1. Cleveland Cavaliers — Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
GM: Chris Manning at Right Down Euclid
I don’t think anyone – from Dan Gilbert on down– knows who the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to take No. 1. With no coach in place, that makes sense. But at the end of the day, I think Joel Embiid will be the pick – provided his back checks out. It’s cliche, but big men who move like he does and can defend like he does kist don’t come around very often. Embiid kind of player you want to pair with Kyrie Irving long term, as he can serve as a pick and roll partner on offense and protect the rim behind him. Both Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins are tempting and it wouldn’t shock me if the Cavs went in either of those directions. But Embiid is just too talented to pass up – provided his back is okay.
2. Milwaukee Bucks — Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
GM: Nicholas Whalen at Behind The Buck Pass
With Embiid off the board – though I’m not certain the Bucks want or need Embiid so long as Larry Sanders is on the roster – Milwaukee goes with who I believe to be the safest of the top-tier prospects. Parker can step in immediately and start at shooting guard or small forward, teaming with Giannis Antetokounmpo to comprise one of the league’s youngest and most intriguing wing combinations. While Parker may not be an elite athlete, he’s certainly a very, very good athlete, and he dispelled any rumors of weight gain or lack of conditioning when the Bucks watched him work out in California a couple weeks ago. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, Parker is thought to be very open to the idea of playing in Milwaukee, which is, unfortunately, something the Bucks must take into consideration at No. 2.
3. Philadelphia 76ers — Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
GM: Drew Corrigan at The Sixer Sense
The 76ers have wanted Andrew Wiggins for a long time and are pleased that he fell to us at No. 3. We were willing to do whatever it takes to have Mr. Wiggins in a Sixers uniform, but we are elated to add him to our strong youthful core. We look for him to instantly bolster our defense and eventually develop into a Hall of Fame talent.
4. Orlando Magic — Dante Exum, PG, Australia
GM: Zach Oliver at Presto in the Paint
Selecting Dante here felt like a no-brainer for the Magic here. Pairing him with Victor Oladipo going forward will give the team their backcourt of the future for years to come. Dante brings forth an incredible level of playmaking ability, and will be able to step in and make his teammates better. Adding Dante to the already young and improving core could give the Magic the missing piece in their rebuild.
5. Utah Jazz — Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
GM: Cody Powers at Purple and Blues
The Jazz are in an interesting spot. They would have loved to have been slotted in one of the top four spots and drafted a guy that can make a huge contribution to their rebuild process. Staying put at five will bet them a good player, but more than likely someone who will take time to develop. With the hire of new head coach Quin Snyder, they are looking for a big guy who can stretch the floor. Vonleh can do just that. He can step out and shoot, plus he can be a great rim protector to go down next to Derrick Favors in the post. He will take some time to develop, but Snyder and the Jazz will probably look in this area.