The big winner from this year's NBA draft lottery? The Minnesota Timberwolves, who will add a third No. 1 overall pick to their roster. A close second were the Los Angeles Lakers, who will have a chance to add a franchise player to succeed Kobe Bryant.
The big loser? The New York Knicks, who after mailing in the second half of the season and finishing with the NBA’s second-worst record will pick fourth overall. That’s what the franchise gets for sending GM Steve Mills, not Phil Jackson, to the lottery.
Without further ado, let's get to my Mock Draft 2.0. Here are my first-round projections now that the lottery is set.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
RECORD: Kentucky, Freshman | 6-11, 250
• SI ROUNDTABLE: Okafor or Towns at No. 1?
2. Los Angeles Lakers
RECORD: Duke, freshman | 6-11, 270
• MORE NBA: Kobe, players react to lottery results
3. Philadelphia 76ers
RECORD: China, Age 19 | 6-5, 190
Here’s where the draft gets a little murky. The Sixers need a playmaker; two potential elite ones are on the board. Mudiay is unknown—he spent an injury riddled season in China—but he is an explosive point guard cut out of the mold of Russell Westbrook. Expect Philadelphia to go back and forth on Mudiay and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell.
4. New York Knicks
RECORD: Ohio State, freshman | 6-5, 180
Steve Mills's face said it all. Fourth? The Knicks GM certainly expected better after his team effectively tanked the second half of the season. Still, grabbing Russell, a gifted playmaker, is far from a consolation prize. Russell reads defenses like a five-year veteran and thrives in transition. Can he learn—and excel—in the triangle? That’s a more difficult question.
5. Orlando Magic
RECORD: Latvia, Age 19 | 6-11, 209
Comparisons coming out of Porzingis’s camp are lofty: Kevin Garnett. Porzingis isn’t as skilled of a post player as KG, but he is a legitimate stretch four, athletic with a fluid shooting stroke. Porzingis will need a year to bulk up but he has enormous potential.
6. Sacramento Kings
RECORD: Wisconsin, senior | 7-0, 234
Too high for Kaminsky? First you have to identify what his major flaws are. Kaminsky is a smooth shooting big who can score off the dribble and from beyond the three-point line. The Kings have a gaping hole at power forward, and Kaminsky could complement DeMarcus Cousins nicely. There are issues defensively, but few better scoring options for George Karl’s offense.
7. Denver Nuggets
RECORD: Duke, freshman | 6-6, 225
Here’s what we know about the Nuggets: They want to play fast again. Here is what we know about Winslow: He is excellent in transition. Winslow’s size could be an issue, but a strong NCAA tournament run with Duke opened eyes and revealed a more complete game. That will help Denver, which needs a few more complete players.
8. Detroit Pistons
RECORD: Arizona, Freshman | 6-7, 245
Detroit has a sizeable hole at small forward and Johnson, a defensive-minded swingman who has evoked comparisons—at least physically—to Metta World Peace, looks like a nice fit. Johnson needs polish offensively but he made 37.1% of his three’s last season, far better than many scouts predicted. Myles Turner is a candidate here, too.
9. Charlotte Hornets
RECORD: Kentucky, freshman | 6-6, 206
One of the bigger surprises of the combine was Booker; not because of how he played (he didn’t) but executives' opinion of him. Several execs identified Booker as the best shooting prospect in the draft. The Hornets—last in three-point shooting last season—need a perimeter threat to take pressure off of Al Jefferson.
10. Miami Heat
RECORD: Texas, freshman | 6-11, 240
11. Indiana Pacers
RECORD: Croatia, Age 20 | 6-8, 201
Larry Bird telling Willie Cauley-Stein he was a $100 million player was one of two things: A smokescreen—why would the Pacers jump at a defensive minded center—or (another) message to Roy Hibbert to opt. A pick closer to reality is Hezonja, a sweet shooting two-guard who could emerge as a starter next season.
12. Utah Jazz
RECORD: Kentucky, freshman | 6-10, 235
After years of having a surplus of bigs, Utah needs help there. Lyles isn’t as advanced offensively as his UK teammate, Towns, but he is a solid face-up power forward who has shown flashes of a decent perimeter game. If the Jazz prefer a more NBA-ready forward, another Lyles teammate, Willie Cauley-Stein, is a candidate here, too.
13. Phoenix Suns
RECORD: Kentucky, Junior | 7-0, 240
The Suns would love an offensive-oriented big to fall to them here. Cauley-Stein is limited offensively, but he is a versatile defender who can help solve the Suns' rebounding problems. And he is the most NBA-ready big man in the draft.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
RECORD: Murray State, Sophomore | 6-2, 180
There was a measurable buzz around Payne at the draft combine in Chicago, with executives seeing a natural playmaker who blends scoring and distributing well. Payne is a little undersized, but the Thunder can patiently develop what could be a quality backup to Russell Westbrook.