Top 3 Realistic Prospects on Every NBA Team's Draft Big Board

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJune 14, 2022

Top 3 Realistic Prospects on Every NBA Team's Draft Big Board

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    Teams will enter the 2022 NBA draft with specific targets at each pick. Those targets will either be considered undervalued relative to where the team is picking or a textbook fit for the roster.

    We identified three prospects who could be available and appealing to every franchise with their first (and in some cases second) draft pick of the night.

    The Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns do not own draft picks.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Pick No. 16

    Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF, Freshman)

    Assuming the Atlanta Hawks have interest in addressing their No. 26-ranked defense, Sochan figures to be a target. Adding a defensive-minded forward may signal a desire to cut ties with Danilo Gallinari, who only has $5 million of his $21.5 million salary for next season fully guaranteed. Though Sochan remains limited as a shot-creator and shooter, his defensive range, IQ and switchability could be valuable enough to warrant immediate minutes while he plays to his strengths offensively, cutting and finishing off the ball. 

    Tari Eason (LSU, PF, Sophomore)

    Defensive playmaking and energy separate Eason, who also offers more scoring versatility than Sochan. A threat to grab-and-go in transition, beat bigs off the dribble and finish through contact, Eason is the type of player who'd make plays at both ends without needing them called. 

    TyTy Washington (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)

    The Hawks could look at Washington to absorb some ball-handling duties and take pressure off Trae Young. The Kentucky guard split time on and off the ball this past season, though his playmaking/passing feel may be his most translatable strength. A strong assist-to-turnover ratio, plus a 17-assist game when backcourt partner Sahvir Wheeler sat with an injury, has helped paint Washington as a guard who can quarterback an offense or second unit.

Boston Celtics

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    Pick No. 53

    Peyton Watson (UCLA, SF, Freshman)

    Unless the Boston Celtics trade into the first round, they'll wait hours to select a prospect. They could take two approaches in the 50s: swing for upside or look for a specialist/fit.

    Peyton Watson would be the upside pick who'd spend time in the G League and require patience. Though he's still raw, he didn't get a fair shake at UCLA playing behind Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez Jr. Watson measured 6'8" in shoes with a 7'0½" wingspan at the combine, while high school and FIBA tape showed enough evidence of a big wing who can slash, pass and defend. 

    Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers, SF, Senior)

    Harper doesn't offer upside, but the Celtics could see him as a playable rookie. Boston could value Harper's shooting and decision-making and keep his role simple. He's lost weight since the season and has an outstanding 7'1¼" wingspan for a wing.  

    JD Davison (Alabama, PG, Freshman)

    The Celtics could see an enticing buy-low opportunity with Davison. Concerns over his shooting and decision-making have pushed him down draft boards, though this late, his positional athleticism and setup passing could work for Boston in a bench-spark role.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Pick No. 23

    Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SG/SF, Junior)

    Danny Green's ACL tear could put the Philadelphia 76ers in the market for another wing. Moore would check the right boxes for this roster with his improved playmaking and shooting. The Sixers could use him to facilitate like he did for Duke, though he's also developed into a highly-efficient off-ball scorer with his 41.3 percent three-ball and cutting. 

    MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SF, 2001)

    The Sixers will be focused on adding the right complementary players and defense around its star players. Beauchamp would fit with his off-ball scoring, wing defense and NBA-readiness after the 21-year-old forward averaged 15.1 points on 51.2 percent shooting in the G League. He managed to efficiently produce on low usage by finishing in transition, off cuts and offensive rebounds. Playing with elite creators should only make it easier for Beauchamp to get rhythm looks and become a better shooter.

    EJ Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)

    Liddell modernized his game by improving his shooting and defense, and it should now look attractive to Philadelphia. Aside from the three-and-D he'd offer as a power forward or small-ball 5, he'd also give the Sixers' second unit another outstanding post scorer and passer.

Charlotte Hornets

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    Picks No. 13 and No. 15

    Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman) and Mark Williams (Duke, C, Sophomore)

    Duren and Williams get paired together because they'd both offer Charlotte the same thing: rim protection, a physical inside presence and efficient finishing. There is a decent chance that one of them is on the board at No. 13.

    Duren is projected to go first as the younger center who's perceived to have more room to grow offensively. However, Williams added legitimate touch (72.7 percent FT) in his sophomore season. Regardless, LaMelo Ball would get the most out of their athletic abilities and wingspans offensively. But the draw to Duren and Williams still revolves around their potential to change games defensively in the paint.

    Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF/C, Freshman)

    The Hornets could think outside the box and view Sochan as a small-ball 5 option. Labels or position aside, his defensive versatility and instincts are special, and Charlotte could use another defensive plus for its rotation. 

    TyTy Washington (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)

    Though the Hornets just drafted James Bouknight with the No. 11 overall pick last year, Washington offers more playmaking and passing. He'd be the more suitable option at point guard when Ball needs rest, and though he's known more for his offense, specifically facilitating and touch, his defensive effort can be a plus as well.

    Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG, Freshman)

    The Hornets could grab a target at No. 13 and look to trade back from No. 15. They could also just take stand pat and take Chandler, who'd give their bench an uptempo ball-handler who can apply pressure with his speed and pesky defense.

Chicago Bulls

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    Pick No. 18

    Tari Eason (LSU, PF, Sophomore)

    The Bulls could value Eason's defense and toughness, plus his ability to play either forward spot. He isn't the same level of shooter as 2020 No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams, but he does offer some more off-the-dribble game and finishing at the rim. Still, Chicago's draw to Eason in the short term will be his defensive impact and activity.

    TyTy Washington (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)

    It's tough to assess how alarmed Chicago is over Lonzo Ball's ongoing knee issues. Adding insurance in Washington might be a sensible play at No. 18. While he doesn't pack the same scoring firepower as Coby White, he's a more natural setup man with a good feel for playmaking and getting teammates rhythm looks out of pick-and-roll sets.

    MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SF, 2001)

    The Bulls finished fourth in three-point percentage last season, which may make it easier to look past Beauchamp's shooting questions and instead focus on his wing defense. He'd give the Bulls a forward who can guard positions 2-4 while efficiently finishing off the ball as a transition scorer, cutter and offensive rebounder.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Pick No. 14

    Malaki Branham (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)

    This would be a sensible pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers to shop, as there aren't many available minutes or pathways to the rotation for a young prospect. Sticking at No. 14 should just mean drafting the best available player, which could be Malaki Branham.

    Based on how much his name was trending in Chicago at the NBA combine, though, the Cavaliers may need some luck for him to be on the board.

    Branham is a complete, three-level scorer who has a knack for separating and connecting in the mid-range, using patience to find lanes to the rim and scoring opportunistically off the ball, mostly as a spot-up three-point shooter.

    Tari Eason (LSU, PF, Sophomore)

    Whether Kevin Love remains in Cleveland's long-term plans or not, Eason offers enough versatility to be used at multiple positions. He'd come off the bench to give the Cavaliers another frontcourt defender, along with some creation and scoring with his transition ball-handling, driving and finishing.

    Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2003)

    Cleveland could use this pick on a wing in case Caris LeVert or Cedi Osman aren't long-term answers at that spot. The Cavaliers could draft the 19-year-old Dieng and send him to the G League next season.

    The intrigue has grown around the jumbo wing who started to get comfortable and produce in Australia's NBL. At around 6'9", he's more of a guard than a big, but he flashed ball-handling, shot-making and defensive playmaking potential. 

Dallas Mavericks

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    Pick No. 26

    E.J. Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)

    Since taking Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson in 2018, the Dallas Mavericks haven't helped themselves in the draft. They just reached the Western Conference Finals in spite of that, but their lack of frontcourt weapons was on full display against the Golden State Warriors.

    Liddell would give Dallas another option to feature in the half court, where he can create out of post-ups or be used in pick-and-pop situations. However, after easing concerns about his athleticism during testing at the combine, the Mavericks may need to trade up for him barring an unexpected draft-day slide.

    Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF, Junior)

    LaRavia continues to improve his stock during the predraft process, and any team should find his offensive versatility translatable and useful. Based on what we saw in Chicago, his three-point shot looks real, which is a potentially key development for a big who can put the ball down, pass and make defensive plays.

    Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee, SF/PF, Freshman)

    The Mavericks could picture Baldwin giving their guards an immediate shot-maker from the forward spots. Assuming he's a better shooter than this year's 11-game sample size suggests—and his high school film and mechanics suggest he is—Baldwin could have a simple role in Dallas just focusing on burying jumpers off spot-ups and movement. 

Denver Nuggets

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    Pick No. 21

    Walker Kessler (Auburn, C, Sophomore)

    The return of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. may help lift the Denver Nuggets' offense into the league's top five. Their returns may also motivate Denver to find more defensive-minded prospects in the draft.

    For the roughly 15 minutes that two-time reigning MVP Nikola Jokic isn't on the floor, it couldn't hurt to have a special shot-blocker like Kessler. His 19.1 block percentage ranked as the highest ever recorded by a collegiate player who logged at least 500 minutes in a season.

    MarJon Beauchamp (G League Ignite, SF, 2001)

    The Nuggets should value Beauchamp's ability to defend as a rookie. That would be his primary focus in Denver, though early playing time could help ignite more confidence and help expedite his offensive/shooting development. In the meantime, he'd play off Denver's creators and scorers as a finisher within the offense.

    Ousmane Dieng (New Zealand Breakers, SG/SF, 2003)

    Whoever the Nuggets draft seems unlikely to factor heavily into their 2022-23 plans. That could make a project like Dieng attractive. With the focus on contending during this current window, Denver could prepare for the next one (or future injuries/departures) by slowly developing Dieng behind the scenes.

    Dieng's rare mix of 6'9" size and guard skills has captured the attention of NBA evaluators for years, though his late-season production in Australia has led to him surging into the first-round mix.

Detroit Pistons

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    Pick No. 5

    Jaden Ivey (Purdue, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    The Detroit Pistons figure to be rooting for Keegan Murray, Shaedon Sharpe or Dyson Daniels to crack the top four. In all likelihood, that would lead to Ivey slipping to them at No. 5.

    With Cade Cunningham running offense, creating and shot-making, Ivey would bring rim pressure off transition and driving lanes. His ability to break down defenses, put them on their heels and blow by would seemingly work well next to Cunningham's ball-handling, scoring and playmaking.

    Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)

    The Pistons dropping to No. 5 hurt their chances of leaving the draft with a star. But they could find a star role player in Daniels, whose passing and defense would work next to Cunningham in the backcourt or at the 3 or 4 up front.

    Measuring 6'7½" in shoes changes Daniels' projection/trajectory, giving him more versatility as a guard, wing or forward who can play-make, score out of the post, defend four positions and threaten from deep. After his pro day in Chicago, concerns over his shooting have started to fade.

    Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)

    With the assumption that Jerami Grant won't stick in Detroit long term, the Pistons could grab Murray to give Cunningham another frontcourt weapon. He doesn't offer the creation that Detroit presumably wants, but he shouldn't need it to produce based on how effectively he uses his tools, motor, instincts and budding touch to score off the ball and in transition.

Golden State Warriors

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    Pick No. 28

    Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF, Junior)

    LaRavia's shoot-dribble-pass skill set would work well in the Golden State Warriors' system. He also finished with top-three agility and shuttle-run times at the combine, putting up numbers that highlight promising mobility for defense. Offensive versatility, defensive instincts and high IQ should allow LaRavia to fit anywhere, especially on a team that can surround him with creators and scorers.

    Jalen Williams (Santa Clara, G/F, Junior)

    Scouts now expect Williams to crack the first round, as his versatility, efficiency and 7'2¼" wingspan have become a huge draw. The Warriors should see him as an interchangeable ball-handler, 2-guard and wing who'll add value as a passer and off-ball scorer with defensive tools. As long as Williams doesn't have to handle too heavy of a creation load, he has the skill set and IQ to thrive in a supporting role.

    Christian Koloko (Arizona, C, Junior)

    Depending on the Warriors' confidence in James Wiseman and their ability to re-sign Kevon Looney, Koloko could be an option for his finishing and defensive versatility. His job would be easy in Golden State, and he should have the tools, mobility and motor to continue producing as a rim runner, shot-blocker and switchable big. 

Houston Rockets

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    Pick No. 3

    Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)

    Early guesses around the league have the Rockets ending up with Banchero at No. 3 after Jabari Smith and Chet Holmgren go No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Houston's draft night should be stress-free, with a simple decision coming once the Oklahoma City Thunder make their selection at No. 2.

    Taking Banchero will mean going all-in on offense and playing him with either Christian Wood or Alperen Sengun. The Rockets would ultimately value Banchero's budding playmaking ability from the 4, particularly since Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.—the team's starting guards—are both natural scorers, not passers.

    Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF, Freshman)

    Though it seems like a long shot, some around the league believe Oklahoma City may consider Jaden Ivey at No. 2. That shocker would leave two bigs for Houston, presumably Banchero and Holmgren, the latter of whom is the more comfortable three-point shooter and impactful defender.

    With the ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim, Holmgren would be an easier fit on paper next to Wood or Sengun than Banchero. But the Rockets would still be focused on answering the question of who's the better long-term prospect. Either way, getting one of them at No. 3 would feel like excellent value.

    Jaden Ivey (Purdue, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    If the Rockets have questions about the defensive ceiling of a lineup featuring Green, Banchero and either Wood or Sengun, they could consider Ivey. The explosiveness between him and Green would be difficult for an opposing backcourt to match. And Ivey made encouraging strides this past season with his playmaking, mostly due to his improved handles for creation and vision on the move.

Indiana Pacers

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    Pick No. 6

    Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)

    Murray feels like the Pacers' most logical target after the Domantas Sabonis trade. His ability to score out of practically every off-ball action should lead to an easy fit and transition to the NBA, though you don't average 23.5 points per game without some level of self-creation.

    Ideally, Murray will continue to build on the less frequent one-on-one flashes, but his ability to fly in transition, attack from the post, cut, pick-and-pop and crash the glass should quickly translate to offensive production.

    AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)

    Since Murray might come off the board at No. 4 or No. 5, the Pacers should be doing their homework on Griffin. An efficient scorer and elite shooting prospect with promising defensive tools, he may be a more sensible starting wing than Buddy Hield, who could be best coming off the bench as a sixth man. 

    Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)

    The Pacers' defense could use another disruptor, and Daniels has suddenly entered the top-five conversation with a two-way playmaker label. Though Indiana's backcourt is set, Daniels, who measured 6'7½" in shoes at the combine, possesses the size and versatility to play and guard at the 3 and 4 positions. He'd give the lineup a Swiss army knife and connector capable of facilitating offense, attacking, scoring from the post and forcing turnovers.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Pick No. 43

    Jean Montero (Overtime Elite, PG, 2003)

    The Los Angeles Clippers will first pick at No. 43, as they sent their first-round pick (No. 12 overall) to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the Paul George trade. They won't take their needs into account in the second round.

    The Clippers went for a buy-low upside pick in Brandon Boston Jr. last year, and they could do the same this year with Jean Montero. His stock has gradually slipped since November, when there was an idea that his creativity, playmaking and shot-making could propel him into the the lottery.

    After a good start on the first day of NBA combine scrimmages, Montero went down with an injury, ruining an opportunity to win back teams. The Clippers may want to bet on the possibility that scouts have prematurely sold his stock, and that even without strength or explosion, his ball-handling, passing and shooting can still translate in a more open NBA.

    Leonard Miller (Fort Erie Academy, SF, 2003)

    Miller's stock is down after he looked too raw at the combine, though he made a lot of fans a month earlier at the Nike Hoop Summit. He's also an upside pick, as he's still 18 years old with power forward size and wing skills to handle the in the open floor, put the ball down or hit set threes.

    He won't be ready to contribute next season, but it might be nice for the Clippers to be able to unleash Boston and Miller for when Paul George and Kawhi Leonard get closer to the end of their respective contracts.

    Andrew Nembhard (Gonzaga, PG, Senior)

    Athleticism may be becoming less of a need for point guards. The Clippers can put extra stock into Nembhard's special passing IQ and improved shot-making, which was on full display during his 26-point, 11-assist outing during Friday's NBA combine scrimmage.

    The success of Jalen Brunson could ultimately make it easier for teams to picture Nembhard busting through a ceiling that's perceived to be low due to his limited burst or explosion.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Picks No. 22, No. 29

    Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG, Freshman)

    Since free agency starts after the draft, the Memphis Grizzlies may have to prepare themselves for a team that's willing to overpay for backup point guard Tyus Jones. That could lead them to target hometown point guard Chandler, who'd bring speed, pick-and-roll play, rim pressure and pesky defense off the bench behind Ja Morant.

    Walker Kessler (Auburn, C, Sophomore)

    The Grizzlies could target Kessler for shot-blocking with Steven Adams heading into the final year of his contract. He'd start his career as a defensive specialist, though he's made a clear effort to try to add a three-point shot, which he may have in his bag by the 2023-24 season if all goes right.

    Ismael Kamagate (Paris Basketball, C, 2001)

    Kamagate would give the Grizzlies a different look at center with his hops and reach for finishing high above the rim. However, he's getting first-round looks due to the flashes of skill and shot-making that suggest he can offer more than just easy baskets and dunks.

    Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Milwaukee, SF/PF, Freshman)

    Playing with a guard like Ja Morant could make a difference for Baldwin. He had no playmakers at Milwaukee, which exposed some of his limited explosion for self-creation. But in Memphis, Baldwin could play to his strengths as an off-ball shot-maker, and the Grizzlies could use more shooting.

Miami Heat

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    Pick No. 27

    Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee, PG, Freshman)

    Kyle Lowry hasn't played more than 65 games in a season since the 2017-18 campaign. The Miami Heat could target another ball-handler in Kennedy Chandler, who'd bring pace and ball-screen offense off the bench in the short term. But the eye test also says to stay patient with his shooting, a potentially key swing skill for an undersized point guard.

    Dalen Terry (Arizona, PG/SG, Freshman)

    Teams are suddenly talking about Terry as a potential first-round guard, though his size and versatility suggests he can also be used as a wing. He wouldn't give Miami scoring firepower, but his efficiency, passing and defense could work well for a team that already has creators and shot-makers.

    Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF, Junior)

    LaRavia could upgrade Miami's power forward depth after a breakout year in which he showed that he can shoot, handle and pass. The athletic concerns aren't all that alarming when considering how skilled, versatile and smart defensively he became at Wake Forest.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Pick No. 24

    Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SG/SF, Junior)

    The Milwaukee Bucks could add wing depth with Moore, who's suddenly a jack-of-all-trades after breaking out playmaking this year to go with consistent shooting and off-ball scoring. The Bucks could use him anywhere between positions 1-3, whether it's to facilitate, spot up or cut.

    E.J. Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)

    Liddell could give Milwaukee minutes behind Giannis Antetokounmpo as a rookie. Strong, skilled and toolsy on defense, he could be used as a post player, stretch big or even a small-ball 5.

    Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF, Junior)

    LaRavia will be an option at No. 24, with teams starting to see a role player whose improved shooting, ball-handling and passing creates NBA-friendly versatility. His outstanding 2.7 steal percentage also highlights better-than-advertised mobility and impressive IQ.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Pick No. 19

    Walker Kessler (Auburn, C, Sophomore)

    The Minnesota Timberwolves' offense made a jump into the top 10 this year. The next step is strengthening the defense, which they can do by adding Kessler's special shot-blocking. He's limited offensively, but in a 15-minute role behind Karl-Anthony Towns, rim protection would Kessler's primary responsibility. 

    E.J. Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)

    Liddell's defensive improvement should interest Minnesota, though his polished post game and budding three-ball could eventually give him an edge for the starting power forward position. Aside from his high skill level and strength around the basket, the Wolves should also value his intangibles, which scouts have been raving about after interviews.

    TyTy Washington (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)

    Some teams have cooled on Washington, who now seems vulnerable to falling into the late teens or 20s. He may be too skilled for the Wolves to pass on at No. 19, though.

    Washington would serve as D'Angelo Russell's backup and the second unit's new quarterback. He'd play more of the facilitator role next to Malik Beasley, though Washington also possesses three-level scoring ability that faded after he suffered an ankle injury in January.

New Orleans Pelicans

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    Pick No. 8

    AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)

    Zion Williamson returning next season to join CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram means the New Orleans Pelicans should look to plug holes with shooting, defense and efficient players. Griffin just posted an outstanding 63.0 true shooting percentage as a freshman while operating almost exclusively off the ball, which is similar to the role he'd play in New Orleans. The Pelicans would be able to play Griffin at either wing spot or even as a small-ball 4 when Williamson shifts to the 5. 

    Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)

    Daniels would offer a fitting mix of playmaking and defense next to McCollum. Depending on the Pelicans' confidence in Daniels' shooting development, which most scouts seem bullish on after seeing him at the combine and his pro day in Los Angeles, New Orleans could view him as an ideal two-way playmaker and perceived connector between the team's star players.

    Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG/SF, Sophomore)

    With three go-to options in McCollum, Ingram and Williamson, the Pelicans should like the fact that Mathurin brings off-ball scoring. He could play to his athletic and shot-making strengths as a finisher and catch-and-shoot weapon from either wing spot.

New York Knicks

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    Pick No. 11

    Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)

    Daniels is starting to look more like a trade-up target for the New York Knicks after the combine.

    The Knicks would presumably use him at point guard to start, given his mismatch positional size and playmaking ability. But the draw to him in a vacuum stems from his two-way versatility and the impact plays he made for the Ignite.

    At 6'7½" in shoes, Daniels possesses the size, passing, driving, post scoring and foot speed to play and defend positions 1-4. If he continues to build on the flashes of shot-making, which his workouts and age suggest he can, Daniels should be on track to become one of the draft's most complete players in terms of physical tools, skills and intangibles. 

    Malaki Branham (Ohio State, SG, Freshman)

    Branham may have a best-player-available case at No. 11. As promising as Quentin Grimes looked at times last year, he doesn't offer the same three-level scoring, ball-screen playmaking or upside the Ohio State's freshman who turned 19 in mid-May.

    The Knicks could easily move RJ Barrett to the 3 and start Branham at the 2. His ability to catch-and-shoot or separate into drives and off-the-dribble jumpers should create an easy fit.

    Johnny Davis (Wisconsin, SG, Sophomore)

    Davis doesn't have the strongest off-ball scoring profile, but he will have a best-player-available case at No. 11. It wouldn't hurt for the Knicks to have another shot-maker and competitive defender. Even if Davis' separation ability and three-ball don't fully translate to the NBA, his aggression getting to the basket, defensive intensity and confidence in late-game situations would be welcome in New York. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Pick No. 2

    Jabari Smith (Auburn, PF, Freshman)

    While most around the league speculate that the Orlando Magic will take Smith No. 1, the Oklahoma City Thunder still need to prepare for surprises. Scouts have been infatuated all year with the 6'10" forward's shooting ability, self creation into jumpers, defensive versatility and maturity.

    Aside from Smith giving the Thunder a go-to option to feature around the elbows, he'd also make for an ideal floor spacer and pick-and-pop partner for Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF/C, Freshman)

    Holmgren would love playing with Giddey, whose special passing IQ would help optimize the 7-footer's finishing tools and catch-and-shoot game. And the Thunder figure to be interested in Holmgren's potential to change their defensive identity with his unique range/instincts in rim protection.

    Oklahoma City seems like an ideal place for Holmgren to develop, given its solid guard play and the freedom and reps he'd have to work on his half-court scoring skills.

    Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)

    The Thunder need offense, and Banchero may be able to give them more than any other prospect in the draft. His ability to create, both for himself and teammates, is far superior compared to Smith and Holmgren's. Between Gilgeous-Alexander and Banchero, the Thunder would have two star isolation scorers whom they could lean on and go to late in games.


    Pick No. 12

    Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman) and Mark Williams (Duke, C, Sophomore)

    Assuming the Thunder grab one of the power forwards at No. 2, they could eye Duren or Williams for their defensive anchor. Duren won't turn 19 until November, so he's likely the more attractive play given his athleticism, shot-blocking and flashes of post footwork and passing. But Williams was also a high-impact player for a Final Four team, and it's tough to beat his 9'9" standing reach.

    Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG/SF, Sophomore)

    There would need to be some surprise picks in the top 11 for Mathurin to fall to No. 12. He'd be a fitting addition after the Thunder grab a star at No. 2, though. Mathurin doesn't create at a high level, but he does project as a lethal catch-and-score wing, both as a shooter and finisher.

    Tari Eason (LSU, F, Sophomore)

    The Thunder could use Eason as a wing or big to bring defensive activity and offensive versatility. For a young team that's likely to get younger after it selects at No. 2, his toughness and energy should be welcomed.

Orlando Magic

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    Pick No. 1

    Jabari Smith (Auburn, PF, Freshman)

    The Orlando Magic seem likely to bring in three players at most for workouts and interviews. Smith figures to excel in both settings, though his film, archetype and potential trajectory could give him an edge at No. 1.

    With two ball-handlers in Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs and more of a Swiss army knife forward in Franz Wagner, the Magic could view Smith as an ideal addition at the 4, where he'll add needed shooting and shot-making. The primary draw to Smith is his special perimeter offense, though with him and Wagner, Orlando would also have a pair of jumbo-sized wing defenders.

    Paolo Banchero (Duke, PF, Freshman)

    Banchero would give Orlando the quickest, most complete shot of offense up front. Compared to Smith, he's the more threatening creator and well-rounded scorer. The Magic could use his passing and playmaking as well, though his ability to get his own look from any spot on the floor should be most appealing to Orlando. 

    Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga, PF/C, Freshman)

    Holmgren doesn't offer as much self-creation as Smith or Banchero, but he would give Orlando's guards a more useful, high-percentage finishing target off lobs, pops and kickouts. And nobody in the draft can impact a game defensively like Holmgren, whose instincts, tools and mobility should translate to high-level rim protection, switchability and overall incredible defensive range.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Brett Wilhelm/Getty Images

    Pick No. 7

    Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)

    Murray would likely earn an immediate starting role in Portland. He'd give the Blazers' frontcourt a needed source of scoring, and his knack for earning easy baskets in transition and off the ball should work well in a lineup built around high-usage ball-handlers.

    Murray also combined to average 3.2 steals and blocks this past season. Though he isn't known as a lockdown defender, his defensive activity could still add value in Portland.

    Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)

    The Blazers could talk themselves into Daniels if they don't see an All-Star still on the board at No. 7. Between his playmaking, defensive versatility and impact with Ignite as a teenager, he gives off star role-player vibes. And the Blazers should feel comfortable playing him anywhere, including forward, based on his 6'7½" size in shoes and improving shot-making.

    AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)

    Though Griffin isn't the go-to star whom the Blazers likely hoped to add before finding out they got the No. 7 pick, he could be the draft's most efficient off-ball scorer. He has a case as the class' top shooter based on both accuracy and shot-making versatility. Considering his 6'6", 222-pound frame, the Blazers could even play him as a small-ball 4 to create an optimal lineup with Josh Hart, Anfernee Simons and Damian Lillard.

Sacramento Kings

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Pick No. 4

    Jaden Ivey (Purdue, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    Assuming Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero are off the board at No. 4, Ivey stands out as the best prospect available for the Sacramento Kings. The major question for the front office is whether it will consider and question his fit with De'Aaron Fox.

    On one hand, Ivey is perceived to possess more star potential than anyone else outside the top three, and the Kings could suddenly have the NBA's fastest, most explosive backcourt. On the other hand, adding Ivey would likely mean each of the Kings' three cornerstones (Fox, Domantas Sabonis) are average to below-average three-point shooters.

    Sacramento seems more likely to ignore fit if it is confident that Ivey is headed for stardom. Along with elite athletic ability, his improvement as a ball-handler, passer and shot-maker has helped create visions of another Ja Morant or Dejounte Murray type of point guard.

    Keegan Murray (Iowa, PF, Sophomore)

    Murray may also be in Sacramento's best-player-available discussion, though adding him either means playing him out of position at the 3 or moving Sabonis to the 5.

    In a vacuum, Murray offers the scoring versatility to get buckets off transition, post-ups, cuts, rolls and spot-up threes. He might not move the needle for Sacramento defensively, but he won't be a liability, and his offensive development would surely make the Kings tougher to get stops against.

    AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)

    Among all of the likely options for Sacramento, Griffin looks like the easiest fit. He'd plug in as a shooter between Fox and Sabonis and give the lineup an efficient off-ball scorer and versatile shot-maker.  

San Antonio Spurs

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    Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

    Pick No. 9

    Jalen Duren (Memphis, C, Freshman)

    Duren is a sensible target for a San Antonio Spurs roster that's lacking frontcourt athleticism. The 18-year-old still has time/room to build on the flashes of post scoring and passing that he's shown, though the Spurs would target him for his easy baskets and tools/upside in rim protection.

    AJ Griffin (Duke, SF, Freshman)

    Griffin would give the Spurs' rotation an upside shooter with room to grow as a scorer. Shot-making versatility will be his money-maker, though for an 18-year-old, flashes of step-backs and other dribble moves hint at more self-creation potential. If the Spurs are comfortable playing Keldon Johnson at the 4, they shouldn't be hesitant to go small and use a 6'6", 222-pounder at power forward. 

    Jeremy Sochan (Baylor, PF, Freshman)

    The Spurs could buy Sochan's uniqueness as a five-position defender who also has the potential to make set threes, pass and score off the ball. A worst-case outcome would result in San Antonio adding a defensive specialist and energizer who's mostly a spot-up player or cutter. 


    Picks No. 20 and 25

    E.J. Liddell (Ohio State, PF, Junior)

    The Spurs don't have a post presence like Liddell, who can create, shot-make and pass from the elbows and key but also work as a pick-and-pop big.

    Jalen Williams (Santa Clara, G/F Junior)

    Williams checks boxes with his skill versatility and physical tools. The Spurs wouldn't worry about what position he plays. They'd use him to play-make, score off the board and guard positions 1-3 with his 7'2¼" wingspan. 

    Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest, PF, Junior)

    LaRavia's offensive versatility creates an easy-to-picture fit at forward, where he can operate as a playmaking or stretch 4. If the Spurs get a rim protector like Duren at No. 9, LaRavia would make more sense at No. 25.

Toronto Raptors

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Pick No. 33

    Ismael Kamagate (Paris Basketball, C, 2001)

    Regardless of whether the Toronto Raptors are looking for bigs, Kamagate may be undervalued in the second round. After shooting 64.3 percent in France's top league, he should be far more useful offensively than Precious Achiuwa. Kamagate is an easy-basket machine who's tapping into his motor, length and athleticism, though flashes of ball-handling and tough shot-making highlight some untapped scoring potential. 

    Trevor Keels (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Keels would upgrade Toronto's wing depth. He'll defend 2s and 3s, and the Raptors could use him on and off the ball offensively with his pick-and-roll ball-handling feel and potential as a spot-up shooter. Luguentz Dort comparisons highlight his potential to guard forwards and be used at multiple spots on offense.

    Dalen Terry (Arizona, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    Terry could leapfrog Malachi Flynn in the Raptors' rotation and double as a point guard or wing. He's efficient on the ball as a finisher and passer, and at 6'7¼" in shoes with a 7'0¾" wingspan, Terry could smother ball-handlers and defend three positions. 

Washington Wizards

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Pick No. 10

    Bennedict Mathurin (Arizona, SG/SF, Sophomore)

    Mathurin would have a crack at the Washington Wizards' starting small forward job as a rookie. He'd immediately be the lineup's most explosive athlete. With the offense expected to run through Bradley Beal (assuming he re-signs) and Kristaps Porzingis, Mathurin would be a fitting addition to the wing with his off-ball shot-making and catch-and-finish game.

    Johnny Davis (Wisconsin, SG, Sophomore)

    Aside from Beal, the Wizards lack guards who can generate their own offense. Davis would give Washington another creator and shot-maker, though the rotation would also value his defensive motor and toughness. If the Wizards were ever forced to trade Beal (if he re-signs) at some point for any reason, it wouldn't hurt to have a lottery 2-guard prospect on the roster.

    Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite, PG/SG, 2003)

    The Wizards may want to think about moving up for Daniels, who'd check a number of key boxes for the starting lineup. Washington needs playmaking and defense, which are Daniels' signature strengths. The Wizards could use him at point guard or even play him as a wing ahead of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Deni Avdija.

    Stats courtesy of Sports Reference.