Well the first round of the draft has come to an end, and it was an interesting one. A lot of the picks tonight are going to be developmental, but there are some guys that will make an impact day 1. And of course we had the huge trade where OKC sent Ibaka to Orlando in exchange for Oladipo, Ilyasova, and the rights to Domantas Sabonis. Ibaka will look to slot in to the PF spot for Orlando, and the combo of Vuc/Serge will create headaches for teams down low. It will be tough to breakdown the impact of Oladipo in OKC until we know whether or not KD is staying, but Dipo adds the three-and-d wing OKC has been searching for.
#1. Philadelphia 76ers- Ben Simmons- It was no shock to anyone but the 76ers elected to take Ben Simmons at number one overall. The 6-foot-10 forward has the scoring, passing, and rebounding skills to be a threat in the paint, but the biggest questions will arise when it comes to playing on the perimeter. Simmons shot a measly 31% on his jumpers outside the paint, and rarely attempted a 3-pointer or a catch and shoot. Simmons was effective in defending in the post, but also struggled when it came to defending against spot-up shooters, allowing an eFG% of 57.6%. A lot of his value will be determined by what Philly does with Noel/Okafor. Simmons will be best to play at the 4 where he can reach the rim and score with ease.
#2. LA Lakers- Brandon Ingram- Ingram is a guy that looks to start off the bat for LA. He is a knockdown shooter that nailed 41% of his three pointers last season. He is great at hitting shots with a defender in his face, and will be an offensive weapon if he can work on his finish at the rim. His length will be a nightmare for defenders, so he gives new head coach Luke Walton flexibility on where he can play Ingram. He will be a great compliment to Russell and Clarkson, and looks to pair nicely next to Randle at the forward spot. Ingram should make an immediate fantasy impact.
#3. Boston Celtics- Jaylen Brown- This pick doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me here. Jaylen Brown is a tweener that has flashed some upside and is an incredibly smart kid, but he struggles to do anything well. His natural strength allows him to be a force in transition, but his shooting is questionable and it takes a little too long for him to get his shot up. Brown does fit as a niche player who can defend multiple positions on the floor and play on the perimeter, but Boston already has a plethora of guys like that. I don’t see a big fantasy impact for Brown this upcoming season as the Celtics will look to develop him for a few years.
#4. Phoenix Suns- Dragan Bender- Phoenix filled a need at their PF position by selecting Bender. Bender is a very young kid that can post up, shoot, and move well off the ball. Phoenix should roll him out from the start and he fits extremely well next to Alex Len as a stretch-four. He is great in the pick-and-pop and is a nightmare to defend with his shooting. He will take some time to develop, but he should start out of the gate, and has the skillset to be an impact player for Phoenix.
#5. Minnesota Timberwolves- Kris Dunn- Dunn is a perfect fit for the aggressive, defensive style of basketball that Thibbs will bring to Minnesota. Minnesota has been rumored to be amongst trade talks for the Wolves, so there is a good chance that Dunn could start this season. Dunn will need to work on his jumper a bit to be effective in the pick-n-pop with KAT, but he has the ability to attack the paint and score. He is great at creating space on his own, so he will create an offensive nightmare for defenses when you factor in guys like KAT, Wiggins, and LaVine. With most PGs in their rookie seasons, defense is typically an issue. Dunn shouldn’t have those struggles, as he has shown that he is an aggressive kid that can fight through screens and make it tough for wings to get their shots off. It is tough to imagine Dunn being a night to night play in DFS, but his development will be something to watch.
#6. New Orleans Pelicans- Buddy Hield- Buddy Buckets took the world by storm during the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments as he showed off his ability to shoot like Steph Curry from 3. Hield is a guy that can work well with the ball in his hands, but showed that he can be a facilitator when teams attempt to shut him down. He will have to show off that his decision making has improved, as teams will force him to make plays off the pick and roll. If he gets a chance to start for New Orleans, he could make an immediate impact in DFS.
#7. Denver Nuggets- Jamal Murray- Murray is a big time shot maker that may struggle to make an immediate impact in Denver. He struggles to get past guys, doesn’t play out of the PnR very well, and struggles to create separation. Murray is a great catch and shoot guy with a very quick release. The speed of the game gets to Murray at times, so Malone will have to work with him to turn him in to a better defensive player. He fits as a great young piece in Denver, but I don’t think he will come in and be a fantasy asset this season.
#8. Phoenix Suns- Marquese Chriss- Chriss will fit in this Phoenix offense very well, as they will look to get him in there as a floor spacing forward that can attack the paint. Chriss should get minutes out of the gate as the Suns are looking to rebuild under Earl Watson. He is a very talented athlete with very little basketball experience under his belt. He is a guy with a very fast first step and an ability to blow by defenders and get in the paint. He shoots well from 3 and is a guy that Phoenix can mold in to a stretch-4. He is more of a long-term upside player than an emerging fantasy asset this season.
#9. Toronto Raptors-Jakob Poeltl-Poeltl is a very safe pick for Toronto here. He has great hands, can dominate guys down low, and has a great scoring touch. He fills a need for Toronto as a backup C behind Jonas Valanciunas, as most people expect Bizzy to be in another uniform this season. Poeltl doesn’t offer a massive amount of upside, but he will be a reliable big for Toronto. I don’t see any fantasy impact from him.
#10. Milwaukee Bucks- Thon Maker- This looks to be a developmental pick for Milwaukee, as most people were shocked to see him taken this high. Maker struggled against other NBA-level talents when he played against them, so he should spend time in the D-League this season. If Milwaukee doesn’t put him in the D-League, then Maker will look to make an impact as an inside-outside big with a lot of length. The Bucks already plan on using Giannis at the point with Middleton at the two, so adding length like Maker will create problems for other teams. He won’t stop anyone on defense, so he will be a guy to take players against, but he will likely struggle to score in the paint against more aggressive and big-bodied defenders.
#11. Orlando Magic (To OKC)- Domantas Sabonis- Sabonis is an incredibly tough player that will bang bodies in the paint and give OKC another bash brother alongside Steven Adams. Sabonis is a team first player, and could make an immediate impact for OKC with Serge Ibaka gone. He is a big man that has great feet and can close out on shooters quickly. Sabonis doesn’t have a lot of length, so that will be an issue for him, but his toughness and physicality will create headaches for teams down low. If he starts, he will be a force to be reckoned with in the paint with Adams. Assuming KD stays, there won’t be a lot of offensive touches to go around for Sabonis, which limits his fantasy value.
#12. Atlanta Hawks- Taurean Prince- Prince is a prototypical three-and-D guy that looks to come in and possibly replace Kent Bazemore for Atlanta. Prince reminds me a little of a DeMarre Carroll as he is a tough defender, and adds a good amount of shooting ability. He has a quick first step that can finish at the rim nicely. He should be able to come in and make an impact this season in DFS.
#13. Sacramento Kings- Georgios Papagiannis- PPG(We are going to call him that) is an 18-year-old C that is probably years away from making an impact for Sacramento. He is a high upside player that could pay off in the future, but many are concerned with how ready he will be to play in the NBA. This will be stash pick for Sacramento.
#14. Chicago Bulls- Denzel Valentine- Valentine is a big time shooter that can step in of the bat for Chicago and make an impact. Valentine is an underrated defender, and that adds to his value in this spot for the Bulls. If the Bulls decide to hang on to Butler, Chicago could easily move Butler to the SF spot and use Valentine/Butler as a very dangerous wing pairing. Valentine averaged almost 20 PPG in college, and he has amazing vision as ball handler. He fits as a perfect pace-and-space guard as he can drive the lane and dish the ball out to the wings. I love his prospects as a fantasy asset this season.
#15. Denver Nuggets- Juan Hernangomez- HGomez struggles to defend and operate against guys with length, but he moves really well without the ball. He has great range and operates well as a shooter on the perimeter. He is a perimeter player that is built like a PF, and he is very comfortable shooting from the corner. He will most likely be developmental guy under Malone in Denver.
#16. Boston Celtics- Guerschon Yabusele- Yabusele is a big-bodied forward that has fascinated scouts in the past. There were a lot of questions about his work ethic and his drive to play coming in to this season, then he showed up at 270 LBs with 8% body fat. He will be a draft and stash player for Boston that will add perimeter support one day.
#17. Memphis Grizzlies- Wade Baldwin- Baldwin is a lengthy and athletic guard that Memphis can hopefully stash behind Conley at the PG spot. He is big and physical so he will fit the Memphis organization perfectly. He shoots the ball really well and he is great at forcing defenders to foul him, but he will struggle on defense as he isn’t great at fighting thru the PnR. He worked great on the offensive end in the PnR so Memphis can benefit from having him in that role. His impact this season depends entirely on whether or not Conley stays.
#18. Detroit Pistons- Henry Ellenson- SVG tried to trade for Donatas Motiejunas before the trade deadline, but the deal fell through. Well now he gets a guy that has a similar skillset in Ellenson. Ellenson is a broad-shouldered big that can stretch the floor and is a great defensive rebounder. He will add to the stable of big men in Detroit, but I would be surprised to see him start early on. He flashed a nice touch and some range from three, but was also inconsistent from the perimeter. He took good shots and had a good motion, so that exhibits his promise as a guy that can work as a good pick-and-pop big man. He is outstanding in transition as he made almost 80% of his attempts on the break.
#19. Denver Nuggets- Malik Beasley- Beasley is a very young guy and he is another guy that the Nuggets can stash and develop. He shot 38% from three-point range last season which gives Denver a lot of roster flexibility going forward. He is great off the ball on the perimeter where over 90% of his attempts were assisted. He was uncomfortable moving with the ball and using the dribble to create space. He is another guy that will likely not make an impact this season.
#20. Brooklyn Nets- Caris LeVert- LeVert has some major injury concerns, but he is a high upside pick for Brooklyn in a position of need. He is an excellent shooter and a great playmaker that scored 16.5 PPG last season at Michigan. He shot nearly 40% from three in his career at Michigan so his three-point upside is there. He has a fast enough first step and the speed to set an edge on defenders and drive to the rim. If he is able to stay healthy, LeVert could be an immediate impact player for Brooklyn who is in full rebuild mode.
#21. Atlanta Hawks- DeAndre Bembry- Another rugged wing player for the Hawks as they look to rebuild and brace for Bazemore leaving. He is a 6-foot-6 forward that is able to move the floor and create a pace that teams were unable to counter. He is extremely versatile and can play multiple positions on both offense and defense. His shot is extremely inconsistent so this fantasy value will at times be tough to rely on. He is incredibly efficient as he only turned the ball over on 12% of his possessions last season. I envision this being a rotation between Prince and Bembry.
#22. Sacramento Kings- Malachi Richardson- The Kings are taking a shot on an extremely athletic guard in Richardson. He leaves a lot to be desired on the defensive end, as the ‘Cuse zone made up for his lack of ability to stay with guys on offense. He is still working on his perimeter game, but he is able to create space on his own and can hit shots. He has immense scoring upside that we all saw during the NCAA tournament. He has amazing athleticism and hustles on the offensive board. This is a great pick for Sacramento, and he should be able to come in and make in impact early on.
#23. Boston Celtics- Ante Zizic- This is another pick that Boston will look to stash and draft. He is a big time paint presence that will most likely spend his time in the NBA as a rotational big. He is very aggressive down low, and that aggressiveness makes up for his lack of athleticism. He won’t be a factor in the fantasy game.
#24. Philadelphia 76ers- Timothe Luwawu- Luwawu is another prototypical three-and-D player that the 76ers really needed. Philly lacks a true shooting-guard and Luwawu should be able to fill that role. He is great as both a catch and shoot guard, and off the dribble. He shot over 37% from three in the Adriatic League, and his wingspan allows him to finish well in traffic. He is a guy that can use his length to defend multiple positions and that same length can cause issues for other teams in isolation. He should make an immediate impact for Philly this season.
#25. Los Angeles Clippers- Brice Johnson- Johnson is a guy that LA will need to come in and produce off the bench right away. Johnson averaged 17 PPG and 10 RBG for North Carolina and there is hope that his game will transition well to the NBA. He can be incredibly dominant around the basket, and has a beautiful touch of his right hand. He was one of the best defensive rebounders in the nation last season, and he his athleticism will work well for Doc Rivers. His fantasy impact will be made early on, but it will all depend on how many minutes he can play.
#26. Philadelphia 76ers- Furkan Korkmaz- Korkmaz is another international wing that the 76ers will be able to surround Simmons with. He is very young, but he has expressed interest in coming over now. He shot 42% from three last season, so he will be able to make an impact on the perimeter for Philly. He struggles to create his own offense, but he is able to move the ball well. He is a project player that can develop in to a solid two-guard for Philly.
#27. Toronto Raptors- Pascal Slakam- Slakam is a high motor big that moves like a wing. He isn’t a highly skilled guy, but he is a rim-runner that can hit the midrange shot. He can outrebound bigger and more physical guys on the glass, but he struggles to defend on the pick-and-roll. He fits the mold for what Toronto is trying to do with rebounders.
#28. Sacramento Kings- Skal Labissiere- Sacramento is loading upon on Kentucky players, and Labissiere has the physicality to make an impact in the future for Sacramento. Skal works well in the high pick-and-roll where he can convert with his smooth midrange jumper. He has great length as a shot blocker as well, and can recover nicely if he gets beat off the dribble. Skal doesn’t look to be a guy that will make an impact this season.
#29. San Antonio Spurs-Dejounte Murray- Murray is a long, athletic point guard that will spend a lot of time developing in the San Antonio system. He is still really young, but he adds to the backcourt of San Antonio where they need depth. He has the size and speed to exploit matchups when slower, bigger guys get switched on to him. He showed his vision and ability to distribute last season by assisting on over 25% of Washington’s makes last season. He is great on the defensive end, where he had a 3% steal rate. He has a great ball-hawking instinct and a very fast first step. He won’t likely see a ton of minutes this season, but has a bright future in San Antonio.
#30. Golden State Warriors- Damian Jones- Jones is a guy that will have to carve out a defined role in Golden State. He is a guy that can be a lob-catching, rim-runner if Golden State wants to utilize him in that role. With Ezeli possibly out the door, and an aging Bogut, the Warriors desperately needed a big that has a combination of size and athleticism. He has a great post game and a soft touch at the rim. He did struggle when he faced bigger, more athletic bigs, but his soft touch and good hands will fare well in the pick-and-roll game for Golden State. He will have to improve a bit on the defensive glass, but overall has a great outlook.