16. Sixers – Nikola Vucevic
The Sixers and Knicks both reportedly want this kid, the biggest player in the draft, and while I'm not completely sold that it's happening, I'm putting him in Philly. He averaged 17 points, 10 boards and 1.3 blocks for USC last season, and is one of the true wild cards in this draft.
17. Knicks – Tristan Thompson
I would still like to think Thompson is a near lock for the lottery, but given team needs, he could fall. If the Bucks pass on him at 10, the Warriors, Jazz, Suns and Pacers go small, and the Rockets and Sixers take centers, Thompson could easily fall into the lap of the Knicks at 17. And my guess is the team, along with its fans, would be ecstatic if it happens.
18. Wizards (via Hawks) – Jordan Hamilton
Like Alec Burks
, Hamilton is a smooth scorer and plays best when he's the main cog in a team's offense. That means it could take him a while to get going in the pros, but he might be the best pure shooter in the draft, and his quick release will be a key to his success in the pros. The Wizards really struggled at small forward last season and could use another option besides Rashard Lewis
and Josh Howard
19. Bobcats (via Hornets) – Markieff Morris
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. He's also been killing it in workouts and may not be around at No. 19. The Bobcats really need a center, but aren't likely to find one at 19.
20. Timberwolves (via Grizzlies) – Chris Singleton
SF Florida State
Singleton has the potential to be another Josh Smith
or Gerald Wallace
, which I'm pretty sure, would make David Kahn happy. I think he's another potential steal for such a late pick in this draft, although with Kevin Love
and Michael Beasley
around, the Wolves aren't exactly hurting at forward. If Kahn has come to the realization that Darko Milicic
is not actually "manna from heaven," Donatas Motiejunas
could easily be the pick here.
21. Trail Blazers – Donatas Motiejunas
Motiejunas surprisingly pulled out of last year's draft and then tore it up in the Italian league this season. He's a great shooter, both from the floor and beyond the arc, and appears to be one of the more NBA-ready players in the draft. He's had some good and some bad workouts lately, and is another wildcard in this draft. He could go much earlier than No. 21, but for now, that's where I'm slotting him. And with the Blazers running a continuous knee operation clinic for their centers, getting a healthy big man is probably a good idea.
22. Nuggets – 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 with Kenyon Martin
on his way out, Faried appears to be a good fit in Denver.
23. Rockets (via Magic) – JaJuan Johnson
, F/C Purdue
Johnson 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 the Rockets could use another skilled big man to back up Luis Scola
. They had good luck with Carl Landry
out of Purdue a few years ago, and might go back to the Boilermakers for Johnson.
24. Thunder – Nikola Mirotic
This 6-10 big man can score, rebound, block shots and steal the ball, but the Thunder already have that guy with Serge Ibaka
. However, Chad Ford believes the Thunder have already made a promise to him and they could certainly use more big bodies, which is good enough for me.
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. And it doesn't hurt that he played at BC, and there are rumors that the Celtics want him with this pick.
26. Mavericks – Tobias Harris
The Mavs don't need guards or centers, nor do they really need forwards, either. Harris could easily go closer to No. 20, but would also be a potential steal this late. This seems like it would be a safe move for the champs. And with Chase Budinger
not exactly a lock to start at small forward next season for the Rockets, they will also be giving him a close look at No. 23.
27. Nets (via Lakers) – Kyle Singler
Singler is another guy who suddenly looks destined for the first round after a solid career at Duke. He's a bit of a tweener at the forward position, but the Nets could use a solid catch-and-shoot scorer. Whether Singler is one of those in the NBA remains to be seen, but Damion James
and Travis Outlaw
aren't exactly all-star small forwards for the Nets.
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 could use another shooting guard, although Selby's stock appears to be falling. The Bulls are set at most other positions, so taking Selby with No. 28 seems like a good fit, if they believe he's the best shooting guard left on the board.
29. Spurs - Davis Bertans
Bertans has size, athleticism and is just 18 years old. He can run the court and has a nice jumper, clocking in at 6-10, 210 pounds. Chad Ford thinks the Spurs have made a promise to take him here, and while that may not make the most sense with Tiago Splitter
and DeJuan Blair
wasting away on the bench, it would not be at all surprising.
30. Bulls - Darius Morris
This is a name that seems to be climbing up draft boards as a potential first-round sleeper. He averaged 15 points and nearly seven dimes at Michigan as a sophomore and would have time to figure things out while helping to back up Derrick Rose