NBA Mock Draft: Post-NCAA Tournament and regular season edition
The NCAA Tournament is over, the NBA regular season is over. The final evaluations for prospects before the combine are done, while the NBA Draft order is temporally set before the Draft lottery will cost teams chances at better prospects because that is all about luck. For this edition of my NBA Mock Draft, it will go by order of teams as it would be right now while leaving out the hypothetical lottery scenarios. As usual, I will make the pick, then do a breakdown of the prospect, while explaining why that prospect fits with that team that I drafted the prospect. Without any further introduction, here is my NBA Mock Draft.
1.New York Knicks: Zion Williamson 6’7” Forward Duke
The number one pick is obvious, it is just a question of who will actually draft Zion Williamson. Williamson is one of the most efficient inside scorers with his ability to dunk and score in the post, while he is a freak athlete who can both steal the ball and block shots on the defensive end. This doesn’t even begin to talk about the fact that he is maybe the single greatest athlete in the sport’s history. Simply put, if you are a GM and you get the top pick, if you don’t draft Zion, you are probably going to be looking for a new job very shortly. With rumors of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving coming to New York, as well this New York team could be going from worst to first very quickly behind the Big Three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Zion Williamson.
2.Cleveland Cavaliers: RJ Barrett 6’7” Wing Duke
This is the first instance where I would pick fit over the best prospect, as RJ Barrett is the better fit with Cleveland playing alongside Collin Sexton. Barrett is a complete player physically, as he has size, length, and athleticism. Barrett also has that late game takeover mentality, which can help him take over games that may be close. The one reason that I am not that high on him is that he’s really inefficient but if he can clean that up a little bit, he’ll be a really good NBA player. As for why he fits well in Cleveland, he will be primarily off the ball, with Collin Sexton handling the majority of the possessions, while he will be able to score in bunches with Cleveland, something he probably couldn’t do elsewhere.
3.Phoenix Suns: Ja Morant 6’3” Point Guard Murray State
The Phoenix Suns need a point guard, Ja Morant is the best point guard, so this seems like a perfect fit. Morant is an elite athlete, who can score and pass the ball at a high rate, which is what is needed for the Suns. His athleticism and explosiveness help’s him to create some pretty great highlight plays. His vision and intelligence for the game is another thing that gets talked about a lot when talking about Ja Morant. I think he is probably the second best prospect on the board, it just depends upon which team is drafting with the number two pick. Cleveland already has a point guard in Collin Sexton, while Phoenix needs a point guard, assuming these two spots stay the same, Ja Morant will probably go third to the Suns.
4.Chicago Bulls: De’Andre Hunter 6’8” Forward Virginia
De’Andre Hunter showed on the biggest stage in College Basketball why he is the likely best choice for the number four pick, as his game seems to have the complete package. Hunter is a long and athletic player, who has the speed to guard both guards and bigs. Hunter, for the most part, is able to slow down opponents best players, as done so in the past with players like Jarrett Culver and Coby White. Hunter also has developed the shooting ability to provide enough offense to help a team right away. The Bulls are really in need of some talent, while Hunter may not be a great offensive product, he will certainly contribute to winning because of his defensive abilities.
5.Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver 6’5” Wing Texas Tech
The Atlanta Hawks are building their offense around Trae Young and a few good guard or wing prospects who can help out on the offensive end. Culver has good size, as he is listed at 6’6” but with a 6’9” wingspan, he plays much bigger than that size he was listed as. Culver is a good ball-handler who can create his own offense, as well as for as some for others. He is also a good defensive player, which is something that NBA teams will look for. His efficiency numbers and overall shooting can still be improved but the rest of his game is complete enough that he should go in the 5 range. As for his fit on the Hawks, they will look for players who can score off the ball, which is something that he can do well.
6.Washington Wizards: Cam Reddish 6’8” Wing Duke
The Washington Wizards appear to be stuck with a backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal for a few more years, so while that is the case, it would be important for them to pick up a good wing prospect. Cam Reddish is the best wing project left on the board. Reddish has good size and has plenty of ability to defend. He can shoot decently, he can handle the ball well while having good upside scoring wise. He will need to improve his mentality as he a lot of times will go through the motions and not play hard. That being said, if he can improve upon that, he has the upside to be a good long-term prospect for the Wizards.
7.New Orleans Pelicans: Darius Garland 6’3” Point Guard Vanderbilt
The Pelicans have a need at the point guard position, as they would prefer to play Jrue Holiday off the ball, this where it might be a good idea to take a chance on Darius Garland. Garland is regarded as a great shooter, who has deep range and can make a lot of shots in the NBA. He is a good ball-handler with good vision. The real question is involving the fact he might not be there physically as he’s a smaller guard that is coming off an ACL tear. Long story short, the Pelicans need some talent, better to take a risk on a talented guard coming off an ACL tear than take a less-talented prospect.
8.Atlanta Hawks (via Mavericks): Coby White 6’5” Guard North Carolina
As mentioned earlier, the Atlanta Hawks are looking to fill out a roster with some good playmakers to surround Trae Young and Coby White certainly fits that need. White is a good shooter, which is something the Hawks are looking for. White also can run the point while Trae Young is out or run a fast break, which is something the Hawks are looking for. His best shooting is off the catch and shoot is something he will get a lot of playing without the ball.
9.Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Jaxson Hayes 6’11” Center Texas
Al Horford could be gone in the next few years, so it might be time to draft a future big and Jaxson Hayes is big with the most upside in this draft. Hayes is a really good athlete, he is a really coordinated and is an excellent finisher around the basket. He was late to the sport, so his game is still really raw but there is a lot of room for growth. If he can come in and develop with the Celtics organization, he could become a really good piece in the future.
10.Minnesota Timberwolves: Romeo Langford 6’6” Guard Indiana
The Timberwolves are in need of some quality guards, while Romeo Langford isn’t a stud, landing with the Timberwolves isn’t a bad thing for both sides. Langford is physically capable, which projects well to the NBA on both ends. While he struggled shooting last year, he still has the ability to score with ease, while he still shot 73 percent from the line last year. He’s still in need of some work as a prospect but if he can develop, he has the potential to be a good player.
11.Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Clarke 6’8” Forward Gonzaga
The Lakers are somewhat of a mess as a team, it could use a stabling player like Brandon Clarke to settle things down. Clarke is an outstanding athlete who can block shots and score inside with ease. Clarke also is a versatile defender who can defend guards when needed. He would probably provide some interior help and allow the Lakers to avoid going to small-ball lineups with Lebron at the five, while if included in a trade, he would have high upside.
12.Boston Celtics (via Kings): PJ Washington 6’8” Forward Kentucky
After drafting a good big earlier in this draft, they might go with an upside piece like PJ Washington who has all the tools to be a good NBA player. Washington has good size and athleticism, while he has a 7’3” wingspan, which makes him a tough player to score on. Washington is also a really good interior scorer, while he has improved both his three-point and free throw shooting, which helped him move up draft boards. Washington will probably play behind Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum but he’ll be a good piece coming off the bench.
13.Miami Heat: Sekou Doumbouya 6’9” Forward Guinea
The Heat are stuck in the neutral zone right now, so they are probably one of the teams looking to take a good European prospect like Sekou Doumbouya. Sekou is really young, so there is room for growth, while he already has the size to play either the four or the five. He has the length to be a good defensive player as well, playing against other teams bigs. His offensive game is still pretty raw but he does project as a good shooter, assuming he can develop that he will be a good piece.
14.Charlotte Hornets: Nassir Little 6’7” Forward North Carolina
The Hornets are a team that could draft upon talent and there is an argument that there is not a more talented player left than Nassir Little. Little has great physical attributes, including size and athletic ability, which is something that will help him. He’s shown an ability to score the ball at a high level against some NBA level players in the past. He still makes some bad decisions on both ends of the ball but if he can improve upon those he will be at least a decent player at the next level. If he does begin to play like he was in much of his high school career, he will be a good player for the Hornets going forward.
15.Detroit Pistons: Keldon Johnson 6’6” Guard Kentucky
Keldon Johnson is a prospect that many people are torn on but I think he finds a solid landing spot with Detroit, a team that needs guards. Johnson has great size and is a really good defender and rebounder, which is good. While he is a decent scorer, more so from inside than outside but he can still make shots. The issue with him is that he’s not a great athlete or a great shooter but his overall traits will probably help him be a good NBA player.
16.Brooklyn Nets: Rui Hachimura 6’8” Forward Gonzaga
The Nets are building a solid team with some solid young pieces mixed with some experienced players, so they are likely going to look for another player that can step in and play right away which is something Rui Hachimura can do. Rui is a really great player physically as he is long, strong and most importantly athletic, which is something the NBA is looking for. He’s really good at scoring inside the three-point arc, as he can finish around the rim and from the midrange area. If he can become a better three-point shooter, look for him to take off as a player.
17.Orlando Magic: Kevin Porter 6’6” Guard USC
Kevin Porter was a player that disappointed a little bit in his one year at USC but he has the ability to turn it around at the next level. Porter is a really good player physically, which will allow him to play anywhere from the 2-4 positions in the NBA. He is also good at getting shots both on the offensive and defensive end. Assuming he can come together as a player, this could be a high-upside pick that helps Orlando become a consistent playoff team, although there’s also a chance Porter doesn’t pan out.
18.Indiana Pacers: KZ Okpala 6’9” Forward Stanford
The Pacers might be looking for a prospect with a great combo forward to play at the four longterm for the team. Okpala is a really long and athletic player, who can guard multiple positions. The big thing that led to his rise in draft boards is that he really improved his scoring ability, as he became a 38 percent three-point shooter. If he can continue to shoot like that and he continues this play on the defensive end, he will be looked at as one of the low-key sleeper players of the draft.
19.Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Bol Bol 7’2” Center Oregon
The Celtics have four first round picks and can afford to take a risk or two on some prospects and Bol Bol is maybe the riskiest of them all. Bol is a really long and lengthy Center, who does all the things around the rim needed, while he can shoot the ball at a high level. The thing that makes him risky is that one he is extremely thin and in the NBA that could be susceptible to bullying from bigger players or injuries. While his defense was not very good, despite the fact he had quite a few blocks. If I’m an NBA team with one pick, I wouldn’t use it on Bol because of the chance that he doesn’t pan out but the Celtics have four, so it might not be a bad idea to do that.
20.San Antonio Spurs: Grant Williams 6’8” Forward Tennessee
The Spurs are probably going to be looking for some inside help this year and Grant Williams is probably the most Spurs-like player left on the board. Williams is not a great athlete or a great shooter but he is a really intelligent player, which is something that translates well. Williams is a really good rebounder and passer, while he is a really good defender. He may not be the best prospect on the board but I like him to be a good player and fit for the Spurs.
21.Boston Celtics: Nickeil Alexander-Walker 6’6” Guard Virginia Tech
Nickel Alexander-Walker is a really good prospect with the ability to play both on and off the ball. Alexander-Walker is a really good shooter at 38 percent in his career at Virginia Tech, while he improved upon his field goal percentage this past year, despite shooting a lot more. Another thing that makes him a great player is that he has great vision and ball-handling, which can allow him to handle the point, which could be needed for the Celtics depending upon this upcoming free agency.
22.Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Herro 6’5” Guard Kentucky
The Thunder were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA this year, so saying that they might need help in that department may be an understatement, so the best player to pick would be Tyler Herro who has one of the best shooting strokes in the draft. Herro only shot 36 percent from three, although he shot 94 percent from the free throw line, so he easily can improve upon the three-point shooting. Herro also has good size and athleticism, while he showed himself to be a very good defender at Kentucky, which is another thing that the Thunder are looking for.
23.Utah Jazz: Matisse Thybulle 6’5” Guard Washington
The Jazz are a team that likes to draft defensive players and no guard plays better defense than Matisse Thybulle. Thybulle is 6’5” with a 7’0” wingspan, which allowed him to break Gary Payton’s All-time Pac-12 steals record this past year. Thybulle is a really good athlete as well and can jump up to either block shots or get steals. He may not be the best player on the offensive end or even close to that but his defense will travel and play a big role for the Jazz.
24.Philadelphia 76ers: Admiral Schofield 6’5” Wing Tennessee
The 76ers bench isn’t that good right now, so they are probably looking for someone who can come in and play a role. Schofield has good size for a wing, while he rebounds and defends at a high level. Schofield also has good shooting ability and he is a really good teammate. He may not be the best athlete but if any team wants a player that can come in and play a role right away that is a good thing.
25.Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Carsen Edwards 6’1” Guard Purdue
No player helped themselves in the NCAA Tournament more than Carsen Edwards, who had an outstanding tournament, scoring 42 points twice. Edwards is short but he can still get his shot off against some of the better defenders in the sport including De’Andre Hunter. Edwards is also a really good athlete, which helps make up a little bit for his lack of size. His size will limit him in the NBA but he should still be a good player in the NBA.
26.Portland Trailblazers: Bruno Fernando 6’10” Center Maryland
The Trailblazers are in need of a big to play backup because at that position they are not really that deep. Fernando is a really good finisher at the rim and off the dribble, while he has the ability to finish at the rim. Fernando is also a good rebounder and shot blocker, while he plays with a good motor. He can still improve on both ends a little bit but he is a player that has shown the ability to grow as a prospect.
27.Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Luguentz Dort 6’4” Guard Arizona State
The Nets took a forward earlier in the draft, so they are more likely to go with a guard like Luguentz Dort with their second pick of the first round. Dort is a really good athlete while being really strong and having a good motor. He’s a streaky shooter but does have a good stroke, meaning he could improve upon his shooting. Overall in these late rounds teams will be looking for players to either play a role or have upside and Luguentz Dort is a player that can do both those things.
28.Golden State Warriors: Cam Johnson 6’8” Forward North Carolina
The Warriors bench hasn’t been good this year, so if I am them I would try to improve upon that with some solid pieces that can play right away, which is something Cam Johnson can do. Johnson is an elite shooter and can make shots off the dribble. He’s older and not a great athlete but his shotmaking, as well as decent defending, make him a good player to take.
29.San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Goga Bitadze 6’11” Center Georgia
The Spurs are known for taking Europeans, so taking one late in the first round would be what you would expect out of this organization. Bitadze is a good low-post player and scorer at the rim, which is something the Spurs are looking for. He also is a good defender and shot blocker, who is regarded as playing with a good motor.
30.Milwaukee Bucks: Talen Horton-Tucker 6’4” Wing Iowa State
Talen Horton-Tucker is a player with a lot of upside that could be improved playing in a good organization like the Milwaukee Bucks. Horton-Tucker is short but has a good wingspan, which helps him be one of the better defenders. He can score off the dribble but the big thing with him is that he’s not yet a good shooter. Give it a few years and he should be a role-player with the Bucks.
31.Brooklyn Nets (via Knicks): Chuma Okeke 6’8” Forward Auburn
32.Phoenix Suns: Eric Paschall 6’7” Forward Villanova
33.Philadelphia 76ers (via Cavaliers): Mfiondu Kabengele 6’10” Center Florida State
34.Philadelphia 76ers (via Bulls): Ty Jerome 6’5” Guard Virginia
35.Atlanta Hawks: Daniel Gafford 6’11” Center Arkansas
36.Charlotte Hornets (via Wizards): Dylan Windler 6’7” Wing Belmont
37.Chicago Bulls (via Grizzlies): Jalen McDaniels 6’10” Center San Diego State
38.Dallas Mavericks: Ayo Dosunmu 6’5” Guard Illinois
39.New Orleans Pelicans: Jontay Porter 6’11” Center Missouri
40.Sacramento Kings (via Timberwolves): Louis King 6’9” Forward Oregon
41.Atlanta Hawks (via Lakers): Miye Oni 6’6” Wing Yale
42.Atlanta Hawks (via Hornets): Jordan Nwora 6’9” Forward Louisville
43.Minnesota Timberwolves (via Heat): Jordan Poole 6’5” Guard Michigan
44.Philadelphia 76ers (via Kings): Isaiah Roby 6’7” Forward Nebraska
45.Detroit Pistons: Charles Matthews 6’6” Wing Michigan
46.Sacramento Kings (via Magic): Neemias Queta 6’11” Center Utah State
47.Orlando Magic (via Nets): Naz Reid 6’10” Forward LSU
48.San Antonio Spurs: Luka Samanic 6’10” Forward Croatia
49.Los Angles Clippers: Brian Bowen 6’8” Forward USA
50.Indiana Pacers: Shamorie Ponds 6’3” Point Guard St. John’s
51.Charlotte Hornets (via Thunder): Charlie Brown 6’6” Guard St. Joseph’s
52.Boston Celtics: Darius Bazley 6’9” Forward USA
53.Utah Jazz: Justin Wright-Foreman 6’5” Guard Hofstra
54.Philadelphia 76ers: Phil Booth 6’3” Guard Villanova
55.Los Angles Clippers (via Trailblazers): Tyus Battle 6’5” Guard Syracuse
56.New York Knicks (via Rockets): James Palmer Jr. 6’6” Guard Nebraska
57.New Orleans Pelicans (via Nuggets): Dedric Lawson 6’9” Forward Kansas
58.Golden State Warriors: Jaylen Nowell 6’5” Guard Washington
59.Toronto Raptors: Jared Harper 5’11” Point Guard Auburn
60.Sacramento Kings (via Bucks): Kris Wilkes 6’8” Wing UCLA
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