Draft order based on standings through 1/15/20
1. Golden State Warriors -- James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Wiseman chose to forgo his remaining eligibility and prepare for the draft following his suspension, leaving us with a three-game sample size to evaluate his skills. He has a long way to go defensively, but put up 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in his brief college career. He's an outstanding athlete at his size and could theoretically develop a three-point shot. Wiseman makes for a natural fit in San Francisco as a long-term gamble with the athleticism to contribute to a winning team in the short term, pending the return of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
2. Atlanta Hawks -- Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
With no Wiseman in college basketball this year, Edwards could play his way into obvious No. 1 pick status with a good season, but falls to the second spot here. He's a gifted scorer with the athleticism to get where he wants and the shooting stroke to pair. He projects to eventually be an elite defender in the NBA, a must for any potential backcourt partner with Trae Young. Atlanta has used a lot of picks on wing players in the last two drafts, but Edwards is a local kid who can both score and defend, while their other picks can only do one or the other so far. His bad games have been really bad, but there's big boom potential here for Atlanta to find Young's No. 2.
3. New York Knicks -- LaMelo Ball, F, Australia
The Ball family and New York City has long seemed an inevitable pairing, and who am I to deny destiny? Ball has showed elite ballhandling and court vision for an 18-year-old overseas, but his shooting and scoring efficency leave a lot to be desired. But RJ Barrett looks like he's a long way away from being able to run an NBA offense, and giving Ball the keys would be beneficial for Barrett in the short and long run. This selection certainly wouldn't make the Knicks better defensively, but it would bring entertaining basketball back to Madison Square Garden, for better or for worse.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Deni Avdija, F, Israel
The Cavs grab a well-rounded, clearly talented forward to pair with their young backcourt here. Avdija has shown a remarkable offensive skillset overseas and is an especially gifted passer with a nasty streak. Those skills make him a good fit alongside the Sexton/Garland combo, but it's a tough defensive grouping. Still, the Cavs need talent more than anything, and without an obvious frontcourt selection, Avdija represents the best value.
5. Washington Wizards-- Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
Mannion has helped solidify his case as a lottery pick while averaging 14 points and six assists per game at Arizona. He won't wow anyone with his athleticism, but he's steady and clearly enjoys taking his opponents to task. Regardless of if John Wall ever returns to form, the Wizards need a long-term answer at point guard, and Mannion is a great fit next to Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura while capable of running the second team without missing a beat. This might be a little high for a player with his relatively limited ceiling, but it's a good match of need and talent in a weak draft.
6. New Orleans Pelicans -- Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
Haliburton has made a huge jump in his sophomore year to elevate Iowa State into the national conversation and gain the attention of NBA scouts everywhere. He's averaging 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 7.9 assists per game as the do-it-all point guard for the Cyclones. His form makes one worry about how well he'll be able to shoot the rock in the future, but his broad skillset is tantalizing, especially defensively. The Pelicans have youth at every position, and a wildcard like Haliburton with a super-high ceiling is exactly the type of prospect they should be going after, especially in a draft like this.
7. Chicago Bulls -- Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
McDaniels is a long wing/forward who has the skillset to fit next to Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. He's been very impressive at Washington this year on both sides of the ball; he can do everything offensively (including shooting from deep, which will be key for his development) and currently averages more than a steal and a block per game. Chicago has three players who either can currently score well or project to be able to in Markkanen, Coby White, and Zach LaVine. McDaniels is an elite glue piece who can fill in the margins, and potentially more.
8. Detroit Pistons -- Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Detroit needs a point guard and an infusion of talent badly. It seems likely they'll end up selecting higher than this spot, but unless they hop into the top three, Anthony is a natural fit. He's a talented scorer who has slid a bit in draft projections in the midst of a poor season at North Carolina. He doubles as both a pure point guard and someone who can go get a bucket when the team needs it most-- just what the Pistons need as they look to the future.
9. Charlotte Hornets -- Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
With Charlotte set in the backcourt for the foreseeable future with Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham, they nab Okongwu here as their rim-running center of the future. He has a lot of potential as a defender, even at a relatively-undersized 6'8", and would give the Hornets' offense the pick-and-roll center they're missing. A natural fit.
10. Sacramento Kings -- Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
The Kings shore up their defense here by taking Okoro, who has exhibited some impressive chops on that side of the ball early this college basketball season. His length and athleticism match his instincts, making him a disruptor on the perimeter. He can't shoot all that well but knows how to operate without the ball and has a feel for scoring inside. Sacramento doesn't necessarily need more scoring with De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield on the perimeter, so Okoro makes sense here.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Killian Hayes, PG, Germany
The Wolves need a traditional point guard badly after Jeff Teague fell off a cliff and the team has resorted to running Andrew Wiggins at the point. Fans might clamor for Tyrese Maxey, but he's more of a scorer, whereas Hayes has exhibited the ability to be a good distributor and scorer. There's a lot of work yet to be done with an 18-year-old international prospect, but all Minnesota needs in the short term is someone capable of running the offense and feeding Karl-Anthony Towns appropriately.
12. Phoenix Suns -- Obi Toppen, F, Dayton
The Suns fill out their lineup with a high-energy, productive forward with Toppen here. He's averaging nearly 20 points per contest on 63.2 percent shooting from the field and uses his upper-echelon athleticism to dominate in the paint. He's a bit of a tweener right now and doesn't seem quick enough to switch all five positions, but with a bit of work could end up a decent shooter and overcome any positional concerns. He's on the older side for a draft prospect, but the Suns have taken enough long-term developmental projects. He can contribute now in areas Phoenix needs.
13. Portland Trail Blazers -- Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Stewart is a double-double machine right now for the Huskies who would help fill the gap in the Blazers' frontcourt. He's more like Jusuf Nurkic than Zach Collins in that he's not afraid to battle down low for paint points and rebounds while setting hard screens. He doesn't have a terribly high ceiling but should be able to come in and contribute immediately, a much-needed quality for Portland as they're currently constructed.
14. San Antonio Spurs -- RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand
A prospect coming from abroad who appears to be a bit of a project? Hampton has Spurs written all over him. He has shown flashes of becoming an offensively dominant combo guard who can beat anyone off the dribble. His shot is suspect (nothing Chip Engelland can't fix, though) and his defensive effort comes and goes. But if the Spurs are looking for their next superstar and are willing to put in the time, Hampton could be a very good scorer for a long time.
15. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets) -- Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
Eventually, the Hawks will have to use a draft pick on a proper big, and it comes in the form of Nnaji. He's exhibited the ability to score inside and could be a dangerous presence inside when paired with Trae Young; he's happy to hang out in the paint while scoring off pinpoint passes and rebounding like a mad man. He has a loooot of issues to work out defensively, though.
16. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies) -- Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
The Celtics take advantage of their pick from the Grizzlies to take a chance on a high-upside prospect in Carey. He's impressed as the offensive centerpiece of Duke and could play his way up the draft boards as the season goes on. He's good at a lot but great at nothing, which could play against him. But the Celtics don't really have a singular player capable of doing everything he can at the position right now, and would be more than willing to take a chance on a prospect with his talent.
17. Orlando Magic -- Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
The Magic get lucky with a falling Maxey as the answer to their backcourt scoring issue. When Maxey is cooking, he can score from anywhere and hang 20 on any given opponent. He hasn't been very good as a distributor so far, but he can get buckets as well as anyone in the nation right now. He's a good defender who wouldn't compromise Orlando's scheme, making him a no-brainer selection for a team stocked with defensive frontcourt talent.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder -- Josh Green, SG, Arizona
This draft will vary more than most years, given the quality of prospects is relatively low and they aren't separated by much. But I feel confident in the Thunder taking Green, as I projected in my last mock draft. He fits the mold of every mid-round pick Sam Presti has used: uber-athletic, elite upside defensively, and can't shoot worth a lick. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the team's star, and Green would create an instant impact as an ideal defensive backcourt partner who doesn't have to handle the ball much.
19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers) -- Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
Brooklyn needs to hit on their draft picks to build the roster around their two max players, and Ramsey could go a long way in that regard. When he hasn't been hampered by injury, the Tech guard has shot 48 percent from deep while averaging nearly two steals a game. He'd provide spacing on offense with a high level of defensive activity and intensity-- exactly the kind of piece a championship contender needs on the fringes.
20. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers) -- Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
The Bucks should be on a never-ending quest to surround Giannis Antetokounmpo with shooters to give him as much room to work as possible. Do you know what Nesmith can do? Shoot the damn rock. He's hitting 51 percent of his threes on 8.4 attempts per game on all sorts of shot types. That ability gives him the chance to immediately contribute, and the Bucks' championship window is now.
21. Dallas Mavericks -- Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
Achiuwa is a good fit for the Mavs here. He can operate as a high-energy big and battle down low while the offense runs through Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis without asking too much of him defensively as he comes along. He needs work in a lot of areas and may not be built to play the five full-time, but he can produce if he comes into a team with established stars like Dallas.
22. Toronto Raptors -- Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
Nwora is a ready-made NBA wing once he gets caught up with the speed of the pro game. He's a good athlete and a solid, if unremarkable, defender who projects to be a good shooter at the next level. He's hitting 44 percent from deep on 5.9 attempts per game and is averaging 20 points per game total as Louisville's top option. He's not a game-changer but is the exact kind of rotation guy Toronto wants around Pascal Siakam.
23. Houston Rockets -- Devin Vassell, G, Florida
The Rockets add to their cadre of three-and-D guys by selecting Vassell here. He's exhibited good instincts defensively against a variety of opponents while hitting nearly 40 percent of his three-point attempts to date. He can't do much else, but fortunately he doesn't have to in Houston.
24. Miami Heat -- Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
This is definitely a bit high for Winston, given his age and defined ceiling as a low-level starter/quality backup, but in a draft that lacks obvious talent, teams draft for fit. Winston fits the Heat timeline of looking to compete now and can serve as a steady, if unremarkable, replacement for Goran Dragic as leader of the second unit once the latter likely departs in free agency this summer.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Los Angeles Clippers) -- Paul Reed, C, DePaul
Reed is a rising prospect that lands with the Thunder here. He's a quality all-around big man who has shown the instincts necessary to protect the rim at the next level while getting his own in the paint on the other end. He isn't a great athlete, but projects as a solid backup for Steven Adams with a lot of room to grow, given how much he's improved each season in college.
26. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Denver Nuggets) -- Theo Maledeon, PG, France
It seems very unlikely the Thunder keep all of their picks, but this is a no-trade mock draft, so they take a swing on a falling prospect in Maledeon. He was projected to go as high as the lottery before the season, but has struggled mightily overseas thus far this year and slides in this projection. OKC has their PG of the future in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but he's been stellar next to a traditional point guard in Chris Paul this season. Maledeon wouldn't take away from his development while he works on developing his well-rounded skillset as a pass-first point who can run an offense effectively and is only 15 or so pounds of muscle away from an NBA-ready body.
27. Boston Celtics -- Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky
Point guard is the only position the Celtics don't have a young prospect at, so they go with Hagans to fill that hole. He's a defensive menace who will learn the tricks of the trade under Marcus Smart without the added pressure of adding an offensive game immediately-- and that may take quite some time from what we've seen.
28. Utah Jazz -- Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
Outside of having an excellent basketball name, Joe is a quality shooter, and Utah should be looking to add as many of those as possible. He shot 41 percent on eight attempts per game last year, and while his accuracy has dropped off this year, there's no doubt the man can shoot. He doesn't offer a lot defensively, but has enough size that he could eventually become just good enough on that end with some teaching.
29. Los Angeles Lakers -- Tre Jones, PG, Duke
The Lakers need a ballhandler on the bench in a big way, and Jones can provide that. He's run the Duke offense efficiently all season and is averaging 14 points per game despite a below-average jump shot. That's a big concern in today's NBA, but he'll be a little more pro-ready than other prospects after two seasons under Coach K.
30. Boston Celtics -- Aleksej Pokusevski, C, Greece
At this point, Boston has a bunch of young players but are playing to win now, so they nab a potential draft-and-stash prospect in Pokusevski. He's shown off an intriguing offensive skillset overseas with a silky-smooth jumper for his size. He's thin as a rail right now, but is worth a late-round flier in a weak draft for what he's shown, and he just turned 18.