NBA Re-Draft Part 3: Who's Got the Best Starting 5?

Bleacher Report NBA StaffFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2017

NBA Re-Draft Part 3: Who's Got the Best Starting 5?

0 of 36

    B/R: Brian Konnick

    If you're just joining us in this NBA re-draft to end all re-drafts…hoo boy—you're in for a shock.

    LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are separated by about as much real estate possible when looking at NBA cities. Carmelo Anthony is in an awkwardly familiar place.

    James Harden and Dwight Howard are reunited and hoping the experiment works better this time around for the...well, we won't spoil the surprise.

    Our first two installments focused on first-round alpha dogs and top tandems. This time we're breaking down each starting five and why the respective general managers made the selections he or she did.

    Those GMs? They're none other than Bleacher Report's NBA scribes, editors and other brilliant basketball brainiacs.

    Strap in, everybody. This ride ain't slowing down now.

How It Works

1 of 36

    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Before we dive into the results and analysis, it's important we lay down a few ground rules and guidelines.

    • The draft order was determined in the most sophisticated manner known to humankind: online randomized number generation
    • All GMs are drafting with the 2017-18 season in mind. We're not building a dynasty. We're assembling squads for next season—and next season only
    • Every NBA player and free agent is eligible for this draft (with one notable exception explained momentarily)
    • All current injuries are healed; however, injury history and injury-proneness are relevant knowing they impact current skill sets/ability to stay on the court

    (The aforementioned exception comes into play here, as Chris Bosh has been excluded from the process with a potentially career-ending health condition.)

    • GMs were responsible for making their picks in an allotted five-minute time period. They snooze? They lose. After that five minutes, auto-draft selected the player with the top estimated wins added, according to

    Got it? Let's do this.

Round 1 Results

2 of 36

    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Here are the full results from Round 1:

    1. LeBron James, New York Knicks

    2. Kawhi Leonard, Indiana Pacers

    3. Kevin Durant, LA Clippers

    4. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

    5. Anthony Davis, Atlanta Hawks

    6. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Sacramento Kings

    7. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

    8. James Harden, Dallas Mavericks

    9. Chris Paul, Cleveland Cavaliers

    10. Isaiah Thomas, Phoenix Suns

    11. Nikola Jokic, Chicago Bulls

    12. Karl-Anthony Towns, Washington Wizards

    13. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

    14. Jimmy Butler, San Antonio Spurs

    15. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

    16. Joel Embiid, Brooklyn Nets

    17. Paul George, Detroit Pistons

    18. Damian Lillard, Houston Rockets

    19. John Wall, Boston Celtics

    20. DeMarcus Cousins, Philadelphia 76ers

    21. Draymond Green, Milwaukee Bucks

    22. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

    23. Kyrie Irving, Portland Trail Blazers

    24. Kristaps Porzingis, Minnesota Timberwolves

    25. Klay Thompson, Memphis Grizzlies

    26. Mike Conley, Miami Heat

    27. DeMar DeRozan, Charlotte Hornets

    28. Kyle Lowry, New Orleans Pelicans

    29. Gordon Hayward, Orlando Magic

    30. Devin Booker, Toronto Raptors

Round 2 Results

3 of 36

    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Here are the full results for Round 2:

    31. Ben Simmons, Toronto Raptors

    32. Bradley Beal, Orlando Magic

    33. CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans

    34. Hassan Whiteside, Charlotte Hornets

    35. Marc Gasol, Miami Heat

    36. Blake Griffin, Memphis Grizzlies

    37. Paul Millsap, Minnesota Timberwolves

    38. DeAndre Jordan, Portland Trail Blazers

    39. Kemba Walker, Los Angeles Lakers

    40. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

    41. Andrew Wiggins, Philadelphia 76ers

    42. Markelle Fultz, Boston Celtics

    43. Kevin Love, Houston Rockets

    44. LaMarcus Aldridge, Detroit Pistons

    45. Myles Turner, Brooklyn Nets

    46. Jabari Parker, Denver Nuggets

    47. Eric Bledsoe, San Antonio Spurs

    48. Otto Porter Jr., Utah Jazz

    49. Goran Dragic, Washington Wizards

    50. Jae Crowder, Chicago Bulls

    51. Andre Drummond, Phoenix Suns

    52. Avery Bradley, Cleveland Cavaliers

    53. Dwight Howard, Dallas Mavericks

    54. Danilo Gallinari, Golden State Warriors

    55. Al Horford, Sacramento Kings

    56. Jrue Holiday, Atlanta Hawks

    57. Jusuf Nurkic, Oklahoma City Thunder

    58. Brook Lopez, LA Clippers

    59. Clint Capela, Indiana Pacers

    60. Serge Ibaka, New York Knicks

Round 3 Results

4 of 36

    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Here are the full results for Round 3:

    61. George Hill, New York Knicks

    62. Dennis Schroder, Indiana Pacers

    63. Dwyane Wade, LA Clippers

    64. JJ Redick, Oklahoma City Thunder

    65. Gary Harris, Atlanta Hawks

    66. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Sacramento Kings

    67. Greg Monroe, Golden State Warriors

    68. Nicolas Batum, Dallas Mavericks

    69. Harrison Barnes, Cleveland Cavaliers

    70. Josh Jackson, Phoenix SUns

    71. Dennis Smith Jr., Chicago Bulls

    72. Lou Williams, Washington Wizards

    73. Andre Iguodala, Utah Jazz

    74. Nerlens Noel, San Antonio Spurs

    75. De'Aaron Fox, Denver Nuggets

    76. D'Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets

    77. Jeff Teague, Detroit Pistons

    78. Steven Adams, Houston Rockets

    79. Willie Cauley-Stein, Boston Celtics

    80. Zach LaVine, Philadelphia 76ers

    81. Jonathan Isaac, Milwaukee Bucks

    82. Aaron Gordon, Los Angeles Lakers

    83. Jayson Tatum, Portland Trail Blazers

    84. Brandon Ingram, Minnesota Timberwolves

    85. Ricky Rubio, Memphis Grizzlies

    86. Wilson Chandler, Miami Heat

    87. Patty Mills, Charlotte Hornets

    88. Willy Hernangomez, New Orleans Pelicans

    89. Enes Kanter, Orlando Magic

    90. Tobias Harris, Toronto Raptors

Round 4 Results

5 of 36

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Here are the full results from Round 4:

    91. Mason Plumlee, Toronto Raptors

    92. Tristan Thompson, Orlando Magic

    93. James Johnson, New Orleans Pelicans

    94. Buddy Hield, Charlotte Hornets

    95. Andre Roberson, Miami Heat

    96. Malcolm Brogdon, Memphis Grizzlies

    97. Norman Powell, Minnesota Timberwolves

    98. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Portland Trail Blazers

    99. Robin Lopez, Los Angeles Lakers

    100. Robert Covington, Milwaukee Bucks

    101. Dirk Nowitzki, Philadelphia 76ers

    102. Dion Waiters, Boston Celtics

    103. Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets

    104. Rodney Hood, Detroit Pistons

    105. Jamal Murray, Brooklyn Nets

    106. Seth Curry, Denver Nuggets

    107. Evan Fournier, San Antonio Spurs

    108. Pat Beverley, Utah Jazz

    109. Julius Randle, Washington Wizards

    110. Eric Gordon, Chicago Bulls

    111. Tim Hardaway Jr., Phoenix Suns

    112. Jonas Valanciunas, Cleveland Cavaliers

    113. Marcus Smart, Dallas Mavericks

    114. Will Barton, Golden State Warriors

    115. Danny Green, Sacramento Kings

    116. Joe Ingles, Atlanta Hawks

    117. Trevor Ariza, Oklahoma City Thunder

    118. Elfrid Payton, LA Clippers

    119. Markieff Morris, Indiana Pacers

    120. Wesley Matthews, New York Knicks

Round 5 Results

6 of 36

    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Here are the full results from Round 5:

    121. Patrick Patterson, New York Knicks

    122. Tyler Johnson, Indiana Pacers

    123. Thaddeus Young, LA Clippers

    124. Ryan Anderson, Oklahoma City Thunder

    125. Derrick Favors, Atlanta Hawks

    126. JaMychal Green, Sacramento Kings

    127. Marcus Morris, Golden State Warriors

    128. Rudy Gay, Dallas Mavericks

    129. Nikola Vucevic, Cleveland Cavaliers

    130. Pau Gasol, Phoenix Suns

    131. Dario Saric, Chicago Bulls

    132. TJ Warren, Washington Wizards

    133. Nikola Mirotic, Utah Jazz

    134. C.J. Miles, San Antonio Spurs

    135. JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets

    136. Jaylen Brown, Brooklyn Nets

    137. Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons

    138. Terrence Ross, Houston Rockets

    139. Kenneth Faried, Boston Celtics

    140. Jeremy Lin, Philadelphia 76ers

    141. Reggie Jackson, Milwaukee Bucks

    142. Gorgei Dieng, Los Angeles Lakers

    143. Zach Randolph, Portland Trail Blazers

    144. Dejounte Murray, Minnesota Timberwolves

    145. Cody Zeller, Memphis Grizzlies

    146. Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat

    147. Nick Young, Charlotte Hornets

    148. Marquese Chriss, New Orleans Pelicans

    149. Tony Parker, Orlando Magic

    150. Jordan Clarkson, Toronto Raptors

Atlanta Hawks

7 of 36

    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    First Pick (5th overall, C): Anthony Davis

    Second Pick (56th overall, PG): Jrue Holiday

    Third Pick (65th overall, SG): Gary Harris

    Fourth Pick (116th overall, SF): Joe Ingles

    Fifth Pick (125th overall, PF): Derrick Favors


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Can someone point out the glaring weakness with a quintet comprised of Holiday, Harris, Ingles, Favors and Davis? Anyone? Bueller?

    Perhaps you're convinced it's the defense on the wings, except Ingles thrived in isolation (70.9 percentile) and was tasked with immense late-game responsibilities for the Utah Jazz, even switching over to cover stars such as Kyrie Irving. Harris won't assume unnecessary burdens, like he did with the Denver Nuggets in real life.

    Veering away from the bigger names in favor of the actual values allows these Atlanta Hawks to enjoy an amorphous identity. They can adapt to any style and then beat you at your own game.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Transition defense could come back to bite this starting five, as not everyone excels when tasked with sprinting up and down the court for prolonged stretches. Unfortunately, this could place greater emphasis on the bench's conditioning.

    Adam Fromal

Boston Celtics

8 of 36

    Ned Dishman/Getty Images

    First Pick (19th overall, PG): John Wall

    Second Pick (42nd overall, PG): Markelle Fultz

    Third Pick (79th overall, C): Willie Cauley-Stein

    Fourth Pick (102nd overall, G/F): Dion Waiters

    Fifth Pick (139th overall, F): Kenneth Faried


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    My backcourt is dangerous. I've added Cauley-Stein and Faried for rebounding, size and defense.

    Oh, did I mention yet that I've bought a condo on Waiters Island? Waiters gives my team that intangible manic energy that every great squad has to have to be a winner.

    The Dubs have Draymond Green. The Cavs have JR Smith. These new-look Celtics have The Island.

    Just give me my ring now. Might run out of fingers before too long. By number 11, I'll get a place in Montana, then take a job with the Knicks. Should turn out fine. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    Cauley-Stein averages 7.6 points per game and only 4.9 rebounds. Whoops

    Dave Schilling

Brooklyn Nets

9 of 36

    Corey Perrine/Getty Images

    First Pick (16th overall, C): Joel Embiid

    Second Pick (45th overall, C): Myles Turner

    Third Pick (76th overall, PG): D'Angelo Russell

    Fourth Pick (105th overall, SG): Jamal Murray

    Fifth Pick (136th, F): Jaylen Brown


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    It's best to surround Embiid and Turner with players who can run and spread the floor. Russell had a weird Lakers tenure, but he's a fantastic distributor who can find his big men on the break and in the half court. He's also an exciting scorer and can shoot from a respectable distance. He might enjoy playing off the ball, which is why we brought in Murray.

    Denver drafted Murray as a shooting guard, and he has the offensive tools to fill it up. But he also played point guard down the stretch for the Nuggets last year, averaging 15.1 points and 5.0 assists per game in April. He and Russell share some of the same strengths, including sky-high potential. They figure to click beautifully.

    At forward, Brown solidifies a strong defensive group and will also dunk on everybody.


    My Achilles' Heel

    This is not a bad three-point shooting team, but it's easy to imagine the offense clogging on occasion. 

    Leo Sepkowitz

Charlotte Hornets

10 of 36

    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    First Pick (27th overall, SG): DeMar DeRozan

    Second Pick (34th overall, C): Hassan Whiteside

    Third Pick (87th overall, PG): Patty Mills

    Fourth Pick (94th overall, SG): Buddy Hield

    Fifth Pick (147th overall, G/F): Nick Young


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    We have everything.

    A guy who can create buckets? Hello, DeRozan. And let's not forget about Hield. Rim protection? Whiteside's two-plus blocks per game should take care of that. Shooting and floor spacing? How are you going to guard DeRozan when you have Mills, Hield and Joe Johnson (to be drafted later) spreading the floor. Switchability? Thanks to Whiteside's presence in the middle, we're able to go "small" and start Johnson at the 4, DeRozan at the 3 and Hield at the 2.

    These Hornets are going to play fast, launch a ton of threes and make it difficult for opposing offenses to get clean looks at the rim.

    What else could you want?


    My Achilles' Heel

    We're thin in the front court. If Whiteside gets in foul trouble, which he's prone to do, opponents will have a free path to the cup.

    Yaron Weitzman

Chicago Bulls

11 of 36

    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    First Pick (11th overall, C): Nikola Jokic

    Second Pick (50th overall, SF): Jae Crowder

    Third Pick (71st overall, PG): Dennis Smith Jr.

    Fourth Pick (110th overall, SG): Eric Gordon

    Fifth Pick (131st overall, PF): Dario Saric


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Smith is a rookie with supreme athleticism and scoring instincts. Seventy-one picks into the draft, he's the best option for a franchise point guard.

    Saric is everything Bulls fans hoped Nikola Mirotic would become, and Gordon is a great spot-up shooter and secondary playmaker.

    Envision a Smith-Jokic spread pick-and-roll with Crowder, Gordon and Saric doing the spacing. There is room for driving. Ball movers and three-point shooters can thrive, which will create an offense that's tough to cover.

    At the end of the shot clock, as the offense breaks down and the team needs a bucket, this lineup has multiple options for isolation scorers. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    Though the floor balance and movement should allow the team to get back in transition, without a supreme rim protector and only one elite on-ball stopper, this lineup will struggle on the defensive end. Rookie point guards tend to be below-average on defense, and neither Gordon nor Saric are anything to write home about on that end.

    Will Gotlieb

Cleveland Cavaliers

12 of 36

    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    First Pick (9th overall, PG): Chris Paul

    Second Pick (52nd overall, SG): Avery Bradley

    Third Pick (69th overall, SF): Harrison Barnes

    Fourth Pick (112th overall, C): Jonas Valanciunas

    Fifth Pick (129th overall, C): Nikola Vucevic


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    I wanted to build a starting five with defensive switchability, good shooting from the outside and solid rebounding. With Paul, Bradley, Barnes, Larry Nance Jr. (to be drafted later) and Valanciunas, I've accomplished that.

    Most of these guys can play and guard multiple positions, a crucial aspect to competing in today's NBA. Paul makes the engine go on offense, as he can run the 1-3, 1-4, or 1-5 pick-and-roll with Barnes, Nance or Valanciunas. This gives him options who can shoot, finish at the rim or flat-out dunk over you.

    Bradley and Barnes are good outside shooters who keep the floor spread, while Valanciunas, a top-15 rebounder in the NBA last season, cleans up everything. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    With Valanciunas and Nance in my frontcourt, I have a good amount of athleticism and rebounding, but no traditional rim protector. I'm counting on my Paul-Bradley guard combo to stop penetration and keep Valanciunas out of compromising situations.

    Greg Swartz

Dallas Mavericks

13 of 36

    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    First Pick (8th overall, G): James Harden

    Second Pick (53rd overall, C): Dwight Howard

    Third Pick (68th overall, G/F): Nicolas Batum

    Fourth Pick (113th overall, G): Marcus Smart

    Fifth Pick (128th overall, F): Rudy Gay


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    This just isn't fair. Even after taking on Howard—a move you should view as a handicap designed to give other owners a fighting chance (Commissioner's note: Howard was taken via auto draft in the second round)—my starting five still leaves the rest of the league in the dust.

    After building my pick-and-roll combo of Harden and Howard, versatility became my guiding principle. So, in successive rounds I drafted Batum, Smart and Gay. Now we can hide Harden on defense (with Smart hounding opposing point guards), switch every screen and crash the boards collectively.

    And did I mention Batum is a career 35.7 percent three-point shooter and Gay (who is fully healthy in our universe) hit 37.2 percent of his treys last season?

    Good luck, other GMs. You'll need it. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    Other than the Howard Handicap, I'm somewhat concerned about our perimeter shooting. Harden can stroke it, but Gay and Batum are streaky—and Smart is, uh, not so great from deep. 

    Jordan Brenner

Denver Nuggets

14 of 36

    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    First Pick (15th overall, F): Carmelo Anthony

    Second Pick (46th overall, F): Jabari Parker

    Third Pick (75th overall, PG): De'Aaron Fox

    Fourth Pick (106th overall, SG): Seth Curry

    Fifth Pick (135th overall, C): JaVale McGee


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    If Fox is everything we expect him to be, he'll be just the right type of point guard to get the most out of bona fide scorers Parker, Anthony and Curry.

    McGee, in all of his goofy glory, is still one of the most efficient centers in the NBA when he sticks to what he does best: running, rebounding, blocking shots and finishing dunks.

    Curry quietly had a productive season. Although he only averaged 12.8 points per game, he shot 48.1 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from deep. That was good for sixth in the NBA among qualified players. In short, when Seth gets an open shot, he will hit it.

    With Melo and Jabari on your team, there will be plenty of opportunities for open shots, and it will be Fox's job to make that happen.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Defense? What's that? McGee will be the last line of defense most of the time, and Fox could eventually be an outstanding defender, but almost all rookies initially struggle.

    There's a possibility Jabari's injury woes continue to plague him, and there's a possibility that Father Time starts to nip away at Carmelo's efficiency.

    Also, Javale McGee.

    Kazeem Famuyide

Detroit Pistons

15 of 36

    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    First Pick (17th overall, F): Paul George

    Second Pick (44th overall, F/C): LaMarcus Aldridge

    Third Pick (77th overall, PG): Jeff Teague

    Fourth Pick (104th overall, SG): Rodney Hood

    Fifth Pick (137th, PG): Derrick Rose


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    My starting five is a matchup nightmare. Paul George and Rodney Hood will be able to switch onto just about anyone, and both players can guard four positions. LaMarcus Aldridge is the perfect small-ball 5.

    Am I starting both Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague in my backcourt? Yes. Are you going to cry about it? Not sure, but I love how D-Rose can still get me buckets and Teague will be able to defend shooting guards on the other end.

    This isn't your typical starting lineup. This is 2017, and these Pistons will you give you a headache on both ends.

    Make sure to take your aspirin.


    My Achilles' Heel

    There aren't a lot of knockdown three-point shooters on this squad, and Jahlil Okafor (to be drafted later) could be these Pistons' version of Darko Milicic.

    Adam Nofflett

Golden State Warriors

16 of 36

    Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

    First Pick (7th overall, PG): Stephen Curry

    Second Pick (54th overall, F): Danilo Gallinari

    Third Pick (67th overall, C): Greg Monroe

    Fourth Pick (114th overall, SG): Will Barton

    Fifth Pick (127th overall, SF): Marcus Morris


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Darwinism in the NBA is the ability to get up and down the court and sink threes at a high clip. If you can't do that, you're extinct. 

    This starting five will run with Steph at the helm. The size of Gallo (6'10"), athleticism of Barton and versatility of Morris as a mobile big will give the unit options in how it keeps pace and switches on defense. In limited minutes, Monroe should thrive while rebounding and rim-running.

    This offense will be a tall task to cover in transition and in the half court.


    My Achilles' Heel

    This starting five will have trouble on the defensive end. Understanding assignments and defending the three-point line worry me a little.

    Sean Jordan

Houston Rockets

17 of 36

    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    First Pick (18th overall, PG): Damian Lillard

    Second Pick (43rd overall, PF): Kevin Love

    Third Pick (78th overall, C): Steven Adams

    Fourth Pick (103rd overall, G): Victor Oladipo

    Fifth Pick (138th overall, SF): Terrence Ross

    The Case for My Starting Five 

    The first thing to consider when fleshing out my starting five was someone to anchor the defense. Adams will do that well in addition to being a rim-running scorer who can take advantage of the spaced-out court.

    A run on three-and-D wings hampered the rest of my plans, but I made do with Oladipo and Ross, both of whom have plenty of room to grow.

    Offensively, my starting five can get buckets with anyone. That's what happens when you add guys like Oladipo to a dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and Kevin Love. The group just needs to slow the other team, not stop it. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    If I need to get a stop in crunch time, I'm screwed.

    Kelly Scaletta

Indiana Pacers

18 of 36

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    First Pick (2nd overall, SF): Kawhi Leonard

    Second Pick (59th overall, C): Clint Capela

    Third Pick (62nd overall, PG): Dennis Schroder

    Fourth Pick (119th overall, PF): Markieff Morris

    Fifth Pick (122nd overall, G): Tyler Johnson


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    I'm pumped about my starters because they're hungry, athletic and improving.

    Schroder went off in the playoffs, averaging 24.7 points and 7.7 assists per game against John Wall and the Wizards. He's ready to be a star, especially while running pick-and-rolls with Kawhi and Capela.

    Morris' trademark edge and improved three-point shooting give me a versatile lockdown defender/enforcer you can't leave open.

    Johnson shot 42.3 percent from deep after the All-Star break and is fearless on defense.

    Super-athletic standouts Kawhi and Capela make the defense impenetrable, while there's enough shooting to let the team attack the rim and make opponents pick their poison.


    My Achilles' Heel

    I'm making a big bet on Schroder's and Kawhi's abilities as go-to scorers and creators in the clutch. While both have shown flashes, they—like my whole team—are young and still adjusting as they take on bigger roles each season. 

    Noah Jampol

Los Angeles Clippers

19 of 36

    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    First Pick (3rd overall, F): Kevin Durant

    Second Pick (58th overall, Brook Lopez): Brook Lopez

    Third Pick (63rd overall, SG): Dwyane Wade

    Fourth Pick (118th, PG): Elfrid Payton

    Fifth Pick (123rd overall, PF): Thaddeus Young


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    When Durant is the focus of your starting five, the pieces around him should come together easily.

    Payton won't disrupt opponents' game plans, but he will protect the ball and stick on his man better than most. His youth and energy can't be pushed aside, either.

    Young can do a little bit of everything. His athleticism could be lethal playing alongside Durant. (I see a lot of KD-to-Thad alley-oops coming up.)

    Ultimately, this starting five has it all: three go-to scorers (KD, Wade and Lopez all averaged at least 22 points per 36 minutes last season), championship experience, role players who don't need the ball, and versatility to play multiple positions. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    While Lopez is an above-average one-on-one defender, he has the tendency to find himself out of position in pick-and-roll sets. Young won't be there to pick up his slack either, so we'll have to rely on bench bigs David West and Bam Adebayo (both to be picked later) to shore up the post defense.

    Kellin Bliss

Los Angeles Lakers

20 of 36

    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    First Pick (22nd overall, PG): Lonzo Ball

    Second Pick (39th overall, PG): Kemba Walker

    Third Pick (82nd overall, F): Aaron Gordon

    Fourth Pick (99th overall, C): Robin Lopez

    Fifth Pick (142nd overall, PF): Gorgui Dieng


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    With Walker as the primary scorer and Ball as the setup man, the Lakers have athletes to fill the lane with Gordon and Mo Harkless (to be picked later). Both can get out on the break on offense and defend vigorously on the other side of the ball.

    Just as the guards are interchangeable in the backcourt, so are Gordon and Harkless at either forward spot. Underrated center Lopez is a strong screen-setter who can score in double digits while mixing it up defensively and on the boards.


    My Achilles' Heel

    If there's a weakness in the starting group, it's the outside shot. Gordon and Harkless will get looks they'll have to knock down consistently.

    The Lakers need the "Lonzo Ball Effect" to be a real thing to turn a strong squad an elite one.

    Eric Pincus

Memphis Grizzlies

21 of 36

    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    First Pick (25th overall, SG/SF): Klay Thompson

    Second Pick (36th overall, PF): Blake Griffin

    Third Pick (85th overall, PG): Ricky Rubio

    Fourth Pick (96th overall, G): Malcolm Brogdon

    Fifth Pick (145th overall, PF/C): Cody Zeller


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    I built the long, defensive-minded team I hoped to craft—particularly with the Rubio-Brogdon-Thompson trio that will relentlessly hound the many talented guards and wings in this perimeter-oriented league.

    Rubio, Brogdon and Griffin are all excellent passers, and though we haven't seen Thompson be a great creator, he's willing and able to make the extra pass and look for the open man.

    Unselfish basketball is our offensive focus, and though we may appear light on shooting, it's worth noting that Brogdon made 40.4 percent of his threes last season and connected on 42.7 percent of catch-and-shoot threes, per

    Zeller will be criticized as a weak link, but he's an excellent screener who doesn't need the ball and is active contesting at the rim.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Zeller is active on defense, but he isn't as successful a rim protector as I hoped to land.

    Zach Moretti

Miami Heat

22 of 36

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    First Pick (26th overall, PG): Mike Conley

    Second Pick (35th overall, C): Marc Gasol

    Third Pick (86th overall, SF): Wilson Chandler

    Fourth Pick (95th overall, G): Andre Roberson

    Fifth Pick (146th overall, PF/C): Kelly Olynyk


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Good luck finding a more lethal combination of pick-and-roll, spacing and defense anywhere in the league. The Conley-Gasol PNR is unstoppable. Four starters have lights-out three-point ceilings. The one who doesn't is Roberson, who happens to be an all-world defender.

    Gasol and Conley also have elite defensive capabilities, while Chandler and Olynyk are at least plus defenders when locked in. There's just no weak link.

    NBA GMs win awards for this kind of balance.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Roberson's three-point and free-throw shooting present an issue. But he's excellent from two-point territory. He was the only wing last year to shoot over 60 percent inside the three-point arc on at least 240 attempts, per Basketball Reference. 

    Jacob Bourne

Milwaukee Bucks

23 of 36

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    First Pick (21st overall, PF): Draymond Green

    Second Pick (40th overall, SG): Khris Middleton

    Third Pick (81st overall, C): Jonathan Isaac

    Fourth Pick (100th overall, SF): Robert Covington

    Fifth Pick (141st overall, PG): Reggie Jackson


    The Case for My Starting Five

    With advanced-metrics darling Covington, rangy rookie Isaac and an injury-free Jackson joining Green and Middleton, my team is taking the NBA's positionless craze to its logical extreme. There's no plodding, low-post-bound center to be found among my starting five; instead, Green and Isaac will split those duties, depending on opponent.

    If Jackson can recapture his pre-injury form, he'll have two snipers in Middleton and Covington awaiting beyond the arc for drive-and-kick three-pointers, while Green and Isaac will fill in as complementary scorers.

    My squad's identity revolves around switching everything on defense—making life a living hell for opposing wing scorers—and a well-rounded, balanced offensive output.


    My Achilles' Heel

    The lack of a go-to scorer and true rim protector could come back to bite my team. Going against a traditional frontcourt—such as Brooklyn's combination of Joel Embiid and Myles Turner—could be a bloodbath if Isaac isn't ready to scrap in the paint from day one. 

    Bryan Toporek

Minnesota Timberwolves

24 of 36

    Robert Laberge/Getty Images

    First Pick (24th overall, C): Kristaps Porzingis

    Second Pick (37th overall, PF): Paul Millsap

    Third Pick (84th overall, SF): Brandon Ingram

    Fourth Pick (97th overall, G): Norman Powell

    Fifth Pick (144th overall): Dejounte Murray


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    You can run any offense through Porzingis, but Millsap's multi-talented presence means no defense keys too hard on KP at either end. Ingram must become a reliable, multi-level scoring threat, but that seems plausible after a year getting his sea legs and proving he can be an NBA stopper. Powell is reliable as a three-and-D contributor, offering Millsap-like steadiness.

    Murray is the wild card, but he showed enough flashes last year to make Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich trust him with critical rookie minutes before turning the keys over post-Tony Parker.

    This group is long, athletic and can shoot, needing only to prove its collective smarts.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Are we veteran enough to win in the clutch with Millsap as the only guy sporting more than a couple of years of meaningful starting experience?

    Joel Cordes

New Orleans Pelicans

25 of 36

    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    First Pick (28th overall, PG): Kyle Lowry

    Second Pick (33rd overall, SG): CJ McCollum

    Third Pick (88th overall, C): Willy Hernangomez

    Fourth Pick (93rd overall, PF): James Johnson

    Fifth Pick (148th overall, F): Marquese Chriss

    The Case for My Starting Five 

    The Pelicans' starting five brings firepower, defensive toughness and athleticism. Lowry and McCollum have to be one of the NBA's top guard duos. Johnson gives the lineup some shooting and the ability to guard opposing teams' wing scorers.

    Chriss is one of the league's bounciest players and looks poised to make a big second-year leap after flashing so much upside as a rookie. Hernangomez also appears on track for a breakout second year and routine double-doubles, thanks to his terrific rebounding and inside-scoring instincts.  


    My Achilles' Heel

    If there is reason for concern, it's at the defensive end where Chriss and Hernangomez could struggle to protect the rim. Spacing issues may also be worth monitoring with that specific pairing at the 4 and 5.

    Jonathan Wasserman

New York Knicks

26 of 36

    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    First Pick (1st overall, SF): LeBron James

    Second Pick (31st overall, PF/C): Serge Ibaka

    Third Pick (61st overall, PG): George Hill

    Fourth Pick (120th overall, SG): Wesley Matthews

    Fifth Pick (121st overall, PF): Patrick Patterson


    The Case for My Starting Five  

    I have LeBron. Have I mentioned LeBron? And he'll be surrounded by guys who shoot and play D.

    We're deploying Ibaka as the small-ball center, Patterson and LeBron as interchangeable forwards and Hill and Matthews in the backcourt. We're going to pace-and-space you to death, with James breaking down the defense and hitting open shooters everywhere.

    And all five starters are plus defenders. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    I would have liked a little more ball-handling and playmaking, outside of LeBron and Hill. But I can always plug in Yogi Ferrell (to be drafted in a later round) and shift Hill to shooting guard, and/or bring in Kent Bazemore (also selected later in this draft).

    Howard Beck

Oklahoma City Thunder

27 of 36

    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    First Pick (4th overall, PG): Russell Westbrook

    Second Pick (57th overall, C): Jusuf Nurkic

    Third Pick (64th overall, SG): JJ Redick

    Fourth Pick (117th overall, SF): Trevor Ariza

    Fifth Pick (124th overall, PF): Ryan Anderson


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Around a Westbrook-Nurkic pick-and-roll, the team needs elite floor spacers to provide lethal three-point outlets and space for Westbrook to operate. There aren't three better options to fill out the rotation than Redick, Ariza and Anderson.

    Ariza will anchor the defense, while Redick and Anderson are underrated at defending the scheme. In the mold of the Rockets, this team now has unlimited space for Westbrook to get to the basketball to score or get shots for others.

    If he averaged 10.4 assists with a cast of average shooters, he might average 20 per game on this team. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    Nurkic is still budding but is not yet an elite defensive center. Westbrook has too much of a workload to have to exert maximum effort on defense. Redick and Anderson are capable but certainly not stoppers. Ariza is on the decline.

    This team is positioned to win now, but the lack of elite defenders might come back to bite it at times.

    Jackie Shepard

Orlando Magic

28 of 36

    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    First Pick (29th overall, SF): Gordon Hayward

    Second Pick (32nd overall, SG): Bradley Beal

    Third Pick (89th overall, PF/C): Enes Kanter

    Fourth Pick (92nd overall, PF/C): Tristan Thompson

    Fifth Pick (149th, PG): Tony Parker


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Good news, Orlando: This team is already built to win right now.

    Our first five picks are proven and tested. Hayward and Beal provide the best scoring duo in this re-drafted NBA. Thompson is a dependable, playoff tested big. And Parker is the adult this team needs.

    Kanter is going to come off the bench as a reliable source of second-unit offense, meaning we still have a frontcourt starter to select in future rounds.

    We're also going to look for a couple of floor-spreaders (shooters) and versatile bigs (power forwards who are shooters) in the coming rounds, but it's clear that this won't be another Orlando Tragic season. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    We could use a rim protector, no doubt. But the city of Orlando wasn't ready to spend another high draft pick on a rim protector.

    Zach McCann

Philadelphia 76ers

29 of 36

    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    First Pick (20th overall, C): DeMarcus Cousins

    Second Pick (41st overall, SF): Andrew Wiggins

    Third Pick (80th overall, SG): Zach LaVine

    Fourth Pick (101st overall, PF): Dirk Nowitzki

    Fifth Pick (140th overall PG): Jeremy Lin


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    The heart of this starting five is Cousins, whose intensity in this one-year, anyone-can-win fantasy draft is sure to rub off on Wiggins, LaVine and Lin. Nowitzki—a future Hall of Famer still getting 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per night while shooting 37.8 percent from three at 7 feet tall—understands what it takes to win a ring.

    The pieces are there: Lin the crafty playmaker, LaVine the dunk machine/sniper, Wiggins the budding superstar, Dirk the wily vet and Boogie the leader/enforcer. They all have complementing powers. They're like the friggin' X-Men or the Ninja Turtles.

    Oh, and one through five, every player is a plus-three point shooter (above 35 percent). S P A C I N G. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    Dirk getting spun around.

    Maurice Peebles

Phoenix Suns

30 of 36

    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    First Pick (10th overall, PG): Isaiah Thomas

    Second Pick (51st overall, C): Andre Drummond

    Third Pick (70th overall, SF): Josh Jackson

    Fourth Pick (111th overall, SG): Tim Hardaway Jr.

    Fifth Pick (130th overall, PF): Pau Gasol


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    If you're going to build a team around two players (i.e. Thomas and Drummond) who don't fit perfectly into the modern NBA, you'd better surround them with players who do. To that end, the trio of Hardaway, Jackson and Gasol should fill out the Suns' starting five nicely.

    Hardaway is coming off a breakout year, during which he averaged 17.5 points across his 30 starts for the Atlanta Hawks. Gasol fashioned himself into a bona fide three-point threat in 2016-17 (53.8 percent on 1.6 attempts per game) and, at 37, should still have some touch left as a lob partner for Drummond, just as he was with Andrew Bynum during his L.A. heyday.

    The wild card here is Jackson, a highly touted rookie whose crooked jumper coming out of Kansas should be less of a concern once the effects of his basketball IQ and defensive tenacity kick in. 


    My Achilles' Heel

    Defense could be an issue for this group. Gasol can alter shots around the rim, but he isn't quite fleet enough of foot to stay with guards in the pick-and-roll. Ditto for Drummond, who might have to step away from the hoop to guard opposing power forwards. Thomas and Hardaway are both liabilities in the backcourt—all of which puts Jackson under the gun as a rookie.

    Josh Martin

Portland Trail Blazers

31 of 36

    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    First Pick (23rd overall, PG): Kyrie Irving

    Second Pick (38th overall, C): DeAndre Jordan

    Third Pick (83rd overall, F): Jayson Tatum

    Fourth Pick (98th overall, SF): Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

    Fifth Pick (143rd overall, PF): Zach Randolph


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Full disclosure: The Trail Blazers' starting lineup isn't set through five picks. But we do know where we're headed.

    Anytime Irving is your starting point guard, defense becomes a priority at other positions. Jordan and his help at the rim will be needed, but having either Tatum or Kidd-Gilchrist on the floor will make life easier on Uncle Drew when we have to hide him.

    As far as Tatum goes, we're leaning toward starting him at the 3 over MKG not because of his high ceiling, but because of his high floor (which is more important in a single-year simulation). He won't reach upper-echelon status in year one, but he'll be reliable on both ends and give Portland a different type of scoring weapon inside the arc.

    All that said, the Duke product is still a rook, and his minutes will reflect that. He'll be the first to the bench each night, which means Gilchrist will see plenty of time as a primary defender among the four other starters.


    My Achilles' Heel

    The idea of spreading the floor is foreign to this squad as it's currently constructed. Aside from Irving, where are the shooters? Maybe Tatum comes out of the gate firing at a level we didn't expect. The more likely answer: We'd better find some spacing in future rounds. (Especially since we burned a pick to give Zach Randolph his Skylar Grey moment.)

    Bryant Knox

Sacramento Kings

32 of 36

    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    First Pick (6th overall, SF): Giannis Antetokounmpo

    Second Pick (55th overall, C): Al Horford

    Third Pick (66th overall, SG): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

    Fourth Pick (115th, SG/SF): Danny Green

    Fifth Pick (126th, PF): JaMychal Green


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    My starting five features more defensive switchability than anyone's with KCP, Giannis and both Greens fully capable of passing off four positions between one another. Horford is even quick enough to contain point guards on switches if he has to.

    Basically, we've destroyed the pick-and-roll, and you're not scoring on us. Danny Green and Caldwell-Pope can each handle any point guard on D, and they give me terrific spacing and a size advantage as my backcourt duo.

    JaMychal Green and Horford, in addition to being great defenders, can also space out to the three-point line.

    Giannis will have open lanes to attack for days, ideal spacing in the pick-and-roll, and loads of kickout options.

    If you're worried about the lack of a true point guard, please tell me more about what it's like living in 2011.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Horford's teams tend to rebound poorly, so that'll probably be an issue.

    Grant Hughes

San Antonio Spurs

33 of 36

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    First Pick (14th overall, SF): Jimmy Butler

    Second Pick (47th overall, PG): Eric Bledsoe

    Third Pick (74th overall, C): Nerlens Noel

    Fourth Pick (107th overall, SG/SF): Evan Fournier

    Fifth Pick (134th overall, SG/SF/PF): CJ Miles


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    Bledsoe, Fournier, Butler and Noel? In the same starting lineup? Talk about the perfect blend of athleticism, switchy defense, playmaking, one-on-one scoring and off-ball marksmanship.

    All three of my non-bigs can run pick-and-rolls with Noel, who will feast off dives to the basket, and there's not a below-average passer in this bunch.

    Moving Miles to the bench wasn't an easy decision, but he'll eviscerate second units with his dead-eye shooting. Plus, we can always slot him at the 4 whenever we're looking to supercharge our floor balance in the starting five.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Rolling out souped-up small-ball combinations will always result in concessions on the defensive glass, and my team is no different. It helps that we have strong glass-crashing wings, but more traditionally sized lineups threaten to throw Noel a beating.

    Dan Favale

Toronto Raptors

34 of 36

    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    First Pick (30th overall, SG): Devin Booker

    Second Pick (31st overall, SF): Ben Simmons

    Third Pick (90th overall, F): Tobias Harris

    Fourth Pick (91st overall, C): Mason Plumlee

    Fifth Pick (150th, PG/SG): Jordan Clarkson


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    My starting five will be fun to watch. We're young, athletic and built to run the floor.

    With Simmons as the primary ball-handler and facilitator, Clarkson and Booker will be freed up to sprint down the wings to get easy dunks or open jumpers. Harris is a versatile forward who can stretch the floor, while Plumlee provides size on the block as well as some help on the defensive end.

    We may not win a ton of games, but compared to some of these other teams (*cough* Jazz *cough*) we'll be entertaining as hell.


    My Achilles' Heel

    Getting defensive stops consistently is going to be a problem. 

    Jeremy Los

Utah Jazz

35 of 36

    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    First Pick (13th overall, C): Rudy Gobert

    Second Pick (48th overall, SF): Otto Porter Jr.

    Third Pick (73rd overall, SG): Andre Iguodala

    Fourth Pick (108th overall, PG): Patrick Beverley

    Fifth Pick (133rd overall, PF): Nikola Mirotic

    The Case for My Starting Five 

    "Defense wins championships" has to be among the most used sports cliches of all time. But in the NBA, there's evidence to back it up.

    The average finish in's defensive rating for the last 10 title winners was better than fifth place. And this lineup is absolutely finishing in the top five defensively.

    Beverley, Iguodala, Porter, Mirotic and Gobert are all plus defenders. And that's an understatement for Beverley, Iguodala and Gobert.

    Sure, scoring might be a chore for Utah, but it'll be a full-blown honey-do list for the opponent. And what's the difference between winning games 116-111 and winning them 86-81?  


    My Achilles' Heel

    At some point, the lack of offense will hurt. Beverley, Iguodala, Porter and Gobert were all plenty efficient last season, but can they repeat that without playing alongside top-tier offensive talent that demands most of the attention?

    Andy Bailey 

Washington Wizards

36 of 36

    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    First Pick (14th overall, C): Karl-Anthony Towns

    Second Pick (49th overall, PG): Goran Dragic

    Third Pick (72nd overall, SG): Lou Williams

    Fourth Pick (109th overall, PF): Julius Randle

    Fifth Pick (132nd overall, SF): TJ Warren


    The Case for My Starting Five 

    KAT, Dragic, Williams, Randle, Warren. It doesn't jump off the page, and that's fine. This starting five is about balance and role clarity.

    Floor spacing? Check. Lou, Dragic and KAT are all well-above par at their positions in shooting.

    Passing? KAT and Randle are among the most clever frontcourt distributors in the game, and Dragic's penetration game opens up shots for everyone.

    Defense? KAT is already elite while protecting the rim, Warren's 6'8" size at the wing gives us surplus length and necessary switchability, and Randle can check 4s inside and out.

    But we're really about getting buckets in bunches thanks to the all-world instincts of KAT, the inside-out knife work of Dragic and bail-out king Williams.


    My Achilles' Heel

    In a league of dominant point guards and wings, I'm not confident in KAT's ability to bail out his perimeter defenders over an 82-game stretch.

    Chris Trenchard

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!