WE are approaching the crazy season in NBA circles with draft night less than a month away. A few days ago I wrote an article comparing a handful of this year’s top prospects and forecasted where I thought they would land and already, just four days later my thoughts have changed. I’m sure everything will change again in two days, but for now, here’s my 4th NBA mock of the season.
IF you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest NBA articles and follow my fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action!
Pick #1 Phoenix Suns –Luka Dončić, SG/SF, Real Madrid
Last Rank: #2 ( 1)
SINCE day one I have been adamant that DeAndre Ayton is the best prospect in this year’s draft class. There is still merit in taking him first overall, but after some more digging and dissecting Ayton and Donic, I have come to realise that the Slovenian is a generational talent who demands being selected first overall.
Pick #2 Sacramento Kings – DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
Last Rank: #1 ( 1)
FUNNILY enough, I think Ayton on the Kings works out better for all parties. If Phoenix takes Doncic first overall then Sacramento doesn’t have to worry about how he fits alongside De’Arron Fox. They then also get to land a dominant force in the paint for the next decade. Win-win.
Pick #3 Atlanta Hawks – Jaren Jackson Jr, PF, Michigan State
Last Rank: #6 ( 3)
JACKSON’S ceiling has been questioned for most of the season and I haven’t been shy in voicing my concerns over his future in the league. That being said, he does seem like a great fit alongside John Collins in the Hawks young raw, athletic frontcourt.
Image from si.com
Pick #4 Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke
Last Rank: #3 ( 1)
SHAPING up as a walking 20/10 in the NBA guy, Bagley’s offense will be a pleasant boost for the Grizzlies. All of a sudden a lineup with (healthy) Mike Conley, Tyreke Evans and Marc Gasol with Bagley then thrown into the fray is a formidable group.
Pick #5 Dallas Mavericks – Michael Poter Jr, SF/PF, Missouri
Last Rank: #4 ( 1)
PERSONALLY I have Michael Porter Jr ranked as one of the top-3 prospects in the entire class. Questions about his back and just how complete his game is has lots of people doubting Porter. Yes, I understand the concerns and I am still backing him in to be a star.
Pick #6 Orlando Magic – Mohammed Bamba, C, Texas
Last Rank: #9 ( 3)
A noteworthy climber since my last mock is Mo Bamba. Lazily in the past, I have compared him to DeAndre Jordan, but I think he has a much higher ceiling than Jordan. Think Rudy Gobert owning a solid jump shot with three-point range. That’s worth spending the 6th pick on.
Pick #7 Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke
Last Rank: #10 ( 3)
CHICAGO has lots of young talent on their roster following the Jimmy Butler move. Adding a very malleable frontcourt guy in Wendell Carter fills a need and fast forwards their rebuild at the same time.
Image from dawindycity.com
Pick #8 Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn Nets) – Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Last Rank: #6 ( 2)
TRAE Young to Orlando has been my ‘lock’ of the draft for months. With the Magic opting to pounce on another talent Young could find himself sliding to the Cavs, who might be searching for a scorer if LeBron leaves town. If the King stays I wouldn’t be surprised if they dealt this pick to try and land another big fish. For now though Trae Young is heading to Ohio.
Pick #9 New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova
Last Rank: #6 ( 3)
DEFENSIVELY Bridges will be able to make an impact right away for the Knicks. Their wing depth is questionable at best and adding a proven winner to their young nucleus is a move that should prove to be very beneficial in the future.
Pick #10 Philadelphia 76ers (from Los Angeles Lakers) – Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State
Last Rank: #12 ( 2)
POISED to be a contender in the East for years to come there isn’t a ton that the 76ers need. In today’s NBA you can always use shooters and size and while Miles Bridges isn’t elite in either category his versatility is awesome. Adding a do-it-all athlete to the fray can’t hurt.
Pick #11 Charlotte Hornets – Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky
Last Rank: #11 (level)
I am excited about the potential pairing between Kemba Walker and Kevin Knox. There won’t be many defensive highlights, but the duo could become a lethal scoring threat for the Hornets and help them recapture that playoff vibe.
Pick #12 Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit Pistons) – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky
Last Mock Draft: #13 ( 1)
THERE are rumours around the Clippers potentially moving up I won’t be projecting trades in my mock drafts. Despite the concerns about Gilgeous-Alexander’s jump shot scaring off a few teams I am a big fan. Squeezing the combo guard into a backcourt with Lou Williams and Austin Rivers leaves them with a ton of flexibility and versatility. Tick.
Pick #13 Los Angeles Clippers – Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
Last Rank: #8 ( 5)
WITH a lot of his draft peers rising, Sexton is close to falling out of the lottery. No matter, the Bama fresher will bring his tenacity and intensity to LA adding another exciting young piece to their backcourt. If the Clips do make this move they may have found their future franchise PG.
Pick #14 Denver Nuggets – Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech
Last Rank: #16 ( 2)
DENVER owns one of the best-balanced rosters in the league in my opinion. A traditional floor general would be a nice addition, as well a bit of rim protection. However, the insane athleticism on offer from Zaire Smith is hard to pass up.
Pick #15 Washington Wizards – Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
Last Rank: #13 ( 2)
IT’S fair to say that Marcin Gortat isn’t going to be the answer at center for the Wizards. How about Ian Mahinmi you ask? Nope, not him either. Robert Williams? Maybe, but one thing is clear he offers a lot more promise than the previous two options.
Pick #16 Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat) – Kyhri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton
Last Rank: #14 ( 2)
IF things hold to form then the Suns backcourt wouldn’t be a very solid group on defense. That’s where Thomas comes in, helping Doncic and Booker from being exposed. The former Bluejay can defend multiple positions and be a complementary scorer if he’s called upon as well.
Pick #17 Milwaukee Bucks – Anfernee Simons, SG, IMG Academy
Last Rank: #19 ( 2)
DRAFTING the former high schooler Simons is worth the risk for Milwaukee at pick 17. They need to establish who is their No. 2 guy, but aside from that, a few more scorers on the roster wouldn’t go astray.
Image from nba.com
Pick #18 San Antonio Spurs – Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State
Last Rank: #28 ( 10)
WITH the future of Kawhi Leonard well and truly up in the air there could be a mass exodus of Spurs wings. Drafting Bates-Diop won’t give you a permanent replacement but it will stop the bleeding. The Buckeye’s senior can shoot well enough and defend a variety of spots.
Pick #19 Atlanta Hawks (from Minnesota Timberwolves) – Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami
Last Rank: #17 ( 2)
FOR Atlanta their other first-round picks are all about getting value. They can take a calculated risk if they so desire, however, I think if Walker is still on the board here he won’t fall any further. After flashing his scoring potential in the latter parts of the year he could be one of the steals of the draft.
Pick #20 Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City Thunder) – Džanan Musa, SG, KK Cedevita
Last Rank: #20 (level)
SPEAKING of steals, for the second-straight mock I have the Bosnian prospect Musa drafted by the T-Wolves. He offers adequate scoring from the wings and can help contribute allowing Wiggins and Butler to steal some rest. Very, very valuable.
Pick #21 Utah Jazz – Jontay Porter, PF, Missouri
Last Rank: #23 ( 2)
I’M not here for any of the talk that Johntay is better than his brother Michael, but he is still a decent player. Carved in a similar mould to Trey Lyles, Porter can give nice backup big minutes for Utah as early as opening night next season. Sorry Derrick Favors, it’s just business.
Pick #22 Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans Pelicans) – Melvin Frazier, SF, Tulane
Last Rank: #24 ( 2)
WITH their talent pool stoked a nice defensive/shooting forward is a stellar way to use the 22nd pick. His stock is still on the rise and the junior from Tulane has the potential to be a good scoring threat in the pros.
Pick #23 Indiana Pacers – Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
Last Rank: Not Ranked
DRAFTING Holiday to increase their point guard depth would be an awesome move. There would be no pressure on him to succeed right away and he could provide valuable reserve minutes behind Collison. It won’t be long though before the Bruins spark plug is demanding starters minutes.
Pick #24 Portland Trailblazers – Troy Brown, SG, Oregon
Last Rank: #30 ( 6)
QUESTIONS remain over just how good Brown can be and if he will fit together the jigsaw pieces. The Blazers do have a solid wing depth chart too so they could opt to pass on Brown. I think his upside on D and as a decent scorer is too tempting though.
Pick #25 Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland Cavaliers) – Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School
Last Rank: #22 ( 3)
REPORTS surfaced last week that the Lakers had ‘promised’ Robinson they will draft him the 25th overall pick. That isn’t why I have him going here though, with his bounce and size would be a solid addition to their rotation. If the Julius Randle situation goes pearshaped then Robinson’s energy off the bench would be very beneficial too.
Pick #26 Philadelphia 76ers – Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova
Last Rank: Not Ranked
NO one has boosted his draft stock more in the past few months than Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo. An eye-popping performance in the NCAA title game saw him become a household name and he is still riding that momentum. Another notable showing at the Draft Combine has him in the mix too be a first-round pick. His athleticism and scoring would boost Philly significantly.
Pick #27 Boston Celtics – Shake Milton, SG/PG, SMU
Last Rank: #21 ( 6)
IF Marcus Smart walks in free agency then the Celtics will need another guard contributor from the bench. Milton can help with his defensive versatility and solid scoring numbers. Boston won’t need to add much when they are fit and firing, but the former Mustang is a good plus.
Pick #28 Golden State Warriors – Gary Trent Jr, SG, Duke
Last Rank: #27 ( 1)
WHAT do you get a team that is a perennial contender? A high-risk, high-reward player. The Warriors can afford to take a chance here and draft a big boom or bust guy. Failing that Golden State would love someone on their bench who can actually shoot. Enter Gary Trent.
Pick #29 Brooklyn Nets (from Toronto Raptors) – Mortiz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan
Last Rank: Not Ranked
WAGNER is perfectly built to be a modern-day center thanks to his hustle and sharp shooting. He can get burnt when defending smaller players and needs to improve on D. Still, he’s a nice addition to the Nets core.
Pick #30 Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets) – Élie Okobo, PG, France
Last Rank: Not Ranked
CLOSING out this mock is yet another late flyer, this time from across the border. French-born Élie Okobo has been playing pro ball for a few years, slowly increasing his game. He erupted this season and there is a lot of buzz above his potentially huge ceiling.
Banner from collegepridepress.com