Though there will be some maneuvering between now and the NBA draft on June 20, especially outside of the top three picks, having the actual order gives us a chance to try to project how the lottery will play out.
There will be changes over the next month, but what this shows us is that the Lakers, in a lot of ways, will be the key to how the rest of the lottery plays out (assuming they keep their pick).
Accounting for team need, here’s an estimation of how the NBA draft would unfold if it happened today.
1. New Orleans — Zion Williamson, Duke, PF, 6-7, 285
Don’t overthink this. Whether Anthony Davis is or isn’t on his way out, the future of the franchise is Williamson.
2. Memphis — Ja Morant, Murray State, G, 6-3, 175
The Grizzlies will happily run Morant-Jaren Jackson Jr. pick-and-rolls for the next 10 years. Zion would be great. This is fine.
3. New York Knicks — R.J. Barrett, Duke, F, 6-7, 202
The Knicks fans will want to put “Not Zion” on the back of his jersey, but Barrett is still a prize in this draft.
4. LAKERS — DeAndre Hunter, Virginia, F, 6-7, 225
The Lakers could use another guard, but Hunter’s top-notch defensive skills would help sooner than later. He can shoot too.
5. Cleveland — Jarret Culver, Texas Tech, SG, 6-6, 195
With great size and some playmaking skills, Culver would be a nice backcourt mate for Colin Sexton, last year’s first-round pick.
6. Phoenix — Darius Garland, Vanderbilt, PG, 6-2, 175
The Suns are desperate for a point guard, and Garland isn’t necessarily a natural one. But he’s got a big offensive upside.
7. Chicago — Coby White, North Carolina, SG, 6-5, 185
The Bulls desperately need a point guard, but White’s not there yet. He does have tons of energy and could anchor a bench.
8. Atlanta — Cam Reddish, Duke, SF, 6-8, 218
An ideal body for a small forward, Reddish was inconsistent over his freshman season. He’s a gamble that could pay off big.
9. Washington — Romeo Langford, Indiana, SF, 6-6, 215
The Wizards have a lot of needs but small forward could be the biggest. Langford looks like a starter but his shot needs big-time work.
10. Atlanta — Jaxson Hayes, Texas, C, 6-11, 220
Hayes would look good on the other end of some Trae Young lob passes. Seems like an ideal pick-and-roll partner and shot blocker.
11. Minnesota — Sekou Doumbouya, PF, Guinea, 6-9, 210
The top international prospect would pair well in a frontcourt with Karl-Anthony Towns while owning a huge upside on both ends.
12. Charlotte — Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga, PF, 6-8, 215
Clarke plays like an undersized center, but he’s got tremendous defensive versatility to go with plenty of athleticism.
13. Miami — Bol Bol, Oregon, C, 7-2, 222
Miami needs talent ahead of fit, and Bol’s combination of three-point range and shot blocking makes him the best on the board.
14. Boston — Tyler Herro, Kentucky, SG, 6-5, 195
Young guards like Herro, with size and range, always project well. Who knows what the Celtics will be in 2020, but shooting always fits.