Tonight is the big night. Mike Conley and Anthony Davis have already been dealt to the Jazz and Lakers, respectively, so let’s just focus on the young guys tonight. After the first three picks, no one really knows what’ll happen. The Celtics, Pelicans, and Hawks are all teams that could move around tonight, so keep an eye on them. But above all, just enjoy the night. Just watching the journeys of these kids being fulfilled makes me happy. Anyway, enjoy this article.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
Height: 6’6” Weight: 280 lbs
Analysis: Next question.
- Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant, PG, Murray St.
Height: 6’3” Weight: 175 lbs
Analysis: This move is even more inevitable now that Mike Conley has been shipped to Utah. Morant is bouncy, crafty, and just the right amount of flashy. No-brainer.
- New York Knicks – RJ Barrett, SG, Duke
Height: 6’7” Weight: 210 lbs
Analysis: Here’s another no-brainer. NYK rejected a trade offer from the Hawks earlier in the week where they would give up this pick. Why? Because they want this man. With the rest of the Knicks’ offseason on shaky ground, they should take the remarkably sturdy Barrett.
- New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers) – De’Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
Height: 6’7” Weight: 225 lbs
Analysis: Here’s where mock drafts start disagreeing. This is another easy choice for me, though. Hunter is a strong 3 and D forward who is essentially positionless. You can put him on guards or bigs, he’ll do it all. Imagine a small-ball lineup of Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Hunter, and Zion. That’s a scary thought for the whole NBA.
- Cleveland Cavaliers – Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
Height: 6’6” Weight: 195 lbs
Analysis: This kid is vastly underrated, but everyone will know his name tonight. He’s a great defender, playmaker, and scorer. He anchored the Texas Tech defense that went to the national championship while scoring about 18 points per game. A guard duo if Culver and Collin Sexton would be big for the rebuilding Cavs.
- Phoenix Suns – Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
Height: 6’2” Weight: 175 lbs
Analysis: Garland has been rumored to go as high as third, but I like him here. The Suns are point guard-needy and Garland fits the bill. He’s a nasty scorer off the pull-up jumper. He’s slim, but his ceiling is sky-high.
- Chicago Bulls – Coby White, PG/SG, North Carolina
Height: 6’5” Weight: 190 lbs
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.
- Atlanta Hawks – Cameron Reddish, SG/SF, Duke
Height: 6’8” Weight: 210 lbs
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. He was the #3 recruit for a reason. Atlanta could become the best three-point shooting team with Reddish, Kevin Huerter, and Trae Young.
- Washington Wizards – Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, International
Height: 6’9” Weight: 230 lbs
Analysis: I’ve only been able to watch YouTube videos on him, but this kid has star-potential. He reminds me a lot of Pascal Siakam, except he can shoot better. He runs out in transition like a deer. He can play both forward positions, but he’s mobile enough to guard all positions. Hopefully he’ll be able to translate his success overseas to the NBA for the talent-needy Wizards.
- Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas Mavericks) – Jaxson Hayes, PF/C, Texas
Height: 6’11” Weight: 220 lbs
Analysis: I didn’t hear much about this guy until after the season, but on tape he looks filthy. He’s lean, lanky, and a master of the putback dunk. He can block shots and rebound like a pro. On top of that, he can play either big man positions. The duo of bigs in John Collins and Hayes could be great.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Nassir Little, SF, North Carolina
Height: 6’6” Weight: 225 lbs
Analysis: I’ve shared my negative criticism of Little, but at the end of the day, he’s a great prospect. His shooting is limited, but I can see him carving out a role as a small-ball 4. He’s athletic and he’d certainly be mobile for a power forward. A front court of Little, Andrew Wiggins, and KAT would be interesting to see.
- Charlotte Hornets – Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Height: 7’2” Weight: 210 lbs
Analysis: I can see Bol going much lower than this because of injury concerns, but I’ll base this on pure talent. He really shouldn’t fall below here. He has an unparalleled skill-set for a man of his size. He can shoot from anywhere, with no one being able to even contest his shot. A young trio of Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, and Bol could finally bring sufficient support to Kemba Walker in Charlotte.
- Miami Heat – Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Height: 6’5” Weight: 215 lbs
Analysis: This is my riskiest pick, but I like being different. After losing Dwayne Wade, the Heat need some star power and speed. Porter is extremely raw and needs to be a better decision-maker in the NBA, but his speed and explosiveness make me want to see this happen. His form is a bit unorthodox, but he’s still a good shooter. What Miami needs right now is some juice, and KPJ is the definition of juice.
- Boston Celtics – Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
Height: 6’10” Weight: 240 lbs
Analysis: After Al Horford declined his option so he can leave Boston, the Celtics need some bigs. Actually, they already did need big men before Horford decided to leave. So, the big, bruising Fernando looks like a good fit to me. He’d bring solid rebounding and paint defense to a Celtics team in need of both.
- Detroit Pistons – Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
Height: 6’6” Weight: 210 lbs
Analysis: As I’ve written before, they have the bigs. They also have a steady point guard. So what they need now is scoring from the wing. Langford can pretty much score at will from any level. That’s exactly what Detroit needs right now.
- Orlando Magic – Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
Height: 6’5” Weight: 205 lbs
Analysis: The Magic are set in the front court. They had to rely on Evan Fournier and D.J. Augustin in the back court all year, though. Those two guys are solid, but they need help. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is a crafty combo-guard who is an adept scorer and playmaker. He also has good size for a guard like him. He has added maturity from two years at VT as well. Overall, he’s a great fit for Orlando.
- Atlanta Hawks (from Brooklyn Nets) – PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky
Height: 6’8” Weight: 230 lbs
Analysis: Since the Hawks could already roll out a starting lineup of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, John Collins, and Jaxson Hayes (based on this mock), they should focus on drafting the best player here. That’s Washington at this point. He averaged 15.2 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game last season. His post moves are stellar. He’d be a great asset off the bench for Atlanta.
- Indiana Pacers – Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga
Height: 6’8” Weight: 235 lbs
Analysis: This Japanese star is a versatile big. He can stretch the floor with his shooting and also hit the boards for rebounds. He has the skills and the character to be a star in the NBA. The Pacers, who are a bit low on bigs, could use him immediately.
- San Antonio Spurs – Brandon Clarke, PF/C, Gonzaga
Height: 6’8” Weight: 210 lbs
Analysis: Clarke’s analysis is pretty similar to Hachimura’s. He’s mobile for a big and he also has good moves in the post. After losing Pau Gasol, Clarke could start soon. Lamarcus Aldridge isn’t getting any younger either.
- Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers) – Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
Height: 6’6” Weight: 195 lbs
Analysis: Herro is a knockdown shooter from talent-producing Kentucky. That really describes his main role. Along with big men, Boston needs shooting, so Herro is a natural fit here.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – Keldon Johnson, SG, Kentucky
Height: 6’6” Weight: 215 lbs
Analysis: Another product, of Kentucky, Johnson is a bit more of a complete prospect than Herro. He’s not as good of a shooter, but he’s a strong finisher and solid defender. He could fill the role Andre Roberson used to play, and then some.
- Boston Celtics – Ty Jerome. PG/SG, Virginia
Height: 6’5” Weight: 195 lbs
Analysis: This pick is a bit risky, but not as risky as you’d think. Jerome reportedly hit 84 of 100 three-point shots in a drill at a Celtics workout, according to 247 Sports. He’s also an adept passer. He may not be able to fill Kyrie’s shoes, but he could come close.
- Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah Jazz) – Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
Height: 6’8” Weight: 205 lbs
Analysis: Memphis acquired this pick in the Mike Conley trade. Assuming the Grizzlies get Morant, they’ll need some shooters to compliment him. Johnson would fill that role perfectly, as he shot 45.7% from three at UNC last season.
- Philadelphia 76ers – Matisse Thybulle, SG/SF, Washington
Height: 6’6” Weight: 200 lbs
Analysis: Thybulle is best known for his stellar perimeter D. He could be a more defensive-minded Jimmy Butler, which is nice for Philly because they may lose Butler this offseason.
- Portland Trailblazers – Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
Height: 6’7” Weight: 240 lbs
Analysis: Williams had a decorated college career. He won SEC Player of the Year the last two seasons and averaged 18.8 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game last season. He doesn’t have the best size for a 4, but he has great post moves and he makes free throws (81.9% last season). He could learn a lot from another versatile power forward on the Blazers, Al Farouq-Aminu.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston Rockets) – Goga Bitadze, C, International
Height: 6’11” Weight: 250 lbs
Analysis: Bitadze is a traditional big man from overseas. He plays good post offense and defense while having decent touch from outside the three-point line. Tristian Thompson has mostly let Cleveland down, so some new blood in the front court wouldn’t hurt.
- Brooklyn Nets (from Denver Nuggets) – Mfiondu Kabengele, PF, Florida St.
Height: 6’10” Weight: 255 lbs
Analysis: This big guy is out of FSU can score in a variety of ways. He was the main option for the talent-packed Seminoles squad, which is saying something. The Nets need bigs, and Kabengele is a versatile one.
- Golden State Warriors – KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford
Height: 6’8” Weight: 210 lbs
Analysis: With KD out for a season, Golden State could use some wing men. Okpala gets to the rim with a bevy of moves. He also shot a cool 36.8% from three this past season. I could see him becoming an Andre Iguodala-type player, which works nicely since Iggy is in Golden State.
- San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto Raptors) – Eric Paschall, SF/PF, Villanova
Height: 6’7” Weight: 255 lbs
Analysis: Paschall is an experienced combo-forward who can shoot and rebound. He won a national championship in 2018 and averaged 16.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg last season at Villanova. Will he be the next Kawhi Leonard for San Antonio? Probably not. But could he try? Absolutely.
- Milwaukee Bucks – Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
Height: 6’0” Weight: 200 lbs
Analysis: Finally, we have the small, but feisty Edwards. I witnessed this guy drop 42 on the defending champ ‘Nova Wildcats. He’s simply a bucket-getter. Imagine if the Bucks had a shooting threat like him down the stretch of playoff games to compliment Giannis’s game. If Edwards can translate his success at Purdue to the NBA, he’ll be a star.
So, here’s what I think will go down tonight. As I always say, mock drafts are so tough to get right that 5 direct hits (correct pick, correct team) can be considered a win. So, I’m just gonna focus on picturing the possibilities that will be brought to life tonight in this young man’s league. Enjoy tonight because we only get to watch it once a year, and these players only get to experience it once in a lifetime.