Timberwolves (1) select Kentucky C Karl-Anthony Towns. The best player goes first. This might seem obvious, but several players were reportedly in play over the last month. The combination of strong shooting from all angles including the free throw line and rugged defense made Towns the clear choice. The combination of Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Zach Lavine and Tyus Jones makes Minnesota an all-League Pass option for NBA fans this season.
Lakers (2) select Ohio State PG D'Angelo Russell. For the NBA cellar dwellers, last season's theme screamed "Chokafor for Okafor." Yet Duke center Jahlil Okafor didn't go first and he didn't even go second. Los Angeles lacked a proven force in the middle - though power forward Julius Randle returns - and apparently found a gem last season in point guard Jordan Clarkson. Yet GM Mitch Kupchak went for the all-court option in Russell over the skilled big man. The 76ers snapped up Okafor at 3 even though they have deep center option with Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.
Magic (5) selects G/F Mario Hezonja: Orlando's roster drips with potential, including small forward Tobias Harris plus guards Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton. However, the Magic lack shotmakers and could lose Harris, a restricted free agent. Enter the 6-foot-8 Hezonja, a perimeter threat oozing with confidence. On paper this fit works. At some point Orlando needs to turn potential into the playoffs.
Pistons (8) select Arizona SF Stanley Johnson: Many a mock drafter had this fit - but those mocks didn't have Duke' Justise Winslow still on the board. The chiseled Johnson shined at times as a freshman during the regular season, but labored shooting (7 of 26) from the field during the NCAA Tournament and is prone to playing entitled basketball. Winslow's shot needs a little work, but his effort doesn't.
Celtics (16) select Louisville PG Terry Rozier. The powerful and lengthy guard bulldozes his way for points and fills up the stat sheet in several ways except with his subpar 3-point shooting. That almost describes incumbent Marcus Smart. Should we expect GM Danny Ainge just likes a certain type, or...Love two of Boston's later picks - Georgia State SG R.J Hunter (28) and William & Mary guard Marcus Thornton (45) - but not so much the first one for the current roster.
Heat (10) select Duke SF Justise Winslow: Miami's first-round pick was top 10 protected. Finish 11th or lower, Philadelphia gets the selection. So, what happens? Miami finishes with the 10th worst record and then doesn't get passed in draft lottery. Then the best player during the Blue Devils' national title run who some thought go top-5 slips to 10. Winslow's assertive style on both ends of the courts blends perfectly with the what Heat need. Lots of ifs, but if they keep Dwyane Wade - and keep him fresh for the playoffs - and Chris Bosh returns to form and they re-sign Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside doesn't revert to D-League form, look out, Eastern Conference contenders. Early money has Winslow winning Rookie of the Year. Pat Riley, Sith Lord.
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