The NBA offseason has been 100% bananas since last Friday when rumblings began of a Sixers-Celtics trade for the top pick in the draft. Since then, we have seen a few big trades already happen (Philly nabbing the top pick, Russell to Brooklyn, Dwight to Charlotte) and a few superstars being dangled as trade bait by their teams (Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, and somehow Kristaps Porzingis).
All of this leads us to the NBA Draft tomorrow evening. We are pretty confident there will be more trades between the posting of mock draft and the actual draft starting, but we did our best to predict how the draft will unfold as things currently stand.
We will go back and forth on each pick, starting with Randy taking the top pick. We will each give a reaction to the other person’s pick as well. With that, Randy and the Sixers are on the clock…
- Philadelphia (From Boston via Brooklyn) – Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
RH: Trust. The. Process. Great move by the Sixers to go up and get their guy, I was a little surprised the Sixers were able to get some protection on that Lakers pick. Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz has the potential to be a championship core talent wise. Let’s just pray they all stay healthy.
NB: Fultz is the real deal. Don’t let his 9 win NCAA career fool you. This kid will be a stud in the NBA for the next two decades. Obviously, it’s too soon to tell how this will work out for the Sixers, but I like the move. If healthy (as always with this team), the trio of Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz will dominate the league if they stay together. Trust. The. Process.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
NB: Lonzo was meant to be a Laker. The stars aligned and he will assuredly be picked here, unless some sort of Paul George trade occurs. If the Lakers don’t make a deal, they have to take Lonzo and build around his elite passing ability. While his dad is annoying, I think he will shut up once he is in the league. That won’t be a determining factor in his career. His ugly shot will be though, and Lonzo will have to work on that.
RH: Lock of the century. Lonzo will be a Laker for a long time, but I’m not convinced he is the next Great Laker.
- Boston (from Philadelphia via Sacramento) – Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
RH: The Celtics were already in a weird spot being in the high end of the lottery and the Eastern Conference Finals at the same time, but now they’ve put themselves in an even more rare position of needing the number 3 pick in the draft to make an immediate impact. Ainge and company must be convinced that Jackson (or whoever they take at 3) is as good as Fultz or they are just being completely arrogant and hoping everything just continues to come up Celtics.
NB: Something tells me the Celtics are actually favoring Tatum here, but who knows. I think they are working a trade for this pick and it wouldn’t surprise if whoever goes at #3 never plays a game in a Celtics’ jersey.
- Phoenix – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
NB: Fox could turn into John Wall or Elfrid Payton. He might have the largest range of outcomes in this draft because of his erratic shooting we’ve seen from him thus far. However, he will definitely be a plus defender and has the attitude that can galvanize a locker room. Pairing him with Devin Booker can give the Suns a phenomenal backcourt to build on while their super young frontcourt develops. I’m not sure I trust Phoenix with yet another point guard though. Still better than Sacramento, I guess?
RH: Phoenix continues to stockpile point guards? If this is the pick Eric Bledsoe will almost definitely be out the door if he isn’t already.
- Sacramento (from Philadelphia) – Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
RH: The Kings are in a great spot with two top 10 picks in what should be a loaded draft, but they’re the Kings. They will screw this up. Tatum makes a lot of sense so I fully expect Vlade and company to trade him for 50 cents on the dollar twenty minutes after they select him.
NB: I know that Sacto loves De’Aaron Fox. Will they do something dumb to trade up to get him? Probably. If not, Tatum is a solid pick as they start their rebuild.
- Orlando – Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State
NB: Isaac seems like the guy who will be the biggest bust in the Top Ten. So of course Orlando will ruin him. I actually like Isaac and think he will thrive in the right situation. That situation is not Orlando though.
RH: If the Knicks didn’t exist you could argue the Magic are the worst run franchise in the East right now. They’ll find a way to blow this pick.
- Minnesota – Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
RH: Monk may not be the best fit for Minnesota, but he’s the best player on the board at 7. Could this help them pull off a Jimmy Butler deal if Monk is still available? I like the pick either way, Minnesota is one more piece away from getting back to the playoffs.
NB: I really want Monk to fall to the Knicks. It would turn into Linsanity 2.0 with him getting streaky hot (Monksanity?). The Wolves need shooters though.
- New York – Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
NB: Oh boy. Does anybody in this draft give off stronger Stephon Marbury/Steve Francis vibes than Dennis Smith? Smith would be instantly polarizing in MSG, but would be super fun to watch. Knowing the Knicks, they will probably trade Porzingis and draft Lauri Markkanen. LOLKnicks.
RH: This pick makes way too much sense. No way the Knicks take Smith. Scroll down, pick anyone we have going in the late 20’s and insert them here, that is who the Knicks will take.
- Dallas – Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
RH: Dallas has needed a point guard for awhile (sorry Yogi) and they finally get their guy. Mark Cuban has even gone to see Ntilikina workout already. I feel pretty confident in this selection.
NB: Long shot, but I see Dallas trading this pick to get veteran talent. Paul George to Dallas? It’s not out of the question.
- Sacramento (From New Orleans) – Luke Kennard, SG , Duke
NB: Does this pick make any sense for the Kings? Nope. So that means they will probably make it. Kennard has been a fast riser during the draft workout phase and we know Vivek loves his shooters. Why not pair Steph Curry 2.0 (Buddy Hield) with Steph Curry 2.1 (Kennard)? If they get Tatum at #5, that won’t be good for team chemistry. Tatum stole a ton of shots from Kennard at Duke last year.
RH: If you take a chance on enough guards (Jimmer, McLemore, Stauskas, Hield) eventually one will be good right?
- Charlotte – Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
RH: The Hornets have sort of been good at drafting lately? Never thought I’d say that about a team that has MJ involved in their decision making, but here we are. Markkanen has good size, but can also shoot the rock. Solid pick here.
NB: Can MJ pass up Justin Jackson? Hard to imagine.
- Detroit – Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
NB: SVG keeps saying he is in win now mode. Justin Jackson is ready for NBA minutes. He has a low ceiling, but you know what you are getting out of him.
RH: Detroit is more than likely losing KCP in free agency and even though this may be a bit of a reach, Jackson would fit in nicely with Stanley Johnson to make up for the loss of Caldwell-Pope.
- Denver – Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
RH: The Nuggets would love for a point guard to fall to them here, but it doesn’t seem likely. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to move up into the top 10 (Hello Kings).
NB: I think Denver needs to get another big man to help out Jokic, but Mitchell is solid value at this slot.
- Miami – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
NB: I think Pat Riley has something up his sleeve this offseason and is looking to package Hassan Whiteside in a deal. Even if that falls through, I don’t see Whiteside staying in Miami through the end of his extension. Allen would be a great young center to groom to fill that role and could turn into a Myles Turner like player for the Heat.
RH: The Heat always scare me. The end up striking gold way more often than not. They got Dion Waiters to become a real NBA player for crying out loud.
- Portland – OG Anunoby, F, Indiana
RH: Portland can take a chance on someone like Anunoby who has major injury concerns with one of their three first round picks. Also who doesn’t want someone named OG on their roster?
NB: I like this pick for Portland. They need to take some chances.
- Chicago – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
NB: The Bulls need just about everything. Most of their future will be dictated by a Jimmy Butler trade, but Collins will be a solid NBA player and could fit on their roster pretty easily.
RH: Yawn. I do not care about anything the Bulls are doing unless they’re trading Jimmy Butler.
- Milwaukee – TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
RH: Leaf is another veritable athletic guy who can stretch the floor a little. He fits in well with the Bucks semi position-less structure. Love this pick if it happens.
NB: Will Milwaukee swing for the fence again and take Harry Giles? Seems like a very Bucks thing to do.
- Indiana – Harry Giles, F, Duke
NB: If the Paul George saga has taught us anything, its that the Pacers are NOT getting any superstars to come to Indiana. They need to find them in the draft. The only player available now with superstar potential is Giles, who before injuries, was considered the top player in this class. There are a ton of red flags around him, but if he can shake his injuries, he could be the next Paul George for Indy.
RH: Yawn. I do not care about anything the Pacers are doing unless they’re trading Paul George (preferably to the Wizards).
- Atlanta – John Collins, F, Wake Forest
RH: Collins could maybe help eventually fill the shoes of Paul Millsap, but as for now this team is stuck in mediocrity. Getting out from the Dwight Howard contract was a nice start to the Hawks offseason.
NB: No one cares about the Hawks.
- Portland (From Memphis via Denver and Cleveland) – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
NB: Ike has a ton of potential and could learn by sitting behind Nurkic for a few seasons. Portland needs to keep retooling their front line to help Dame and CJ.
RH: Portland could be a real interesting team to watch on draft night. Will they take all three of their first rounders and try to move up towards the top 10?
- Oklahoma City – DJ Wilson, F, Michigan
RH: The Thunder must put playmakers around Russell Westbrook if they ever want to get out of the first round again. Wilson is athletic and has plenty of upside where he could contribute on the offensive end quickly with the right amount of coaching.
NB: Presti is bound to make some noise on draft day like he did last year with the Ibaka trade. If OKC stays here, Wilson seems like a good fit.
- Brooklyn (From Washington) – Justin Patton, C, Creighton
NB: With Brook Lopez gone, its seems like a good time to draft a young big man. Mosgov clearly isn’t the answer for Brooklyn, right? As a Wiz fan, I’m already second guessing giving Brooklyn this pick for Bojan.
RH: It doesn’t matter who the Nets take here as they are already one of the big draft night winners. D’Angelo Russell was the second pick in the draft just two summers ago and they were able to get him as the reward for absorbing Timofey Mozgov’s horrendous contract. There just may finally be a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel in Brooklyn.
- Toronto (From LA Clippers via Milwaukee) – Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia
RH: Pretty typical Toronto pick. This team is still going to fall short in the playoffs however.
NB: Can Toronto afford to keep adding big guys if Kyle Lowry bolts? They may need to draft a young guard to help DeMar out.
- Utah – Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon
NB: I think the Jazz will add to their already outstanding front line with Jordan Bell. Utah needs help at guard and wing (especially if Hayward leaves), but if no one can ever score in the paint against them again, that might be valuable.
RH: Maybe the Jazz go wing player here to help soften the blow with Gordon Hayward likely leaving?
- Orlando (From Toronto) – Terrance Ferguson, SG, Adelaide 36ers
RH: The Magic end up turning Victor Oladipo and a lottery pick into three months of Serge Ibaka, Terrence Ross and the 25th pick in this years draft. Well done Orlando, well done.
NB: The Magic better hit on this pick to salvage the Ibaka trade. They won’t.
- Portland (From Cleveland) – Jonah Bolden, PF, UCLA
NB: The Blazers are bound to move one of their first round picks. If they stay at #26, Bolden could be a high upside guy for Portland to develop along their front line.
RH: If Portland keep all three 1’s maybe this pick is an overseas stash or straight to the G League player? Could be hard for Portland to roster all three guys right away.
- Los Angeles Lakers (From Brooklyn via Boston) – Bam Adebayo, F/C, Kentucky
RH: A possible Julius Randle replacement here? The Lakers are one of the true wild cards this offseason since it sounds like Brandon Ingram (and maybe Swaggy P) is the only player guaranteed to be on the team next season. A team this poorly run shouldn’t have this many options, but here we are. The Lakers will be back eventually whether we want them to be or not.
NB: Was D’Angelo Russell really that much of a problem to give him up for so little? I hope Magic and the Lakers know what they are doing, because talent-wise, they won’t find a guy like him at #27.
- Los Angeles Lakers (From Houston) – Josh Hart, PG, Villanova
NB: Hart is no D’Angelo Russell, but he can be a solid role guy off the bench and eat up some of the guard minutes. I also think he is smart enough not to snap and snitch on his teammate.
RH: Does this pick get sent to Indiana eventually? Should the Lakers even do that knowing they’re probably getting PG next summer anyway?
- San Antonio – Mathias Lessort, C, France
RH: The Spurs need to have as much cap space as possible to try and acquire CP3. Drafting someone to stash here is the way to go.
NB: The Spurs will draft the next Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili with this pick. Check back five years from now and you’ll see I’m right.
- Utah (From Golden State) – Derrick White, G, Colorado
NB: The Jazz will need a guard if they don’t overpay George Hill this offseason. The drive from Colorado to Utah won’t be too bad for White.
RH: White would be pretty good value at 30 and not a bad option to help fill Gordon Hayward’s shoes.
-Nick Bair & Randy Haines
Photo Credit: Basketball Insiders