The season is a little more than half complete. Good time for my second extended Mock Draft of the year.
Draft order courtesy of http://www.tankathon.com
1. Orlando Magic – C DeAndre Ayton, Fr, Arizona. DeAndre Ayton has lived up to his high school billing as a consistent 20-10 threat. He has nice range and should succeed in today’s wide open NBA style. Former top picked big men Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard each led the Magic to the Finals. Perhaps Ayton can be Orlando’s next big star.
2. Atlanta Hawks – SG/SF Luka Doncic, Slovenia. Marvin Bagley would be tough to pass up but I believe Luka Doncic has the game and personality to be a star and the face of a franchise that always struggles to draw a crowd in Atlanta. There is little Doncic can not do offensively and could be a triple double machine in Atlanta
3. Sacramento Kings – PF/C Marvin Bagley III, Fr, Duke. Most other seasons Marvin Bagley III would be the clear cut top choice, which shows the star power of this class. He has a bit of an old school game, but has the ability to be a better rebounding LaMarcus Aldridge. The Kings have spent plenty of picks on big men, but Bagley would immediately be the best of the bunch.
4. Dallas Mavericks – PF/C Mohamed Bamba, Fr, Texas. The Longhorns have been just okay, but Mohamed Bamba has lived up to the hype. A rebounding and shot blocking machine, he has shown more offensive ability than originally thought. If Dallas can Land Bamba here, they could easily let Nerlens Noel walk.
5. Phoenix Suns – PG Trae Young, Fr, Oklahoma. OK pundits, turnovers are a problem. Now that that’s out of the way, we are witnessing one of the greatest seasons in college basketball history. Scouts are drooling over Trae Young’s competitiveness, speed and shooting. The Stephen Curry comparisons are flying left and right, though I do not quite agree. However, throw Young and Devin Booker in the same backcourt and you could have the next Curry/Klay Thompson.
6. Chicago Bulls – SF/PF Michael Porter Jr, Fr, Missouri. Although I do not think Michael Porter’s injury will hinder him in the long run, I cannot place him above the top five in this Mock. At his best, Porter could be a Rudy Gay type with his ability to score and do a bit of everything on the court. Wava nice young big man on the Bulls roster, he should be able to handle the small forward roll for time in Chicago
7. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Nets) – SF/PF Miles Bridges, So, Michigan State. While I have doubts that Miles Bridges will ever be a star, he can score, rebound and play defense at a solid level. If the Cavs rebuild he is ready for 30 minutes per game. If LeBron James returns, he could be a jack of all trades type like Jayson Tatum in Boston.
8. Memphis Grizzlies – PF/C Jaren Jackson Jr., Fr, Michigan State. No team exemplifies the extravagant, yet crippling 2016 off season like Memphis. The team is saddled with huge contracts and going nowhere fast. No team needs to hit it big in the draft like Memphis. Jaren Jackson Jr. has shown flashes of brilliance at Michigan State, but is likely a project at the NBA level. You cannot teach his talent and length, however, and he could grow into a solid replacement for Marc Gasol.
9. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers) – PF/C Wendell Carter, Fr, Duke. Fifteen years ago Wendell Carter would have been a top five pick. Still, he has been so impressive I cannot help but move him up a bit every Mock. Though not a pure shooter, he has shown a nice shooting touch to go with an advanced post game and is athletic enough to hold his own on defense. He would be the first big man off the bench in Philadelphia and give the front court great depth.
10. Charlotte Hornets – PG Collin Sexton, Fr, Alabama. Collin Sexton reminds me of Dennis Smith Jr last year. The stats and talent is there, but he is still raw. However, There is big time scoring potential here. There is talk of blowing it up in Charlotte, and Kemba Walker should net the biggest return, which would make Sexton a solid replacement.
11. Utah Jazz – SG/SF Mikal Bridges, Jr, Villanova. It will take a village to replace Gordon Hayward in Utah. Donovan Mitchell was a fantastic start, and Mikal Bridges could give Utah one of the better group of wing players in the league. Bridges has developed quite nicely thanks to a solid culture, talent and great coaching. He is an ideal 3 and D wing player at the next level, and scores with great efficiency.
12. New York Knicks – SF Kevin Knox, Fr, Kentucky. The Knicks have nice pieces but need wing scoring. Kevin Knox is a bit one dimensional but has a sweet shooting stroke and can rebound and handle the ball a bit.
13. Los Angeles Clippers (from Pistons) – PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Fr, Kentucky. This is why I always laugh at fans who lambaste players for leaving teams for better teams. Ask Blake Griffin what loyalty meant to him? Onto this pick. Scouts always drool at the tall pass first point guard. Unfortunately they usually do not pan out. Hopefully Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be different. He has great court vision and can shoot as well. The clippers have questions every position and should take the best player available here.
14. Los Angeles Cloppers – PF/C Robert Williams, So, Texas A&M. Gone is Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will probably follow him out the door, meaning the front court cupboard will be bare in Los Angeles. Robert Williams has been more of a complimentary piece during his sophomore season, but still has shown the ability to be a difference maker on the boards and the defensive paint. He actually has a bit in common with Jordan, although he is a more advanced offensive player at this stage in his development.
15. Philadelphia 76ers – PG/SG Bruce Brown, So, Miami. If Bruce Brown was a better shooter he would be a top ten pick. It is hard for non shooting guards to be a huge factor, but Brown plays defense, rebounds and passes at an elite level. Brown would be a perfect combo guard off the bench to spell the scorerd in Philadelphia.
16. Denver Nuggets – SG Hamidou Diallo, Fr, Kentucky. Hamidou Diallo may be the best athlete in this class but is quite raw. He has Zach LaVine potential and could deliver some 20 point per game seasons in the NBA. The Nuggets have one of the deeper young rosters in the NBA and can afford to develop Diallo here.
17. Indiana Pacers – SG/SF Troy Brown Jr., Fr, Oregon. The Pacers have a nice talented, semi deep rotation and can afford to draft the best player available here. Troy Brown Jr. has been very inconsistent as a scorer, but scouts appreciate the way he has been able to impact the game in other ways, whether it is playing defense, rebounding or passing the ball. He is not great at any one thing but should be a quality regular.
18. New Orleans Pelicans – SG/SF Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Sr, Kansas. The DeMarcus Cousins Injury was absolutely heartbreaking, as he was one of the most fun players to watch in the league and New Orleans was finally winning some games. Shooting is always in demand, and the Kansas senior has worked his way into a fantastic shooter. Even as a senior, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk still has a lot of room to grow and could thrive in a Peja Stojakovic role living off of kick-outs from the New Orleans big man.
19. Washington Wizards – C Brandon McCoy, Fr, UNLV. Brandon McCoy has had a great freshman season but he plays a bit like Jahlil Okafor and may be a bit out of place in today’s game. Still, his ability to score buckets down low and rebound would make him a nice first big off of a weak Washington bench.
20. Portland Trail Blazers – SF Dzanan Musa, Bosnia. Dzanan Musa is still quite raw but has shown a tendency to knock down jump shots at a high level and could get a look from playoff teams that do not mind stashing a player for a year or two, such as the Trail Blazers.
21. Milwaukee Bucks – SG/SF Gary Trent Jr. Following an unimpressive to his Duke career, Gary Trent Jr. has really taken off in recent weeks, especially as a scorer. He reminds me a bit of Garry Harris coming out of college, in that he shoots the ball well, play solid defense and does not turn the ball over. He would give the Bucks yet another talented multifaceted wing player.
22. Phoenix Suns (from Heat) – PF/C Chimezie Metu, Jr, USC. Chimezie Metu is not a star by any stretch of the imagination, but can do a bit of everything that teams want in a big man and should be a quality rotation peace. Phoenix has talent at the power forward and center positions, but nearly every youngster has been maddeningly inconsistent.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Thunder) – PG Jalen Brunson, Jr, Villanova. In theory, Minnesota could use a back up guard like Jalen Bronson. He is a very efficient score and can do a lot of things to help a team on the court. On top of that, he is quite disciplined and does not make many mistakes. But this is Minnesota, where rookies go to die, so rest in peace Brunson.
24. Atlanta Hawks (from Timberwolves) – PF/C Billy Preston, United States. Instead of sitting out all year, Billy Preston has decided to prepare for the NBA draft by playing overseas. The former five-star recruit has the ability to be a very good offensive big man, and could find himself picked in the late first round by a team such as Atlanta who is young and has multiple first round picks.
25. Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Trevon Duval, Fr, Duke. There is talent here, but Trevon Duval has a lot of work to do to be a successful NBA player. Especially if he is drafted to a team like the Cavaliers, who have ball handlers and will need him to knock down jump shots. On the positive, Duval is athletic and can find the open teammate. With work he could develop into a solid starter.
26. San Antonio Spurs – SF DJ Hogg, Jr, Texas A&M. “Now what y’all know about them Texas boys.” -Pimp C. Boss Hogg stays home with this selection. I am a big fan of DJ Hogg’s all around game, and think he can carve out a nice niche in the NBA. Of course, he will ride the pine in San Antonio but will occasionally be called on to shoot, rebound and pass.
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Raptors) – PF/C Nick Ward, So, Michigan State. What Nick award is doing in just 20 minutes per game for the Spartans has been just incredible. Ward leads college basketball in PER thanks to his ability to deliver efficient points and rebounds by the boat load. He may never be a starter, but could instantly be the leader of Brooklyn’s second unit.
28. Boston Celtics – C Omer Yurtseven, So, NC State. Although still a project, Omer Yurtseven has looked like an NBA player as a sophomore. He is a talented scorer who had three 20+ point scoring games in January. Boston continues to round out its roster with talented rookies on cheap contracts, and Yurtseven should be able to steal some backup center minutes.
29. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets) – PG/SG LaGerald Vick, Jr, Kansas. Although LaGerald Vick has cooled off a bit after a torrid start, he is still shooting 50% from 2 and 40% from three. Throw in solid ball handling skills and the Hawks should have its version of a poor mans Lou Williams off the bench.
30. Golden State Warriors – PG Aaron Holiday, Jr, UCLA. The Warriors are al aha on the lookout for cheap bench options, and with his 50/40/80 shooting percentages, Aaron Holiday should keep the line moving for the 10 or so minutes Stephen Curry is on the bench.
31. Orlando Magic – PF Dewan Huell, So, Miami
32. Atlanta Hawks – PG/SG Isaac Bonga, Germany
33. Sacramento Kings – SG Grayson Allen, Sr, Duke
34. Dallas Mavericks – Udoka Azubuike, So, Kansas
35. Phoenix Suns – SF Rodions Kurucs, Latvia
36. Philadelphia 76ers (from Nets) – C Mitchell Robinson, United States
37. New York Knicks (from Bulls) – SG Allonzo Trier, Jr, Arizona
38. Memphis Grizzlies – PG/SG Shake Milton, Jr, SMU
39. Brooklyn Nets (from Lakers) – PF/C Moritz Wagner, Jr, Michigan
40. Phoenix Suns (from Hornets) – SF Arnoldas Kulboka, Lithuania
41. Utah Jazz – PF/C Ethan Happ, Jr, Wisconsin
42. Philadelphia 76ers (from Knicks) – SG Matisse Thybulle, Jr, Washington
43. Detroit Pistons – SG/SF Jacob Evans, Sr, Cincinnati
44. New York Knicks (from Clippers) PF Noah Dickerson, Jr, Washington
45. Philadelphia 76ers – SF Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot, France
46. Los Angeles Lakers (from Nuggets) – PF Alize Johnson, Sr, Missouri State
47. Indiana Pacers – PG Devonte’ Graham, Sr, Kansas
48. Phoenix Suns (from Bucks) – SG Joshua Langford, So, Michigan State
49. Denver Nuggets (from Trail Blazers) – C Laurynas Birutis, Lithuania
50. Washington Wizards – SG Rawle Alkins, So, Arizona
51. Chicago Bulls (from Pelicans) – PF/C Jontay Porter, Fr, Missouri
52. Houston Rockets (from Heat) – C Tacko Fall, Jr, UCF
53. Oklahoma City Thunder – SG/SF Deng Adell, Jr, Louisville
54. Minnesota Timberwolves – SG/SF Trevon Bluiett, Sr, Xavier
55. Charlotte Hornets (from Cavaliers) – C Isaac Haas, Sr, Purdue
56. San Antonio Spurs – PG Elie Okobo, France
57. Phoenix Suns (from Raptors) – SG Diego Flaccadori, Italy
58. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Celtics) – SG/SF Bonzie Colson, Sr, Notre Dame
59. Philadelphia 76ers (from Rockets) – C Austin Wiley, So, Auburn
60. Denver Nuggets – PF PJ Washington, Fr, Kentucky