NBA Mock Draft 3.0

The draft is just 2 hours away, so here is my final mock draft in preparation. Trades have made me do some shuffling, but we can expect lots more of those later tonight. It should be a fun one, so sit down and settle in. Without further ado, here is how I think the draft might play out.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers- SF Ben Simmons, LSU: Simmons has reportedly been told that he will be the #1 overall pick, and this should not come as a surprise. The 76ers are in need of talent at just about every position, and Simmons will hopefully be their centerpiece of the future. Although Simmons needs to work on his jump shot to excel at the next level, he has all the tools to be a definite starter right away next season.
  2. Los Angeles Lakers – SF Brandon Ingram, Duke: With Simmons off the board, Ingram is a no-brainer. The guy can score in lots of different ways and will hopefully be the man to bring the Lakers back to relevance. He is also an above-average defender who can guard multiple positions. Alongside Russell and Randle, Ingram will round out the young core that the Lakers will build around.
  3. Boston Celtics – SG Buddy Hield, Oklahoma: Although the Celtics have been looking to trade this pick already, they will be keeping it for the sake of this mock draft. For a team that lacked shooting last season, adding the best shooter in the draft class seems logical. Hield is a talented scorer who is potent off the dribble, coming off screens, or spotting up for three.
  4. Phoenix Suns – PF Dragan Bender, Croatia: With Teletovic and Leuer hitting free agency this offseason, the Suns will be in the market for a power forward at this #4 pick. I also considered having them select Marquese Chriss, who has been steadily rising up draft boards recently, but Bender is too hard to pass up as an 18-year-old stretch 4. Bender has great potential that if tapped, could yield some very productive seasons for the Suns.
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves – SG Jamal Murray, Kentucky: With Hield off the board, I think the Timberwolves would select the next best shooter. Sure, the team already has Rubio and LaVine running around in the back court, but adding shooting has to be one of their keys. Murray can come into the NBA right away and be productive with KAT and Wiggins at his side. Also, who is to say that Rubio will still be on the team when the season starts?
  6. New Orleans Pelicans – PG Kris Dunn, Providence: If Dunn is on the board for the Pelicans here, this should be a no-brainer. Dunn is the #1 point guard prospect in the draft, and even though he is 22, would be a great pick at #6. The team already has Jrue Holiday at the point, but he will be a free agent next season, leaving the reigns to Dunn. If the Pelicans can get Dunn and Davis working together in the future, they could be going somewhere.
  7. Denver Nuggets – PF Marquese Chriss, Washington: In this mock, it is the Nuggets who will take the chance on this young Huskie. Chriss has been rising steadily up draft boards for the last month, and could easily find himself in the top-5. Still, the Nuggets will be looking for a power forward to slide next to Nurkic and Jokic in the front court. If Chriss finds a way to hit his ceiling, then the Nuggets would get a steal at #7.
  8. Sacramento Kings – SF Jaylen Brown, California: The Kings have only worked out one player that is considered to be a top prospect (Wade Baldwin), so it will be interesting to see what they do with this pick. Still, in this mock Brown is clearly the best prospect available. He is great athlete who can play shooting guard, small forward, or power forward in a small lineup. Versatility is a big positive in this draft, and that should keep Brown from sliding out of the top-10.
  9. Toronto Raptors – PF Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga: The Raptors had a great season, but they will still be in the market for another big man in this draft. Although Sabonis does not have the most potential of the power forwards remaining, the Raptors (should they retain DeRozan) will exhibit a win-now mentality, meaning they should draft a player that can provide instant help off the bench. Sabonis fits that mold.
  10. Milwaukee Bucks – PG Wade Baldwin, Vanderbilt: Since the Bucks declared Giannis their primary ball handler for next season, adding a combo guard will be a necessity. At 6-3 with a 6-11 wing span, Baldwin has great defensive potential to guard the point. He also shot the college three at a 40% clip, which is another target for the Bucks, who were woeful from deep this past season. Baldwin will do better when playing off the ball, and the Bucks can provide that.
  11. Orlando Magic – PF Deyonta Davis, Michigan State: Davis is already a solid defender who can protect the point, but it is his offensive game that worries me. The Magic will be looking for another big man to team up with Vucevic, so Deyonta could find himself a home in Orlando.
  12. Atlanta Hawks – C Jakob Poeltl, Utah: Al Horford is hitting free agency this offseason, so why not try to fix that hole. Like Sabonis, Poeltl does not have a great ceiling, but teams know what they are going to get with him. He was a high quality college big man with a game that should translate nicely to the NBA.
  13. Phoenix Suns – C Skal Labissiere, Kentucky: After taking Bender at #4, the Suns might take a shot on another high ceiling prospect. If both players end up panning out, then Phoenix will have a dynamite front court to go with their rising star in Devin Booker. Skal had a somewhat disappointing year at Kentucky, but he will probably be selected somewhere in this late-lottery range.
  14. Chicago Bulls- PG Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame: After trading Derrick Rose yesterday, it would be no surprise to see the Bulls target a point. Then, with Dunn and Baldwin off the board, Jackson is the next best guy. Ulis is a bit of reach at #14, but if the team is high on him, he could also swoop in.
  15. Denver Nuggets- SG Furkan Korkmaz, Turkey: After the Nuggets selected Marquese Chriss earlier in this mock, they will look for shooting here. This Turkish sensation can shoot from anywhere and it will be definitely be a risk to see if his game translates to the NBA. If he can become a better defender and add some muscle. Korkmaz could develop into a nice piece for Denver.
  16. Boston Celtics – SF Timothe Luwawu, France: At the #3 pick, I had the Celtics take Buddy Hield for his shooting. At #16, taking another shooter would not be a huge surprise. Already a talented defender, Luwawu has expanded his range over the past year and could prove to be a valuable reserve behind Jae Crowder for next season.
  17. Memphis Grizzlies – SG Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: If Mike Conley ends up leaving Memphis this offseason, then there will be lots of questions about the direction that the franchise will be headed. Will they try to build a contender through trade or will they begin a rebuild. Either way, Richardson seems like the right selection. He has decent upside and great length, which is ideal for a player at #17.
  18. Detroit Pistons – PF Henry Ellenson, Marquette: With Drummond at center, adding a stretch-4 would be a nice pickup for the Pistons. Ellenson has long been rumored to be a lottery pick, but his possibility for sliding still remains. He is known to be a good defender, so pairing him in the front court with a two-way superstar center in Drummond would be logical.
  19. Denver Nuggets – SF Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: After taking two young prospects in Chriss and Korkmaz, the Nuggets could turn their direction towards a proven college player like Valentine. Denzel is a do-it-all forward who should be able to make an impact right away on the wing.
  20. Brooklyn Nets (via Indiana) – SG Malik Beasley, Florida State: The Nets are clearly in rebuilding mode, and they will look for a player that could develop into a star. Beasley has a tremendous ability to score and at 19 years of age, has plenty of room to develop. At the #20th pick, the Nets could easily find their starting shooting guard for next season.
  21. Atlanta Hawks – PG Dejounte Murray, Washington: After the Hawks traded Jeff Teague yesterday, they will be in the market for a point guard pretty soon. This pick, along with #12, has been rumored to be involved in a potential trade, but if it stays with Atlanta, Murray would be the right selection. Murray is wicked fast and has a very high ceiling if he can develop a three-point shot.
  22. Charlotte Hornets – C Damian Jones, Vanderbilt: With Al Jefferson aging, the Hornets will look for another big man to fill his void. A decent all-around prospect, Jones can work well around the rim while also possessing a decent shooting touch. Although he will miss much of the offseason due to an injury, he is still an athletic big man who should be able to provide minutes immediately.
  23. Boston Celtics – C Ivica Zubac, Croatia: If (and that’s a big if) the Celtics decide to keep all three of their first round picks, one of them will probably be a draft-and-stash. And seeing as they have already selected two immediate rotation players in Hield and Luwawu in this mock, Zubac would be the right guy for that position.
  24. Philadelphia 76ers – SF Taurean Prince, Baylor: Even though I have the Sixers already taking a small forward #1 overall with Ben Simmons, Simmons has the ability to be their primary ball handler. If the team decides to go that route, then Prince has value at this pick with his ability to be two-way wing. The 76ers need lots of help, and Prince is the best player on the board.
  25. Los Angeles Clippers – SF DeAndre Bembry, Saint Joseph’s: Is Jeff Green really the answer for the Clippers at small forward? I don’t think so. If the Clippers want to become a serious contender in the West, they will need an upgrade at that position. I am not saying that Bembry will be that guy, but he was a very good player in college, so why not give it a shot?
  26. Philadelphia 76ers – SF Juan Hernangomez, Spain: Like the Celtics, it is doubtful that the 76ers keep all of their first round picks. Because of that, a draft-and-stash at #26 makes sense. At 6-9, Hernangomez the ability to become a stretch-4 or a lengthy small forward. He will be a very interesting prospect for any team that selects him.
  27. Toronto Raptors – PF Brice Johnson, North Carolina: Johnson was a sensational college player, averaging 17ppg and 10rbg last season, but how does that translate to the NBA? He is a great effort player and with the Raptors in need of immediate front court depth to aid a title run, Brice looks to be a good selection.
  28. Phoenix Suns – PF Petre Cornelie, France: Cornelie will be another draft-and-stash player. At 6-11, he already possesses some of the tools to be a reserve stretch-4. However, he needs to get stronger overseas if he wants to become a starter at some point in his NBA career. With the Suns already selecting Bender and Skal, they have time to develop another project.
  29. San Antonio Spurs – C Ante Zizic, Croatia: Yet again, a draft-and-stash project at the end of the first round. The Spurs are already a contender for the title, so adding pieces overseas to develop the future makes sense. Zizic is already a terrific rebounder, but he needs to work on his offensive game in order to succeed at the next level.
  30. Golden State Warriors – C Cheick Diallo, Kansas: Andrew Bogut is still struggling with injury issues, so adding another young center to the roster can only help the team when times get tough. Diallo had a shaky freshman year at Kansas, but he is still worth taking a shot on in the first round. If Ezeli ends up leaving in free agency, Diallo could become very valuable.

And that’s all I have for now, so this is me…signing off. -Lukas.

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