A nifty 6-foot-7 power athlete, Ausar Thompson would provide the San Antonio backcourt with an infusion of explosiveness and rapid processing speed. He’s one of the best passers and perimeter defenders on the board. The excitement over his potential as a slasher and connective playmaker is only limited by concerns about his 3-point shooting.
With Jerami Grant’s future in question, the Blazers could look to reinforce the frontcourt defensively. Jarace Walker is a marvelous switch-everything defender who can credibly contain guards at the point of attack or battle bigs in the post. His razor-sharp instincts and unique offensive upside make him a steal of a pick for Portland at No. 7.
Anthony Black would supply the Wizards with a proper backcourt running mate for Bradley Beal. While not necessarily a “future star” in the traditional sense, Black should impact winning immediately with his genius-level I.Q. and selfless approach. He can make any pass in the book, always surveying the defense and making rapid-fire decisions on the fly. His twitchy athleticism and downhill scoring present some intrigue too.
Injuries limited Nick Smith Jr. in his freshman year at Arkansas, but what little we did see was enough to keep him pegged in the lottery. A silky-smooth scoring guard with remarkable touch around the rim, Smith can make 20-point games look effortless. If he evolves as a facilitator and becomes more consistent from 3, he could be a pivotal building block next to Lauri Markkanen in Utah.
Whether Kyrie Irving stays or not, the Mavericks desperately need to build back the defense. Dorian Finney-Smith’s presence has been heavily missed in the frontcourt. In Taylor Hendricks, the Mavs would add a tremendous 3-and-D forward who can switch screens, protect the rim from the weak side, and add some much-needed toughness to the equation in Dallas.