16. Sixers – Klay Thompson
G/F Washington State
The Sixers would love to see one of the top centers take a fall to 16 so they could get a possible replacement for duds like Spencer Hawes
, Tony Battie
and Marreese Speights
, but a pick this low won't get it done – at least as of now. Andre Iguodala
always feels a step closer to a departure out of Philly and Thompson has the potential to replace him down the line, although shot selection could be an early issue for him.
17. Knicks – Marcus Morris
The Knicks could use a center, but can also slide Amare Stoudemire
there and play a real power forward. They've got one in Shelden Williams
, but it's pretty clear he should not be starting in the NBA. Morris is ready for the NBA, is going to be a nice rookie and reminds me a bit of Greg Monroe
, who was a very pleasant surprise this season. As of right now, No. 17 feels right for him, but I wouldn't be surprised if I have him in the Top 10 by Draft Day. The Knicks need a big man who can score besides Stoudemire and I think they will have a steal on their hands if they can get Morris this late.
18. Wizards (via Hawks) – Chris Singleton
SF Florida State
The Wizards are set with three young guards and a couple solid big men, but as I stated earlier, are lacking at small forward. It wouldn't surprise me to see them use both of their first-round picks on that position. And Singleton has the potential to be another Josh Smith
or Gerald Wallace
, which I'm pretty sure would make John Wall
and company happy. I think he's another potential steal for such a late pick in this draft.
19. Bobcats (via Hornets) – Nikola Mirotic
This 6-10 big man can score, rebound, block shots and steal the ball, and the Bobcats need more bigs. He's been extremely efficient in Europe and while there's a chance he won't still be on the board this late, I think Michael Jordan
would take the bait if he is.
20. Timberwolves (via Grizzlies) – Nolan Smith
Smith is a combo guard and it's still unknown whether he can be turned into a real NBA point guard given his turnover issues. But he was able to run Duke's offense when Kyrie Irving
was out and played well enough last season to be a lock for a first-round pick. The Timberwolves have a thing for point guards, and if Ricky Rubio
isn't coming to America, Smith is a guy they'll look at. The Wolves also have a bit of a hole at shooting guard, making him look like an even more logical choice with this pick.
21. Trail Blazers – Justin Harper
With all the Blazers' centers on the verge of their next knee surgery, LaMarcus Aldridge
has been playing a lot more center than they planned on. Gerald Wallace
is getting to old to play much more power forward, making Harper a good fit in Portland. While he's truly a power forward, he's one of the best shooters in this draft, if not the best, and his jumper, combined with his size and strength, are going to be NBA assets. His game also seems to suit what the Blazers need and he looks like a great fit.
22. Nuggets – Markieff Morris
The Nuggets are still looking to find a replacement for Carmelo Anthony
, although Danilo Gallinari
and Wilson Chandler
should have solid futures in Denver. Their true need is power forward, making Justin Harper
and Morris solid options. Morris is not as good as his twin brother, Marcus, just yet, but he's not too far away. He's already got NBA size (6-10, 235) and is a physical rebounder, but can also knock down an 18-footer if left open. Kenyon Martin
is (literally) on his last leg and Chris Andersen
isn't getting any younger. Morris looks like a great fit in Denver.
23. Rockets (via Magic) - Jeff Taylor
Taylor developed a 3-point shot in his junior season and is an amazing athlete, able to run the floor at will. He's another guy who might imitate Gerald Wallace
and Josh Smith
, and the Rockets could use someone who can run the floor with Kyle Lowry
and Kevin Martin
. Chase Budinger
will likely start at small forward, but they're certainly not deep at the position, making Taylor a nice fit.
24. Thunder – Travis Leslie
Leslie might be the best athlete in the draft and is a dunk highlight reel waiting to happen. There are questions about his outside shooting, and while the Thunder could really use someone to hit threes, Leslie would be an excellent replacement for Jeff Green
, whom they traded to the Celtics this year. He won't see much playing time in OKC due to playing behind the guy who led the league in scoring for the second straight year, but given time to develop, could turn into a very solid (and exciting) NBA player at some point in the future.
25. Celtics – Reggie Jackson
PG Boston College
Jackson showed an improved jumper last season and would make for a nice-sized point guard at 6-3. He has shown playmaking skills and is unselfish, while also able to play off the ball. The Celtics have many needs as one of the oldest teams in the league, but getting another guard who could play both spots makes sense.
26. Mavericks – Trey Thompkins
PF GeorgiaDirk Nowitzki
isn't getting any younger and the Mavericks would be wise to get a young PF they can start grooming for the future. Thompkins had a nice season at UGA, averaging 16.4 points, 7.6 boards and 1.7 blocks per game. The knock on him is that he isn't all that athletic and didn't show much improvement last year, but he's a guy that could stick in the NBA as he learns how to play the game.
27. Nets (via Lakers) – Kenneth Faried
PF Morehead State
Faried has a great nose for the ball, is one of the best rebounders in college history and will dive for loose balls without hesitation. Hustle is a word that best describes him and the Nets could use a solid blue-collar guy to do the dirty work that Brook Lopez
isn't capable of.
28. Bulls (via Heat) – Josh Selby
Selby has all kinds of potential but hasn't really lived up to the hype as of yet. The Bulls are lacking at shooting guard, which is really their only glaring need. They've got time to wait, as they certainly didn't struggle with a hole at the 2 during the regular season.
29. Spurs - Tobias Harris
At 6-8, 210 he's going to be an undersized power forward, but can shoot it well enough that he might be able to play some small forward in the NBA. Gregg Popovich doesn't seem to trust DeJuan Blair
and they've got plenty of young talent in the backcourt. Richard Jefferson
will have to be replaced at some point, and Harris wouldn't be a bad place to start.
30. Bulls – JaJuan Johnson
, F/C Purdue
He was the best scorer in the Big Ten and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year. He averaged 20.5 points, 8.6 boards and 2.3 blocks per game and would learn a lot playing behind Joakim Noah
and Carlos Boozer
. He may fall into Round 2, but I bet he performs well in workouts and ends up in the first round.