15. Milwaukee Bucks – Dario Saric, SF, Cibona Zagreb (6’8, 10.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.2 apg)
With big free agency decisions looming in their backcourt, the Bucks could choose to go with a guard as insurance. But if Saric slips to this pick, he would be too good to pass on.
The Bucks are looking to upgrade at small forward after dealing Tobias Harris. Saric is the second-best small forward on the board after Porter.
A highly skilled, crafty forward, Saric has long been on the radar of NBA scouts with his advanced feel for the game despite being only 19 years old.
Likely to remind some of Hedo Turkoglu, Saric would fill a need as well as provide a good fit alongside any of Milwaukee’s free agents should they be retained. Saric’s passing and unselfish play could provide a good balance with a ball-dominant backcourt.
16. Boston Celtics – Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga (7’0, 17.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.7 apg)
With Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and many veterans from last season still on the roster, the Celtics could also choose to give it one more run.
Regardless of what happens, the Celtics still need help inside. Olynyk would be able to help right away and can provide valuable minutes to an aging frontcourt. Olynyk is not a freakish athlete but is a solid defender who has a nice touch around the basket.
17. Atlanta Hawks – Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Filathlitikos (6’9, 9.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.4 apg)
Similar to the Mavericks, the Hawks are in a position where they are gearing up for a free-agent run that hopefully will result in landing a star such as Dwight Howard or Chris Paul.
GM Danny Ferry has positioned the Hawks well enough to where they only have three guaranteed contracts on the books next season. While the 17th pick won’t weigh too much against the cap, every dollar counts when it comes to luring top-tier free agents.
Ferry has long been comfortable taking international players and has always done a good job of scouting Europe. According to sources, Adetokunbo is a player Atlanta likes a lot, so much so that it is very likely this could be as far as the “Greek Freak” falls as the Hawks look to be the team that gave him a promise.
18. Atlanta Hawks (From Houston) – Mason Plumlee, C, Duke (6’10, 17.1 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.4 bpg)
Even though the Hawks will be going after big time free agents this offseason, having two first-round picks gives the Hawks the option to take a player that could help right away. In this case, the Hawks have long needed size up front. With Zaza Pachulia and Josh Smith set to hit the free agent market, getting Al Horford some help inside is a must.
Plumlee could be the forgotten big man in this draft class because of the depth at the center position. Plumlee improved every year at Duke, produced at a high level, will be able to defend from Day 1 and tested very well athletically. He won’t be a star in the NBA but likely will have a very good career.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (From LA Lakers) – Sergey Karasev, SF, Triumph Moscow (6’8, 18.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 apg)
With Noel at the top, the Cavs will look to address their hole at small forward. While trading up is a real possibility for Cleveland, which also has the 31st and 33rd picks, Karasev would be a steal if he fell this far.
Karasev’s name has been rising into the mid-first round for the past month. Even though Karasev has been seen as a player that will come over to the NBA this season, there have been recent rumors of him signing with another Euroleague team, which would keep him overseas for at least one more year.
Rumors of a promise for Karasev have begun to circulate.
20. Chicago Bulls – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia (6’5, 18.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 apg)
With Derrick Rose coming back fully healthy next season, the Bulls would be best suited to give him something he has always lacked: a true running mate.
Caldwell-Pope is a talented scorer with great length and would allow the Bulls to ease the offensive pressure on Rose. Scouts are high on Caldwell-Pope, and there is a chance he climbs into the lottery. So if he were to fall this far on draft night, it would be a steal for the Bulls.
One thing Caldwell-Pope does well that most Bulls don’t is create. Rose has had to create most of the offense by himself, so adding another ballhandler and creator should make things easier for Rose as he comes back from his ACL injury.
21. Utah Jazz (From Golden State) – Tony Mitchell, PF, North Texas (6’8, 13.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.7 bpg)
Having addressed their need for a point guard with Schroeder, it appears Utah will look for another big to replenish the rotation as Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are both free agents and Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter are ready for more minutes.
Mitchell is intriguing here because of his unique ability and the potential he possesses. As a freshman, he was a dominant rebounder and shot-blocker but would occasionally lose focus on offense and settle for poor shots.
With Mitchell, the Jazz could have one of the top players in the whole draft.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan (6’6, 14.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg)
Under owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s watch, the pressure is on GM Billy King to get results. And that means making moves geared toward getting help now.
The Nets got great production from reserve forwards Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans but failed to get much from their guards off the bench. With that in mind, adding a shooter such as Hardaway who can help right away is what the Nets likely will be thinking with this pick.
Hardaway, a player the Nets really like a lot, can help space the floor and gives Brooklyn protection behind Joe Johnson.