7. Sacramento Kings – C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh (6’3, 23.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 51.6% 3pt)
I’m hearing from sources that Sacramento will take C.J. McCollum unless Otto Porter or Alex Len were to slip to 7, which won’t happen. The Kings have worked McCollum out twice and have been blown away by his talent, ability to shoot, maturity, and personality.
With the announcement that Sacramento has tendered Tyreke Evans, making him a restricted free agent, adding McCollum makes sense since there are rumblings that Evans could be moved back to the point guard spot.
Adding McCollum, who is capable of playing either guard position and is a great shooter and scorer also explains why the Kings are offering Jimmer Fredette around the league (the hot rumor is Indiana).
8. Detroit Pistons – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (6’5, 13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg)
With the low post set in Detroit, GM Joe Dumars really needs to settle on his backcourt. While Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight are already there, adding someone like McCollum would be a great choice if he is available.
Over the last few drafts Joe Dumars has added the best player available and come away a draft night winner. If Oladipo were to fall here, he is a no-brainer.
Adding Oladipo, who is an excellent defender and very mature, makes sense for this young Pistons team that is growing up. While the Pistons need more shooting to space the court, Oladipo was one of the most improved long-range shooters in the nation and has the athleticism to be a special defender.
With Detroit getting close to turning the corner, adding Oladipo could help lead the Pistons back to the playoffs.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia (6’5, 18.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.8 apg)
I am hearing that Minnesota is exploring several trade scenarios to move up or out of this pick since the Wolves are trying to make a concerted effort to improve and make the playoffs. My hunch is that they are the team that would trade up to No. 2 to draft Noel.
If not, and Minnesota opts to keep the pick, watch for Caldwell-Pope, who has been flying up boards of late. Sources say Caldwell-Pope won’t fall past this spot. If this pick is being made for Orlando and Oladipo is still on the board, then the Magic will have to decide between the two.
Caldwell-Pope is a talented scorer with great length. Scouts are high on him, and there is a chance he climbs higher into the lottery. Oklahoma City is said to be very interested in landing Caldwell-Pope through a draft night trade.
10. Portland Trail Blazers – Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh (7’0, 7.2 ppg, 6.3 ppg, 2.0 bpg)
Portland is another team looking to package its pick in hopes of getting a player who can contribute now. GM Neil Olshey is open to moving the pick, preferably for a big man who can provide the defense and rebounding the Blazers need.
Like the Wolves with Kevin Love, the Blazers are looking to take the next step and show LaMarcus Aldridge that they are on the rise. Drafting Damian Lillard was a large step in that direction last year.
Portland is said to be very high on C.J. McCollum and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but if both are gone, Adams is the man for the Blazers. While Adams still has a lot of developing to do, some scouts believe he may be ready to contribute at a higher level than originally anticipated as a rookie. Adams is NBA-ready defensively and could provide the Blazers with the post presence needed to play alongside Aldridge.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Cody Zeller, C, Indiana (7’0, 16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg)
Sam Hinkie must decide who can help the Sixers get back to the playoffs after a huge step back to the lottery this season following the worst trade in NBA history.
Every year on draft night, there is a highly talented big that falls into the late lottery; this year, it looks to be Zeller. Despite better-than-expected athletic testing at the combine, there are still concerns with Zeller’s position, short arms and whether his game will translate at the next level.
With that said, his offensive game is advanced for his age, and big men with his polish and touch are hard to find. Zeller also begins working out for clubs this week and will be able to showcase his NBA 3-point range.
Zeller is a good fit for the Sixers regardless of whether or not they keep Andrew Bynum. He could play a role similar to that of Pau Gasol when Bynum was in Los Angeles, or he could fit in well with a team without Bynum that likes to get out in transition.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (From Toronto) – Sergey Karasev, SF, Triumph Moscow (6’8, 18.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 apg)
The Thunder are in a unique position as title contenders selecting in the lottery. OKC missed James Harden this season and could look to find someone to replicate his role, since Kevin Martin is a free agent.
The Thunder have been talking deals with teams in the top-5 and are targeting Alex Len. If Len is unavailable Sam Presti is said to be infatuated with C.J. McCollum, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Steven Adams but none are projected to last to 12.
Now, according to a source, the Thunder have locked in on Sergey Karasev, who is also a target of the Bucks and Cavs. Karasev is an intriguing international prospect who is not afraid to mix it up on the court. The son of a coach, Karasev has a high IQ, is a great shooter, and can attack the rim.
13. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse (6’6, 11.9 ppg, 7.3 apg, 4.9 rpg)
In what is set to be a very interesting offseason for owner Mark Cuban, the draft presents the Mavericks with several different options, including trading the pick to Cleveland along with Shawn Marion for the 19th pick, which helps Dallas get further under the cap and make a huge splash in free agency.
This pick comes down to an international stash player, or Carter-Williams if the Mavericks keep the pick.
There is a very strong chance the Mavericks deal this pick.
14. Utah Jazz – Dennis Schroeder, PG, New Yorker Phantoms-Germany (6’1″, 8.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.3 apg)
The Jazz desperately need a PG, and with Carter-Williams off the board will feel pressure to nab their man now and go big at 21. That could force the Jazz to consider drafting a big at 14 and going for their other major need — a point guard, with their second pick or through free agency, but Schroeder likely would not last until the Jazz pick again.
Schroeder is the explosive playmaker the Jazz have been lacking since Deron Williams left. He is still developing and will likely have some rough patches early on. But Schroeder’s physical skill set, unique talents and ceiling make him worth the pick.
With the league becoming more guard-oriented, having a player who can challenge and also defend opposing point guards is very important. If Schroeder gets past Utah, he won’t fall much farther.
Lucas Noegueria and Rudy Gobert could be choices here too if Utah gos big with its first of two No. 1 picks.