The NBA Draft is under 10 days away, and I’ve never been more excited. Players like Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis, and Mike Conley will be on everyone’s minds. The rumor mill has been relatively quiet, though, but that always happens before the NBA Draft. All of the big trades usually come as a surprise on draft night, so the suspense is still high. Without further adieu, here’s my first mock. I only did the lottery because I’d like to release something about the College Baseball World Series and then a more in-depth mock before draft night, hopefully with the help of Adobe Photoshop. Anyway, enjoy the article.
NYK – NO
PG Dennis Smith Jr.
SF Kevin Knox
SF Lance Thomas
SF Mario Hezonja
2019 first-rounder (no. 3 overall)
PF/C Anthony Davis
UTA – MEM
PG Mike Conley
SF Joe Ingles
PG Dante Exum
SG Grayson Allen
2019 first-rounder (no. 23 overall)
- New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
Analysis: If you find a mock out there with Zion lower than #1, let me know because I haven’t found one. This is a foregone conclusion and everyone knows it. The question is, what will the Pels do after this selection?
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant, PG, Murray St.
Analysis: This pick is a bit less sure. Mike Conley is still on their roster, so Morant may not make sense. However, I think their front office is more likely to trade Conley and draft Morant, since rumors have been swirling around about a Conley trade for a while. Expect some more fresh blood to pair with Jaren Jackson Jr. to come in this draft for Memphis.
3. New Orleans Pelicans (from New York Knicks) – RJ Barrett, SG, Duke
Analysis: First of all, the AD stakes are going to be the storyline of the offseason. Not KD, not Kyrie, not Kawhi. Anthony Davis will be. Why? Because the biggest markets, LA, NY, and Boston are all going to descend into a bidding war. I think the Lakers are easily the best fit, but New Orleans’s front office hasn’t displayed any interest in what they have to offer. So, the Knicks are the next best option in my opinion. This will cost them a ton of young talent, but for a generational star like Davis, nothing should be a steep price. If the Knicks somehow manage to land Davis as well as getting two big-name free agents, they should be set for a substantial playoff run. As for the Pelicans, I’d be happy if I were them to start anew by reuniting Dukees Zion and RJ Barrett while adding Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. They won’t compete next season, but the Pelicans should be thinking about potential in their trade talks over AD.
4. Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
Analysis: The Lakers have many options here. Darius Garland would make sense. DeAndre Hunter is also a good choice. However, the Lakers need shooting and perimeter defense. Culver is a good shooter, but a great defender. He can be a scorer, playmaker, and lockdown defender. Imagine a small-ball lineup of Lonzo Ball, Jarrett Culver, Lebron James, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. Who needs a stud free agent? Sign me up anyway.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – DeAndre Hunter, SF, Virginia
Analysis: After Lebron left, Cleveland really had no good small forwards (Sorry, Cedi Osman), until now. Hunter knows how to win championships as well as play great defense. The Cavs could end up being a superb defensive squad if they land Hunter to pair with Collin Sexton. If Kevin Love is healthy this season, the Cavs may turn some heads.
6. Phoenix Suns – Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
Analysis: Point guard is the obvious weakness of this Sun’s squad. Before the lottery, they were lined up to land Ja Morant. However, Garland is nearly as good. He’s at least a better shooter, and teams would have a hard time trying to cover Devin Booker and him on the perimeter.
7. Chicago Bulls – Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina
Analysis: This pick is really fun. Imagine the high-flying Zach Lavine with the speedy White. They’d set a meteoric pace night in and night out. Not to mention, White is an above-average shooter who can play both guard positions. These young Bulls seem to be one step away from playoff contention, and White could be that step.
8. Atlanta Hawks – Cameron Reddish, SG/SF, Duke
Analysis: We all know that Reddish didn’t show his full talent this season. His shooting ability and overall game was overshadowed by Zion and Barrett all year in my eyes. He was the #3 recruit for a reason. I don’t really understand why people think Nassir Little is better than him. Reddish is a much better shooter who put up better numbers than Little even with Zion and RJ. I’ll be disappointed if teams let Reddish fall out of the top 10.
9. Washington Wizards – Jaxson Hayes, PF/C, Texas
Analysis: The Wizards let everyone down last year, mostly due to John Wall’s injury. However, their failure was also because of a lack of production from their big men. Dwight Howard played just 9 games and Markieff Morris was released mid-season. Hayes could fill in either at power forward or center. He’s lean, lanky, and is a master of the putback dunk. Howard would be a great teacher for Hayes. This pick makes sense in every way. When Wall comes back, he’ll enjoy throwing lobs to this big guy.
10. Atlanta Hawks – Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Analysis: Like Reddish, I think Bol Bol has been often overlooked. He has an unprecedented skill-set for man as tall as him. He shoots like a guard. And the best part? No one can block him or even contest his shot really. If he learns to translate his height to dominant play in the post, he’ll be a monster in the NBA.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
Analysis: Langford gets buckets. There’s no other way to put it. He’ll get his shot no matter what. After losing Jimmy Butler, the TWolves could use some scoring from the wing. Romeo can certainly do just that from all levels, while having one of the best names in the Draft.
12. Charlotte Hornets – Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
Analysis: Fernando isn’t the tallest center, but you’d think he was. At 240 lbs, he’s a force on the glass. He averaged 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game this past season. He reminds me of a taller, little less mobile Charles Barkley. The Hornets need a dominant big man, and that’s exactly what Fernando is.
13. Miami Heat – Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina
Analysis: Many analysts project Little to go higher than this, and I don’t blame them. He’s ultra-athletic and is just straight up a big dude. However, he never started a game at UNC and his shooting ability is subpar at best. He shot just 26.9% from three at North Carolina. However, his talent is undeniable, so I think #13 is reasonable.
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento Kings) – Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, International
Analysis: Watching YouTube videos on him, Doumbouya looks like an absolute stud. He runs like a madman in transition, leading to highlight-worthy dunks on a regular basis. He’s a good defender in the post, while being mobile enough to guard wing players. If he can translate his success from overseas to the NBA, he’d be a great asset for any team, especially the small Celtics.
So, I’ll release another, better mock draft next week, but hopefully this was a good introduction to what the night should be like. Stay tuned for a preview on a less talked about event, the CWS.