- New Orleans - Anthony Davis - Absolute no-brainer. We covered this yesterday, but Davis is the one slam-dunk in this draft. It isn't a normal expectation of elite offensive production, but he'll be an immediate impact guy on defense and the boards while providing fantastic "clean-up" around the rim with his great hands, and the ability to knock down a mid-range jumper. I really like him.
- Charlotte - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - First of all, I really like Kidd-Gilchrist, and he's certainly one of the top 3-4 guys in this draft for me. That said, I don't love Charlotte as a landing spot for him. Basketball-wise, he's a defense-first guy who does attack the rim well, but doesn't score at a high rate, and it's a tough spot for him to come in with the pressures of the #2 pick on a wretched team. He would've been better on a team with other offensive options, but we'll see how he adjusts. Character has never been a question for him.
- Washington - Bradley Beal - Once Beal got to Washington, the world knew he was headed there. I think we all went a little overboard on Beal after the hype machine got going, but he's certainly going to be able to shoot in the league, and he's got an NBA body. Washington has a glaring need at the two (Jordan Crawford, really?) and now with Nene/Okafor/Ariza/Beal/Wall, that's a reasonable nucleus.
- Cleveland - Dion Waiters - The first "reach" of the draft. Most people had Cleveland going Harrison Barnes here after the top 3 played out how it did, but clearly the Cavs had some reservations, and went to the next wing guy down the list. Waiters has red flags with his jump shot and the fact that he never started a college game (Marvin Williams alert!), but he's one of the best in the draft off the dribble, and paired with Kyrie Irving, they could have a dynamic backcourt.
- Sacramento - Thomas Robinson - I had Robinson #2 on my board, so this is a no-brainer for Sacto. Pairing Robinson as the blue-collar worker to Demarcus Cousins could give them a scary front-court for years to come, and Robinson has the least bust potential of anyone in the top-10 outside of Davis. Really liked it.
- Portland - Damian Lillard - This is a divisive pick. Lillard was the #1 ranked point guard on virtually everyone's board, but in a draft that lacks much talent at that spot, it wasn't a badge of honor. He's 22 years old and from a small college (Weber State) with questions about his ability to distribute the ball. That said, I really like him actually from what I've seen. He's an efficient scorer who got his buckets responsibly in college despite little help, he's a decent passer, and can defend. Portland had a glaring need at the point, so I can't argue with this pick.
- Golden State - Harrison Barnes - I'm higher on Barnes than most, so I kind of liked it. Golden State doesn't have a screaming "hole" despite being a bad team, and Barnes was a "best available" pick here. They have too many jump shooters (Curry, Thompson, now Barnes) and that's an issue, but the only guy with the same-or-better tools that was available was Drummond, and I can see going the other way.
- Toronto - Terrence Ross - Because I actually did see Waiters ending up in Cleveland as at least a possibility, this was the biggest shocker in the lottery. I'm actually high on Ross as an offensive player. He can really shoot, and was probably being underrated on big boards at around #20. That said, he's got a pretty low ceiling, and I would've gone with Jeremy Lamb if they wanted the wing shooter.
- Detroit - Andre Drummond - Somebody had to end up with Drummond. Detroit is actually a fit for him because they need a big, rim protector to pair with Greg Monroe down the road. Drummond has a wildly high ceiling as one of the best athletes at this spot since Dwight Howard, but with motor and skill questions, #9 seems reasonable. Can't fault Detroit for visions of Twin Towers.
- New Orleans - Austin Rivers - I really like Rivers. The knock on him is his cockiness, but I think it could be a strength. The fit in New Orleans is curious next to Eric Gordon, as both are undersized shooting guards, so I'm not sure how that works. If they can play together effectively, I like it. If not, then this pick is questionable.
- Portland - Meyers Leonard - Hold your breath, Portland fans. Leonard has a slight knee injury history (no, I'm not kidding), and he's a workout wonder. Great athlete and great size/tools at 7'1, but production wasn't great at Illinois, and I'm not sure Portland's best lineup doesn't include Aldridge at the 5-spot. Stay tuned.
- Houston - Jeremy Lamb - In a vacuum, Lamb at #12 is big-time value. Prior to a non-lingering ankle injury in workouts, he was getting top-8 projections, and he's a player. The curious part is that Lamb is strikingly close Kevin Martin body-type and skill wise, so I'm not sure what the move is there.
- Phoenix - Kendall Marshall - This move made me laugh. Marshall is a non-defending, pass-first point guard. Sound familiar?!? Anyway, Steve Nash may be out, and while Marshall would be an exceptional fit offensively in the Gentry system, he's much slower than Nash and an even-worse defender. I don't know if he can be a starter in the league.
- Milwaukee - John Henson - Great shot-blocker, but the fit is curious. Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders, Drew Gooden, and Sam Dalembert are already there, and I don't know what Henson brings in addition to what they have already. Don't love it.
OTHER PICKS I LOVED/HATED
- Love - Royce White to Houston at #16 - I love Royce White, as you know from the preview, and it doesn't surprise me at all that Darryl Morey would take him here. Houston has so many guys (always), but White is a guy with a unique and efficient style.
- Love - Sullinger and Melo to Boston at #21 and #22 - Boston drafted their #2 and #3 bigs for next season. Sullinger wouldn't have been there without back issues, but at #21 he's certainly worth the pick. Melo won't give much offense, but Boston needed a rim-protector and Melo can certainly handle that in short minutes.
- Hate - Moe Harkless to Philly at #15 - I just didn't get it. Harkless was a late-riser in draft circles, and I actually think he may be a player. That said, Philly absolutely does not need another slashing swingman who can't shoot. The fit doesn't make sense.
- Hate - Miles Plumlee to Indiana at #26 - I like Miles Plumlee. Giving him a 2-3 year guaranteed deal in the 1st round after he averaged 7 points a game as a senior in college? Eesh. Cue the Jeff Foster comparisons, but when that's your ceiling, best of luck.
- Love - Perry Jones to OKC at #28 - Imagine you are the Thunder. What are you getting at #28 that helps you fill a need for next year? Not a lot of options, so swing for the fence and grab the top-5 upside guy there, put him in a great locker room, and see what happens. Absolutely loved it.
- Hate - Jeff Taylor to Charlotte at #31 - Another guy who will be an NBA player I think, but doesn't he do the same things at Kidd-Gilchrist? Fit concerns.
- Love - Draymond Green to Golden State at #35 - I would've "loved" whoever took Green regardless, but he's the type of guy that the Dubs need, and he's so smart.
- John Jenkins at #23 - I don't like it. It's not that Jenkins doesn't have an NBA future, because he can flat-out shoot the ball, and there's always a place for that. The question is everything else. When I read about Jenkins horrendous rebound rate, lack of defensive prowess, inability to create his own shot, or his lack of size, it brings pause. I think Jenkins could be useful if deployed correctly, but Larry Drew doesn't give me confidence that that will be the case, especially when you look at how he historically handles young/bench guys. I would've liked to have seen the upside pick (Perry Jones, Quincy Miller, even Tony Wroten) or a guy that I think could help right away like Teague or Draymond Green.
- Mike Scott at #43 - The numbers are split on Mike Scott, but I love him. He played in the slowest tempo in the country at Virginia and still managed to put up gaudy numbers. He's undersized, but not too much so, and he can score and rebound. John Hollinger's rater doesn't bring confidence in what Scott will be, but at #43, I liked it.
There it is... Enjoy!