The NBA playoffs will build to a crescendo that will reach its peak in June. Right now, the playoffs have just started and it will take at least two weeks for each of the four rounds of the postseason to play out.
The 14 teams that failed to make the playoffs are already in full preparation mode for the 2019-20 season. That means front offices are considering moves to make in free agency and which players to draft. The 16 teams in the playoffs know that the offseason is coming and plans have to be made as well.
Offseason changes may be even more urgent for teams that are good enough to make the postseason but can't get past the first or second round. Finding the key player who fits their team may allow them to grow substantially.
In this piece, we concentrate on the draft and look at each of the teams that have first-round draft picks and select the best player for that team based on need. In some cases, it may be the "best player available." We go into detail on the top 10.
We are using the draft order found in Tankathon.com, with the understanding that the May 14 draft lottery will change the order.
1. New York Knicks: PF Zion Williamson, Duke
Williamson appears to be a game-changer and a generational player because of his power, athleticism and ability to dominate. He is the kind of player who can turn a team around merely by his presence because of the unstoppable quality to his game. It should be a no-brainer for the Knicks to select him if they win the draft lottery May 14, but it may not be that simple.
They already have a top power forward prospect in Kevin Knox. He may not be at Williamson's level, but he is clearly one of the best athletes on the team and has a solid future. An argument can be made that selecting Ja Morant or R.J. Barrett might be the better move based on what the team needs, but we will stick with Williamson, who averaged 27.1 points and 10.7 points for Duke last year.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: SF R.J. Barrett, Duke
There's no doubt that the Cavaliers are bleeding badly and that any of the top stars in the draft could help them. If the Knicks pass on Williamson, they will jump on him, but if not, Barrett appears to be an excellent fit because he is a small forward who can score and create. He was brilliant throughout the regular season with a mark of 23.1 points and 4.4 assists per game, but he was not always at his best in the NCAA tournament.
3. Phoenix Suns: PG Ja Morant, Murray State
The Suns have a couple of key parts in center Deandre Ayton and shooting guard Devin Booker, so the team does not need a player at either of those positions.
Instead, the Suns should take Morant, who averaged 24.1 points and 9.9 assists this season for the Racers. He could be a sharp talent and if his talents mesh with Booker and Ayton, it could be the kind of pick that helps make the Suns a respectable team.
4. Chicago Bulls: SG Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
The Bulls need a point guard more than anything else, but unless they trade down to the No. 8-10 range where they could select North Carolina's Coby White or Indiana's Romeo Langford, they are better off with an elite player like Culver, who averaged 20.5 points and 1.6 steals per game. Culver helped lead the Red Raiders to the NCAA championship game, and his skill on the defensive end could rub off well on this struggling team.
5. Atlanta Hawks, SF Cam Reddish, Duke
The Hawks hit a home run when they traded for point guard Trae Young on draft day last year, and while they could use a shooting guard to pair with him, the selection here is Reddish. He did not have the kind of season that Williamson or Barrett had with the Blue Devils, but the ability level is there. He averaged 16.3 points per game, and he should team well with Young and help the team grow.
6. Washington Wizards, C Jaxson Hayes, Texas
The Wizards are a team that needs to rebuild in all areas, and Bradley Beal may be the only player on their roster who remains a significant part of their future. They need a power forward or center, and Hayes (15.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG) fits the bill.
7. New Orleans Pelicans, SG Romeo Langford, Indiana
The Pelicans are almost certain to move Anthony Davis, and they may also move Jrue Holiday to make it a complete rebuilding effort. Langford looks like a player who could be key.
8. Memphis Grizzlies, PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
Mike Conley is an excellent player, and Jaren Jackson Jr. is also a potential star down the road. Bring in Garland, and the Grizzlies could have a player who produces like Portland's Damian Lillard. A knee injury prevented him from showing what he could do with the Commodores, but he is a brilliant talent.
9. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas Mavericks), PF P.J. Washington, Kentucky
As was the case in the earlier explanation for the Hawks, the addition of Young clearly takes care of their shooting guard needs. Washington (18.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG) is a power forward who has a chance to add skill and strength to the Atlanta lineup.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves, PG-SG Coby White, North Carolina
The Timberwolves have a lot of strong working pieces, with Karl-Anthony Towns being their best asset. White (20.3 PPG, 5.2 APG) will be a positive addition to this team.
11. Los Angeles Lakers, SG Kevin Porter Jr., USC
12. Charlotte Hornets, SF De'Andre Hunter, Virginia
13. Miami Heat, PF/SF Sekou Doumbouya, Limoges CSP
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento Kings), C Bol Bol, Oregon
15. Detroit Pistons, SF Nassir Little, North Carolina
16. Orlando Magic, SG Tyler Herro, Kentucky
17. Brooklyn Kings, C Bruno Fernando, Maryland
18. Indiana Pacers, SF Nassir Little, North Carolina
19. San Antonio Spurs, C Goga Bitadze, Buducnost
20. Boston Celtics (L.A. Clippers), PG-SG Ty Jerome, Virginia
21. Oklahoma City Thunder, PF Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
22. Boston Celtics, PF Grant Williams, Tennessee
23. Utah Jazz, SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State
24. Philadelphia 76ers, SF Keldon Johnson, Kentucky
25. Portland Trail Blazers, C Daniel Gafford, Arkansas
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston Rockets), SF KZ Okpala, Stanford
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver Nuggets), PG Carsen Edwards, Purdue
28. Golden State Warriors, SF Matisse Thybulle, Washington
29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto Raptors), SF-PF Isaiah Roby, Nebraska
30. Milwaukee Bucks, C Jontay Porter, Missouri