By Oliver Mauntel
Michael Porter Jr. Denver Nuggets (14): If healthy, Porter would have essentially been guaranteed to be a top 5 pick in the draft. Porter’s latest episode of back spasms in the week prior to the draft led to some concerns about his long term health, causing him to slip to the bottom of the lottery. Even if Porter is not ready to go this season, the Nuggets may be capable of reaching the playoffs anyway. Denver is a perfect landing spot for MPJ, considering he will be granted time to ensure that his back is healthy and at full strength before stepping on the court. Whenever he does return, he will fit perfectly into Denver’s talented and youthful core. Denver’s potential starting 5 could include Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Michael Porter Jr., Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic.
Robert Williams Boston Celtics (27): Had it not been for a knee injury and work ethic concerns, Williams would have been a sure fire lottery pick. At the college level, Williams was an elite shot blocker and rebounder. During his two year stint with Texas A&M, Williams averaged at least 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in both seasons. He his not a formidable offensive threat, but his elite athleticism leaves room for optimism on that end. His style of play is comparable to the Houston Rockets’ Clint Capela, who was also a late first round selection. Capela has flourished in Houston as a dominant rebounder and shot blocker, and his offensive skill set has improved year over year. Robert Williams will have the opportunity to learn from Al Horford for the next few years, and Boston will hope that he can reach his full potential down the road.
Keita Bates-Diop Minnesota Timberwolves (48): Bates-Diop was widely projected to be a mid-to-late first round selection, so it was a surprise that he slipped to the 48th pick. Bates-Diop was somewhat of a late bloomer at Ohio State, not standing out as an NBA prospect until his senior season. Bates-Diop’s length, specifically his 7’3 wingspan, allows him to be a versatile option both offensively and defensively. Minnesota lacks depth at the small forward position, and KBD can help shoulder the load. Should Minnesota decide that Andrew Wiggins is not the long term answer as their small forward, Bates-Diop may eventually have an opportunity to seize the starting spot.