Draft order and lottery simulation courtesy of http://www.tankathon.com
- Indiana Pacers (9-12)
PF/C Chet Holmgren, Fr, Gonzaga
7’0, 195 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 13.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg 2.6 apg, 3.4 bpg
Perhaps no team in the NBA needs a top prospect like the Pacers. Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero are the top two prospects in this class, by a pretty wide margain. I really like Banchero, but Holmgren’s potential might be too good to pass up. It’s scary how a 7 footer can run, dribble, shoot and pass like him. Not to mention he has great shot blocking instincts. Yeah, he needs to bulk up, but Kevin Durant could not even bench press the bar in college and he turned out okay. Holmgren will be fun to watch.
2. Detroit Pistons (4-15)
PF/C Paolo Banchero, Fr, Duke
6’10, 250 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 18.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.0 apg
If you are a fan of offense, Paolo Banchero is your man. He can easily score from all three levels, and his ability to handle the ball is unfair for a guy his size. He is not much of a defender, but with his offensive acumen, he will definitely be a top two pick. Pistons fans will definitely be excited about a Cade Cunningham/Paolo Banchero duo.
3. San Antonio Spurs (5-13)
PF/C Jabari Smith, Fr, Auburn
6’10, 220 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 16.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
Jabari Smith is a perfect example of a modern day big man. He is long, quick, can shoot and play solid defense. Smith may not be Holmgren or Banchero, but he is a very talented prospect in his own right. The Spurs have quite a few intriguing guards on the roster, but they are short on big men. Smith would be a great fit.
4. New Orleans Pelicans (5-16)
PG/SG Jaden Hardy, USA/G-League
6’4, 190 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.8 apg
Jaden Hardy is struggling with efficiency in the early going, but he is the best scoring guard in this class, and the Pelicans desperately need players who can create their own offense. The back court is just not good enough. Hardy is the Jalen Green of this class, though perhaps not as good of an athlete.
5. Houston Rockets (2-16)
C Jalen Duren, Fr, Memphis
6’11, 250 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 11.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 3.7 bpg
The lottery balls were not kind to Houston in this mock, as they miss out on the top three big men. Jalen Duren is extremely talented in his own right, but his lack of shooting could hold him back a bit. He is a throwback big man who excels in the paint offensively and can control the game on defense with his rebounding and shot blocking. He would be a good fit in Houston alongside the ball dominant guards on the roster. Every team could use a defender like him.
6. Orlando Magic (4-16)
SG Jaden Ivey, So, Purdue
6’4, 195 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 15.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.2 apg
Jaden Ivey is probably the top non-freshman in this class. He is an aggressive, strong scorer and can lead an offense if need be. He has really improved his shooting percentages, and has some Bradley Beal vibes. The Magic have quite a few guards on the roster, but none who can take over a game offensively like Ivey.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-13)
SG/SF Kendall Brown, Fr, Baylor
6’8, 205 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 6’8, 205 lbs
Somehow no one is paying attention to the defending champion Baylor Bears and their terrific freshman Kendall Brown. All Brown has done has averaged 13.7 points per game with a 71% field goal percentage. He has not been asked to do much else but has shown the ability to score and play solid defense, two ingredients that are always valuable to NBA teams. The Thunder are still in talent collecting mode and should just draft the best player available.
8. Sacramento Kings (8-12)
SF/PF Patrick Baldwin Jr., Fr, Milwaukee
6-9, 220 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 15.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.8 apg
Patrick Baldwin Jr. really wanted to play for his father at Milwaukee, and will have to suffer through a year of constant double and triple teams as a result. I still like his offensive potential, but his shooting percentages are likely to suffer. He actually reminds me a bit of current Kings forward Harrison Barnes, and could be a semi-efficient 20 point per game scorer in the NBA.
9. Toronto Raptors (9-11)
PG/SG TyTy Washington, Fr, Kentucky
6’3, 197 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 14.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.2 apg
Kentucky has gone a different route this season, with transfers and upper-classmen. TyTy Washington is the only freshman starter on the team, and he is off to a very good start. This is not a strong point guard class, which will probably help his case, even though he is more scorer than distributor. I think Fred VanVleet is more of a two guard in the pros, so adding a taller lead guard like Washington could be a good fit.
10. Denver Nuggets (9-10)
SF/PF Nikola Jovic, Serbia
6’10, 206 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 9.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.2 apg
I will be honest. I really just wanted a team with a Serbian named Nikola Jokic to draft a Serbian named Nikola Jovic. Jovic is the type of player the Nuggets would go after. He is a big time project but offers tantalizing offensive potential. He might be one of the worst defenders in the draft, but his length and scoring ability will make him a first round pick.
11. Cleveland Cavaliers (9-10)
SG Dyson Daniels, Australia/G-League
6’6, 170 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 10.4 ppg, 4.6 apg, 4.4 rpg
The Cavaliers finally seem to have a couple very good young players to build around in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. The back court is still a work in progress. Dyson Daniels has shown some intriguing combo guard skills during his G-League stint and could develop into what scouts thought former Australian Dante Exum was going to be. Cleveland needs to add some size and athleticism to a subpar back court.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-10)
SF/PF Keegan Murray, So, Iowa
6’8, 225 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 25.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.5 bpg
For those who care about things like this, Iowa’s Keegan Murray leads college basketball in PER. He has taken over for Luka Garza as the Big Ten’s most productive contributor. He has scored between 23 and 29 points in each game this season, and is blocking and rebounding at a very high percentage. He is not the best athlete, but the sheer production is so hard to ignore, and I would draft him in the mid to late lottery. The Timberwolves are finally winning a few games, and Murray could slide right into the vacant power forward spot.
13. Boston Celtics (10-10)
PG Kennedy Chandler, Fr, Tennessee
6’0, 171 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 14.2 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.2 rpg
Kennedy Chandler is not the biggest, strongest or fastest, but he just contributes. He shoots the ball well and leads the offense with a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio. His size might hinder him some at the NBA level, but, at the worst, he would be a huge upgrade over Boston’s backup point guards with a chance to take over for upcoming free agent Dennis Schroder.
14. Philadelphia 76ers (10-9)
SG/SF Ochai Agbaji, Sr, Kansas
6’5, 215 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 23.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
Ochai Agbaji is the 2022 draft classes version of Chris Duarte. He has improved each season and has really exploded as a senior. Agbaji can flat out shoot, and would be a great fit with a playoff team such as the 76ers who are always looking to surround Joel Embiid with as much shooting as possible.
15. Memphis Grizzlies (9-10)
SG/SF Caleb Houstan, Fr, Michigan
6’8, 205 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 8.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.8 apg
Of all of the freshman struggling in the early going, I think Caleb Houstan is the most likely to turn it around and wind back up in the lottery. He is playing a lot of minutes for the Wolverines, and is coming off of his first double double of the season. Houstan is a good shooter and rebounder, and for a team like the Grizzlies who could have three first round picks, would be an easy choice here.
16. Memphis Grizzlies (9-10) (from LAL)
SG/SF Ousmane Dieng, France
6’9, 185 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 12.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.7 apg
Ousmane Dieng is taking the RJ Hampton route by playing in New Zealand. So far he has exhibited the typical young wing player bumps and warts with poor shooting percentages, however, he is a great athlete and could develop into a nice wing scorer in the NBA. Like previously mentioned, the Grizzlies could have three picks, and it makes sense to invest in prospects like this.
17. Chicago Bulls (13-7) (from POR)
C Mark Williams, So, Duke
7’0, 242 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 9.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.1 bpg
Gonzaga vs. Duke was the NBA Prospect game of the year so far, and Mark Williams might have had the best showing. He brought defensive toughness, shot blocking and a ton of energy to the table. He is not a shooter, but every team could use a guy like him to hold things down on the boards and defensively, especially the Bulls that are looking for that Daniel Gafford replacement.
18. New York Knicks (10-9)
SG/SF Bennedict Mathurin, So, Arizona
6’6, 210 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 15.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.4 spg
Bennedict Mathurin is sort of a poor man’s RJ Barrett. He is a good, though not totally efficient scorer, who does not bring much else to the table. Still, scoring is important, and he could be a sixth man of the year candidate eventually with the ability to start. Of course, for Tom Thibodeau, he will ride the bench fora year or two.
19. Atlanta Hawks (11-9)
PG Jean Montero, Dominican Republic
6’2, 180 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: N/A
After an unfair, brutal early season schedule, the Hawks are on fire and once again one of the better teams in the East. Atlanta likes to draft the best talent available, and that could be the young scoring machine, Jean Montero. It will be interesting to see how playing for Overtime Elite will help his game and draft stock, as any alternative to college is a welcome addition for young athletes.
20. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-13) (from LAC)
PF/C Yannick Nzosa, Congo
6’11, 215 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 2.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.7 bpg
Yannick Nzosa got some early lottery hype, but is one of those players that might be always be a year away from being a year away. There are several teams with multiple first round picks that could draft his potential, especially the Thunder, who own approximately 20% of the draft for the next decade. It will take several years, but Nzosa could develop into a springy, defensive minded starting center.
21. Dallas Mavericks (10-7)
PF/C Azuolas Tubelis, So, Arizona
6’11, 245 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 15.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg
The Mavericks need to surround their big two with shooters, and Azuolas Tubelis is one of the better shooting big men in this class. He is not a great athlete or a true, three point marksman, but he has good size and a nice ability to get buckets. At the worst, he could provide instant offense off the bench for a team that really needs it.
22. Milwaukee Bucks (12-8)
SG/SF Wendell Moore Jr., Jr, Duke
6’5, 213 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 17.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.7 apg
It has taken a while, but Wendell Moore Jr. is finally showing why he was such a highly rated prospect. Perhaps the best three and D wing in college basketball, he truly did everything for Duke in their highly publicized win over Gonzaga. Moore Jr. is the perfect glue guy a team like the Bucks prefers to draft. He can do all of the little things while feeding off the ball dominating Giannis Antetokounmpo.
23. New York Knicks (10-9) (from CHA)
PF/C Roko Prkacin, Croatia
6-9, 230 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 9.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.2 apg
The Knicks might not want two first round rookies on the books next year, and Roko Prkacin is one of the most popular first round draft-and-stash names. He is a good ball handler and shooter, but could use another year or two overseas to hone his game.
24. Houston Rockets (2-16) (from MIA)
SG Bryce McGowens, Fr, Nebraska
6’7, 179 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
Without looking it up, I think it is safe to say that Bryce McGowens is the highest recruit Nebraska has had in decades. He is a very talented scorer who is really the only threat on the Cornhuskers roster. His shooting percentages could stand to rise, but that is normal for players on bad rosters. He should find a home in the mid to late first round as an instant offense option. Of course, with the Rockets, he could be more than that.
25. Memphis Grizzlies (9-10) (from UTA)
SG/SF Trevor Keels, Fr, Duke
6’4, 221 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 12.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg
The fourth Blue Devil in this mock, Trevor Keels has been a surprising contributor from day one. He is built like an NFL linebacker and has the ability to become a lock down wing defender. With continued offensive development, he could go much higher than this. He would instantly endear himself to Grizzlies fans, who could see a bit of Tony Allen in him.
26. Washington Wizards (12-7)
SG/SF MarJon Beauchamp, USA/G-League
6’6, 170 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 17.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.6 spg
MarJon Beauchamp has probably been the best player on the G-League Elite squad so far, and could be a late first round pick as a result. He is scoring with efficiency and really getting after things on defense. Washington is suddenly a very deep, well rounded team and could afford to develop a guy like him.
27. Chicago Bulls (13-7)
SF/PF Jabari Walker, So, Colorado
6’9, 215 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 14.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.0 apg
Colorado is usually good for producing a quality NBA prospect every year or two, and this time around it is Jabari Walker, the son of ex-NBA big man Samaki. Walker is a classic modern day NBA power forward, with good athleticism and shooting ability, and would be a solid backup big man in Chicago.
28. Miami Heat (12-7) (from BKN)
PG JD Davison, Fr, Alabama
6’3, 195 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 7.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.0 apg
JD Davison is not a great shooter, but there is still a lot to like. He is tough, agressive and a good passer. He needs to improve his defense and shooting touch, but could be an eventual replacement for Kyle Lowry in Miami.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder (6-13) (from PHX)
C Hunter Dickinson, So, Michigan
7’1, 260 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 14.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg
I may be in the minority, but I still think there is a spot in the first round for classic NBA big men who operate out of the post. Hunter Dickinson is not the best athlete or a great shooter, but his post game is strong and the Thunder could definite stand to develop a strong, offensive minded big man.
30. Golden State Warriors (17-2)
SG/SF Johnny Juzang, Jr, UCLA
6’7, 215 lbs
2021-2022 Stats: 18.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.7 apg
I think it is safe to say that the Warriors are back. Unlike a lot of other top teams, Golden State still uses the draft to develop role players. Jules Bernard, Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, pick your UCLA wing player here. All are good shooters who could excel at the spot up role in Golden State’s offense.