Tuesday night marked the penultimate step in the NBA Draft process with the NBA Draft Lottery, an event that saw the Celtics and Lakers land 1-2 while also seeing the Kings remain the Kings as they landed third, but swapped picks with the Sixers.
The result is a draft lottery that went nearly chalk. However, since we last did a mock draft way back in mid-March prior to the NCAA Tournament, a couple things have happened.
Most notably, we have a fairly firm idea of who is in and who is out with a few exceptions. The deadline for prospects to make a final decision is fast approaching, but very few, if any, first-rounders are still weighing their options.
With all that in mind, lets dive into a mock draft and see how things shake out.
1. Boston Celtics - Markelle Fultz, Guard, Washington
There’s a lot of things that can happen from the get-go. The Celtics don’t necessarily have a gaping hole that a top pick can step into. If there was an area of weakness, it would be on the wing in Jae Crowder’s spot, but taking Josh Jackson first overall is risky.
On top of that, this pick is serious ammo for a Paul George trade. However, if they keep it, Fultz is too good to pass on.
2. LA Lakers - Lonzo Ball, Guard, UCLA
I always assumed Lonzo Ball would be the Lakers’ top prospect on their draft board. Now, the scrutiny won’t be as harsh if they take him second behind Fultz. A backcourt of Ball and D’Angelo Russell next season will lead a team to 110 points while allowing 130 points.
3. Philadelphia 76ers (via Sacramento) - Josh Jackson, Guard/Forward, Kansas
Jackson is pretty clearly the third-best prospect and I can’t imagine Philly going anywhere else with this.
4. Phoenix Suns - De’Aaron Fox, Guard, Kentucky
Devin Booker is very good at offense and very bad at defense. Fox is very good at defense and very bad at shooting. This makes too much sense.
5. Sacramento Kings (via Philadephia) - Malik Monk, Guard, Kentucky
While the Kings pulled a Kings and lost out on a top three pick, they still land fifth and get a chance to help a backcourt that is, frankly, really bad.
6. Orlando Magic - Jayson Tatum, Forward, Duke
I have no idea what the Orlando Magic will do here because that part of their whiteboard wasn’t tweeted out.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jonathan Isaac, Forward, Florida State
There are very few holes left in the Timberwolves’ core, but Isaac would be an incredibly good fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
8. New York Knicks - Dennis Smith, Jr., Guard, NC State
There’s probably a zero percent chance the Knicks do the smart thing and pick Smith, the best available prospect. I assume they’ll take someone like Markannen or a triangle point guard.
9. Dallas Mavericks - Lauri Markannen, Forward, Arizona
The Mavericks have a very interesting (and expensive) decision to make on Nerlens Noel this summer on top of losing Dirk Nowitzki next summer (most likely). Markannen is raw but can help fill those potential holes.
10. Sacramento Kings (via New Orleans) - Frank Ntilikina, Guard, Belgium
Again, the Kings should do the smart thing here (help the backcourt) but probably won’t (will draft another big man).
11. Charlotte Hornets - Donovan Mitchell, Guard, Louisville
The Hornets could use this pick on a tall white guy like Zach Collins. But Mitchell fills a bigger need as they have no shooting or good shooting guards.
12. Detroit Pistons - Zach Collins, Forward, Gonzaga
Is there a more Detroit Pistons pick than Collins? The answer is no.
13. Denver Nuggets - Ike Anigbogu, Center, UCLA
Nikola Jokic is really good at offense and really bad at defense. Anigbogu is raw, but can fix at least some of the defensive issues.
14. Miami Heat - Justin Jackson, Guard/Forward, UNC
The Heat nearly pulled off a miracle, but needed peak Dion Waiters and peak James Johnson to nearly make the playoffs. Both could be gone this summer and Jackson could step right into the lineup beside Justise Winslow.
15. Portland Trailblazers - OG Anunoby, Forward, Indiana
The Trailblazers currently have three first round picks in the draft. The result is that they can afford to take a player like Anunoby.
Anunoby measured well at the Combine and did nothing to hurt his draft stock while there. He won’t be able to work out for teams, but the small sample size they have on him should make him a mid-first round talent.
The Trailblazers have also done a good job in recent years of developing wing players in Moe Harkless and Allen Crabbe, both great examples of what Anunoby could become.
16. Chicago Bulls - Luke Kennard, Guard, Duke
The Bulls badly need shooting and badly need a ball-handler. I don’t think Kennard is a point guard in the NBA, but he’s enough of a combo guard that the team won’t have to deal with Michael Carter Williams as much anymore. Maybe.
17. Milwaukee Bucks - Terrance Ferguson, Guard, USA
The Bucks are on the up and up and probably can afford to draft best player available here. The only change may be if a point guard slips as, shockingly, Matthew Dellavedova isn’t a great starting point guard.
18. Indiana Pacers - Justin Patton, Center, Creighton
The Pacers could likely be looking at multiple draft picks should they deal Paul George. For now, they use one on a backup big man that isn’t Al Jefferson.
19. Atlanta Hawks - John Collins, Forward, Wake Forest
Here’s a stunner: Dwight Howard didn’t help the Hawks and is now mad about is role on the team.
20. Portland Trailblazers (via Memphis) - Ivan Rabb, Forward/Center, California
Again, the Blazers take someone who is a bit of a project. Once a top-ten prospect, Rabb has fallen off after two non-stellar years at Cal. With the starting front court spot next to Jusuf Nurkic wide open, Rabb could play his way into some big minutes.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Rodions Kurucs, Guard/Forward, Latvia
This is really just a case of “who will Russell Westbrook not pass to?”
22. Brooklyn Nets (via Washington) - Jarret Allen, Center, Texas
The Nets need to take some risks with their draft picks consider how dire their situation is. In this mock, Allen slips a bit and makes too much sense for the Nets who could very well deal Brook Lopez either this summer or at the trade deadline next season, opening up more minutes.
23. Toronto Raptors (via LA Clippers) - Jordan Bell, Forward, Oregon
The talk of the Raptors following their loss to Cleveland seemed to come from a place of demoralization. It seems like changes are coming in Toronto so don’t be surprised if they acquire more picks via trades.
24. Utah Jazz - Semi Ojeleye, Guard/Forward, SMU
In the worst-case scenario, the Jazz could lose Joe Ingles and Gordon Hayward this summer. They can’t go into free agency without some sort of contingency plan, which is what Ojeleye represents.
25. Orlando Magic (via Toronto) - Isaiah Hartenstein, Forward, USA
The Magic will probably continue drafting forwards as they look to hinder Aaron Gordon’s development as much as possible.
26. Portland Trailblazers (via Cleveland) - Harry Giles, Forward/Center, Duke
Maybe I’m having the Blazers take too many risks. Some rumors floated around during the Combine that, should his medical tests came back positive without red flags, Giles could be a top 10 or top five pick. I find that hard to believe, but at 26, it would be great value for Portland.
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Boston) - Bam Adebayo, Center, Kentucky
I realize I have them taking a big man already, but when you’re as barren as the Nets are, you take the best player and worry about fit later.
28. LA Lakers (via Houston) - Sindarius Thornwell, Guard/Forward, South Carolina
Thornwell had some insane measurements at the Combine. Coming in at 6’4.75”, his wingspan of 6’10” and his standing reach of 8’7” are absurd. His vertical is just 30.5”, but given his go-go gadget arms, you don’t need to jump that high.
29. San Antonio Spurs - Anzejas Pasecniks, Latvia
I honestly just looked up the top foreign player on the board.
30. Utah Jazz (via Golden State) - Thomas Bryant, Indiana
This is where I had Bryant mocked before and I’m sticking with it. Bryant measured and tested well at the Combine and has started to see his stock rise. The more teams get him in the gym, the more his stock will continue to rise.
His 7’6” wingspan was one of the top marks in the draft. His 9’4.5” standing reach is crazy.
The Jazz have a long history of developing big men and Bryant could be the next in that line.