1. New Orleans Hornets Anthony Davis (6’10? PF, Kentucky, Freshman)
Breakdown: The people in New Orleans are rejoicing at winning the Anthony Davis Sweepstakes. There really isn’t much that needs to be said here as he’s the clear #1 guy in the draft. If Eric Gordon stays, they all of a sudden have a scary duo that is the great starting point for the future. They also have the 10th pick, so they could still add another talent on the wing or at the point to help them out. A guy like Kendall Marshall, for example, would really look nice playing next to Davis and Gordon. Weakness: lack of ideal bulk to consistently bang with NBA big men
2. Charlotte Bobcats Thomas Robinson (6’9″ PF, Kentucky, Junior)
Reasoning: The Bobcats and Bobcats fans were bummed to miss out on Anthony Davis, but the addition of Thomas Robinson will still result in a great improvement to the worst roster in the NBA. The Bobcats need help at basically every position so they are free to take BPA without worry. Robinson is a physical specimen that plays with heart and hustle. Robinson should start from day 1 and immediately help the NBA’s 2nd worst rebounding team. The only concern with Robinson is his height, if he measures a legit 6’ 9” or 6’10” at the Chicago combine, I believe the #2 pick is his to lose.
3. Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (6’4″ SG, Florida, Freshman)
Reasoning: John Wall and the Wizards desperately need a guy like Beal to help space the floor. They could also do well with his leadership and toughness as the Wizards have been floundering for a long time now. His relative lack of height is mitigated by the size and athleticism of Wall, and they could potentially have the best young backcourt in the league. Weakness: Does he have the height or length to consistently get his shot off?
4. Cleveland Cavaliers Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (6’7″ SF, Kentucky, Freshman)
Reasoning: The Cavs are thrilled to see MKG still available. Kidd-Gilchrist is both strong and athletic and plays with boundless energy. MKG has future All Defensive Team SF written all over him, he has both the ability and the desire to be a shutdown perimeter defender. With Kyrie Irving running the break and MKG finishing the Cavs have the chance to create some Top 10 Highlight Moments this season. Weakness: Doesn’t have a natural shooting motion and his jumpshoot will most likely be broken down and reconstructed by a shooting coach.
5. Sacramento Kings Andre Drummond (6’11″ PF/C, Connecticut, Freshman)
Reasoning: The Kings are another team that has been floundering, but have amassed a good number of talented youngsters. DeMarcus Cousins has shown that he can be a first scoring option for a team and they really seem to be a fan of the Thomas/Thornton backcourt, despite issues with their combined size. They might be better off going with a safer prospect like Barnes, but Drummond probably has too much potential to be passed on at this point. Weakness: high risk, high reward player… he could become the steal of the draft (even at 5) or he could be out of the league after his rookie deal
6. Portland Trailblazers Damian Lillard (6’2″ PG, Weber State, Junior)
Reasoning: Portland is in desperate need of a new backcourt and in an ideal world Bradley Beal would still be available. With Beal gone, the Trailblazers choose to upgrade the PG position with the explosive scorer from Weber State. Lillard has great size (6’2” & 190) for the PG position and is a deadly shooter with great range, knocking down 41% of his 3 point attempts and is an 89% shooter from the strip. With LMA drawing double teams in the post, Lillard has the deep range to make teams pay. Weakness: Not a “true” pg but, I think a lot of this is the inferior talent he played with in college.
7. Golden State Warriors Harrison Barnes (6’8″ SF, North Carolina, Sophomore)
Reasoning: This pick makes too much sense. Barnes is a great fit for the type of offense the Warriors run and slides in at that open SF position to create a deadly offensive team. Barnes provides steady production on both sides of the court and is probably better suited to play off the ball anyway so he can develop. If Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut can stay healthy, they have a team with a ton of size that is a playoff contender. Weakness: does he have the desire to be great?
8. Toronto Raptors Perry Jones III (6’11? PF, Baylor, Sophomore)
Reasoning: Outside of Andre Drummond this may be the biggest boom or bust pick in the draft. PJIII has the size, athleticism, and explosiveness to challenge Davis as the top prospect in the entire draft but, doesn’t have the heart and desire to match his genetic gifts. I think that Toronto will be enamored by his physical gifts and he will remind them of another young prospect they drafted with a similar skill set that was also labled as soft and not competitive but, ultimately became a star- Tracy McGrady. I think PJIII will be a SF in the NBA and will team in Toronto with Ed Davis and Andrea Bargnani to form maybe the longest 3-5 lineup in the league. I think all 3 of those players skill set complement each other pretty well. Weakness: Does he want to be great or will he be satisfied with being a pretty good pro?
9. Detroit Pistons John Henson (6’10″ PF, North Carolina, Junior)
Reasoning: Detroit is ecstatic to get a guy like Henson. They already have a potential 20/10 player in Greg Monroe, so all they need is someone to cover his weaknesses on the defensive end of the floor and crash the boards. Henson does that in spades and is exactly the type of player they need. Weakness: Can he continue to bulk up without hampering his athletic ability?
10. New Orleans Hornets Kendall Marshall (6’4″ PG, North Carolina, Sophomore)
Reasoning: Best Passer in College Basketball since Jason Kidd was a Golden Bear in California. Marshall makes up for his lack of athleticism with his deep understanding and “feel” for the game. Marshall never takes an unnecessary dribble and always seems to place the ball in the perfect position for the recipient to score or get a clean shot off. Marshall is unselfish and understands the role of a PG. Adding this type of PG will make life easier for #1 pick Anthony Davis to adjust because Marshall will create easy shots and be the perfect pick and roll / pick and pop partner. Weakness: Jumpshot and Foot speed.
11. Portland Trailblazers Meyers Leonard (7’0″ C, Illinois, Sophomore)
Reasoning: Portland has already added the PG for the future in Lillard. They still have a hole at the other backcourt spot and could be looking hard at a guy like Jeremy Lamb. But bigs always get taken high and Leonard is a great fit next to Aldridge. He’s very athletic and has all of the physical tools necessary to be a special player on the next level. Weakness: He has yet to put all of his natural talents together, which raises questions about his motor
12. Milwaukee Bucks Jared Sullinger (6’9″ PF, Ohio State, Sophomore)
Reasoning: With the addition at the trade deadline of Monta Ellis, the Bucks have a formidable backcourt full of high volume shooters. The drafting of Sullinger will give the team a young true back to the basket post threat on Offense to balance out the jumpshot happy backcourt. Sullinger is also a great rebounder. Sullinger could have been a possible top 5 pick in last year’s draft and while he improved his body and shed the “baby fat” this years draft is much deeper and causes him to slide almost out of the lottery. Weakness: Will be only an average athlete and may not have the quickness to guard the new generation “Stretch 4’s”
13. Phoenix Suns Jeremy Lamb (6’5″ SG, Connecticut, Sophomore)
Reasoning: Phoenix is a hard team to figure out. They haven’t done much to build a strong team around Nash and seem to do nothing but let their best players walk. They really need to blow it up and go the rebuild route so Lamb is the type of versatile player they could really use moving forward. He’s uber talented and provides insane value this low in the draft. Weakness: there are questions about his motor and desire to be a first option
14. Houston Rockets Tyler Zeller (7’0″ PF/C, North Carolina, Senior)
Reasoning: Zeller is an intelligent player with great size and athleticism. Tyler is skilled both facing and with his back to the basket. A true 7 footer with a tough to block jump hook that will allow him to get his shot off with ease in the NBA. Tyler also is an underrated jumpshooter showing range out to 18 feet. Improved his numbers every year at UNC (Pts, Reb, Ast, Stls, Blks FG%). Weakness: Strength- can he hold his defensive position against stronger players?