On May 18th, a team will land an incredibly talented player. It's called the lottery, and there is no doubt about who the best player in the draft is.
Now the second-best player is, without a doubt, Evan Turner. But Wall is the prized piece. A team could be potentially turned around completely with their pick. The team probably hoping the most to get that top pick is New Jersey, who's futility almost reached a historic low this past season.
This will be part one of a two-part article, this will be going over just the lottery picks in the first round followed by picks 15-30.
For all intensive purposes I'm going to assume the draft order goes by the odds of landing the top pick. Lets get it started.
1. New Jersey Nets - John Wall
Ok, yes, they do have Devin Harris. And yes, they are both fairly similar players, both are tall and super athletic point guards that are also great scorers. The fact is, any team that would earn the top pick in the draft, aside from maybe the Timberwolves, would be insane not to pick Wall. He has been the consensus number one pick all season, he was considered a top-five pick last year when he wasn't even eligible.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves - Evan Turner
This guy is a fierce competitor, good scorer, great rebounder, as well as super-athletic and strong. He is also a pretty good ballhandler and distributor in a pinch. The guy can do it all mostly. Any team that gets this guy will be vastly improved on their wing with his energy, physical gifts, and talent.
3. Sacramento Kings - Derrick Favors
They could pick DeMarcus Cousins for the physical post presence, but I think they go with Favors. He has been compared to Amar'e Stoudemire and Antonio McDyess, pre-knee surgeries. Super-athletic post player with a jumpshot that extends to around 18 feet. He is very raw, but realistically if he is coached properly and has the right support there is no reason to think he won't become an incredibly gifted player.
4. Golden State Warriors - DeMarcus Cousins
Golden State would have a bonafide post player. Biedrins and Randolph are intriguing players, but both have struggled with injuries and are not physically at the level of Cousins. Cousins also has character problems, fitting right in with the general demeanor of many of the Warriors players. If Sacramento selects Cousins, expect them to take Favors. They could pass on Cousins in favor of Wesley Johnson who is the third-best player in the draft talent-wise today.
5. Washington Wizards - Wesley Johnson
Like I said, Johnson is the third-best player currently in the draft, but will probably be passed up because of questionable character issues and the immense upside of two post players, which are very difficult to find. The Wizards would take Cousins if Johnson is selected by Golden State, just simply to take the best player available and they can use the post player, as just about any team in the league could.
6. Philadelphia 76ers - Ed Davis
Davis is a young athletic post player who had a decent sophomore year but has a high upside. He was thought to be a top-five pick last year, and is still a great talent and good pick for Philly. Having an athletic big man to run with this team will be important to them becoming more competitive sooner rather than later.
7. Detroit Pistons - Cole Aldrich
Aldrich is not going to blow the doors off of any GM. He is an old-school-type post player, gets boards, and blocks shots. He is not incredibly mobile, but is a solid defensive presence. He has been equated to Joel Przybilla with a post game. No matter who drafts Aldrich, they will be getting a solid post player.
8. Los Angeles Clippers - Al-Farouq Aminu
Aminu is a super-athletic combo forward. His true position is still relatively unknown, but one thing is for sure, the amount of talent this guy posseses. At this point there are still quite a few talented post players as well: Greg Monroe, Hassan Whiteside, Ekpe Udoh, and Daniel Orton. But if there is one spot the Clippers could use depth, it is at the small forward spot, as Travis Outlaw is a free agent and Steve Novak...sucks.
9. Utah Jazz (From New York)- Daniel Orton
Utah has a somewhat weak post defense, between Okur and Boozer, Millsap is by far the most competent defensive post player they have. Orton is still raw but could bring some toughness they lack. Fesenko has emerged to an extent, but Orton is not a bad option, plus he is very young and has a lot of time to develop.
10. Indiana Pacers - Ekpe Udoh
This pick could go a few different directions I feel. Udoh is athletic and a good shot-blocker, which the Pacers are somewhat lacking. They could pick Monroe or I could see them picking Patterson or perhaps even Whiteside, but Udoh is a nice option as he can shoot from mid-range as well.
11. New Orleans Hornets - Greg Monroe
This is assuming that Monroe does enter the draft, but I think this is a great pick for New Orleans. They get a solid backup big man, something they lacked greatly last year, and have somewhat of an insurance policy for both Okafor and West, both who have battled injury problems in their careers. They could go with Patterson or Whiteside too.
The Hornets could also go after a wing player to help ease the burden of Paul and add something to go along with the punch of Thornton and Collison. Depending on what they do with Collison, they could be picking higher or be looking to pick some different players. They could pick Xavier Henry too, a very young and talented wing player.
12. Memphis Grizzlies - Xavier Henry
I think he is an immensely talented young athlete and will only get better. He played very well for someone only one year removed from high school and already has an NBA body. He could be insurance policy of some sort in case Rudy Gay bolts. But the possibility of taking someone like Patrick Patterson who would contribute immediately is also very likely.
13. Toronto Raptors - Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside offers something the Raptors are lacking severely, a defensive post presence. He is still raw and needs to bulk up and with the likelihood of Chris Bosh going elsewhere, adding a young piece to build with like Whiteside only makes sense. Toronto is about to go into another long period of rebuilding and Whiteside could be a very solid piece to their team, perhaps another Marcus Camby.
But hopefully this time they don't trade him. Or he at least will want to stay.
14. Houston Rockets - Donatas Motiejunas
I have no idea how you say his name, but he is apparently the strongest foreign prospect in the draft. He has similarities to Toni Kukoc, but seven-feet tall. So maybe a poor man's version of Dirk Nowitzki is a fair comparison. Either way, Motiejunas is a player that does not need to come over immediately for the Rockets, or can, and develop either way. The Rockets are by far the best team in the lottery, aside from Utah, and could be making a large splash this offseason.