylan Windler (SG/SF, Belmont)
The Pistons acquired this pick from the Bucks in a trade for Tony Snell, and Windler would be a great pick for Detroit as a shooting wing. He was amazing last year and led Belmont to the NCAA Tournament, and he seems like a guy destined to have a long NBA career.