Our last NBA Mock Draft was at the end of the 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, G, Washington. If Danny Ainge wanted, he could threaten to draft Lonzo Ball, and get something from the Lakers for free. That may happen. He may even get to unload a bad contract.
2. LA Lakers – Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA. A dream come true for Magic Johnson, LaVar Ball, everyone. This is great for the NBA.
4. Phoenix – Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas. Suns fans have to be a bit excited, as Jackson is the SF they’ve been searching for since Shawn Marion left.
5. Sacramento – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky. The Kings are barren, but Fox will be a star very quickly.
6. Orlando – Jonathan Isaac, SF, FSU. Franchise in flux. Lots of questions. In a draft with five potential franchise players, Isaac may have the next most potential.
7. Minnesota – Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky. Doesn’t do much outside of shoot, but he’s got unlimited potential in that department. This has to be a playoff team … right?
8. New York – Dennis Smith, PG, NC State. Knicks fans are disappointed, but Smith has Damian Lillard-type potential as a scoring guard.
9. Dallas – Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona. Run wild with all the Next Dirk chatter. Go for it.
11. Charlotte – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga. Breakout star in the NCAA Tournament could give the NBA its first white PF-C combo (with Frank Kaminsky) in the NBA in years.
12. Detroit – Frank Ntilikina, PG, France. Turns 19 this summer. Reggie Jackson is on the books for three more years, but Ntilikina could be a contributor off the bench as a rookie.
13. Denver – Justin Jackson, SF, UNC. Very good two-way talent. Jokic will command more double teams next year, and between Jamal Murray and Jackson, this should be a playoff team.
14. Miami Heat – Terrance Ferguson, SG. Five-star recruit played in Australia last season, turns 19 next season. Heat need as many shooters as they can around Whiteside.
15. Chicago – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke. The 2nd best shooter in the draft goes to a team that only made 7.6 three-pointers a game – 28th in the NBA.
16. Portland – Justin Patton, C, Creighton. The addition of Nurkic complicates the center spot because they’re hopeful Meyers Leonard develops. Trade coming?
17. Milwaukee – Dwayne Bacon, SG, Florida State. The Bucks key area of improvement is finding a scorer at the 2/3, and Bacon (17.2 ppg) qualifies.
18. Indiana – Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse. Feels like Paul George is gone, right? Lydon next to Myles Turner certainly has potential.
19. Portland (via Memphis) – Rodions Kurucs, SF, Spain. Draft-and-stash teenager who could arrive in a couple years for the Blazers.
20. Atlanta – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas. Raw but insanely athletic and long. By the time Dwight Howard really annoys them, Allen should be ready.
21. Oklahoma City – Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville. Averaged 15.6 ppg as a sophomore, and will provide guard depth behind Victor Oladipo.
22. Brooklyn (via Washington) – OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana. His dunk reel alone might help boost ticket sales for the Nets, who were 28th in attendance.
23. Portland (via Cleveland) – Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke. Lottery talent, but can he stay healthy. Blazers capped out.
24. Utah – Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State. Could eventually be the backup to Dante Exum in a Patty Mills-type role.
25. Toronto – Frank Jackson, PG, Duke. Long term insurance for when Kyle Lowry leaves.
26. Orlando (via Toronto) – Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky. Overpaid for Bismack Biyombo, have two years left of Nikola Vucevic. Then, Bam!
27. Brooklyn (via Boston) – Jordan Bell, F, Oregon. Could play PF alongside Brook Lopez.
28. LA Lakers (via Houston) – Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky. Ridiculous upside, but not ready to contribute for at least a year.
29. San Antonio – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA. Extremely raw, but that’s perfect for the Spurs, who will let him develop in the D-League for a year.
30. Utah – Tyler Dorsey, SG, Oregon. Joe Johnson turns 36 next month. This may be high for Dorsey, but he shot 41 percent on 3’s at Oregon.