NBA Mock Draft
- Philadelphia 76ers (via Boston from Brooklyn): Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Fultz has been the consensus number one pick pretty much since the end of the college basketball season, and with point guard the biggest need for the 76ers it is no secret that Fultz is probably the guy they have their eye on.
This is a pretty obvious pick so there is not a ton to say about the logistics of it. Fultz is a terrific combo guard, with good size at 6-6. He is really good at just about everything; shooting, passing, ball control, court vision, athleticism, etc., it’s all there.
He is a very low risk player with a lot of upside, and a nice addition to The Process in Philly.
- Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG/SG, UCLA
The other day someone was talking to me about politics (a conversation I wanted no part of), and I was asked if I could think of anyone who would make a worse president than Trump. One name came to mind.
While LaVar may be a more annoying parent than an obsessive child pagent mom, there is no denying that he does have something to brag about in his son Lonzo.
Lonzo was one of the most exciting players in college basketball last season, leading an offensive juggernaut of a team at UCLA. He is very skilled as both a scorer and a passer, and will develop into an elite combo guard on the offensive end of the ball. He can be somewhat of a liability on defense, but his offensive skill set is so impressive that his defense probably won’t serve as a deterrent of any kind.
This pick has seemed like a lock throughout the entire draft process but there is still a chance the Lakers draft Josh Jackson, or trade this pick in a trade that lands them Paul George.
- Boston Celtics (via Philadelphia): Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Boston’s GM Danny Ainge stated in a press conference that the player that they were going to draft with the number one overall pick is the same one they are going to pick at three. And with most people foreseeing the Fultz, Ball start to the draft that leaves Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, and a small chance of Jonathan Isaac that Ainge could be talking about.
There has been almost no talk about Isaac with this pick, and while it is still a possibility let’s remove his name from the pool, thus leaving Tatum and Jackson. Tatum and Jackson are very similar players, however Tatum gets the edge since he is slightly more polished and consistent than Jackson. Additionally Jackson refused to work out for the Celtics while they had the number one pick, and never made it to a workout in Boston after the pick was traded.
Tatum is NBA ready in terms of size and athleticism. He is a natural scorer and at his best on the drive. He needs to become more consistent as a shooter and improve his court vision, but overall this is a nice addition for the Celtics.
- Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
There has been talk about Phoenix trying to move up to the second or third slot in the draft in order to get Jackson, but here they luck out and are able to get him by staying with the fourth pick.
Jackson would be a terrific fit next to Phoenix’s young star in Devin Booker, and the two would serve as a great foundation for the organization moving forward.
Jackson is a lengthy, athletic wing with a high ceiling. He has an inconsistent 3-point shot right now and needs to add bulk to his frame, but those are really the only two nods against him.
It is possible Jackson goes as high as number two, however ignoring possible trade scenarios, there is a very good chance he falls to the Suns here on draft night. Jonathan Isaac and De’Aaron Fox are also possibilities here, but Jackson is the best pick for the Suns here.
- Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
Like Phoenix, Sacramento has talked about trying to move up to get the player that will probably end up falling to them on draft night.
Unlike Fultz and Ball, who are definitely more combo guards than point guards, Fox is a pure point guard and a much better two way player. He excels at getting to the basket, and his perimeter defense is tremendous. He also is a better athlete than Ball is. He lacks a consistent 3-point jumper, which is why he is the fifth pick and not the first.
- Orlando Magic: Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, Arizona
Markkanen has been deemed the best shooter in the draft by many, that combined with his seven-foot frame makes him one of the best stretch forwards that the NBA has seen in years.
Markkanen has been drawing Dirk Nowitzki comparisons throughout the draft process, so is confusing why teams aren’t talking about drafting Markkanen higher than this.
Markkanen is the perfect pick for the Magic. They are in need of another shooter, and could use a stretch four. Markkanen’s weakness is that he won’t be able to compete on the boards or on the defensive side of the ball as well until he adds more strength, but Orlando has Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Bismack Biyombo so there is not an immediate need for those traits, giving Markkanen time to develop. Worst case scenario he turns out to be a better version of Marvin Williams.
Jonathan Isaac is another popular selection here, but Markkanen is more NBA ready and less of a risk. One dark horse prospect here is Dennis Smith Jr.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State
Isaac may not be as NBA ready as Markkanen but he may have the highest ceiling out of anyone in the draft.
He needs to develop his jumper further but he is a talented shooter with a huge frame that, if he fills out, could develop into one of the premier power forwards in the league. He has the skills and athleticism to also play small forward if a team needs him to, he isn’t the best fit but the versatility helps with mismatch situations.
Isaac is a little raw and a bigger risk that many other players in the top 10, but the reward should far out weigh it.
Markkanen is another option here if available.
- New York Knicks: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
This is a toss-up between a handful of good guards for the Knicks, but Monk’s combination of shooting, athleticism, and defense makes him the most appealing here. The Knicks last season were one of the worst teams in the nation at shooting the ball, and now with them potentially shopping Porzingis they need all the shooting they can get.
Luke Kennard may be the best shooter in the draft, and he is available here, but with the Knicks’ struggles at several aspects of the game, Monk fits as a much more all-around player with not a huge drop off in shooting skills. Monk is a lengthy, athletic guard, whose defensive skills are overshadowed by his knack for being able to knock down threes.
Monk was one of the most exciting players college basketball had to offer this past season and his skills should translate well to the NBA.
- Dallas Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg International
If the draft order stays like this then Ntilikina could very likely go one slot higher to the Knicks, but he is here in this mock because if the Mavericks need to move up to get him they will. The Mavericks are obsessed with this guy, and they have kept that no secret. They even hired his coach from Strasbourg to help coach their summer league team. If that isn’t foreshadowing I don’t know what is.
Ntilikina is one of the few pass first point guard prospects that the NBA sees nowadays. He needs to be more of a scoring threat if he wants to excel in the NBA (which I am sure he does, I mean who enters the draft not wanting to excel in the NBA?). With Dennis Smith Jr. still on the board here, this pick becomes a bit of a toss-up between the two guards, but so far all signs have pointed to Ntilikina.
- Sacramento Kings: OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
Most people would see this as a reach, but this pick makes a lot of sense for the Kings. Odds are if players like Dennis Smith Jr., Zach Collins, and Luke Kennard are available here, the Kings should have no problem trading down a few spots and then making this pick. But since this is an imperfect world there aren’t trades in this mock draft so they draft Anunoby here instead, the faster you can accept that the faster we can move on.
The Kings have the luxury of having two top 10 picks, and with their selection of Fox at five they can use this pick to fill the void at small forward that is about to be left when Rudy Gay departs in free agency. And having drafted big men high in the past two drafts (Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere), it seems less likely that they would go that direction here to get Zach or John Collins (they aren’t related in case you were wondering).
OG Anunoby would be a top 10 pick had he not torn his ACL this past season at Indiana. The hyper athletic Indiana forward is one of the best defenders the draft has to offer. He can drain threes on a consistent basis, and is always a risk to throw down a posterizing dunk on the poor soul who is guarding him.
The knee could scare some teams away so don’t be too surprised if Anunoby falls on draft night.
- Charlotte Hornets: Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
If Monk is available here there is no way that Charlotte should pass on him. They passed on both Justice Winslow and Devin Booker by drafting Frank Kaminsky, a move that angered Hornets fans and that decision has not gone very well for them so far. But with Monk off the board here it is a toss-up between Donovan Mitchell and Luke Kennard for the Hornets but Kennard gets the edge because he is a better shooter.
Kennard is one of the top three shooters in the draft, and if the Hornets need anything it would be consistent shooting. Kennard is tall for his position as well, and despite not being as athletic as other players at his position in the draft he is the most polished scorer of them all.
Is a very similar player to Klay Thompson coming out of college… just saying.
- Detroit Pistons: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State
It is unlikely that Smith Jr. falls to this point in the draft, but you know what he is here in this mock draft, so just deal with it!
The Pistons GM announced they were going to draft the best player available, regardless of position. If that is true then this is no doubt their pick if the board plays out like so.
Smith is the last of a fairly large group of top tier guards in this draft. He still isn’t super polished as a shooter, but he can score easily off the drive and does a good job of getting into the lane. Out of the group of guards so far the thing that separates Smith from the rest is his athleticism. His speed and agility with the ball is incredible.
One concern is that he is coming off an ACL tear, which doesn’t appear to scare away many teams but it makes sliding to this point in the draft more likely.
- Denver Nuggets: Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga
Rumor has it that the Nuggets really like Terrance Ferguson, however they cannot pass on Collins if he is available here.
For one, the Nuggets have FOUR first round picks from the past TWO drafts playing a guard position, and haven’t really committed to any one of them which has led to confusion and the inability for any of them to grow much as players. So it makes no sense to add another player to the back court with this pick, eliminating guys like Ferguson, Donovan Mitchell, or one of the other guards if they slip. Collins is the best player available here and would serve as a great complement to Denver’s young star at center in Nikola Jokic.
When it comes to Collins there isn’t a whole lot not to like. He blocked shots and rebounded at a rate as high as just about anyone else in college basketball last season, and was one of the major catalysts that helped Gonzaga make it to the national championship. He is gifted as a scorer both inside the paint and out, with range stretching out to 3-point range. He needs to bulk up a bit to really compete with the bigs in the NBA, but in all honesty, who doesn’t?
Collins is a great pick for the Nuggets here at 13 but don’t be surprised if you see him go top 10. OG Anunoby is another good option for Denver if he is available here.
- Miami Heat: Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
Mitchell is the best option left for the Heat, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad one.
Donovan Mitchell is an athletic shooting guard who is one of the better perimeter defenders that the draft has. He is an above average scorer off the drive, however is inconsistent from deep. He is undersized for his position which is a large draw back considering the Heat could use a more versatile wing player, but at this point Mitchell is better than reaching for a wing.
- Portland Trailblazers: John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
John Collins is probably the best player in this draft that you know nothing about, unless you go to Wake Forest.
He isn’t a stretch forward but he can have his way in the paint on the boards and offensively. He is also a force on the defensive side of the ball, and with a good work ethic and high motor he could really develop into a special player.
There are some who believe he is the next Tim Duncan, and while that is probably an unrealistic ceiling there is a lot of potential in Collins.
- Chicago Bulls: Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Patton is one prospect not talked about as much, but should be on a lot of teams’ radars come the draft.
He is a seven footer that can step out and shoot or be a presence inside. He doesn’t do anything great but is an all-around decent player and should improve into a solid post player.
- Milwaukee Bucks: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Allen is a lengthy, athletic player that is pretty raw but has a lot of upside.
Sounds like just the kind of player that the Bucks like.
He isn’t a huge threat offensively but that will develop in time. The Bucks should be able to have patience with him as they should have at least one more season with Greg Monroe and then have last year’s lottery selection Thon Maker also developing as a big man for Milwaukee.
- Indiana Pacers: Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Jackson made the right decision to stay in school, several times actually.
He has always been an elite perimeter defender, but staying and developing a reliable three point shot improved his draft stock immensely.
With it seeming like Paul George is on the way out, Jackson is a poor man’s version of George, in that he can defend multiple positions and shoot moderately well.
- Atlanta Hawks: TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
Dwight Howard is gone and Paul Milsap is on the way out for Atlanta. They need bigs and they need them now.
TJ Leaf is a stretch forward who is the best option at this pick to replace Milsap. With Atlanta entering rebuilding they have the freedom to draft just about anyone so do not be surprised if they take some risks in the draft.
- Portland Trail Blazers: Terrance Ferguson, SG/SF, Adelaide
Portland will probably shop one of their last two picks of the first round.
Ferguson had mixed reviews from teams, some are down on him and some have him pegged as a lottery talent. He is certainly a player that at least a few teams have their eye on and would trade up to get, he is also a player that could fit well in Portland if they decide to keep the pick.
He is a versatile player that plays very well both ways. He is a deep threat with a reliable jumper, then can get back on defense and defend just about any position. He joins Justin Jackson, Malik Monk, and OG Anunoby as the top 3-and-D players in the draft.
The biggest knock against him was the competition he played against in Australia. He played very inconsistently and not as much is known about him, something that would not have been an issue if he had just stayed with his Arizona commitment.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Lydon, SF/PF, Syracuse
Oklahoma City needs a wing and they need shooters, Lydon fits both needs.
Lydon is a versatile player who can act as a lengthy small forward or a stretch forward with a consistent jump shot. He doesn’t have a super high ceiling, but could develop into a Chandler Parsons type player.
- Brooklyn Nets: Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke
Think of anyone you know, literally anyone. Could be a friend, a crazy uncle, or even an old hermit that used to be your friend but now watches over your force sensitive son that you don’t know about on a desert planet… wait no, that’s Star Wars. ANYWAYS, my point is that the Nets could draft anyone of those people and not be any worse as an NBA team.
So I guess you could say they have the flexibility to take risks and/or draft the best player available because ultimately this is a team that is just going to be inevitably doomed for several years to come.
Before Giles reinjured his knee, many people thought he would be the number one pick in the draft, drawing comparisons to Chris Webber along the way. He very well could end up being the best player from this draft if he can stay healthy, and with the condition the Nets are in this is the guy they need to invest in instead of someone else who will probably just develop into a role player given a few years.
Giles is a tenacious rebounder and defender with a lengthy frame that will need to be filled out a tad more to be a presence in the pros. He isn’t polished offensively, however he moves well around the basket and has shown offensive potential at times.
It is difficult to peg down what Giles’ draft range is, but in the end where Giles is at as a player just matches up well with the Nets’ needs and where they are as a program.
- Toronto Raptors: Derrick White, PG, Colorado
There are a lot of questions surrounding the Raptors right now, and there for a lot of possibilities with what they could do with this pick.
Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Patrick Patterson hit free agency soon, and it is unlikely that the Raptors will retain all of them, if any. Signing DeMarre Carrol was regrettable at best and they would be lucky if they had any suitors to trade him to. All in all, this pick is the reason the draft should be after free agency.
This is why we can’t have nice things (such as accurate mock drafts), but we’re doing our best okay?! Just hold your bloody horses!
So where were we? Ah yes, so amid a lot of annoying uncertainty in the Raptors lineup come free agency, in enters Derrick White.
This pick is a slight reach for White, but the Raptors have shown that they don’t let that phase them (remember Bruno Caboclo? And Terrence Ross was considered a reach at the time as well). Lowry is likely to leave in free agency, leaving shoes to fill that free agency probably won’t take care of. White is the best guard available in the draft at this point, and being a good shooter can help make up for what the team lost in the Terrence Ross, Serge Ibaka trade.
If the team is looking for a stretch four to possibly replace Patterson then Caleb Swanigan from Purdue is a very similar player that is currently getting overlooked by many. Jordan Bell and Ike Anigbogu are both solid defensive front court players that could replace Serge Ibaka if the Raptors aren’t planning on bringing him back.
- Utah Jazz: Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, PF/C, Kentucky
- Orlando Magic: Frank Jackson, PG/SG, Duke
MORE SHOOTING! The Magic passed on guard depth with their first pick, and while they could go with a draft and stash option here potentially with Anzejs Pasecniks or invest in a long term project with Ike Anigbogu, Frank Jackson is a really enticing player for Orlando.
He is a combo guard with a lot of talent scoring the ball. He would be able to come in during the game to relieve guys like Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier. He is a little undersized for a combo guard, but then again so is Stephen Curry.
It never hurts to add depth and another shooter, and Orlando can do both by snagging Jackson.
- Portland Trail Blazers: Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Gran Canaria International
Don’t worry, I can’t pronounce his name either.
Pasecniks is a talented shooter and is just a scoring threat from just about anywhere. He needs to build strength in order to compete on the boards in the pros, as well as needing to become a much better defender.
Could potentially be a draft and stash option for the Blazers, especially if they decide to keep their earlier two picks. He will definitely be a bit of a project.
- Los Angeles Lakers: Semi Ojeleye, SF/PF, SMU
- Los Angeles Lakers: DJ Wilson, PF, Michigan
- San Antonio Spurs: Caleb Swanigan, PF/C, Purdue
- Utah Jazz: Josh Hart, SG, Villanova