Making mock drafts is always hard. This year it’s harder than ever.
Usually, there’s a college prospect that establishes himself as the top dog. After the first week of the season, it looked like Cole Anthony was that guy. But after his injury, Anthony Edwards has taken his crown.
But Anthony Edwards doesn’t seem like a #1 overall pick to me. Don’t get me wrong, He just isn’t as good of a prospect as Ayton, Zion, Fultz, or any of the other recent #1 picks.
There is still a lot to like in this class. Isaac Okoro, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, and Paul Reed have all emerged as potential lottery picks.
There are also a lot of late first round guys who I think can develop into valuable players on contending teams. Still, we lack that one elite, game-changing player.
So, let’s get into it!
1. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Edwards-G-Georgia
The Pistons get lucky and move up 5 spots to win the lottery here. Edwards hasn’t been dominant, but he’s the closest thing this draft has to a #1 prospect.
2. Chicago Bulls: LaMelo Ball-G-Illawarra Hawks
LaMelo’s injury doesn’t really affect his stock. I like Coby White, but the Bulls need a better passer running the point.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: James Wiseman-C-Memphis
I’m not sold that Wiseman is a top 3 pick. Regardless, the Cavs can’t draft a PG in the lottery for the third year in a row, and unless they roll the dice on Okoro or McDaniels, Wiseman is the only logical choice.
4. Portland Trail Blazers: Isaac Okoro-F-Auburn
Okoro has been playing lights out lately, and I can’t see the Blazers taking a Point Guard. I doubt Portland ends up with a top 4 pick, but I’m sure they would be happy to end up with Okoro here.
5. Atlanta Hawks: Jaden McDaniels-F-Washington
McDaniels has had a decent season. He’s really only this high based on team needs. Atlanta could really use a bucket getter at the Forward position
6. Golden State Warriors: Killian Hayes-G-ratiopharm Ulm
Killian Hayes isn’t a great fit in Golden State, but with the way he’s been playing, I can’t imagine him falling past 6. He actually reminds me a little bit of Warriors Guard D’Angelo Russell.
7. New York Knicks: Cole Anthony-G-North Carolina
Cole Anthony is a top three talent who has ended up in a bad situation. UNC has really struggled with him sidelined. I’d love to see an Anthony/Barrett backcourt.
8. Washington Wizards: Tyrese Maxey-G-Kentucky
Maxey is a microwave scorer who could be just what the Wizards need next season. In this scenario, John Wall’s successor is another Wildcat guard.
9. New Orleans Pelicans: Nico Mannion-G-Arizona
Some are pointing to Nico Mannion as the safest prospect in this class. The Freshman has really stood out at Arizona, but I still question his overall upside.
10. Charlotte Hornets: Obi Toppin-F-Dayton
Toppin has been dominant offensively for a top 25 Dayton team. He almost seems like a mini Zion. Hopefully his ankle injury isn’t too serious.
11. Sacramento Kings: Deni Avdija-F-Maccabi Tel Aviv
Avdija has played better after a tough start to the season. He’s a natural playmaker, and his combination of size and IQ keeps him in the lottery.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyrese Haliburton-G-Iowa State
I don’t think playing Jarrett Culver at Point Guard is in the Timberwolves best interest going forward. Haliburton meanwhile could start immediately, and give Minnesota an elite defensive backcourt.
13. Phoenix Suns: Paul Reed-F-DePaul
I think one of the Sun’s biggest problems is their lack of frontcourt versatility. Enter Paul Reed, the long Forward who has averaged 2 steals and 3 block per game this season.”
14. San Antonio Spurs: Onyeka Okongwu-C-USC
His decision making isn’t great, but Okongwu has been really impressive this season. I think he can become an All-Defensive Team type of player under Gregg Popovich.
15. Boston Celtics (via Grizzlies): Isaiah Stewart-C-Washington
Interior toughness has been the Celtics biggest issue this season. Stewart isn’t that tall, but he would fill a big hole that could get Boston over the hump.
16. Atlanta Hawks (via Nets): RJ Hampton-G-New Zealand Breakers
Hampton has returned to the New Zealand Breakers after missing over a month of basketball. Generally speaking, he’s played fine in the Australian League. The Hawks could use a secondary creator next to Trae Young.
17. Orlando Magic: Josh Green-G/F-Arizona
Josh Green has just been really solid for Arizona. He’s a do-it-all player who has proven that he can show up in big moments and make plays.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Nwora-F-Louisville
Jordan Nwora is someone I’ve grown to love this season. He’s an elite shooter with deep range. He has great size and an advanced scoring arsenal.
19. Milwaukee Bucks (via Pacers): Theo Maledon-G-ASVEL Basket
Maledon can make an impact in the NBA, but he really hasn’t wowed me. It would probably be beneficial for the Bucks to groom someone behind Eric Bledsoe.
20. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski-C-Olympiacos
Pokusevski is barely 200 pounds, which is less than ideal. However, he has so much upside as a floor spacer, rim protector, and rebounder.
21. Brooklyn Nets (via 76ers): Jeremiah Robinson-Earl-F-Villanova
Robinson-Earl has been the complete package for Villanova. He’s a team-first player that could be the perfect role player alongside KD and Kyrie
22. Toronto Raptors: Aaron Nesmith-F-Vanderbilt
After suffering a foot injury, Nesmith’s season is now over. I’d still be shocked if he isn’t a first round pick. He has already established himself as the best shooter in this class by hitting over 50% of his three-point shots.
23. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Nuggets): Joel Ayayi-G-Gonzaga
Anyone who has been following me on Instagram since the Summer knows that I’m a big Ayayi fan. Ayayi offers a diverse offensive skillset and hard-nosed defense.
24. Houston Rockets: Vernon Carey Jr.-C-Duke
An old school player, Carey Jr. isn’t the ideal modern NBA center. Regardless, he’s still a first round pick.
25. Utah Jazz: Saddiq Bey-F-Villanova
Saddiq Bey and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl are pretty similar players. Bey is just a little bit older. He’s improved so much since last season.
26. Los Angeles Clippers: Zeke Nnaji-C-Arizona
Nnaji gives the Clippers another Center to develop along with Mfiondu Kabengele. He is shooting 67% from the field this season.
27. Boston Celtics: Kira Lewis Jr.-G-Alabama
Sometimes, Kira Lewis Jr. looks like a lottery pick. The reason he falls this far is his poor decision making a shot selection.
28. Miami Heat: Devin Vassell-G/F-Florida State
Vassell has taken on a bigger role for Florida State this year. He probably won’t make an impact right away, but he fits into the Heat’s system really well.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Cassius Winston-G-Michigan State
The Lakers could use a Point Guard, and Cassius Winston is the perfect fit. While he is an older prospect, he has all the qualities that I look for in a floor general.
30. Boston Celtics (via Bucks): Landers Nolley II-G-Virginia Tech
Nolley II is a confident long-range scorer that might actually be more helpful than Romeo Langford going forward.
Stay tuned for updated mocks going forward!