1 Surprise Draft Target for Every NBA Team

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 8, 2019

1 Surprise Draft Target for Every NBA Team

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    The NBA draft often takes more twists and turns than a Hollywood blockbuster.

    That might be more true now than ever, since prospect rankings in this class lack consensus beyond the top three.

    While every club hopes the annual talent grab plays out in ideal fashion, they all need contingency plans.

    We're here to identify possible Plan C surprise options each team will consider if its preferred draft-night path is unavailable.

New Orleans Pelicans (Picks 1, 39, 57): Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt

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    No, we're not suggesting any funny business with the first overall selection. Zion Williamson is such a certainty at the top, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver might bypass putting the New Orleans Pelicans on the clock and just open the draft by announcing the pick.

    But New Orleans can shift around the Association's tectonic plates with a major move involving Anthony Davis. Despite initial resistance, new Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has started taking offers on Davis, league sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania.

    New Orleans should focus on long-term assets in its Davis return, which could mean adding an additional top-10 selection (say, No. 4 from the Los Angeles Lakers, perhaps?). If the Pellies get one, they should give serious consideration to scoring guard Darius Garland, who'd fit snugly alongside Zion Williamson (and, if he's kept, Jrue Holiday).

    Garland has some mystery to him. He only played four full games in college before a meniscus tear wiped out the rest of his season. His defense and playmaking need plenty of seasoning. But he's shifty with the basketball and dangerous as a scorer, both stationary and on the move. As a potentially premium shot-creator, he could make life easier on Williamson and any other franchise pillars the Pelicans add.

Memphis Grizzlies (2): RJ Barrett, SG/SF, Duke

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    Shortly after the ping-pong balls had settled at the draft lottery, the Memphis Grizzlies were already being linked with Murray State point guard Ja Morant. It made sense then and still makes sense now. The Russell Westbrook clone could be the perfect complement to Jaren Jackson Jr., potentially giving the Grizzlies centerpieces of an eventual contender.

    But maybe Morant isn't bound for Beale Street? While the Grizzlies could be doing their due diligence, they reportedly have requested a workout with RJ Barrett.

    "Memphis has been sending out some mixed messages," ESPN's Jonathan Givony reports. "The Grizzlies' ownership group is still telling people around the league that the team is locked in on Morant, but the front office has requested to have Barrett in for a private workout."

    While Morant seems the obvious selection, Barrett would be a lot more than a consolation prize. Prior to this past season, he was the most coveted prospect in the class in large part for the same polish and physical gifts he displayed at Duke. Over 38 games, the 18-year-old averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He might be the best scorer to come out of this draft.

New York Knicks (3, 55): Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    If you subscribe to the theory this is a three-player draft, then the New York Knicks' choice is obvious. Once the Grizzlies choose between Morant and Barrett, the 'Bockers can add the other.

    If it's not as cut and dried, though, that could get someone like Jarrett Culver into the conversation.

    His leap from his freshman to his sophomore season was astronomic. He went from being a part-time starter and No. 3 option to the team's leader in points (18.5), rebounds (6.4) and assists (3.7). He helped set a tone for the country's best defense and did the heaviest offense lifting for this season's silver medalist.

    While Culver projects more as a good NBA player than a great one, that might make it easier for him to establish a role early in his career. The Knicks may not seem in need of win-now talent amid a six-year playoff drought, but that could change quickly if their wildest offseason dreams come true.

Los Angeles Lakers (4): Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    In the least surprising news of draft season, the Los Angeles Lakers are open to moving their pick for more immediate assistance, sources told Givony. Between their public interest in Anthony Davis and clear need for win-now talent around 34-year-old LeBron James, the Lakers always seemed likely to be open for business.

    Should they keep this selection, they have no shortage of possible targets. That said, the following three are most commonly found across the mock-draft landscape: Garland, Culver and De'Andre Hunter.

    But why no love for Coby White? The 19-year-old was the best player on a 29-win Tar Heels team stocked with blue-chippers, averaging 16.1 points, 4.1 assists, 2.3 triples and 1.1 steals. His big games were monstrous. He scored 27-plus points five different times, always against a Power Five opponent and each featuring at least five three-pointers.

    White has size, athleticism and loads of promise as a pull-up scorer. His weak spots as a decision-maker would be covered by both LeBron James and Lonzo Ball in L.A. White could be an instant impact combo guard, and his potentially elite shot-making would address a glaring void. James works best when surrounded by shooters, and this past season's Lakers finished just 20th in three-point makes and 29th in perimeter accuracy.

Cleveland Cavaliers (5, 26): Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    If the Cleveland Cavaliers are realistic with their post-LeBron James self-assessment, they should see their cupboards are basically empty. Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman are likely long-term keepers. Ante Zizic and Larry Nance Jr. could be around a while, too. But that's it.

    Of that group, only Sexton has the age and pedigree to project as a possible star. If that's not reason to value upside over everything at the draft, we don't know what is.

    That hunt for high ceilings could lead Cleveland to Kevin Porter Jr., who's much more intriguing than his lackluster year at USC indicates. Injuries, inconsistency and a suspension all plagued his production, which finished at the underwhelming line of 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists across 22.1 minutes per game.

    But the eye test loves the appeal of his physical profile, athleticism and scoring versatility. His offensive bag is deep for a 19-year-old, as he can lose defenders on step-backs and crossover pull-ups. There might be too much bust potential to even consider him this high, but few prospects beyond the top three can match his potential.

Phoenix Suns (6, 32): Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, France

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    The Phoenix Suns have a top-10 pick and a problematic vacancy at point guard. Ideally, the selection would address the vacancy, either by spending it on a freshman floor general or trading it for a veteran lead guard, which Givony hears the Suns would consider.

    But what if Morant, Garland and White are all gone before the Suns are on the clock? It's possible. Ditto for the trade market failing to deliver the perfect target. Mike Conley, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry could be too old for consideration, and Lonzo Ball isn't a veteran. Unless someone like Spencer Dinwiddie interests the Suns, they might not find what they want.

    So, rather than reaching for a need, the Suns could instead invest the selection on someone with the most potential. For as much as Phoenix wants to accelerate its rebuild, what's the rush when 22-year-old Devin Booker and 20-year-old Deandre Ayton are the centerpieces? If Phoenix plays the long game, it might do so with Sekou Doumbouya, the draft's youngest prospect.

    The French forward is a project, which is to be expected when he won't turn 19 until December. At 6'8" and 230 pounds, the teenager looks like he could play now and contribute with versatile defense, improving shooting and a competitive streak. But he needs more polish, which the Suns would have time to work on since they're already well-stocked along the forward spots.

Chicago Bulls (7, 38): Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina

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    The Chicago Bulls would surely like to add a point guard here if they could, but there's a decent chance the board doesn't break in their favor. If the three lottery lead guards are gone, Chicago might consider gambling on Nassir Little, last year's McDonald's All-American Game MVP.

    His stock is down after a choppy season in Chapel Hill. He couldn't crack a big chunk of coach Roy Williams' rotation, leaving Little with problematically low averages of 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes.

    "I'm not sure what I was able to do at UNC," Little said at the combine, per Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. "It was hard to understand exactly what my role was—especially on offense. It created a lot of hesitancy."

    Wrong role or not, Little's offense needs work. But the Bulls aren't necessarily searching for scoring, with Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. steering that ship. Chicago would simply ask Little to maximize his elite physical tools in the open court and on defense. He could contribute in that role already next season and ideally grow into something much greater.

Atlanta Hawks (8, 10, 17*, 35, 41, 44): Bol Bol, C, Oregon

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    With a rising young nucleus and a pair of top-10 selections, the Atlanta Hawks can afford to go big on draft night. So, why not go as big as possible with the ultimate boom-or-bust player in this draft, Bol Bol?

    His potential is as ridiculous as his dimensions: 7'2" in shoes with a 7'7" wingspan and a 9'7" standing reach. The size alone demands evaluators take notice, but Bol's skills are the real draw. He's both an ankle-breaker and a 52-percent three-point splasher, as of this past season at least. He can score from the post out to the perimeter, and he has the handles to lead his own breaks off blocks or rebounds.

    Admittedly, he's surrounded by possible red cards. He lasted just nine games before a foot fracture ended his college career. History hasn't been kind to 7-footers with health problems, and the worries with Bol holding up extend to his rail-thin 208-pound frame. While he moves well for his size, he'll still have trouble defending in space against NBA athletes.

    But, again, the upside is enormous. Put him in Atlanta, and he'd give Trae Young a massive target off pick plays and ensure John Collins' clean runways to the rim.

    *Reportedly acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in a deal that can't be finalized until July 6, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Washington Wizards (9): Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana

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    The Washington Wizards have question marks at four of the five positions. With two-time All-Star Bradley Beal in place, shooting guard should be the one area the Wizards feel confident about.

    But the 25-year-old could wind up a casualty to years of roster mismanagement. The Wizards are short on high-potential prospects, which is an issue when the nucleus needs a couple of needle-movers. The present looks grim with John Wall lost to a ruptured Achilles, and the future might be worse considering he'll collect more than $38 million every year through at least 2021-22.

    Rather than wait out Wall's injury to see if the athleticism-dependent point guard can somehow age gracefully, the Wizards might consider a self-imposed demolition. The roster looks in need of a reset, and Beal would easily bring back the most assets.

    Romeo Langford, then, could arrive in the District as Beal's replacement. Knowing a thumb injury may have held him back in college, the Wizards might overlook his disappointing 27.2 percent three-point mark and instead focus on his shot-creating, slashing and finishing. If everything breaks right, he could one day emerge as a featured scorer.

Minnesota Timberwolves (11, 43): Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga

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    Had the Minnesota Timberwolves struck gold at the lottery, they may have found a path to the second scorer Karl-Anthony Towns desperately needs. But the 11th pick probably isn't delivering that.

    Rather than blindly pursuing upside, Minnesota might opt for a sure(ish) thing.

    Brandon Clarke is a unique prospect. He's sort of a big man trapped in the body of a wing (6'8", 207 lbs), but he has the athleticism and energy to possibly make it work. He paced power forwards and centers in lane agility and max vertical at the combine, meaning his explosiveness is elite. It's a major reason why his per-40-minute contributions last season included 12.2 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and 1.7 steals.

    As a 22-year-old, he's theoretically closer than most to his ceiling. That said, his shooting rates all took a big jump in 2018-19, and his 36-point outburst at the NCAA tournament perhaps hinted at more offensive ability than expected. While Minnesota shouldn't expect more than a high-energy role player, it could have Towns' frontcourt partner for the next decade.

Charlotte Hornets (12, 36, 52): Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State

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    The Charlotte Hornets could continue their search for an electric wing player with the 12th overall pick. If they're convinced Kemba Walker is staying, they might value early impact over future potential.

    But after not rostering an intimidating interior player for years, they have the opportunity to add one. As an added bonus, Mfiondu Kabengele splits the difference as a short-term helper and long-term investment.

    He's the nephew of Dikembe Mutombo, and he has the physical gifts to prove it. Kabengele stands 6'10", stretches out to a 7'3" wingspan, and his 256-pound frame is chiseled with just 5.1 percent body fat. He has the energy, athleticism and length to shine as a rim runner, potentially plugging in as Charlotte's best pick-and-roll screener already next season.

    While all of the above puts the 21-year-old in the first-round discussion, his modern enhancements could possibly lift him into the lottery. He buried 34 triples at a 37.4 percent clip over two seasons with the Seminoles, and he flashed the mobility needed to handle defensive switches on the perimeter.

Miami Heat (13): Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky

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    In 2015, the Miami Heat had a shot at Devin Booker but instead used the 10th overall selection on Justise Winslow. Using the 13th pick on Tyler Herro four years later might be their do-over.

    As The Ringer's scouting report on Herro notes, he "models his game after Devin Booker, who had eerily similar strengths and weaknesses entering the NBA."

    To be clear, the probably of Herro becoming the next Booker is slim to none. That's not a knock on Herro, just a reflection of Booker's standing as an elite offensive force. The comparison, though, reflects Herro's impressive upside on the offensive end. He has the mechanics of a knockdown shooter, he's smart with his off-ball movements, he's a clever distributor and he has a deep bag of scoring tricks around the rim.

    But even if three-point shooting was his only weapon to translate to the NBA, he'd still be a good find for the Heat. This past season, their high man in threes per game was Dion Waiters, a below-average launcher for his career.

Boston Celtics (14, 20, 22, 51): Talen Horton-Tucker, SF, Iowa State

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    He has the length and heft of a big man but the height and handles of a guard. He has enough streetball-style shakes to elude defenders, but his freshman finishing rates were just 40.6 percent from the field and 30.8 from three. He has multipositional potential on defense, but he often offered the resistance of a wet paper bag.

    Talen Horton-Tucker might be the most interesting prospect in this class.

    Interested teams are fascinated by his ceiling. He won't turn 19 until November. His 7'1" wingspan defies his 6'4" frame. His physical profile is close to a shorter PJ Tucker or Draymond Green. Theoretically, if a team harnesses Horton-Tucker's talent, he could one day harass opposing guards with length and outmuscle opposing bigs.

    He's years away from that reality, and it would take a great developmental staff to get him there. But if the Boston Celtics shift their focus forward this summerKyrie Irving might be close to the exits—they could have the time and resources to feel Horton-Tucker is worth the risk.

Detroit Pistons (15, 45): Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    The Detroit Pistons can—and maybe should—swing for the fences with the 15th pick. Their roster is basically a giant question mark around the Blake Griffin-Andre Drummond frontcourt, and their limited prospect collection leaves much to be desired.

    At the same time, after misfiring in recent years on players like Stanley Johnson and Henry Ellenson, maybe the Pistons could seek more of a sure thing. Time isn't exactly on the side of the 30-year-old Griffin, so it's hard to overstate the appeal of plug-and-play potential.

    Matisse Thybulle fits that description on the defensive end at least. The reigning Naismith Defense Player of the Year, he's a 6'5", 200-pound package of athleticism, length, instincts and energy. This past season, he averaged an absurd 5.8 combined steals and blocks. For context, Draymond Green topped out at 2.9 over his four-year career at Michigan State.

    Thybulle's defense alone could snag him a starting spot on Detroit's wings, which is good, since his offense isn't as projectable. He looks like a capable shooter (career 35.8 percent from three, 78.2 percent at the line), and he keeps the basketball moving. There isn't much to mention with his scoring (career 9.2 points per game), which might be fine with Griffin, Drummond and Reggie Jackson fighting for shots already.

Orlando Magic (16, 46): Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    The Orlando Magic won 42 games this season and then had their playoff run derailed after just five outings.

    For most teams, that wouldn't be justification to go win-now shopping. But the Magic might be an exception. This was their first taste of the postseason in seven years, and they're hungry for more.

    "We won 17 more games than the previous season, and most importantly our guys gained an understanding of the togetherness and intensity that it takes to be successful in this league," Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said, per Magic.com's John Denton. "That's something we hope they will keep throughout the summer and will bring into next season."

    If Orlando wants to sustain and build on this season's breakout, it must find more floor-spacers. Cameron Johnson might be the best one in this draft. In two of his last three seasons, he's averaged multiple triples a night and cleared 41 percent from distance.

Indiana Pacers (18, 50): Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont

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    If not for the fact that 18 could be a tad early, drafting Dylan Windler would be a comfortable process for the Indiana Pacers.

    He grew up in the Circle City and is a lifelong fan of the team. He also plays a familiar game, with The Ringer listing Pacers free-agent swingman Bojan Bogdanovic as one of Windler's comparisons.

    Like Bogdanovic, Windler impresses first with his shooting. His mechanics are sound, and his results are special. He ramped up his perimeter volume the past three seasons, and his efficiency similarly spiked. By 2018-19, he was averaging 3.0 long-range makes and hitting those looks at a 42.9 percent rate.

    But again like Bogdanovic, Windler is more than a shooter. He has handles, scores on the move, consistently hits his passing target, crashes the glass and keeps in front of his defensive assignment. Teams may question his ability to handle NBA size and strength, but his numbers won't be easily ignored: 21.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 65.9 percent two-point shooting.

San Antonio Spurs (19, 29, 49): Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State

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    Under Gregg Popovich, the San Antonio Spurs have been defined by sharpened skills and instincts. Neither is a natural strength of Luguentz Dort.

    So how would he end up on the Alamo City's radar? For starters, did you see the photo above? The guy looks like an NFL rush end with the power, burst and explosiveness to physically overwhelm opponents. Between Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV and Dort, tomorrow's Spurs could be supercharged by perimeter athleticism.

    Dort's decision-making and awareness need work at both ends. But there's a potential difference-maker here if he's properly polished. He already has the dribble moves to lose defenders, the intensity and versatility of a defensive stopper and the vision and accuracy of a secondary playmaker.

    For now, he's a ball of modeling clay with big-time tools but also big-time deficiencies, and San Antonio's proven development system could be what sculpts him into a museum-quality masterpiece.

Oklahoma City Thunder (21): Ty Jerome, PG/SG, Virginia

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    While hardly alone in this regard, Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti has an obvious soft spot for length and athleticism. Those aren't bad traits to desire, but they shouldn't comprise an entire roster. OKC's shooting was a debilitating weakness last season, and it contributed to nightly struggles with offensive consistency.

    Maybe that will lead Presti outside his box. Ty Jerome is about as far from it as a prospect can get.

    His wingspan is the same as his height without shoes (6'4"), and he lacks the boost to get all the way to the basket. OKC already has elite athletes, though. It needs more skill players, and that's where Jerome shines. He has sound instincts and plays within himself. He'll never be a star (career 9.6 points and 3.7 assists in college), but he has substantial role-player potential.

    If he lands in the Sooner State, he'd address the shooting deficit and give OKC a more natural table-setter behind Russell Westbrook. Add Jerome, and the Thunder can either lessen the distributing demands on Dennis Schroder or shop the scoring guard for additional shooting and/or salary relief.

Utah Jazz (23, 53): Isaiah Roby, PF, Nebraska

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    Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

    The Utah Jazz might have taken their imperfect setup as far as it can go.

    Rudy Gobert needs a stretch 4 at his side. The Jazz have instead given him Derrick Favors, an interior 5 (with a non-guaranteed contract for next season), or Jae Crowder, a 3 with questionable perimeter skills.

    Enter Isaiah Roby. If the 6'8", 215-pounder sharpens his outside shot—28 makes this past season but only at a 33.3 percent rate—and grows more comfortable with physicality, he could be the multidimensional forward this frontcourt is missing.

    "He has solid ball skills, has worked diligently on his outside shot and profiles nicely as an athletic big who can play inside and out," SI.com's Jeremy Woo wrote. "He has the size, agility and shot-blocking chops to be a versatile defender."

Philadelphia 76ers (24, 33, 34, 42, 54): KZ Okpala, SF/PF, Stanford

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    If the Philadelphia 76ers can re-sign both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, their offseason shopping list should be straightforward. They need shooting, a reliable reserve behind Joel Embiid and, if TJ McConnell isn't brought back, maybe an understudy for Ben Simmons.

    KZ Okpala doesn't really address any of those areas. He comes closest with shooting, but even then, he was a low-volume (career 0.8 makes per game), middling-efficiency (33.1 percent) perimeter contributor over two seasons at Stanford.

    That said, he's a physically gifted swingman with improving offensive ability and two-way potential. There isn't such a thing as having too many wings in the modern NBA, and Okpala could add to Philly's collection.

    He must hone his undeveloped offensive skills, add strength and improve his defensive awareness. If he checks all three boxes, though, he could be an offensive mismatch and defensive Swiss Army knife.

Portland Trail Blazers (25): Chuma Okeke, PF, Auburn

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    Jeff Swinger/Associated Press

    Fresh off their first Western Conference Finals in nearly 20 years, the Portland Trail Blazers are likely laser-locked on the here and now. It's a sensible mindset to have with Damian Lillard's 29th birthday coming in July and CJ McCollum's 28th following in September.

    But if Portland embraces a pinch of patience on draft night, the team might find a long-term fit at forward in Chuma Okeke.

    The 20-year-old tore his ACL during the NCAA tournament, so his immediate outlook is murky. As a future investment, though, he has tons to offer once his body allows.

    He can guard multiple positions, wreak havoc off the ball defensively and make enough plays offensively to keep that end humming. He's a catch-and-shoot sniper first (career 38.9 percent from deep), but he's also a clever passer and capable of exploiting defensive switches from the post. With free agency looming this summer for Al-Farouq Aminu and the next for Maurice Harkless, Okeke could soon have a clear path to the starting five.

Brooklyn Nets (27, 31): Jalen McDaniels, PF, San Diego State

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    The Brooklyn Nets are dreaming big this summer, so why not adopt the same bold-over-everything strategy on draft night?

    Jalen McDaniels is an eye-of-the-beholder prospect. Woo placed McDaniels 59th on his big board and labeled him "more of an idea than someone you can throw into an NBA game with any confidence." Kevin O'Connor slotted McDaniels all the way up at 18th on The Ringer, which classifies him as a "versatile player built for today's league, with the height of a big and the perimeter skills of a wing."

    Admittedly, McDaniels may not hit. (Spoiler alert: A lot of these players won't.) He lacks interior bulk (192 lbs) and perimeter touch (career 29.8 percent). Despite standing 6'10", he's not much of a shot-blocker or post-scorer.

    But at this stage of the draft, upside like his is rare. He might fit the uber-valuable modern big man mold, like a Jonathan Isaac. If McDaniels can develop his deep ball, he could be the perfect pick-and-choose partner, as he can already attack off the bounce, roll to the rim or deliver on-point passes to open receivers. Tack on the ability to lock down the defensive perimeter, and it's not hard to see why some are so bullish on him.

Golden State Warriors (28, 58): Louis King, SF, Oregon

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    The Golden State Warriors could look dramatically different next summer. Free agency looms over a huge chunk of this roster, including Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins. Meanwhile, retirement is an undeniable possibility for 30-somethings Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

    It's tough to tell which needs the Warriors will have without knowing how their roster will take shape. That said, it's a virtual certainty there would be an opening for a contemporary swingman with height, length and shooting ability.

    Louis King, a 5-star recruit, had his freshman season delayed and then hampered by a high school knee injury. But he got comfortable once the calendar flipped, averaging 15.0 points per game on 39.8 percent shooting from three after Jan. 1.

    He can shoot both off the catch and on the move. He has flashed effective dribble moves and sometimes paired them with pinpoint passes. When he locks in defensively, he's shown the ability to handle multiple assignments. Frankly, his upside looks a lot like the kind of supporting wing the Dubs could really use right now.

Milwaukee Bucks (30): Nicolas Claxton, PF/C, Georgia

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    Creativity will be critical for the Milwaukee Bucks this summer. With multiple stars and key reserves all heading for free agency, the Bucks probably don't have the budget to keep everyone.

    If their frontcourt gets squeezed—a near-certainty with both Brook Lopez and Nikola Mirotic hitting the open market—they might be in position to roll the dice on Nicolas Claxton.

    The 7-footer handled some of Georgia's point guard duties this season, and while an NBA team won't ask the same of him, his comfort on the ball will allow him to clean the glass and kick-start secondary breaks. His ball skills could make him a productive screener on the short roll, as he can get to the rim or find open teammates. Defensively, he'd add another lanky, mobile, athletic piece to the puzzle.

    The big question with Claxton is his shooting, which could be a deal-breaker for Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Claxton has shown nothing as a shooter so far—30.2 percent from three, 61.1 percent at the stripe—which for now keeps his ceiling in check. But if he adds that to his game, he'd have an intriguing inside-out skill set at both ends of the floor.

No First-Round Picks

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    Dallas Mavericks (37): Tacko Fall, C, UCF

    This is early for a 23-year-old with major question marks, but it seems up the alley of outside-the-box Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Fall's standing reach stretches above the rim. He helped himself as much as anyone at the combine. In some universe—hopefully this one—next season's Dallas team is rolling out a lineup with Luka Doncic as a jumbo playmaker, Kristaps Porzingis as a jumbo 4 and Fall as a jumbo human.


    Sacramento Kings (40, 47, 60): Miye Oni, SG/SF, Yale

    While Sacramento's needs list starts with rim protection and a backup point guard, the Kings could use this past season's breakout as justification for going the best-player-available route. Oni, possibly the first Ivy League prospect to be drafted since 1995, boasts an all-around skill set that yielded per-game averages of 17.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 blocks as a junior.


    Los Angeles Clippers (48, 56): Jaylen Hoard, PF, Wake Forest

    While the Clippers might covet safe options to slot alongside the star free agents they hope to find, safety isn't available this late in the draft. So, why not gamble on a good athlete with Association-ready physical tools? If Hoard's shot comes around (his form looks good, but he only made 22.6 percent of his threes), he'd give L.A. a multipositional defender with range.


    Toronto Raptors (59): Dedric Lawson, PF, Kansas

    While productive at Kansas, Lawson isn't for everyone. He's a limited athlete and low-volume shooter, making him a tricky fit in today's NBA. But the Raptors have shown a willingness to work with bigs of all types, and his scoring profile looks more interesting than that of Greg Monroe, whom Toronto added in free agency last summer (then traded away in February).


    Denver Nuggets (No Picks): N/A

    While the Nuggets don't have a draft pick, they'll still have a high-profile freshman heading into next season. Michael Porter Jr., last year's 14th selection, should finally make his pro debut at summer league after having his would-be rookie season wiped out by a back injury.


    Houston Rockets (No Picks): N/A

    Not only are the win-now Rockets without a pick in this draft, but their future selections are up for grabs too.


    Unless noted otherwise, statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.