As I sat down to write this mock, my Roku tells me that HBO Now has the newest IT movie. What better way to watch a movie about how terrifying clowns are than to not really pay attention by deep diving into NBA mock drafts?
Clowns are scary to me. Not necessarily the murder type. I mean, yeah them too. But I’ve always had trust issues with clowns. I don’t know who you are behind that makeup! You sure spend a lot of time goofing off with children. Sadly, HBO lied and I can’t find the movie listed. Psh.
The NBA Draft is this Thursday. It’s one of my favorite sporting events of the year. More than any other sport we see players dealt. NFL does have a lot of picks dealt, but a lot of the time we don’t see the results for a few years.
I sat down at this venture and it took me a lot longer than expected. I read/referenced dozens of mocks, I listened to just as many podcasts.
Much like my fear of clowns, some GMs are more scared of making the wrong choice than they are optimistic about making the right choice. We see players like Greg Oden taken because 75% of the world said he was the best player in college, even though so many of us saw potential in Durant. I LOVED Giannis and would have taken him 1st overall. But when we look at that draft, at the time almost all of the top-14 picks would have been considered safer. But at what cost… Sure he may have ended up a top-5 player. But he may also have been. Some players we have so little information about. And you’’’ be remembered more for taking Darko than you will be for taking Giannis.
Were the frosted tips not a give away?
That’s the part that makes it hard to mock draft (well, besides it being hard to really draft) us mockers have nothing on the line, so we can make risky picks. If half of our picks are right, we’re a genius. But that has nothing to do with how that player succeeds. So writers have to be fearful. As if it’s our job on the line if we get one wrong. As if there is a clown watching us as we pretend we’re sleeping but are actually hiding under the covers because that’s a magic shield that will protect us from evil… Because that’s how some of these fearful GMs think. And the point of a mock isn’t to rank the players in order but to make an educated guess at who each team will pick.
So enough about fear and more about my picks being wrong…
#1 Phoenix Suns
Arizona, Fr, C, 7-1
All of the mock’s I studied for this draft have Ayton #1. This may be the only sure pick in the draft.
With the league moving away from being built around a big, Ayton posses the type of athleticism and potential that we see from some of the “unicorns” that we’ve grown to love.
His offensive game is already polished and he can step back and hit 3s. His defense needs some work, but his build leaves him potential to be a good defensive presence in the paint.
Extra note: There are more unicorns in the NBA that there were on Noah’s Arc. Look it up.
#2 Sacramento Kings
Real Madrid, 19, SF, 6-7
It seems like most of the mocks have Bagley going here. But a team that has Vlade and Peja in their front office might love a Euro that could be a star. He could remind them of Peja himself. He’s probably more like a Hedu but a better playmaker and a slightly worse outside shooter. But he can shoot. He can do it all. He can drive, pass, shoot, create for himself or create for others.
At 19 he was the youngest Euroleague MVP ever. He’s ready. It’ll be hard to see if him and Fox can co-exist but it’ll do wonders for Hield.
Sacramento is looking to move the needle, and this could put them on Europe’s radar. Like bringing in Ohtani to the Angels.
Extra note: If he declared Ohtani may have been the fastest person in this draft.
#3 Atlanta Hawks
Duke, Fr, PF, 6-11
Bagley has the highest floor in the draft. He’s got great athleticism and quickness but he won’t be as physically dominant against grown competition. Him and John Collins will complement each other well. They’ll be really fun to watch if Schroder can harness his Rondo playmaking ability. But overall the team will lack shooting. But with Bagley and Collins, all the other assets can be addressing shooters.
Extra note: Googling “What is a Blue Devil” is sorta depressing.
#4 Memphis Grizzlies
Michael Porter Jr.
Missouri, Fr, SF, 6-10
The Grizzlies have a weird roster to say the least. They have Gasol and Conley, both in their 30s, both not superstars. How many more years can they play at this level? Who’s their third player? Maybe they’ll bring Evans back.
The way the team is built they need to swing for the fences. Porter has the athleticism and skills to be the best player in this draft. And he can be their go to scorer. He can do it all offensively and that’s what Memphis needs. His health is a big red flag, but the Grizzlies need someone like him. He may end up on an Embiid route the first few years. But hopefully not Greg Oden.
Extra note: Both myself and Porter have bad hip. And it’s been proven that AT LEAST one of us can dunk. At the very least.
#5 Dallas Mavericks
Michigan State, Fr, PF. 6-11
The Maverick’s want to win now. So they’d more likely trade this pick. However, for the sake of the argument, I have them taking Jackson here. If they want to win now, they’ll most likely need a big.
The Mavs haven’t had a defensive big like Jackson since Tyson Chandler and unlike Chandler, Jackson can be a force on offense eventually. He’s a pogo stick when it comes to ups and he can shoot. However, he’s still raw with insane upside. He may never be the pure scorer that Dirk is but his all-around game could make the retirement of Dirk pass a little easier.
Extra note: Upon research, I learned he is not in the Jackson 5 after all.
#6 Orlando Magic
Oklahoma, Fr, PG, 6-2
A lot of drafts have Mamba going here but the Magic need a dynamic scorer/playmaker/pg more than a defensively elite big. The Magic need a star and this is the closest thing left in the draft. The Curry comparisons are far-fetched, but he’s closer to Curry than he is Jimmer Freddette. His defense is weak but he’ll have athletic defenders around him and his offense will open up looks for Gordon and Issac. Last season he led the nation in both scoring and assists.
Extra note: Does not have the nickname “Table”. Yet…
#7 Chicago Bulls
Texas, Fr, C, 7-1
Marrkanen, Lavine, and Dunn are pretty set in their spots. They could go a few ways here at wing, but Bamba could be a staple in that defense for a long time. Most comparisons are to Gobert but I’m not sure he’ll reach that level of all around player. But He’d be a great compliment to Lauri. And he himself is working on adding 3s to his game to his mostly cutting offense. At 7-1 with a 7-10 wingspan he can hopefully become a dominating shot blocker and game changer on the defensive end. Based on potential alone, most drafts have him going higher
Extra note: If someone doesn’t mention his wingspan in the first 2 sentences, they’re not really a fan.
#8 Cleveland Cavaliers
Villanova, Jr, SG, 6-7
Not knowing if LeBron is staying or going, this could be the best pick either way. Bridges is one of the oldest lottery projected picks (but still room for growth). But he’s probably the most NBA ready 3-and-D guy. He was strong part of Villanova’s championship and draws early comparisons to Kawhi and Otto Porter. Bridges is the type of player all teams need and I can’t remember the last time LeBron ad a legit one. I hear rumors that LeBron wants Sexton but let’s not make the same mistake as Miami.
Extra note: LeBron is leaving.
#9 New York Knicks
Wendell Carter Jr.
Duke, Fr, PF/C, 6-10
Putting him next to Porzingis would be so much fun! One way to think of it is doubling up on one position, but if the two can play off each other and support each other, it’d be an amazing combo. Offensively that’d open up the floor. He gets Hortford comparisons, and has a high floor. A safe pick like that could be just what this franchise needs. He probably won’t be the best player to come out of this class. But he’s likely to be top-5.
Extra note: Porzingis has jumped off more yaucht this week than won playoff games in his career.
#10 Philadelphia 76ers
Miami, Fr, SG, 6-4
It really came down between Bridges and Walker. Walker fills a huge need for the Sixers. Both Simmons and Fultz need the ball in their hand, Walker doesn’t need to be ball dominant (he’s better with ball but he doesn’t need to be the creator). However, we can create his own shot, get to the hole, finish with contact, play above the ring, and most importantly he can shoot. When motived he can be a real good defender. He had an off year shooting 3s, but it wasn’t a disaster. This may be a slight reach at 10, but it’s a pick of need that could end up being a Donovan Mitchell or Oladipo.
Extra note: Lonnie, Donovan, Victor sounds like 3/4th of a great barbershop quartet.
#11 Charlotte Hornets
Alabama, Fr, PG, 6-2
This was probably the hardest pick but the Hornets are in the worst spot. Not competitive but not bad enough to be in the top-10. Sexton is the best player available here. The problem is, he plays the same position as their best player. Sexton has some of the same attributes as Walker but he’s bigger and more explosive. His competiveness has been compared to Westbrook. He also gives them a strong defensive presence in the backcourt. Sadly, this will be the beginning of the end for Kemba’s time in Charlotte. They could even try to get 5 or 8 in this draft for him.
Extra note: He spells his name wrong.
#12 & #13 LA Clippers
Kentucky, Fr, PG, 6-6
Mich St, SF/PF, Soph, 6-6
What do you get for the team that needs everything? How about 6-6 guys that can switch 1-4. Defensively SGA is tenacious with a 7-ft wingspan. Offensively, he needs work but his raw athleticism leaves a lot of upside. His game reminds me a lot of Jaylen Brown in college, not aggressive at the rim, but finishes with layups, and not someone you want relying on an outside shot. But maybe like Jaylen, his offensive game will develop.
Miles Bridges is projected higher in mocks but his height is going to be an issue. He’s not as fast as most guys that size and he’s not big enough to match up with everyone. However, he’s strong and can jump. He does have a good shot if he can get separation to shoot over guys in the pros. And He can D up. His strength does show on defense. Like Marcus Smart he can muscle up with guys bigger than him. In fact, his all-around game reminds me of Smart some, smart is a better passer and ball handler and Bridges is a much better shooter. Depending on how he’s used he may be a mismatch, or he may be outmatched. I personally would prefer Knox over Bridges but based on consensus, I feel like the Clippers will do what’s perceived as the smart thing.
Extra note: Shae Serrano> Shai Gileous-alexander > Shae from GoT
#14 Denver Nuggets
Kentucky, Fr, SF/PF, 6-9
Knox is pretty polarizing in this draft. For one he didn’t have a great showing at the pro-day. However, he has an athletic 6-9 frame and has a 7ft wingspan, and is only 18. He gets compared to Paul George and I do see that potential but he’s going to need some time to grow. In the short term he can show flashes of excitement but not quite polished. I’m excited to see what he can be in his career. Sooner rather later he’ll be pushing his way into the starting lineup. The only question is, who’s it for Chandler or Barton?
Extra note: Someone is going to fall in love with him early in this draft and it will be worth it.
Keep an eye out soon for the rest of my 1st round mock.