Here’s how PBN sees the NBA Draft unfolding on June 28. (Updated 6/28, 10 AM EST)
1. New Orleans – Anthony Davis, F/C, Kentucky: Won’t have to be the savior out of the gate, stepping into a great situation with team ownership finally solidified and cap space cleared. He’ll need to add strength, but should affect games immediately with his length and defensive instincts.
2. Charlotte (for Cleveland) – Bradley Beal, G, Florida: This pick will be made for either the Cavaliers, another suitor or the Bobcats themselves. This would be the smarter option for the team that needs everything, putting them in position to capitalize most on the asset that is pick No. 2. The Cavs love Beal and could move here by packaging 4 and another asset. Since they’ve been utilizing Dion Waiters as a smoke-screen, count me as a believer they’re simply making sure Charlotte doesn’t get too crazy with its demands.
3. Washington – Harrison Barnes, F, North Carolina: With Kevin Seraphin coming on strong and Nene locked in for the next four seasons, adding Robinson while still financially tied to Andray Blatche would be risky. Beal is coveted, but the Cavs are in position to make the better offer to move up and land him. With defensive-minded Trevor Ariza and Chris Singleton on board, adding Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seems redundant. Barnes has more offensive prowess.
4. Cleveland (for Charlotte) – Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas: MKG would be the pick if the Cavs are selecting for themselves, but I’d see the Bobcats moving down to take the powerful Jayhawk they would likely take at No. 2 as it is. The Cavs would prefer a wing, but Robinson isn’t necessarily a poor choice, either, since he and Tristan Thompson could co-exist. The Waiters rumors also make for an interesting curveball if Chris Grant doesn’t strike a deal to move up for Beal.
5. Sacramento – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky: The best player on the board, he’d be a perfect glue guy on a team that already has too many players looking to score.
6. Portland (from Brooklyn) – Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut: His size and athleticism are too tantalizing to pass up, so new hire Neil Olshey will take a home run swing on the raw 18-year-old in his first Blazers draft. Considering the admirers he’s got that would take a flier on his development, Drummond could very well end up with numerous teams that would trade into this spot.
7. Golden State – Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse: The Warriors moved Monta Ellis because he wasn’t an ideal fit next to Stephen Curry, but considering that the pecking order would now be different, Waiters’ ability to penetrate would make him an ideal third guard.
8. Toronto – Damian Lillard, G, Weber State: Another team that would prefer to turn this pick into a veteran contributor, especially with Jonas Valanciunas already set to be a key part as a rookie. If they keep it, can see a pick-and-roll threat like Lillard being added to serve as Jose Calderon’s apprentice as he enters the final year of his deal.
9. Detroit – John Henson, F, North Carolina: Joe Dumars has the game-changing shot-blocker, high-motor talent he was looking to mold Amir Johnson into. A smart choice next to Greg Monroe.
10. New Orleans (from Minnesota) – Austin Rivers, G, Duke: Confident offensive player would fit nicely on a team in transition, capable of carving out a niche by bringing a high IQ to the equation.
11. Portland – Terrence Ross, F/G, Washington: The Blazers have prioritized bringing back Nicolas Batum, but still could use another wing to put in a rotation with Wes Matthews. Ross’ stock has climbed considerably and his ability as a two-way threat is attractive.
12. Houston (from Milwaukee)– Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois: Has improved his stock by adding strength and wowing scouts with his combination of size and athleticism. Still raw and lacking experience, he’s a project worth banking on towardsthe back end of the lottery.
13. Phoenix – Jeremy Lamb, G, Connecticut: Whether Steve Nash is back in the mix or not, the Suns don’t figure to deviate from their strategy of living off the 3-point bomb. Lamb is a good one and would be a solid option here.
14. Milwaukee (from Houston) – Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina: New acquisition Samuel Dalembert is more of a stop-gap, so even while there will be temptation to make a move for either Jones, the opportunity to add a legitimate 7-footer that’s ready to play out of the gate makes Zeller the pick.
15. Philadelphia – Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky: There’s no question the Sixers are looking for new blood in the frontcourt. If a ready-made option like Zeller doesn’t slip to their lap, look for one of the Joneses to wind up here.
16. Houston (from New York) – Perry Jones III, F, Baylor: As the Rockets collection of assets continues, there’s no one doubt they’re in position to draft for potential. Snatching up the Duncanville, Texas native ahead of his hometown Mavericks adds another piece teams would be willing to trade for at this stage of the rookie pay scale.
17. Dallas – Maurice Harkless, F, St. John’s: Best player available would seem to be the direction a Mavs team that doesn’t figure to have a pick this high for the foreseeable future is likely to take. The player known in college as Moe is also resorting back to his given name, so recognize.
18. Houston (from Minnesota) – Marquis Teague, G, Kentucky: Jeff’s little brother is the type of loor general that the Rockets covet, able to scoot around the floor, distribute and defend. Houston has alterior motives with some of their draft picks, but should they stay put, this could be a landing spot.
19. Orlando – Tony Wroten, G, Washington: The Magic are putting together a completely new team and will likely rely on defense as the backbone. The best athlete remaining is a nice way for Rob Hennigan to start his tenure, even if he does have work to do to refine his game.
20. Denver – Kendall Marshall, G, North Carolina: George Karl’s UNC ties bleed into this one, especially since the old former point guard no doubt appreciates how nicely Marshall sees the floor. Ty Lawson says hi.
21. Boston – Arnett Moultrie, F, Mississippi State: The best big on the board, he adds size and skill to a team that can obviously utilize both going forward, even with Kevin Garnett expected back in the fold.
22. Boston (from L.A. Clippers) – Royce White, F, Iowa State: Savvy forward is someone who can carve out a niche as a Boris Diaw type, so look for his versatility and ability to contribute immediately to be attractive to a Celtics team coveting depth.
23. Atlanta – Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State: Sliding because of back issues and uncertainty regarding how effective he can be as a pro, this could be a landing spot as a value pick, especially since he could pull a DeJuan Blair and wind up becoming efficient and effective. Danny Ferry is very familiar with him and could stop the freefall by banking on his work ethic.
24. Cleveland (from L.A. Lakers) – Jeffrey Taylor, F, Vanderbilt: The player with the fewest question marks remaining, he’ll be a quality wing defender if nothing else. Whether the Cavs are still making this pick or have swapped it to Charlotte or elsewhere, Taylor should be in play.
25. Memphis – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse: If nothing else, the fit works, since he’s the type of high-risk, high-reward you take a shot on at this stage of the draft. The Grizzlies have no centers under contract behind Marc Gasol and culd take a splurge.
26. Indiana – Draymond Green, F, Michigan State: Given reports that the Pacers are taking a hard look at him and the need he fits as a glue guy on a team being built with winners, the Spartan would make for a nice fit in the Hoosier state.
27. Miami – Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt: A nice project for a Heat team that looks under rocks and behind dumpsters for rim protectors and rebounders.
28. Oklahoma City – Evan Fournier, G/F, France: Unless the Thunder are successful in dealing this pick, it’s a no-brainer to add this stash candidate with good size on the wing.
29. Chicago – Will Barton, G/F, Memphis: Appears to have moved to the top of the Bulls list of available wings expected to be available at the tail end of the first round.
30. Golden State (from San Antonio): Andrew Nicholson, F, St. Bonaventure: With his length and potential to develop into a nice pick-and-pop threat, the Canadian reigning A-10 Player of the Year is a likely first-rounder and would be good value if he slips here.