The Cleveland Cavaliers have won this year’s NBA Draft Lottery. Derrick Williams, Kyrie Irving, and Enes Kanter might be getting a little nervous right about now. Joking aside, now that the draft order has been revealed, things should start to take shape in terms of who is going where. It’s amazing how much better a situation the number two and three picks have than the first overall. Cleveland might legitimately not have a guy on their roster who will be a starter on their team in three or four years, whereas Minnesota (#2) and Utah (#3) both have some good young talent and might be a few good breaks away from making something of themselves. Let’s go over the top six–and yes it was going to be the top five, but I’m a Wizards fan, live with it.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Pick that makes the most sense: Kyrie Irving
Cleveland needs everything. In reality, their best player is probably Baron Davis, who plays the same position as Irving, but Davis is nowhere near a long-term solution for Cleveland. Given the fact that the NBA is becoming a point guard-driven league, Irving makes the most sense. Many draft pundits believe he is the best player in the draft, anyway.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
Pick that makes the most sense: Brandon Knight
The Wolves are absolutely salivating over Kyrie Irving, but Brandon Knight has risen on many draft boards as of late and may not be the worst consolation prize. He is a smooth player who has plenty of tools and a lot of room to grow as a player. Enes Kanter is definitely a possibility here and might have more value, but David Kahn is absolutely desperate for a point guard (insert Ricky Rubio joke here). Plus, Kahn seems to actually believe in his current center, Darko Milicic, as evidenced by the contract he gave him last season. If Kahn truly believes this team is a point guard away from being a contender in the near future, Knight has got to be the pick.
3. Utah Jazz
Pick that makes the most sense: Derrick Williams
The Jazz have their frontcourt pretty much where they want it with Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap, and newly acquired Derrick Favors, who has all the tools to be a star (you can bet he will be in a future edition of “Ranking the Risks” one way or the other). They also have a promising point guard in Devin Harris. Where they are lacking are their wing positions. If Derrick Williams falls into their laps, Jazz fans will have to be doing back flips.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Pick that makes the most sense: Enes Kanter
Getting Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter in the same draft could be just what the Cavs need to rebuilt the franchise that LeBron left behind in ruins. These two guys could easily be the best two talents in the whole draft, and allowing them to grow up together in the league will remedy what the Cavs were never able to do for LeBron; that is, give him another young talent to develop with. Kanter missed this past season because of ineligibility, but make no mistake, he is not your typical finesse European big man–he is an absolute beast in the paint.
5. Toronto Raptors
Pick that makes the most sense: Kawhi Leonard
The Raptors could go a number of different ways here. They certainly could do worse than adding an athletic swingman with some size. Kawhi Leonard is a guy who didn’t have a huge body of work in college, but he was the driving force behind San Diego State’s resurgence this year. Considering they just used a lottery pick on Ed Davis last season and also have guys like Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozen on the roster, Leonard and his high ceiling make sense here.
6. Washington Wizards
Pick that makes the most sense: Tristan Thompson
You know the Wiz aren’t going to pick a point guard here, so where do they go? Thompson represents a guy who can score in many different ways, and for a team without much versatility on the team besides John Wall, that should give them a lot of value. The dark horse pick here for me is Alec Burks. There is still a ways to go until draft night, and if Burks impresses in workouts, he might have an outside shot to get up this high, since there are no other two-guards to really give him a run for his money.