By Nick Prevenas

1Orlando MagicOrlandoPaolo BancheroAIt might be a bit of a surprise to some, but the Orlando Magic opted to take the most NBA-ready player at No. 1 overall. Banchero can do a little bit of everything, and he loves to do it on the biggest stage possible. It’s clear that Banchero has the size, skills, and savvy to thrive in the NBA right away. He plays with tremendous confidence and doesn’t shy away from hard work or big moments. He isn’t a knockdown 3-point shooter like Jabari Smith, but he shows strong fundamentals and a quick release, both off the catch and off the dribble. Lateral foot speed will likely be an issue on defense. Smaller guards will go out of their way to get Banchero on a switch. But if Banchero remains healthy, it’s impossible to imagine him ending up as a bust. He has the highest floor among this draft’s elite prospects. He will help stabilize the Orlando Magic and give them a much-needed focal point. Everyone on this young roster will immediately reap the benefits of Banchero’s presence.
2Oklahoma City ThunderOklahoma CityChet HolmgrenA-The best version of Holmgren is the best player this draft has to offer – and it isn’t particularly close. The word “unicorn” gets tossed around to describe players we haven’t quite seen before. Holmgren is a unicorn with the wingspan of a condor. He is a defensive philosophy unto himself, with elite shotblocking skills and the quickness to survive on perimeter switches. Offensively, he has unquestioned 3-point range and soft hands around the hoop to convert jump hooks on mismatches or convert offensive rebounds. He possesses tremendous basketball IQ and even a little bit of a mean streak. However, his body is so unorthodox that it will take some time to gauge whether it can withstand the rigors of an 82-game season. He is so rail-thin and it’s unclear whether he can conceivably add weight to his frame without sacrificing what makes him so special. But his upside is unparalleled. Oklahoma City likely would have taken him first overall. Sam Presti must be thrilled.
3Houston RocketsHoustonJabari SmithASmith is the draft’s best shooter regardless of position. Standing 6-10 with a unblockable release point, Smith can get his shot off against almost any individual defender and knock it down with efficiency from well beyond the NBA 3-point line. At worst, Smith should be able to replicate peak Rashard Lewis’ offensive production, while contributing tremendous versatility on the defensive end. However, it’s unclear whether he will be able to develop into the type of ball-handling playmaker teams expect from a primary option. If Smith becomes a reliable dribbler, he could score multiple All-NBA Team nominations. Smith represents tremendous value at No. 3, and he will provide desperately needed floor spacing to open the court for Jalen Green and all of Houston’s high-usage guards. He is a much better fit for this roster than new Dallas Maverick Christian Wood.
4Sacramento KingsSacramentoKeegan MurrayB-Murray is a do-it-all wing with practically no holes in his game. On a scale of 1-10, he does everything at around an 8 or a 9. He is the kind of no-nonsense, versatile forward that every team desperately craves to help fill out its roster. Murray stuffed every column on the stat sheet for the University of Iowa and finished fourth in the nation with 23.5 points per game. However, he is significantly older than most prospects in this range (turns 22 in August) and will come into the NBA with less upside. He is also a bit of a late bloomer and we need to see if his 3-point percentage is real (nearly 40% as a sophomore after shooting only 30% from 3 as a freshman). His handle can also get a bit loose if he is trying to create his own shot. He will bring a great deal of maturity and positional versatility for the Sacramento Kings, but he doesn’t have anywhere near the upside of Jaden Ivey.
5Detroit PistonsDetroitJaden IveyABlink once and Ivey is already by you. Blink twice and he might rip the rim off the backboard. Ivey is a powerfully athletic lead guard with electricity pumping through his veins. He is a dynamic shot creator and the draft’s most explosive open-court player. On the downside, Ivey’s defensive awareness comes and goes. He is a streaky shooter, too – if the 3s are falling, nobody can guard him, but if he’s struggling to knock down perimeter jumpers, he has yet to develop the in-between game to help compensate. Ivey could realistically end up as this draft’s signature player, but he could also top out as a high-scoring, but inefficient, bench sparkplug. He will have every opportunity to succeed playing alongside Cade Cunningham, whose steady presence will allow Ivey to do what he is best – primarily, dunking on fools. The Pistons must be thrilled to see Ivey fall into their laps.
6Indiana PacersIndianaBennedict MathurinA-If you had to use only one word to summarize Mathurin’s game, it’s “toughness.” He is an iron-willed competitor who thrives when the game gets physical and a little heated. Mathurin projects as a promising playoff performer, due to his fight-or-fight mentality. There is more than a dash of Jimmy Butler in Mathurin’s approach. He is a tremendous finisher, both in the open floor and on back cuts. He can also blow past an over-rotated defender with a powerful first step, and then get to the rim for a thunderous throwdown against an out-of-position big man. He is also a strong 3-point shooter with solid mechanics once he gets his feet set. He is a terrific one-on-one player on both ends, and he seems to excel in the mano-a-mano aspects of basketball. It’s the team aspects of the game that will take some time, though. He struggles to make plays for others, and he can often find himself out of position on defense. But Rick Carlisle will love coaching Mathurin. The Pacers’ backcourt is still a work in progress (seemingly everyone is involved in trade rumors), but Mathurin will be a terrific fit alongside Tyrese Haliburton.
7Portland TrailblazersPortland
Shaedon SharpeCSharpe is a dynamic offensive talent with tremendous handles and deep range on his jumper. It’s easy to envision him as a possible No. 1 scoring option for an NBA team. The problem? He hasn’t played competitive basketball in ages. It’s unclear whether his YouTube mixtapes or his pre-Kentucky successes will come close to translating at the NBA level. If he hits, he could end up as this draft’s best prospect. If he misses, he might be out of the league before his second contract. This is a big swing for the for-sale Portland Trailblazers, who must try to rebuild a winner around a soon-to-be-32 Damian Lillard. Sharpe is the best talent available, but between his year of unexcused absences and a terrible run of pre-draft interviews, this pick is risky at best.
8New Orleans PelicansNew OrleansDyson DanielsA-Daniels is an extremely long, unorthodox playmaker with supreme passing vision and a knack for doing all the little things. Much like fellow Aussie Josh Giddey, Daniels plays with an unorthodox rhythm that creates openings in spaces defenses don’t expect. He isn’t an elite athlete with blow-by quickness, however, and his lack of a jumper at this point (25.5% from 3 with the G League Ignite) will make it tough for him to keep defenses honest. If Daniels can develop any kind of a jumper, he could carve out a unique niche in the NBA. The exciting New Orleans Pelicans will provide a terrific infrastructure for Daniels’ growth. Head coach Willie Green leads a terrific player development unit and Daniels will fit into the squad’s defensive philosophy from day one. Imagine Daniels and Herb Jones hounding perimeter players. Yikes!
9San Antonio SpursSan AntonioJeremy SochanB+It is so easy to envision Sochan as a do-it-all defensive menace on a perennial playoff team. Sochan is gifted with incredible size and versatility. He plays with a unique level of fire and intensity, and he brings an intriguing amount of playmaking/passing panache to the table. At this point, the only thing missing is a consistent jump shot. He struggles anytime he shoots it beyond 15 feet, and his foul shooting (58.9%) is downright abysmal. If his shooting even approaches passable marks, Sochan could be a star in the making. Otherwise, he might top out as a solid role player. He lands in a terrific situation in San Antonio, with a proven track record of developing players just like Sochan.
10Washington DC WizardsWashingtonJohnny DavisBDavis comes to this draft from a time machine out of 1984. He is a midrange assassin, with terrific cutting instincts and a flair for the dramatic. He competes his butt off on both ends of the floor and big games seem to bring the best out of him. His shooting efficiency (especially beyond the arc) leave a lot to be desired, but that should level out in the NBA when he won’t be expected to carry the usage rate he did as a sophomore at Wisconsin. If he can’t get his percentages up, Davis will top out as a change-of-pace bench scorer. But if he becomes a reliable spot-up jump shooter, Davis could develop into an invaluable “glue guy” on a playoff team. Davis will bring some much-needed slashing and unpredictability to the Wizards' backcourt.
11Oklahoma City ThunderOklahoma CityOusmane DiengB+Dieng is an enormous playmaker with the highest upside of anyone at this point in the draft. If Dieng puts his considerable physical gifts together with his absurd ball-handling ability at 6-10, we could be looking at a future All-Star and two-way wrecking ball. The caveat? He must learn how to shoot it first. Right now, Dieng is a dismal shooter with absolutely no range beyond the lane (27% from 3). He doesn’t have the elite straight-line speed to get by defenders who don’t have to worry about him as a shooter. He will need to turn his jumper from a liability into being a threat if he hopes to reach his considerable potential. The Knicks traded out of this spot and sent Dieng to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Aside from Holmgren, Dieng was the most Thunder-y pick available this year – all upside, huge risks.
12Oklahoma City ThunderOklahoma CityJalen WilliamsB+Williams is one of this draft’s fastest risers – and for good reason. The extremely long (7-2 wingspan?!) wing out of Santa Clara has emerged as one of the basketball world’s favorite prospects, thanks in large part to his massive improvement as a shooter (27% from 3 as a sophomore to nearly 40% as a junior). He plays with supreme confidence and control navigating the pick and roll and can even serve as a team’s primary offensive initiator. He didn’t face consistently elite competition at Santa Clara, however, so it’s unclear how cleanly these skills will translate to the next level. He isn’t an explosive athlete, either, which will come into play on the defensive end. He is yet another young, long, high-IQ playmaker for this stable of under-25 studs Oklahoma City is collecting. I can’t wrap my head around what this team will actually look like on the floor, but I can’t wait to see it in action.
13Detroit PistonsDetroitJalen DurenBDuren is one of the draft’s youngest players, so his upside alone is worth consideration at this point. Standing a hair under 7 feet with an NBA-ready physique, Duren is an explosive run-and-jump athlete who possesses rare lateral quickness for a center. The raw physical tools are undeniable. However, his motivation level comes and goes, and it’s unclear whether his basketball IQ will ever catch up with his physical gifts. He isn’t much of a shooter, and his subpar foul shooting doesn’t offer much glimmer of hope. But he doesn’t turn 19 until November. He has plenty of time to develop. The Charlotte Hornets dealt this pick to the Detroit Pistons, who really need a shotblocking lob threat. Duren will have every opportunity to succeed alongside an elite playmaker like Cade Cunningham. This does not rule out a potentially massive Deandre Ayton offer sheet, either.
14Cleveland Cavs LogoClevelandOchai AgbajiBAgbaji is among the most mature (physically and emotionally) wings in this draft class. He nearly declared for the draft after his junior year at Kansas, but he decided to come back to work on his shooting and ball handling. Agbaji is a known commodity – teams can count on him to deliver high-IQ performance and stellar defense. Front offices will need to determine whether his drastically improved shooting (40.7% from 3 as a senior) is legit, or if it is just a small-sample-size spike. At age 22, he has much less upside than many players in this range, but much like Desmond Bane, Agbaji should be a strong day-one contributor for the playoff-minded Cleveland Cavaliers.
15Charlotte HornetsCharlotteMark WilliamsB+Williams is enormous. Standing a legit 7-feet with a 7-7 wingspan, Williams is a one-man defensive wrecking ball. He should contribute immediately as a high-energy shotblocker and lob threat. He has yet to show any interest in shooting the ball beyond the lane, but he showed massive improvement at the foul line (53.7% to 72.7% as a sophomore) and his fundamentals are in terrific shape. He isn’t a go-to offensive option yet and doesn’t have much of a post game, but Williams is a strong, mature, and coachable big man with untapped potential. He will step in and contribute for the center-starved Charlotte Hornets on day one and give LaMelo Ball an intriguing lob partner.
16Atlanta Hawks LogoAtlantaAJ GriffinA-Griffin steps into the NBA with a phenomenal physical profile for a wing and elite perimeter shooting ability. He can score from all three levels, and he can create shots for himself in a variety of ways. His production was limited at Duke due to a loaded roster of high-usage offensive players. Glass-half-full scouts might see Griffin as a Devin Booker type of prospect – another player who had to pick his spots in his one year of college before blossoming into a dominant NBA scorer. Griffin, however, has a spotty medical history dating back to his high school days and might spend his first couple season struggling on the defensive end. But his one-on-one scoring ability and dead-eye spot-up shooting is undeniable. He represents tremendous value at this point in the draft for the Atlanta Hawks. Griffin will be a terrific perimeter shooting partner with Trae Young.
17Houston RocketsHoustonTari EasonA-Eason is a do-whatever-it-takes-to-win forward who loves to take the most direct route possible toward a thunderous dunk or a game-changing steal. Eason thrived as a sophomore for LSU, averaging nearly 17 points per game in just 24.4 minutes. The most eye-popping number: 5.7 foul shots attempted per game, which speaks to his aggressive nature. He is equally intense on the defensive end, as well (2 steals/1 block per game). On the downside, his overall approach lacks finesse, and he is in danger of fouling out of any game. He is already 21, so it’s unclear whether he ever irons those kinks out of his game. He will bring a hard-nosed approach to a Houston squad that needs someone who loves to do the dirty work. Eason could eventually develop into the enforcer for Jabari Smith and Jalen Green.
18Chicago BullsChicagoDalen TerryB+Terry is one of this draft’s fastest risers, thanks in large part to his terrific athleticism and defensive instincts. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands, or have any plays run for him to impact winning. He is a long, lanky, springy wing who can conceivably guard any perimeter player and even help with rim-protection duties. His offensive game consists mainly of putbacks or wide-open spot-up looks. He is a low-usage player who doesn’t look to create his own shot, but he is a solid ball-mover and heady passer. If he becomes a knockdown corner 3-point shooter, Terry’s defensive intensity and intangibles could translate into a decade-plus NBA career. The Bulls won’t need Terry to carry a heavy-usage load, so they will look to him to provide some much-needed perimeter defense. It’s a little bit of a reach at 18, but Terry fits in well with what the Bulls are building.
19Memphis GrizzliesMemphisJake LaRaviaD+LaRavia is a solid, jack-of-all-trades type of wing with a well-rounded overall skillset. He did a little bit of everything in his three years at Wake Forest – spot-up shooting, mid-range pullups (61.6% from 2 last year), drawing fouls (career average of four free throws per game), and a dash of playmaking. At 6-8, LaRavia has terrific size for a player with his advanced floor game. His subpar foot speed will hurt him defensively, and he doesn’t possess elite length (nearly even height/wingspan measurements), so it will be an uphill climb for LaRavia to hang with today’s apex-predator wings. Memphis traded an extra first-round pick to take LaRavia, and the Grizzles have an excellent player development track record, but trading up to take LaRavia at No. 19 is a major reach. There are several wings with much more upside available at this point in the draft.
20San Antonio SpursSan AntonioMalaki BranhamABranham is the spitting image of former Ohio State standout Michael Redd – almost identical physical dimensions, the same No. 22 jersey number, the same sweet shooting stroke. Branham came to Columbus as a tremendous slasher out of LeBron James’ alma mater (St. Vincent-St. Mary’s) but he added the 3-ball to his arsenal as a freshman, knocking down nearly 42% of his attempts. He is also a strong, intense defensive presence on the wing. At this stage, he is definitely a shoot-first, shoot-second player and will need to add a bit more playmaking variety to his game to fully unlock his potential. He fell way too far in this draft and the Spurs snagged a steal at No. 20. Sochan and Branham are terrific additions to this potentially exciting squad they’re building in San Antonio.
21Denver NuggetsDenverChristian BraunBBraun is a springy, high-energy wing with an intriguing all-around set of skills. He is a strong open-court ball handler who can wiggle himself open or create plays for others. His shooting stats are all over the map, but when his jumper is on, he can be tough to guard. Defensively, Braun loves to get after it. He doesn’t back down from anybody and he rebounds exceptionally well for his position (6.5 rpg as a junior). His efficiency dips in the half court and he doesn’t possess elite length, but Braun plays with an infectious spirit that will endear him to fans and teammates (and annoy opponents). The Nuggets need a jolt of athleticism at the wing, and Braun should find ways to contribute. If he embraces a role as a heady off-ball cutter, Nikola Jokic could make him into a player.
22Minnesota TimberwolvesMinnesotaWalker KesslerBKessler is a truly gargantuan old-school center with incredible shotblocking instincts. If people wonder why Jabari Smith didn’t post higher rebounding/shotblocking stats, Kessler is a big reason why. Kessler rejected 4.6 shots per game in just 25.6 minutes per game. He isn’t just a big tree planted by the rim, either. Kessler is mobile and active near the hoop. He does a great job committing to box-outs and he often keeps his foul numbers low (rare for players with his shotblocking stats). He has a lot of work to do offensively. His points come entirely on offensive rebounds. He has no real post game to speak of and he isn’t a threat from the perimeter. Kessler will provide stout defensive minutes behind Karl-Anthony Towns.
23Memphis GrizzliesMemphisDavid RoddyC-Roddy is a THICK wing with surprisingly nimble feet and underrated playmaking skills. Roddy plays with a high basketball IQ and seems to have a sixth sense for making the right play on either end. He emerged as a strong perimeter shooter after struggling early in his career at Colorado. He uses his bulk to hold his position well defensively and he has active hands. He’s only 6-5 and he lacks top-level athleticism, so it will take some time (and conditioning) before he can contribute for the Grizzlies. Memphis targeted him specifically, sending DeAnthony Melton to Philadelphia, but most big boards had Roddy as a second-round talent.
24Milwaukee BucksMilwaukeeMarJon BeauchampB+Beauchamp is a tough, aggressive wing with terrific length (7-1 wingspan), slashing ability, and spectacular rebounding skills for his position. He racked up nearly six rebounds per game for the G League Ignite and added 1.6 steals per contest, which speaks to his constant activity. He can get to the rim with excellent straight-line speed and heady, opportunistic cuts to the rim. He is an inefficient shooter at this point in his development, and it will take time before he can be counted on to consistently knock down open shots. He will need to become more focused and disciplined to contribute at an NBA level, but the physical attributes and intensity are already there. Beauchamp fits in nicely with Giannis, Jrue, Khris, and the tough-as-nails Milwaukee Bucks.
25San Antonio SpursSan AntonioBlake WesleyA-Wesley is an electrifying ball handler who can create creases in the defense with minimal space. He is a one-man press breaker who can effectively split double teams and finish at the hoop with either hand. He was asked to finish most plays at Notre Dame, but he shows nice playmaking chops and could develop into an effective point guard down the line. He is a willing, active defender and can disrupt passing lanes with his long wingspan. He is not a reliable catch-and-shoot player yet, and his shooting percentages leave a lot to be desired (30% from 3 on five attempts per game and a dismal 65% at the line), but if he can develop into a consistently efficient offensive performer, Welsey could be a dynamite change-of-pace guard. He represents terrific value at the No. 25 pick and gives the Spurs yet another exciting young talent alongside Sochan and Branham. Great night so far for Spurs fans.
26Minnesota TimberwolvesMinnesotaWendell MooreB+Moore was often overshadowed by his teammates on last year’s loaded Duke squad, but he brings many of the top-shelf role player skills teams crave at this point in the draft. He is a strong ball handler who shows solid floor vision and a willingness to make plays for others (increased his assist numbers to 4.4 per game as a junior). He does whatever it takes to win and fills whatever gap a coach asks him to. He underwhelmed during his first two seasons as a Blue Devil, but he came on strong as a junior. He isn’t an elite blow-by athlete, and it will take him time to adjust to the speed of the pro game, but Moore has the kind of versatile, unselfish game that will endear him to coaches and teammates. Moore fits nicely with what new GM Tim Connelly is building in Minnesota.
27Miami HeatMiamiNikola JovicC+Jovic could accidentally end up on a few MVP ballots next year, due to his alphabetical proximity to one of the NBA’s all-time greats. But his game bares very little resemblance to the reigning NBA MVP. Jovic is a lanky, versatile forward with guard skills in a 6-11 frame. Much like prime Hedo Turkoglu, Jovic is a surprisingly adept ball handler for his size, thanks to his experience as a guard in high-level youth leagues before his growth spurt. Jovic excels handling it in the pick and roll, and he can make high-level reads going either direction. He shows good shooting form, but his percentages are a bit disappointing. He is also a long way away on the defensive end, and it’s hard to tell whether he can hang on an athletic level.
28Golden St. WarriorsGolden StatePatrick BaldwinBThe best version of Baldwin is a matchup nightmare who can get a clean look against any type of defense. His physical frame and his perimeter skills resemble the Morris twins, but with better one-on-one ball handling skills. However, the production at Wisconsin-Milwaukee fell well below what we expected, given his recruiting pedigree. Baldwin’s shooting splits (34/26/74) just weren’t good enough, and his defensive intensity could best be described as “intermittent.” If he can regain his confidence and embrace his NBA destiny (role player, mismatch exploiter, defender), he could enjoy a long, lucrative career. Baldwin lands in the best possible spot – the defending champs in Golden State. If he can’t figure it out with the Warriors, then that’s on him.
29Houston RocketsHoustonTyTy WashingtonB+Washington is an old-school guard with a knack for making big plays. He is a terrific midrange shooter with a deep arsenal of stutter-steps and hesitation moves to create space. He doesn’t have an explosive first-step, so he needs every trick he can muster to generate those openings. Even though he looks the part, his terrific shooting fundamentals have yet to translate to elite percentages (35% from 3, 50% from 2). But he is comfortable maneuvering between either guard spot, so Washington should develop into a solid contributor in any team’s backcourt rotation. He was the one of the draft’s last remaining green room prospects, so the Rockets are hoping they’ve landed on a steal to go along with Smith and Eason.
30Denver NuggetsDenverPeyton WatsonB-There is a lot to like about Watson on a potential/physical build level. He comes equipped with an NBA-ready body and elite-level athleticism at the wing position. He was a highly touted recruit based solely on these qualities. His lone season at UCLA, however, was a massive disappointment. He saw only 12.7 minutes per game and averaged less than four points a game, scoring in double digits only three times. His minutes dwindled toward the end of the season and he was essentially a non-factor for UCLA throughout the back half of the conference schedule. He is a long way away from contributing for any NBA team, but his ceiling is awfully high for this stage of the draft.
31Indiana PacersIndianaAndrew NembhardBNembhard is a heady, coach-on-the-floor point guard with terrific lead guard instincts. He averaged more than five assists per game during his four-year career. However, Nembhard didn’t develop into a consistent high-volume perimeter shooter until his senior year with Gonzaga, and it’s unclear whether that will continue at the NBA level. He will also struggle to adjust to the speed/power of the pro game, as he was never a create-his-own-shot type of player with the Bulldogs. But at this stage of the draft, he is a high-IQ floor general who makes winning plays.
32Orlando MagicOrlandoCaleb HoustanB+Houstan has the size and shooting ability teams love to see from 3-and-D wings. At 6-8 with a nearly 7-foot wingspan, Houstan has the physical profile of a switch-everything wing and the shooting stroke of a future 40% shooter. Right now, his percentages are lower than one would expect (38/35/78), but it’s reasonable to expect those numbers to improve if he is in a catch-and-shoot role. He isn’t what one would call an explosive athlete and he needs to work on bringing a consistent intensity/energy level every night, but Houstan has considerable upside and a clear NBA role.
33Toronto RaptorsTorontoChristian KolokoA-Koloko is a long, nimble center with soft touch around the hoop and excellent shotblocking instincts. He truly came into his own as a junior, averaging nearly 3 blocks per game in 25.4 minutes. He has a unique knack for keeping blocks in play and tipping them to teammates. He isn’t a perimeter shooter at this point, but he has grown more confident in his abilities and has made noticeable improvements at the foul line (up to 73.5% from an impossibly bad 35% as a freshman). He rarely takes a bad shot and he knows how to move the ball in the high post and kick it out to open shooters. He will need to get thicker and stronger to battle with the NBA’s behemoth centers and he’ll have to get his reach-in fouls under control, but Koloko is an intriguing prospect with plenty of upside remaining.
34Oklahoma City ThunderOklahoma CityJaylin WilliamsB+Williams is a lanky and relentlessly active big man who makes a lot of positive things happen. He is the rare player who is equally effective protecting the rim and defending in space. He also loves to draw charges. He is a sneaky-good interior passer and even flashes a bit of playmaking acumen at the top of the key. A team can conceivably run dribble handoffs through Williams. Perimeter shooting is a work in progress – he doesn’t take many long jumpers, and the ones he does take often don’t go in. Williams brings enough all-around skills to the table to carve out a spot for himself, but it’s the shooting that will determine his ceiling.
35Los Angeles LakersLA LakersMax ChristieAChristie surprised some folks by electing to stay in this year’s draft, but the slick shooting guard out of Michigan State showed a strong, well-rounded approach and solid fundamentals at all the important skills (shooting, defensive footwork, ball handling). Christie has a nice pull-up jumper and shows creative off-ball cutting skills. His percentages are a little disappointing (38% from the floor, 32% from 3), but he shoots it well from the line and he shows excellent form well beyond the 3-point line. With time, Christie could turn into a valuable 3-and-D contributor.
36Portland TrailblazersPortlandGabriele ProcidaC+Procida is a slick 6-7 wing out of Italy who plays with a bit of bounce and flair. He likes to get out in the open floor and make things happen. He doesn’t play beyond his abilities and he shows terrific range on his jumper. His raw counting stats won’t wow anybody, but his potential is quite encouraging. Portland snagged him with the intention of stashing him overseas, where he will need to improve his upper-body strength to hang with NBA-level wings.
37Dallas MavericksDallasJaden HardyA-Hardy is a walking bucket, with a deep bag of ball-handling tricks to get his shot off from anywhere on the court. When Hardy catches fire, there is little a defense can do to slow him down. Hardy also shows nice off-the-catch shooting potential and smart off-ball cutting skills. He’s awfully inefficient at this stage, though, and he can get caught up trying to go one-on-five every possession. He had an underwhelming campaign with the G League Ignite, but if he can get his shot back to where it was when he was a highly touted high school recruit, Hardy (the last player in the green room) could turn out to be an absolute steal at this point in the draft.
38Memphis GrizzliesMemphisKennedy ChandlerB+Chandler might be the fastest player in this draft – with or without the ball in his hands. Chandler possesses rare baseline-to-baseline speed and he can hit top gear from a standstill in no time flat. He is a rock-solid ball handler who doesn’t just rely on raw speed, however. He can effectively change pace and get to any spot he wants. He has the fundamental foundation to become a sharpshooter, but his abysmal 60.6% mark at the foul line leaves a lot to be desired. He is undersized by NBA standards (mayyyybe 6 feet tall, if he’s wearing thick-soled shoes), so he will need to become a Chris Paul-level midrange assassin as a shooter to compensate for his height. But Chandler played his best basketball toward the end of Tennessee’s season, so his growth curve is heading in the right direction.
39Cleveland Cavs LogoClevelandKhalifa DiopCDiop is a 20-year-old big man from Senegal with tremendous strength who has played well against top competition. He plays with an extremely high motor and loves to mix it up when the game gets a bit chippy. He works his butt off and he’s shown himself to be quite coachable. He has a tough time catching the ball if it isn’t thrown perfectly to him, and his perimeter shooting ability is nonexistent. Diop is raw and not ready to contribute right away, but he has solid upside for this point in the draft.
40Charlotte HornetsCharlotteBryce McGowensB+McGowens is an elite one-on-one player and would likely be one of this draft’s best in a pickup game. He thrives when he is given the opportunity to break down the defense with his vast array of hesitation dribbles and herky-jerky drives to the hoop. He draws a ton of fouls and knocks down his free throws at a high rate (83% on 6.3 attempts per game). He has the height and length to hold his own on defense, but he needs to improve on his overall approach on that end of the floor. He is also a subpar perimeter shooter (27% from 3) and a bit of a black hole on offense – once he gets the ball, the play tends to stop there.
41New Orleans PelicansNew OrleansEJ LiddellA-Liddell is a thick, powerful wing with the base of a tree trunk and a nearly 7-foot wingspan. He almost entered the draft after his sophomore season, but he elected to return to Ohio State to hone his 3-and-D skills. He improved in every conceivable measure and profiles as a PJ Tucker-style glue guy who can defend nearly every position. He’s a solid spot-up shooter and an incredible shotblocker (2.6 per game) for a 6-6 player. He won’t be asked to create his own shot or handle the ball in one-on-one situations, but Liddell could thrive as the kind of role player every playoff team needs. Great value at this point in the draft (the Nikola Jokic pick).
42New York KnicksNew YorkTrevor KeelsB+Keels was often asked to take a back seat on that absolutely loaded Duke squad, but he frequently showed flashes of what made him such a big-time recruit. He is a physical marvel with imposing strength at the guard/wing position. He is built like a tank – he can likely hold up down low against much taller players, due to his low center of gravity. He is raw offensively and it will take time to figure out exactly how he will contribute on that end of the floor. He isn’t a very good perimeter shooter and he can play with a bit of tunnel vision on his drives to the hoop. But if he learns how to hit the corner-3 ball, Keels could develop into another Lou Dort-style wrecking ball.
43Los Angeles ClippersLA ClippersMoussa DiabateBDiabate is a fascinating prospect with elite measurables and an emerging floor game. The French prospect spent one year at Michigan before declaring for the draft. Standing 6-11 with a 7-3 wingspan and a 9-1 standing reach, Diabate runs the floor exceptionally well for his size and seems to glide everywhere he goes. His game right now is more theoretical than it is productive, as he struggled to shoot it from the perimeter and had a negative assist/turnover ratio, but if Diabate can add some bulk without sacrificing his exceptional quickness, he could find a role in the league.
44Golden St. WarriorsGolden StateRyan RollinsA-Rollins is among the top mid-major prospects in this year’s draft, thanks in large part to his NBA-ready approach to the game. Standing a legit 6-4, Rollins can effectively play either guard spot, and he can get to whatever spot he wants on the floor. He thrives when he’s driving to the hoop and seeking contact (nearly five foul shot attempts per game). He’s too quick and strong for most of the teams Toledo faces – can those skills translate against the best athletes in the world? He will also need to improve his perimeter shooting (only 31% from 3) if he hopes to find playing time, but at pick No. 44, Rollins represents terrific value. The Warriors must love Rollins to send Atlanta $2M for the opportunity to move up seven spots. That kind of money multiplies significantly with the luxury tax implications this roster is facing.
45Charlotte HornetsCharlotteJosh MinottB_Minott possesses almost everything a team would want in a 6-8 wing – length, quickness, above-the-rim athleticism, a high motor, and a dash of playmaking/ball-handling prowess. He operates exceptionally well in any team concept and loves making the extra pass/extra defensive rotation. However, his jumper is simply nonexistent at this stage. He has next to no interest in shooting it from the perimeter. He does shoot it well from the foul line, though (75%), so there is hope that he can improve upon his 14% mark from the 3-point line.
46Denver NuggetsDenverIsmael KamagateB-Kamagate is a long, bouncy big man from France who loves to dunk every time he gets the ball. He is a tremendous alley-oop finisher, and he runs the break exceptionally well for a 7-footer. He doesn’t have much of a jump shot outside of 15 feet and he is raw in terms of overall basketball IQ. Defensively, he shows nice shotblocking instincts, but he will get pushed around by NBA centers for the first couple years. He has solid upside remaining, but at age 21, he doesn’t have the same extended developmental timeline we see with some of the other bigs in his draft class.
47Memphis GrizzliesMemphisVince WilliamsB-Williams is a stout shooting guard out of VCU with strong defensive skills and intriguing playmaking skills. Williams is a bit of a late bloomer as a shooter – he struggled mightily from 3 his first two years, but worked himself into becoming a 40% shooter on decent volume. He won’t wow you with otherworldly athleticism or any one elite skill, but Williams is a strong all-around player who contributes in a variety of ways.
48Indiana PacersIndianaKendall BrownA-Brown is an absolute stud on the break. Few players combine his otherworldly speed/athleticism with superior body control and a knack for perfectly timing cuts to the rim. If Brown fully commits himself on the defensive end, he could become a terror on that end of the floor. Even though he shows decent shooting form, he was a low-volume, low-usage player at Baylor and it’s unclear if he can ever develop into the kind of player who creates his own shot. If he doesn’t develop into a more willing shooter, teams will be forced to play 4-on-5 when he is on the floor, which will negate all the positives he brings. The raw tools are there; they just need refining.
49Cleveland Cavs LogoClevelandIsaiah MobleyB-The rock-solid Mobley joins his brother, Evan, on the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has tremendous ball skills for a beefy, rugged big man – excellent touch, nifty jump-hooks, quick duck-ins, and terrific interior passing. He does a great job using his body to box out for rebounds and get in the way on defense. If he can get his weight down a little bit, it could help his lateral quickness and keep him in the game on defense. If nothing else, this pick will make Evan happy, and that is priority No. 1 for everyone in the Cavs’ organization.
50Minnesota TimberwolvesMinnesotaMatteo SpagnoloBSpagnolo is an exciting 19-year-old prospect out of Italy who plays with a nasty edge bordering on maniacal. There is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to Spagnolo’s attacking mentality. He plays with his head up and likes to make plays for himself and others. He isn’t a big-time athlete and he is clearly more comfortable playing as a shooting guard, where he is a bit undersized. He is also a high-turnover player – always looking to make the “wow” play when the solid play will get it done. But Tim Connelly has an unparalleled track record when it comes to spotting talent overseas.
51Atlanta Hawks LogoAtlantaTyrese MartinB-Martin put himself on the NBA radar after a terrific senior season with UConn that saw him elevate his 3pt% to 43% on solid volume. The 6-7 Martin has always rebounded exceptionally well for his size, consistently averaging 7+ boards per game, and he plays with tremendous intensity and competitive edge on defense. The shooting might be a bit of a fluke, however, as Martin has never previously topped 32% from the 3-point line and his foul shooting is consistently under 70%.
52New Orleans PelicansNew OrleansKarlo MatkovicC+Matkovic is a draft-and-stash Croatian big man who loves to finish alley-oops and fill the break. At 6-10 and 220, Matkovic has a nice build for a power forward and shows promise as a floor-running rebounder. If he ever joins the Pelicans, he will need to add some lower-body strength to hold his position against bigger interior players.
53Boston CelticsBostonJD DavisonBOn pure athleticism alone, Davison would be a lottery pick. He is a potential dunk contest candidate, thanks to his 44.5-inch vertical and his incredible body control in the air. He is also one of this draft’s elite sprinters – few can hang with him in a baseline-to-baseline foot race. He even shows terrific playmaking instincts, averaging more than four assists per game as a freshman for Alabama. His shooting and decision-making, however, needs significant work if he hopes to stick on an NBA roster. He is a 30% shooter from 3 and he turns the ball over nearly three times per game.
54Washington DC WizardsWashingtonYannick NzosaCAs one of the draft’s youngest players, Nzosa shows terrific shotblocking instincts and open-floor mobility. His offensive skillset is a total work in progress, and it will take at least 2-3 years before we ever see Nzosa suit up for an NBA team.
55Golden St. WarriorsGolden StateGui SantosCSantos is a Brazilian wing with terrific ball-handling skills and an advanced understanding of how to create high-percentage offensive plays – for himself and for others. He never plays out of control or recklessly. He has a solid head on his shoulders, and he plays like a coach on the floor. Unfortunately, Santos also runs like a coach on the floor. His lack of footspeed will put him at a major disadvantage against elite NBA athletes.
56Cleveland Cavs LogoClevelandLuke TraversBTravers is a lanky Australian playmaker with solid upside and decent athleticism, but he doesn’t have any single standout skill or physical attribute that jumps off the screen. He is a strong rebounder for his position, but his perimeter shooting needs serious work before he can consider a move to the NBA.
57Portland TrailblazersPortlandJabari WalkerA-Walker was a highly productive player for the Colorado Buffaloes – a true Swiss Army Knife without a true position. He projects as a 6-8 glue guy who can do a little bit of everything – solid shooting, excellent rebounding, high motor. His consistency (particularly perimeter shooting) comes and goes, and he can get a bit sloppy with the ball if he is asked to handle it too much. But in the NBA, Walker’s contributions will likely come in a 3-and-D capacity. Strong pick at this late stage of the draft.
58Milwaukee BucksMilwaukeeHugo BessonB-Besson is one of the flashiest players in this draft class. The New Zealander plays with real style and panache. Besson has terrific handles, and he uses them to slice and dice opposing defenders. He is a good at making tough shots, but that can lead him to make poor decisions. He is a streaky-at-best 3-point shooter and teams will go out of their way to target him on defense.
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60Pick Forfeited