1. 76ers via trade with Celtics
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Is Fultz "can't-miss"? He's as close as there is to can't-miss as there is in this draft, which is loaded with great talents but devoid of a Karl-Anthony Towns-like, Kyrie Irving-like, LeBron James-like transcendent and surefire superstar. It remains to be seen how Fultz and Ben Simmons, both players who flourish with the ball in their hands, will mesh together on the basketball court. But whatever. The Sixers are going with the player with the highest ceiling, and building a team that could be a juggernaut in the future. Fultz does it all: He's got phenomenal size for an NBA guard, a diverse set of offensive weapons and elite athleticism. Yes, I wonder about his decision to play his one-and-done season at a floundering collegiate program like Washington, and winning only nine games there. But the talent? Yeah, it's undeniable.
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Oh, what the hell. The Lakers have been sending out signals (or perhaps just misinformation) that Lonzo Ball isn't as done of a deal as it has been portrayed. Do I think the Lakers will pass on Ball? In the end, probably not. In the end, that's probably the pick. Do I think they could? Absolutely. And if they do, Fox is a fun, fast, Showtime-type player (and personality) who could play well into the Lakers' post-Kobe rebuild. The shooting stroke is a concern for Fox; he shot 24.6 percent from three at Kentucky. But (small sample size alert!) he did shoot 47.4 percent in his final 10 games. If he were more reliable of a shooter, everyone would be talking about him as a possible No. 1 pick in this draft, as he's got the size, length, athleticism and speed to become a John Wall-like player in the NBA. "Speed kills," one NBA scout told me about Fox - and you can't teach speed. It remains to be seen whether you can teach consistent shooting.
3. Celtics via trade with 76ers
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
There's been lots of talk lately of Jackson as a possible No. 1 pick. I never bought it, but I always saw where it was coming from, because the Jackson is a gritty Brad Stevens type of two-way player in a way that Fultz never seemed to be. I love this kid's potential. Jackson is a phenomenal athlete with a ridiculous motor. He gets after it on both ends of the floor. His ceiling will depend on whether he can develop into a dynamic small-ball four in the NBA. I think he will. One word of caution: The incident at Kansas in December, where Jackson allegedly vandalized a car and threatened to beat up a women's basketball player, made at least one coach tell me he'd be wary. I'm surprised a bigger deal hasn't been made of this in the lead-up to this draft. Clearly, any worries Danny Ainge may have had about Jackson's legal troubles have been quelled.
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
The Suns win the lottery's lottery ticket as, somehow, Lonzo Ball falls to them. Ball falling to fourth is a dream scenario for the Suns. He may not be the scorer that Fultz is, or the athlete that Fox is, but as his dad loooooves to say, the kid is simply a winner. Yes, this is bad news for Eric Bledsoe. He has two years left on his contract, so perhaps this marks the beginning of the end. Or perhaps it's not that at all, and Ball and Bledsoe can play together. Man, what a fun starting five that could be on offense: Ball, Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss and Tyson Chandler now, Dragan Bender later. And by the way: I don't buy all the concern about LaVar Ball. Sure, he's loud and obnoxious, but he's raising a great, talented, grounded son.
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
This is the easiest pick in the entire draft. Conventional wisdom has the very top tier of this draft ending at the fifth pick. (I would argue that Florida State's Jonathan Isaac could belong in this tier as well, because his potential is sky-high, and possibly Lauri Markannen as well.) All the Kings have to do is take whichever player falls to them. I worry about a player of Tatum's abilities going to a franchise that has struggled like the Kings, but this team does have some intriguing young pieces in Buddy Hield, Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis. Tatum may be the best natural scorer in this draft, someone who can score effectively from all three levels. He does all the little things - the footwork and the hard work - that can turn a big talent into a star. And I love the mature head on this young man's shoulders. The floor is very high for a player like Tatum.
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
Hey! I got a nickname for Markannen! Let's call him "The Whooper Swan." Because that's Finland's national bird, and Markannen is kind of like a Finnish (Larry) Bird (this, by the way, is why I don't work in marketing). Anyway: I think Markannen could be a near-star in this league, a Dirk Nowitzki Lite. He's one of the top 3-point-shooting 7-footers in college basketball history, and was one of the most efficient scorers in all of college basketball last season. The Magic need everything. Markannen is the type of unique package you can't pass up on. He's versatile on offense, mobile on defense and has great instincts.
Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State
A home-run swing for a team that's one young star away from making some serious noise in the Western Conference. I loooove Isaac's potential. Think it's the highest ceiling in this draft, in fact. He's 6-11 and, according to his college coach, still may be growing. A late growth spurt meant that he grew up playing guard positions before he shot up in height, a la Anthony Davis. Coaches have raved about his unselfishness and work ethic. Florida State's Leonard Hamilton, a onetime NBA coach, told me Isaac has one of the best basketball IQs he has ever seen. And a near-seven-foot athlete who can shoot, pass and blocks shots is a huge asset in today's NBA. While his offensive game is far from complete and he needs to pack muscle onto his thin frame, Isaac is a helluva shooter for a big man, making 34.8 percent of his 3s and shooting 78 percent from the free-throw line. "He has the versatility to be whatever a coach wants him to be," Hamilton told me. If this pick hits, the Timberwolves will be contending in the West in a few years. And I think it'll hit.
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
The most electric player in this draft playing at Madison Square Garden? Gimme that. Monk is a superb athlete and a fantastic (if streaky) shooter. Monk can light it up from deep like no other player in this draft. I can't wait for him to go on one of his signature three-minute tears at MSG, where he's the only guy who matters on the court. In practices you can see how his work ethic ends up paying off in games. Yes, he's incredibly streaky, and yes, his size -- 6-3 -- is more the size of a point guard than an NBA two. But Monk is an exciting young player who, paired with Kristaps Porzingis, breathes more life into a struggling franchise.
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
A high-IQ basketball player with remarkable perimeter defensive skills and great game management talents -- and I don't mean that as faint praise. Ntilikina's physical profile -- 6-5 with long arms -- is impressive for a point guard. In time, he'll learn to be more aggressive, which is something he needs to do.
Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
The Kings, once again, have an easy decision: Take whoever falls to you. The Kings' fifth pick may be the end of the elite tier, and the 10th pick is the end of that next tier, I believe. We'll see if they end up shopping these two picks to move up, as has been rumored, but that makes no sense to me (unless they're swinging some deal to get Fultz, which is highly unlikely). Smith is a bit small but an absolute stick of athletic dynamite on the court. His inconsistency might make teams worried. In January, he scored 32 points in a stunning upset at Duke, but in his last collegiate game he had seven points and four turnovers.
Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
I have long had an unabashed love of Kennard's game (every mock needs to have a hipster element: "I thought this was cool before everyone else thought this was cool"). As a shooter Kennard was one of the best in college basketball last season, but to pigeon hole him as only a shooter is a mistake. Kennard is an all-around scorer who leverages the respect teams give his outside shot to score effectively from all three levels. He's a surprisingly good ball-handler who, when he doesn't have the ball, knows how to move well off it. Will he be able to defend at the next level? I don't know. I mean, he's not going to lock down Russell Westbrook, but who can? I believe that Kennard will be competent as a team defender and more than make up for it on the offensive end as a J.J. Redick-like presence. He might be the steal of the draft.
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
Mitchell is an absurd athlete with terrific measurements, as evidenced by his showing at the NBA combine. His wingspan is 8.75 inches longer than his height (which at just shy of 6-2 is subpar for an NBA shooting guard). He is speedy and an incredible leaper, and he was Rick Pitino's most-trusted player last season at Louisville. With improved 3-point shooting his sophomore year (35.4 percent), Mitchell can score from anywhere he wants. Yes, there's the hero-ball element to Mitchell that NBA coaches will have to pound out of him. But the dude is a high-motor both-ends-of-the-floor type of guy.
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Long and lanky with a high IQ and a variety of offensive tools, Jackson came back for a junior season determined to improve the parts of his game NBA scouts told him were lacking. And he did. He improved his 3-point shooting to a respectable 37 percent, which was key in showing NBA teams he can play the three in the league. A star? No. A reliable NBA starter if he can add strength to his lanky frame? Absolutely. Jackson took a while a while to develop into a star at the college level -- he was a higher-ranked recruit than future one-and-doners Karl-Anthony Towns, Justise Winslow and UNLINK' data-slug="" data-subtype="">D'Angelo Russell -- but by his junior season, that's exactly what he was, the most talented player on a title-winning UNC team.
Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
Christmas in June for Pat Riley's team, as Collins falls to 14. The young big man is just solid, solid, solid. We got to see Zach Collins' best college game on the biggest of stages when he dropped 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks on South Carolina in the Final Four. While he'll never be called spectacular, there are few holes in Collins' game. He combines size and mobility, touch and strength. If Collins can stretch his range and become a consistent NBA 3-point shooter, he could be a very impactful player. Not a star, but you'll have a great chance at getting a very solid all-around two-way big man, and that's a valuable thing.
15. Trail Blazers
Harry Giles, PF, Duke
A surprise pick here. With three first-round picks the Trail Blazers can afford to take a home-run swing on the biggest risk-reward pick since Joel Embiid. And I don't believe Giles will last until 20, when the Trail Blazers have their next selection. Leading into Giles' senior year of high school, he was one of the top three or so talents in this stacked draft -- then he tore an ACL for the second time. Giles is a gifted athlete who talent evaluators would mention in the same breath as Chris Webber and Kevin Garnett. If you watched Giles last season, you barely caught glimpses of that as he recovered from two knee injuries over the past calendar year. But he was once that good. The risk here is huge; so is the reward. He could become an All-Star, or he could never see a minute of NBA playing time.
OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
Also a risky pick, as Anunoby's injury during his senior year might keep him off the floor during his rookie season. But if his health improves he could be the Draymond Green of this draft. Yes, he is a bit of a tweener, but that's not nearly as much a negative in the NBA as it was even five years ago. He can guard multiple positions. He's a great athlete. He plays bigger than his height (6-7 with a 7-2 1/2 wingspan). His offensive skills are very much a work in progress. But there aren't any sure things at this point of the draft anyway.
Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
The size is there. The potential is there. I worry about the shooting (56 percent from the free-throw line in college) and the lack of offensive tools. But a college coach who recruited Allen raved to me about his focus and work ethic. He's not the type of kid who will get in trouble, instead just staying in the gym and working on his game. At the very least he can be an intimidating, explosive low-post presence. That's a pretty nice floor.
John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
Guess who had the highest player efficiency rating in college basketball last season? It was Collins, who was incredibly efficient around the rim. Collins made 62 percent of his shots, and he was one of the best rebounders in college hoops, especially on the offensive glass. And he's incredible at getting fouled, drawing more fouls per 40 minutes than any projected draftee. He's not effective away from the basket, but remember: Collins made a huge jump from his freshman to his sophomore season under coach Danny Manning. He's a coachable player motivated to improve his game. Can he play alongside Myles Turner? I believe so.
Ike Anigbogu, PF, UCLA
Anigbogu is a project, especially on offense. He's an 18-year-old freshman who plays with energy -- a tall, strong and athletic big man with long arms and loads of potential. He has a long way to go to develop his offensive game, but being so young and such a remarkable raw talent means Anigbogu still has lots of room to grow, both physically and as a player. He has an ideal frame, athleticism and energy for a high-level shot-blocking, rebounding, dunking NBA center.
20. Trail Blazers
TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
A tall, white power forward from UCLA who can rebound and make 3s? Wait, I think I've heard this one before. No, Leaf isn't Kevin Love 2.0, but the comparison has some merit. Leaf is the type of guy who will fit on any NBA team, as that 46.8 percent 3-point shooting clip in college would suggest. A safe pick for the Blazers after the risky Giles pick at 15.
Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia
Russell Westbrook needs another shooter next to him, and Ferguson has the prettiest shooting stroke in this draft, with length and elite-level athleticism to boot. Ferguson has the tools to become a special wing in the NBA. One scout told me his season playing in Australia against grown men would be a better transition to the NBA for Ferguson than a year in college would have been. If he can become a more dynamic half-court player, Ferguson could be an absolute steal at this point. If not, he could still be a useful 3-and-D wing.
Justin Patton, C, Creighton
The worst franchise in the NBA doesn't have a pick until No. 22. Rough spot, and the penance for trading away all your draft picks to try and do the win-now thing with aging players. It's a tough place to draft, because at 22 we're long since past sure things and are starting to run out of the risky home-run type of guys. Patton, I believe, is the last home run possibility left (assuming he lasts this late). He is a great athlete for a 7-footer. Though he certainly needs to add some muscle to his thin frame, Patton's offensive versatility and efficiency (he was one of the most efficient shooters in college basketball last season) and shot-blocking skills make me believe there's a high ceiling here. The Nets will have to be patient with him. But it's not like they'll be playing for anything over the next few years anyway.
Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso
Peters was one of college basketball's top shooters last season, with a remarkable 60.4 percent true shooting percentage. As the best player in the Horizon League last season, teams ganged up on Peters, so ignore his 36.3 percent from 3-point land and look at his previous two seasons, where he shot 46.6 and 44 percent from three respectively. Is he going to be a star? No. He's far from the "elite NBA athlete" level. But shooting like he does -- and being able to score from all over the court -- means he'll be able to be a productive player in this league for a long time.
Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue
Not only is he the most heart-warming story of this draft but "Biggie" also is the most NBA-ready player available late in the first round. He's simply going to outwork everybody on the floor. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. And he knows his role in the NBA. He told me there will always be a place for a rebounder in the NBA. That's where he's going to butter his bread, and he knows it. The questions about his body, size and athleticism are overwrought. He's a winner, pure and simple. Fans should want this inspiring and inspired young man on their squad.
Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Lithuania
A lefty 7-footer, Hartenstein is big and agile, physical on the boards and a guy who gets after it on both ends. It remains to be seen whether he can become an asset on the offensive end aside from crashing the glass and getting putbacks.
26. Trail Blazers
Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
Is he a tight end or a basketball player? Well, if the NBA doesn't work out, the NFL is only a phone call away. Adebayo was one of the most physically imposing players in college basketball last season, and at a cut 6-10 and 250 pounds, he'll be able to come into the league immediately and bang with 10-year veterans down low. He's no creative offensive force, but Adebayo can make a difference on both ends of the court based on sheer size, athleticism and motor. He could easily go eight to 10 spots higher than this.
Kyle Kuzma, SF, Utah
A solid stretch four type, Kuzma is a rare high-ceiling guy who will be available late in the first round. And that's what the Nets need instead of pieces that fit their needs, because this franchise needs just about everything. Kuzma is an excellent, versatile athlete who doesn't have many glaring holes in his game. His solid offensive performance at the NBA combine opened a lot of eyes about his potential.
Tony Bradley, PF, North Carolina
Bradley is a huge -- 6-10 with a 7-4 wingspan, weighing in at 250 pounds -- and physical big man who doesn't shy away from contact. He may need some time in the D-League -- er, the G-League -- before he can make an impact at the NBA level. But if he develops a more refined offensive game, this could turn into a solid pick.
Josh Hart, SG, Villanova
Hart could be the Malcolm Brogdon of this draft, a player who came into college underrecruited, got better and better each of his four collegiate years under a great coach, is full of intangibles, and simply is a winner. If that doesn't sound like a prototypical San Antonio Spur, I don't know what does. He's a high-IQ, hard-working consistent player who can play multiple positions. He can shoot, he can rebound, he can defend. If Hart slips into the second round, he'll be an absolute steal there. He can help a team immediately.
Frank Jackson, SG, Duke
Jackson could add an exciting scoring threat to one of the NBA's most plodding (though efficient) offensive teams. Yes, he's a tweener, and there's plenty of uncertainty around whether he'll fit as a point guard or shooting guard at the next level. But he's a natural scorer, an excellent 3-point shooter and a guy who can flat-out get to the rim.