With the lottery taking place last week everything is all set and we are just about a month away from the draft taking place until the NBA Draft. With that in mind we will be picking it up on our draft coverage here at RotoProfessor. Now that we know the order we can transition from doing prospect rankings to mock drafts and trying to project how this draft might play out. Let’s take a side-by-side look at how the Rotoprofessor staff thinks things will play out on draft night:
|Pick||Team||Will Overton||Ray Kuhn|
|1||Philadelphia 76ers||Ben Simmons - SF/PF - LSU |
I think the Sixers need to take the guy with the best chance at being a superstar and for me that’s Ben Simmons, and I think they agree. Simmons has shortcomings, such as his jumper, but the guy’s upside is through the roof and he needs to go first.
|Brandon Ingram - F - Duke
It will likely come down to the wire between Ingram and Simmons, but for now I’m going with the more polished and ready NBA player who still has some developing to do.
|2||Los Angeles Lakers||Brandon Ingram - SF – Duke|
It’s clear that there are two guys in the first tier of this draft and there’s a good size gap to the next tier. The Lakers will be fine to take whoever Philly doesn’t and Ingram is probably immediately the best player on that team.
|Ben Simmons - F - LSU
To say that there is potential here is an understatement as Simmons is an athletic freak. With his size, and if he lives up to his true potential and abilities, Simmons could be a game-changer.
|3||Boston Celtics||Dragan Bender - PF – International|
There are a few ways the Celtics can go here, including trading out. Bender makes sense to me though as a stretch four who with really good length and range. The Celtics have a glut of bigs, but none of them are special and Bender has the upside to be special.
|Jamaal Murray - G - Kentucky
Murray can shoot and is a proven scorer. All indications also are that he is NBA ready off the court. While he develops to reach his true potential, Murray’s shooting will give Boston’s perimeter a nice boost.
|4||Phoenix Suns||Jaylen Brown - SF – California|
You would think the Suns would want Bender here given their depth at guard right now. If Boston takes him like I am projecting they have a conundrum on their hands. Brown is risky fourth overall, but he makes more sense than taking a guard.
|Henry Ellenson - F - Marquette
Ellenson has just one year of NCAA experience under his belt, and while this might be a spot or two high for him, you can’t discount his shooting ability and versatility to potentially slide to center. And we know the Suns need help in the big man department.
|5||Minnesota Timberwolves||Buddy Hield - SG – Oklahoma|
The Timberwolves could take Kris Dunn or Jamal Murray here if they want to part ways with Ricky Rubio. Murray may be a fit either way, but I think he’s a little bit too much like Zach LaVine, the tweener guard and potential liability on defense. Hield makes sense as a guy who can come in and start right away and be a potentially elite shooter.
|Buddy Hield - G - Oklahoma
The Timberwolves are in a great position here as they add the best shooter in the draft, who was also a graduating senior, to an explosive young core. Hield will open the floor up for Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
|6||New Orleans Pelicans||Kris Dunn - PG – Providence|
The Jrue Holiday experiment hasn’t been as successful as the team hoped and with one year remaining on his contract I can see the Pelicans taking his replacement here. Any of the three guards are an option, but I think they go with the best pure point guard.
|Kris Dunn - G - Providence
Dunn provides the backcourt help that Anthony Davis desperately needs and his ability to see the floor should provide a boost to the offense.
|7||Denver Nuggets||Jamal Murray - PG/SG – Kentucky|
The Nuggets are probably fine with any of the top seven guys in the draft and in this mock it happens to be Jamal Murray. There are some questions about his defense and quickness, but he is a dynamic offensive player, maybe the most in the draft.
|Dragan Bender - F - Croatia
The Nuggets have recently dipped their toes in the European big man pool, and because of that, they are set at the center position. Denver doesn’t have to rely on Bender as his impressive set of tools right away, and he will have time to adjust to the NBA game.
|8||Sacramento Kings||Furkan Kormanz - SG – international|
Formanz is one of the fastest risers in the draft and while I’m not sure he has risen this high yet, I think he still may. The Kings could also look at a stretch four option
|Skal Labissiere - F - Kentucky
It wasn’t the best of freshman seasons for Labissiere, but he certainly is talented. Couple that with his shooting range, and the fact he won’t have to worry much about playing in the post, and you have a good situation as he teams with another former Kentucky big man; DeMarcus Cousins.
|9||Toronto Raptors||Henry Ellenson - PF – Marquette|
The Raptors have been shuffling guys in and out at power forward and Ellenson could provide some stability at that spot. Ellenson has the range to stretch the floor, but also the size to hang in the post giving Toronto some nice versatility.
|Marquess Chriss - F - Washington
Chriss is athletic, talented, and he did more than most of the other top prospects at the Combine. With that being said, patience is in order here, but the reward could be very much worth it.
|10||Milwaukee Bucks||Jakob Poeltl - C – Utah|
There’s no way around it, the lack of interior defense with Greg Monroe at center was a problem. Milwaukee could look to trade him or move to power forward, but drafting Poeltl would be an instant upgrade on defense and he has good enough footwork to be a contributor on offense too.
|Jakob Poeltl - C - Utah
The Bucks biggest weakness last year was the center position, and Poeltl is the best center in the draft.
|11||Orlando Magic||Marquese Chris - PF/C – Washington|
Chris still needs some polish on his game, but he has a ton of upside as a freak athlete who can do a little of everything. Chris would be a great big to give Orlando a spark off the bench and possibly push for a starting spot in a year or two.
|Domantas Sabonis - F - Gonzaga
In general teams draft more on potential that what a player currently is, but Sabonis falls into both categories. He is still ascending, and his absence at the Combine was curious, but he is a big man that can contribute off the bench this season.
|12||Utah Jazz||Skal Labissiere -PF/C – Kentucky|
This is a boom or bust pick, but Utah has the ability to take a risk here. Labissiere was thought to be a contender for number one overall before a poor season at Kentucky riding the bench. Utah can afford to give Labissiere the time to develop he needs and he could eventually be a top three player in this class.
|Furkan Korkmaz - G -Turkey
Kormaz gives the Jazz one of the better shooters in this year’s draft. He is raw, and will be eased into action slowly, but is also in a position where he won’t be counted on much to start.
|13||Phoenix Suns||Deytona Davis - PF – Michigan St|
I think the Suns go back to adding frontcourt depth again after not having anyone all that good to replace Markieff and Marcus Morris. Davis is a good athlete who is strong on the offensive glass and blocking shots. The offensive game needs work, but he’s a contributor on defense right away.
|Jaylen Brown - G/F - California
With two early picks, the Suns can afford to draft on upside and talent here. Brown has the talent to be a better pro than Ellenson, but whether that happens is still to be determined. His versatility also fits with the Suns’ fast paced offense.
|14||Chicago Bulls||Ante Zizic - C – International|
The frontcourt in Chicago is starting to think with Joakim Noah likely gone and Pau Gasol in his final year. Rumors are the Bulls really like Zizic a lot. Zizic is only 19 and his skills are still pretty raw, but he is a high energy guy who given time could develop into a starting NBA center.
|Tyler Ulis - G - Kentucky
Expecting Derrick Rose to stay healthy is a losing proposition at this point, and Ulis is true floor general. His lack of size is an obstacle, but it hasn’t been an issue yet.
|15||Denver Nuggets||Domantas Sabonis - PF/C – Gonzaga|
The Nuggets may need to do some roster reworking if they keep all three picks they have. That said, while Sabonis isn’t a big need, he’s a really nice talent at this point in the draft.
|Malachi Richardson - G - Syracuse
Well there is a reason why Richardson has remained in the draft, and the fact that he will coming off the board around this time is why. Richardson might be the best pure shooting guard in the draft once Hield is taken, and this pick solidifies Denver’s backcourt.
|16||Boston Celtics||Denzel Valentine - SG/SF – Michigan St|
Another team I can’t see keeping all their picks is Boston. That said, if they are here a guy like Valentine with a ton of versatility, good playmaking skills and great shooting would be a really nice addition to the bench. I see Valentine as an Evan Turner who can actually shoot.
|Deyonta Davis - F - Michigan State
The Celtics have multiple picks in the first round, and they can afford to gamble on the talented Davis. Davis is a versatile big man who will only get better.
|17||Memphis Grizzlies||Malachi Richardson - SG – Syracuse|
Another guy rising up the boards and may not even be here for Memphis. Richardson’s basketball IQ is questionable, but he has a knack for scoring, whether it be the three or the drive. The Grizzlies could use some scoring.
|Demetrius Jackson - G - Notre Dame
With Mike Conley possibly on his way out, the Grizzlies could use a replacement, and Jackson is the best available point guard here. Jackson emerged well from the Combine and he has a track record of success as a leader in Notre Dame.
|18||Detroit Pistons||Demetrius Jackson - PG – Notre Dame|
It’s been a while since the Pistons haven’t been picking in the lottery, and it’s been a while since they have had so few needs. One need they do have is backup point guard, especially one who can shoot which Jackson can do.
|Wade Baldwin, IV - G - Vanderbilt
The Pistons are another team that is need of backcourt help as guard play off the bench was a glaring weakness for them last season. Baldwin could also slide over and play alongside Reggie Jackson.
|19||Denver Nuggets||Tyler Ulis - PG – Kentucky|
This would be the Nuggets third pick and I have them recreating the Kentucky backcourt. Ulis gives the Nuggets one of the best passing point guards in the draft which is a nice compliment to Emmanuel Mudiay who they took last season. Ulis is undersized which is why he isn’t going higher, but he’s a real playmaker.
|Timothe Luwawu - F - France
And here are the Nuggets on the board again. Why shouldn’t the Nuggets take the best available player out there as they look to solidify their perimeter, wing play.
|20||Indiana Pacers||Dejounte Murray - SG – Washington|
Some think that Murray could have been a lottery pick next year, but he’s rising now. Murray is a bit of a tweener guard, but he is a natural scorer which the Pacers could use.
|Malik Beasley - G - Florida State
Larry Bird has already spoken to his desire to improve Indiana’s offense, and Beasley appears to be a good fit here. Beasley can create his own shot, get to the hoop, and also knock down a jumper. This is what the Pacers need to boost their offense.
|21||Atlanta Hawks||Timothe Luwawu - SF – International|
I like Luwawu a lot and could see him going higher than this. If he’s here though the Hawks should be jumping on him. Luwawu is an NBA ready defender and his shooting has come a long way in the last year. I think he could be an immediate contributor for Atlanta.
|Brice Johnson - F - North Carolina
With Al Horford possibly on his way out of town, Johnson provides a legitimate replacement. Johnson is athletic around the rim, is one of the best rebounders, and his jump shot is also improving.
|22||Charlotte Hornets||Wade Baldwin - PG – Vanderbilt|
There’s a chance that Jeremy Lin could opt out and if he does the Hornets could use another guard who can play well with Kemba Walker switching on at the point. Baldwin is an excellent shooter which Lin doesn’t give them as well.
|Taurean Prince - F - Baylor
The Hornets need a player who possesses Prince’s skill set. Prince is a combo forward who can knock down shot and has 3-point range.
|23||Boston Celtics||Ivica Zubac - C – International|
With as many picks as they have the Celtics need to take a project and Zubac is that guy. Zubac has a lot of upside with some raw offensive potential, but he needs time which Boston could provide.
|Juan Hernangomez - F - Spain
After taking two players who likely be a part of their core moving forward, the Celtics will likely use their third selection on a talented big man with upside who they can keep in Europe.
|24||Philadelphia 76ers||Malik Beasley - SG – Florida St|
The Sixers need a reliable scorer on the wing and Beasley could be just that guy. Beasley is a good shooter, but can also drive the lane. I think Beasley could be a starter from day one in Philadelphia.
|DeAndre Bembry - F - Saint Joseph’s
Bembry may not have the best jump shot, although it is getting better. Where he really shines, and it was apparent at the Combine, is in an actual game and we know that Philadelphia has a need for players; really of any kind.
|25||Los Angeles Clippers||DeAndre Bembry - SF – St. Josephs|
One of the big winners at the combine, DeAndre Bembry has worked his way into the first round. The Clippers need wing guys and Bembry is a strong defender who can also play multiple spots on offense and is a surprisingly good playmaker.
|Cheick Diallo - C - Kansas
Diallo was highly regarded freshman who didn’t make much of an impact last season with Kansas. With the Clippers he can start off in a limited role, and they could use another big man.
|26||Philadelphia 76ers||Diamond Stone - C – Maryland|
The Sixers have a couple centers already, but there are a lot of questions about Joel Embiid and there are rumors that Jahlil Okafor could be traded. I think Stone could be a steal as a shot blocking and rebounding big with potential on offense.
|Diamond Stone - C - Maryland
Stone has double/double potential but is still raw. With all of their draft picks, the 76ers can afford to go for the high reward selection.
|27||Toronto Raptors||Damian Jones - C – Vanderbilt|
Jones doesn’t have the upside of someone like Diamond Stone, but he’s more polished and ready to contribute right away as a backup big man in Toronto.
|Stephen Zimmerman - C - UNLV
The Raptors are another team looking for help in the paint, and Zimmerman is a talented freshman who could provide it.
|28||Phoenix Suns||Patrick McCaw - SG – UNLV|
So far in this mock I have already given Phoenix a couple of big men so I went with a guard here, even though it isn’t a big need. McCaw can come off the bench for Phoenix as a backup to both guard spots.
|Ante Zizic - C - Croatia
The Suns are another team with multiple selections in the first round and no space for them. Taking the talented Zizic gives them a big man with upside who they can stash for a year or two.
|29||San Antonio Spurs||Cheick Dialo - PF/C – Kansas|
The Spurs are known for taking high upside project guys who require a few years to really build. Diallo is undersized, but helps make up for that with a ton of energy athleticism and still has a knack for rebounding and shot blocking despite being a little bit shorter.
|Thon Maker - C - Australia
The Spurs aren’t going to have to rely on Maker next season, so why not draft on talent, youth, and upside here?
|30||Golden State Warriors||Taurean Prince - SF – Baylor|
There is a good chance the Warriors will lose both Harrison Barnes and Marreese Speights in the offseason. Prince can play both forward spots, he has three-point range on his jumper, can crash the boards and plays tough D. He seems like the ideal replacement for this late in the draft.
|Malcom Brogdon - G - Virginia
You can never have enough shooters, and Brogdon is a proven winner.