Photo courtesy of CBS Detroit
By: Glen Ivol
With the NBA Draft Order being set, it’s time for a fresh mock draft.
1. Phoenix Suns
Pick: Luke Doncic – Guard, 1999, Slovenia
With the Suns hiring Igor Kokoskov and winning the draft lottery, this should set the Doncic to Phoenix train in motion. Kokoskov coached Doncic during the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket tournament, leading the team to a gold-medal. Pairing Doncic with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson could be a dangerous trio. All they need to add is a big man (Clint Capela, anyone?)
Player Comps: Manu Ginobili, rich-man’s Tyreke Evans
2. Sacramento Kings
Pick: Deandre Ayton – Center, Freshman, Arizona
This has to be an easy pick for the Kings, right? After jumping to the second spot, landing either of Ayton or Doncic has to be a huge win for this franchise. Pairing Ayton with Da’Aron Fox should give the Kings some better chemistry and a great foundation for the future. Selecting Ayton gives the Kings a pathway to shop some of their other big men and add some other pieces the team could use.
Player Comps: DeMarcus Cousins (minus the headaches), Patrick Ewing
3. Atlanta Hawks
Pick: Jaren Jackson – Center, Freshman, Michigan State
Jaren Jackson is a perfect foundational piece for just about any team. He plays the game hard and does all the little things, showing off what should be a seamless transition to the NBA. For the Hawks, Jackson is just the guy they need. Still rebuilding, grabbing one of the youngest players with a high floor just makes sense. Placing him next to John Collins and Taurean Prince, the Hawks will give new coach Lloyd Pierce an interesting trio to grow.
Player Comps: Rich-man’s Taj Gibson, Myles Turner with room to grow
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Pick: Mo Bamba – Center, Freshman, Texas
Not getting in the top 3 really hurts Memphis. After tanking to 60 losses and hearing Marc Gasol complain all year, they are rewarded with falling down the draft order. Bamba has freakishly long wingspan at 7’10” and helps Memphis out now with his defense. The potential to add a three-point shot is there and could really make him into a dual-threat.
Player Comps: Ruby Gobert, Tyson Chandler
5. Dallas Mavericks
Pick: Michael Porter – Forward, Freshman, Missouri
I debated Marvin Bagley here, but he doesn’t seem like the type of big that Carlisle will look to place with Dennis Smith as that is Mo Bamba to a T. But with Bamba going at 4, the Mavs could roll the dice on Porter. Even though he missed the majority of the year with a back injury, Porter is still a tall, athletic forward with a scoring prowess to fight over. Pairing him with Smith could give the Mavs two major building blocks moving forward.
Player Comps: Harrison Barnes/Danilo Gallinari
6. Orlando Magic
Pick: Marvin Bagley – Forward, Freshman, Duke
Another team that has to hate their lottery luck, the Magic end up at 6 still in search of a transcendent player for their franchise. Trae Young could be the pick here, but Bagley makes too much sense for the Magic. Assuming they bring back RFA Aaron Gordon, putting Gordon, Bagley, and Jonathan Isaac together gives them a tall, versatile, athletic team. While he can shoot the 3, he doesn’t solve the lack of shooting depth on the roster.
Player Comps: Mixture of Zach Randolph and Amar’e Stoudemire
7. Chicago Bulls
Pick: Wendell Carter – Center, Freshman Duke
Back-to-back Blue Devil’s here, and they may turn out to be two of the more pro-ready contributors of the bunch. The Bulls seemed committed to trying Kris Dunn, so pairing Carter and Markkanen seems like the smart bet here. Carter shot 67% around the rim and 39% from three at Duke, but he lacks advanced shot-creation skills. However, with a physical presence inside and a high basketball IQ, he should have an impact right from the start.
Player Comps: Al Horford
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn)
Pick: Miles Bridges – Forward, Sophomore, Michigan State
Miles Bridges is one of the safest picks in this draft as he will contribute right away with endless energy and glue-guy potential. That sounds like something the Cavs could use right now in the playoffs. He’ll never be the focal point of an offense but has the ability to impact the game in so many ways. With the LeBron free agency question looming, Bridges gives them someone to build around in the scenario he leaves.
Player Comps: Danny Granger, Tobias Harris
9. New York Knicks
Pick: Trae Young – Guard, Freshman, Oklahoma
The Knicks get their man. With speculation that Young is the guy they want, him falling to them is a dream scenario. Young and Frank Ntilikina complement each other very well and would give the Knicks the most exciting backcourt they’ve had in a long, long time and maybe one of the brightest in the league. With Porzingis still recovering from a torn ACL, anyone to bring attention to the team is needed, and Young would do just that.
Player Comps: Steph Curry/Seth Curry, Mike Bibby
10. Philadelphia 76ers (from LA Lakers)
Pick: Mikal Bridges – Small Forward, Junior, Villanova
Talk about another dream scenario. Mikal falling to 10 for the Sixers would have to have Philly thanking the process again. Bridges is at least an above-average athlete, shooter and defender who should jump right in and contribute immediately. He doesn’t have the best dribbling arsenal but he doesn’t need the ball to make an impact, something that would help him fit in with Brett Brown’s offense.
Player Comps: Robert Covington, Rondae Hollis Jefferson
11. Charlotte Hornets
Pick: Collin Sexton – Point Guard, Freshman, Alabama
This picked is based on the speculation that Kemba will finally be traded. Sexton gives them a good reboot at the position with his relentless mentality. On a rebuilding Hornets team, Sexton could have free reign to show off his score-first mentality to help him adapt to the NBA game. Rebuilding also means giving more reign to last year’s pick Malik Monk as well, allowing the two guards to grow together and find themselves in the NBA.
Player Comps: Eric Bledsoe, Pat Beverley
12/13. Los Angeles Clippers (12 from Pistons)
Picks: Kevin Knox – Forward, Freshman, Kentucky
Robert Williams – Center, Sophomore, Texas A&M
Rarity for a team to pick back-to-back in the lottery but that’s where the Clippers find themselves. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them try to move up before or on Draft Day. For now, Kevin Knox would be an intriguing pick as he has all the skills to become a go-to scorer if he can figure it all out. He would also have the benefit of learning from Tobias Harris, a player he reminds me off. Robert Williams to the Clippers just makes sense. It allows them to let DeAndre Jordan walk as Williams is DeAndre-lite in a sense. He has all the same skills but in a build more built for today’s NBA. The Clippers could give them an interesting core to build around with these two picks.
Player Comps: Knox – Tobias Harris, Jeff Green / Williams – DeAndre Jordan, Clint Capela
14. Denver Nuggets
Pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Guard, Freshman, Kentucky
Denver has been in search of that elusive franchise-star for a long time now. Picking in the end of the lottery usually doesn’t yield one, unless your name is Donovan Mitchell. They have a lot of interesting pieces but no real, true point guard. Enter Gilgeous-Alexander. He is another interesting piece to add to the puzzle. A long, athletic guard who plays tough defense and has the requisite playmaking skills to start in the NBA, adding a jumper would make him a dangerous addition to the team.
Player Comps: Shaun Livingston, Michael Carter-Williams
Editors Note: stats courtesy of basketball reference
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