IT’S official we are into single days until Draft Day! With the actual basketball action in the rear vision window now we turn our attention to the next crop of leagues stars. Things are starting to heat up with players rising and falling rapidly through hundreds of mock drafts. This is how I think the Draft will unfold if it were to tipoff right now.
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Pick #1 Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
Last Rank: #2 ( 1)
THERE is still some debate around Ayton heading to Phoenix, but if you ask him it’s a done deal. The Arizona big man dominated his pre-draft workout with the Suns according to all reports, all but cementing himself in this slot…for now.
Pick #2 Sacramento Kings – Luka Dončić, SG/SF, Real Madrid
Last Rank: #1 ( 1)
I still think that Doncic is the best prospect in this class and that’s why Sacramento will take him 2nd overall. Bagley and Jackson are tempting, but Doncic’s potential upside is something that can’t be ignored. Draft him and figure out the fix with Fox later.
Image from bealestreetbears.com
Pick #3 Atlanta Hawks – Mohammed Bamba, C, Texas
Last Rank: #6 ( 3)
FROM lottery to top-5 to third overall, Bamba’s stock is soaring. With one big man spot already filled by John Collins, Bamba is the perfect complementary piece to put next to him, revolutionising the Hawks rebuild. His enormous 7’10” wingspan will be on display from day dot.
Pick #4 Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke
Last Rank: #4 (level)
I’M still a big fan of Bagley and there is a real chance that he goes ahead of pick four. Acquiring the Duke freshman allows the Grizzlies to stay in contention if they can get healthy and hold onto Conley and Gasol. If they opt for a different route then Bagley gives them the perfect building block for their rebuild.
Pick #5 Dallas Mavericks – Jaren Jackson Jr, PF, Michigan State
Last Rank: #3 ( 2)
PROBABLY unfairly I haven’t been Jackson’s biggest fan in the pre-draft process. The lanky Spartan seems set to make a GM very happy with his versatile skill set and flexibility. At just 18 years old there is a real chance he can be the perfect big man in today’s NBA.
Pick #6 Orlando Magic – Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Last Rank: #8 ( 2)
GUNNIN’ his way up the board I think Young to Orlando makes too much sense. The Magic have long been coveting a point guard and Young has the chance to develop, make mistakes and growth in Florida if he’s snapped up here. Sign me up.
Image from diehards.com
Pick #7 Chicago Bulls – Wendell Carter, PF/C, Duke
Last Rank: #7 (level)
LOW risk, safe and steady. Wendell Carter has had those term thrown around when basketball nuts discuss his place in this draft class. Don’t for a second be fooled into thinking that he isn’t valuable though as Carter has the chance to become the successor to Robin Lopez and a great backcourt running mate for Markkanen.
Pick #8 Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn Nets) – Michael Poter Jr, SF/PF, Missouri
Last Rank: #5 ( 3)
CLEVELAND fans (me) get their wish by landing Porter. Chances are he will be snapped up before pick eight, but if he’s still here Koby Altman will know what to do (right?).
Pick #9 New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges, SG/SF, Villanova
Last Rank: #9 (level)
NEW York doesn’t need to overthink this one. They need as much help as they can get, especially if Porzingis is going to be shelved for a big chunk of next season. Bridges fits the mould here.
Pick #10 Philadelphia 76ers (from Los Angeles Lakers) – Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami
Last Rank: #19 ( 9)
GETTING some shooting talent to cover the potential loss of Marco Bellini and J.J. Redick will be high up on the Sixers wishlist. From a team perspective though they aren’t missing a hell of a lot and taking Walker gives them the possibility to throw a bunch of different lineups our next year. Look out.
Pick #11 Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan State
Last Rank: #10 ( 1)
THIS pick could be on the move as I’m sure the Hornets will try to shed one or more of their bloated contracts. If it stays in Charlotte though then Bridges gives them an athletic punch that the team severely lacks. He also gives Kemba a reliable sidekick, something he has been crying out for.
Pick #12 Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit Pistons) – Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
Last Mock Draft: #13 ( 1)
POOR Collin Sexton has bounced around all over the place in my mock drafts. Technically he is landing in the same place with the Clippers spending one of their two picks on the relentless guard.
Pick #13 Los Angeles Clippers – Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
Last Rank: #15 ( 2)
WILLIAMS allows LA to roll out an athletically scary frontcourt if things hold to form. A lot of people have compared the former Aggie to DeAndre Jordan and alongside him, they could help ‘Lob City’ return.
Pick #14 Denver Nuggets – Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech
Last Rank: #14 (level)
DENVER is in an interesting spot at No. 14. There is a chance that they throw this pick with Faried’s salary to find a new home for the disgruntled forward, but for now, let’s say it’s going to be held onto. If that’s the case a ‘best player available’ approach is a fine idea and replacing Will Barton with Zaire Smith fills a need too.
Pick #15 Washington Wizards – Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky
Last Rank: #11 ( 4)
KNOX slides slightly through no fault of his own. I love the guy, but there is a chance he will find himself outside the lottery if everyone else keeps trending up. Still, there is no pressure on him to deliver right away for Washington and he can score some buckets off the bench before becoming a future starter.
Pick #16 Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat) – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky
Last Rank: #12 ( 4)
ANOTHER slider is SGA from the John Calipari basketball factory. Starting the season as a virtual nobody, Gilgeous-Alexander has soared up the prospect rankings in the last six months and will bring defense and playmaking attributes right away. A good get for a Phoenix team currently starting Elfrid Payton.
Pick #17 Milwaukee Bucks – Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova
Last Rank: #26 ( 9)
THE National Championship hero is having himself a good couple of months. By no means do I think he is the 17th best player in the draft, but he makes sense here for Milwaukee. His playmaking and scoring could be an awesome add to the Bucks.
Pick #18 San Antonio Spurs – Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State
Last Rank: #18 (level)
BUCKEYES senior Bates-Diop is a versatile piece that could really help the Spurs. Many see him as a wing in the modern NBA and his defense/post play will see him contribute for Pop right away.
Pick #19 Atlanta Hawks (from Minnesota Timberwolves) – Élie Okobo, PG, France
Last Rank: #30 ( 9)
AS is the way every draft season a few prospects will SURGE up the board in the final fortnight of the draft process. This year one such example is French-born Elie Okobo, who is an exciting playmaking prospect with the potential to be awesome.
Image from thunderousintentions.com
Pick #20 Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City Thunder) – Melvin Frazier, SF, Tulane
Last Rank: #22 ( 2)
MINNESOTA already has some stars on the wing, but Frazier is a valuable piece. Not only could they trade him from here, but the Tulane forward could emerge as a go-to scorer if he pieces it together. It’s worth a shot.
Pick #21 Utah Jazz – Omari Spellman, PF, Villanova
Last Rank: Not Ranked
OPERATION ‘get a replacement for Derrick Favors‘ is underway. This may be a bit of a reach with a lack of quality power forwards in this range. However, Spellman is fresh off a national title and is a perfect transition as Favors’ contract expires. Sorry Derrick, it’s nothing personal it’s just business.
Pick #22 Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans Pelicans) – Chandler Hutchinson, SG/SF, Boise State
Last Rank: Not Ranked
WITH a lot of young pieces already on the roster the Bulls could take a flier here. Instead, I have them snaring a meticulous scorer in Hutchinson. He can be a spark off the bench and help speed up this rebuild.
Pick #23 Indiana Pacers – Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
Last Rank: #23 (level)
NOTHING changes from my last predictions with Holiday joining Indiana. He will only be called upon to play reserve minutes for now, but I predict he’ll take over from Collison before long.
Pick #24 Portland Trailblazers – Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati
Last Rank: Not Ranked
BEARCATS forward Jacob Evans rejoins the mock as Portland addresses their wing depth. Injuries to key guys hurt them at the worst of times last year and a player who can plug a number of gaps like Evans is a smart investment.
Pick #25 Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland Cavaliers) – Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School
Last Rank: #25 (level)
THE raw athletic high schooler Robinson has been locked into this spot for a while now. With LA reportedly promising him they will draft him here it’s a popular choice and I’m siding with the crowd. For now.
Pick #26 Philadelphia 76ers – Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland
Last Rank: Not Ranked
PICTURE a young Kyle Korver who is an aggressive passer and you have Kevin Huerter. By no means am I saying he will become an all-time shooter, but he has a smooth stroke that has seen him rise up draft boards. Philly will happily snap him up.
Pick #27 Boston Celtics – Grayson Allen, SG, Duke
Last Rank: Not Ranked
PLAYERS who can create his own shot are going to be sought after by Boston to complement their other pieces. Allen could be the modern day Danny Ainge, a fierce competitor who can stroke it from anywhere. Tick.
Pick #28 Golden State Warriors – Kyhri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton
Last Rank: #16 ( 12)
FUNNILY enough, Golden State could use some scoring off the bench after their roles players failed to deliver. A handful of them seems set to depart for different pastures and drafting Thomas with this pick gives them a potential draft steal in back-to-back classes. Fuck.
Image from oregonlive.com
Pick #29 Brooklyn Nets (from Toronto Raptors) – Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech
Last Rank: Not Ranked
BROOKLYN proved last year that they can score at times and they need to fix up their D if they want to climb up the standings. Claiming Okogie and his defensive flexibility makes sense.
Pick #30 Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets) – Dzanan Musa, SG/SF, KK Cedevita
Last Rank: #30 ( 10)
IF Atlanta doesn’t take a point guard early then they could use this slot to take someone like Jalen Brunson. Should the draft pan out like this then Musa is a solid prospect worth gambling on.
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