NBA Mock Draft #1 (First Round Only)

Now that the All-Star Weekend has passed and there’s no action around the league, it is a perfect time for mock draft number one. This draft is a combination of primarily where I think the player will go come draft time, specific position needs of the teams drafting, and a little bit of where I think the player deserves to go as well.

With that being said, brace yourself because there might be some guys going quite a bit higher or lower than what you see on “expert mock drafts”. The draft order is far from final and subject to change since a good chunk of the season is still left to play (and the first 14 picks are a lottery). Many teams though will still be targeting the same players due to their positional needs. So for example, look for the Cavs to target Trae Young with the Nets pick they own the rights of regardless of whether they are picking second or sixth. This mock draft is also assuming no trades are made just for simplicity sake (there will obviously be trades made). For some picks I have notes that help explain the draft choice and highlight some strengths or weaknesses of the player that impact their stock.

The draft order being used is a combination of where teams are standing right now and how I project them to finish.

1) Atlanta Hawks: C DeAndre Ayton (Arizona Freshman)

  • 19.7 points, 11 boards, 2 blocks per game
  • 61% shooting, 33% from 3, 74% at the line
  • looks like a lock for #1 right now, but could fall after the combine due to short arms

2) Phoenix Suns: PF/C Marvin Bagley III (Duke Freshman)

  • he is from Phoenix
  • averaging well over 20 points and 10 boards a game, also getting nearly 2 assists
  • 60% from the field and 35% beyond the arc
  • has a higher player efficiency rating (PER) than Ayton

3) Dallas Mavericks: C Mohamed Bamba (Texas Freshman)

  • Mavs need a big to build around for the future
  • wingspan of nearly 8, if not actually 8 feet
  • averaging over 4 blocks a game and 11 boards per game
  • shown potential to stretch the floor and knock down 3’s

4) Orlando Magic: G Luka Doncic (Slovenia 18 years old)

  • many consider him a lock to go first or second
  • incredibly young, playing in one of the best leagues in the world besides the NBA
  • can handle the ball and is 6’8″
  • averaging 16 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists
  • bust potential is huge

5) Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn Nets): PG Trae Young (Oklahoma Freshman)

  • LeBron has said more good things about Young than Cleveland’s entire franchise so far this year
  • need more young talent to keep the King happy and replace Kyrie permanently
  • no point in mentioning Trae Young’s stats because if you’ve turned on ESPN in the last 2 months you’ve seen and heard them many times
  • might fall down draft boards due to his recent struggles

6) Sacramento Kings : PF/C Jaren Jackson Jr (Michigan State Freshman)

  • Not yet NBA ready, needs a year or 2 at least to be ready for significant minutes
  • Kings are in no hurry to win, need shooting, pick makes sense
  • shooting 44% from 3
  • disappears some games

7) Memphis Grizzlies : SF Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri Freshman)

  • need a homerun pick to pair w Conley and Gasol to take them back to playoffs before they are washed
  • Porter has missed all season with an injury, but is supposed to have number 1 pick worthy talent

8) New York Knicks: F Miles Bridges (Sophomore Michigan State)

  • a future starting lineup of Ntilakina, Hardaway Jr, Bridges, Porzingis, Kanter is solid and they are all 25 or younger
  • crazy athletic (could win a dunk contest athletic)
  • averaging 17, 7, and 3
  • extremely solid shot (90% free throw)

9) Chicago Bulls: F/C Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke Freshman)

  • pair him w markannen and thats a hell of a front court for the future that can stretch the floor and rebound excellently
  • averaging 14, 10, and 2
  • 49% from 3
  • extremely high ceiling

10) Charlotte Hornets: F Kevin Knox (Kenucky Freshman)

  • Appears to be the best player on a Kentucky team loaded with NBA talent
  • probably not ready for too large of a role yet
  • him and Malik Monk can learn behing veterans like Kemba and Batum and possibly be the future of the franchise
  • 15 points and 5 and a half boards per game
  • 35% from 3
  • flashes Melo like potential on offense

11) Philadelphia 76ers (from LA Lakers): SF Mikal Bridges (Villanova Junior)

  • 3 and D guy
  • sixers need shooting
  • 41% from 3
  • 17 points, 5 boards, 2 assists per game

12) Los Angeles Clippers (from Pistons): F Robert Williams (Texas A&M Sophomore)

  • elite talent and athleticism
  • questions about his motor and drive holding him back
  • averaging 11 and 10 a game, shooting 64%
  • has the potential to average a double double in the league
  • could make a great replacement to Blake and possibly DeAndre

13) Los Angeles Clippers: G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky Freshman)

  • 6’6″ with long arms
  • can play and defend the 1 and 2
  • could take slightly better care of the ball, but no weakness other than that
  • averaging 13 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds
  • 37% from 3 and 81% at the line

14) Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): PG Collin Sexton (Alabama Freshman)

  • most athletic guard in the draft
  • 2 way player with tons of upside
  • outplayed Trae Young head to head
  • questions about his basketball IQ, work ethic, and attitude are keeping him out of the top 10
  • teams could worry he’ll be a potential problem in the locker room and off the court

15) Utah Jazz: SF Chandler Hutchinson (Boise State Senior)

  • came out of nowhere
  • stat sheet stuffer
  • averaging 20 points, 8 boards, and 3 and a half assists

16) Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans Pelicans): SG Lonnie Walker IV (Miami Freshman)

  • 6’4″ with very long arms
  • solid athleticism
  • good defender
  • 11.5 PPG and 36% from 3

17) Indiana Pacers: G Shake Milton (Southern Methodist Junior)

  • >42% from 3 every season
  • can play 1 or 2
  • crazy long arms and solid vertical
  • averaging 18 points, 4.7 boards, and 4.4 assists

18) Philadelphia 76ers: SG Gary Trent Jr. (Duke Freshman)

  • 46% from 3
  • 87% at the line
  • sixers need a shooting guard for the future

19) Portland Trail Blazers: F Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State Junior)

  • 6’7″ 235
  • can play the 3 or the 4
  • averaging 19 and a half points and 9 boards this year
  • Portland needs quality forwards

20) Denver Nuggets: SF Dzanan Musa (Bosnia & Herzegovina 18 years old)

  • hit a homerun with previous pick of an overseas player (Nikola Jokic)
  • needs a few years to develop, but could replace Wilson Chandler
  • shooting 48% from the field and 36% from 3

21) Milwaukee Bucks: F/C Daniel Gafford (Arkansas Freshman)

  • need front-court depth
  • John Henson and Thon Maker are not enough to make a playoff run
  • averaging 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks
  • needs a couple year to reach potential
  • shooting 62%
  • high player efficiency rating (PER)

22) Washington Wizards: F/C Chimezie Metu (USC Junior)

  • need bigs, especially if they part ways with Gortat
  • averaging 15.8, 7.4, and 1.8
  • added a 3 ball (32%)

23) Minnesota Timberwolves (from OKC Thunder): G/F Troy Brown (Oregon Freshman)

  • 6’7″ 215
  • averaging 12 points, 7 boards, and over 3 assists
  • shooting 46%
  • can give them quality bench minutes

24) Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland Cavaliers): G Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky Freshman)

  • crazy high ceiling, but still a year or 2 away from being NBA game ready
  • one of the highest, if not the highest vertical of any player in the draft
  • good project to stash on the bench for a couple years and take up barely any cap room
  • 6’5″ with long arms and the potential to be a great defender
  • 11 points and 4 boards a game

25) San Antonio Spurs: PG Landry Shamet (Wichita State Sophomore)

  • total spurs pick
  • mature player and leader on a quality team
  • averaging 15 points, over 5 assists, and 3 boars
  • 49% from the field, 45% from 3, 83% at the line
  • very efficient, assist to turnover ration nearly 3:1

26) Atlanta Hawks (fron Minnesota Timberwolves): PG Trevon Duval (Duke Freshman)

  • will probably be a bit of a project, but reminds me of Westbrook and has very similar numbers to his at UCLA
  • averaging 11 points, 5 and a half boards, 2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game

27) Brooklyn Nets (from Toronto Raptors): G/F Theo Pinson (North Carolina Senior)

  • last 2 games he has put up 16, 10, and 5 and then 19, 7, and 5
  • long arms and great vertical
  • can guard 1-3
  • no weakness in his game except the need to add a 3 ball
  • can handle the ball and put up triple double like numbers
  • leader on a nation championship team
  • will clim up draft boards
  • him and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson could make the Nets an elite defensive team in a few years

28) Boston Celtics: C Mitchell Robinson (USA 19)

  • Celtics need a big to eventually replace aging Al Horford
  • 5 star center out of high school
  • enrolled at Western Kentucky then withdrew to prepare for the draft
  • would probably be a lot higher up if he played a season in college

29) Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): G Grayson Allen (Duke Senior)

  • Hawks have so many picks they might as well take the gamble on Allen
  • he can handle the ball, knock down 3’s, and play some “scrappy” defense
  • 7 foot wing span gives him a lot more value/potential, helping his draft stock a ton
  • averaging 15 points, 3 and a half boards, and 4 and a half assists
  • 38% from 3 on his career

30) Golden State Warriors: PG Jalen Brunson (Villanova Senior)

  • veteran ball handler who could run the second team
  • shooting 43% from 3
  • assist to turnover ratio well over 2 (meaning he takes good care of the ball)
  • would make a great fit
  • best player on his elite team, higher win share than Mikal Bridges (meaning he is contributing more to wins)

other guys that could climb into the first round: G Jaylen Hands, G Allonzo Trier, G Bruce Brown, G Anfernee Simmons, G Khyri Thomas, PG Aaron Holliday

More mock draft with analysis, notes, and highlights to come.

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