By Elijah Silas-Tafelsky
We will start with picks One through five, tomorrow will be picks Six through 10, and picks 10 through 30 will follow.
- Boston Celtics: Markelle Fultz: PG, Washington (1 Year)
It seems like a forgone conclusion that the Celtics are going to take Fultz with the number one selection as Lonzo Ball decided to not workout for the Celtics and players like Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and De’Aaron Fox not the best fits for Boston. Fultz can do it all on the court and doesn’t seem to have much of a weakness in his game outside of maybe the fact that he was not on a good team in college, but does that matter? He will contend with the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier at the point guard spot, but Fultz height should allow him to play as shooting guard as well in Boston. The big question in the coming weeks will be if the Celtics decide to keep the top pick in the draft or try and trade the pick and possibly another player on their roster to go after a superstar to help bolster their title chances moving forward?
- Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball: PG, UCLA (1 Year)
Are the Lakers drafting Lonzo Ball and LaVar Ball? Well, it sure seems like it. As much as I like Lonzo Ball’s game I have a hard time understanding this selection. I feel like it’s almost being forced on the Lakers and LaVar Ball is the reason why. The Lakers have two pretty good guards in De’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson so adding Ball would clutter more things in a young backcourt. Also, Ball is unlikely to start as the point guard on the Lakers and how much will that affect him after being a star wherever he had been previously? His passing and vision ability is the best in this draft class but When I watch Ball his weaknesses are even more evident than Fultz. Defensively he must improve. His footwork and positioning were poor in college and he could get away with it in the college because he was the one of the more talented guys on the court but in the NBA, he could seriously get burned. Other top prospect De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky already torched him for 39 points in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament and it became evident that Ball has some defensive work to do. His shot form is also a concern but I think he can work around the weird release to be a pretty good shooter in the NBA. The Lakers will sure love having him on the team but there are some questions that still need to be answered.
- Philadelphia 76ers: Malik Monk: SG, Kentucky (1 Year)
Another year and another Philadelphia 76ers lottery selection. I think Philly surprises some people and takes Malik Monk out of Kentucky. Monk just gets buckets. He arguably had one of the best games of the year when he lit up UNC for 47 points last December and has had plenty of highlight dunks that show off his amazing athleticism. Monk profiles to me as a Jamal Crawford, CJ McCollum or even Bradley Beal in the NBA. He is a little undersized to play the 2-guard in the NBA standing at 6ft-3 but he has tremendous speed, athleticism and explosion to make up for it. He might be able to play some point guard if his handle and dribbling continue to improve. Monk has some work to defensively and like Lonzo Ball he needs to be more motivated on defense but the tools are there for him to be an above average defender in the NBA. Philadelphia could easily go with a point guard at this spot and if Lonzo Ball falls to them I think that would be a great fit or they could go with Josh Jackson but shooting is a for sure need on team that ranked 23rd out of 30 teams in three-point shooting last season. Monk shot 39.7% from 3-point range last year at Kentucky and his overall playmaking ability should make him an immediate contributor for the 76ers young roster.
- Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson: SF, Kansas (1 Year)
The Phoenix Suns are in rebuild mode but I see this a lot of potential on this team moving forward. Devin Booker is an emerging star in the league, rookie forward Marquese Chriss was up and down but showed flashes of his talent and second round rookie Tyler Ulis played arguably some of the best basketball of any rookie in the second half of the season. Keep in mind the Suns were the third youngest team in the NBA last season. Now you add in Josh Jackson in to the mix and the Suns are looking more talented by the day. Jackson stands at 6ft 8 and has some tremendous bounce and athleticism for his height. In college, he used that to his advantage dominating smaller players with his athleticism and bigger players with his speed. The one question mark with Jackson heading into college was his jump shot which has an odd hitch in it when he shoots. Jackson also starts his shot rather low than most players. With all those question marks about his shot though Jackson shot 37.8% from 3-point range at Kansas. He will need to bulk up for his height as he is listed at 203 pounds. He will be going up against small forwards and even some power forwards at times and he will need much more strength to defend his position. Overall though Jackson talent is undeniable and he should thrive in the up-tempo Suns offense and be great addition to the valley of the sun.
- Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox: PG, Kentucky (1 year)
Fox jumps off the TV screen when you watch him play. Think of John Wall but left handed. The Kings desperately need a lot of help at multiple positions but Fox addresses the one for sure need of getting a point guard. Sacramento has the 10th pick as well in the draft so they can also address other needs. Darren Collison and Ty Lawson are not starting point guards in this league anymore and bringing in Fox can only be a huge upgrade over both those veterans. As mentioned Fox is lightning quick and with a tremendous knack for weaving into lane and finishing with authority and flair. Like a lot of the players mentioned so far Fox will need to address his three-point shooting going forward. He shot 24.6 percent from three-point range last season. Fox does have nice looking shot so there isn’t any reason why he can’t improve his percentages in the NBA. The Kings have not made some of the smartest picks in past NBA drafts but I think they can smile with confidence if Fox is still on the board when they pick.