There have been quite a few shakeups in the NBA since my last mock draft. Some teams, like the Heat and the Mavericks, have been steadily rising in the standings. Others, like the Knicks and the Kings, have been falling hard. Teams at the bottom of the standings shouldn’t feel to bad, though, as this years draft could be as good as any in history. With that, lets get right into it.
The Nets pick goes to Boston, and wherever this pick lands, the Celtics will have a choice to make. This pick is very valuable, and the Celtics already have a stud point guard in Isaiah Thomas, who is very ball dominant. Markelle Fultz is clearly the best prospect in the draft, but he, like Thomas, is also a ball dominant, scoring guard. Fultz is tremendously athletic, can finish through traffic, and can knock down jump shots at a high rate. He is shooting 48% from the field and 41% from three at Washington, which is incredibly impressive due to the fact that teams go into games knowing he is the teams only main scoring option. If the Celtics decide to keep their pick, it is a no brainer that they pick Fultz and figure out how to make it work with him and Thomas.
2: Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball – PG
Through two seasons, the Lakers current young point guard, D’Angelo Russell, has not shown much improvement in any category besides scoring. The Lakers still lack a true playmaker, and Lonzo Ball could come in and instantly make this team better. Ball is an elite passer, with the size at 6’6″ to be able to cause problems for defenses. With the Lakers still trying to find their identity with a young rebuilding team, Ball could become the face of the franchise from day one and instantly elevate the teams production like he did at UCLA.
3: Phoenix Suns – Josh Jackson – SF
The Suns have their backcourt for the future in Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe. The Suns also have drafted multiple big men over the past few seasons, so the team will probably be patient in developing them. The small forward position is the biggest position of need, and Jackson has the talent of a top pick. He is very athletic, his jump shot has been improving throughout the season, and he excels in transition. His game is similar to Andrew Wiggins, but he could potentially become better because of his ability to create for others better than Wiggins. Overall, Jackson is a great fit in Phoenix
4: Orlando Magic – Jayson Tatum – SF
Since returning from injury, Tatum has emerged as an all-around talent for Duke that can get it done on both ends of the court. He may not necessarily be elite at a single skill, but it is difficult to poke many holes in his game.Tatum’s jump shot is questionable, but it has shown room for improvement at Duke. If he develops consistency with his jumper, Tatum has star potential. The Magic’s biggest weak spot is the small forward position, and Tatum could bring some balance to a Magic squad that lacks playmakers.
5: Philadelphia 76ers – Malik Monk – SG
The 76ers will be getting an elite playmaker back next season in Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid has already shown that he can be a go-to guy on the offensive end. What the team needs is a guy who can threaten defenses from deep to stretch the floor for Simmons and Embiid. Monk is the perfect fit for Philly, as he is far and away the best shooter in the draft. He has been one of the best scorers in college basketball this year, and that should easily translate to the NBA in a 3-point focused league. His size may be a concern on the defensive end, but with guys like Robert Covington and Justin Anderson on the team, he will not have to cover the teams best guard.
6: Sacramento Kings – Dennis Smith Jr. – PG
The Kings are in full rebuild mode after trading Demarcus Cousins to the Pelicans. They are actively shopping both Ty Lawson and Darren Colison, possibly hinting they will be targeting a point guard in the draft. Dennis Smith Jr. is the best point guard available for them, and he has the potential to be a star in the league. He is an explosive athlete with a pretty good outside shot and solid playmaking skills. He is only 6’2″, which is slightly undersized for the position, but he has the skill-set of a starting point guard in the NBA.
7: New York Knicks – Frank Ntilikina – PG
The Knicks are clearly in a rebuilding state, as their season has turned from slight disappointment to full blown disaster. Derrick Rose is seemingly on his way out after the season, so the Knicks will be looking for a point guard. Frank Ntilikina has caught the eye of numerous NBA scouts from overseas for his elite size and length. He has a quick first step, high basketball IQ for a point guard, and excellent athleticism. He will need to develop his jump shot and add weight to develop into an NBA star, but the potential is there.
8: Sacramento Kings – Jonathan Isaac – SF/PF
The Kings get the Pelicans first round pick as a result of the Demarcus Cousins trade, and this is the perfect draft for them to have two top ten picks. Isaac is 6’10” and can handle the ball and shoot jump shots like a wing player. On defense, he can guard four positions, and has been a very good shot blocker at Florida State. Isaac sometimes tends to defer to teammates too often, but when he gets aggressive he is tough to stop.
The Wolves have been shopping Ricky Rubio for quite some time, and this offseason could finally be the time that the team pulls the trigger on a trade. Kris Dunn has been a massive disappointment so far, and if the team isn’t certain he can be the point guard of the future, Fox would be an excellent pick up in the draft. Fox is lightning quick with terrific ball-handling ability. He can penetrate the paint at will and find the open man consistently. He reminds me of Eric Bledsoe coming out of college, and has the potential to be as good or better if he finds the right system.
10: Dallas Mavericks – Lauri Markkanen – PF
The Mavericks must accept the fact that Dirk Nowitzki’s career is coming to an end soon. He will either retire this offseason or the next, and finding a replacement won’t be easy. Markkanen could help fill the void Dirk leaves, and would benefit immensely from having a mentor like Nowitzki for a season. Markkanen is a 7’0″ stretch forward who can score in a plethora of ways, as well as hold his own on the defensive end. He shoots 43% from three, and 54% from the field, which indicates he could instantly become a scoring threat in the NBA at his size.
11: Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges – SF
The Hornets top priority should be taking the best available player at this spot, and Miles Bridges is easily that guy. In many of the past few drafts, Bridges would have been considered a top five pick, but this year’s draft is loaded with talent so Charlotte could benefit from that. Bridges is a big bodied forward who uses his frame to dominate his matchup physically by attacking the rim. He also shoots 38% from three, which will keep defenses honest when guarding him.
12: Portland Trail Blazers – Robert Williams – PF
The Trail Blazers weakest position is power forward, and Robert Williams’ stock has been rising steadily this season. Williams has the physical tools and athleticism to succeed, but his footwork he doesn’t always play with the awareness and self control necessary to be consistent. He will be a project, but after a few years of professional experience he could become a solid starting power forward.
13: Chicago Bulls – Justin Jackson – SF
The Bulls have struggled to space the floor the entire season, and the bench production has also been sub-par. Jackson would help the team in both of those areas. He would be a nice “3 and D” guy for the Bulls to add during what appears to be a rebuilding period after recent struggles.
14: Miami Heat – OG Anunoby – SF
Anunoby is out for the rest of the year because of injury, and Indiana has been a train-wreck without him. At one point Indiana was the #1 team in the country, but without Anunoby they couldn’t even make it into the March Madness tournament. He is an excellent defensive player who can attack the basket and finish in the paint well. Anything is better than Luke Babbit for the Heat, and Anunoby can become a similar player to Luc Mbah A Moute.
15: Denver Nuggets – TJ Leaf – PF
16: Milwaukee Bucks – Bam Adebayo – C
17: Detroit Pistons – Terrance Ferguson – SG
18: Indiana Pacers – Justin Patton
19: Portland Trail Blazers – Rodions Kurucs – SF
20: Atlanta Hawks – Ivan Rabb – PF
21: Oklahoma City Thunder – Luke Kennard – SG
22: Toronto Raptors – Isaiah Hartenstein – PF
23: Orlando Magic – Jarrett Allen – C
24: Utah Jazz – Josh Hart – SG
25: Brooklyn Nets – Zack Collins – C
26: Brooklyn Nets – Donovan Mitchell – SG
27: Portland Trail Blazers – Tyler Lyden – PF
28: Los Angeles Lakers – Harry Giles – PF
29: San Antonio Spurs – Caleb Swanigan – C
30: Utah Jazz – Johnathan Motley – PF