March Madness was full of upsets and close games but it ended with the two best teams in the country in Gonzaga and Baylor duking it out in the championship where the Bears ended the Zag’s dream of a perfect season. Now that March Madness is over, the focus now shifts to the NBA Draft and the top prospects. Which prospect’s stock rose and which went down? How will the G-League guys fit in? These picks will be based on the current standings and the team’s needs.
1.Minnesota Timberwolves: Cade Cunningham, PG, Oklahoma State
Despite a disappointing outing from Cade and the rest of the Cowboys, Cade’s standing as the top prospect in this draft has not changed. The combination of Cade’s overall game and physical attributes puts him above every other player. Cade is special as he playmakes and creates his own shot at a high NBA-level already. Cade seems impossible to stop as a scorer as he averaged 20.1 PPG while shooting 40% from three. Despite the T-Wolves already having D’Angelo Russell, Cade is hard to pass up and the two can play together due to Cade’s versatility.
2. Houston Rockets: Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga
Even though Suggs and the Zags were heartbroken in the championship game, Suggs still was one of the best players in the tournament as he made the All-Tournament First Team. Suggs showed throughout March Madness his well-rounded game as he had multiple games where he had a near triple double. Suggs is able to shoot at a high volume and is able to attack and finish at the rim relentlessly. The main concern with Suggs is his ball-handling abilities as a point guard as his handle isn’t tight. Regardless, Suggs is a great team player and a leader. The Rockets recently hit the reset button and Suggs can be a great leader for their new young core.
3. Detroit Pistons: Evan Mobley, C, USC
Mobley led the Trojans to an Elite Eight appearance. USC had a top ten defense and that can be attributed to Mobley being the team’s anchor and a deadly shot blocker. Mobley has a polished offensive game as he is the perfect modern center. Mobley can stretch the floor and is a danger in the post with his incredible footwork. A problem with Mobley is his very skinny frame but as he gets older that shouldn’t be a problem. Detroit loves their big men and Mobley can be the centerpiece of their rebuild.
4. Orlando Magic: Jalen Green, SG, G-League Ignite
Despite not playing in March Madness, Green still remains a top prospect. Green is a pure scorer as he can score from anywhere on the court. In the G-League bubble, Green averaged 17.9 PPG and led his team to a deep playoff run. His athleticism sets him apart from other prospects as he is quick and can jump out of the gym. Green’s IQ and defense are questionable and haven’t shown improvement in those areas. Green can jump in and be the Magic’s number scoring option that the team desperately needs.
5. Washington Wizards: Scottie Barnes, SF, Florida State
Despite having star guard Bradley Beal, the Washington Wizards are in the lottery again. Despite being a sixth man at Florida State, Barnes brings culture to Washington they need as a hard worker. As a player, Barnes is a point forward who can guard every position. Even though his offensive game is very limited with him being a poor shooter, Barnes doesn’t have to score with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook on the team. Barnes can be a contributor from day one.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonathan Kuminga, PF, G-League Ignite
Another G-League guy, Kuminga has already established himself as guy who can play amongst NBA-ready guys. Kuminga started off red hot in the G-League bubble but hit a wall leading him to be inefficient and producing a lot of turnovers. Nonetheless, there are a few prospects in this draft as physically gifted at Kuminga as he has a rock frame and is very explosive. Kuminga is able to easily overpower defenders or create seperation. Cleveland and Kuminga seem like a match made in heaven as Kuminga may be the missing piece in the Cavs’s young core.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder: Moses Moody, SG/SF, Arkansas
Moody struggled this tournament when Arkansas need him most. But despite his struggles, Moody showed throughout the regular season his potential as a 3&D player. Moody is more than a catch and shoot guy as throughout the season, he developed into a primary playmaker for Arkansas. OKC adds a young scorer to their new young core to kick off their rebuild.
8. Toronto Raptors: Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
It is very weird seeing the Raptors in the lottery but it seems like the Raps are about to start a rebuild. Toronto has been known for developing young guys into stars so drafting a prospect like Johnson makes sense. Johnson seemed to be the only one who showed out in Round One leading Tennessee to a loss. Johnson needs to touch up his ball handling, defense, and shooting and Toronto can be the perfect place he can grow.
9. Orlando Magic: Jalen Johnson, SF, Duke
Johnson leaving Duke early left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths. Johnson was disappointing for the Blue Devils but showed incredible potential, especially at the rim with his finishing abilities. Johnson is still a questionable shooter and defender but the Magic should take a flyer on the top recruit.
10. Sacramento Kings: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
Kispert played terrible in the championship game as he missed shots he usually makes. Kispert may be the best shooter in this class after shooting lights out at 44%. Teams should overlook his age. The Kings like their shooters and Kispert can fit in nicely with Sacramento’s young core.
11. New Orleans Pelicans: Davion Mitchell, PG, Baylor
No player rose to the top of draft boards like Davion Mitchell did. Mitchell was electric in every aspect in March establishing himself as the best two-way player in the draft. Mitchell brings incredible on-ball pressure. On offense, Mitchell is shifty and can shoot the rock. Like Kispert, his age shouldn’t be a factor. With Lonzo Ball likely gone this offseason, Mitchell is the perfect pick up for NOLA.
12. Indiana Pacers: James Bouknight, SG, UConn
UConn was a sleeper pick for a lot of people and many thought Bouknight could skyrocket his stock but they ended up losing in Round One. Bouknight is still an NBA-ready player due to his shot creating abilities. Bouknight has incredible ball handling abilities. Indiana can replace Oladipo with Bouknight and he can fit well with Malcolm Brogdon in the backcourt.
13. Golden State Warriors: Ziare Williams, SF, Stanford
Golden State is a mess right now as players don’t want to play in certain roles and want more touches. With Kelly Oubre being a free agent, Williams can be a great replacement as he is a great 3&D guy and hopefully can add to the Warriors aging roster.
14. San Antonio Spurs: Kai Jones, PF, Texas
It looks like the Spurs are about to go into a full-time rebuild with them buying out LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan being a free agent this summer. The Spurs need a young big and Kai Jones can fill that role as pick and pop guy.