By Jeremy Fitch: Writer/Analyst
As we are just three days from the draft, we are excited for all these kids that are fulfilling their dreams of making it to the NBA. Let’s see who we believe will be the lottery picks, baring trades happening on Thursday night!
1. Timberwolves- Karl- Anthony Towns
We see Towns as the pick that fits this squad the best. With young pieces already in place and a piece like Towns, they will look to push the tempo next season. Although I believe they are still a couple years away from competing at a high level, I think they are creating a great atmosphere.
2. Lakers- Jahlil Okafor
After coming off an incredible season as a freshman at Duke University, Okafor is looking to take his talents to the next level. We see Okafor being taken second on Thursday. The Lakers have always been known for that dominant big man. Okafor looks like with the right development he could become another Laker legend.
3. 76ers- D’Angelo Russell
While it is a little up in the air where Philly could go with their pick after trading away the rookie of the year, Michael Carter Williams last season, it seems as if the point guard position is one of many spots they need to address in the draft or free agency. Look for them to take either Russell or Porzingis.
4. Knicks- Justice Winslow
While no mock drafts have shown Winslow going to the Knicks at number 4 ,we see it as a realistic landing spot. The Knicks do have many spots that need to be addressed, but drafting a guy like Winslow is great on the defensive end. He is also explosive to the rim and would fit great in the triangle.
5. Magic- Emmanuel Mudiay
This seems strange because Orlando already has a point guard in Payton and shooting guard in Oledipo, but Mudiay is just too talented to pass up at 5
6. Kings- Kristaps Porzingis
We see Porzingis falling a bit, even though most mock drafts have him going in the top 4. I just don’t see Phil Jackson(Knicks President) very high on Porzingis at this point. Look for the Kings to go after him, especially if they some how pull off the rumored three way trade between the Lakers, Magic and Kings.
7. Nuggets- Willie Cauley- Stein
With how versatile Cauley- Stein is on the defensive end, I do not see him getting past pick 7. While he will need to work on the offensive end of the ball, it is difficult to pass up a player that can defend all 5 positions. Look for the Nuggets to go with Cauley- Stein or a shooter.
8. Pistons- Mario Hezonja
Coming over from playing with FC Barcelona, Hezonja is possibly the best shooter in the class. This kid has a high upside and can contribute right away. When we look back at this draft class years from now, we may say, how could teams have over looked this kid? With the right fit he could become a superstar.
9. Hornets- Stanley Johnson
Although many reports have said the Hornets are looking for a shooter, Stanley Johnson has such impressive length and speed to drive to the dish. Johnson was an all right shooter from behind the arc in college, but I am not sure with his release that it will translate immediately to the NBA. Just like some other prospects, he will need to be in the right situation to flourish. I see the Hornets picking Johnson or trading down to draft a player like RJ Hunter.
10. Heat- Devin Booker
Booker is an incredible talent and I can see him becoming a truly special player. While many people see Booker as just a jump shooter, to me he seems like much more. His speed and athleticism is being under appreciated. Pat Riley(Miami Heat GM) has been high on Booker since the NBA Combine. I would expect Thursday night Booker will walk across the stage with a Miami Heat hat as he shakes Adam Silver’s hand.
The draft will be exciting for the players and the fans. The draft gives fans hope that their team will turn it around for the future after struggling the year before. Tune in Thursday night on ESPN at 7.