By: Scott Brock-Wilson
To preface, I think the top five are extremely interesting, but let's be real, there is why to much talk about them and not the rest.
1. Philadelphia 76ers (From Brooklyn via Boston) -- Markelle Fultz
Fultz is the clear number one in the draft. His ability to play the one or two defensively gives him a high floor. He will need to improve his shooting, but his playmaking ability is at an NBA level right now. His fit with Philly has been harped upon for the past five days, so I won’t add to that, but they will be one of the most interesting teams to watch this year.
2. Los Angeles Lakers -- Lonzo Ball
Lonzo quietly isn’t being talked about as much since the Philly-Boston trade and the Russell trade. Lonzo will instantly help both Ingram, Zubac, and Randle’s (assuming he’s still on the team) improvement. He is the perfect type of distributor needed to help young teams and also attract free agents.
3. Boston Celtics (From Sacramento vis Philadelphia) -- Josh Jackson
Jackson is not a replica of Jaylen. Jackson is a defensive stopper with no types of a shot for now. The Celtics need to get a shot doctor on staff (same with the Suns). He can handle, push the tempo, and play above the rim offensively with ease. Adding one more to a plethora of wings who can defend is always a good thing.
4. Phoenix Suns -- De’Aaron Fox
De’Aaron could easily be the best player in this draft. He’s a great at finishing in traffic, creating for others (although not necessarily Monk…), and pushing the tempo as he is lightning fast with the ball. And oh, by the way, outplayed Lonzo both times he went up against him. Fox is a big game player and has the motor and ability to be a superstar. His fit next to Booker is nearly perfect, creating one of the best young backcourts in the league immediately. The young core of Booker, Fox, Chriss, and Bender will have a chance to develop together.
5. Sacramento Kings (from Philadelphia) -- Jayson Tatum
With Hield, Skal and Willie being the future, the Kings are hoping for Fox here to provide defense and a playmaker. However, Tatum can fit as well with his elite offensive ability. Tatum is instant offense and can create his own in isolation anytime he wants. Willie’s defensive prowess and athleticism can make up for the extreme lack of defense on the wing. This leaves the Kings with a hole at the point position, but they have high potential pieces to surround a potential defensive oriented guard, who they could get with the 10th pick.
6. Orlando Magic -- Jonathan Isaac
The Magic can go in many different directions with this pick, really setting the tone for the rest of the draft. There is only one player on this team I see playing a key role in 5 years and that is Aaron Gordon, but I am willing to give Payton one more year. That is why I have Isaac in this spot. Imagine a future small ball lineup with Gordon and Isaac as your two bigs; Both of them are crazy athletic and will be able to protect the rim. Defensively, Isaac can contribute right away, but overall he is a project. He needs to improve his shot, but if he is able to, he has an incredibly high ceiling.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Malik Monk
Monk offers the Timberwolves some much needed shooting. Playing alongside LaVine, Wiggins and Towns will give him plenty of room to get his shot off. Minnesota would be able to continue to develop Dunn while giving him a shooter to rely on. Monk is a play for now and the future in Minnesota with the potential closing lineup of Dunn-Monk-LaVine-Wiggins-Towns or moving Lavine to point and inserting Dieng if Dunn still fails to progress. Look for Monk to be a surprisingly good playmaker even though that was not a huge part of his game in college playing off of Fox.
8. New York Knicks -- Frank Ntilikini
We know the Knicks want and need a point guard after the huge disappointment that was Rose last season. This comes down to Frank vs. Smith. Many like the fit with Frank and the triangle offense, but putting aside the triangle, he is the better player. Firstly, the Knicks desperately need help defensively on the perimeter which Frank can provide. Yes, he needs to improve as your stereotypical point guard, but he has all of the potential to do so and potentially could be a top three player in this draft when it’s all said and done. I believe the Knicks need a change in culture and that starts by valuing the defensive end with both Frank and Porzingis.
9. Dallas Mavericks -- Dennis Smith
The Mavs would be ecstatic to have Smith fall into their lap at nine here. He is the perfect score-first point guard that Rick Carlisle likes in his system. Smith can create for himself and others off the dribble and impressed many teams in workouts (not to mention his 48 inch vert). The Mavs are fortunate to be able to find a potential franchise point at number nine in the draft who will be the perfect fit next to Nerlens and the boys.
10. Sacramento Kings -- Donovan Mitchell
At this point the Kings have Tatum and still a log-jam in the front court. I look for the Kings to target a defensive-minded mitchell who may not be the best true point guard, but can bring his size and versatility. His defensive prowess should be able to compensate for Hield's lack of defense. With both Hield and Tatum getting their shots, it won’t force Mitchell into a scorer’s role right away. This young core of Mitchell-Hield-Tatum-Skal-Willie will have time to grow together and see what they can actually become.
11. Charlotte Hornets -- Zach Collins
Collins is the best true big man in this draft. He can protect the rim, is versatile enough to guard the perimeter for short periods of time against NBA level guards and can go inside and out on the offensive end. Plus how can the Hornets not take another white big man?! I believe he can be a starter on a championship team down the road. As he expands his range and basketball IQ, there is no way other teams will be able to force him off the floor when Collins becomes the ideal stretch five. He has a high floor with a relatively high ceiling.
12. Detroit Pistons -- Terrance Ferguson
This may surprise some people but I expect Ferguson to go much higher than most are projecting him. Everyone in today’s NBA is search for 3 and D guys and that is exactly what Ferguson can provide to teams. Kennard, who many think is better, does not. With the looming restricted free agency of KCP and after the disappointing season last year, it is time for the Pistons to take a chance on a high upside two guard. I think Ferguson can be a knock down shooter and versatile defender with his 6’7 frame and 6’9 wingspan. Ferguson will take a couple years to grow but will be well worth it.
13. Denver Nuggets -- OG Anunoby
OG is the lengthiest player to this point to be taken. He has tremendous potential defensively but has no resemblance of a jump shot. The Nuggets who still have a log jam of young talent could use his defensive prowess and versatility to go next to Jokic. I look for OG to be the perfect bench complement to both Jokic and Hernangomez as the future front court in Denver.
14. Portland Trail Blazers -- Harry Giles
Giles is the big unknown. Someone who was projected to go in the top three at the beginning of the season has been looked passed due to injuries. At 15, Portland can’t pass on the potential and the rim protection that they were searching for when they signed Ezeli to a deal (even though he didn’t play in a game for them in 2016-17). Giles complements Meyers Leonard well, while also giving them the option to move them and play Harkless at the four.
15. Portland Trail Blazers -- Harry Giles
Giles is the big unknown. Someone who was projected to go in the top three at the beginning of the season has been looked passed due to injuries. At 15, Portland can’t pass on the potential and the rim protection that they were searching for when they signed Ezeli to a deal (even though he didn’t play in a game for them in 2016-17).
16. Chicago Bulls -- Justin Patton
Patton is the definition of big risk big reward. Patton came into the year very raw and made large stride, garnering a lot of attention early on. However, he failed to take a huge leap during the second half of the season. I look for the Bulls to swing for the fences with the unknown Patton. The Bulls are most likely entering a rebuild stage within the next two years and Patton can be their center of the future.
17. Milwaukee Bucks -- Luke Kennard
If Kennard, the best shooter in the draft and an underrated playmaker, falls this far, the Bucks will pounce on the lefty. Kennard was the star of a loaded Duke team with Tatum, Allen and Jackson. There was no doubt who carried the team. Kennard’s flaw could be on the defensive end; however, surrounding by such a great defensive team in Milwaukee that shouldn’t be a huge issue.
18. Indiana Pacers -- Justin Jackson
Justin Jackson is another player who has slipped in this mock farther than expected. Jackson improved his three point percentage by almost 8% up to 37%. That was the thing he was told to work on from his interviews with NBA executives last year, and he did! He added a floater in the lane and proved he can guard some NBA-ready wings along the way. Jackson is a proven player who can give the pacers a starting three if/when PG13 leaves.
19. Atlanta Hawks -- Jonah Bolden
Bolden is a better version of Guerschon Yabusele from last year. He is a great passer, finisher and three point shooter. Defensive will be the question. I believe with his 6’10 frame and natural athleticism he won’t have an issue guarding the perimeter. Bolden’s upside is growing day by day as he continues to hone his floor general skills like a mini Draymond. Bolden may be the steal of the draft even if he stays overseas for another year. The Hawks can have him play alongside Prince as their two forwards moving well into the future.
20. Portland Trail Blazers (From Memphis via Denver and Cleveland) -- Anzejs Pasecniks
Anzejs is a 7’2 Latvian center who can stretch the floor offensively and can protect the rim. Sound familiar? He will never be Kristaps, but he definitely has high potential. Considering Portland has three first round draft picks and not much cap space, I look for them to draft and stash Anzejs. Staying overseas for a year or two can really round out his game. He can make an impact in this league now, so after two more years, he would've probably have gone much higher than 20.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Wesley Iwundu
Iwundu is a surprise to most here and is an older wing from Kansas state, but he has the raw body and skill to compete and defend at the NBA level. Iwundu shot 37% his last year on 2.4 shots a game, more attempts than he shot in his previous three years combined from deep. I believe his talent can translate right away playing around Westbrook and Oladipo, not counted on to be the main player.
22. Brooklyn Nets (From Washington) -- Tony Bradley
Brooklyn needs to keep swing big with their draft picks. I like Bradley here because he is so raw. He has a 7’5 wingspan and has the ability to shoot 18 footers. In the NBA, I look for him to expand his range, so he can become a staple in the lineup. A team like Brooklyn can give him some much needed playing time.
23. Toronto Raptors -- DJ Wilson
DJ is an extremely athletic four who can play some small ball five. He lives above the rim on both sides of the floor, but has been able to complement that with an outside game recently. DJ can stretch the offense and also put it on the floor when necessary. That is what the Raptors have been looking for at the four position for a while.
24. Utah Jazz -- Semi Ojeleye
Literally no one has been talking about Ojeleye up to this point. He has the most NBA-ready body in the draft and a high basketball IQ. He is a tenatious rebounder, attacker and finisher who can contribute right away. With the uncertainty and the injury issues of the Jazz, he adds to their good depth.
25. Orlando Magic (From Toronto) -- Juwan Evans
The Magic desperately need playmakers in the back court, especially now with Isaac and Gordon up front. Evans led one of the best offenses in the country with no NBA talent surrounding him. He can score and score quickly. Him running alongside Isaac and Gordon would be a dream come true in transition. His height is obviously an issue, but the Magic need a pure scorer here.
26. Portland Trail Blazers (From Cleveland) -- Jordan Bell
Bell is an elite shot blocker and rim protector with a 7 foot wingspan. He is able to guard the perimeter due to his great athleticism. He is very rough offensively, but that may come with more touches and the Trail Blazers don't need that. This is a little low for Bell, but I like Portland taking a best player available approach here and adding some insurance on the Giles pick.
27. Los Angeles Lakers (From Boston via Brooklyn) -- Jarrett Allen
28. Los Angeles Lakers (From Houston) -- Josh Hart
I would be shocked if the Lakers keep both of these picks, but if they do, taking Allen is a no brainer. He can learn behind Lopez for a year improving his offensive game while running the floor with Lonzo. After disliking Hart and deeming him overrated for the last three years, I see Hart as a poor man’s Brogdon from last year. He gives the Lakers depth on the wing position, and with Clarkson potentially being traded, Hart could have a role immediately.
29. San Antonio Spurs -- Ike Anigbogu
I feel as though whoever the spurs take, they will be able to mold them into a productive role player. Ike has insane length and can protect the rim. The Spurs, without Dedmon will be missing an interior presence and rim protector. Ike adds much needed athleticism to an old front court.
30. Utah Jazz (From Golden State) -- TJ Leaf
Leaf is a three point specialist four who may lack the ability to stay on the floor defensively against good lineups. With the Jazz, Leaf will provide occasional floor spacing while improving defensively.
Shoutout to some good value 2nd rounders:
Especially Nigel Hayes