HOLY shit, we are in for a show Thursday night. After months of speculation the draft is less than 24 hours away and I’ve changed my mind 1,002 times about the potential order players will be drafted in. With a realistic possibility that anyone in the top 10 could be the best player from this draft, nothing is certain so without further ado it’s time for Mock Draft 3.0!
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Pick #1 Philadelphia 76ers – Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
IN Version 2 I referenced that Boston would take Fultz barring a blockbuster trade. A blockbuster trade later and ‘The Process’ is nearly complete.
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Pick #2 Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
AFTER all the speculation and rumours surrounding the Lakers and their draft choice, they have a clear path now. Trading D’Angelo Russell to the Nets means Lavar gets his way.
Pick #3 Boston Celtics – Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
GOD this is tough to determine what the Celtics will do here. Jackson, Tatum, trade for Butler, shock the world and take say Isaac. I think that Tatum makes the most sense though.
Pick #4 Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson, SG/SF, Kansas
PHOENIX may be seriously tempted to draft De’Aaron Fox here instead, forming a lethal backcourt duo with Booker. Regardless of his jumpshot concerns, Jackson should go 4th.
Pick #5 Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
THE Kings get their point guard of the future with pick five in De’Aaron Fox. It may make sense for them to take Isaac or either Tatum/Jackson should someone slide, but if this is the pattern, Fox is the best floor general choice.
Pick #6 Orlando Magic – Dennis Smith Jr, PG, NC State
DRAFTING Dennis Smith Jr solves part of the issue that Orlando has scoring the ball. Smith shapes to be Steve Francis 2.0 and could be a perennial 20 PPG player.
Pick #7 Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State
YOU put Rubio, LaVine, Wiggins, Isaac and KAT on the floor together and the world is your oyster.
Pick #8 New York Knicks – Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
PHIL Jackson seems like he is single handedly going to run the Knicks into the dirt, so fans will have their fingers crossed that he doesn’t f*ck this pick up too. Monk has the potential to be an all-time heat check guy. Cha-ching.
Pick #9 Dallas Mavericks – Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘Dirk succession plan’ in Markkanen was taken here. However, with Frank Ntilikina slipping to 9th, he helps form the backcourt of the future with Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry.
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Pick #10 Sacramento Kings – Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
PENDING the Fox pick the Kings will likely go big with No. 10. With Cauley-Stein contracted it makes sense to take a big that can stretch the floor with his shooting. Enter Lauri Markkanen.
Pick #11 Charlotte Hornets – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
SINCE trading Marco Belinelli the Hornets now need shooters around Dwight and Kemba. A 43% shooter from downtown in college, Luke Kennard fits the mould.
Pick #12 Detroit Pistons – Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
WHILE there are some knocks on Mitchell, due to the fact that he is still raw and fits the dreaded ‘combo guard’ label, his elite athleticism, toughness and versatility are enough to make him a lottery pick.
Pick #13 Denver Nuggets – OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana
THIS is one pick that I feel is destined to happen. Someone may fall in love with OG and take him inside the top 10, but if not the defensive athlete will become a Nugget.
Pick #14 Miami Heat – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
I wouldn’t be surprised if Collins was taken either five picks higher or five picks lower. His ability to shoot and run the floor will see him earn minutes next to Hassan Whiteside at the four.
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Pick #15 Portland Trailblazers – Justin Patton, C, Creighton
THERE is a plethora of center prospects that fall in the second half of round one, with Patton my pick to be the first one taken.
Pick #16 Chicago Bulls – Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
CHICAGO needs more wing players with the ability to shoot, so drafting Jackson makes a lot of sense from a team fit perspective.
Pick #17 Milwaukee Bucks – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
EVEN though Milwaukee has plenty of developing bigs on their roster that won’t deter them from taking Allen. I have a hunch that in five years he could be the best center out of this draft.
Pick #18 Indiana Pacers – Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke
LIFE post Paul George seems like a realistic thing now, so it’s time for the Pacers to prepare for the future. There aren’t that many great wings left at this spot so gambling on Giles is a perfect use of this pick.
Pick #19 Atlanta Hawks – Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
EVEN before the Hawks dumped Dwight Howard in Charlotte I thought they would target a big. As they enter full rebuild mode the explosiveness should see ‘Bam Bam’ make ATL home.
Pick #20 Portland Trailblazers – Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia
WITH three picks in the second half of round one, it’s not likely that the Trailblazers will use all three and bring rookies into the fray next year. Stashing a prospect like Pasecniks overseas makes a lot of sense.
Pick #21 Oklahoma City Thunder – T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
I’M pretty locked into the thought of OKC taking T.J. Leaf here. After a year of playing alongside Lonzo Ball, Leaf now gets to hit open jumpers from Russell Westbrook passes.
Pick #22 Brooklyn Nets – Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia
TERRANCE Ferguson has the potential to be an elite 3-and-D player in the NBA, but there are concerns over his consistency and streaky shooting. He could be a great fit next to new Net D’Angelo Russell.
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Pick #23 Toronto Raptors – Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF, SMU
THE future of Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka up in the air, drafting Semi Ojeleye is a viable option for the Raps. With the ability to guard small and big forwards his stock is rising with every day that passes.
Pick #24 Utah Jazz – D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan
A prototypical big man in the modern NBA, D.J. Wilson possess the skills to stretch the floor and knock down shots while being athletic and versatile enough to guard multiple spots.
Pick #25 Orlando Magic – Juwan Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
EVNS is a somewhat underrated player who excels in the pick-and-roll. They don’t seem sold on Elfrid Payton and who knows what Evans could develop into.
Pick #26 Portland Trailblazers – Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse
STRETCH fours seem like the flavour of the back end of the draft and Portland acquires another one with their third pick of the first round in Lydon.
Pick #27 Los Angeles Lakers – Caleb Swanigan, PF/C, Purdue
REBOUNDING machine Caleb Swanigan was nearly the National Player or the Year last year and that stellar play should see him be a first round pick. If the Lakers do deal say Julius Randle and some draft picks for Paul George another rebounder would be handy.
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Pick #28 Los Angeles Lakers – Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina
WITH back-to-back picks the Lakers go big, taking potential back-up big Tony Bradley. The long mobile could have been a lottery pick next year, but developing behind Brook Lopez is a solid internship.
Pick #29 San Antonio Spurs – John Collins, C, Wake Forrest
IT’S a bit of a surprise that Collins slips this low but given the way the NBA is going it’s not crazy. He is talented offensively, but may need to be coached correctly to make a defensive impact. That’s were Pop comes in.
Pick #30 Utah Jazz – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
VERSATILE defender Ike Anigbogu finishes off round No. 1. His offensive game leaves plenty to be desired, but he can switch between guards and bigs with ease and help of defense right away.
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