Welcome to my post-lottery Mock Draft. Although the lottery was uneventful, there have been significant changes in stock through time and the combine for several players. Along with my personal mock draft below, my friends Michael and Aaron will also be posting Mock Drafts in the near future. For those of you who are not Cavalier, Raptor, Warrior, or Thunder fans, I welcome you to the offseason. As always, it is impossible to tell exactly what a team is thinking, but I will give it my best shot.
Click read more to see each selection and my reasoning for said selection.
- Philadelphia 76ers – SF Ben Simmons, LSU: The Sixers finally got their wish. After years of tanking, they won the lottery and have their pick of Simmons or Ingram at the #1 pick. Simmons has great playmaking ability for his size, and with the 76ers continuing their rebuild process, Simmons can be the player to work around. With two more picks in this first round, the 76ers are primed to set up a future.
- Los Angeles Lakers – SF Brandon Ingram, Duke: With Simmons and Ingram as the clear top-2 prospects in the draft, the Lakers will take whoever remains. In this mock, I think that Ingram is that guy. Ingram is a potent scorer who should fill in nicely alongside DeAngelo Russell. Although trade talks have surrounded the Lakers’ pick for a while, I think that it is worth keeping for a talent like Ingram.
- Boston Celtics – PF Dragan Bender, Israel: Bender is a very interesting prospect. He has great potential and the size to become an outstanding stretch-4 in the NBA. The Celtics already have a solid roster, and the addition of a top-3 pick like Bender can only help them move forward. The Celtics are in need of shooting, but with 2 more first rounders, I think they will put off that need until later in the draft.
- Phoenix Suns – SF Jaylen Brown, California: Brown is an extremely athletic wing player with lots of upside. Although his offensive game needs work, this former Golden Bear is already a polished all-around defender. Alongside the more offensive-minded T.J. Warren in Phoenix, Brown could fit in a nice platoon at the 3 spot.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – PG Jamal Murray, Kentucky: Minnesota is in need of more shooting, and Murray provides that. I would say that Hield would also be worth looking at for the T’wolves. With LaVine, Rubio (who is still 25 years old), and Murray, the future of their backcourt could be just as bright as their frontcourt with KAT.
- New Orleans Pelicans – PG Kris Dunn, Providence: Dunn is a great fit to run an offense with Anthony Davis. He is an explosive guard who is talented on both sides of the ball. He has also stated that he would fit well in New Orleans, so it will be interesting to see if that is in fact what happens.
- Denver Nuggets – SG Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: The Nuggets shot a dismal 33.8% from 3 point land this season, so it is no secret that they need help in that regard. Adding Buddy to the roster would fill their current hole at the 2 guard in the Nuggets lineup. Hield would be a great off-ball shooter for Emmanuel Mudiay to spread the rock to on the perimeter.
- Sacramento Kings – PF Marquese Chriss, Washington: Hailing from just outside Sacramento, Chriss could be welcomed to the Kings as a hometown hero. Already a top-10 prospect, it would not be a stretch to be selected here. With his size and relative shooting touch, Chriss would be a nice complement to superstar center Demarcus Cousins.
- Toronto Raptors – PF Henry Ellenson, Marquette: The Raptors need scoring help in their frontcourt, and that is what Ellenson provides. Along with his skills as a stretch-4, Ellenson can also rebound and handle the ball fairly well. He definitely needs to improve his defense, but he could fill in nicely alongside Valenciunas at the center.
- Milwaukee Bucks – C Jakob Poeltl, Utah: Poeltl is the best center in this draft class and the Bucks need a center. After the Greg Monroe Project struggled in Milwaukee, it is likely that Monroe (and possibly Henson as well) will be traded this offseason. That being said, the Bucks need an all-around center and that is what Poeltl delivers.
- Orlando Magic – PF Deyonta Davis, Michigan State: With the solidified backcourt of Payton and Oladipo, the Magic will be looking for a future in the other positions. Davis is an intriguing prospect with a very high ceiling. Although he played limited minutes in his only year in college, he showed what he is capable of on the boards and the defensive end.
- Utah Jazz – SG Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: A mature player, Valentine can come into the NBA and play significant minutes right away. A player with an all-around game, Valentine showed what he was made of in his senior season under Tom Izzo. Although he is not the most athletic wing prospect, he makes up for is with his creativity and playmaking ability.
- Phoenix Suns – C Skal Labissiere, Kentucky: Skal averaged 4.2 blocks per 40 minutes in his only season with the Wildcats. Although he underachieved in that year, he showed glimpses that make him remain worthy of a lottery selection. It will be interesting to see if he can develop a stronger offensive game for the NBA.
- Chicago Bulls – SF Timothe Luwawu, France: Luwawu is a developing talent with a reasonably high ceiling as a 3 and D wing. His shooting numbers have seen significant increases over this past season while his defense remains his strongest quality. Although he struggles with turnovers, he is still a young prospect with time to weed that out. He would have a great opportunity to learn under Jimmy Butler in the Bulls regime.
- Denver Nuggets – SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey: Even after selected Buddy earlier in this mock, the Nuggets will still be looking for more shooting. Also, Korkmaz has the size to play both wing positions if need be. As I have mentioned in the past, Furkan is one of my favorite prospects in this draft and I think that he would be a nice fit in Denver with his ability to create for himself.
- Boston Celtics – SF Taurean Prince, Baylor: Prince is one of the best 3 and D prospects in this draft and I think he fits well with the team Brad Stevens has built in Boston. Prince has an incredible motor and could be a great spark plug for the second unit of this playoff team on the rise.
- Memphis Grizzlies – PG Wade Baldwin IV, Vanderbilt: With Mike Conley hitting free agency this offseason, it would not be a surprise to see the Grizzlies search for their guard of the future. Baldwin struggles with turnovers, but he has great length and athleticism for the point guard position. I believe he has the highest ceiling of any point guard in this draft.
- Detroit Pistons – PF Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga: After the departure of Greg Monroe last offseason, the Pistons are still looking for the 4 to play alongside Andre Drummond. Sabonis works well around the basket and also rebounds the ball very well at 6-10. It is possible that Sabonis can expand his range in the future, which is always a plus at Power Forward.
- Denver Nuggets – PF Brice Johnson, North Carolina: After Hield and Korkmaz, the Nuggets have already addressed their shooting. Johnson might not be the most intriguing prospect on the board, but I also believe that he has the highest floor. Everybody knows what they will get out of him and he could provide solid minutes while Faried rests.
- Indiana Pacers – PG Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: Demetrius Jackson is a great distributor at the point guard position, and that is what the Pacers are missing from George Hill. With his outstanding athleticism, Jackson can penetrate and create for others while creating a fun platoon with Hill in Indiana.
- Atlanta Hawks – C Damian Jones, Vanderbilt: Horford will be a free agent this summer, and nobody knows if he will be wearing a Hawks uniform next season. This, along with the injury issues of Tiago Splitter, makes me think that the Hawks will lean in the direction of center with this pick. Jones needs to work on his consistency at the next level, but he already has a solid post game and a decent mid-range jumper.
- Charlotte Hornets – SG Malik Beasley, Florida State: Beasley had a surprising career at Florida State, and that has netted him in the first round of this mock. As a shooter to replace Courtney Lee in Charlotte, Beasley has said that his meeting with the team went well. Beasley also averaged over five rebounds per game last season, which is a nice addition for a shooting guard.
- Boston Celtics – C Ante Zizic, Croatia: With three first round picks in this year’s draft, it would not surprise me if the Celts used one of these picks for a draft and stash overseas. Zizic is a great candidate for that role, as he probably needs another year or two to develop before joining an NBA team.
- Philadelphia 76ers – PG Tyler Ulis, Kentucky: If Ulis falls to 24, it would surprise me for the Sixers to pass on him. Ulis, despite his size, is a very talented point guard who is out to prove that size isn’t everything. The Sixers are in need of a starting guard (Ish Smith is not the long term answer), and watching Ulis develop with Simmons and all of their big men would be fun.
- Los Angeles Clippers – C Diamond Stone, Maryland: Stone had an up and down freshman season at Maryland, but he still put up decent numbers as a top-10 recruit out of high school. With the possibility of developing under Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, this might be the best place for Stone to land in this draft.
- Philadelphia 76ers – SG Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: Richardson has been soaring up the draft boards recently, and it is likely that he is guaranteed a first round selection before too long. With the frontcourt locked up from past drafts, along with Simmons and Ulis already in this one, Richardson would fill out their needs with another wing player.
- Toronto Raptors – PF Cheick Diallo, Kansas: Much like Richardson, Diallo has been rising since the combine, where he performed well. Although he had a disappointing year at Kansas, it would not surprise me to see a team take a shot on him in the later parts of the first round. After taking Ellenson earlier in this draft, the Raptors would have an inside and an outside presence at forward.
- Phoenix Suns – PF Juan Hernangomez, Spain: Another stretch-4 type player, Hernangomez will likely be a draft and stock for a year or two after this draft. With that being said, the Suns are the perfect fit for this, as this is their third pick of the first round. Given a few more years overseas, his progression might make for an interesting young future for the Suns.
- San Antonio Spurs – SG Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia: With Ginobili well out of his prime, and Parker starting to slow down, the Spurs will look for a player who can make an immediate impact on a team that still has championship aspirations. With Aldridge and Kawhi, the Spurs are certainly a contender, and adding Brogdon’s shooting and defense can only help their depth.
- Golden State Warriors – SG Dejounte Murray, Washington: Murray plays at a blazing fast pace and that makes him an interesting fit in the high-octane offense of the Warriors. With this late first rounder, the Warriors would look for more depth in their backcourt, and Murray is the best guy available for that combo-guard look.
This concludes Mock Draft 2.0 on Hardwired for Sports. If you enjoyed this mock, don’t hesitate to hit the follow button at your right for updates on each post. If you want updates more often, you can also follow me on twitter, where I share my thoughts on the sports events of each day. You can also find my twitter on the right, or at @hardwiredsports.
Thank you for reading, and that’s all I have for now, so this is me…signing off. -Lukas.