Now that the draft order is all but set we can now start to project where some of these players might end up. Betting markets that are currently posted revolve around the top five picks of the draft, but it’s never too early to look at where players might land, so we can be ready when the markets start to add up at sportsbooks.
1. San Antonio Spurs
Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92, F/C)
When the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night ESPN went immediately to an interview with Wembanyama out in Paris. Brian Windhorst asked the top prospect in this year’s draft, “What are the San Antonio Spurs getting in Victor Wembanyama?” There is no need to even think about this pick. San Antonio will make the selection we all expect it to make when the NBA draft comes around.
2. Charlotte Hornets
Brandon Miller (Alabama, SF)
ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony reported in early March that the legal issues around Miller were clearing up, and that information, coupled with a perceived slide of Scoop Henderson, caused his odds to go second to improve dramatically. Charlotte winning the second overall pick should increase the probability of Miller going here as well. With LaMelo Ball already on the roster it would make more sense for the Hornets to add along the wing. Miller shot 38.4% from deep last season at Alabama and would fit perfectly alongside Ball.
For more on this pick specifically, make sure to check out Zach Cohen’s write up.
3. Portland Trail Blazers
Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite, G)
This might come as a surprise given Scoot Henderson’s status as a prospect, but his selection here would make no sense. Portland has plenty of talent in its backcourt with Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe. Bringing in a ball-dominant point guard that does not shoot would be a waste of a top three pick. Thompson fits better as a 6-foot-7 wing who can serve as a connector on offense while providing a threat in transition as a finisher with upside as a defender. DraftKings has him at +450 to go third overall.
4. Houston Rockets
Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite, PG)
Henderson finally finds his home with Houston, and this is a better fit than most would expect. Jalen Green can thrive as an off-ball guard with Henderson as his point guard, and he played 80% of his minutes at shooting guard this past season. Some might think adding a point guard to a backcourt with Kevin Porter Jr. is a mistake, but remember that Porter’s contract is non-guaranteed after next season. He has been a distraction at times off the court, and the Rockets could move on from him at any moment, leaving an open space for Henderson to thrive in. This is a longshot of 25-1 at DraftKings that is worth taking given the way the lottery fell on Tuesday.
5. Detroit Pistons
Jarace Walker (Houston, PF)
Detroit is in desperate need of talent at many positions, but power forward is one of the weakest positions it has on the roster. Walker projects to be a solid defender with his size and wingspan, and while he only shot 34.7% from 3-point range last season for Houston he can improve as a corner threat. His draft position at DraftKings is 5.5 shaded to the over at -190 but bettors can get a slightly better payout by taking him at +300 to be the fifth overall selection.
6. Orlando Magic
Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF)
There are not any draft markets up past the fifth overall pick, so we can keep our analysis a bit shorter until we get odds on these players and picks. The second Thompson twin fits the archetype of the player Orlando covets. A multi-position wing player which can run in transition and defend multiple positions. He would fit nicely with a Magic team that thrived on defense and transition offense last season.
7. Indiana Pacers
Cam Whitmore (Villanova, SF)
Indiana’s backcourt is flush with talented players like Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin and Chris Duarte, but it is somewhat lacking along the wing. Whitmore can be a very good defender at the next level, and he showed his ability to force turnovers and turn those steals into points while at Villanova. He would fit nicely next to the backcourt talent the Pacers already have.
8. Washington Wizards
Anthony Black (Arkansas, G)
Point guard has been an absolute mess for Washington for quite some time, so it would make sense to go with Black here. Black had the 10th best individual assist rate in the SEC and he has an ability to get to the free throw line with consistency, as any good guard can do. He will fit next to Bradley Beal and he fills a massive need for the Wizards.
9. Utah Jazz
Gradey Dick (Kansas, SG)
Utah leaned into its shooting under Will Hardy. The Jazz took the fifth highest frequency of attempts from 3-point range, but shot just 35.8% overall which was good for 20th in the league. Dick is a terrific knockdown shooter who shot 40.3% on 206 3-point attempts for Kansas last season. Utah’s backcourt is short on talent, and drafting a player like Dick is a near perfect pairing.
10. Dallas Mavericks
Taylor Hendricks (UCF, PF)
There is a chance that Dallas is making this pick for another team by the time we get to the draft, but for now I will assume it is the Mavericks making the pick. With that in mind, Hendricks is a good choice here. The former Knight is a quintessential 3-and-D player that shot 39.4% from 3-point range and who will benefit greatly from sharing the floor with Luka Doncic.
11. Orlando Magic (via CHI)
Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas, G)
Orlando already has Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. up front, so it would make sense to add to the backcourt with its two top-10 selections. Smith only played 17 games for Arkansas, but he showed an ability to facilitate and score in his short stint as a Razorback. The Magic need as much backcourt talent as possible, and the upside of Smith is tremendous.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jordan Hawkins (Connecticut, G)
Oklahoma City might be selecting in the lottery but this is a roster rife with talent, so almost any pick, within reason, will work here. Hawkins has made the most 3-point attempts of any prospect and he will help a Thunder team which shot just 36.1% last season.
13. Toronto Raptors
Keyonte George (Baylor, SG)
Toronto could be in desperate need of backcourt depth this offseason, as both Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. could be on the way out. If one or both leave, which is likely, then George will be the perfect selection. George is a traditional guard who was 45th in the country in usage rate, and got to the free throw line with regularity. He could fill a massive hole for the Raptors.
14. New Orleans Pelicans
Cason Wallace (Kentucky, PG)
New Orleans might have Jose Alvarado on the roster, but the team is still in need of backcourt depth. Wallace is a good defender who finished 55th in the country in steal rate last season for Kentucky. He can also score at multiple levels and facilitate, as evidenced by his 24.5% assist rate last season.
15. Atlanta Hawks
Jaylen Hood-Schifino (Indiana, G)
Atlanta is loaded with talented bodies in the frontcourt, but what it lacks is depth at point guard behind Trae Young. Quin Snyder could benefit from getting another ball-handler like Hood-Schifino to help an offense which averaged just 111.9 points per 100 possessions when Young was off the floor.