Teams that have a pick in the NBA Draft have to prepare for multiple scenarios.
This draft in particular has several players that have a wide range of where they could land, meaning teams picking in the middle and late part of the first round must have several players they feel comfortable selecting.
But every GM has a best-case scenario in his head. The scenario where everything breaks perfectly and a player falls into his lap. Here’s the best realistic scenario for each team without trading up or down.
Minnesota – Karl-Anthony Towns
This one is easy enough. Towns is the best player in the draft and can team up with Andrew Wiggins as a dynamic duo for years to come.
Los Angeles Lakers – Karl-Anthony Towns
This is about as unlikely as it gets, but if Flip Saunders changes his mind and goes in a different direction, Towns would be a perfect fit next to Julius Randle on the front line.
Philadelphia 76ers – D’Angelo Russell
Russell is the perfect fit for a team in need of a point guard and a shooter, and could jumpstart an anemic offense. Philadelphia has to hope the Lakers take Jahlil Okafor or Kristaps Porzingis for Russell to be available.
New York Knicks – D’Angelo Russell
It seems unlikely Philadelphia will pass on Russell, but that’s the best scenario for the Knicks. New York has a lot of the same needs as Philadelphia, and Russell makes sense as dynamic playmaker who could stretch the floor.
Orlando Magic – Kristaps Porzingis
Porzingis has been shooting up some draft boards, which is bad news for the Magic. Hopefully, the top four teams pass on him, because he could develop into the perfect compliment to Nikola Vucevic and give the Magic some desperately needed floor spacing.
Sacramento Kings – Emmanuel Mudiay
Sacramento is in a good spot, because one of the two players who perfectly fits a need (Mudiay or Willie Cauley-Stein) should be available. Mudiay would finally solve the Kings’ point-guard issues, and he’d give teams fits trying to stop pick-and-rolls with DeMarcus Cousins for the next half-decade or so (if Cousins sticks around).
Denver Nuggets – Emmanuel Mudiay
Justise Winslow fits perfectly here, but if Mudiay somehow falls, Denver would get an immense talent and be able to move Ty Lawson for a good haul without worrying. These moves together would speed up the rebuild significantly.
Detroit Pistons – Justise Winslow
Mudiay sliding to Denver would be the perfect scenario for Detroit, because it would allow Detroit to nab Winslow. A jack-of-all-trades wing would fit perfectly with the Pistons lineup that now has Ersan Ilyasova in the fold.
Charlotte Hornets – Justise Winslow
Sensing a theme here? All of the teams in this range could use a wing, and Winslow is the best of the bunch. If he can be a consistent shooter, he could be a huge asset on both sides of the ball for Charlotte.
Miami Heat – Mario Hezonja
At this point, it seems unlikely that Winslow will still be left with all of the teams needing wings being ahead of Miami. That leaves Hezonja, who’s another player likely to be gone. If a few teams pass on him, however, Miami would be grateful for the chance at drafting the dynamic scoring wing. He’d fill the team’s biggest need in terms of position, and would give Miami more shooting on the wing than it had last season.
Indiana Pacers – Willie Cauley-Stein
It’s still highly unlikely that Cauley-Stein is left here, but not out of the realm of possibilities. If the teams in the top 10 are foolish enough to pass on him, Indiana would gladly grab him and plug him in to the new-look lineup alongside Paul George in the frontcourt. He’d be a perfect fit if he fell into the Pacers’ lap.
Utah Jazz – Mario Hezonja
If a few more teams pass on Hezonja, he’d be a great fit for Utah as well. Hezonja would give a scoring punch to the Jazz, and he’d fit in and compete right away with Alec Burks for the starting job. Utah has a good young core and can afford to gamble on a player with high upside.
Phoenix Suns – Stanley Johnson
The Johnson concerns seem to be a bit overblown leading into the draft. He didn’t have a great freshman season, but he’s a high-motor player with the skills to be a solid role player. His constant energy would fit perfectly with Phoenix if these concerns cause him to slide.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Cameron Payne
Payne has seemed to be the Thunder’s target since Day 1. His scoring and playmaking would allow him to play alongside Russell Westbrook and give the Thunder another dynamic weapon.
Atlanta Hawks – Frank Kaminsky
Frank the Tank could give the Hawks the player Pero Antic seems to think he is. His shooting and passing would fit well into the well-oiled machine that’s the Hawks’ offense.
Boston Celtics – Sam Dekker
Dekker needs to be more aggressive than he was in college, and Brad Stevens could probably tap into the potential Dekker has as a scorer. He also gives the Celtics an acceptable defender on the wing.
Milwaukee Bucks – Devin Booker
Booker’s projected to go in the top 10, but he could slide if a few teams pass on him. The Bucks desperately need more shooting, and Booker would provide that from Day 1.
Houston Rockets – Frank Kaminsky
Perhaps the most unlikely scenario on the board, but how many times have we seen several teams pass a sure thing for a high upside player only to regret it later? Kaminsky would fit perfectly next to Dwight Howard and would space the floor on James Harden’s drives.
Washington Wizards – Bobby Portis
There’s a very real chance Portis is available for Washington, and Wizards’ fans should be ecstatic if he is. He’s a smart player with a versatile game, and he’d contribute right away at power forward, which is Washington’s biggest need.
Toronto Raptors – Sam Dekker
Dekker is likely to go well before this, but in the very unlikely scenario that he’s here, he’d be a perfect fit for the Raptors. Terrence Ross has struggled with consistency, and Dekker would be a rotation wing for a team that hopes to make noise in the East next year.
Dallas Mavericks – Jerian Grant
Dallas desperately needs a point guard, and Grant would bring a dynamic offensive game and size to the position. He’d do a lot to help fans forget about the debacle that was Rajon Rondo. If he somehow falls to the Mavericks, he’d be a perfect fit.
Chicago Bulls – Jerian Grant
If Dallas passed on Grant, the Bulls would be happy to take the talented point guard. He has the size to play next to Derrick Rose, and could eventually give the Bulls a three-guard lineup along with Jimmy Butler that featured three players capable of getting to the lane.
Portland Trail Blazers – Trey Lyles
Lyles has a wide range on draft day, and this would seem to be his floor. He plays a similar style to LaMarcus Aldridge (although he’s obviously not as talented), and he could fit in as his backup or replacement, depending on free agency.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Delon Wright
Wright is one of the most exciting sleepers in the draft and could fit as a backup to Kyrie Irving. He’d give them a great defender at the point of attack, and a player who understands his role.
Memphis Grizzlies – R.J. Hunter
The Grizzlies are perpetually in need of more shooting, and Hunter has potential as a lights-out shooter. He’s another player with a wide range on draft night, and he’d be a perfect fit if he falls this far.
San Antonio Spurs – Delon Wright
It’s probably destiny that Wright falls to the Spurs and spends his entire career as a great decision-making and defensive point guard.
Los Angeles Lakers – R.J. Hunter
It seems unlikely, but it’s possible Hunter could slide all the way to the Lakers. Los Angeles would get a good young wing and finally have a core that has some potential.
Boston Celtics – Montrezl Harrell
Harrell would bring some toughness to the Celtics’ frontcourt that’s currently missing. Of all the teams picking in the 20s, this is the best fit for Harrell and the team, and Boston would be lucky if he falls here.
Brooklyn Nets – Rashad Vaughn
Vaughn could be a sharpshooter and combo guard for the Nets, who are in need of youth everywhere. He’s a talented get this late in the first round.
Golden State Warriors – Joseph Young
If the Warriors keep this pick, it’d be nice to get a reserve who can space the floor. Young would be great next to Shaun Livingston because his lack of size as a 2 wouldn’t be as big of an issue.