After Wednesday’s NBA draft lottery gave the New Orleans Hornets the No. 1 pick in the June draft, the draft order is set in stone, as is the probability that Kentucky’s Anthony Davis will be wearing a Hornets uniform very soon.
But how does that affect the other top prospects in this year’s draft class?
Here’s a look at where the hot prospects will land after the Hornets select Davis with the No. 1 overall pick.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Davis is a no-brainer at No. 1 for New Orleans.
For a team looking to rebuild, Davis has game-changing abilities. His shot-blocking skills and outstanding length will lead to Davis making an immediate impact as a rookie.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
The Bobcats can really go in any direction here, but after a seven-win season, they need a leader for the future.
MKG brings high-character and excellent leadership skills to the table as well as the ability to become a lockdown defender. Before the Bobcats become winners, they need to get much better defensively, so the athleticism and defensive ability will come in handy in Charlotte.
3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, Florida
I have liked Thomas Robinson going to Washington in the past, but passing on Beal here may be very difficult.
After averaging 14.8 points per game as a freshman at Florida, I see him as a can’t miss guy who could become the best pure scorer in the draft,
Beal is an outstanding athlete and one of the better rebounding guards as well, pulling down 6.8 rebounds per night. Paired alongside John Wall, the Wizards could have a very good young backcourt for years to come.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
With Beal off the board, I like the Cavs taking a look at Barnes with the No. 4 pick.
He has the ability to become a No. 1 scoring option in the NBA. Barnes averaged 17.7 points per game at North Carolina this season and can extend defenses with his jumper, but his mid-range game has the ability to be devastating.
Add Barnes to a nucleus that already includes Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson and Cleveland will have a good young core for the future.
5. Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson, Kansas
Robinson is the best NBA-ready player left on the board and can fill a big hole in Sacramento as the Kings need a productive power forward to pair with DeMarcus Cousins.
He’s a winner, and unlike Andre Drummond, who is also an option here, Robinson has produced, recording 27 double-doubles on the season.
The Kings not only need production but need to change the losing culture. Robinson is a steal at No. 5.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey Nets): Andre Drummond, Connecticut
Portland needs to add a big man for the future, and while some feel that Drummond isn’t quite NBA-ready, the Blazers can’t pass on his enormous upside.
Drummond is big and an elite athlete who has a good feel for the game.
While he has a way to go in terms of being a consistent NBA producer, he should at least be able to rebound and block shots (2.9 BPG) as a rookie. If he ever lives up to his potential, Drummond could become a star.
7. Golden State Warriors: Perry Jones III, Baylor
Golden State may deal this pick in an attempt to add an established veteran, but if they stay here, adding some production from the wing is a high priority.
Jones has the ability to become a star. It’s just a matter of bringing his skills out consistently and that’s been a problem up until this point.
8. Toronto Raptors: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
With the top small forwards already off the board, Toronto could also use a volume scorer at the 2-guard spot.
To date, DeMar DeRozan hasn’t exactly proven he is that guy, so Lamb could be a real option for Toronto.
He has a potentially devastating pull-up game to go along with a very quick first step. In addition he can shoot the ball from behind the arc, knocking down 36 percent of his three-point attempts on the season.
He’s a guy who averaged 17.7 points per game in the Big East conference and could eventually become a top-scoring option in the NBA.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, North Carolina
Henson gives the Pistons the athletic shot-blocker to pair with Greg Monroe.
Although Henson is thin, he rebounds, blocks shots and defends multiple positions and runs the floor very well for a big man.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Damian Lillard, Weber State
In addition to getting the best player on the board in Davis, the Hornets can also add the top point guard on the board in Lillard.
He’s a volume scorer, who averaged 24.5 points per game on the season, and also a very good distributor. If the Hornets come out of the draft with Davis and Lillard, they will easily be the biggest winners on draft night.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Dion Waiters, Syracuse
Portland may need a true point guard here, but the talent of Waiters will be tough to pass on.
The combo-guard is a tough player who can get to the basket and get his own shot and can play either on or off the ball.
He can get into the paint at will, and while he may not be a true point guard, he could become a very good NBA player.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State.
Sullinger averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds during his career at Ohio State and has a better post-game right now than anyone in the draft.
The Bucks need a big man who can be productive for years, and Sullinger is a very good fit here.
13. Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
With the situation up in the air involving Steve Nash, grabbing their future point guard here makes sense.
Marshall is the best pure floor general in the draft. He makes great decisions and passing comes easy to him. He has some work to do in other areas, but he’s a guy who averaged 9.8 assists and posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.48.
Even if Nash re-signs with the Suns, it’s the perfect opportunity for Marshall to be groomed by a two-time MVP.
14. Houston Rockets: Terrence Ross, Washington
The Rockets need backcourt depth, and Ross is a guy who can step in and contribute right away.
He has good size at 6’6” and is a scorer (16.6 PPG). Ross can get to the rim as easily as he can step back and knock down the three-ball. With Kevin Martin’s contract expiring after next season, Ross could have the opportunity to play a major role in Houston.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Moultrie can become very productive in a Sixers uniform.
He can score (16.5 PPG) from either the inside or outside, shooting 55 percent from the floor and 44 percent from behind the arc on the season, and is an explosive rebounder, pulling down 10.5 boards per night.
Moultrie can play either the four or the five and could produce in Philadelphia immediately.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
The Rockets also can add the big man they need for the future by selecting Zeller.
He likely won’t be an All-Star, but he will be productive. Zeller is a very good athlete with good fundamentals who will be able to score a little and can hold his own on the boards with NBA big men.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Dallas needs to get more athletic and Jones is a no-brainer here.
He has Top 10 talent and is a guy who excels on scoring (12.3 PPG) and rebounding (7.2 RPG) in traffic.
Jones has good size at 6’9” for the small forward spot and also has excellent strength and athleticism.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Austin Rivers, Duke
The Wolves could use a productive 2-guard and one with Rivers talents could be a blessing in the long run.
He has a lot of things to improve about his game, including developing a consistent jumper, learning to play without the ball and using his teammates better; but the talent is there for this kid to become a star.
19. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard, Illinois
The Magic are close to starting over, and if Dwight Howard is dealt sometime before the trade deadline, it would be nice to have a big man with potential already in the fold.
Leonard has some developing to do, but he showed at Illinois that he can be productive when he averaged 13.6 points, grabbed 8.2 boards, blocked 1.9 shots and shot 58 percent from the floor.
20. Denver Nuggets: Moe Harkless, St. John’s
Denver doesn’t need much in terms of immediate impact, so taking the best player on the board is a luxury they have right now.
Harkless has a very high ceiling and could become a dominant wing player in time. He can be the complete package of a solid scorer, defender and rebounder, and the Nuggets don’t have to rush him.
21. Boston Celtics: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Nicholson did everything well in college, averaging 18.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 2.0 BPG, but did so shooting 57 percent from the floor and 43 percent from behind the arc during his senior season.
Boston needs young, big bodies for the future. The St. Bonaventure product has a good bit of upside and could be a very good fit in Boston.
22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Fab Melo, Syracuse
Melo is very raw offensively, but like I mentioned, the Celtics need big bodies.
He shot 57 percent from the floor, so he has some talent and can finish, but that part of his game may take some time to develop in the NBA.
What he can do, though, is step in immediately and rebound and play defense, as the Syracuse product is a very good shot-blocker, swatting away 2.9 shots per game on the season.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Lamb is a natural scorer who shot 47 percent from behind the arc and averaged 13.9 points per game for Kentucky. When he’s going well, Lamb can be a lethal.
He’s a near perfect fit for the Hawks, as Atlanta needs some additional scoring punch. Adding a guy with the talents of Lamb could go a long way to fixing that problem.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Evan Fournier, France
Already filling their need for a productive wing player, the Cavs can look at the 2-guard spot and take a chance on the 6’7” Frenchman.
The 19-year-old could eventually project as a three in the NBA, but he’s a shooter and would just be another key piece in turning the Cavs into contenders once again.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten, Washington
Memphis has the luxury of being able to take their time with their first-round pick and taking a shot on the talent Wroten could be the way to go.
Wroten needs time to develop, but he’s lightning quick and has an exceptional change of direction. He could be a good scorer right now, after averaging 16.0 points per game, but has some holes in his game.
Perimeter shooting (16 percent) and turnovers (3.8 TPG) are a problem but nothing that can’t be corrected.
26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Indiana can nab its point guard for the future with Teague who, similar to Wroten, has a ton of upside.
Teague has good size and excellent athleticism for the point guard position to go along with blazing speed and can play in any style of offense, but he will take some time to fully develop.
27. Miami Heat: Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt
Miami could go big here, but adding a talent on the wing such as Taylor will be good for the Heat bench.
He’s very good defensively and not only just has the athleticism to get to the rim but was also a 42 percent shooter from behind the arc as well.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Quincy Miller, Baylor
Miller is a scorer, and while he was a bit inconsistent coming off a torn ACL his senior season in high school, Miller’s upside is very high.
The Thunder don’t need much right now except depth, so they can afford to gamble on Miller and reap the benefits later on.
29. Chicago Bulls: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt.
A player such as Jenkins makes sense for Chicago down the road. He’s the best pure shooter in the college game and has a very quick release to go along with unlimited range, shooting 44 percent from behind the arc on the season.
You can never have too much shooting, and down the road he could turn into the replacement for Richard Hamilton.
30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio Spurs): Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
Golden State can elect to add more size with their second pick of the first-round and Ezeli is a guy I like a lot.
He’s a bit raw on the offensive end, but averaged 10.0 points per game and shot 60 percent from the floor and has a nice baby hook shot that he can shoot with either hand. Ezeli is also a good rebounder and shot-blocker, which is something the Warriors can use.
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