The NBA Draft order has been determined, the combine is done and the individual player workouts will start to increase. The draft is still more than four weeks away, but here is an early look at how the first 10 picks may go.
1. Phoenix Suns
DeAndre Ayton, 7-1, 250, C, Arizona, Fr.
He’s physically gifted and the best big man in the draft. A great athlete who can dominate inside with his size and strength, Ayton is the right choice for a team that’s building around a young core, featuring Devin Booker and Josh Jackson. New coach Igor Kokoskov coached playmaker Luka Doncic in Slovenia so he will be in the mix. But it will be hard to pass on Ayton.
2. Sacramento Kings
Luka Doncic, 6-8, 228, G, Real Madrid
He has tremendous court vision and is very skilled at setting up his teammates. At his size and with his abilities, Doncic can play and guard multiple positions. The Kings drafted De’Aaron Fox last year, but they could pair the two of them together, especially when Doncic matures. They have holes in a lot of areas and there are several intriguing bigs who could help them too.
3. Atlanta Hawks
Marvin Bagley III, 6-11, 235, F, Duke, Fr.
They should have plenty of big men to choose from with Bagley, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mo Bamba the leading candidates. Bagley is a strong inside presence who could clean up on the boards. He averaged 11.1 rebounds for Duke, including four per game on the offensive glass. Jackson and Bamba could be the pick if new coach Lloyd Pierce wants more defense.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr., 6-11, 236, F-C, Michigan State, Fr.
He’s not 19 yet, but he has good genes and an impressive game that makes him a threat at both ends of the floor. Son of the former well-traveled NBA player with the same name, Jackson averaged 21.8 points, blocked 3 shots per game and connected on 39.6 percent of his three pointers. His growth potential and versatility should make him a top five pick.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Mohamed Bamba, 7-foot, 225, C Texas, Fr.
He’s another big man who is impactful on both ends of the floor. His nearly eight-foot wingspan and 9-foot-7 inch standing reach make him a flyswatter around the rim. Bamba averaged a double-double and 3.7 blocks a game for Texas. The Mavericks averaged 3.8 as a team, 29th in the league, so he and Jackson would be appealing to them. But Mamba isn’t the scorer or shooter Jackson is.
6. Orlando Magic
Trae Young, 6-2, 188, G, Oklahoma, Fr.
He led the nation in scoring and assists and has drawn comparisons to Warriors star guard Stephen Curry since he can pull up and shoot from almost anywhere. Young attempted 10.3 three-pointers per game, and hit on 36 percent of them. He’s a dynamic player who would fill a void for the Magic after Orlando cut ties with Elfrid Payton less than two years after dealing Victor Oladipo.
7. Chicago Bulls
Wendell Carter Jr., 6-10, 260, F-C, Duke, Fr.
The Bulls could use a frontcourt player to pair with Lauri Markannen, and Carter would be a good complement. He plays inside so he would complement Markannen, who finished third among rookies in three-pointers made. Carter has an almost a 7 ½-foot wingspan, and showed at Duke he can play power forward and center. Versatile Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. is another option
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
Michael Porter Jr., 6-10, 211, F, Missouri, Fr.
He was considered a top three pick before a back injury limited him to just three games. His workouts and medicals/physicals could determine if he drops and how far. If Porter is available, though, Cleveland could go with the well-rounded forward to play with LeBron James or perhaps someday replace him. Taking a point guard — Trae Young if he falls or Alabama’s Collin Sexton — is a possibility.
Mikal Bridges, 6-7, 190, F, Villanova, Jr.
He played on two NCAA championship teams in his three years at Villanova. The Knicks could use a winning player, and one that fills major needs for them. They’re looking for a wing who can shoot and plays defense. The NBA-ready Bridges, who shot 43.5 percent from three-point range as a junior, checks all the boxes. Michigan State’s Miles Bridges could be in play here for the Knicks, too.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
Miles Bridges, 6-7, 220, F, Michigan St. Soph.
A really good athlete, Bridges likes to play above the rim. He already moved well, but he’s dropped 20 pounds since the season ended. He believes he can play and guard any position. Bridges, a shade under 6-7, is a tweener because of his size. But if he improves his jump shot he could be the versatile type of forward that fits what the Sixers are building.