NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Who Will Be Number One?
The buzz is not nearly as excited as it should be for tonight’s NBA draft, but with so many trade possibilities and with a lot of high-caliber big men in this year’s draft, it makes it that much more exciting and anticipating to watch.
Here’s my Mock Draft 2.0:
- Phoenix - DeAndre Ayton (C, Arizona)
I can tell you over and over how much I don’t like this pick at No. 1, but let’s think positive here. Phoenix will lock in DeAndre Ayton, who has a lot of questions surrounding his defensive skills. The 7-foot-1 center that had a monstrous freshman season with Arizona will have a lot to live up to as the number one choice.
- Sacramento - Marvin Bagley III (PF, Duke)
This is a make-or-break draft for the Kings, who don’t have a first round pick in the 2019 draft. Marvin Bagley III has been the most-talked about forward since he started in high school, but is his immaturity and lack of defensive presence an anchor that will hold him back? I don’t think so.
Kings fans, Luka Doncic is the obvious choice, but Sacramento wants a big at No. 2. Bagley averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds with Duke last year and was a valuable asset to their Elite Eight run. He has high hopes and high expectations, which he will have to prove in his inaugural year.
- Atlanta - Luka Doncic (PG, Real Madrid/Slovenia)
Luka Doncic is a 6-foot-8 guard that is probably the best-rated player in the draft. At No. 3, even though Atlanta looked toward Jaren Jackson, the Hawks need Doncic at a no-brainer pick. He’s a spot up shooter, but also knows how to drive to the basket well. There’s no way that this European star doesn’t blossom in the NBA.
- Memphis - Jaren Jackson (PF, Michigan State)
Through prospects saying that they don’t want to go to Memphis, and their desire to move downwards, there’s no telling what the Grizzlies organization does with No. 4. If they use the pick, it’s obvious they can use the likes of Jaren Jackson from Michigan State. He’s a two-way forward that can compliment an aging Marc Gasol and help improve the scoring game with Mike Conley and Tyreke Evans. As a 6-foot-11 big man, he can spread the floor well and finish accordingly.
- Dallas - Mohamed Bamba (C, Texas)
Picturing Mo’ Bamba with Dennis Smith Jr. and Dirk Nowitzki is a sight to see, and the idea is more and more likely as time rolls on. Bamba refused to work out for Memphis and doesn’t seem to like Atlanta, so it seems like Mark Cuban will take him at the fifth overall pick, unless some blockbuster trade comes in sight. Bamba could be the much-needed defensive specialist that Dallas needs, along with his exceptional 3-point skills.
- Orlando - Michael Porter Jr. (PF, Missouri)
The Magic and Michael Porter Jr. still seem like the perfect fit for this draft, but no one in their organization or fan base seems to agree. Fans want Trae Young to salvage the franchise and be the make-or-break player they want. The front office is aggressively talking with Atlanta to trade up for No. 3.
Despite his injuries, MPJ can turn out to be a great role-playing forward in the league. His injuries continue to arise, but if he stays healthy, Orlando won’t regret their choice here at six.
- Chicago - Wendell Carter Jr. (F, Duke)
Some like the argument that Wendell Carter Jr. is better than his Duke counterpart in Bagley, while others see Carter Jr. dropping into the mid-10s. I’m buying the hype and it seems that the Bulls are too. WCJ has a strong ability to rebound and can have a breakthrough rookie season as a role player in Chicago’s system.
- Cleveland (from Brooklyn via Boston) - Trae Young (PG, Oklahoma)
LeBron or no LeBron, the Cavs need a spark plug in terms of scoring for their team and Trae Young could be exactly what they need. With the Cavs, Young would be free to reign supreme as the lone guard for this team and overtake an inconsistent George Hill. His flashes of greatness make him a draft-worthy talent that could even persuade a guy like LeBron James to stay.
If LBJ does leave, Young could have freedom to take the reins for this squad down the line.
- New York - Collin Sexton (G, Alabama)
Collin Sexton is one of the draft’s best finishers, and going to an inconsistent guard pool like the Knicks would be beneficial to their offense. Sexton could end up being a good stats, bad team player that one day joins forces with better veterans for a title shot.
- Philadelphia (from Los Angeles Lakers via Phoenix) - Mikal Bridges (PF, Villanova)
No General Manager for this draft as Michael Colangelo has been let go from the Philly organization upon burner Twitter accounts he was allegedly involved with. That means Philadelphia is going with their gut, so why not get the hometown boy in Mikal Bridges, who has two NCAA titles under his belt.
He’s the only non-freshman worthy of a top-10 choice. At Villanova, he averaged 17.7 points a game and secured 5.3 rebounds, leading his Villanova squad to a national title this past season. This 6-foot-7 wing/forward can grow with proper coaching and could easily emerge as one of the league’s best rookies.
- Charlotte - Kevin Knox (PF, Kentucky)
Charlotte’s pick at 11 is a strange one because of (a) their trade yesterday of Dwight Howard to the Nets (b) their adamant push to try to get lower in the draft and (c) the fact that they need depth about everywhere.
What a better guy to replace Dwight Howard than Kevin Knox, who has a high ceiling to be a great player in the NBA. Knox can score well, as he averaged nearly 16 points a game at Kentucky. Get Knox and continue to push Kemba Walker beyond his limits as a guard instead of drafting his replacement just yet.
- LA Clippers (from Detroit) - Miles Bridges (SF, Michigan State)
If Miles Bridges falls this low, which would be insane, the Clippers will take it as a huge gift. They would get yet another significant piece to be an off-ball forward, who can score heavy in stretches
- LA Clippers - Robert Williams (PF, Texas A&M)
Whether or not DeAndre Jordan stays, the Clippers need help down low. Getting a defensive product like Robert Williams that can also score would be the prime material this team needs to increase rebounding and scoring in the paint. Although he would be picked a little early based off his on-court production, Williams is great depth that the Clippers will appreciate.
- Denver - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (G, Kentucky)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can be a dominant backup point guard that can defend well. The Nuggets need some backcourt depth, and SGA is hungry for an opportunity in the guard rotation.
- Washington - Lonnie Walker IV (G, Miami)
For his play at Miami, I’m such a big fan of Lonnie Walker IV. He’s shown that he can compete at a high level, and Washington gives him a shot to be the strong guard they need. He can be molded under the likes of John Wall and Bradley Beal, then possibly replace them eventually.
- Phoenix (from Miami) - Jacob Evans (SF, Cincinnati)
Jacob Evans’ defense makes him a desirable choice for the Suns and could develop into a Jae Crowder-type forward that can shoot from deep and defend just about anyone. Size and speed is what the Suns will get out of Ayton at No. 1 and Evans at No. 16.
- Milwaukee - Troy Brown Jr. (G, Oregon)
The Bucks need a smart shooter to compliment Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt, and Troy Brown Jr. could be their guy. He averaged 11.3 points a game at Oregon and if he improves his 3-point shot, he could be a great sixth man for the Bucks.
- San Antonio - Zhaire Smith (SF, Texas Tech)
It’s time for San Antonio to think of life beyond Kawhi Leonard in this draft. Zhaire Smith, a versatile defender, can be their Leonard lookalike. Smith could start off by being a sixth or seventh man to their squad, but his ceiling is high to be a great player someday.
- Atlanta (from Minnesota) - Jerome Robinson (G, Boston College)
As a 6-foot-5 guard, Jerome Robinson will be an easy target for Atlanta, as he has climbed up a lot of NBA analysts’ draft boards upon his successful offseason.
- Minnesota (from Oklahoma City via Utah) - Donte Divincenzo (G, Villanova)
I’ve never seen a draft stock rise as much as Donte Divincenzo, who, a couple months ago, was not even a sure-fire to get drafted in the NBA. His 3-point shooting is excellent and he can be a second-coming of Wally Szczerbiak for the T-Wolves.
- Utah - Kevin Huerter (SG, Maryland)
The near 6-foot-8 sharpshooter in Kevin Huerter is an ideal candidate for a 3-point hungry team like Utah. He shot 41 percent from beyond range in college, which could translate well for him in the league.
- Chicago (from New Orleans) - Khyri Thomas (SG, Creighton)
The two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year in Khyri Thomas makes him that much more desirable to Chicago, who needs help defensively. He’s got a 6-11 wingspan, averaged 15.5 points and shot 41.1 percent from beyond the arc for Creighton this past season.
- Indiana - Aaron Holiday (PG, UCLA)
Aaron Holiday can fit the combo guard front perfectly for Indiana and Victor Oladipo. He averaged 20.3 points and 5.8 assists for the Bruins this past year and shot 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
- Portland - Chandler Hutchinson (SF, Boise State)
The Trailblazers, who could very well blow up their team before the draft, need the best-available option at No. 24. Chandler Hutchison, a 6-foot-7 wing, is a dominant scorer that averaged 20 points a game with the Broncos.
- Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland) - Grayson Allen (SG, Duke)
The Lakers have the 25th overall pick, so why not go out with a late-round bang and get Grayson Allen? He’s feisty defensively and has the swagger that fits in LA perfectly. He shot 38.2 percent from beyond the arc, which would compliment this backcourt well.
- Philadelphia - Dzanan Musa (SF, Bosnia)
Hit-or-miss draft pick here as the 76ers decide to try and improve their depth with the 6-foot-8 wing out of Bosnia in Dzanan Musa. Philly has to hope that his athleticism translates to the NBA and that he can flourish into a top prospect.
- Boston - Bruce Brown (SG, Miami)
Potentially losing the likes of Marcus Smart in the backcourt, the Celtics will need to fill the void of a prime defensive talent for this Boston squad. Bruce Brown is a strong wing/combo guard that can emerge to a top-tier NBA defender. He does need to improve his offensive game, however.
- Golden State - Elie Okobo (PG, France)
If anyone can mold Elie Okobo into a prime NBA guard, it’s Steve Kerr and the dynamic backcourt of Golden State. Overseas, Okobo scored 13 points a game with five assists to go along with it. He plays confident, like Steph Curry, and finishes well at the rim.
- Brooklyn (from Toronto) - Shake Milton (PG, SMU)
Shake Milton is a 6-foot-6 combo guard that might end up being the best mid-major pick up out of this draft. He shot an exceptional 43.4 percent beyond the arc and averaged 18 points a game. He might start as an off-the-bench product, but will quickly turn into a starter.
- Atlanta (from Houston via LA Clippers) - Keita Bates-Diop (F, Ohio State)
If the Comeback Player of the Year award was recognized in college, it would be given to Keita Bates-Diop, who went from averaging 9.7 points in 2016-17, to 19.8 points in the 2017-18 season.