16. Houston Rockets – Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
Jones is perhaps the biggest enigma in the draft because he has great size and special talent but never played to his potential in college. However, he is very skilled and comfortable facing the basket. Houston GM Daryl Morey needs to be bold here as there are questions about how much longer he can remain on the job without making the playoffs.
17. Dallas Mavericks – Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Ross would be a fine selection by the Mavericks, who need to infuse youthful talent on their aging roster. Ross is one of the top shooters and athletes in the draft. With his length and athleticism, he eventually could be a good defender. Playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki certainly could help Ross. Moe Harkless is said to be under consideration for this pick as well.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves – Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
The Wolves are another team very open to trading their pick. With the report that Royce White received a promise from the Boston Celtics, this pick could be very much in play for a team trying to land White. If Minnesota holds onto the pick, it could go big, especially if there are no shooters left. Moultrie would be a great addition with his length and athleticism along with the versatility to play either big spot and back up Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.
19. Orlando Magic – Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
With the appointment of Rob Hennigan as GM, there is plenty of uncertainty in Orlando. Based on Hennigan’s track record with the Thunder, it is safe to assume he will look for the best player here. Harkless was the Big East Conference Rookie of the Year and is a great rebounder and defender. He also has the athleticism to get to the rim and finish but still needs to improve as a shooter.
20. Denver Nuggets – Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
There is not much information to connect Sullinger to the Nuggets. But at a closer glance shows Denver is well-positioned to take the best player on its board, and there is no denying Sullinger was seen as a lottery talent – before a back issue sent up medical red flags that has the big man tumbling out of the lottery. As a player, Sullinger is a wide body who positions himself well in the post and can score and rebound.
21. Boston Celtics – Royce White, PF, Iowa State
Reports are White received a promise from Boston. White is a very interesting player with a unique game for his size and position. He has lottery talent but off-court concerns could drop him down the first round. The Celtics would benefit from him falling as they need to add young talent and size to their aging roster. White really impressed at the Combine with his performances and interviews. With back-to-back picks, Boston can afford to take a gamble, especially on a player with this upside.
22. Boston Celtics – Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Miller’s torn ACL held him back during his freshman season, but he has lottery ability and is a very skilled player for his size. Miller is versatile enough to play some power forward as well. Learning behind Paul Pierce could only help Miller with his development. The Celtics would be getting a very good value pick here.
23. Atlanta Hawks – Will Barton, SG, Memphis
Barton has steadily moved up boards with good workouts and appears to be entrenched as a first-round pick. In Atlanta, Barton would provide length and athleticism on the perimeter and give the Hawks a quality slasher and underrated shooter. The Hawks also have shown interest in Tony Wroten and Royce White.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Nicholson can contribute on the boards and provide scoring off the bench. He also has very good range for a player his size and possibly could become a stretch-4. With the Cavs needing more scoring to ease the burden on Kyrie Irving, taking Nicholson could make a lot of sense. Evan Fournier, Royce White and Quincy Miller are all possibilities if they are available at this point.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
With the so much money tied up among Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph, it seems like the Grizzlies will need to make a trade to create financial flexibility. If Mike Conley is moved, adding a player with Teague’s potential is essential. If the Grizzlies keep Conley, they still need a quality backup point. Teague is a quick, score-first point but showed the ability to subjugate his game for the benefit of his team at Kentucky. I am hearing Evan Fournier, Will Barton, Doron Lamb and John Jenkins are under serious consideration as well.
26. Indiana Pacers – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Melo would give the Pacers more length to combat the Eastern Conference contenders. While most expect Roy Hibbert to re-sign with Indiana, having a quality backup would be a wise investment. While Melo may have inflated stats due to the zone, he is an intriguing specimen who if he develops any offensive game would become a fearsome player. Melo does have red flags with respect to his character.
27. Miami Heat – Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State
Green looks like a great fit in Miami with his ability to pass and shoot. He is more of a power forward but could play some small forward a la Anthony Mason. While the Heat are the champs, they still need to add more quality depth to their roster. Green may not project to be a star but should be a productive player for a long time.
28. Oklahoma City – Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
The Thunder don’t have any glaring needs so they are in a position to take the best player available. Taylor is a polished, mature player who was very productive in the SEC. He can contribute on both ends and has good athleticism.
29. Chicago Bulls – Evan Fournier, SG, Poiters (France)
The Bulls need more perimeter scoring to pair with Derrick Rose. Adding Fournier would give the Bulls a potential crafty scorer with a stroke. In France, Fournier has been very productive at creating shots for himself and his teammates. He is only 19, speaks English pretty well and has great size.
30. Golden State Warriors – Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
The Warriors could use a quality big behind Andrew Bogut and David Lee, and Ezeli could fit the bill. Ezeli still has room to develop offensively but is NBA-ready as a shot-blocker and defender.