NBA draft night always yields some surprises. Looking at you Anthony Bennett, No. 1 pick in 2013. Projecting just which player gets selected when isn’t always straightforward — especially when multiple teams have multiple first-round picks. Our Scott Richey will try anyway:
1. Detroit Pistons
6-8, 220, Guard, Oklahoma State
➜ The only knock on Cunningham is the fact he’s not some freak athlete. He checks pretty much every other notable box, as a high floor/high ceiling prospect.
2. Houston Rockets
6-6, 180, Guard, G League Ignite
➜ Do the Rockets probably need a big man more? Yes. Will they pass up the guy who could easily be the best scorer in the draft? No, probably not.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
7-0, 215, Center, Southern Cal
➜ Cleveland is in no place as a franchise to draft fit over best available in the top three. Just find a way to make a frontcourt with Mobley and Jarrett Allen work.
4. Toronto Raptors
6-4, 205, Guard, Gonzaga
➜ That Kyle Lowry will test out the free agency waters and likely not return means adding a primary ball-handler and play-maker is a sound move.
5. Orlando Magic
6-8, 225, Forward, Florida State
➜ Barnes isn’t just any forward. The one-and-done Seminoles standout would give Orlando a legit wing option that could also spell the Magic’s lead guards.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
6-7, 220, Forward, G League Ignite
➜ It’s a full-on rebuild for the Zombie Sonics meaning they can take some chances. Kuminga has some serious upside and still hasn’t turned 19.
7. Golden State Warriors
6-8, 205, Guard, Adelaide 36ers
➜ The big Australian would ease some of the playmaking burden from Steph Curry, whose presence would also mean Giddey can ease into things as a scorer.
8. Orlando Magic
6-5, 190, Guard, Connecticut
➜ Bouknight, who can get hot offensively at the drop of a hat, could play next to either Orlando point guard — Markelle Fultz or Cole Anthony — and succeed.
9. Sacramento Kings
6-9, 240, Forward, Besiktas J.K.
➜ Sacramento scored a win in last year’s draft with Tyrese Haliburton to shore up its backcourt. Sengun could do the same for a Kings’ frontcourt that needs help.
10. Memphis Grizzlies
6-9, 220, Forward, Michigan
➜ The Grizzlies are building around Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., and Wagner would give them a two-way wing (heavy on the defense) around that 1-2.
11. Charlotte Hornets
6-7, 225, Guard, Gonzaga
➜ Gordon Hayward’s ability to stay healthy is, at this point, not a guarantee. Why not draft a lights out shooter in Kispert that plays the same position?
12. San Antonio Spurs
6-6, 210, Guard, Arkansas
➜ San Antonio could reach for a big with this pick, but Moody would give the Spurs a solid wing with a ridiculous wingspan to match with its other long guards.
13. Indiana Pacers
Trey Murphy III
6-9, 205, Forward, Virginia
➜ Murphy has the size and length to be a versatile, multi-positional defender and the ability to knock down shots on the perimeter.
14. Golden State Warriors
6-1, 200, Guard, Baylor
➜ The Warriors might not make either of their picks if a trade is there, but Mitchell’s a guy that could play immediately for a team that wants to contend again.
15. Washington Wizards
6-5, 185, Guard, Tennessee
➜ Will Bradley Beal be around next season? Are the Wizards Russell Westbrook’s long-term home? Better start planning for a future backcourt now.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder
6-8, 230, Forward, Real Madrid
➜ There are some real Serge Ibaka parallels to draw here, as Garuba is known as a tough defender with an undefined offensive role. Ibaka thrived with OKC.
17. New Orleans Pelicans
6-3 200 G LSU
➜ Thomas is, as they say, a certified bucket. The one-and-done guard is a prolific scorer and could become a great scorer if his efficiency improves.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder
6-9 210 F Duke
➜ OKC is still in the “collect assets” portion of its rebuild to see what ultimately works. Johnson has lottery talent, but his half season at Duke dropped him.
19. New York Knicks
6-9, 190, Forward, Stanford
➜ Williams might wind up a steal given he was a projected lottery pick coming out of high school.
20. Houston Rockets
6-6, 190, Guard, Oregon
➜ It might seem counterintuitive for a rebuilding team to draft a 24-year-old, but Duarte can play right away.
21. New York Knicks
6-5, 195, Guard, Illinois
➜ Playing in New York isn’t easy. Dosunmu has the game — and the maturity level — to thrive in the Big Apple.
22. Los Angeles Lakers
6-3, 195, Guard, Baylor
➜ Now that Butler has been cleared medically, he can join the Lakers, who are in need of some backcourt depth.
23. Houston Rockets
6-11, 220, Center, Texas
➜ Jones is the ultimate wild card, as a freak athlete that could be a multi-positional defender and stretch big.
24. Houston Rockets
6-5, 190, Guard, Alabama
➜ Primo is both the youngest player and the fastest riser among draft prospects.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
6-4, 180, Guard, Florida
➜ The Clippers could stand to add another playmaking guard to the roster, and Mann fits the bill.
26. Denver Nuggets
6-4, 200, Guard, Tennessee
➜ Springer could be that complementary piece the Nuggets need around Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
27. Brooklyn Nets
6-1, 180, Guard, Auburn
➜ Cooper is only a consistent jumpshot away from being a truly dangerous guard.
28. Philadelphia 76ers
6-2, 195, Guard, West Virginia
➜ McBride would inject a little more toughness into a team that needs it.
29. Phoenix Suns
6-4, 180, Guard, Ohio
➜ Playing with Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton might help Preston blossom.
30. Utah Jazz
6-10, 265, Forward, North Carolina
➜ A solid frontcourt addition — especially if the Jazz move Derrick Favors.
Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is email@example.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).