Lotto picks only. This is based on how I feel teams will select, and may OR may not consider trades proposed. Any feedback is welcome!
1) Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons, F (LSU)
NBA Comparison: Grant Hill (pre-injury)
Simmons did not lead LSU into the NCAA tourney. However, the differences between him and Ingram may be what the Sixers are looking for at #1. Simmons lacks a jumpshot, but compared to his peers, he has above-average skills in almost every other aspect of the game. When Simmons wants the ball (yes, he needs to want it far more often), he's a force to be reckoned with, holding comparisons to LeBron James as an oversized facilitator, but with less strength/athleticism and more defensive awareness. Simmons has the overall skillset to do what Grant Hill set out to do before injuries took his career. The Sixers' coach has stated that Simmons can run the point, so look for the Sixers to run an offense catered to his overall skillset.
2) Los Angeles Lakers
Brandon Ingram, F (Duke)
NBA Comparison: Kevin Durant
The Lakers need a scorer who can open up the floor for his teammates, and Ingram can do that on the drive or by being a threat from the outside. Like most long and skinny players, he needs work in the gym to become stronger, so the likelihood that he succeeds as an NBA power forward is slim to none, but at 6-9, he could be nearly impossible to guard at the three. Even if the Lakers had the top pick, it's hard to imagine them selecting anyone else, as Ingram should fall into place playing in Luke Walton's offense, and alongside D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.
3) Boston Celtics
Kris Dunn, G (Providence)
NBA Comparison: Reggie Jackson
Dunn is widely known as the best PG in this year's draft. Boston does not necessarily need a point guard, but have had discussions about taking the best available player here OR trading the pick to one of the teams that are scattering to find a way to draft Dunn ahead of others. Kris Dunn has all the tools to be a contributing guard for a team who would love to take in his passing attributes that compliment his scoring abilities quite well, and with him being "NBA-ready" as we speak, it only helps increase his ceiling to those teams who need a player to come in and contribute right away.
4) Phoenix Suns
Marquese Chriss, F (Washington)
NBA Comparison: Antonio McDyess
Trading Markieff Morris did sting a bit, but the Suns have an opportunity here to pick up arguably the best stretch-4 in the draft. Dragan Bender is a good prospect, no doubt, but Chriss is a freak athlete with a higher ceiling, and given the Suns' current outlook, they have time to wait on his development. While he does need to work on his passing ability and defensive rebounding, Chriss attacks the rim extremely well, has explosive quickness for his size, and Phoenix needs all they can get in that department.
5) Minnesota Timberwolves
Jamal Murray, G (Kentucky)
NBA Comparison: Eric Gordon
At this point, Murray will enter the NBA Draft as a combo guard who is better suited at the two, as we found with Eric Gordon, but to be able to succeed, he will need to further develop his playmaking skills and become an NBA point guard, possibly a shooting point with good passing ability. Minnesota needs a player who can fill in those gaps at the one and two positions, and as he succeeds, he can fill a possible void if Minnesota looks to trade Ricky Rubio any time soon. Murray and Zach LaVine would be an interesting tandem with Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns on the floor as well.
6) New Orleans Pelicans
Buddy Hield, G (Oklahoma)
NBA Comparison: Ben Gordon
The Pelicans have a lot of holes to fill, and with 17 different starters and uncertainty with an injury-prone Eric Gordon, they will need to draft a scoring guard. Hield fits the mold. He's not the player they need defensively, but Hield is a strong, dominant scorer that will give them stability at the two and much-needed help for Anthony Davis, who seems to be overworked on the offensive end of the floor. There's word that a few teams are likely to try and trade up to snag Hield in the top five, but if not, he should land with the Pelicans at #6.
7) Denver Nuggets
Dragan Bender, F/C (Croatia)
NBA Comparison: Toni Kukoc
The Nuggets are struggling on the offensive end, and while they need to look closely at their two-guards, Bender may be the best prospect available here. For the Nuggets, Bender may live up to the expectations they had for Danilo Gallinari, who has to heavily rely on others to get him open looks, is a poor rebounder for his size, and was actually coming off the bench for the Nuggets for a stretch of last season. Bender is a stretch-4 that will rebound and contest shots, but also shows good court vision with the ball in his hands, something Denver could use more of in their current dysfunctional offense.
8) Sacramento Kings
Domantas Sabonis, F (Gonzaga)
NBA Comparison: Zach Randolph
This pick may be one the Kings make with a DeMarcus Cousins departure in mind, and if they lose that scoring in the frontcourt, the son of the great Arvydas Sabonis can provide them with some of that and rebounding. Additionally, Sabonis has improved slightly on the defensive end, and is one of the hardest working big men in the NCAA, outshining Utah's Jakob Poeltl as Gonzaga upset Utah in tourney play. Drafting Sabonis fills holes with production on both offense and defense, and while he won't have the impact of Cousins, he lessens the blow depending on who is sent over in any possible deal on the table.
9) Toronto Raptors
Skal Labissiere, C/F (Kentucky)
NBA Comparison: LaMarcus Aldridge
Toronto could use a talented big man who can get his shot off against anyone, and it wouldn't surprise many to see Labissiere taken in the lottery. With rumors of his stock dropping, the fact remains that the "soft and shy" seven-footer has loads of potential, and most of his weaknesses come from his lack of strength and physicality. Spending a few months in the gym will do wonders for Labissiere who, at one point, was the top-ranked player in his freshman class. Labissiere looks to be a player who will either exceed expectations, or be labeled as a wasted pick, as his ceiling and floor are separated by the biggest gap in this draft.
10) Milwaukee Bucks
Dejounte Murray, G (Washington)
NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford
The Bucks host a starting lineup with Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker, Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but are still soul-searching for a starting two guard. Murray is a combo guard that handles the ball very well, is extremely quick, and defends the opposition with his long wingspan. Milwaukee is in the bottom 10 of the league in offensive and defensive rating, and Murray will contribute on both ends of the floor to help turn Jason Kidd's squad into an East playoff team.
11) Orlando Magic
Ivan Rabb, F (California)
NBA Comparison: Chris Bosh
Orlando needs buckets and boards, and they'll get that from Rabb. His quick feet and great hands will help establish a big man scoring presence, which makes the game easier for Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton. Rabb's baby hook is his go-to move, but he must improve scoring against stronger players to become a productive starter in the league.
12) Atlanta Hawks
Jaylen Brown, G/F (California)
NBA Comparison: Jimmy Butler
With Jeff Teague out, and an inexperienced backcourt of Schroder and Bazemore, the Hawks might as well bring in a potential two-way star like Brown. Much like Simmons, Brown shows that he can be a very good all-around player, but inconsistency has prevented him from being considered the best in college ball, even though he is more NBA-ready than guys like Buddy Hield or Denzel Valentine. Brown would also make sense for the Hawks' offensive woes, considering Atlanta was among the bottom 10 scoring teams in the league this year.
13) Phoenix Suns
Jakob Poeltl, C (Utah)
NBA Comparison: Andrew Bogut
The Phoenix Suns have no reason to draft anyone other than a big man, after dealing Markieff Morris and struggling to produce buckets up front. Known for his defense prior to the 2015-16 season, Poeltl has vastly improved his offensive game, putting on display his ability to create from the low and pinch post and scoring fluently in the paint. Poeltl gives Phoenix what they have been asking for from past bigs, and if Chandler is around, he should be an ideal tutor for the young big back on the defensive end of the floor.
14) Chicago Bulls
Denzel Valentine, F/G (Michigan State)
NBA Comparison: Danny Green
Chicago could be having a summer sizzler, and Valentine fills a void they've had for quite some time now. Vandy's Wade Baldwin is a possible pick for the Bulls here, but Valentine's leadership, and his ability to do nearly everything a player can do on the floor (a jack of all trades), has muddied the water for Chicago's front office. If the Bulls want Valentine to be an impact player, they will likely need to run the second unit's offense through him, and hope that his experience carrying that load will transition him into a starting role that doesn't necessarily require so much attention as they look to construct a contender down the road.