NBA Mock Draft 3.0
1. Boston (From Brooklyn) 2. Los Angeles Lakers 3. Philadelphia (from Sacramento) 4. Phoenix 5. Sacramento (from Philadelphia) 6. Orlando 7. Minnesota 8. New York 9. Dallas 10. Sacramento (From New Orleans) 11. Charlotte 12. Detroit 13. Denver 14. Miami 15. Portland
16. Chicago 17. Milwaukee 18. Indiana 19. Atlanta 20. Portland (From Memphis via Denver and Cleveland) 21. Oklahoma City 22. Brooklyn (From Washington) 23. Toronto (From LA Clippers via Milwaukee) 24. Utah
25. Orlando (From Toronto) 26. Portland (From Cleveland) 27. Brooklyn (From Boston) 28. Los Angeles Lakers (From Houston) 29. San Antonio 30. Utah (From Golden State)
1. Boston Celtics- Markelle Fultz, Washington G
General Manager Danny Ainge should not and will not overthink this. He should take Fultz, a generational player with all world bounce and skills, whose rights could be in the team's control for the next 9 years. The gap between Fultz and the next best player in this draft is more comparable in distance to the gap between the 2nd and 11th player.
2. Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball, UCLA PG
There has been chatter of the Lakers taking a Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, or De’Aaron Fox, but since the lottery, Lonzo Ball has gone to the Lakers in over 75% of the projections I’ve seen. Lonzo is a LA kid, went to UCLA, and most importantly brings ‘Showtime’ back to the Lakers. At 6’6 he is as transcendent a passer as we have seen coming out of college, drafting Ball is not necessarily just drafting Lonzo Ball the player, but what Lonzo Ball brings to your team. He is a culture changer, and his unselfish play is contagious. With that said, he has an effective but ugly shot form that makes it near impossible to shoot from midrange, in fact he only made 12 shots all year that were not layups, dunks, or 3 pointers, he lacks quickness to turn the corner on defenders, and isn’t great at creating off the dribble. When I look at Lonzo, I see his skills and I see his deficiencies, but none of that is as important as the impact he will have for your team. He is a culture setter.
3. Philadelphia 76ers- Josh Jackson, Kansas SF
This is where the picks begin to get interesting, a lot of people have Jason Tatum or Kentucky guard Malik Monk going to this team but I have opted for Josh Jackson. The 76ers need better shooting to space the floor for the anemic shooting of Ben Simmons, but I don’t think they will pass on Jackson. Jackson is a rugged 6’8 with the speed, quickness, and instincts to disrupt offenses. He is a good passer with a good handle but needs to improve his shooting. I like the thought of having Simmons, Dario Saric, Jackson, and a traditional guard surrounding Joel Embiid because the length that they have makes it easy to switch on screens and smother opposing perimeter threats. On offense, Simmons, Saric, and Jackson can all move the ball so well that it will be hard to contain them in transition.
I would love to see Lonzo Ball here, as the thought of Simmons and Lonzo Ball feeding off each other here because I think their games mess perfectly.
4. Phoenix Suns- Jayson Tatum, Duke F
The Phoenix Suns have a star in Devin Booker, now they just need to fill out the rest of the roster. Tyler Ulis, Eric Bender, Marquese Chriss, and TJ Warren are all keepers, and that young core is a great start to the rebuild. The team is already heavy on guards and bigs, and Jayson Tatum is the best option at the wing spot. Jackson would be a great fit here as well, but the Suns will benefit from Tatum’s NBA ready scoring. At 6’8 he can play both forward spots, and is a great frontcourt compliment to Alex Len, Dragan Bender, and Chriss, all of whom are not great at creating their own shots. Tatum can help alleviate a lot of the scoring burden on Devin Booker, and fits right in at small forward between the recent Sun’s draft choices. The rest of the field has a great deal of points guards, something that the Suns don’t necessarily need with Eric Bledsoe still on the team.
5. Sacramento Kings - De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky PG
To put it bluntly, De’Aaron Fox is fast. He is a blur in transition, a sneaky lefty finisher, is an adequate passer, and is a good positional defender. He needs to learn that fast doesn’t always mean best. Guys like James Harden, Carmelo Anthony, and an older Kobe Bryant are some of the of the more productive scorers the NBA has seen, and they all have mastered the effective practice of using timing and patience in addition to their own athletic gifts. That’s not asking De’Aaron to go slow, as that would rob him of what makes him great, but rather to show him how much more effectively he can use his speed. He needs to improve as a shooter and become stronger because although he is in the right position defensively 99% of the time, he can get bullied to the rim.
6. Orlando Magic- Malik Monk, SG Kentucky
New General Manager and one of my favorites in the business John Hammond, has taken over the Orlando Magic. I think he will immediately identify the team should be developed around Aaron Gordon’s versatility and to a much smaller extent Mario Hezonja’s brazen confidence. Both are long athletic guys in the mold of what Hammond craved in Milwaukee, and although Jonathan Isaac fits that mold, I think the Magic will select Malik Monk. Monk has the confidence that Hezonja and one of Hammond’s former backcourts, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings exemplified. Monk spaces the floor and gets out in transition, where he can flaunt his 42’ vertical. Monk fits in well with Terrence Ross, Hezonja, and Evan Fournier on the perimeter and lets Aaron Gordon play exclusively at PF, his true position. If they can sign a point guard in free agency this could be a dangerous team.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves- Jonathan Isaac, F Florida State
Minnesota is a great fit for Isaac where he can develop into an athletic floor spacer who fits perfectly next to Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt. The Wolves would have arguably the most athletic core with Isaac added to the likes of Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine , and Kris Dunn. As a smart defender Isaac should be able to slide in and contribute, while developing his guard skills in order to grow his versatility offensively.
8. New York Knicks- Frank Ntilikina, G France
Ntilikina is a good defender and projects to me as a rangier version of George Hill. He is strong defensively with a good stroke and a developing handle, and is ready to contribute to the NBA. He is a great fit for the triangle. Although I like North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith as a prospect more than Ntilikina (as well as Monk and Fox), I think that Phil Jackson will end up taking a guy that fits his system rather than the top overall prospect.
9. Dallas Mavericks- Dennis Smith Jr., PG North Carolina State
Here the Mavs’ choice is between Smith and Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen. Taking Markkanen as the heir to Dirk is a great story, but I would opt for Smith because he offers explosiveness from the guard spot that the Mavericks don’t have. No offense to Yogi Ferrell, Seth Curry, JJ Barea, or Devin Harris, but none of them possess the kind of offensive driving explosion that Smith brings. He has star potential and is a consistent jump shot away from being one of the top few players in this draft. I think Smith is a good shooter and part of what plagued his percentages and shot selection was that he was the only player who could score on his NC State team. If you tuned into a State game you immediately noticed opposing teams double or even triple teaming Smith, yet he still was still able to score. The NBA will open the lane up for Smith and his creative finishes and players like Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel will feed of the attention that Smith will command, even in his first year.
10. Sacramento Kings- OG Anunoby, F Indiana
With the first pick the Kings went with Fox, and now they get arguably the most versatile player in the draft. At a sturdy 6’8, Anunoby is ready to defend in the NBA right now, and eventually he should be able to guard every position on the floor. His long arms and quick feet make it nearly impossible to get around him, while his (developing) strength make it hard to go through him. Expect comparisons to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on draft night because Anunoby is just a jumper away. He fits as a defensive catalyst next to Willie Cauley-Stein and give Sacramento a player who can shut down elite players in the West.
11. Charlotte Hornets- Donovan Mitchell, G Louisville
The Hornets are solid at most positions, but they desperately need a backup point guard for Kemba Walker. Although this draft is point guard heavy at the top, there are not a lot of good guards projected to go outside the lottery, after Mitchell the next best point guard is Juwan Evans. Granted, Mitchell is a combo guard and played SG in college, but nonetheless I think that the Hornets will draft him and give him the reigns in summer league. For a team so desperate for a backup to give Kemba Walker some rest, this is the probably the pick outside the top 2 that I feel most confident in.
12. Detroit Pistons- Lauri Markkanen, PF Arizona
Lauri Markkanen is a great player but I think the Knicks, Hornets, and Kings all are poor fits because they have a lot of players under contract at the 4/5 spots. The Knicks have Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez; the Kings, have Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, and George Papagiannis, and the Hornets have Kidd-Gilchrist, Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller, Miles Plumlee, and Marvin Williams, so none of those destinations are an ideal landing spots, making Markkanen ripe for a draft day slide. Markkanen is a great fit in Stan Van Gundy’s 4 out-1 in scheme, and on paper is an ideal counterpart to Andre Drummond as arguably the best shooter in the draft.
13. Denver- Justin Jackson, F North Carolina
Justin Jackson is a as smooth and polished a scorer as there is coming out of college. He has a deadly floater and an arsenal of tricks to embarrass defenders in the midrange, and now that he has added a 3-point stroke to his skill set, he can be a great addition for any roster. He goes to Denver because with Danilo Gallinari opting for free agency and Wilson Chandler potentially being moved this season, the Nuggets could use somebody at the forward spot. Jackson’s smart cutting and floor spacing will mesh great with Nikola Jokic’s passing, and his added versatility will create a bunch of different lineup combinations. He has some defensive potential, evidenced if only by his stifling play in the NCAA tourney. Jackson has a long career ahead of him.
14. Miami Heat- Zach Collins, C Gonzaga
The Heat have 2 players under contract for next year that are taller than 6’7, Josh McRoberts and Hassan Whiteside, so suffice it to say, they need front court help. Enter Zach Collins, a quick and tall big man who has shown flashes of post scoring, mid-range touch and can be very effective defensively guarding pick and rolls. He will be an ideal backup to Whiteside with the potential for so much more.
15. Portland Trail Blazers- Terrance Ferguson, G\F, Adelaide 36ers
Portland already has its backcourt set, some nice pieces on the wings, and an abundance of big men. They take Ferguson because with his athleticism and 3-point stroke he can be a ideal fit to play alongside Dame Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Plus, his athleticism is a change of pace for a team that trots out Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner at the 2/3 spots. Portland needs perimeter defense, but there are simply not any ready defenders available at this point, so instead the Blazers are banking on Ferguson developing as a defender.
16. Chicago Bulls- Luke Kennard, SG Duke
The Chicago Bulls management seems to have a passion for a few things, the first being incompetency, and the second, drafting players who played more than a year in college. Since selecting Derrick Rose the Bulls have only drafted one freshman in the first round, Marquis Teague. Chicago has opted instead to use first round picks to draft guys with many years of college experience, such as Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Norris Cole, Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis, and Denzel Valentine .I expect them to continue the trend and buy into Kennard’s pedigree, shot making, and basketball IQ.
17. Milwaukee Bucks- Justin Patton, C Creighton
The Bucks have a thing for long athletes, so I think they will continue the trend with Patton. Patton, like Thon Maker, Giannis, and John Henson, is coming out of college as a raw project, who, if developed correctly, can be a difference maker in the league. He runs the floor like a gazelle, has decent shot form, and blocks shots like it is nobody’s business. He needs time to develop but he fits right in with the franchise that can sport the longest starting 5 in NBA history.
18. Indiana Pacers- Jarrett Allen, C Texas
Allen should act as a backup center for the Pacers, whose length (7’5 wingspan) should help disrupt an opponent’s offense when Myles Turner isn’t on the court. He is a nice piece to add regardless of whether Paul George stays in Indy.
19. Atlanta Hawks- Ike Anigbogu, C UCLA
Ike Anigbogu is an athletic long big man. He is a huge project that lacks a lot of skills outside of his athleticism. Long enough to play center, the Hawks will develop him to supplant Dwight Howard in the starting group, much like what the Rockets did with Clint Capela, a player that is a good comparison to Ike.
20. Portland Trail Blazers- Rodions Kurucs, SF Latvia
Kurucs is a prime draft and stash target for a team like the Blazers that have a full roster of guaranteed contracts, before they even use their 3 first round draft picks. He can become a good forward, but needs time to develop against the pros overseas before coming stateside. He has good vision, developing shot, and the requisite amount of athleticism to have a nice career in the NBA as long as he doesn’t get hurt.
21. Oklahoma City- Semi Ojeleye, F SMU
Semi has been rising up draft boards fast. He is a chiseled 6’7 tweener forward, a an evaluation that was once met with groans but now sought after. He can switch between SF and PF on offense, while being able to guard almost every position on defense. His strength should allow him to be able to play power forward regularly, while his 3-point stroke should make sure he stays on the court. He is a tremendous value for a team that needs shooting and is trying to win now.
22. Brooklyn Nets- John Collins, PF Wake Forest
Collins doesn’t have the length to play center exclusively, nor does he have the stroke to consistently garner minutes at power forward. What he does do is provide scoring and playmaking from the post while gobbling up rebounds. For a team like the Nets, they are looking for the best value.
23. Toronto Raptors- Isaiah Hartenstein, PF Germany
Hartenstein is another draft and stash candidate for a team that is trying to contend right now. He has shown enough semblances of playmaking and shooting in the past few years to warrant 1st round consideration.
24. Utah Jazz- DJ Wilson, F Michigan
The Utah Jazz have made their living with good, long, smart prospects that develop over the course of a few years. The core of Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Dante Exum (still developing), Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, were all drafted, but none were touted as elite, star level prospects coming out of the draft. Utah will draft a guy who can help soak up some of Hayward’s minutes should he leave or learn and develop under Hood, Hayward, Boris Diaw, and Coach Quin Snyder’s tutelage. His mix of size, shooting, playmaking, and defensive versatility are intriguing to teams in the back third of the draft.
25. Orlando Magic- Jawun Evans, PG Oklahoma State
Evans flunked the athletic testing at the combine. He did, however, show throughout the collegiate season that he can run a team with a high level of effectiveness. As a small guard without the bounce or shooting to make up for it, he falls into the Magic’s lap at 25 to work as a backup and change of pace to Elfrid Payton.
26. Portland Trail Blazers- TJ Leaf, PF UCLA
TJ Leaf is a smart and skilled 4 who uses his defensive IQ to make timely plays which makes up for his low-grade athletic ability. Ideally, he could turn into Ryan Anderson type, but Leaf’s improved passing and solid defense are upgrades on the Houston marksman. Like Anderson, Leaf isn’t exactly fleet of foot and lacks strength, but as long as he is knocking down shots, he has a NBA role.
27. Brooklyn Nets- Harry Giles, PF/C Duke
Harry Giles has yet to recover the bounce and athleticism that made him the top recruit out of high school, and after a third surgery on his knees, it’s a wonder if he ever does. That is worth the risk to the Nets, who need to try and add as much elite upside as they can with the limited number of high picks in their collection. Giles embodies that idea, if he can get healthier, he will be a steal this late, but if he doesn’t he will become solely an energetic big off the bench who doesn’t bring strength, shooting, or athleticism; not exactly ideal.
28. Los Angeles Lakers- Jordan Bell, PF/C Oregon
The rail thin Bell could outpace a energizer bunny. He is the embodiment of an energy big. He could fit perfectly with a Lonzo Ball paced Lakers attack where his ability to finish dump-offs, run the floor, block shots, and hustle are placed at a premium. With Bell, Nance, and Randle the Lakers have three big men who can run the floor with Lonzo, and Bell’s shot blocking should help the Laker’s hemorrhaging and abominable defense.
29. San Antonio Spurs- Frank Jackson, PG Duke
With Tony Parker getting older, Gregg Popovich drafted Dejounte Murray, a player many projected to go as high as in the top 10 last year, when he fell into their lap. Jackson will classify as a similar pick, and the two young guards should develop nicely under Parker and Manu Ginobili. Jackson is a 6’3 shoot first guard that blew away the competition at the NBA Draft combine. He is long and personally I don’t see why teams have not ranked him higher. He is lightning and can get into the lane at will, when coupled with a competent stroke as well as being one of the youngest players in the draft, he makes a very good prospect. He looks to score too much, can settle for contested jump shots early in the shot clock, and isn’t as capable a playmaker as you would like, but those are all things that can be taught. I would bet that Popovich can develop Jackson very easily.
30. Utah Jazz- Jonathan Jeane, C France
Picture a poor man’s Rudy Gobert. Jeane does everything that Gobert was able to do when Gobert was coming out of the draft. Jeane should develop nicely behind Gobert and eventually make Derrick Favors expendable as well as provide insurance if Gobert ever gets hurt.
Other prospects to watch for in the 2nd Round:
Devin Robinson, F Florida
Chance Comanche, PF/C Arizona
PJ Dozier, G South Carolina
Jaron Blossomgame, F Clemson
Davon Reed, G Miami
Edmond Sumner, G Xavier