The NBA’s draft kicks off tonight with an “almost” consensus top-3, but who will be the first overall pick?
As I’m typing this, the NBA draft takes place tonight at 8:00 PM. While it’s unsure who even the first pick is guaranteed to be, I’ll do my best to project every selection in the top ten. There are plenty of storylines and greats whose names will be called tonight. This is based on what I think the teams will do, not what they should do.
1st Pick: Orlando Magic Select Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga
With the first overall pick, the Magic opt to go with Holmgren. While there is currently rising belief it could be Paolo Banchero; I don’t see a way they pass on Holmgren. He is built for the future of the NBA and will be a cornerstone for the next 10-15 years if he stays healthy. Not to mention, he already has a relationship with the current shooting guard, and draft pick last year, Jalen Suggs. Don’t mess this up Orlando.
2nd Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder Select Paolo Banchero, Duke
The Thunder have the second pick. Now, they have a chance to grab another elite scorer to pair next to SGI and Josh Giddey. With Holmgren off the board, it is consensus that Banchero is the next best option. He features all of the tools to be great at the next level. He reminds me a little of Jayson Tatum when he first came into the league. As long as he can handle the leg cramps and they make sure to get his weight under control, he should become a superstar.
3rd Pick: Houston Rockets Select Jabari Smith, Auburn
Smith came out and dominated as a true freshman in the SEC. He averaged 17 points, seven boards, and two assists per game to go with stellar defensive stats. He also 42 percent from the three. Smith has an incredibly high ceiling, which would fill a significant need for the Rockets, as they lack a defensive stud in the paint. The duo of Jabari Smith and Jalen Green could be legendary in the future for Houston.
4th Pick: New York Knicks Select Jaden Ivey, Purdue
While the Kings currently hold the fourth overall pick, I have no doubt they’ll fumble the bag and trade it to the Knicks. While they have been increasingly high on Keegan Murray, I still see them trading the pick. New York has been incredibly involved throughout the process, and I believe they will come away with the Purdue standout. He is a great scorer and passer and has lockdown defensive abilities. It’s a match made in heaven for New York.
5th Pick: Detroit Pistons Select Keegan Murray, Iowa
The Pistons seem to have found the next big superstar with Cade Cunningham. Now, it’s about surrounding him with good players and giving him the chance to succeed. Murray is a coach’s dream due to his abilities off the ball. He is arguably the most efficient player in this class, and if they use him correctly, he could become lethal. He is a strong shooter from all sides of the court, so pairing him up with Cade, could cause chaos.
6th Pick: Indiana Pacers Select Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona
The sixth pick is where the draft starts to go every which way, where nobody has an idea of what could happen. I believe Indiana will snag Mathurin, to the surprise of many. Mathurin has incredible athleticism that allows him to score at will. He also has a nice jump-shot that he worked on over time and can now confidently shoot. The defense isn’t perfect, but it is something that can be worked on. He is a small project but can and will reap great rewards.
7th Pick: Portland Trailblazers Select Jalen Duren, Memphis
This will be a reach to a few of you, but it makes perfect sense. They just traded for Jerami Grant, which shows they want to make a run at the playoffs with their current unit. Duren would slide in perfectly, as he is a very traditional center. He has good paint defense, is firm around the rim, and can score in many different ways. He is the highest-drafted player like this and would make perfect sense. Make the reach Portland.
8th Pick: New Orleans Pelicans Select Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
Our first G league player, and it’s a good one. The Pelicans quickly need to get a hold of a point guard, and if Daniels falls into their laps, it is a match made in heaven. Daniels measured in at 6’8 with a 6’11 wingspan at the combine, which is nuts. This helps with his electric defensive abilities and spectacular passing capabilities. He is similar to a LaMelo Ball but can rebound it exceptionally well. He’s also outstanding off the pick and roll, which could make for a deadly duo when Zion Williamson returns.
9th Pick: San Antonio Spurs Select Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky
Some may be surprised to see Sharpe drafted so low, but I’m not as high on him. This draft is loaded with guard talent, and I think he falls into this range. I don’t think he will be drafted outside the top ten; however, that is insane. He has an insane vertical leap of around 48 inches and a solid shot, but the defense lacks, and he isn’t fantastic finishing around the rim. If he gets those ironed out, however, he can be great.
10th Pick: Washington Wizards Select Johnny Davis, Wisconsin
The final draft pick I’m doing is Washington’s, and they are getting a stud. The big ten players of the year can score very well inside the paint, and is more consistent then most from the free throw line. The bets part however, is his ability to create his own shot. He can do it himself when needed. He also gets hot incredibly quickly, and is one of the scariest people on the court once he does. The one fault in his game is that he shot just 30 percent from the three. But the way he plays, he should be just fine.