With a depleted roster full of no-name reserves, Cleveland will need to strategically stockpile as many assets as they can. Considering the uncertainty of both the availability and talent at the 4th pick, Plan A for the Cavs should be to select Irving, and then trade up for Derrick Williams. If Cleveland selects Irving first overall and keeps the 4th pick, they could be limiting their potential to land a second top tier player with the idea that pairing Irving with Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker wouldn’t make sense, and Enes Kanter could be gone.
If the Cavs can’t land that 2nd pick, then Williams should be their guy. He’s a worthy candidate with star potential and zero red flags concerning his skill level, physical tools or personality. Those who are critical of his questionable position shouldn’t confuse the term "tweener" with versatility. At 6’8.75 with a standing reach of 9’0 and a wingspan 7’1.5, Williams’ size, athleticism and mobility will allow him to comfortably play multiple positions.
2. Minnesota Timberworlves
Ideally, Minnesota would be best off dealing the second pick for established talent considering their posse of point guards and logjam at the 3 and 4 positions. If that’s not an option, then the Wolves will likely have to address some daunting questions regarding their potential new lineup…
Would Derrick Williams be able to play alongside Michael Beasley, who occupies similar floor space and would force Kevin Love to play the 5? Or does Minnesota fill a need over talent, and draft a center from Turkey who after playing scarcely over the past two season, brings promise but not certainty?
With Ricky Rubio’s struggles overseas the past two years, the point guard position is still not necessarily set. But considering the measures the team took to get him over, it would be extremely difficult to explain drafting Irving to Rubio’s family.
3. Utah Jazz
Assuming Williams and Irving are off the board, it’s likely that Utah will likely be choosing between Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter and Jonas Valanciunas. Devin Harris has lost some support which could tip the scales towards Knight, but with the need for a center, Kanter would seem to make the most sense. Kanter could team up with Al Jefferson to form a mean one-two punch on the interior.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
If the Cavs take Irving with the first pick, then Kanter seems like the most logical compliment (assuming they like Kanter over Jonas Valanciunas, which we do). It’s also very possible the Jazz feel the same way, leaving Tristan Thompson as the top option on the board. Thompson was asked back after working out extremely well against Enes Kanter, however he may not quite justify a pick in the top 4.
With Derrick Wiliams :
If the Cavs take Derrick Williams with the first pick, they should then look to address the point guard position. Brandon Knight would be an excellent fit, with a substantially high ceiling and strong character. If Knight goes to Utah, Enes Kanter would be a solid choice with the team going with what they have at PG and looking for something more substantial in the future.
5. Toronto Raptors
It appears unlikely Brandon Knight will be around, and I’m skeptical of Kemba Walker as a fit here. The Raptors lack weapons to surround Walker with, which can bait him into being overly aggressive with his shot, and hinder his progression as an orchestrator. Kanter would fit well with what they currently have in their frontcourt with Bargnani and Ed Davis.
6. Washington Wizards
The Wizards have many needs, and should look to select the best non-point guard prospect available. Kanter could provide Washington with an upgrade over Javale McGee at center.
Plan B should be Jan Vesely, who is widely believed as the most NBA-ready prospect overseas. With the ability to run the floor and finish around the rim, he could be an excellent running mate next to John Wall. Vesely has size at 6’11, yet displays impressive mobility, length and athleticism that should give Washington a touch of everything they are missing from the forward position.
7. Sacramento Kings
Assuming Brandon Knight, who the Kings love, will be long gone by the 7th pick, they should be pleased with what Jimmer Fredette can give them. Sacramento’s two building blocks in Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins both lack discipline and stability, and Fredette can bring just that.
Sacramento currently dresses Omri Casspi, Francisco Garcia and Dante Greene at the 3 position, so consider selecting Leonard a strong upgrade in both the rebounding and defensive departments.
Plan C would be Kemba Walker, who despite playing a similar position to Tyreke Evans, would be the most promising prospect left. If both are gone, the Kings should consider Marcus Morris as an adequate consolation prize. Morris is an NBA ready player, who unlike Leonard, can create offense on his own. He should be able to fit in nicely next to Cousins and Jason Thompson.
8. Detroit Pistons
Drafting Valanciunas may come down to a GMs job security as he is considered one of the players with the most upside but won;t likely be ready to show anything for a few seasons. And likely won;t play in the NBA at all next year due to his contract situation.
should be Detroit’s plan B, whose 7’4 wingspan would make the Pistons tougher to score on next to the 6’11 Greg Monroe. Plan C would be Morris, who would simply be the best player available for a team who could use an upgrade at practically every position.
Vesely’s versatility will be an attractive quality that should keep Detroit interested in the combo-forward. He can help off-set the Piston’s lack of athleticism in the front court, and replace impending free agent Tayshaun Prince, who is likely to ditch town during Detroit’s rebuilding process, as well as slow footed Austin Daye.
9. Charlotte Bobcats
Charlotte could really use a center or a forward who can convert in the paint, however it’s unlikely that any of Valanciunas, Thompson or Vesely will be available at the 9th pick. That leaves Marcus Morris, who would provide Charlotte with another scoring option next to Stephen Jackson. With both Morris’ and Jackson’s ability to play multiple positions, co-existing shouldn’t be an issue. Charlotte finished 29th in the league in points per game, so Morris’ offensive efficiency should translate to more conversions on the offensive end.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee needs to add a talented scoring forward and Donatas Motiejunas, despite being underrated is the top candidate. Motiejunas has some ability to play both forward spots and despite struggling with his shot in his workout in Treviso, is not likely to slip far.
Brandon Jennings shoots below 40% from both inside and outside the arch, and considering they’ve made five freakin’ Harry Potter movies since the last time Andrew Bogut played 80 games, reliability should be the most coveted intangible. With the Bucks looking to get back into the playoff hunt, Marcus Morris would be able to come in and contribute right away. The Bucks have an empty glass jar for numerous statistical categories, and Morris would be able to contribute some change in each one.
If Morris is gone, Alec Burks will be a likely target. Considering Michael Redd’s crumbling knee and impending free agent status, Burks could fill a need and a want as a scoring guard with size and athleticism. If Milwaukee would rather address a more immediate need.
11. Golden State Warriors
With the unreliable Andris Biedrins as the only true center on the roster, 6’11 Valanciunas would be the perfect gift. But he will likely be long gone and the only way that happens is if teams are scared away by his substantial buyout.
Assuming Christmas doesn’t come early, the Warriors should be looking at Donatas Motiejunas or Marcus Morris. Motiejunas could become a consistent threat in the post, with a high skill level and excellent size at 7 feet. Morris on the other hand could provide Golden State with a consistent scoring threat off the bench, an area they really lack depth in.
And then there’s Alec Burks who many feel will slide due to his lack of a jumpshot and physical strength. Burks could be the ideas backcourt mate for Stephen Curry with Monta Ellis on the way out.
12. Utah Jazz
Considering his struggles defensively and questionable point guard tools, Jimmer Fredette is best suited to start his career as a scoring punch off the bench. But Devin Harris should allow a rookie point guard to come along slowly. Utah lacks offensive firepower outside of their starting five, and 20-25 minutes as a reserve sounds like a reasonable starting point for the popular young local combo-guard.
Motiejunas would also give Utah something they lack, which is a midrange game and size at 7 feet. Considering how much time Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap and potentially Enes Kanter spend in the paint, Motiejunas’ ability to face the basket and use his dribble will be a refreshing addition.
The Jazz should be looking for a forward with versatility who can score in the midrange. Utah has made it known they are in no hurry to extend CJ Miles, and with Andrei Kirilenko entering free agency, the Jazz have a hole to fill. Morris would be ideal, however it’s unlikely he’ll be available.
If Utah has to fall back on Plan D, then the match made in heaven could come to fruition. Alec Burks would be a great fit here, with his ability to create his own shot from the off-guard position. Burks has the potential to compete for a starting position immediately.
13. Phoenix Suns
Phoenix has virtually no big men who pose as a threat offensively on the interior. Markieff Morris would be the ideal pick and pop player for Alvin Gentry’s offense. Though he doesn’t have the ceiling of Tristan Thompson, Morris is more likely to contribute early on in his career.
If Morris is gone, the idea of adding Jimmer could be enticing. Nash could be the perfect mentor in regards to teaching Jimmer all the tricks of the point guard trade. If Phoenix is fixed on going big.
14. Houston Rockets
After trading away Aaron Brooks, the Rockets are in need of a point guard. Walker no longer appears to be a top 7 lock with both Toronto and Sacramento looking at other players (Fredette). It’s unlikely Walker would slip this far, but Houston is a team that could use his offensive firepower.
Houston has needs at the center and small forward positions. Jordan Hamilton could step right in and compete with Chase Budinger and Terrence Williams for the starting small forward spot, or he can maximize his strengths by playing playing some stretch 4 minutes after measuring in at 6’8.5.
Kemba will probably be long gone, and Morris is a player that has used the workouts to really establish himself. He might be a reach at 14, but then again he might turn out to be a great pick.