With the NBA Draft fast approaching (Thursday at 7:30 pm on ESPN), Hard Foul Sports writer Steve Stich shares his ideas of how the 1st round will go.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns, PF/C, Kentucky
Karl-Anthony Towns should be an easy selection for Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves to make. Towns can shoot the ball from beyond the paint and also protect the rim, two things that separate him from Okafor for the number one selection.
Minnesota should have a good young core for the foreseeable future with Andrew Wiggins, Towns, Ricky Rubio, and Zach LaVine. The Timberwolves could quickly become known as Lob City 2.0 with all of these athletes they will have at their disposal.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
There have been rumblings that the Lakers have become enamored by Kristaps Porzingis and D’Angelo Russell, but at the end of the day, Okafor will be the most likely selection. The Lakers are known for having dominant big men, and Okafor has the ability to average 20 and 10 in this league. Many wonder if Okafor has the ability to play in the new fast paced NBA, but his ability to score with his back to the basket is rare to see in today’s game and should not be overlooked.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell, PG, Ohio State
General manager Sam Hinkie is always a wildcard on draft night. He may try to trade back and gain more assets because that’s what he seems to like to do. However, the talent that Russell has is too hard to pass up. Even with the latest news about Joel Embiid’s health problems, the 76ers should take the best player available on the board, and the best guard in this draft class.
4. New York Knicks: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, CB Sevilla
The Knicks are hoping that one of the three names above, fall to them here at pick four. A trade here is very possible, but if they make a selection here, Porzingis makes sense. No other player has generated as much buzz as Porzingis has in the last few weeks, and he could end up being the most skilled player in this draft class. Phil Jackson may deem that his potential is too much to pass up.
5. Orlando Magic: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
Winslow has the ability to defend multiple positions, while also possessing the ability to be an effective slasher and finisher in the NBA. If he can improve his jump shot, then he could become an all-star. If the Magic re-sign Tobias Harris, then they could have a nice young core group of players in Winslow, Harris, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic. Continue reading