Our last NBA Mock Draft was after the lottery on May 16th. Before that, we had one at the end of the NBA regular season. Prior to that, we did one before the NCAA Tournament. You’ll recognize many of the names below from the 50 Best Players in College Basketball list. Last June, we took a way-too-early look at the 2017 NBA lottery.
1. Boston – Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington. If they keep it, and I don’t think they will, they’ll take the franchise point guard.
2. LA Lakers – Lonzo Ball, PG, Lakers. Don’t fall for all the smokescreens. Josh Jackson is a great player, I think he’s got #1 talent, but right now, I don’t see the Lakers passing on Lonzo.
3. Philadelphia – Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas. Nobody’s surging at the top of the draft like Jackson. His length, along with Ben Simmons on the perimeter and Joel Embiid inside, will be terrifying in about two years.
4. Phoenix – Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State. Rapidly rising, despite having no position and still being raw, the 6-foot-10 Isaac shot 34 percent on 3-pointers at FSU. Between Isaac and 19-year old Marquese Chriss up front, the Suns will be versatile and very fun to watch.
5. Sacramento – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky. The Kings desperately need a point guard, and if the 76ers can give the hard sell that they want Fox at #3, it’ll be fascinating to see what the Kings are willing to give up to get their guy.
6. Orlando – Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke. Bullish on his pro prospects, think he’ll be better sooner than Jackson, and I believe their ceilings are about equal.
7. Minnesota – Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky. The Timberwolves were 30th in the NBA in 3-point field goals made per game, and also last in attempts per game. Monk will change that.
8. New York – Dennis Smith, PG, NC State. I’ve got him as the 4th best point guard in the draft, and the Knicks haven’t had a good one in years.
9. Dallas – Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona. You already know how bullish I am on him.
10. Sacramento – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke. It’s a coin flip as to whether or not he’s the best shooter in the draft. Is it crazy to call his ceiling … Allan Houston?
11. Charlotte – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga. Wide range of opinions on Collins, from “he should have stayed in school!” to “Top 7!” I think he can be better than Cody Zeller at both ends.
12. Detroit – Frank Ntilikina, PG. Reggie Jackson’s going to be their point guard for the next three years, but if the Pistons stash Ntilikina overseas for a year, then have him learn the ropes, he could be the starter by 23. Or, they could start him in the D-league, like Atlanta did with Dennis Schröder.
13. Denver – OG Anunoby, F, Indiana. If the Nuggets move Wilson Chandler this summer, Anunoby is the ideal replacement – an athletic wing who can play defense. Down the road, hopefully he can make 3-pointers.
14. Miami – Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville. Buzzy name in the draft because of his athleticism. Pat Riley’s cooking something in South Beach. Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Mitchell would be an athletic, fast trio.
15. Portland – Justin Jackson, SF, UNC. Every contender in the West should be looking at wings to match the firepower of Klay/Iguodala/Durant. Impossible to achieve, but upgrading the wings are a priority.
16. Chicago – Harry Giles, C, Duke. If you watched the Blue Devils this year, you didn’t see the full potential Giles. In high school, at times, Jay Bilas thought Giles looked like a young Chris Webber.
17. Milwaukee – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas. The Greg Monroe experiment is going to end sooner than later. John Henson is serviceable, but Allen, who just turned 19, could be their future center.
18. Indiana – TJ Leaf, F, UCLA. The Kevin Love-for-Paul George talk is fun, but not all that realistic. Leaf could play the 4 with Myles Turner at the 5. Athletic, can space the floor … not bad.
19. Atlanta – John Collins, PF, Wake Forest. With Dwight Howard saying stupid things, and Paul Millsap opting out … start that front court rebuild.
20. Portland – Rodions Kurucs, SF, Spain. Blazers have such a full roster, they’ve got to stash at least one pick.
21. Oklahoma City – Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia. Hey Oladipo and Roberson – shoot 3-pointers at a higher clip.
22. Brooklyn – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA. Brook Lopez shot 31 three-pointers in his first eight season; 387 last year. The Nets are going nowhere, I’d try Lopez at some PF next year and Anigbogu at C because … why not?
23. Toronto – Frank Jackson, PG, Duke. If Kyle Lowry leaves, you’ve got Cory Joseph for probably two more years. Could Jackson take the baton after that?
24. Utah – Tyler Lydon, SF, Syracuse. Future insurance in case Gordon Hayward bails?
25. Orlando – Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky. When they’re done with Vucevic and Biyombo flames out, Bam will get his shot. It might be 2019, but …
26. Portland – Dwayne Bacon, SG, Florida State. Keep swinging on SG/SFs until you hit one.
27. Brooklyn – Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU. I’m a little more bullish on Ojeleye as a pro than many. Tough kid. Smart player. Phenomenal athlete.
28. LA Lakers – Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon. Because I think the Lakers could trade Julius Randle in a package for Paul George.
29. San Antonio – Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State. The new Patty Mills?
30. Utah – Justin Patton, C, Creighton. Turns 20 in June. Learns for a few years behind Rudy Gobert, becomes a trade chip, or the future.