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NBA mock draft: Projecting the top 14 post-lottery

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The NBA draft lottery is complete, the order of the top 14 picks is cemented and the Atlanta Hawks are on the clock.

With about six weeks left before the draft begins June 27, Field Level Media takes a crack at projecting the lottery picks. There is no can’t-miss star like Victor Wembanyama atop this year’s draft board, but we may see a French big man go first overall for the second year running.

1. Atlanta Hawks: Alexandre Sarr, F/C, Perth Wildcats

The Hawks, who had just a 3 percent chance to win the No. 1 pick, now have every option in front of them. The answer, though, should be Sarr as a successor to Clint Capela. Tall, lean, mobile and talented as a ball-handler and passer, Sarr’s most pressing task will be to bolster one of the league’s worst defenses.

2. Washington Wizards: Donovan Clingan, C, UConn

Clingan isn’t just any old college center. He’s a 7-foot-2 monster in the interior with a 7-foot-7 wingspan who played a crucial role helping the Huskies win back-to-back national championships. His rim protection will make the Wizards’ ghastly defense better and he’ll be a persistent dunk threat teamed with Kyle Kuzma in the frontcourt.

3. Houston Rockets: Zaccharie Risacher, F, JL Bourg

This Frenchman’s most notable trait is his 3-point shot, which he’s connected on at ridiculous levels playing in his home nation’s top league. Doing the same for Houston is another matter, but Risacher has the right build to fit in on the wing for a Rockets team that can take its time with him as it completes its rebuild.

4. San Antonio Spurs: Rob Dillingham, G, Kentucky

Rob, meet Victor. Gregg Popovich will make sure you get along splendidly. Perhaps the best point guard in a class with several near the top, Dillingham offers the complete package on offense (15.2 points, 3.9 assists per game, 44.4 percent shooting from deep at Kentucky).

5. Detroit Pistons: Reed Sheppard, G, Kentucky

Sheppard went from being the fifth-most hyped freshman in Kentucky’s class to the consensus National Freshman of the Year. It helps to make more than half your 3-pointers and grab 2.5 steals a game. The Pistons tied for the fewest made 3-pointers per game and need a catch-and-shoot threat like Sheppard.

6. Charlotte Hornets: Nikola Topic, G, Red Star Belgrade

Topic’s size (6-foot-6 or 6-foot-7, depending on your source), scoring and playmaking ability have powered his rise up draft boards this season. After dominating the Adriatic League, the 18-year-old projects as a major backcourt addition for any NBA team, but especially the Hornets, who need more playmaking guards especially considering LaMelo Ball’s injury history.

7. Portland Trail Blazers: Matas Buzelis, F, G League Ignite

The 6-foot-11 Lithuanian-American offers a lot to Scoot Henderson and the Blazers. He averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.1 blocks per game in the G League regular season and comes from multiple generations of basketball pros, highlighted by his IQ.

8. San Antonio Spurs: Dalton Knecht, F, Tennessee

Knecht took the Southeastern Conference by storm as an offensive machine for the Vols and won league Player of the Year honors. He’s already 23 years old, but the Spurs ranked 28th in 3-point percentage last year and Knecht offers a jolt in that department from Day One.

9. Memphis Grizzlies: Ron Holland, F, G League Ignite

Memphis may be getting a steal in Holland, once considered a potential No. 1 overall pick before an up-and-down G League season. At his best, Holland scores at will attacking the basket and is a threat as a passer and defender. The Grizzlies owned the worst scoring offense in the NBA, but they get Ja Morant back and Holland can give him another option.

10. Utah Jazz: Cody Williams, F, Colorado

Williams scored 11.9 points per game in his lone year at Colorado and shot 41.5 percent from 3-point range — though he attempted fewer than two per game. The brother of Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams will bring great size on the wing (6-foot-8, 7-foot-1 wingspan) to the worst perimeter defending team of 2023-24.

11. Chicago Bulls: Stephon Castle, G, UConn

Part of the reason UConn managed to win another national title was that Castle so ably stepped into the point guard role as a freshman, but he can play either guard role. He facilitates, defends, hustles and drives to the rim, making him a great backcourt complement to Coby White — especially if the Bulls bid farewell to Zach LaVine.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Devin Carter, G, Providence

The Thunder own this pick via the Rockets, yet they have no pressing needs. Why not help themselves to a guard prospect who can do a little of everything? Carter’s stock soared as he averaged 19.7 points, 8.7 boards, 3.6 assists and 1.8 steals this season.

13. Sacramento Kings: Zach Edey, C, Purdue

He’s a controversial prospect for complex reasons, but don’t overthink it: Edey is 7-foot-4, scores and rebounds everything he sees and — most importantly for Sacramento — protects the rim in a way Domantas Sabonis doesn’t. The Kings aren’t hard-pressed for an immediate starter, but someone of Edey’s caliber spelling Sabonis should get coach Mike Brown’s wheels turning.

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Ja’Kobe Walter, G, Baylor

For Portland’s second pick in the lottery, Walter can provide something the Blazers desperately need: shot-making. Portland ranked dead-last in 3-point shooting (34.5 percent) and second-to-last in overall field-goal percentage (43.9 percent) last season. — Field Level Media/Reuters

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