12. Sacramento Kings – Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
Haliburton has some clear strengths and clear weaknesses, but he should be a really nice fit next to De’Aaron Fox in Sacramento. During his two years at Iowa State, Haliburton proved to be a knockdown three-point shooter off spot-ups, a very good stationary passer, and an impactful defender. Where he struggles is beating his defender off the dribble and getting into the paint, but he shouldn’t have much of a creation burden playing next to Fox. The bigger issue for Haliburton could be how his defense translates. While he put up a sky-high steal rate throughout his time at ISU, his rail-thin frame could lead to him getting targeted early in his career. As long as he bulks up, Haliburton should be a solid role player as a shooter and passer who complements Fox’s game well.
13. New Orleans Pelicans – Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
Lewis is a super fast point guard who fills a need for the Pelicans while also having an argument for the best player on the board. After entering Alabama as a 17-year-old freshman, Lewis took off under head coach Nate Oats to turn into a consensus lottery pick. While he’s not the most polished finisher or passer yet, his ability to breakdown the defense off the dribble and put pressure on the rim will help make things easier for the rest of his teammates. Lewis seems like a nice match with Lonzo Ball in the backcourt as long the two can knock down three-pointers consistently enough to space the floor around Zion Williamson.
14. Boston Celtics – Aaron Nesmith, SG, Vanderbilt
Nesmith is considered one of the best three-point shooters in the draft. He hit 52 percent of his threes as a sophomore for Vanderbilt through the first 14 games before suffering a season-ending stress fracture in his foot. After hitting only 33.7 percent of his threes as a freshman, it’s fair to wonder where Nesmith’s shooting would have come in over a full season. The bigger issue is his lack of off-the-dribble game and how he struggles to beat the defense as a passer. Nesmith is a long wing (6’10 wingspan) with a signature skill, but it doesn’t feel like there’s much versatility in his game.
15. Orlando Magic – Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
Anthony is a 6’2 guard whose off-the-dribble shooting ability should be a major addition in Orlando. A consensus top-five recruit entering college, Anthony had a trying freshman season at North Carolina that included a torn meniscus. While he couldn’t carry a flawed supporting cast to success, Anthony’s game might translate better in the pros. Anthony likely doesn’t project as a full-time lead engine because his passing chops are unpolished, and he was underwhelming attacking the rim on drives. Instead, Anthony can play off Markelle Fultz’s ball handling and focus on darting around the three-point line, ripping shots, and attacking closeouts. It feels like this pick fills a big need for the Magic and also gives the organization a player who has more upside than he showed in college.
16. Detroit Pistons – Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Stewart joins Jalen Smith as the biggest reaches of the first round so far. A consensus five-star recruit, Stewart had a productive freshman year at Washington but there are questions about how his game translates to the NBA. Stewart is incredibly strong and long, but he only made five three-pointers and finished with 27 assists to 71 turnovers so there isn’t much versatility to his game. Defensively, Stewart plays a high-energy game, but he doesn’t have the quickness to defend the perimeter. Detroit needed a big man, but they could have went with Xavier Tillman from Michigan State instead.