By Sam Agnitsch
11. Orlando Magic- Domantas Sabonis F/C Gonzaga
Orlando looks to take best available here bringing in the hardworking Sabonis to bolster their frontcourt. Son of Portland folk hero Arvydas Sabonis , Domantas has the pedigree, motor and rebounding skills to put his own stamp on the NBA. Will partner well with starting center Nikola Vucevic especially when crashing the boards. Not very athletic or long but makes up for it with his high energy and passion for the game. Very willing passer but has struggled at times with his mid-range game.
12. Utah Jazz-Jakob Poeltl C Utah
At 7’1 Poeltl could be the best big out of this draft. Is excellent at running the floor for his size and quick enough to effectively cover the pick and roll defensively. He’s got nice touch around the rim, which combined with his rebounding skills makes him dangerous inside the paint. Doesn’t protect the rim very well but provides a nice change of pace to defensive minded center Rudy Gobert. The Jazz need frontcourt depth at center and despite coming into the draft as a sophomore Poeltl is polished enough to be ready day 1.
13. Phoenix Suns- Malachi Richardson SG Syracuse
With the second pick in the lottery for the rebuilding Suns they add depth to the backcourt, more specifically the wing. Richardson has the size at 6’6” and 7’ wingspan to get into passing lanes defensively as well as use it to his advantage when getting into the paint. Can be a very streaky shooter but has room to improve on his consistency given his solid work ethic. He’s young with a lot of potential, would need to learn from the sidelines first before being able to take on a role on this team. Had problems with turnovers in college and was prone to take bad shots at Syracuse but with Phoenix having to take chances in the lottery this year, Richardson could be a potential late lottery home run.
14. Chicago Bulls-Wade Baldwin IV G Vanderbilt
Finishing out the lottery are the shockingly disappointing Bulls. A team looking to make the next step by hiring a new coach and signing Pau Gasol in the offseason instead took a massive step back, missing the playoffs completely. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding mainstays like Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and even hometown favorite Derrick Rose so where they decide to go at # 14 should be telling about their personnel plans this summer. Wade Baldwin is an excellent shooter (over 40% 3 seasons in college) and has size and length you want from a guard…a point guard that is. This is the main question regarding Baldwin’s NBA prospects. If he can work on his ball-handling and turnover efficiency you could have something special running the point. However, if he can’t make that transition, his lack of size for the shooting guard spot and low release point on his shot would be very hard to overcome in today’s NBA. The Bulls can afford to take the gamble.