- Timberwolves – SG Anthony Edwards (Georgia):
Edwards has all the tools to be a great NBA wing. He’s got the size, quickness, and strength to dominate. While he also wasn’t the most efficient as a scorer, the potential is there. His mechanics are already really good on his jumper and just needs to improve on his shot selection to become more efficient. Edwards has the tools to be the whole package as an elite two-way wing because of his length and size. It’s evident from interviews that he’s a good kid. He appears to be very coachable and while the Timberwolves do have a lot of wings, none of them offer what Edwards can so drafting him would form a scary big 3 for the future with Russel and KAT.
- Warriors – PF/C Obi Toppin (Dayton):
The Warriors could go with either big here between Wiseman and Toppin, but Toppin is a better fit, which is why he is going at number 2. Toppin is a ridiculous athlete and is going to be ready to contribute as soon as he enters the league. Everything Toppin did offensively is going to translate. His ability to stretch the floor, run in transition, and be a vertical spacer at the rim will be a great addition for the Warriors. They are always at their best when they’re playing fast and Toppin would fit very well next to Draymond Green. Also, Green’s ability to space the floor has gotten worse every year since the year they won their first championship. In the last four years, he has never shot 31% from the 3 point line and even shot a miserable 27.9% from the 3 point line. Draymond is better off playing the center position, and not being relied on to hit 3s consistently. Toppin will also provide some value on the defensive end because he is so athletic that he can do things that other players aren’t physically capable of doing. So because he is a little more ready now than Wiseman as well as a better fit, that is why Obi to the Warriors makes a lot of sense.
- Hornets – C James Wiseman (Memphis):
The Hornets will go BPA here as well as fill a need and that is James Wiseman. He is the #1 player on my board and believe he can be one of the best big men in the modern game. He’s got the length and lateral quickness to be great on the defensive end. He also has shown flashes of a jump shot along with the ability to be a rim runner and lob threat. Playmaking is his biggest weakness and he’s not a complete player right now, but he would instantly be the cornerstone to this franchise and as much as I like guys like Monk, Bridges, and Washington, they’re not special. Wiseman would give them a true player that has all-star potential and while I believe Hornets could use a PG to help the growth of their other young players, Wiseman is just too good of a talent to pass up on and will also fill a need. This is exactly what the Hornets should hope for.
- Chicago Bulls – PG LaMelo Ball (Illawarra Hawks):
The Bulls are in a tough position here and while this isn’t the most ideal fit, Ball is on another tier than guys like Deni, Hayes, and Haliburton. This could possibly be a trade scenario, but I don’t believe teams like the Pistons or Knicks would give up what’s necessary for the Bulls to pull the trigger. Ball is a 6’8 PG and would make this team very dynamic offensively with Ball, White, LaVine, and Markkanen. Defense would be an issue, but Ball has shown great lateral quickness to where if he tried on the defensive end, I believe he could be an above-average defender, but that’s a big if. Luckily for the Bulls, they went out and got Billy Donavon who has gotten the best out of every player he’s coached. If anyone can get Ball to buy in, it’s him. The talent discrepancy is just too large for the Bulls to not take LaMelo and he would add much-needed playmaking to compliment scorers. While this might not be the most perfect match, a BPA approach would be in their best interest.
- Orlando Magic (via Cavaliers) – PG Killian Hayes (Ratiopharm Ulm):
Cavaliers receive – 14th pick (via Celtics), 15th pick (via Magic), 26th pick (via Celtics)
Celtics receive – Mo Bamba
Magic receive – 5th pick (via Cavs)
The Magic make a big trade to get their PG of the future in Killian Hayes. Hayes has the upside to be a very good starting PG in this league and while Markelle Fultz has made strides, his shot is still messed up ever since the shoulder injury, and plays more like a combo guard. Then the Magic have also got to choose between Mo Bamba and Nikola Vucevic because they can’t coexist and Bamba’s trade value is going down by the year as he’s only got two more years on his rookie deal. I personally think Bamba can be one of the best rim protectors in the NBA and would fit perfectly with what this young Boston team has in place. The Cavs could select a guy like Deni, but he could never live up to his full potential with the ball-dominant players here and his flawed shooting mechanics, I’d rather give myself multiple picks, to fill multiple potential holes in the frontcourt as there is no home run for them at 5. For the Magic though, they can finally draft a player and give him minutes and Killian can be handed the keys to the franchise as I’m higher on Hayes than others and while it’s not a pick this GM would generally make as he’s always going after length and defensive versatility, you already have enough players that offer the same thing. Hayes is the BPA and would fill a need for a Magic team that needs someone outside of Vucevic that is going to consistently get them baskets. This move would give the Magic a much higher ceiling potentially as right now they are stuck in mediocrity and that is the last place a team should want to be.
- Atlanta Hawks – SG Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky):
Tyrese is someone I’m higher on than most. He truly loves the game of basketball as you never see him take possessions off on either end of the floor. He is smaller for a SG at 6’3″ but does have about a 6’7 wingspan. He is a very good on-ball defender. Then offensively, he’s a very creative driver as he’s got plenty of tools in his bag with floaters, euros, and impressive body control. His decision making isn’t great right now, but the Hawks have one of the best playmakers in the NBA in Trae Young so that makes a good fit there. Young also attended Maxey’s pro day, because they are both Clutch Sports clients, but at the combine, Maxey looked in NBA shape where he could’ve played 30 minutes in an NBA game the next day. He also improved his shooting mechanics as it’s a higher release point than it was at Kentucky and it can still improve, still get a little quicker, but overall, if his jump shot has improved this much since he ended his collegiate career, I’m betting his jump shot will continue to improve once he’s in the NBA. Maxey and Young would form a scary backcourt duo for the future.
- Detroit Pistons – PG Kira Lewis (Alabama):
Now Pistons could go with a safer bet in Haliburton here, but I truly believe Lewis would give the Pistons exactly what they need. Lewis is the fastest player in this draft and ran an NBA style offense where he was asked to push the pace and shoot a lot of 3s. Lewis shot 36.6% from 3 this past year and only improved as the year went on and got more comfortable. Lewis Is very skinny though and has a narrow frame, so it’s unlikely he’ll ever put on the weight people hope, but he still played well on the defensive end by playing passing lanes, containing his man decently, and even took some charges. Lewis can be the catalyst for a team and help create an identity. The Pistons got Kennard and Doumbouya right now and they would both benefit from playing in a fast pace system. I see why some may think Haliburton is the safer choice, but Kira gives more upside as he can get his own as well as create for others.
- New York Knicks – Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa St):
While the Knicks seem to really like Okoro, Haliburton could be their PG of the future and a good fit as well. Thibs is all about the defense and Haliburton is a playmaker on that end of the floor averaging 2.5 SPG. He also is a great playmaker on the offensive end of the floor as he can make reads that you can’t just study on film. It’s instinct for him and he’ll be a top 20 passer as soon as he gets to the NBA. Then the Knicks also lack shooting and Haliburton has shown he can stretch the floor despite what looks to be unorthodox mechanics. He hit over 41% of his 3s in each of his two seasons. He also shot 82.2% from the free-throw line, so I fully expect him to be able to hit 3s especially off the catch. Unfortunately, though, his mechanics aren’t as natural when he has to get low off the dribble and rise up, which limits his upside as a scorer. Nonetheless, he would still help the development of your core players and put them in positions to succeed as well as finally giving you your franchise PG.
- Washington Wizards – Onyeka Okongwu (USC):
While the Wizards could go Deni here, the Wizards are very high on Onyeka and it makes sense. While I’m lower on Onyeka than most, he would be a great fit in Washington. He would be a great roll man in the pick and roll with John Wall and be an anchor for them on the defensive end. Then he also fits the culture as a high character guy with Rui Hachimura and Bradley Beal. Deni’s jump shot right now needs quite a bit of work and he’s also not the most athletic guy either. Onyeka will provide more right now and fill a huge hole for them.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (via Suns) – Deni Avdija (Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C.):
Thunder Receive – 10th pick, Ricky Rubio
Suns Receive – Chris Paul
The Suns find the player that can finally lift their franchise into the playoffs. Also, while Chris Paul may not fit the timeline, you have to start getting results before your young star in Devin Booker demands out. Chris Paul can be the same guy he was in OKC surrounded by a lot of young guys and be a teacher and a leader. Then for the Thunder, maybe other teams will offer more picks, but the Thunder already has a lot of picks for the future from the Paul George trade so they should seek quality, not quantity. Then in Deni, he’s the BPA. He’s got a high IQ along with a great work ethic. The biggest question mark is the jump shot right now as his legs will tighten up and crunch together at times. He only shot 27.7% from 3, but he’s the youngest player to ever win the Israeli MVP award because he does a lot of things well. This would be a great player to start the rebuild alongside Shae Gilgeous.
- San Antonio Spurs – PF/C Precious Achiuwa (Memphis):
San Antonio is going to select a player here that is BPA and has a lot of potential. He’s a freak athlete and he is a tweener between the two big positions, but the Spurs have been drafting a lot of athleticism and then relying on Popovich to develop then, which is why this could be a great situation for Achiuwa. He’s got a great work ethic and a high motor. He’s got the potential to be a very good, versatile defender. He’s also got the ability to grab and go off a rebound and start the break himself. His jump shot needs work as he tends to turn his body in mid-air where his right lands well in front of his left. If he can fix that, his upper body mechanics are strong enough to where he’ll be a threat. I will say there are a lot of “what ifs” he’ll have to answer like Pascal Siakam had to, but if anyone can help him reach his potential, I’m betting on Pop.
- Sacramento Kings – SG/SF Devin Vassell (Florida State):
With the uncertainty of Buddy Hield’s future, drafting a safe bet like Vassell makes plenty of sense. Vassell’s lack of shot-creation is what truly hinders his upside, but will be a 3 and D type of wing. He was a great leader at Florida State and the Kings need to reestablish their culture. They had a setback and need to find players that will help reshape the identity of this team. Vassell is a versatile defender too, which the Kings don’t really have, and can play either wing position. He is also a great insurance policy if the Kings decide to not resign Bogdon Bogdonavic. There is no home run pick here for the Kings, which is why Vassell makes the most sense.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Saddiq Bey (Villanova):
Once again, we go with a high floor, lower ceiling player in Bey. Bey shot a ridiculous 45.1% from the 3 point line, and I fully expect the Pelicans to put up a lot of 3s. Bey also is a Villanova guy and almost all come in and have success, because they have high IQ and play smart, team-oriented basketball. Bey would be a great addition to the New Orleans bench and could be a rotation player immediately. He would be a great culture guy to add, that would fit their timeline, to a team that has stars. You can’t go wrong with Bey here if you’re the Pelicans.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (via Celtics) – SG/SF Isaac Okoro (Auburn):
Okoro would come in and be the best perimeter defender on this team from day 1. He is the best one of the best on-ball defenders in this draft and can guard the opposing teams best player 1-3. He has limited upside though as he doesn’t have the want to be a great scorer. He’s rather passive at times and that’s why I don’t believe he’ll ever average 15+ PPG. He’s got a decent looking jump shot but was reluctant to let it fly. The Cavs need help in the frontcourt and getting a guy like Okoro would be great for the culture and while spacing might be an issue, I’m still not sold on the Sexton, Garland backcourt working long term so BPA here at a position of need makes sense.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (via Magic) – SF/PF Patrick Williams (Florida St):
The Cavs have back to back pick here and will select a player that has risen draft boards more than anyone else as of late. Williams wasn’t always used to his fullest capability in college, but when he was used as a pick and roll ball-handler, he showed flashes that he can make plays as a passer. He also has looked surprisingly comfortable pulling up in the mid-range. He’s not a versatile defender like some think because he is heavy-footed, but he does have the size to guard the elite forwards of the game which every team needs. With the uncertainty of Kevin Love’s future, drafting a PF makes sense. Then for me, I’m lower than the consensus on Williams because it’s too much speculation and not enough substance at this point for me to say how high his offensive ceiling is.
- Portland Trail Blazers – SF/PF Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt):
The Trailblazers go with the best shooter from college basketball last year in Nesmith who shot 52.2% from the 3 point line. He’s also got a good frame at 6’6, 213 lbs., with broad shoulders. He needs to continue to improve his shot preparation so he can become more of a threat off of screens, but overall his mechanics are great. He offers potential defensive versatility with his size. The Zach Collins project has failed and they are in dire need of help at the forward position and Nesmith could fill a similar role Carmelo Anthony played for them last year. Overall, Nesmith won’t offer much outside of 3 and D, but playing alongside two ball-dominant guards, it makes sense to add a floor spacer into the rotation as every team can add more shooting.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – SF/PF Jaden McDaniels (Washington):
The Timberwolves have plenty of guards especially after adding Edwards earlier in the mock. What Minnesota needs is a forward that can play next to Towns and deplete some of his defensive issues. Enter McDaniels who wasn’t always the most motivated, but shown signs he can offer and do things similar to what Jonathon Isaac can do as a weak-side rim protector. He has also improved the consistency of his shooting mechanics since the end of his collegiate season by cleaning up the footwork as his feet would click together in his jump shot at times. Minnesota could get themselves a backup PG, but they got plenty of scorers and no one left in this draft has the potential to be the type of forward the Timberwolves need defensively like Jaden.
- Dallas Mavericks – PG/SG Cole Anthony (UNC):
The Mavericks have plenty of role players so swinging for the fences for the highest upside player available makes sense. Anthony was a consensus top 5 pick before the year but had a disappointing collegiate season. He wasn’t able to show he could be a true PG and make players around him better. He also works really hard, but to a fault at times where it almost unravels similar to Russel Westbrook. The Mavs have role players across the board and Cole would immediately come in and give them the best chance to being a 3rd star as he can create his own shot, is a 3 level scorer, and while he didn’t shoot the ball quite as well in college as he did in high school, no one was able to set him up because North Carolina just wasn’t a good team this past year. He’s clearly talented and we’ve seen Luka make everyone around him better. Even if this pick busts and it turns out not to be a good fit, it changes very little about the future of this organization.
- Brooklyn Nets – SG/SF Josh Green (Arizona):
Josh Green makes a lot of sense for the Nets. He’s a great defender when motivated, but did have trouble staying motivated consistently. If he gets drafted into a situation like the Nets who are one of the expected contenders in the East, I guarantee his effort level will rise and that will make him a very good role player. He’s also a pretty good 3 point shooter on the catch but does have stiff mechanics. He can also run in the open floor as he is very athletic, however, his handles are poor, and showed no sign of being able to create his own shot. Luckily for the Nets, they have Kyrie, LeVert, and Dinwiddie who all handle the ball so he won’t be asked to do things he’s not comfortable doing. He can be a 3 and D role player and add value rather quickly.
- Miami Heat – PG Nico Mannion (Arizona):
Here’s back to back Arizona players going and Heat take the BPA here while also filling a need. I don’t think the Heat should bring back Goran because he will be too much money and will cause the Heat to sacrifice money they will need in the following year’s FA to sign a guy like Giannis or Oladipo potentially. Mannion is someone who has great attention to detail and was a great leader at Arizona. He also worked hard all the time whether it was moving without the ball or staying in a stance defensively, Mannion would fit well with the Heat culture. Dunn is a little bit of fool’s gold as once you get a scouting report on him, he’s not the same player. Overall though, Mannion’s a very complete player with his ability to drive and finish floaters along with being a capable playmaker. His jump shot is good, but he needs to speed it up/get a higher release point because right now it is easier to contest his shot. Mannion could easily be another steal by the Miami Heat organization.
- Philadelphia 76ers – PG/SG Tyrell Terry (Stanford):
Once again, this pick is BPA and that is freshman Tyrell Terry. Terry’s most promising traits are his IQ and his jump shot. He’s very intelligent and one of the things he does well is relocating and that would serve wonders for him playing next to someone like Ben Simmons who is phenomenal at getting the ball to shooters. He could come off this team’s bench and serve a similar role Shamet had with the 76ers. Then he’s also on the smaller size but has put on a lot of weight, grown two inches, and even improved his vertical since the season ended. He is still undersized nonetheless and does gamble more than he should defensively, but the 76ers have plenty of size to make up for his mistakes on that end of the floor.
- Denver Nuggets – SG/SF Cassius Stanley (Duke):
Cassius has the tools to be a great role player in the NBA. He always competes hard, is crazy athletic, and has a good-looking jump shot as it’s a very fluid, natural release. Stanley even broke Zion’s vertical record at Duke. That athleticism will be great running the floor and also as a cutter with the Joker as your center. Cassius isn’t a great dribbler, but the Nuggets already have a lot of very good ball-handlers/passers so he won’t be asked to play that role. Stanley is ready to come in right away and compete as he is a team-first player. He’s going to add value on the defensive end too as he is a solid individual defender and also a good team defender that is willing to rotate and take charges. Stanley would fit well within this culture.
- Utah Jazz – SG Jahmi’us Ramsey (Texas Tech):
The Jazz in recent years has had success with score first mindset guards off their bench with Kyle Korver a few seasons ago and last year with Jordan Clarkson. They really value and know how to get the most out of these scorers, which is why Ramsey makes sense here. Ramsey is a freshman but showed he can shoot the ball as he shot 42.6% from the 3 point line. He’s not a very good playmaker at this stage in his career but will play next to Conley and Mitchell. Ramsey was also able to buy in for the most part at Texas Tech and I’d expect him to fall in line with Quin Snyder.
- Milwaukee Bucks – PF/C Aleksej Pokuševski (Olympiacos B.C.):
The Bucks should look to make a trade, but unfortunately, if Chris Paul ends up going elsewhere and the Pacers don’t look to trade Victor Oladipo just yet, there are not many other routes the Bucks could go that would make sense. So, this pick is made as a pick that will benefit the franchise whether Giannis is or isn’t here for the long haul. Pokusevski has little tape on him compared to these other prospects and the tape that is out there looks like he’s playing at the YMCA. Despite this, Pokuševski did show flashes of brilliance on the offensive end of the floor with impressive handles, passing instincts, and a beautiful looking jump shot. However, he’s very thin and will get bullied until he can put on some more weight. He has also shown to be more of a “me” guy, but he has been playing against weaker competition so it’s possible he just hasn’t needed to rely on others. Overall though, this is a high upside pick and while he possibly may spend time in the G-League, in the long run, he could be well worth it.
- Oklahoma City Thunder – PG/SG R.J. Hampton (New Zealand Breakers):
The Thunder will take a guard here that has very good handles, can finish at the rim, and plays well in transition. As Hampton struggled overseas, we saw his shooting mechanics need serious work as his feet are very close together, which creates a lack of balance and consistency. Hampton also got sped up in Australia and really struggled in the half-court. That is why this is a project pick and would be a great fit with the Thunder. Dennis Schroeder had his best season because he learned from Chris Paul that it’s okay to play at a slower pace and see the game differently, and R.J. can learn that from Schroeder. This will help him process things quicker and play more relaxed and panic less. Hampton also fits, because their new head coach Mark Daigneault has a similar philosophy to Billy Donovan where he likes having more ball-handlers on the court. The Thunder should feel like winners if this is how the draft turned out.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (via Celtics) – C Vernon Carey (Duke):
With uncertainty surrounding Andre Drummond’s future in Cleveland, they will select big man Vernon Carey. He’s someone I’m higher on than most because he’s the most skilled center offensively in this draft. He is a menace on the block because is incredibly powerful with his moves. He’s also a great rebounder, has quick feet for his size, and a jump shot that can improve. The two biggest issues are his motor as it fades especially on the defensive end and his playstyle is outdated. However at this point in the draft, with 3 1st round draft picks, taking a risk with your last one makes sense. The Cavs backcourt is already set so taking the best center here would be the ideal move.
- New York Knicks – C Isaiah Stewart (Washington):
The Knicks will go BPA here and another big comes off the board. Stewart’s got tree trunks for legs and uses that to his advantage when establishing post position. He’s also a good passer out of the block and does a good job of making the right read. He’s a very intelligent player with a good work ethic too. He works hard defensively and does what he can as a rim protector, however, he does have slower feet. This forces a team to only use him in drop coverage on pick and rolls and also makes him more susceptible to fouling because even though he does a great job staying vertical when he gets to a spot, there will be times where he just isn’t quick enough to rotate in time and will be forced to foul the driver. The Knicks also have Tom Thibedeau as their head coach who is a little more old-school so an old-school type of big man to backup Robinson makes sense here. The Knicks would be bringing in two high character guys in Stewart and Haliburton to help fix a culture that’s searching for an identity.
- Los Angeles Lakers – SG/SF Desmond Bane (TCU):
The Lakers select a player here that will help them immediately. Bane’s career 43.3% from 3 along with a high IQ and team-first mindset indicate he’ll be perfect for a championship team. LeBron can never have enough shooters and while Bane isn’t the best on-ball defender, he’s very instinctual and intelligent making good rotations. He’s also pretty built with a wide frame, so while only being 6’6, he might be able to guard other 4s at times. The Lakers were very successful this past year and part of that was because of how smart they are. Bane would fit right in with this team as a rotation player that is a little unorthodox, but the Lakers would find ways to put him in positions to succeed.
- Philadelphia 76ers (via Raptors) – PG Malachi Flynn (San Diego St):
76ers receive – 29th pick
Raptors receive – 34th pick, 36th pick
This trade makes sense for both sides as the 76ers would love to package a couple of their 4 second rounders, while the Raptors could get a couple more picks as they don’t have a 2nd rounder, but have such a good track record with late-round picks. The Raptors also have a couple of holes they could fill with all their centers going to FA and then could possibly use another forward or PG. The 76ers though would be getting a guy who would fill that backup PG role that they desperately need behind Ben Simmons. Malachi Flynn is a high IQ player. He’s a good defender despite his size with natural instincts and effort. Plays hard every possession. He’s got a good looking jump shot and knows how to use his body to shield shot-blockers on drives. He’s a complete point guard with physical limitations but will be able to produce off a team’s bench and would become a favorite for Doc.
- Detroit Pistons (via Celtics) – C Daniel Oturu (Minnesota):
Pistons receive – 30th pick
Celtics receive – Derrick Rose
The Pistons got their PG of the future in Kira Lewis at 7. Keeping Derrick will only hinder his development and also give the Pistons more wins than they want as they are still a rebuilding team. The Celtics already filled their biggest hole which was at center by getting Mo Bamba. Now they get a great isolation scorer off their bench that would fit well in Brad Steven’s system. The Celtics came close last year and should not slow down if they can add talented veterans even if they are on only a 1-year deal. Now with the Pistons pick, they select big man Daniel Oturu. Oturu is very athletic and will fit well in what would be a fast pace offense. He’s got good instincts as a shot-blocker but can get caught in the air on pump fakes and become more disciplined. He can also improve his decision making out of short rolls, but overall, he’s got a lot of intriguing tools as he was one of the best finishers in the country at the rim. Oturu also shot 36.5% from 3 this past season and while that number is promising, he’ll have to speed up his mechanics/shot preparation a bit to become more of a threat. Overall, this would be a very good fit for both sides.
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Stats found on Sports Reference (https://www.sports-reference.com)
Trades verified on RealGM (https://basketball.realgm.com)Anthony Edwards Photo Credit to Curtis Compton (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sfchronicle.com/warriors/amp/How-a-Warriors-workout-changed-Anthony-Edwards-15719898.php)