NBA Draft Whiteboards for Every Projected Playoff Team

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterApril 10, 2018

NBA Draft Whiteboards for Every Projected Playoff Team

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    Robert Franklin/Associated Press

    Playoff teams picking outside the lottery still put together boards in preparation for NBA draft night.

    They'll each have a handful of targets based on who's projected to be available near their selection on June 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

    Last week, we created whiteboards for lottery teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers, franchises in the playoffs that will be picking top 10 thanks to previous trades. 

    The Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets and Cavaliers are playoff teams that have already traded their own first-round picks.

    Prospects off-limits (assuming they'll be taken in the lottery) to the following playoff teams include: Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr., Michael Porter Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Trae Young, Collin Sexton, Mikal Bridges, Kevin Knox, Miles Bridges and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.


    Projected draft order based on NBA standings heading into April 9

Washington Wizards

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Pick No. 15

    Plan A: Robert Williams (Texas A&M, C, Sophomore)

    The Washington Wizards must address their frontcourt with Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat entering the final year on their contracts. Williams is one of the draft's most explosive athletes who'd give John Wall a tremendous lob target above the rim. But he also registered at least a 10.0 block percentage both seasons at Texas A&M. Williams falls under the Clint Capela-DeAndre Jordan umbrella as bigs with limited skill who can still impact games using their tools and athleticism. 


    Plan B: Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

    The Wizards don't have any reliable options behind Bradley Beal, who's playing a career-high 36.3 minutes per game this year. Thomas won Big East Defensive Player of the Year twice, and for his career at Creighton, he shot 40.6 percent from three on 323 attempts. Thomas isn't creative with the ball, but this past season, he converted 63.9 percent of his two-pointers, a tribute to his quality shot selection and ability to score within an offense.


    Plan B, option 2: Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1998)

    Robinson is a risk/reward play at No. 15, considering the 7-footer sat out the year to train for the draft, which makes it difficult to assess his skill and feel. However, Robinson's body and athleticism ace the eye test. He'd be an upside project to develop and eventually unleash after a season in the G League.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Pick No. 17 (protected Nos. 1-10, Nos. 17-30)

    Plan A: Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, SG/SF, Freshman)

    The Milwaukee Bucks keep their pick if it stays at No. 17. And they could use it to add one of the draft's top athletes in Zhaire Smith, who's a candidate to continue trending upward during the predraft process. Smith would give the Bucks another interchangeable player to slot at either wing position. They should value his off-ball playmaking ability and energy right away. But long-term, there is exciting upside for the Bucks to unlock if Smith can make progress with his shooting and ball-handling. 


    Plan B: Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)

    Walker offers more upside than any 2-guard on Milwaukee, though he could be tough to count on right away. Long-term, there is a lot of intrigue surrounding his mix of explosive athleticism and perimeter scoring. Walker is a shot-maker, capable of stretching the floor off the ball or pulling up into jumpers. And once he gets going, he's shown the ability to catch fire. The Bucks can groom him to eventually replace Tony Snell in the starting lineup.


    Plan B, option 2: Anfernee Simons (USA, SG, 1998)

    Simons is following Thon Maker's path to the league as a fifth-year high school player skipping college. He wouldn't bring much to the table as a rookie, but his athleticism, shot-creating and shooting can remind some of a Monta Ellis-type scoring combo.

Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder)

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    Ray Thompson/Associated Press

    Pick No. 19 (via Thunder)

    Plan A: Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, SF, Freshman)

    The Minnesota Timberwolves are loaded with offensive weapons, but only five teams have worse defensive efficiencies. Smith brings an exciting level of defensive energy and playmaking ability (1.6 steals, 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes), thanks to a dangerous mix of quickness and explosive hops. Still 18 years old, Smith is raw and needs time before the Wolves can rely on him for scoring production. But in a limited role playing to his strengths, he has the chance to add value just off his athleticism and effort alone.


    Plan B: Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

    One of the top three-and-D players available, Thomas would be an excellent fit behind Andrew Wiggins. He can defend both guard spots and shoot, having made at least 39.0 percent of his triples in each of his three seasons at Creighton. Thomas isn't a playmaker, but he wouldn't need to be in Minnesota. 


    Plan C: Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)

    The Wolves have poor depth at both forward spots, and Bates-Diop could be capable of giving them minutes at the 3 or 4. The long, 6'7" combo just averaged 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds, showing he can score from all three levels with his three ball (1.9 3PTM) and ability to operate from the elbows.  

San Antonio Spurs

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pick No. 15

    Plan A: Anfernee Simons (USA, SG, 1999)

    The San Antonio Spurs haven't picked this high since 2010. They should take the opportunity to swing for the fences on a higher-upside project like Simons, a fifth-year high school guard who made himself eligible. An explosive athlete, the 6'3" combo has a knack for scoring by slashing and shooting. He'll need to spend next year in the G League improving his body and playmaking, but the Spurs should target Simons for his offensive potential three years down the road.


    Plan B: Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, SF, Freshman)

    Smith is another project, but the Spurs have succeeded at developing raw talent. He could be the favorite to record the highest vertical at the NBA combine in May. An explosive leaper, versatile defender, capable shot-maker (18-of-40 3PT) and good passer, Smith has a lot to work with, though he'll require patience.


    Plan C: Troy Brown Jr. (Oregon, SF, Freshman)

    Even if the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard work things out, the team could use another wing. Brown, who's still 18 years old, flashed point forward versatility with 6'7" size and playmaking skills (4.1 assists per 40 minutes), but also the ability to guard multiple positions. He's well-rounded, though he'll need to improve his shooting range (29.1 percent 3PT).

Utah Jazz

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Pick No. 22

    Plan A: Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

    Even after adding Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz could soon needs guards, with Dante Exum being a restricted free agent and Alec Burks and Ricky Rubio entering the final year of their deals. Thomas would complement Mitchell with the ability to play off the ball as a shooter and driver out of spot-ups. He's the type of guard who won't need dribbles to be effective. There may be other players with higher upside, but Thomas' floor screams three-and-D role player.


    Plan B: Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)

    Depending on what happens with Derrick Favors in free agency, the Jazz could also need some frontcourt depth. Bates-Diop should be able to give them scoring versatility from the 3 and 4 spots behind Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder. 


    Plan C: Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, G/F, Senior)

    Hutchison could give the Jazz another source of scoring off the bench. With his 6'7" size, Utah could even play him minutes at the 4 if it wants to go small. Hutchison averaged 20.0 points per game this year, showing improved ball-handling skills and shooting range. He went for 39 points and 14 rebounds in his final game at Boise State.

Indiana Pacers

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Pick No. 23

    Plan A: Aaron Holiday (UCLA, PG, Junior)

    Holiday had his breakout year after taking over for Lonzo Ball at UCLA, and now he's in the first-round discussion for his scoring and playmaking. Holiday averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists and shot over 41.0 percent from three for the third consecutive season. Darren Collison continues to play efficiently, but his contract is up after next season and Holiday could offer more offensive firepower.


    Plan B: Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Smith is rightfully highlighted on multiple team boards, including the Pacers, who could use more depth on the wing behind Victor Oladipo and Bojan Bogdanovic. He could give the second unit another source for athletic plays, energy and defensive pressure. 


    Plan C: Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1998)

    Between Myles Turner, Al Jefferson and Domantas Sabonis, the Pacers don't have any high-level frontcourt athletes. Robinson is up there with the most explosive centers in the class. Even if Indiana finds out his skills and basketball IQ are behind, his power, length and athleticism could still translate to easy baskets, rebounds and blocks.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Pick No. 24

    Plan A: Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)

    Bates-Diop would give the Portland Trail Blazers a needed scorer from the power forward slot, where Al-Farouq Aminu averages 9.4 points on 39.8 percent shooting. The Big Ten Player of the Year works from all over the floor with the ability shoot the three, face up and attack or create shots out of the post.


    Plan B: Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

    The Blazers can upgrade their 2-guard depth with Thomas, who's shooting, defense and efficient brand of offense would work well behind CJ McCollum. 


    Plan B, option 2: Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)

    With more size and athleticism, 19-year-old Walker is the higher-upside 2-guard compared to Thomas. He's also the bigger project, but in Portland, the Blazers could take it slow with Walker. He has a convincing shooting stroke and developing shot-creating skills, but he'll need some time to become more consistent and sharper off the dribble. 

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

    Pick No. 26

    Plan A: Trade

    The Philadelphia 76ers will likely select top 10 with the Los Angeles Lakers pick, but they'll also have their own, which now projects at No. 26 as the team keeps winning (14 straight). The Sixers are already developing a handful of young prospects and don't need another one this late. They could make this pick available to see if they can trade for a veteran capable of helping the team sooner, since by next year (or even in 2018), Philadelphia could be a legitimate threat to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. 

    The Sixers could also explore offering No. 10, No. 26 and one of their young Europeans (Furkan Korkmaz or Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot) for a chance to move up closer toward the top five if there is a specific prospect they'd love to have like Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr. or Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. 


    Plan B: Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

    Thomas could be gone by No. 26, but he's worth having on the target list. With JJ Redick entering free agency, the Sixers could use another shooter and defender at the 2-guard slot. 


    Plan C: Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, G/F, Senior)

    Unlike Robert Covington or Justin Anderson, Hutchison is more of a threat to create opportunities off the dribble. He racked up 16 20-plus-point games this season, and he'd fill a need for Philadelphia's second unit. 


    Plan D: Dzanan Musa (Bosnia and Herzegovina, SG/SF, 1999)

    The Sixers have had success before by drafting-and-stashing. Since whoever they take at No. 26 seems unlikely to help much next year, Philadelphia could select Musa, one of Europe's most productive young scoring prospects, and keep him overseas to continue developing in the Adriatic League and Croatian League.

Boston Celtics

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Pick No. 27

    Plan A: Jontay Porter (Missouri, C, Freshman)

    The Celtics are loaded with guards, wings and forwards. They could use another big man behind Al Horford, and Porter offers an intriguing mix of shooting (1.2 3PTM), shot-blocking (1.7 in 24.5 minutes) and passing. Horford, another skill-over-athleticism player, would ultimately seem like the ideal mentor for Porter, who's versatile but lacks speed and bounce. 


    Plan B: Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, SG, Freshman)

    With Marcus Smart entering restricted free agency, the Celtics may want to add another 2-guard. Trent, who just hit 97 threes at a 40.2 percent clip as a freshman, would give Boston shooting that Smart does not. 


    Plan B, option 2: Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Senior)

    Boston could value Allen's shot-making as well. And at 22 years old with NBA athleticism, he could be better prepared to give Boston minutes as a rookie. While some may be turned off by Allen's occasional recklessness, general manager Danny Ainge could view Allen's competitiveness as a plus.

Golden State Warriors

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Pick No. 28

    Plan A: Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, G/F, Senior)

    An athletic, 6'7", 20-point scorer, Hutchison would give the Warriors an interchangeable weapon capable of playing positions 2-4. At No. 28, Golden State could view him as the best player available, but he could also be used immediately behind Klay Thompson with Nick Young entering free agency and Patrick McCaw coming off a tough season offensively. Likely more ready than most being 22 years old, Hutchison improved his shooting (1.5 3PTM) and playmaking (3.5 assists), though he'll still be valued most for his ability to get downhill and attack with size and agility.


    Plan B: Jontay Porter (Missouri, C, Freshman)

    The Warriors could look at Porter as a fit and project worth developing. He's testing the waters and has a game built for today's NBA with his ability to hit threes, block shots and pass. Porter could ultimately give the Warriors a different look from the 5 compared to the others centers on the roster.


    Plan C: Jalen Brunson (Villanova, PG, Junior)

    Quinn Cook could be a solid pickup for Golden State, though it wouldn't hurt for the Warriors to add more guard depth and an experienced winner like Brunson. Golden State should value his leadership, ability to run an offense and three-point shooting in a backup role.


    Stats courtesy of ESPN and