After my more than brief hiatus from posting, here I am with my first rendition of an NBA Mock Draft. I will be updating a new draft just about every week, and will give my analysis on why each pick would be made. In the coming weeks, I will be working on supplying a resume for each team and their differing situations entering the NBA offseason. These will come in alphabetical order and I hope to get a few of them out per week.
Also, I will be going back to making a post every day regarding what has gone on in the world of sports. Although it is not one of my major subjects, with baseball season upon us, I will occasionally write an article regarding the MLB as well.
Well that’s enough introduction, so let’s get started. Click read more to see who I think each team will select.
- Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, LSU: The 76ers need just about everything right now. Sure, they have lots of picks in this draft, but they need a young talent that they can rely on to produce right away. Although Simmons has tremendous upside to be a superstar in this league, he comes in with a strong amount of talent that can help the Sixers with his point forward skills right away.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram, Duke: Even with the drama he has caused in LA this season, D’Angelo Russell is the point guard that the Lakers will be building around for the future. With Julius Randle still progressing at the 4, adding Ingram on the wing would make him an instant starter who can play on both sides of the ball.
- Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn) – Dragan Bender, Croatia: Let’s be real. The Celtics are in great shape coming into this draft. They are just missing a few pieces to make this a championship contender. The Celtics are missing a power forward of the future, and Bender fits that mold. He is a talented forward with plenty of skills and upside. As one of the youngest players in the draft, he might face some rookie struggles, but under the tutelage of Brad Stevens, Bender could be a superstar.
- Phoenix Suns – Jakob Poetl, Utah: Even with Alex Len progressing into a reasonable option at center, adding Poetl would be great for the front court depth of the Suns. Poetl’s style would also be fun to watch blend with the quick guards the Suns present.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Jamal Murray, Kentucky: In the bottom four of the NBA in terms of 3-point shooting percentage, it would make sense for the ‘Wolves to add another young piece to their team that can fire from deep. Murray might seem like a point to some teams, but as he showed at Kentucky, he has the ability to work off the ball and could be seen as a great running mate for Ricky Rubio.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: With Eric Gordon hitting free agency this summer, adding the talented shooter Hield could potentially fill the gap he could leave. Alongside superstar Anthony Davis, Hield can create his own shot and knock down the open jumper.
- Denver Nuggets (via New York) – Kris Dunn, Providence: Dunn is simply the best player on the board at the #7 slot here. He brings one of the most NBA-ready bodies with a well-rounded point guard game. Alongside Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay, the Nuggets will be allowed multiple options at both guard slots.
- Milwaukee Bucks – Timothe Luwawu, Serbia: As a team that has struggled on defense this season, adding a solid wing defender in Luwawu would really help this team. The Bucks may have dropped in wins from last season, but the young players in Middleton, Parker, and Antetokounmpo are progressing well, leaving the Bucks with a bright future. Luwawu is also a tall and athletic wing that fits in well with the scheme Jason Kidd and Co. have started in Milwaukee.
- Toronto Raptors (via Denver) – Ivan Rabb, California: The Raptors need help at the power forward slot. The Raptors take Rabb as the best available athlete at the position. With decent touch on his shot, Rabb has the ability to knock down open jumpers when called upon to do so. Rabb will mostly be used as a project on a team already competing for a championship, but if he shows flashes early, you can expect him to see lots of minutes.
- Sacramento Kings – Henry Ellenson, Marquette: Ellenson brings good size and solid shooting at the 4 spot, which would compliment Demarcus Cousins’ great low post game in the front court. With Cauley-Stein, Cousins, and Ellenson, the Kings would have a front line that not many teams would want to match up with.
- Orlando Magic – Jaylen Brown, California: With Evan Fournier currently holding down the slot, the Magic need help at the 3. The Tobias Harris trade left them with a hole at that position, and the athletic Brown has the opportunity to fit in with this young squad.
- Phoenix Suns (via Washington) – Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: The Suns are in need of a strong wing player who can do it all, and that is exactly what Valentine was for the Spartans. A strong two-way player, Valentine could be the 3 the Suns are missing.
- Utah Jazz – Marquese Chriss, Washington: The Jazz are in need of a scoring 2 guard who can get to the basket. Chriss needs to work on strengthening his jump shot to succeed at the next level, but the Jazz can take the chance on the Huskie guard.
- Chicago Bulls – Skal Labissiere, Kentucky: With Pau Gasol aging, the Bulls need to start solidifying their new front court. Labissiere has tremendous upside and if the Bulls are going to enter rebuilding mode, Skal would be a nice start.
- Denver Nuggets (via Houston) – Deyonta Davis, Michigan State: This Michigan State prospect has good size and fills the need at the 4 spot for the Nuggets. Davis is not quite ready for the NBA, but the Nuggets are a team that can use a roster spot on a project for the future. Davis has the potential to be a tremendous rebounder at the power forward and there aren’t many better to learn from in that regard than Kenneth Faried.
- Boston Celtics – Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey: Korkmaz is a talented 18-year-old guard with deep range. If Evan Turner doesn’t return this offseason, the Celtics need to address their holes on the wings.
- Memphis Grizzlies – Damian Jones, Vanderbilt: The Grizzlies have lots of pieces in place and Jones is a strong athletic presence for the Grizzlies to tap into. Damian has an NBA-ready body with lots of tools. This is a logical fit for the Memphis front court.
- Denver Nuggets (via Portland) – Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga: I know the Nuggets already selected Deyonta Davis just a few picks ago, but their front line needs depth. I could easily see Denver trading one of those two picks, so I am going to take two power forwards depending on which they would ship.
- Detroit Pistons – Diamond Stone, Maryland: The Pistons really need help in their front court alongside Drummond. Following the loss of Greg Monroe in free agency (who they probably are better off without), they are left without a post presence at the 4. Stone has plenty of moves around the basket and has an NBA body to rebound with the rest of the league. He also is nimble enough to play the 4 much like Monroe did for them last season.
- Indiana Pacers – Tyler Ulis, Kentucky: Ulis is a great talent, but it is his size that allows him to drop to the Pacers. Indiana has uncertainties at its point guard position, and Ulis might be able to become the facilitator and shooter that Paul George needs at his side.
- Boston Celtics – Taurean Prince, Baylor: Taurean Prince is an athletic forward who has the skills to do a variety of things on both ends of the floor. The potential is there, but it is up to the Celtics to tap into it.
- Charlotte Hornets – Wade Baldwin IV, Vanderbilt: Although many will see Baldwin as a true point guard, I think that he can play both on and off the ball with Kemba in the Hornet backcourt. Baldwin has great size and length and with Batum going to free agency, will surely fit a need.
- Philadelphia 76ers (via Miami) – Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: The Sixers have been incredibly shaky at the 1, and Jackson is a prototypical point guard who can get to the rack and distribute for his teammates. Pair him up with Ben Simmons and this is quite the draft for the 76ers, who still have one pick left.
- Atlanta Hawks – Dejounte Murray, Washington: With Bazemore entering free agency this summer, the Hawks need help at the shooting guard. Murray might be a raw prospect, but he would get his minutes in Atlanta.
- Los Angeles Clippers – Jonathan Jeanne, Guadalupe: Behind Griffin and Jordan, the Clips need depth. Jeanne is an intriguing young prospect who, given the minutes, could mold into a talented big man. Playing behind those two should help his development and open up a future for the Clippers.
- Toronto Raptors – Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia: Demar Derozan enters free agency this summer and that leaves the Raptors with lots of questions. Brogdon showed that he could be a great defender while also having the ability to knock down open jump shots during his senior year. The defensive mentality he worked with at Virginia will help him progress at the next level.
- Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City) – Malik Beasley, Florida State: The Sixers need scoring. It’s that simple. Philadelphia has been a team that has struggled with draft picks in recent years, but with Ben Simmons already selected, Malik Beasley can add shooting and the ability to fight for his own shot. He is the aggressive scorer that the Sixers need.
- Phoenix Suns (via Cleveland) – Thon Maker, Orangeville Prep: One of the most interesting prospects of the year, Thon Maker is young prospect with loads of upside. The Suns can use this pick on Maker knowing that they have other centers and forwards to rely on until Maker is ready to take over the starting job.
- San Antonio Spurs – Petr Cornelie, France: The Spurs love ending the first round with international selections, and they continue that trend this year. Cornelie is a tall forward with the ability to shoot from outside the lane. With Duncan ending his career, the Spurs need another piece and alongside superstar Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs can develop a new talent.
- Golden State Warriors – Cheick Diallo, Kansas: The Warriors are flat-out great in the back court, but need to add depth in their front court. Diallo has decent potential and a solid floor. He could instantly come in on a top-tier team and provide valuable minutes off the bench.
I know that this was long, but there you go. I would like to let you know that one of my friends is also creating a mock draft and we will be posting his predictions on the blog as well. I will tell you when that is coming out. I hope you enjoyed this draft.
And that’s all I have for now, so this is me…signing off. -Lukas.