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 he could easily end up being a Top 10 pick. 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) – Tobias Harris
The Wizards' greatest need is at small forward given the disastrous seasons for Rashard Lewis
and Josh Howard
, and while it's possible they go with another big like one of the Morris boys here, Harris fills a clear hole. He also appears to be trending up, which caused me to move him from the back of the pack to the middle.
19. Bobcats (via Hornets) – Markieff Morris
At 6-8, 210 Morris will be an undersized power forward, but can shoot it well enough that he might be able to play some small forward in the NBA. The Bobcats have no shortage of power forwards, with Boris Diaw
and Tyrus Thomas
leading the list, but Thomas is still unproven, while Diaw is on the downside of his career. They really need a center after starting Kwame Brown
for much of the season, but the good ones will be long gone by this pick. Which is another reason why they'd like to get one with the ninth pick.
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. If the Blazers, who just let their GM go, decide they don't want a true PF here, Duke's Kyle Singler
is a possibility and could back up Wallace at SF. I seem to be alone in thinking Harper can go this high, so there's a decent chance he could be bumped in the next update.
22. Nuggets – Chris Singleton
SF Florida State
Singleton has the potential to be another Josh Smith
or Gerald Wallace
, which I'm pretty sure, would make George Karl and company happy. I think he's another potential steal for such a late pick in this draft, and the Nuggets are still trying to find a replacement for Carmelo Anthony
, as Danilo Gallinari
and Wilson Chandler
struggled a bit in Denver this season.
23. Rockets (via Magic) – Tyler Honeycutt
Honeycutt is a nicely sized for a SF at 6-8 and should end up being a silky-smooth NBA player. He has decent athleticism and the Rockets have a need at his position with Chase Budinger
and Terrence Williams
floundering in and out of the lineup. He could end up being a solid pick despite going this late in the draft.
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) – Charles Jenkins
Jenkins played in mere obscurity for Hofstra over the last four years, but is a dynamic scorer and the true definition of a sleeper pick. He may not end up being taken in Round 1, but we're guessing after teams get to know him via workouts, his stock will rise.
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 – Nikola Mirotic
This 6-10 big man can score, rebound, block shots and steal the ball, but the Spurs already have Tim Duncan
and DeJuan Blair
, not to mention Tiago Splitter
. If they do take a flier on Mirotic, look for him to ride the pine as a rookie, just like Blair and Splitter did.
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.