The NBA draft is finally here. Tomorrow evening marks the fate of so many aspiring young basketball players. Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton, and Trae Young are ready to take the league by storm. As always happens around draft time, trade rumors run rife. For this mock, we have two trades.
The first involves the Grizzlies and the Suns. Memphis sends Chandler Parsons and the fourth pick to the Suns for Tyson Chandler, Jared Dudley, and the 16th and 31st picks. Memphis is able to dump Chandler Parsons’ abysmal $94 million dollar contract and take on a few veterans on expiring contracts. Phoenix trades back into the top five in order to draft a certain polarizing point guard prospect.
The second trade comprises of a deal between the Nuggets and the Hawks. Denver sends Kenneth Faried and the 14th pick to Atlanta in exchange for Miles Plumlee and the 19th and 30th picks in the draft. With this deal, the Nuggets finally get rid of Faried and stay in the top 20. Atlanta trades back into the lottery like they wanted to and take on a high energy big. With those two trades out of the way, let’s get into the mock.
1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
As much as I hope Phoenix will shock the draft world and select Luka Doncic first, I just don’t see it happening. DeAndre Ayton, however, is far from a bad option. For a man with as Herculean a stature as Ayton’s his offensive polish makes him a rare talent. His defensive ability and effort are suspect but those can be remedied through good coaching. The 7’1″, 250-pound big man has his eyes set on staying in Arizona and going number one to the Suns. It seems like Ayton’s fate is set in the Grand Canyon State.
2. Sacramento Kings: Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke
As much as I would personally decry the Kings drafting Bagley this high and over better prospects, I have a gut feeling that the Kings won’t get this right. Maybe it’s because most of their drafts post Boogie have been complete and utter failures. When Vlade Divac passes on Luka Doncic, I will laugh in his face but the Kings seem to like Bagley and he seems to like Sacramento.
I see the upside with Bagley. He’s uber-athletic, an elite rebounder, and has shown some flashes on offense. However, I believe that his lack of a polished/consistent offensive game and his defensive limitations make him way too big of a risk this high, especially in a class as stacked as this one. All signs point to the Puma man landing in Sacramento, as ill-advised a decision this would be.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid (Spain)
Luka Doncic just won another title, this time in the Spanish ACB League, one of the top leagues in the world. This guy is a Euroleague Champion, Euroleague MVP, and now an ACB championship. Let me remind you, Luka Doncic has played far better competition for longer than most of the other top prospects here and has won MVP in a league filled with veterans and former NBA players, where most 19-year-olds aren’t receiving significant minutes. Plain and simple, Luka Doncic is the best player in this draft, yet he is being scrutinized by some for playing 5v5 championship basketball instead of 1v0 workouts.
Doncic is the best player in this class, despite my placing him at three in this mock. He’s a gifted offensive player and uses his 6’8″ frame to take advantage of his skills. His vision is gifted and he has the necessary skills to put enough zip on his passes to make any pass on the floor, in the half court and in transition. His shooting was inconsistent but his mechanics are great and should be able to develop a consistent jump shot. He doesn’t have elite athleticism or quickness but is crafty enough to beat defenders. His lack of quickness hurts him on defense but he is very competitive on that end.
The Hawks are getting a special talent that can play both guard positions. Whether the Hawks trade Dennis Schroder or not, Doncic can flourish as a primary ball handler or someone who plays mostly off the ball. He will propel the Hawks’ young team and be a leader for this team on the court. The Hawks are getting an absolute steal at number three with the Slovenian sensation, Luka Doncic.
4. Phoenix Suns (via Grizzlies): Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
For the price of some picks and taking on Chandler Parsons, the Suns move back into the top five to get their point guard. They end up with DeAndre Ayton first, and now Trae Young. And if Atlanta goes a different way, they could end up with Ayton and Doncic. Wow. Back to Trae Young, he is an elite shooter, ball handler, and passer. He uses the pick and roll like an NBA vet and has excellent touch on his runners and floaters. Phoenix has a massive hole at point guard unless. Young actually pairs well with Elfrid Payton; they cover for each others’ weaknesses well. The Suns could end up with two superstars in this draft if everything goes well.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
Everyone knows about Mohamed Bamba‘s near eight-foot wingspan and his new shot mechanics. Despite this, Bamba is as raw as it gets on offense and despite showing some flashes on defense, is still very raw there too. Dallas is generally good at developing players, as we saw with the formerly raw Dennis Smith Jr. Being paired with Smith, Bamba will be asked to set a lot of screens, something he doesn’t do well as of now. If he can fully develop, Dallas could have a defensive anchor for many years to come.
6. Orlando Magic: Jaren Jackson Jr., C, Michigan State
Jaren Jackson is a very interesting prospect, a tall, long, defensive specialist big with a fledgling three-point shot. The Magic, unfortunately, miss out on Trae Young in this draft and I wouldn’t take any other point guard in this class this high. Jackson played most of his freshman season out of position at the four or even the three at times. Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo don’t seem to be in Orlando’s long-term plans. Jackson provides an anchor at center for many years to come with the potential to have a big impact on offense.
7. Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter Jr., PF, Duke
Carter was overshadowed by Marvin Bagley III for most of his freshman season but Carter is an excellent prospect in his own right. He is a three-point shooter, has a developed post game, and is a great rebounder. He projects as a center in the. Carter may never be a star but could be an integral piece in a championship team, like Al Horford. He and Lauri Markkanen form an excellent frontcourt with great spacing, scoring, rebounding, and defense.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
Michael Porter Jr. is a monumental risk at this point, in my eyes, still. Despite the constant denial of reports on his injury, I believe Porter isn’t fully healthy. A prospect not getting out of bed for days due to his injury days before the draft throws too many red-flags at me. If he does turn out to be just as good as talented as he was in high school, this would be a massive steal. At his best, Porter can score from all over the field and is an uber-athlete. Cleveland will be doing everything they can to keep LeBron James home, and taking a risk on a potential superstar may be their only option.
9. New York Knicks: Mikal Bridges, F, Villanova
Bridges is a prototypical modern NBA wing: an elite three-point shooter, a long, elite defender, a fluid athlete, and a developing scorer. His skill set will make him a player that almost every team will have on their radars. New York has a gaping hole at small forward; Bridges will start day one for them there. Mikal Bridges is the perfect glue guy on a championship team and if he can develop into a reliable scorer, he could become a top player in the NBA.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Lonnie Walker IV, G, Miami
The Philadelphia 76ers have some of their wing players like J.J. Redick and Marco Bellineli entering free agency. They, like Walker, are great floor spacers, but Walker has the potential to be an offensive star. He is a super athlete with an excellent three-point shot, great finishing ability due to his body control, and the mentality and tools to be a very solid defender. Walker doesn’t need the ball in his hands to score and can allow Ben Simmons to run the show. When asked, however, he can get his own shot and has shown flashes of playmaking ability.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
Sexton is a quick-twitch athlete with a lightning first step. He is adept at driving to the rim and has a lethal pull up jumper. Most importantly, he has an unmatched competitive fire, passion, heart, and drive. He scored 40 playing three on five and willed his Alabama team to the NCAA tournament. With their new coaching staff, nobody on the Hornets is safe, including Kemba Walker. The Hornets proved this point today, unloading Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov and two future seconds; the rebuild is definitely on. If they draft Sexton, they will be able to trade Walker for more assets.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Shai Gilgeous Alexander, PG, Kentucky
Alexander was generally off NBA radars at the beginning of the season but turned into Kentucky’s most important player by the end of the year. He isn’t the most athletic, has a slim frame, and is not a volume shooter, but his defense and creative ability on offense make him very valuable. Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverly both have their roles but neither is a star. Gilgeous-Alexander could be the star point guard that the Clippers have missed since Chris Paul left town. LA has been in trade talks with their two picks and could move up. If not, Alexander provides good value here.
13. Los Angeles Clippers: Miles Bridges, F, Michigan State
Bridges is a strong, athletic wing with a developing game. He is a great rebounder, an explosive leaper, and has a developing offensive game. The Clippers could use someone like Bridges to play the small-ball four position. He has a solid handle but would be an excellent 3-D player right away with the chance to become a star in the future.
14. Atlanta Hawks (via Nuggets): Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
Knox is a smooth and fluid athlete who can create his own shot. He has the potential to be a knockdown three-point shooter in the NBA. The Hawks land a versatile, high-upside wing in Knox with great defensive potential. The Hawks already drafted Luka Doncic in this draft and now add the scoring forward. Kentucky’s system often requires certain players to suppress certain skills, as we saw with Karl-Anthony Towns. If everything goes right, Knox could be an All-Star in a few years if things go right.
15. Washington Wizards: Mitchell Robinson, C, USA
Robinson decided to leave Western Kentucky early to prepare for the NBA draft. He was regarded as one of the top centers coming out of high school in 2017, along with DeAndre Ayton and Mo Bamba. He is very athletic, mobile, and a great rebounder. However, his offensive game is limited to dunks and putbacks and there are questions about his defense. The fact that he hasn’t played any top-level competition hurts his stock. The Wizards have one of the worst constructed rosters in the NBA and are in need of a high upside big like Robinson to replace Marcin Gortat in the future.
16. Memphis Grizzlies (via Suns): Zhaire Smith, G, Texas Tech
Zhaire Smith wasn’t a top 100 recruit to begin the season but injuries saw him become a vital cog in the Texas Tech machine that made a deep run in the NCAA tourney. He has a very unique skill set: he is super athletic, an excellent shot blocker and rebounder for a guard, and a solid shooter. Smith is still raw offensively but his energy, athleticism, and defense make him an excellent pick here. Memphis finally is able to unload Chandler Parsons’ horrible contract and still land a very high upside player at 16.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Chandler Hutchison, F, Boise State
Hutchison is a versatile forward without a true weakness. He is a good shooter, a solid ball handler and passer, a good rebounder, and a good defender. Hutchison was able to dominate at times at Boise State, like his school-record 44 point game against San Diego State. The Bucks love young and athletic wings and Hutchison is no different. If they do not decide to keep Jabari Parker this offseason, Hutchison could step in his role right away.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M
Robert Williams’ athleticism, rebounding ability, and defensive upside makes him a great modern center with the upside of a guy like Clint Capela or DeAndre Jordan. However, his offensive game is very limited to putbacks and dunks. Will he ever be a floor spacer or be able to get his own shot? San Antonio doesn’t have a young, defensive-minded big with Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge both offensive minded, and aging. Williams would learn under the tutelage of Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge to help his offensive game, making him a more all around center.
19. Denver Nuggets (via Hawks): Troy Brown, G, Oregon
The Nuggets are in need of wing depth and defense and Brown gives them both of those. For an 18-year-old, Brown has a fairly advanced offensive skill set and is a good defender, despite not being an excellent athlete or consistent three-point shooter. If Will Barton leaves Denver, Brown can slide in his spot and instantly improve Denver’s defense. His creative passing and solid scoring arsenal will boost the Nuggets’ already impressive offense.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Huerter, F, Maryland
Huerter has flown up draft boards during this pre-draft process and most recently dominated the NBA combine. He is more than just a knockdown shooter. Huerter is a versatile scorer who can get his own shot off of the dribble and has also shown some defensive potential.
The Timberwolves have one of the worst benches in the NBA and are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA. They attempted the least amount of threes per game of any team last year. Huerter provides valuable depth and floor spacing for a Minnesota team on the brink of playoff success. Huerter is out for a few months with a right-hand injury but that shouldn’t hurt his stock much, if at all.
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21. Utah Jazz: Elie Okobo, G, Pau-Orthez (France)
Okobo is a young French star with a lethal pull-up jump shot, which opens up the rest of his game. He is very athletic, a solid passer, a good shooter, and a guy with defensive upside. Utah will likely lose Dante Exum in this offseason and don’t have much in terms of guards behind the inconsistent Ricky Rubio. Okobo and Donovan Mitchell could form a very good young backcourt in Utah, who are looking to take the next step in the West.
22. Chicago Bulls: Melvin Frazier, F, Tulane
Frazier massively improved his game in his junior season at Tulane. He showed that he can lead the offense, play lockdown defense, and increased his three-point percentage by a whopping 12%. Frazier is an elite athlete, a good three-point shooter, and an excellent perimeter defender who can guard multiple positions. His skill set is tailor-made for the modern NBA. He fills the void at small forward in Chicago and could be starting day one.
23. Indiana Pacers: Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
Holiday isn’t a physically imposing or athletic guard but he does everything NBA teams covet. He is an excellent playmaker, a good ballhandler, a good positional defender, and proved he can get buckets. He averaged 20.3 points per game during his junior season, first in the Pac-12. Indiana has two good veteran point guards in Darren Collison and Cory Joseph, but neither will ever be more than solid role players. Alongside Victor Oladipo, Holiday could develop into a top 10 point guard in the NBA, propelling the Pacers to contention.
24. Portland Trail Blazers: Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy (HS)
Simons has decided to forgo the NCAA, coming into the draft as a fifth-year high school senior. This definitely provides some questions about his game. At 6’3″, he is undersized for the two but isn’t a true point guard. However, he is a good shooter and a smooth scorer, giving him solid upside. Portland could be drafting for the highest upside here in lieu of their playoff meltdown.
25. Los Angeles Lakers: Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova
DiVincenzo burst onto the scene in the NCAA championship game, capping off his magical tournament run with a 31 point outburst. He put his full skill set on display: the shooting, the versatile offense, the defense, and the athleticism. At the NBA combine, he dominated the competition. DiVincenzo is a versatile 6’5″ guard with an excellent three-point shot, great athleticism, and is a willing defender. In signing big name free agents, the Lakers will need to draft well to fill out the roster with role players, and DiVincenzo does just that for them.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College
Robinson is a dynamic scorer with shades of Devin Booker in his game; he averaged 24.3 points per game last year in ACC play. He is an excellent three-point shooter and creative scorer. Robinson uses all manner of ball handling moves, footwork, and gets to his spot with ease to scorer. If Philly doesn’t elect to bring back J.J. Redick and/or Marco Belinelli, Robinson slots in their role and provides his own offense, something neither of those two could do.
27. Boston Celtics: Jalen Brunson, G, Villanova
The Celtics could be having point guard issues in the near future. Marcus Smart could be out this offseason, Terry Rozier is a restricted free agent and could demand more than the Celtics will pay him, and Kyrie Irving may even leave at some point. Adding Brunson should be a no-brainer here. He is not the most athletic guard but Brunson is an excellent shooter, ball handler, and creator with championship pedigree.
28. Golden State Warriors: Josh Okogie, G, Georgia Tech
Okogie showed out at the NBA combine, putting his skill set on display. He is a great scorer, a good shooter, a great athlete, and a very good defender. He projects as a valuable 3-D wing in the NBA. Golden State will need to create value if they wish to keep their core intact for as many years as possible. Okogie provides a valuable bench shooter and defender, potentially allowing the Warriors to save some money.
29. Brooklyn Nets: Dzanan Musa, F, Cedevita (Croatia)
Musa has big scorer potential; the 19-year-old forward is a good shooter, a creative scorer, and a solid passer. His athleticism and defense could be a problem but this Nets team has defenders to cover for Musa. If he can develop, Musa could turn into 17+ points per game scorer for Brooklyn in the future.
30. Denver Nuggets (via Hawks): Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton
The Nuggets have a very big problem when it comes to defense. They use their second first round pick on another defensive minded wing in Thomas. He is a tough, quick, and competitive defender. Thomas was the focal point of the offense at Creighton but he shouldn’t be more than a shooter early in his career. He provides valuable defense and wing depth for a Denver team that desperately needs defensive help.
31. Memphis Grizzlies (via Suns): Moritz Wagner, C, Michigan
Wagner isn’t the most mobile or best defensive prospect but Michigan’s run to the NCAA championship displayed his strengths. He is a smooth offensive player with a great three-point shot, a good handle for a big, and capable passing ability. His offensive upside alone makes him worth a look at the back end of the first round.
32. Memphis Grizzlies: De’Anthony Melton, G, USC
Melton’s sophomore season ended before it started due to FBI investigations, having Melton withdraw from USC. From what we saw in his freshman year, he is a big guard with the ability to flat out get buckets. He also has significant defensive potential and could become a star if things fall into place. Memphis comes away with another high upside guard with star potential here.
33. Dallas Mavericks: Keita Bates-Diop, F, Ohio State
Diop broke out in his senior season, averaging 19.8 points per game en route to a Big-10 player of the year season. He is a great shooter and a very versatile scorer who is adept at getting to the rim. He should be able to step in day one for the Mavericks and provide an offensive spark. With some development, he could be making plays for his teammates and playing solid defense as well.
34. Atlanta Hawks: Omari Spellman, C, Villanova
Spellman showed us what he can do in Villanova’s championship run. He is a floor spacer, an active defender, a good rebounder, and a high energy player. He isn’t super athletic or a great offensive player but should be a good backup big man for the Hawks who are loading up on young talent in this draft.
35. Orlando Magic: Trevon Duval, PG, Duke
I have questions about Duval’s three-point shot and overall consistency but he is very athletic, a good playmaker, and a potential solid defender. Adding a three-point shot could see him becoming an excellent all-around player on the next level and a steal at the back of the first. The Magic miss out on Trae Young early but add a high risk, high reward guard here.
36. New York Knicks: Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati
Evans is a jack of all trades; he is a gritty defender and an excellent three-point shooter. He should be a valuable role player for the Knicks who desperately need wing defensive help.
37. Sacramento Kings: Shake Milton, G, SMU
The 6’7″ point guard lead the SMU offense, making plays for his teammates and hitting on catch and shoot threes. He has issues with his defense and polish but is an intriguing prospect with quite a bit of upside.
38. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Trent, G, Duke
Trent is an excellent three-point shooter, a crafty scorer, a good athlete, and a decent defender with his stiff 6’6″ build. He projects as a valuable floor spacer and scorer that NBA teams will covet.
39. Philadelphia 76ers: Bonzie Colson, F, Notre Dame
Colson is this draft’s potential Draymond Green. He is very versatile; a solid defender, a great rebounder, a good inside scorer, and a potential solid floor spacer. He projects as a solid bench player and potentially more if his jumper improves.
40. Brooklyn Nets: Jarred Vanderbilt, F, Kentucky
Vanderbilt was regarded as a top prospect before the season but his stock has dropped after a poor freshman year. Still, he is athletic and a plus rebounder, making him a good gamble here for the Nets.
41. Orlando Magic: Jevon Carter, G, West Virginia
Carter is a tough, gritty, and competitive senior point guard. He has a good three-point shot and is a capable playmaker, making him an ideal role player or backup point guard. Orlando already drafted a high-risk guard in Trevon Duval. Carter is a much safer option with a higher floor.
42. Detroit Pistons: Landry Shamet, G, Pistons
Shamet is a lethal three-point shooter with a long frame and good defensive upside. He could take over the starting point guard job in Detroit if everything goes to plan.
43. Denver Nuggets: Chimezie Metu, PF/C, USC
Metu is a high energy big man who has shown flashes of a three-point shot and some advanced offensive moves. After trading Kenneth Faried, Denver will look for young, versatile, athletic big men. With some development, Metu could improve enough on defense to cover for Nikola Jokic’s weaknesses.
44. Washington Wizards: Tony Carr, G, Penn State
Carr is a big, 6’5″ point guard with a good three-point stroke, good athleticism, and a polished offensive game. The Wizards have a major deficiency in young talent and depth. Carr has a chance to learn under John Wall and Bradley Beal to develop into a very good combo guard in the future.
45. Charlotte Hornets: Bruce Brown, G, Miami
Brown’s sophomore season was hampered with injuries and he shot poorly from three. However, he is a good rim attacker and tough defensively. Charlotte acquired this pick for Dwight Howard and are clearly looking to rebuild.
46. Houston Rockets: Hamidou Diallo, G, Kentucky
Houston uses their only pick of this draft on Diallo, a very raw guard with solid potential. He is lackadaisical on defense and very inconsistent offensively but has the potential jumper and excellent athleticism to become a solid player.
47. Los Angeles Lakers: Kevin Hervey, F, Texas-Arlington
Los Angeles will need to draft well to fill out their roster with role players if they hope to sign multiple superstars. Hervey has the body and skillset to be a valuable wing as a defender and a scorer to some extent. He has a guard’s skill set, increasing the 6’9″ forward’s value.
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: Grayson Allen, G, Duke
Throughout Allen’s polarizing four-year career, the guard’s stock has varied greatly. Character issues aside, Allen is a volume scorer and a solid three-point scorer, making him a bench scorer option at the next level.
49. San Antonio Spurs: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, G, Kansas
Svi Mykhailiuk is a versatile wing with a knockdown three-point shot, an ability to create off of the dribble, and a capable defender. He is only 21 but has the benefit of four years of NCAA experience.
50. Indiana Pacers: Kenrich Williams, F, TCU
Williams is a versatile forward with good 3-D potential. He’s shown flashes of a three-point shot, is an excellent rebounder and has a great feel for the game. He ran some point forward with the Horned Frogs, making him a potentially valuable role player for Indiana.
51. New Orleans Pelicans: Isaac Bonga, F/G, Frankfurt Skyliners (Germany)
Bonga is a very interesting prospect; a 6’8″ guy with the body of a wing who plays like a point guard. His playmaking and size making him an intriguing draft and stash prospect at this point.
52. Utah Jazz: Yante Maten, F, Georgia
Maten is a strong, athletic big who was very productive at Georgia. His physical profile and agility could allow him to find a bench role in the NBA.
53. Oklahoma City Thunder: Malik Newman, G, Kansas
Newman is a scoring wing with a great three-point shot (41.5%). He is a smooth athlete and can create his own shot. He provides invaluable floor spacing on a team with the most ball dominant player in the NBA.
54. Dallas Mavericks: Rodions Kurucs, F, FC Barcelona Lassa (Spain)
Kurucs is a scoring wing with good size and some defensive potential. The Mavs could stash him until they need to bring him over.
55. Charlotte Hornets: Rawle Alkins, G, Arizona
Alkins’ foot injury decreased his athleticism and defensive ability, which were one of his calling cards. Yet, if he can recover and improve, he could be a solid bench 3-D wing off of the bench.
56. Philadelphia 76ers: Justin Jackson, F, Maryland
Jackson had his season ended early in December with a torn labrum, decreasing his stock massively. He is still a smooth offensive minded versatile wing, making him a solid value late in the draft.
57. Oklahoma City Thunder: Devon Hall, G, Virginia
Hall is a smooth wing with a lights-out three-point shot (43.2%). He could act as another floor off of the bench for a Thunder team that desperately needs room for Westbrook.
58. Denver Nuggets: Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV
The Nuggets snag an old school, back to the basket center with a developed post game. He attacks the glass well and defends well down low. McCoy scored 33 and grabbed 10 boards against DeAndre Ayton.
59. Phoenix Suns: Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas
Late in the draft, Phoenix comes away with a savvy veteran point guard. Graham isn’t the most athletic or has the highest upside but his shooting and overall offensive polish could see him becoming a starter for this Suns team in the future.
60. Philadelphia 76ers: Tyler Hall, SG, Montana
The mid-major guard is an excellent three point shooter and a crafty scorer. He could provide an offensive spark off of the bench.
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.