There is nothing quite like NBA draft week. Rumors swirling, Woj bombs dropping, fanbases fantasizing, and writers, media members, and talking heads heads everywhere attempting to crack the code and predict who is going to do what on Thursday night.
The fist Woj bomb has already dropped, as we saw Memphis and New Orleans agree to a deal that sent Jonas Valanciunas along with picks 17 and 51 to New Orleans in exchange for Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, picks 10 and 40, as well as the Lakers 2022 first round pick (top 10 protected).
There are bound to be many more trades between now and the end of the draft Thursday night, but no way to accurately predict what all could happen. So instead of including potential trades in my mock, I listed the teams to watch who could have something up their sleeve below my first round speculation. I have also include a Big Board with my top 40 players at the bottom of the article.
First Round Mock
1. Detroit: Cade Cunningham (G/F) – Oklahoma State, 19
- There is no doubt at this point Cade will be the first overall pick. It also appears that Detroit will not accept any off for the pick, even if it is outrageous.
2. Houston: Jalen Green (G) – G League Ignite, 19
- Green seems like a lock at this point to go second to the Rockets (barring a trade).
- If the Rockets did accept an offer for this pick, Green could very well still go second. Worst case scenario, he winds up going third.
3. Cleveland: Evan Mobley (F/C) – USC, 20
- If the top three teams stay put, this seems almost certain to be where Mobley ends up. However, there is a real chance one of the teams below offer Cleveland or Houston a plethora of assets to move up for the versatile 7-footer out of USC.
4. Toronto: Scottie Barnes (G/F) – FSU, 19
- This is the pick where things start to really get interesting.
- Scottie Barnes has been flying up draft boards for weeks now. Many do not yet have him in the top five, but I feel very confident he will be selected before Kuminga, and potentially before Suggs as well.
- Raptors pick will partially depend on if they plan to re-sign Lowry and if they want to trade Siakam. Trading Siakam would mean they are going Barnes almost for sure, and selecting Suggs would mean Lowry is likely gone.
- I am leaning toward Barnes right now and part of that is the fact that they are about to pay Gary Trent Jr. a solid bag. Barnes also fits better to me, even if they hold onto Siakam and Lowry leaves.
5. Orlando: Jalen Suggs (G) – Gonzaga, 20
- I am a lot higher on Suggs than most the teams picking at the top of the draft.
- He should be long gone by 5, but with the rise of Scottie Barnes and over-hype around Mobley, it is looking like Suggs could take a little fall.
- I would be the happiest man alive if he makes it down to the Thunder at 6, but I don’t see the Magic passing on him if he is there.
6. Oklahoma City: James Bouknight (G) – Uconn, 20
- Bouknight is flying up boards and likely to go 6 or 7. It happened fast, but at this moment he seems a lock to be off the board by 8. This is primarily due to his insane workouts that have teams raving and his combine measurements that were better than expected.
- The momentum for him to go 6 just keeps picking up. Seems almost written at this point (barring an OKC trade).
7. Golden State (from Minnesota): Moses Moody (G/F) – Arakanas, 19
- Moses Moody is another guy flying up boards, and will be a top 10 pick.
- If OKC takes Bouknight, I expect the Warriors to take the high-upside wing at 7.
- His elite defense, pick and roll scoring, and smooth jumper make him ready to contribute right away.
- They also like Davion, but think he could fall to them at 14 due to poor combine measurements and the fact that most of the teams picking from 8-13 don’t need a small guard.
8. Orlando (from Chicago): Jonathan Kuminga (G) – League Ignite, 18
- Right now I have him going to Orlando, but Kuminga could fall even further than 8…
- It is known he isn’t going top 4 and it almost seems certain Scottie Barnes will be selected before him, meaning OKC at 6 will be his first real chance to get selected (barring any trades into the top 6). At 7, it doesn’t make much sense for the Warriors to take him because he is a project. At 8, there’s a chance the Magic pass because they have Isaac and Okeke at Forward and plenty of projects on that roster already. There is no way he falls past the Kings at 9 though.
9. Sacramento: Franz Wagner (F) – Michigan, 19
- Many believe that a promise has been made to Wagner by a team picking in the top 10. My best guess is that it would be Sacramento if it were to be true.
- Davion seems likely to be the best player left on the board here, but with the Kings already having Fox and Haliburton, they are almost for sure going to take a big.
- Kai Jones is who I expect the Kings to take if they don’t go with Wagner. I could also see them going with forward Jalen Johnson.
10. Memphis (from New Orleans): Kai Jones (PF/C) – Texas, 20
- The Grizzlies moved up to 10 earlier today and seem to have their sights set on somebody who they did not think would fall to them at 17. My guess is a versatile big who can shoot the 3, and eventually replace the big kiwi as their starting 5. Kai Jones is the best option here that fits the criteria. Memphis is also set for years to come at every position other than Center.
- Kai Jones draft stock is all over the place. On Thursday night he could go anywhere from 8-16.
- I like Jones a lot and hope he falls to the Thunder at 16 or Phoenix trades up for him.
11. Charlotte: Davion Mitchell (G) – Baylor, 22
- I love his game and think he could come in and be an awesome fit with Lamelo in that backcourt. He can also come in and sufficiently run the second unit in his rookie year. Rozier is under contract for only one more season, so it would make sense for the Hornets to go guard here.
- Mitchell’s stock has fallen in recent weeks, but people are simply over-thinking this one. This guy is a dog and will succeed in the league.
- I do think he could fall outside the top 10, but think/hope Charlotte would scoop him up at 11 if he is still here.
- Seeing him in Charlotte would be sick, but I hope he somehow he ends up in OKC or Phoenix (just like Kai Jones).
12. San Antonio: Josh Giddey (F) – Australia, 18
- The young, dime-dropping Australian has continued to steadily rise up draft boards over the last few months. I have a hard time seeing him rise any higher than 12, and think he’d be a great fit with the Spurs.
13. Indiana: Corey Kispert (G/F) – Gonzaga, 22
- Nobody seems to be able to get a beat on where Kispert could end up or what the Pacers are going to do here at 13.
- If the Pacers are going to keep their core intact and not blow it up, Kispert would be a great fit with what they have in place.
14. Golden State: Chris Duarte (G/F) – Oregon, 24
- Duarte can come in and knock down 3’s and play defense for a Warriors team that seems poised to make another playoff run. He could be the Cam Johnson of this draft.
- As stated above, they are hoping Davion falls to them here, but I do not see it happening.
15. Washington: Jalen Johnson (F) – Duke, 19
- Nobody really seems to be able to get a feel for where Johnson is going to go. I have seem him anywhere from 8-23.
- I like his game a lot, but it is hard to feel too great about a guy that only played 13 games before leaving the team in a weird year.
- I would be willing to bet he is off the board by 20 and think he’d be great in Washington, with or without Russ and Beal.
16. Oklahoma City (from Boston): Usman Garuba (F/C) – Spain, 19
- If OKC stays put at 16 and 18, I expect them to take some major swings, and Garuba would be just that.
- The 19 year-old out of Spain has shown he is more than capable of handling the ball on the break, and in a half-court setting. That is rare to find in this young of a big.
- He reminds of a slightly smaller and more agile Bam Adebayo.
- Definitely still a project at this point, but has the potential to be a facilitator that the offense can run through.
- Excited to see how big of a role he plays for Spain in the Olympics.
17. New Orleans: Keon Johnson (G), Tennessee, 19
- With New Orleans now sitting at 17 instead of 10, who knows what the hell they are going to do… Perhaps take a big swing here?
- Keon Johnson is without a doubt a name to watch on Wednesday night. People are all over the place with their evaluations of his game.
- He is considered to have one of the highest upsides and be a big swing that could very well miss.
- I am not high on him, but his combine numbers were insane and I’ve heard a lot of good things about him. Still don’t think he is worthy of a top 10 pick, I’d probably take him at the end of the first.
- Seemed like a lock to be in the lottery, and even top 10 a few weeks ago, but now could fall to the middle of the first.
18. Oklahoma City (from Miami): Cam Thomas (G) – LSU, 19
- For a guy who scored 23 points/game as a true freshman on a good team, you’d think Cam Thomas would at least be in the lottery, right? Yeah me too, but for whatever reason, it does not appear he will be. He does lack some play-making for others and is seen as just a scorer, but still…. 23/game as a freshman is beyond impressive.
- Many still have Thomas mocked to go end of the first round, but that will not happen. I find it hard to believe he would make it past OKC here at 18.
19. New York: Miles McBride (G) – West Virginia, 20
- Miles McBride could rise into the teens and even late lottery. People are all over to the place on him, but I’m a huge fan and think he will go middle of the first round.
- He has no holes in his game, and he shot the 3-ball at 41% last season. He has the potential to be one of the best defensive guards not only in this draft, but in the entire league.
- He is another guy I would love OKC to take at either 16 or 18.
20. Atlanta: Jared Butler (G) – Baylor, 20
- Jared Butler just got cleared (health concerns) a couple weeks ago and could very well move back into the teens and even late lottery.
- He is a solid defender, true leader, can shoot the three, and ready to help a team win right now in my opinion.
- I am very high on Butler and think he is one of the top PG’s in the draft.
21. New York (from Dallas): Trey Murphy (F) – Virginia, 21
- Trey Murphy has been a late riser, going from unknown by many, to a potential lottery pick.
- He is an older guy with a great 3-ball, who is considered to be one of the most “NBA ready” prospects out of college.
- Seen as nothing more than a role player, but expected to be a really good one.
- I am not as high on him as many, but expect him to go mid-late first round.
22. Los Angeles Lakers: Ayo Dosunmu (G) – Illinois, 21
- If the Lakers wind up holding on to this pick rather than including it in a trade, I expect them to go with a ball-dominant guard who is ready to play right away. Ayo fits that profile and would be the best available option here.
- There is a real chance Dennis and THT are gone this summer, and they are going to need a guy who can come in, run the second unit, and facilitate while LeBron is not in the game.
23. Houston (from Portland): Sharife Cooper (G) – Auburn, 20
- Cooper is one of the more high-upside guards in this draft. He averged 8.1assists/game last year as a true freshman for Auburn.
- The major concern with him is the 3-ball. Only shot it at 23% last year.
- Houston needs guards, especially ones who have a pass-first mindset (Porter Jr. and Jalen Green do not).
- He’d be a good fit here at 22.
24. Houston (from Milwaukee): Alperen Sengun (F/C) – Turkey, 19
- Alperen Sengun could go anywhere from late lottery to end of the first.
- OKC has been linked to him, but after seeing bigs who cannot switch on to guards get absolutely exposed in the playoffs this year, I think his stock has taken a massive hit.
- He’s young with a lot of potential, but I see him as Enes Kanter at best.
25. LA Clippers: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (F) – Villanova, 20
- As long as Kawhi re-signs with the Clips, they are going to look to add a piece who can help right now.
- LA has obvious holes in the frontcourt, especially with the Ibaka back problems.
- I think Robinson-Earl could come in and contribute right away. I could see him playing some small-ball Center when Zubac is off the floor.
26. Denver: Bones Hyland (G) – VCU, 20
- Bones Hyland is another late riser who has made his way into the first round in most mocks.
- In his second year at VCU, he averaged 20 points/game while shooting 40% from 3.
- A lot of these teams at the end of the round have been linked to him, obviously including Denver.
27. Brooklyn: Jericho Sims (C) – Texas, 22
- At 27, Brooklyn is going to take a big who can help now. Specifically one who can defend and rebound at a high level. Sims can do both of those things.
- Most people have Sims going second round, but I think he is the best available big based on fit.
- If you watched him in the Big12 tournament, you probably agree with me that this guy is a first round talent.
28. Philadelphia: Ziaire Williams (G/F) – Stanford, 19
- Williams had one of the most disappointing seasons of all the freshman that came in with sky high expectations. He was thought to be a lock to go in the lottery going into the season, but he did not look great in his one year at Stanford.
- I don’t even really know what to make of his draft stock at this point, but I think a team at the first round will take a swing on him simply due to how outstanding he was in high school.
29. Phoenix: Greg Brown (F) – Texas,
- Similar to Ziaire Williams out of Stanford, Greg Brown is another guy who went into his freshman season as what many thought to be a lottery lock. He was all over the place at Texas and flashed elite athleticism, but also flashed elite immaturity and a lack of fell for the game at times.
- Many people have written Brown off after his one year at Texas, but I have not. I still think the potential warrants a late first round pick and would be thrilled if Phoenix selected him.
- He is an elite lob finisher and freak athlete who has the potential to add a 3-ball and some handles.
30. Utah: Jaden Springer (G) – Tennessee,
- Springer is another high-upside Tennesse guard that I am not high on.
- He has been mocked in the first round consistently all year, and that is really the only reason I’ve got him at 30.
Teams to watch on the trade front:
Houston – It is no secret, the Rockets want the first overall pick. They are still trying, but at this point Detroit appears unwilling to budge. They are also listening to offers for #2, just in case they are blown away by an offer.
Cleveland – Cavs want to deal Sexton and could potentially move out of 3. If they do make a trade, it will be to trade down and not up. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team like OKC offers them some package of future picks to move up.
OKC– If history has taught us anything with Presti and OKC, it is to expect the unexpected. I highly doubt the Thunder wind up staying put with all of their picks and expect them to potentially try to package 16 and 18 to move up for a second lottery pick.
Golden State – The Warriors have a ton of assets and are rumored to be looking to trade 7 and potentially package 7 with 14 and maybe even Wiseman as well. It sounds like the players want the front office to deal the picks for a big name (specifically Brad Beal), but the front office might like the idea of staying put. There is absolutely no telling what they wind up doing on draft night.
Orlando – The magic have picks 5 and 8, along with a lot of young players with unsolidified roles. They could very well package 5 or 8 with a young player of theirs, or just use both picks to move up toward the top of the lottery. I don’t think they’re looking to acquire a big name player right now since they are still years away from contending and don’t even really have a timeline. If a trade is made, I imagine it will be with Houston or Cleveland for the second or third pick.
LA Lakers – The rumors are heating up on the trade front for the Lakers. Many believe some type of package involving the 22nd pick, Kuzma, KCP, and Horton-Tucker (sign and trade) will be Westbrook in the following days. Others believe the Lakers could be close to acquiring Buddy Hield with a similar package. Additionally, Woj said Sunday afternoon that LA has offered some type of packing revolving around Kuzma and/or KCP to nearly every GM he has talked to.
Washington – In addition to the Westbrook rumors, there is increasing noise that Beal is in fact open to being traded before the draft. This leads me to believe there is a real chance Golden State is prepared to offer 7, 14, probably Wiggins and Wiseman, along with future picks for the All-Star. The Wizards could end up having picks 7, 14, 15, and 22 on Wednesday night along with James Wiseman, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Andrew Wiggins. That would be quite the haul for their two aging superstars.
Philadelphia – The 76ers are still openly shopping Ben Simmons. This potential deal is not as pressing as others though, because Philly is not looking for draft picks back. They want to win now, not acquire assets for the future. I have no idea what kind of package it would take to get a deal done, but I do know that their asking price is significantly higher than what NBA twitter thinks it is.
Atlanta – Atlanta is looking to either move a veteran (like Gallo) or trade one of their young guys (like Reddish) who they are going to have to pay soon. Could be a cap catastrophe in a year or two if they don’t make a move so keep an eye on the Hawks.
1-40 Big Board
- Cade Cunningham
- Jalen Suggs
- Jalen Green
- Evan Mobley
- Davion Mitchell
- Jonathan Kuminga
- Scottie Barnes
- Moses Moody
- Kai Jones
- Jalen Johnson
- James Bouknight
- Miles McBride
- Jared Butler
- Usman Garuba
- Josh Giddey
- Cam Thomas
- Corey Kispert
- Chris Duarte
- Franz Wagner
- Sharife Cooper
- Keon Johnson
- Greg Brown
- Trey Murphy
- Isaiah Jackson
- Alperen Sengun
- Ziaire Williams
- Tre Mann
- Bones Hyland
- BJ Boston
- Ayo Dosunmu
- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl
- Jaden Springer
- Charles Bassey
- Day’Ron Sharpe
- Josh Primo
- Herb Jones
- Isaiah Todd
- Josh Christopher
- Joe Wieskamp
- JT Thor
Thanks for reading and make sure to check out the ATM: At The Minute Podcast this week for more draft analysis.