We did an NBA Mock Draft two months ago, before the NCAA Tournament. Now that the NBA regular season is over, it’s time for another. Many players have declared for the draft; several remain undecided. The draft lottery is on May 16th, when we’ll find out the order. 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 (via Brooklyn) – Jayson Tatum, F, Duke. Have a glut of guards. In small-ball, Jaylen Brown can play the SF, Tatum the PF. Shot 34 percent on 3-pointers. A lot is dependent on how the Celtics do in the playoffs this year. That could determine the long-term future of Isaiah Thomas.
2 Phoenix – Josh Jackson, F, Kansas. Suns are loaded in the backcourt (Booker, Bledsoe, Knight, Ulis). Jackson is the small forward they’ve been looking for since Shawn Marion left in 2008.
3 LA Lakers – Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA. Probably an overreaction to the Kentucky game, but I wouldn’t take him here. Plus, it’s good to get away from Dad and cut the cord. The Lakers have to love this – local kid could be an ideal fit in Luke Walton’s offense.
4 Philadelphia – Markelle Fultz, G, Washington. Everyone has him 1st, and maybe I’m sleeping on him the way everyone did when he was in high school. A core of Fultz/Simmons/Saric/Embiid is potentially very scary to build around.
5 Orlando – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky. The Magic haven’t had an elite point guard since Penny Hardaway. Fox has elite potential. Witness his 39-point explosion against UCLA.
6 Minnesota – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga. I thought he should have stayed in school, and now I’ve got him this high? The Timberwolves were shockingly bad on defense for a Thibodeau team – bottom half of the league in everything. Collins + Towns will protect the rim.
7 New York – Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky. There’s a huge need at point guard, but if they can spread the floor with shooters like Monk, Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony … they could lead the league in 3-point attempts (tied for 20th this season).
8 Sacramento – Dennis Smith, PG, NC State. The Kings are in great shape with two Top 10 picks. Buddy Hield shot well in 24 games (48/42). Two point guards, Lawson and Collins, come off the books. Smith could start from Day 1.
9 Dallas – Lauri Markkanen, F/C, Arizona. Is it too perfect that a guy who has been compared to Dirk … goes to the Mavericks to be Dirk’s heir apparent? Given the way the NBA is trending, Markkanen could be a star, quickly.
10 Sacramento (via New Orleans). Jonathan Isaac, F, FSU. With Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore not in the long term plans, and nobody of consequence at PF (though Skal Labissiere looked good in spurts), Isaac makes complete sense here.
11 Charlotte – Frank Ntilikina, PG, Belgium. Was the MVP of the FIBA U18 European Championship in 2016. The leading scorer from that tournament, Bosnian Džanan Musa, will be a 1st round pick in 2018. It’s very possible Ntilikina surges into the Top 10 by June. Unlike Isaac and Markkanen struggling against kids from Xavier … Ntilikina is an unknown, and everyone loves the unknown. Read this. Or, watch this.
12 Detroit – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke. In a draft that’s devoid of shooting guards, Kennard may be the 2nd best. The Pistons went from playing the Cavs tough in the first round last year to the lottery. Suddenly, Reggie Jackson, KCP, Andre Drummond, Tobias Harris … questions loom.
13 Denver – OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana. Might be too high coming off the injury, but Wilson Chandler has two more years left on his deal, so there’s no need to rush him back next year anyway.
14 Miami – John Collins, F/C, Wake Forest. Keep an eye on the Chris Bosh situation this offseason. If the health issues force him into broadcasting, there’s a large void alongside Whiteside. Problem is, Collins isn’t a stretch 4.
15 Chicago – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
16 Portland – Justin Jackson, SF UNC
17 Milwaukee – Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia
18 Indiana – TJ Leaf, F, UCLA
19 Portland (via Memphis) – Ivan Rabb, PF, California
20 Atlanta – Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse
21 Oklahoma City – Tyler Dorsey, SG, Oregon
22 Brooklyn (via Washington) – Harry Giles, F/C, Duke
23 Portland (via Cleveland) – Justin Patton, C, Creighton
24 Utah – Rodions Kurucs, SF, Spain
25 Toronto – Dwayne Bacon, SF, Florida State
26 Orlando (via Toronto) – Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky
27 Brooklyn (via Boston) – Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State
28 LA Lakers (via Houston) – Jordan Bell, F, Oregon
29 San Antonio – Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia
30 Utah (via Golden State) – Bennie Boatwright, F, USC