The Denver Nuggets will once again try to get another steal in the NBA Draft, much like they did last year when they snagged Jordan Hamilton or Kenneth Faried. And like they did three years ago when they acquired Ty Lawson on draft day.
Lawson was drafted 18th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves and was later traded to the Nuggets. Denver selected Faried with the 22nd pick and then traded for Hamilton after he was drafted 26th by the Dallas Mavericks. Which means drafting 20th is right where the Nuggets want to be – especially in this deep draft.
- NEW ORLEANS: Anthony Davis, 6-foot-10 220 pounds, 19 years old, Kentucky, Freshman, Power Forward
Davis is the only sure thing in this draft, but the Hornets aren’t the best situation for the young big man. They lack a true point guard (Jarrett Jack is solid, but not great) and Eric Gordon, the only star caliber player in New Orleans, is a restricted free agent and hasn’t been thrilled playing for the Hornets.
- CHARLOTTE: Michael Kidd Gilchrist, 6-7 228, 19 years old, Kentucky, Freshman, Small Forward
Okay, Kidd-Gilchrist can’t shoot the ball and may never be a great scorer in the NBA. But the guy plays hard, wants to win and can defend with the best of them. He is exactly what the Bobcats need, heart and grit. He develop into a Luol Deng-type player, someone that’s calling card is defense and can still be a complimentary scorer. The Bobcats may also instead opt for Bradley Beal, who is more of a traditional scorer.
- WASHINGTON: Bradley Beal, 6-4 207, 19 years old, Florida, Freshman, Shooting Guard
It’s a toss up about who is better for the Wizards, Kidd-Gilchrist or Beal. However, no matter what one or the other will be available for Washington at No. 3. Both players would play well with John Wall, but Beal would provide the Wizards, who were tied for 22nd in scoring, another offensive weapon. Some mock drafts have the Wizards taking Andre Drummond or Thomas Robinson, but Drummond would give the Wizards another project and Robinson doesn’t really fit a need.
- CLEVELAND: Harrison Barnes, 6-8 223, 20 years old, North Carolina, Sophomore, Small Forward
The Cavaliers could go two different directions with this pick. Barnes would fit in well and while some see him as the second-coming of Marvin Williams, others see him as another Danny Granger. Needless to say, Barnes can really shoot the ball and has great size for the small forward position. He also is friends with Cleveland’s star point guard Kyrie Irving. However, it might be hard for the Cavs to pass on Drummond’s potential. Drummond already has great size and would fit in well next to Tristan Thompson, who Cleveland picked in the top five last season.
- SACRAMENTO:Thomas Robinson, 6-10 240, 21 years old, Kansas, Junior, Power Forward
Robinson may be the most NBA-ready player in the draft. Dude can bring many of the same things that Kenneth Faried brought the Nuggets this season. He’s highly energetic and a very competitive player, who has more size than Faried – but not as energetic as Faried. Robinson, much like Faried, was a top rebounder in college and may be the best rebounder in the draft. He also has more potential on the offensive side of the ball than Faried. He’d fit in well next to DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings could also go for Drummond.
- PORTLAND: Andre Drummond, 6-10 251, 18 years old, Connecticut, Freshman, Center
Ideally the best situation for the Blazers is if Barnes falls. But it would be hard to pass up a young big man that is as talented as Drummond. But, Portland hasn’t had the best luck drafting big man (See Oden, Greg and Bowie, Sam) – especially talented big man. The Blazers could look at Damian Lillard, whose stock is rising or reach for a talented shooting guard like Jeremy Lamb or Dion Waiters.
- GOLDEN STATE: Terrence Jones, 6-9 244, 20 years old, Kentucky, Sophomore, Forward
This is much higher than what many mock drafts have Jones going, but the versatile forward may be one of the most talented players in the draft. He has great size, great range and is very good defensively. He also is only 20 and there is reports that he doesn’t have a great motor, but it’s hard to fault a guy that wins a National Title and spent much of the game defending the opposing team’s top player (Thomas Robinson). Jones should succeed as a point forward at the next level, much like guys like Al Harrington, Antoine Walker and Lamar Odom. The Warriors also could look at Perry Jones and Jared Sullinger.
- TORONTO: Jeremy Lamb, 6-5 185, 20 years old, Connecticut, Sophomore, Shooting Guard
Lamb doesn’t really fit a need with the Raptors, but he is a player that is capable of playing right away and still have more upside. Lamb has great length and has a solid jump shot. Toronto could also look at Perry Jones or Lillard.
- DETROIT:John Henson, 6-10 220, 21 years old, North Carolina, Junior, Power Forward
Henson is a poor man’s Anthony Davis, he has great length and good shot blocker. His calling card in the NBA will be his defense. However, this may be a little early for a guy that may not be strong enough to defend most power forwards in the NBA. He also is a terrible shooter, something that he has gotten better during his three years at UNC. He may play a similar role to Luc Mbah a Moute at the next level: A defensive stopper that lacks a true position and doesn’t help on offense. The Pistons could look at Perry Jones or Tyler Zeller.
- NEW ORLEANS: Damian Lillard, 6-2 190, 21 years old, Weber State, Junior, Guard
The Hornets won the lottery, but if they want to vastly improve their team they need to snag a top talent with the 10th pick too. Lillard’s stock is very much on the rise and he is by far the best point guard in the draft – despite playing at a small college. He is a dangerous scorer that could make him an elite guard in the NBA or a very talented sixth man. The Hornets may instead snag a player like Terrence Ross with the 10th pick, whose stock is also rising.
- PORTLAND: Dion Waiters, 6-4 215, 20 years old, Syracuse, Sophomore, Guard
Waiters is the biggest wild card in the draft. Some scouts see him as the next Dwyane Wade. Others see him as the next DeShawn Stevenson. He may help replace Brandon Roy in some Portland fans, and if he and Drummond reach their potential the Blazers have hit the jackpot. Portland could also look into getting help at point guard with Kendall Marshall or get another big like Perry Jones.
- MILWAUKEE:Perry Jones, 6-11 235, 20 years old, Baylor, Sophomore, Forward
Jones is another wild card, he is super athletic and very long. He also has range on his jump shot, but there are questions about his motor. Jones may be another steal for the up and coming Bucks, but he won’t replace Andrew Bogut.
- PHOENIX: Austin Rivers, 6-4 203, 19 years old, Duke, Freshman, Shooting Guard
Rivers is one of the most hyped players in the Draft and it’s hard to see him living up to the expectations. Rivers is a good scorer and has good ball-handling skills, but he lacks ideal height and isn’t terribly athletic. He also is a bit of a chucker. Rivers would fit in perfectly for the Suns, who need a talented scorer and ball-handler. Rivers may not be enough to make Steve Nash stay, but he’d help Phoenix’s future after Nash.
- HOUSTON:Tyler Zeller, 6-11 240, 22 years old, North Carolina, Senior, Center
Zeller isn’t the most skilled center, but he is a player that should be in the NBA for years. The Rockets need help in the post and Zeller’s mobility and work ethic he should help right away. Houston may also look at Jared Sullinger and Terrence Ross.
- PHILADELPHIA: Jared Sullinger, 6-9 261, 20 years old, Ohio State, Sophomore, Power Forward
A year ago, Sullinger was a top-5 pick. Now he could possibly slide to 15th, where he would be a steal. Sullinger has a very good, old-school game who can be a force in the post on the offensive side of the ball and also on the glass. He does lack the athleticism that scouts love, but he potentially could follow in similar roles as Carlos Boozer and Zach Randolph. Sullinger also would help replace Elton Brand, who may be an amnesty clause.
- HOUSTON: Terrence Ross, 6-7 197, 21 years old, Washington, Sophomore, SG/SF
Ross has all the tools of an NBA shooting guard. He is extremely athletic, has deep range and length to be a good defender. The Rockets are crowded at shooting guard and small forward, but Ross is too talented to pass up. Don’t be surprised if Ross goes higher in the draft.
- DALLAS: Meyers Leonard, 7 215, 20 years old, Illinois, Sophomore, Center
Every thing about Leonard screams project. He has great athleticism, size and is a very good shot blocker. He probably won’t help the Mavs too much this season, but in time he would be a good replacement to Tyson Chandler. Dallas could also draft Kendall Marshall with the 17th pick.
- MINNESOTA: Quincy Miller, 6-9 210, 19 years old, Baylor, Freshman, Forward
Miller has great size and is very skilled, but he is also still recovering from tearing his ACL during high school. He is very raw, but has great basketball IQ. There is a good chance that the Timberwolves could deal the pick, but Miller would give Minnesota another solid, young prospect.
- ORLANDO:Moe Harkless, 6-8 218, 19 years old, St. John’s, Freshman, Forward
Thanks to his athleticism, length and a solid freshman year, Harkless is a lock for a first-round pick. He runs the floor well, but lacks range. He also is a bit of tweener, not skilled enough for small forward and not big enough for power forward. The Magic will go for the best player available and there aren’t a lot of players better than Harkless this late in the draft.
- DENVER:Kendall Marshall, 6-4 197, 20 years old, North Carolina, Sophomore, Point Guard
The Nuggets don’t have an immediate need and can go in a many of different directions. They could easily go with the best player available, which is Marshall. Marshall would make sense due to the UNC connections and he is a younger version of Andre Miller. However, Denver may also reach for a guy like John Jenkins, who is by far the top shooter in the draft. Another player the Nuggets could look at is Fab Melo, who has the size to be a good defensive presence in the NBA. Evan Fournier is also an option.
- BOSTON: Royce White, 6-8 249, 21 years old, Iowa State, Sophomore, Power Forward
The Celtics have back to back picks, and should use one pick on a player for the future and another on a player that can help immediately. White is a little of the both. He is a stocky big man and would be a top-10 pick if he was two inches taller. He is very versatile, quick and is a great passer. He reminds many of Anthony Mason. Many mock drafts have Andrew Nicholson being drafted by the Celtics, but is too similar to last year’s pick JaJuan Johnson.
- BOSTON: Evan Fournier, 6-7 206, 19 years old, France, Shooting Guard
There isn’t a lot of hype about Fournier, but he is an intriguing prospect. A player that should get by in the NBA with basketball IQ and should be a starter in the League for years. He’d help the Celtics rebuilding project.
- ATLANTA: Tony Wroten, 6-7 204, 19 years old, Washington, Freshman, Guard
If Wroten could shoot the ball, he’d be in the top 5. However, he can’t which have many scouts seeing him as another Julius Hodge. But Wroten has great size and can be a force on defense due to his size. He also has a knack for drawing fouls and getting to the basket. If he can just develop a reasonable jump shot he could be something special in the NBA.
- CLEVELAND: Doron Lamb, 6-4 200, 20 years old, Kentucky, Sophomore, Shooting Guard
Lamb does one thing well and that is shoot the ball, but his all-around game isn’t terrible it just isn’t great. He is a solid ball handler and is aggressive attacking the basket. He doesn’t have great size, but makes up for it with his wingspan. The Cavs could go other routes, but Lamb helps with his shooting.
- MEMPHIS: Marquis Teague, 6-2 189, 19 years old, Kentucky, Freshman, Point Guard
The Grizzlies desperately need a backup point guard as they turned to OJ Mayo to run the point at times during the playoffs and it didn’t turn out well. Teague isn’t a traditional point guard, he struggles with his decision making and tends to be out of control at times. However, he is still young and is very aggressive and could be a nice piece for Memphis.
- INDIANA: Jeff Taylor, 6-7 226, 23 years old, Vanderbilt, Senior, Forward
The Pacers have been making a living on finding players late in the draft (Roy Hibbert, Danny Granger…) and Taylor may be another one. He is very undervalued, mainly due to his age. However, he is a lockdown defender and has range on his jump shot. He could play right away.
- MIAMI: Arnett Moultrie, 6-11 220, 21 years old, Mississippi State, Junior, Power Forward
If Moultrie drops this late, he could be the steal of the draft. The Heat need more size, or more talented size and Moultrie is exactly that. He is a mix between Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem, who can hit from long range, battle for rebounds and isn’t afraid to call out his teammates. Moultrie’s stock is rising, so more than likely he will be a lottery pick.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: Andrew Nicholson, 6-9 220, 22 years old, St. Bonaventure, Senior, Power Forward
As the series with the Spurs have shown us the Thunder need a low-post presence and while Nicholson won’t command too many double teams and doesn’t have the size or skill to start in the NBA, he does help on the offensive side of the ball and would give the Thunder another option – especially in the pick and roll.
- CHICAGO: Orlando Johnson, 6-5 223, 23 years old, UC Santa Barbara, Senior, Shooting Guard
This is a tough pick to predict. The Bulls will be without Derrick Rose for part of next year and could go for a prospect here or look more towards a player to help now. Some mock drafts have the Bulls drafting John Jenkins here, but Jenkins may not be enough of a scorer for Chicago which tended to struggle offensively down the stretch. Johnson is a very prominent scorer who can score in many ways. He can take smaller players into the post, he can drive by slower wings and also take bigger defenders outside. Johnson doesn’t have the upside but the Bulls may not be looking for upside with this pick.
- GOLDEN STATE: Fab Melo, 7-0 274, 21 years old, Syracuse, Sophomore, Center
The Warriors already have Bogut and Andris Biedrins, but Melo’s upside may be too much to pass up on with the last pick in the draft. Melo has reportedly lost weight and can be a force on the defensive side of the ball in the NBA. He still lacks a refined offensive game, but as the Nuggets showed last season it doesn’t hurt to have three 7-footers on your squad.
NEXT UP: Will Barton, John Jenkins, Draymond Green, Jared Cunningham, Miles Plumlee
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