The NBA lottery came and went. Phoenix kept their top pick and the Kings jumped all the way up to the second pick. Here is my second mock of the season. All picks are based not on what rumors say, but my big board, which you can take a look at right here. I will generally pick based on value over need. Let’s get to the number one pick.
1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
Ayton is the prospect that most consider to top this class and he isn’t far behind Doncic for me. He has all of the offensive tools to be one of the best modern-day centers in the NBA. I am concerned with his defense but due to his frame, he could become a great defender in this league. The Suns get their franchise center and second star here.
2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid
Doncic is the best prospect in the NBA draft. Sue me. On Wednesday, Doncic recorded a triple-double in 23 minutes, something quite rare overseas. This kid is an offensive wizard with elite passing IQ, a great three-point shot, creative handles, and great touch around the bucket. The Kings are the big winners in this draft, jumping all the way up from seven to nab this selection.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Jaren Jackson Jr., C, Michigan State
The Hawks will most likely miss out on Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton due to the way the balls dropped. Fortunately, Jackson is still here; a raw talent with rare upside on both sides of the ball. He flashed elite rim protecting potential in college along with very solid defensive IQ and effort. He even flashed some touch around the rim and a three-point shot, too. To make it more impressive, Jackson did this all on low minutes and playing out of position. He is a center in the NBA. Hopefully, Atlanta can mold him into an NBA star and an excellent frontcourt pair to John Collins.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke
Memphis, unfortunately, fell out of the top three picks but still get their guy in Bagley. He fits the Memphis culture to a tee and will be a capable suitor to Marc Gasol. Bagley is the best rebounder in this draft by a mile and his second jump will be one of the best in the league as soon as he steps on the court. Bagley has all of the tools to be an elite offensive big. There are questions about his defensive effort and IQ but those can be remedied with NBA coaching and experience. Bagley will be the face of the franchise that the Grizz have been searching for.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
The Mavericks fall to five but still land a player at a big position of need. Bamba’s 7’9″ wingspan combined with good defensive IQ gives him potential to be the best defensive big in the NBA. He is incredibly raw on offense but has shown some hints of a three-point shot. The Mavericks don’t have much talent outside of Dennis Smith. The Smith/Bamba pick and roll could be a tough duo to deal with in a few seasons. Bamba has the upside to be a top center in this NBA.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
I love Trae Young. I believe Orlando is the ideal landing spot for Young and that this is a steal at this point in my eyes. Orlando needs an infusion of excitement into their team and I personally don’t think this is a reach. Some mocks have seen Young fall out of the top 10, which is a crime. He has rare offensive talent with his shooting, passing, and dribbling. He does have legitimate flaws such as his small frame and lack of defensive ability but we see players like Stephen Curry and James Harden dominate with these limitations. With Trae Young and the Magic’s young pieces like Jonathan Isaac developing, Orlando finally has a direction that they are heading in.
7. Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter Jr., PF, Duke
Wendell Carter has been overshadowed by his teammate Marvin Bagley but he has become a gem amongst the scouting community, for good reason. His game may be the most polished of any big in this class. He shoots threes, has a mature inside game, and is a very solid defender and rebounder. I think the traditional and modern blend that is Carter’s game is a perfect fit in Chicago. Him and Lauri Markkanen form a dynamic frontcourt duo and Carter is ready to play day one for the Bulls, unlike a Bamba or Jackson.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets): Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri
Bulls and Kings fans alike will be yelling at me for having their team pass on Porter. Sure his upside is immense but for a guy whose game relies on athleticism coming off of a major injury, his stock has fallen. He clearly was not playing at 100% at the end of the year. Until his workouts and the combine, I cannot mock him any higher. I think eight may even be a reach. I have Porter mocked to the Cavaliers for the simple fact that the prospect of a superstar at eight may be the only way to keep LeBron James in town.
9. New York Knicks: Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
Mikal Bridges is the best on-ball defender in the class and one of the most mature defensive player in the entire class. He is a sniper from deep and has a developing offensive game. The Knicks have a gaping hole at small forward; Bridges slots in day one and is an immediate impact player for a team that could have made the playoffs last season if Kristaps Porzingis was healthy.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers): Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky
I think Miles Bridges, who is still on the board, is an overall better prospect than Knox, but Knox fits much better in the 76ers system. He is a fluid athlete with a very good shot. Knox has all the potential to be a very solid floor spacer and role player. Bridges needs the ball to make an impact; Knox is a perfect off-ball player and would be an excellent fit next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
The Hornets are in a position of limbo, not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to get a top pick. Kemba Walker will likely move on to a better team, so a replacement point guard must be in hand. Sexton is an all-time competitor with elite quickness and a developing three point jumper. He isn’t exactly a playmaker or an excellent defender but he has the tools to do so. The Alabama product has a chance to be a better point guard than Walker in a few seasons.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (via Pistons): Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
Miles Bridges is an uber-athletic tweener with a developing offensive game. He is very versatile and strong and will be best used as a small ball four at the next level. The Clippers desperately need young talent and Bridges has the skillset to be an effective role player right away and a star in the future.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
The Clippers have two very solid veteran point guards in Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverly but neither are getting younger and both are one-dimensional role players. Gilgeous-Alexander surprised, becoming Kentucky’s best player. He isn’t a quick twitch athlete or a volume three-point shooter but he is a solid passer, a good defender, and is excellent with the ball in his hands. I could see him becoming the Clippers’ franchise player in a few seasons.
14. Denver Nuggets: Lonnie Walker, SG, Miami
If you were to ask me who would be the Donovan Mitchell of this year’s class, my answer would be Lonnie Walker. He may be my biggest sleeper in this draft. Walker wasn’t overly productive in college but he has all of the tools to be a dynamic offensive player and a capable defender at the next level. Behind Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, Denver lacks backcourt depth. Walker would provide valuable bench minutes for Denver and could eventually blossom into a star.
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15. Washington Wizards: Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky
As the big board goes, Robinson is quite a reach at this point. He dropped out of Western Kentucky to prepare for the draft. He is an enigma; Robinson has great upside and could be a Clint Capela like-player but his little playing time against good competition is concerning. In my opinion, the Wizards have one of the worst built rosters in the NBA with bad cap and little young talent. They might be tempted to swing for the fences with an upside pick like Robinson.
16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat): Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech
Smith is one of the biggest risers in this college season. The previously unheralded freshman stepped in and made a huge impact at Texas Tech this year. He is a great shooter, an elite athlete and leaper and may be the best rebounding and shot blocking guard in this class. Smith’s skill set projects him as a valuable role player day one. Phoenix needs more wing defenders; Smith will be a core piece with the potential to become a major offensive contributor in the future.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
Williams, who is projected higher in many mocks, slides here. His defensive potential is great given his great athleticism and rebounding ability but I believe his offensive ceiling is low. Williams elected to remain in school during for sophomore season and didn’t make many strides. The Bucks have been unable to find a reliable option at center in the Giannis Antetokounmpo era. The Bucks have followed a trend of drafting long, athletic players in the past and Williams fits the bill. He is a very solid low usage option here at pick 17 for Milwaukee.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Chandler Hutchison, SF, Boise State
The Spurs find themselves in a tricky situation. Kawhi Leonard has gone dark and there is a fair chance that he could be on his way out of San Antonio. Hutchison is no Leonard but he is one of my favorite players in this draft and is a perfect fit in San Antonio. The 6’7″ forward is incredibly versatile: he is very effective on and off of the ball and can defend multiple positions. Gregg Popovich would love to get his hands on a player like Hutchison, who can create his own offense, play defense and work in the Spurs’ motion offense.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Minnesota): Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy (HS)
Rumors of Dennis Schroder wanting a trade opens up the point guard spot in Atlanta. The Hawks already landed one high upside player in this draft in Jaren Jackson and get another here in Simons. The point guard coming straight out of high school has an excellent shooting touch and has great athleticism. He is small for a shooting guard and doesn’t have the vision of a point guard but definitely has intriguing potential that new Hawks’ coach Lloyd Pierce would love to unlock.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder): Troy Brown, SG, Oregon
The Timberwolves have a serious problem when it comes to depth and wing players specifically. Brown isn’t an explosive athlete or great three-point shooter but he is a versatile scorer, good passer, and good defender. He would provide valuable bench minutes for a Wolves team that desperately needs his help.
21. Utah Jazz: Jontay Porter, PF, Missouri
Despite not being the most coveted Porter in this class, Jontay is a player that you shouldn’t scoff at. He is a gifted passer for a big man, a good floor spacer, and rebounder. He isn’t that athletic and not a great defender but an NBA conditioning program will do wonders for him. The Jazz are a team that will be able to cover for his lack of defense early and make him a valuable piece of their motion offense.
22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans): Dzanan Musa, SF, Cedevita Zagreb
Below Doncic, Musa is the second best international prospect in this class. He is a long, versatile scorer who will get buckets at the next level. The Bulls have a hole at small forward. They could stash the 19-year-old in Europe to develop, or bring him over to play in his rookie season. Musa is another piece for this young, talented Bulls team to build around.
23. Indiana Pacers: Trevon Duval, PG, Duke
The Pacers don’t have many holes to fill but don’t have a second star. Duval came into the year as a top point guard in the nation but didn’t live up to expectations. Despite that, he improved late in the year, showing flashes of a three-point shot. He is an excellent athlete with the raw tools to be an impact player on the next level and has good vision as well. Duval could learn behind veteran Darren Collison; he and Oladipo would form an extremely dynamic backcourt in the future.
24. Portland Trail Blazers: Elie Okobo, PG, France
After being swept in the first round of the playoffs, Portland needs to make something happen. If they don’t move this pick, they will have to swing big with this pick, even if the risk of missing is high. Drafting Okobo is a reach here but he has all of the potential in the world. Okobo is a combo guard who can score in every way and shows flashes of vision and defensive potential. He could be stashed for a year in Europe or step in and play day one if Portland elects to trade a guy like C.J. McCollum.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavaliers): Omari Spellman, C, Villanova
The Lakers will likely be letting go of one or both of Brook Lopez and Julius Randle and will need young frontcourt players. Spellman has been a big riser up my board as of late; the freshman is a great three-point shooter, a great rebounder and defender and overall a high energy player. He makes a positive impact when on the court and would be a nice presence on this young Laker team.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke
Trent is a strong sharpshooter who has solid touch around the rim. He isn’t an athlete, a great defender, ball handler, or finisher but his shooting and frame alone make him a valuable asset. J.J. Redick and Marco Bellineli are free agents this summer and Trent would be a viable replacement for either of those if need be.
27. Boston Celtics: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
With the recent emergence of Terry Rozier, his stock around the NBA has obviously risen. He is a restricted free agent but Boston may not want to pay him the money he asks for. Holiday is a very sound point guard who can score, pass, and play defense. He projects as a very solid backup point guard at the next level and a capable replacement for Terry Rozier.
28. Golden State Warriors: Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan
The Warriors add another very talented big late in this draft. Wagner is a very smooth offensive player with a three-point shot, great footwork and touch, and good ball handling for a big man. His offensive ability could make him a valuable bench asset for Golden State.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors): Kris Wilkes, SF, UCLA
Given their lack of draft capital, the Nets have done an excellent job acquiring talent these past few drafts. Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert are both athletic, high upside players and Wilkes fits the bill. He has a very smooth offensive game that reminds me a bit of Kris Middleton. Wilkes could become a valuable scorer for Brooklyn in due time.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova
The Hawks round out the first with the National Championship star, Donte DiVincenzo. He is more than a one-hit wonder. He is a great shooter and a solid defender and projects as a good three and D role player in the NBA. DiVincenzo brings more defense, shooting, and athleticism to a Hawks team that is building a solid roster in this draft.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.