June 19, 2018, 2:39 pm
With the countdown to the draft almost at zero we are in for an exciting night. There have been rumors flying about numerous potential trades and we already know who the top pick is going to be, most likely. With big man DeAndre Ayton saying himself that he was going to No. 1 overall, Sacramento is essentially on the clock which could make things very entertaining given the unlimited rumors surrounding what they will end up doing. While it seems like there will be multiple trades as teams want to dump salaries before free agency, the draft is just the beginning of what should be one of the best offseasons in recent history.
We’ll take stock of any new information that comes out over the next couple days and put out a final mock on Thursday morning.
**Note: All listed ages are for the start of the 2018-19 season
1. Phoenix Suns
DeAndre Ayton | C/F | Arizona
Height: 7’0″ | Weight: 243 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 7’5”
This pick is all but made. Ayton himself said he was going number one and he did not need to work out for any other team.
Ayton brings an NBA-ready body at 19 years old that should be able to play at a high level right away and for years to come. His biggest strengths come from his size and athleticism paired with his refined offensive game. He has a smooth, easy shooting stroke that should be able to develop as a weapon along with his post game. He is willing to pass out of the post and is an underrated playmaker. He will occasionally settle for jumpers out of the post when he could have worked inside to get an easier look.
His biggest concerns are his motor and his defensive ability. His physical traits provide upside all over the court, but his defense has been a problem since high school (at least Karl-Anthony Towns was supposed to be good at defense out of college). His intensity and work ethic are two things that will give his defense a respectable floor but are also question marks. If he learns to grind more on the court he can be a superstar.
2. Sacramento Kings
Marvin Bagley III | F/C | Duke
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 234 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 7’0”
The Kings have been linked to what seems like every player in the draft and with Ayton all but drafted already, they hold all the cards in the draft. Sacramento being in control of how the NBA draft plays out? This should be good entertainment.
In reality, the Kings have been in the middle of trade rumors, endless workouts with prospects, and are already under scrutiny for the sheer rumor of taking a specific player – and not taking a specific player. It seems to be a coin flip between European prodigy Luka Doncic and Duke big man Marvin Bagley, though early on Tuesday morning it started to appear like Michael Porter Jr. was making a comeback. Anything can go at this spot.
If the Kings do indeed pass up Doncic and take Bagley, they get an extreme athlete with high upside but also bust potential. At 6’11” Bagley will not be able to protect the rim right away and will need a lot of development on the defensive end to not be run off the floor in a playoff series. His explosive athleticism will allow him to make plays immediately and he has one of the best second bounces a prospect has ever shown. Bagley rebounds with the best of them and has a solid post game, but his defense will be what would hold him back.
Bagley does not possess great instincts on defense and has a lot of learning to do. His 7’0” wingspan is relatively not that long for a big that stands 6’11” and it will hurt him even more against All-Star level centers. Bagley did reclassify into the 2017 class and was actually supposed to be a senior in high school this past season which could be the reason his defensive IQ seemed to be lower than his peers.
Bagley needs to continue to refine his jump shot as well. It’s sloppy and he will not be shooting off-the-dribble anytime soon, but there is some potential there. His motor, athleticism, and college stats provide reason to be excited about Bagley but there is definitely some work to be done.
3. Atlanta Hawks
Jaren Jackson Jr. | C/F | Michigan State
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 236 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 7’5”
Jackson is emerging as many people’s favorite player in this draft and for good reason. He has the potential to be a true defensive anchor on the level of someone like Al Horford. Jackson possesses skills that coaches fall in love with even though they may not show up on the statsheet. He runs the floor, is skilled with both hands, cuts well, and plays hard on defense. Jackson also has a nice touch on his outside shot and backed it up with nearly 80% from the free throw line. Oh, and he’s not even 19 years old yet, making him one of the youngest players in the draft.
While Jackson brings a lot of good and not much bad, he is not a perfect prospect. At just 236 lbs.., Jackson will need to put on a lot of muscle to truly become the defensive anchor that owns the paint. His rebounding is, at times, not as physical as it should be and his screens will only improve with more muscle. He does not currently bring a ton to the table on offense. Jackson won’t be creating any offense for himself and can be a bit predictable at times. His jumper also has a very low release which could be a problem in the NBA. He projects to play center with much bigger bodies than he was used to at Michigan State where he played out of position at the four.
At the end of the day Jackson may not end up being the superstar on a championship team, although the potential is there, but whoever ends up drafting Jackson should be thrilled with the pick.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Luka Doncic | G/F | Real Madrid
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 228 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: N/A
The fact that Doncic could fall outside the top-two picks would have made you think he had a major injury or a glaring red flag that was uncovered. Yet here we are, no major red flags uncovered, and a very high change that Doncic falls past the Kings.
Doncic is the best player in this draft when you account for the fact that he is a perimeter player that will run an offense. Some may argue that Ayton is more talented, and the argument is there, but the NBA is not won in the frontcourt right now. Not to mention what Doncic has accomplished at such a young age.
At 19 he won the Championship, Final Four MVP, and regular season MVP of the second best basketball league in the world. He’s played with and against NBA-level competition for three years now and has broken projection models for European players coming to the NBA because of how good he is for his age. In today’s NBA he should fit right in as a 6’8” point guard/forward. He has elite vision and playmaking along with the ability to create his own shot. He plays well on the ball and off the ball allowing him to fit in with other playmakers and shot creators.
The most common knock on Doncic is that his athleticism is not at the level teams want it to be. While true, Doncic has also been playing basketball for the last year-and-a-half straight; he has not exactly had time to get in the gym and become the elite athlete people like to gush over. It would even be in Doncic’s best interest to sit out Summer League and get in the gym with NBA-level strength and conditioning. The fact that he is as good as he is without being an elite athlete provides so much more room for Doncic to grow. His high IQ and ability to stop, start, and stop again also helps to bridge the athleticism gap when needed.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Mohamed Bamba | C | Texas
Height: 7’0” | Weight: 226 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 7’10”
Mo Bamba is the summer’s best cult classic. People either love this guy or hate this guy. He’s 7’0” tall and recorded the longest wingspan in NBA Combine history at 7’10”. He can block shots and projects to be able to stretch the floor on offense with a fairly decent jumpshot. The main reason some see potential and some want nothing to do with Bamba is his interests off the court.
Bamba is a very smart and interested player off the court that loves to learn and travel. In terms of basketball, he has shown incredible professionalism throughout the entire draft process. A few years ago he also traveled to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston. He knew that attending this conference would help him learn further his knowledge and grow his game, something that all players should be doing. If you’re on his side, Bamba is one of the most intriguing prospects with superstar potential, if you’re not on his side he still has the measurables and length to make an impact on defense.
6. Orlando Magic
Wendell Carter Jr. | C/F | Duke
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 251 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 7’4”
The Magic are in an interesting spot at this point in the draft as they have a glaring need at point guard and the best available guard is the ultra-polarizing Trae Young. If the Magic do not want to strike out on a pick and draft a player that projects to impact both ends of the floor and is considered to be safer, Wendell Carter can fit in with any team. At 6’10”, 251 pounds, Wendell Carter has gotten a big man plodder reputation. While he is the heaviest big man in the lottery, he is still very light on his feet and moves swiftly for a big that can switch easily and set screens well.
Carter won’t be playing above the rim like his Duke counterpart Marvin Bagley III will, but Carter comes in ready to impact every facet of the game. He is a skilled defender that will be able to guard the opposing teams’ best frontcourt player and will be able to survive when switched onto wings. Carter also has a good jumpshot and knows how to make plays with the ball at a respectable rate for a modern-day NBA center. Carter originally committed to Duke over Harvard (he is very intelligent) and before Bagley reclassified and committed to Duke as well. Had Bagley not ended up going to Duke, or had Carter gone elsewhere had he known Bagley was also coming, Carter could have gotten the spotlight to be a locked in top-5 pick due to how his game will translate so well to the NBA.
7. Chicago Bulls
Michael Porter Jr. | F | Missouri
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 211 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 7’0”
Once dubbed the next Kevin Durant, Porter has one major concern, his health. Porter was a top high school recruit and came into the college season as a potential No. 1 overall pick in this draft, but in early November he had a minimally invasive procedure due to herniated disks in his back and he missed the rest of the season except for the team’s last two games. Just a week before the draft Porter had what was described as muscle spasms in his hip that caused him to not even be able to get out of bed and had to cancel workouts with teams. It was said the hip injury was related to his back.
If Porter is on the court, he is certainly a special player. A 6’10” small forward that has a knack for shooting and scoring the ball in general. He has some of the most tape a player has had in a high school career and had drawn comparisons to the likes of Kevin Durant. He needs to improve his ball handling, something Kevin Durant did not have much of when he entered the league, but the comparison is there for a reason. He fits in much better at the three despite being so tall as his physicality is not at the level of a modern stretch-four. Porter has as much upside as anyone in the draft – there is no doubt about it. The main question for him is if he ends up staying healthy for his entire career but a team like the Bulls have the roster to take a shot.
He plays the right role to be the best player on a championship team and would certainly be in the tier of DeAndre Ayton and Luka Doncic had he stayed fully healthy, but that is not the reality. Chicago was also one of very few teams to actually get a full medical on Porter and then shared it with certain teams rather than Porter taking a physical for each individual team. Expect to hear non-stop updates, questions, rumors, and scrutiny surrounding wherever he ends up as Porter could be the biggest storyline early on in this draft class.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets through Boston)
Trae Young | G | Oklahoma
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 183 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 6’3”
Young is an electric player that has the ability to take over a game at any time on the offensive side. He is an elite shooter with limitless range, but also has fantastic vision and playmaking ability. Young’s biggest downside is his size and defensive effort. At just 6’1” with a 6’3” wingspan, Young has to try harder than anyone else on defense to make up for his size, but he has had issues with not trying at all on that side – he already sounds like a Cavalier.
The main reason the Cavaliers may take a shot on the polarizing point guard is that he fits well to help retain LeBron James and could be the future if LeBron leaves. James has expressed his positive opinions on Young in the past and if they take a true playmaker that fits in positionally with the roster, it could help sway LeBron to stay in the Land. If LeBron were to leave, Young could be a playmaker for a team that does not have a bright future and is over the cap. Even if his defense never rises to even average, there are many players today that are their team’s offensive anchor that get a pass for not playing great defense. If LeBron does stay, Young is a complementary off-ball scorer that can shoot the lights out while also being a very good playmaker that could help take some of the load off of James’ shoulders.
9. New York Knicks
Kevin Knox | F | Kentucky
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 213 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6’11”
The Knicks are at an interesting spot and do not really have a need or fit. They are reportedly viewing last year’s first rounder, Frank Ntilikina, as more of a two-guard, but he can still play the one if needed. Kristaps Porzingis has the versatility on either end of the floor to play the four or the five which allows the Knicks to really just draft whoever they view as the best player. In this case, it seems like it could very well be Kevin Knox.
Knox has been rising up draft boards rapidly. Coming into the season, Knox was the typical five-star, Kentucky one-and-done prospect that was surely a top-10 pick with massive upside. After an up-and-down season at Kentucky, Knox was pegged as a late lottery pick, but has now risen back into a potential top-10 pick due to his athleticism and upside. His jumpshot needs to improve but has a very high ceiling as a three or four. He played more small forward at Kentucky which could be a reason he did not hit his full potential, partially because that is where he had to play but the rumor is he also went to Kentucky because he knew they need a small forward.
Knox and the Knicks could work very well together as Knox fits well as a stretch four where his game could take a step forward just with the position switch. Knox will also get time to blossom and develop on his own while Porzingis returns from a torn ACL, and upon his return, Porzingis is very capable of playing the five next to Knox which gives the Knicks a skilled, athletic and modern frontcourt.
10. Philadelphia Sixers (via Lakers through Suns)
Mikal Bridges | F | Villanova
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 200 lbs. | Age: 22 | Wingspan: 7’2”
This pick seems like it is almost too good of a fit. Bridges is a two-time champion from Villanova, located in Philadelphia, and is the only upperclassmen that will be selected in the lottery. While he was not the leader of the Villanova Wildcats, see Jalen Brunson, he was arguably the best player and is one of the best fits into the current NBA of this class. At 6’7” with a 7’2” wingspan Bridges is extremely versatile on defense and has the potential to guard four positions in the NBA. He also improved his 3-point shooting every year he was in school and is ready to come in with a clean spot-up shooting game that fits perfectly with the Sixers.
Bridges may not have quite as much upside due to his age, although in no way is 22 old and we have seen many upperclassmen become stars, but Bridges has a winning mentality and is fine being a great player without the spotlight. He fits perfectly next to the likes of Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, and the other young pieces that Philly will run with. One of Bridges’ closest comparisons is even Robert Covington who made the All-NBA Defensive First team for 2017-2018.
The Sixers already play an incredibly positionless style of basketball and need more shooting to space the floor thanks to the fact that Ben Simmons is actually shooting with the wrong hand, and Bridges is considered both the safest and most NBA-ready player at this point in the draft. He would not impact a non-playoff team as much, plus he played in Philly already and would have unconditional love from the fans.
11. Charlotte Hornets
Collin Sexton | G | Alabama
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 183 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6’7”
The Kemba Walker era in the Charlotte seems to be over as well as Michael Jordan drafting on instinct now that Mitch Kupchak is there to keep Jordan in check (hey that kinda rhymes). Sexton compares favorably to how Walker projected coming out of school. Sexton is a hardworking, scoring point guard that needs to work on his jumpshot. He does come in to the draft a little stronger and more athletic than Walker, but both had a similar college experience in leading their teams to success. Walker obviously had more success as he made his UConn team into a conference champion and national champion while Alabama did not make it past the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Sexton does have incredible drive and a work ethic that should give him a reasonable floor even if he does not end up hitting his ceiling. Sexton was an unranked, three-star recruit after his Junior year of high school that worked his way up to a five-star, top-ten recruit. Sexton went to Alabama and played under former NBA head coach Avery Johnson that seems to be a great decision in hindsight. Johnson is respected around the NBA and had some very high praise for Sexton throughout the year. He even played the last ten minutes of Alabama’s game against Minnesota as just one of three players still active. Despite play three-on-five for over ten minutes, Sexton led a charge and outscored Minnesota during that stretch. He also took on full leadership and showed his ability to take over a game as Alabama showed up in the SEC conference tournament with multiple big wins to lock up their bid to the NCAA tournament.
Sexton hit big shot after big shot in games that mattered and even hit big threes and free throws when it mattered. Whether or not Charlotte keeps Kemba Walker this season, Sexton is the type of player that has the upside to be an All-Star level player and leader of a team thanks to his combination of athleticism, current skill set, and extreme work ethic.
12. LA Clippers (via Detroit)
Miles Bridges | F | Michigan State
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 220 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 6’9”
The second ‘M Bridges’ of the draft continues to seem to fall out of the top-10 which could end up being the hindsight mistake of this draft. He’s nearly 6’7” with a decent wingspan, but is extremely athletic. He is a leaper that has had multiple SportsCenter top-10 dunks in the same game before who is also strong. He played the four most of his freshman year but after he decided to stay for a sophomore season, Bridges had to switch down to the three.
After playing a little out-of-position, Bridges put up essentially the same numbers which shows his versatility and willingness to change his game for the team. One knock on him is that he seems to be too nice and does not carry the killer instinct required to take the next step. While maybe he is a very nice person that cares about the team, he also showed a sense of leadership to finish games throughout his time at Michigan State. He has a reliable jump shot that he can hit off-the-catch but also started to show an ability to shoot off the dribble. His free throw shooting improved immensely from 68.5% as a freshman to 85.3% as a sophomore – that is a great indicator for his shooting at the next level. He needs to work on his handling in order for him to continue to grow as a playmaker. At times his defensive motor falters but he has shown the skills and athleticism that indicates he can be a good and versatile defender at the next level.
His stock took a hit because he stayed at Michigan State for his sophomore season after being a possible top-10 pick had he left, though he is actually not that far off from many freshman in this draft in terms of age. If Bridges finds his motor he has the skills and body to be a potential star, but he’s a tad small to be an everyday power forward.
13. LA Clippers
Lonnie Walker IV | G/F | Miami (FL)
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 196 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6’10”
A scout’s dream, Walker is a long and super-athletic wing player. His jump shot is very smooth, he plays good defense, and took on a larger scoring role once fellow Miami-guard Bruce Brown broke his foot in January. The theme of this year’s draft seems to be finding the next Donovan Mitchell, which is seemingly impossible as Mitchell’s season is an outlier rather than something to look for. If there were to be candidates for that late lottery star Walker is one of the headliners for that category.
While no one should expect a Mitchell-esque season from any rookie, Walker possesses the upside that should make teams very excited. After already taking Miles Bridges, the Clippers have the potential to get two very athletic players that will well in today’s NBA of two-way, versatile players. Walker has the potential to be a go-to scorer as well as a solid defender but he does need to sharpen some of his skills. He is not the best playmaker in terms of passing and vision and is not the smartest off-ball player. If he stops settling for pull-up jumpers, learns to play better within an offense, and tacks on some muscle he has the potential to be pretty special.
14. Denver Nuggets
Zhaire Smith | F/G | Texas Tech
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 195 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6’9”
If we are talking athletes, there is no need to look anywhere else besides Zhaire Smith. He can leap out of the gym and it looks like he may never come down when he goes for a dunk. Smith was originally not supposed to be coming into the draft this year but his explosion this season and elite athleticism has rocketed him into the lottery. While he is 6’4” Smith played small forward at Texas Tech which may make it a harder transition for him to the NBA.
He is a classic raw athlete that has immense upside, but may not contribute right away. His defense and length plays well into the NBA and he is skilled enough to guard one-through-three. While the Nuggets already have two guards that have shown they will stick around for a long time, Smith may actually stick with the same position he played at small forward if he develops enough to crack the starting lineup. Wilson Chandler has a player option for 2018-19 which could allow Smith time to develop his raw talent into a complete game. He is not the best playmaker right away, but has a good enough IQ with the ball in his hand to not make the wrong play. With Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Nikola Jokic as the future of the team, and Paul Millsap for the near future, Smith also won’t be asked to be doing any extreme playmaking which could help him develop the skills that best suit him right now.
There are many rumors about the Nuggets shopping this pick to get off of Kenneth Faried’s contract, and there are a few teams that have been rumored to want to trade up for Zhaire Smith, so even if we do not see the Nuggets make this pick, there is a decent chance Smith gets selected here anyways. Reportedly, the Nuggets would love to move up into the middle of the top-10 as well.
15. Washington Wizards
Robert Williams | C/F | Texas A&M
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 237 lbs. | Age: 21 | Wingspan: 7’5”
This is another spot that could be traded in an effort to clear cap space since the Wizards are going to be a capped out playoff team that is not a contender. If they keep this pick, Robert Williams makes the most sense here. The Wizards are set for the future in the backcourt and on the wing with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, and even Kelly Oubre and Tomas Satoransky off the bench. The Wizards also have nearly $35 million guaranteed across three centers for 2018-19 in Marcin Gortat, Jason Smith, and Ian Mahinmi; none of which fit great with the modern NBA, nor are they part of the future of the team. We also saw Gortat take frustrations with the team public and the locker room issues with the Wizards seem to be real.
In steps Williams, a slightly undersized five that can fit in with the current roster and current NBA. Williams was a highly touted recruit coming into the 2016-17 college season and surprisingly stayed for his sophomore season which probably cost him a few million dollars due to his stock falling. He has had a few off-the-court problems of his own, but is a talented and athletic center that does not need the ball to make an impact.
While he may not impact the game right away like some of the earlier big men in this draft, Williams is a rim-running, leaping and athletic center that is going to help solidify the Wizards’ defense. He has had comparisons to DeAndre Jordan and Clint Capela which are very real if he hits his upside, though he is smaller than both and needs to add muscle. He could very well turn out to be an All-Defensive quality center, but do not expect him to be stretching the offense past the three-point line. He made zero of his 12 3-point attempts last season as well as just 47% of his free throw attempts. That will need to be an area he continues to work on in order to not get run off the floor late in games. It may take a few years to break out similar to the likes of Clint Capela, but Williams should provide a lob finisher, offensive putback, defensive center that has become an important piece to teams, though he needs to keep his off-the-court problems in check.
16. Phoenix Suns (via Heat)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander | G | Kentucky
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 6’11”
One of the more intriguing point guards in this draft, SGA could definitely surprise people and be taken near the top-10. At 6’6” with long arms, Gilgeous-Alexander has the length and defensive skills to guard multiple positions. While he is not the strongest player, his length may be able to even allow him to not be a liability when switched onto bigs.
SGA did not start the season as a starter for Kentucky but eventually took the role and ran with it. He played like he knew he was the best player on the team and needed to help lead them with a quiet confidence. He is more of a true-point guard with his playmaking potential and lack of go-to scoring right now, but has the potential to be a very good complementary scorer. He only attempted 57 3-pointers at college, hitting 40% of them. While the attempt numbers are very low due to the fact that he is indeed not a great shooter, his 82% from the free throw line gives reason to believe he can develop a jumper with time. The jumper does not look pretty at times but he provides great ability to run a pick and roll and use his length to finish with finesse.
He is not the best athlete and needs to improve his strength since he won’t be blowing past people like some of the top point guards, but pairing Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and DeAndre Ayton with a defensive, pass-first point guard makes for a very bright future. If SGA falls to this pick the Suns will be thrilled due to the potential and the fit combination, but do not be surprised if SGA is taken closer to where the other top point guards are selected.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Elie Okobo | G | Pau-Orthez
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 180 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: N/A
For the third time in four years the Milwaukee Bucks are selecting 17 overall and would love to see some more success than in those prior years. While the Bucks had some sneaky good selections in the second round – Malcolm Brogdon (not really sneaky), Patrick McCaw and Sterling Brown are all NBA-level talents – their first round success has been lacking. The Bucks are not afraid of taking a player a little earlier than they are consensus ranked nor are they afraid of taking a foreign player.
Okobo was not in the first round of Mock Draft Volume 1, but it seems now like he will be going in the first round after the lottery. While Okobo is 6’3” and is listed as a point guard in most places, he grew up playing the two and has a skillset that is best suited as on off ball scorer. His ball handling needs to improve and will turn the ball over too often occasionally, but these issues can easily be masked on the Bucks. With Brogdon, Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo locked in for the future (barring trades) and Eric Bledsoe around for likely only one more year, the Bucks have enough guard skills split across multiple players that will allow Okobo to do what he does best: score.
He has a great jump shot as shown by the combination of 41.3% from behind the arc, on a massive 172 attempts, and 83.5% from the free throw line. He can shoot off-the-dribble as well as off-the-ball. His at-rim finishing is fairly advanced for a 6’3” guard and he can finish awkward layups in traffic as well as occasionally surprise by throwing down a dunk. While his handle needs to improve, he still has good combo guard skills that are shown in passing off-the-dribble and in set plays. When engaged he has shown good defensive potential as a long point guard, but also will not be asked to guard the top wing players as long as Middleton and Brogdon are healthy. While Okobo is ranked closer to the 20s in most rankings, the Bucks’ willingness to take foreign players and willingness to reach meshed with Okobo’s long term fit at guard make this a great match.
18. San Antonio Spurs
Troy Brown Jr. | G/F | Oregon
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 208 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6’10”
Troy Brown seems like a perfect Spur whether Kawhi Leonard is with the team or not. He’s got great size and length for a two or three that will allow him to guard opposing twos, threes, and be okay switching onto fours if he adds muscle. While he got beat by quicker, more athletic point guards at times, he still fits the NBA’s 3-and-D prototype while also bringing some playmaking potential.
He’s got great vision and throws accurate passes that will help stretch the defense out. His ball-handling is a bit basic at times and needs to expand his dribble moves, but his length and passing ability will help keep defenders on their toes. He also adds a high IQ and good off-ball skills. He knows how to cut, stay engaged on defense, play team defense, rebounds well for his size and does not try to do too much. He did only shoot just 29% from three, his 74.3% from the charity stripe is a bit encouraging relative to the 3-point number. Given the Spurs’ culture and needs with Leonard most likely gone, they would be thrilled to get Brown at 18 as a possible replacement – though there’s not truly a replacement to Kawhi Leonard.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Timberwolves)
Dzanan Musa | F | Bosnia and Herzegovina
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 195 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6’8”
Musa was the pick for the Hawks in the previous mock draft and they make a lot of sense for the European scorer. This is the second of three picks for the Hawks in the first round and they are either taking a two-way big or Luka Doncic with their No. 3 overall pick, meaning that scoring on the wing is still going to be a need for them.
Musa is not going to be a much of factor on defense as he has very short arms and is not much of an athlete. He is 6’9” but with a wingspan shorter than his height and a very lean body and needs to add both muscle and quickness to survive on defense. On the other end Musa is a very intriguing prospect that should be able to find success scoring the ball. As a wing scorer that can succeed both on and off-the-ball, Musa should have a decent height advantage over most of the opposing defense. He won’t blow past anyone but has a craftiness about him that allows him to be a finesse finisher as well as a very confident shooter from anywhere on the floor.
Musa may need a few years to fully refine his game which is why he fits perfectly with Atlanta. They are not planning on going anywhere in the next few years which is just what Musa needs. He’ll have a green light to play his game, make or miss, which should allow him to gain a certain level of comfort alongside the rest of the young core.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Thunder)
Jerome Robinson | G | Boston College
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 188 lbs. | Wingspan: 6’7”
Robinson is another player that was not in the first round of the original mock draft but teams seem to really like him. He is a true combo guard that has potential to fill either the one or the two. His quickness and length should allow him to guard multiple positions as long as he stays engaged.
Robinson has a very nice handle and knows how to use his moves to create space for himself. He is also a very advanced shooter as he shot 40.9% from three on 198 attempts as well 83% from the free throw line. The Timberwolves have a few question marks in the backcourt as they seemingly want to get rid of Andrew Wiggins’ contract and Jeff Teague was very inconsistent. Robinson has the potential to fill Jamal Crawford’s role right away as well as potentially slide into the starting lineup if/when they make changes to the backcourt.
21. Utah Jazz
Kevin Huerter | G/F | Maryland
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 194 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 6’7”
Huerter was apparently given a first round promise which is what allowed him to stay in the draft and the reports are the Jazz really like the guy. At 6’7” he’s a lights-out shooter and a very high-IQ player that should fit in well with the Jazz culture.
While he’s not a great athlete or very long, Huerter is not afraid on defense. No matter how good or bad the matchup he will grind possessions and not be afraid of being beat as long as he was trying hard. His playmaking is another plus for him and his fit with Utah. If the Jazz do not plan on keeping Ricky Rubio long term and want to shift Donovan Mitchell down to point guard, Huerter will be a good complementary playmaker even if he won’t beat you off the dribble. He needs to force fewer passes to avoid turnovers, but if the Jazz want a good fit both on and off-the-court, Huerter seems like a no brainer for them. He did undergo surgery on his right hand recently but is fully expected to be ready for the offseason program.
22. Chicago Bulls (via Pelicans)
Chandler Hutchison | G/F | Boise State
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 193 lbs. | Age: 22 | Wingspan: N/A
Hutchison is another player that was reportedly offered a promise by a team late in the first round and there are reasons to believe it was from the Bulls. The front office has talked up how the team wants to add athletic wings that will impact the game on both ends, Hutchison could be the pick no matter who the Bulls select at No. 7.
Hutchison was the featured player at Boise State which could actually hurt his outlook as he was asked to do much more than his skillset shows he can. His off-the-dribble shooting is not quite there yet, but he did completely change his shooting motion and became a very reliable spot-up shooter that can translate into the NBA. With a more reduced role, but still treated as part of a young core, Hutchison should be able to thrive in the modern NBA as a 3-and-D wing with playmaking potential. He still needs to get quicker if he truly wants to be a multi-positional defender. Despite his underwhelming success as a go-to scorer in college, he still got the experience of being that guy which should be able to give him confidence going into the NBA compared to other players that were never put in a similar role.
23. Indiana Pacers
Aaron Holiday | G | UCLA
Height: 6’0” | Weight: 187 lbs. | Age: 22 | Wingspan: 6’7″
Holiday is a small, but long, scoring point guard. He is the younger brother of Jrue and Justin Holiday, two players that are well respected in NBA locker rooms. Holiday needs to get quicker if he wants to be a full time starter as he occasionally has trouble guarding and getting past quicker players. His 6’7” wingspan will surely help him make up for his 6’0” height.
Holiday has basketball in his blood and you can tell when watching him. He’s not wowing anyone with his athleticism, but he’s an intelligent playmaker that plays hard on defense. He can shoot from deep both off-the-dribble and on catch-and-shoot. He also has experience playing the one and two as he played alongside Lonzo Ball in Ball’s only year at UCLA. The Pacers could use a scorer off the bench while Darren Collison is still in town, and Holiday could even turn out to be a starter next to Victor Oladipo if he hits his upside.
24. Portland Trail Blazers
Khyri Thomas | G/F | Creighton
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 199 lbs. | Age: 22 | Wingspan: 6’10”
Long, athletic, defense, shooting. There is not much about Thomas’ game to dislike at the back end of the first round. At 6’3” with a monstrous 6’10” wingspan, Thomas brings an elite defensive game along with an offensive game that improved throughout his college career.
His tenacity, lateral movement, versatility, and strong frame are what brought him back-to-back Big East defensive player of the year awards. He also seems NBA-ready to a degree as he has a strong frame and legs, a good spot-up jump shot, and can switch onto multiple positions on defense.
His offense took a massive step forward his last season at college and while he still needs to work on it, Thomas a capable playmaker. He can be a complementary ball handler and has the athleticism to beat slower defenders off the dribble to compliment his own jumper. The Blazers have been linked to Thomas, who has interviewed with a ton of teams, and would fit in whether or not the dynamic backcourt duo remains intact.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via Cavs)
Mitchell Robinson | C | Chalmette High School
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 215 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 7’4”
The Lakers took Robinson in the first mock draft and the pick does not change in this update. With the Lakers being tied to Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and LeBron James, some foresight into needing a center could be the play here. Even if the Lakers strike out on all three superstar wings, they already have Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma, among others, who look to be the future of the wings for the team. Robinson is oozing with potential, but is not quite NBA ready yet
He decided to forego his college career to train for the NBA and avoid injury. His athleticism is off the charts and may be able to make a few highlight reel dunks right away, but other than that he will need time to polish his game. While the public has not gotten to see what Robinson has done in his year off from competition, he projects to be very raw coming into the NBA. His mobility will allow him to be a rim protect and rebounder, but there is a lot of coaching that needs to be done. This is another reason the Lakers may be in play for Robinson. With the pieces of the core seemingly in place, Robinson should be able to learn and grow with young athletes and a young coach. This is a pick that projects to pay dividends in a few years rather than right away.
26. Philadelphia Sixers
Josh Okogie | G/F | Georgia Tech
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 211 lbs. | Age: 20 | Wingspan: 7’0”
The Sixers already took one 3-and-D wing with their earlier selection of Mikal Bridges and but with the heavy emphasis on wing players in today’s NBA, Okogie still makes sense here. They also do not have many spots open in the rotation, have four second round picks and no general manager currently which will make for an interesting night in Philly.
Okogie was arguably the biggest winner from the combine and slots in at the mid-20s as a guard/forward that can play on both ends of the floor. His athleticism and length will allow him to fit into Philly’s positionless system perfectly. He’s not the most adept playmaker, but his energy, shooting, and defense could be useful right away.
27. Boston Celtics
De’Anthony Melton | G | USC
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 193 | Wingspan: 6’8”
A combo guard formerly of USC, Melton did not play in his sophomore season due to connections with the FBI investigation into the corruption in college basketball. Because of this, Melton has seen his stock slip into the late first round or early second round solely due to the fact that teams do not have much recent film on him.
Melton is a 6’3” combo guard that has long arms and is a menace on defense and the glass. Melton has no questions about effort on either side of the ball and is extremely versatile. While he is just 6’3”, his high motor and long arms help him guard taller players. He has clean fundamentals and stays engaged off-the-ball. While his offensive game is not quite as a polished, he still does provide some of the point guard skills the Celtics could use off the bench. With Terry Rozier’s and Marcus Smart’s futures up in the air, Melton gives the Celtics a guy they can plug into their system right away and jell perfectly thanks to extreme versatility.
28. Golden State Warriors
Jacob Evans | F/G | Cincinnati
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 200 lbs. | Age: 21 | Wingspan: 6’9”
This draft drops off after 15-16 picks but is fairly level after that. The difference between 20 and 40 in this draft may not be that different compared to other drafts and that is not good for the rest of the league. Why? Because the Warriors have pick 28 and have been rumored to be in the market for buying another second rounder
Evans is exactly what the Warriors need. He’s a 3-and-D wing that plays hard and smart. He’s not the best athlete or playmaker but projects to be a very good on and off-ball defender that has good shooting touch. He knows what he can do but also knows what he cannot do. At times this has actually hindered him from trying to make a tougher play or create a tougher shot, but the fact that he avoids bad plays is a plus for the role he is projected to have in the NBA. The league should be scared that the Warriors are most likely going to get an impact 3-and-D wing with this pick.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via Raptors)
Grayson Allen | G | Duke
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 198 | Wingspan: 6’7”
Grayson Allen may be the most misunderstood prospect in this draft. While there are concerns about his tripping incidents at Duke that gave him a bad name, Allen is one of the most competitive players in the draft. At 6’4” he’s not a shooter, but an athlete that is also good at shooting. Allen was one of the beneficiaries of the combine as he tested well in every category, not to mention he was the McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk champion. A lot of buzz around Allen lately has been that his on-court problems have come out of competitiveness and you can even see him crying after being benched after one of the incidents.
Allen was a senior starting alongside four freshmen this past season and took a big step forward in his leadership. If you can get past the incidents that sports talk shows will never let go, Allen is a very hard working, talented and competitive basketball player that could end up being a steal at the end of the first round.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets)
Anfernee Simons | G | IMG Academy
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 183 lbs. | Age: 19 | Wingspan: 6’9”
The same pick that the Hawks had in Mock Draft Volume 1, Simons makes a lot of sense for the Hawks. He did not go to college but rather a graduate year at IMG Academy where he continued to play. Simons can shoot the lights out and is athletic to play above the rim at the high school level, but there are major concerns about how he will fit into the NBA right away. The Hawks are not going anywhere and that is what they want. This is their third pick in the first round and with Dennis Schroeder good enough to start while also not being part of their future, the Hawks are the perfect match with Simons if he were to go in the first round.
In: Elie Okobo, Jerome Robinson, De’Anthony Melton, Grayson Allen
Out: Shake Milton, Donte DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson, Keita Bates-Diop
August 20, 2019, 11:55 amDwight HowardC, Memphis Grizzlies
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Lakers are planning individual workouts to evaluate centers Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard and Mo Speights this week in Los Angeles.
Marcin Gortat is also in the Lakers’ radar as the team is actively looking to sign another big after DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL last week. Speights spent the last season in China after 10 years in the NBA while Gortat remains overseas and it’s unclear whether he will be back to Los Angeles for a workout with the team.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
August 20, 2019, 11:37 amAaron GordonPF, Orlando Magic
Aaron Gordon is re-embracing his inner big man by spending a part of his offseason trying to refine his post-game.
Gordon certainly has room for growth as a post-up player. Last season, he got the ball on the post 219 times, the rub however, was that he shot just 40.4 percent on his 114 shot attempts out of the post, while handing out just 13 assists and turning the ball over 12 times. AG’s greatest weapon defensively has always been his versatility and now with a more firm offensive understanding beneath him, it appears the next step for him is to expand that versatility on both ends of the floor. When guarded by lighter small forwards, he wants to be able to use his chiseled body as a battering ram in the post to create point-blank looks, and when he’s being checked by slower power forwards, he thinks he will have major advantages with his quickness and footwork to get to the rim for easy opportunities. Gordon added that the Magic are welcoming raised expectations for next year due to the group’s collective will to improve this offseason and his work ethic is something that should make fantasy owners excited for next season.
August 20, 2019, 11:12 amDwight HowardC, Memphis Grizzlies
Appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Brian Windhorst said that he thinks Dwight Howard coming back to the Lakers is probably not going to happen.
“I don’t think it’s a very likely marriage,” Windhorst said. “I think the Lakers right now are doing their due diligence and Joakim Noah is another guy they have looked at.” Howard is still under contract with the Grizzlies and the Lakers were granted permission to talk to the former All-Star but health issues might be the reason they are hesitant to make a move for him right now. With DeMarcus Cousins likely out for the entire year the Lakers are in need of somebody who can be healthy and give them a few minutes off the bench, but neither Howard nor Noah have been able to avoid injuries the last few seasons. Howard only played in nine games last year with the Wizards before undergoing a lumbar microdiscotemy in November while Noah has struggled to stick on a roster after leaving the Bulls in 2016 and playing in just 53 games with the Knicks.
August 20, 2019, 9:10 amKyle AlexanderC, Miami Heat
While the Heat looks to be done offering standard contracts this offseason barring a trade, it still has room to sign two players to two-way deals.
Miami’s roster currently includes 17 players, with three of them, Kyle Alexander, Chris Silva and Jeremiah Martin eligible for two-way contracts. Because the Heat has no room under the hard cap to sign any more players to a standard contract, it’s trying to entice players to sign Exhibit 10 contracts with the expectation that they will have a legitimate chance to earn a two-way contract during training camp. The trio will be among those competing in September for a two-way contract, but even if they make the team, they are far away from having any fantasy value.
Source: Miami Herald
August 20, 2019, 8:58 amTacko FallC, Boston Celtics
Tacko Fall’s agent, Justin Haynes, said that if the Celtics cut his client, he believes another NBA team will give the big man an opportunity.
“If the Celtics release him, I don’t think he goes unclaimed,” said Haynes. “I think somebody will take a shot on him because he’s done enough to show he can find a place in the NBA.” Fall was arguably the most popular player at Las Vegas Summer League and he signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Celtics, which is essentially a training camp invite. It’s probably unlikely that Boston keeps him past the preseason though as Fall’s game still needs a lot of development while the team has already filled their two-way contracts. And while his agent is doing all the due diligence, he is probably right saying that another team could potentially take a flier on the Senegalese center.
Source: Boston Globe
August 20, 2019, 8:46 amMoritz WagnerPF, Washington Wizards
German national team coach Henrik Rodl announced on Monday that Moritz Wagner was cut from the FIBA World Cup roster.
This might look surprising but Wagner is coming off a year where he rarely stepped into game action, while he looked out of shape in the Summer League last month. It also doesn’t help that Maxi Kleber and Daniel Theis are expected to receive the majority of the minutes in his position. Germany will now travel to China with 13 players and one more cut must be made before the start of the tournament. Wagner on the other hand will have even more time to prepare for the upcoming season with the Wizards.
August 19, 2019, 9:31 pmJerryd BaylessPG, International
Jerry Bayless has signed a deal with CBA club the Sichuan Blue Whales.
Bayless may have a little bit left in his tank. However, given his mileage, it's unlikely that the 10-year veteran will be making a return to the NBA any time soon.
August 19, 2019, 9:21 pmJ.J. BareaPG, Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs have officially signed veteran J.J. Barea to a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum.
Given his age (35) and the fact that he's coming off recovery from a torn right Achilles, we do not expect many fantasy-relevant minutes to be produced by the 12-year NBA vet.
Source: Tim McMahon on Twitter
August 19, 2019, 8:57 pmCam ReddishPF, Atlanta Hawks
In a survey conducted of the 2019 NBA rookies, Cam Reddish was voted as most likely to have the best career.
Reddish came through with 19 percent of the vote, which does point to an even spread across multiple nominees. The result of the survey comes as a bit of surprise considering all the pre-draft hype that accompanied Zion Williamson. For what it's worth, Zion was voted most likely to win ROY. On Reddish's end, we'd like to see him address his current stat set issues, mainly associated with scoring efficiency, before anointing him as a top-tier dynasty league draft target.
August 18, 2019, 11:21 pmBogdan BogdanovicSG, Sacramento Kings
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a team-high 28 points in Serbia's 85-80 win over Greece on Sunday.
Serbia will be a tough team to beat in the 2019 FIBA World Cup thanks to Bogdanovic, Nikola Jokic and Nemanja Bjelica among others. Bjelica put up 18 points and 14 rebounds as well. They were able to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 20 points. This is one of the teams that could sneak up on Team USA and pull out a win.