Bee staff writer Jason Jones forecasts the first round of the NBA draft, which will held Thursday at Barclays Center in New York:
1. Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, 6-foot-11, PF/C, Kentucky: The consensus top pick could be the final piece that helps Minnesota return to the playoffs.
2. Lakers, Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, C, Duke: Every Lakers dynasty has included an All-Star post player, and Okafor gives Los Angeles a chance to continue that legacy.
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3. 76ers, D’Angelo Russell, 6-5, PG/SG, Ohio State: Philadelphia has to take the best guard available after loading up on bigs, right? You never know with the 76ers.
4. Knicks, Kristaps Porzingis, 7-0, PF, Latvia: Some believe this sweet-shooting big man eventually might have the most complete offensive game of any prospect in this draft.
5. Magic, Mario Hezonja, 6-8, SF/SG, Croatia: Has the qualities to be a playmaker on offense and a factor on defense.
6. Kings, Emmanuel Mudiay, 6-5, PG, China: Not a great shooter, but an excellent athlete on the open floor who can set up teammates using his court vision.
7. Nuggets, Justise Winslow, 6-7, SF, Duke: Denver is determined to revamp its roster after two down seasons, and Winslow would be a nice addition.
8. Pistons, Stanley Johnson, 6-7, SF, Arizona: Wing prospect with the potential to be a contributor on offense and defense for a team that needs help in both areas.
9. Hornets, Devin Booker, 6-6, SG, Kentucky: Charlotte desperately needs players who can provide offense, and Booker could help immediately with Lance Stephenson gone.
10. Heat, Trey Lyles, 6-10, PF, Kentucky: A big who can score and learn from an All-Star in Chris Bosh to start his NBA career.
11. Pacers, Willie Cauley-Stein, 7-0, C, Kentucky: Indiana wants to run more, and Cauley-Stein would give the Pacers a center who can run better than Roy Hibbert.
12. Jazz, Frank Kaminsky, 7-1, PF, Wisconsin: A big man with shooting range who could create more room for Utah’s young guards to make plays.
13. Suns, Sam Dekker, 6-9, SF, Wisconsin: After remaking its roster at midseason, Phoenix could use some depth on the wing to go with its guards.
14. Thunder, Cameron Payne, 6-2, PG, Murray State: A second point guard would make it easier for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to focus on scoring.
15. Hawks, Myles Turner, 6-11, C, Texas: Atlanta had a lot of things that worked last season, but more size in the frontcourt would be beneficial.
16. Celtics, Kelly Oubre, 6-7, SF, Kansas: Boston has collected a lot of young talent, and Oubre is a wing who can learn behind Evan Turner.
17. Bucks, Bobby Portis, 6-11, PF, Arkansas: With Larry Sanders gone, Milwaukee can rebuild its frontcourt with Portis and a healthy Jabari Parker.
18. Rockets, Tyus Jones, 6-1, PG, Duke: Houston needs to help relieve James Harden of ballhandling duties and protect against possibly losing point guard Patrick Beverley in free agency.
19. Wizards, Kevon Looney, 6-9, PF, UCLA: A big man with shooting range and a knack for rebounding who will get stronger after just one season with the Bruins.
20. Raptors, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, 6-7, SF, Arizona: Toronto could use the physical style a player like Hollis-Jefferson could bring at small forward.
21. Mavericks, Jerian Grant, 6-5, PG, Notre Dame: The Rajon Rondo experiment flopped. Dallas will look for veteran help, but a young point guard to groom wouldn’t hurt.
22. Bulls, Terry Rozier, 6-1, PG, Louisville: With Derrick Rose’s injury history, it’s never a bad idea to have another point guard ready to go.
23. Trail Blazers, Montrezl Harrell, 6-8, PF, Louisville: An accomplished college player who could provide muscle and grit off the bench next season.
24. Cavaliers, Delon Wright, 6-5, PG, Utah: Cleveland’s need for more playmakers was evident in the Finals, and the Cavaliers need them even with Kyrie Irving healthy.
25. Grizzlies, Rashad Vaughn, 6-6, SG, UNLV: For all the good things Memphis does, scoring is not one of them. Vaughn could provide offense off the bench as a rookie.
26. Spurs, R.J. Hunter, 6-6, SG, Georgia State: One of the stars early in the NCAA Tournament whose college coach was his dad would fit well in San Antonio’s system.
27. Lakers, Justin Anderson, 6-6, SF, Virginia: After three years in college, Anderson is better prepared to contribute physically than most prospects.
28. Celtics, Jonathan Holmes, 6-8, PF, Texas: Holmes has the size of a power forward, but some believe he could play small forward in some situations.
29. Nets, Guillermo Hernangomez, 6-11, C, Spain: Skilled on offense, but his defense will need work to be effective in the NBA.
30. Warriors, Chris McCullough, 6-9, PF, Syracuse: The champs don’t need much, so McCullough could sit and learn with the hope he will help beyond next season.