NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Questions surround Warriors and LaMelo Ball
Here’s a look at where we think things could be headed when the draft is held remotely:
1. Minnesota: Anthony Edwards, SG, 6-5, 225, Georgia
The Timberwolves have to be thrilled to have the No. 1 pick — their core is close to being complete — and with this pick they can find the right pairing for Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Scouts love Edwards’ size, strength and ability to get his own shot. He’s a streaky shooter who needs to improve his selection, but he’s the most logical choice for the Timberwolves.
2. Golden State: James Wiseman, C, 7-1, 240, Memphis
Teams as good as the Warriors almost never pick this high in the draft. They have a lot of options (some people say they really like Iowa State guard Tyrese Haliburton), but the smart money is on Wiseman, the center of the Warriors’ future. He can dominate at the rim on both ends of the court and is skilled enough to eventually be a focal point on offense. Of course, a trade could be an option as the Warriors want to get right back to the NBA Finals after a lost season because of injuries.
3. Charlotte: LaMelo Ball, PG, 6-7, 181, Chino Hills HS
The Hornets are rumored to be in the market for a center, and Wiseman would be perfect. But if he’s off the board, would they look elsewhere for the big man they need? They’ve got point guards in Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham, but neither of those players should keep you from taking Ball, maybe the most talented player in the draft. He’s perfect for the NBA pick-and-roll and can stretch defenses with his range. His defense is bad, but with effort and reps, there’s room for growth.
4. Chicago: Obi Toppin, 6-9, 220, PF, Dayton
Toppin gives the Bulls a do-it-all offensive big, a player with a lot of bounce to catch lobs while still having great touch from outside the three-point line. The Bulls have invested a lot of draft capital in bigs with limited success, but Toppin could pair with either Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr. He’ll probably never affect games defensively, but he showed at Dayton that he’s the real deal on offense.
5. Cleveland: Deni Avdija, SF, 6-9, 215, Israel
Scouts love Avdija’s all-around game, and in a perfect world he’d join a team that doesn’t need him to be a first (or maybe even second) option on offense. The strengths in Avdija’s game are spread more evenly, with the biggest questions surrounding his ability to take over games. Cleveland has two guards in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland willing to take those shots. A playmaking wing would be a good fit.
The NBA’s owners will hold a meeting Thursday while players continue discussions on what’s rapidly considered an inevitability — a Dec. 22 start to next season.
6. Atlanta: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, 6-5, 175, Iowa State
Haliburton’s skills pair perfectly with Trae Young. He’s comfortable playing off the ball and good enough defensively to help cover for Young’s deficiencies on that side of the ball. And when the Hawks need another playmaker, Haliburton is more than comfortable running an offense.
7. Detroit: Patrick Williams, SF, 6-8, 225, Florida State
Some scouts and executives believe Williams goes to the Pistons if he’s still on the board here. Detroit must like Williams’ combination of measurables, potential and youth, an ideal complementary player to any rotation. He wasn’t that productive last season, but Williams’ athleticism and two-way potential are eye-catching.
8. New York: Onyeka Okongwu, C, 6-9, 245, USC
Okongwu might not be on the board this late — he’s got fans much higher in the draft because of his potential to be a dominant defensive big man. He’s a prototypical modern center who can defend at the rim and on the perimeter in switches.
9. Washington: Isaac Okoro, SF, 6-6, 225, Auburn
Okoro is a high-impact defender, the kind of player who helps you win with his willingness to dedicate himself to slowing the other team’s top player. He’s a smart player on offense and can play off of talent. There are questions about his shooting and, ultimately, scoring abilities.
10. Phoenix: Killian Hayes, PG, 6-5, 192, France
Hayes has great size for a point guard and has shown plus instincts when it comes to running a team while playing in Germany. The Suns can’t have enough guys willing to put the ball in Devin Booker‘s and Deandre Ayton’s hands.
11. San Antonio: Aaron Nesmith, SF, 6-6, 213, Vanderbilt
Nesmith is one of the best shooters in the draft, and the Spurs could use some valuable floor spacing. Nesmith has a reputation for being a good leader, the kind of player the Spurs’ system seems to value.
Sportsbooks carry odds other than than games, like Tuesday’s presidential election.
12. Sacramento: Devin Vassell, SG, 6-7, 195, Florida State
While some scouts are alarmed with the changes to Vassell’s shooting mechanics, the Kings need backcourt help with Buddy Hield’s unhappiness and Bogdan Bogdanovic’s free agency.
13. New Orleans: Saddiq Bey, F, 6-8, 216, Villanova
Bey is a favorite of some scouts who would have him in the second tier of wings in this draft. He’s a really good shooter despite some funky mechanics. New Orleans has to be looking for spacing to pair with Zion Williamson.
14. Boston: Precious Achiuwa, PF, 6-9, 225, Memphis
The Celtics need some physical players, and Achiuwa projects as a high-energy big with some shooting range on the offensive end.
15. Orlando: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, 6-3, 165, Alabama
The Magic need a point guard, so why not go get the fastest one in the draft? Lewis is skinny, but he can fly.
16. Portland: Josh Green, SG, 6-6, 210, Arizona
Green has the ideal size and stroke for a 3-and-D wing, and the Trail Blazers badly need depth at the position.
17. Minnesota: Jaden McDaniels, PF, 6-10, 200, Washington
The Timberwolves should hunt for the most talented player available, and while he’s incredibly raw, McDaniels could be that guy.
18. Dallas: Isaiah Stewart, C, 6-9, 250, Washington
Stewart’s got an NBA body ready to go from Day One, the kind of bulk Dallas needs next to 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis.
19. Brooklyn: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, 7-0, 195, Serbia
There are interesting guard options available, but Pokusevski’s combination of size and skill is rare.
20. Miami: Jahmi’us Ramsey, PG, 6-4, 195, Texas Tech
A tough-nosed combo guard who cares about winning? Sounds like Miami’s kind of guy.
21. Philadelphia; Cole Anthony, PG, 6-3, 190, North Carolina
The 76ers should welcome a player hell-bent on putting the “points” in the “point guard.”
Right-hander Cole Percival wanted to pitch for the Angels, the team with which his father, Troy, won the 2002 World Series, but the Dodgers made an offer instead.
22. Denver: Tyrese Maxey, SG, 6-3, 198, Kentucky
Maxey is a tough, versatile guard who can play either position in the backcourt and would give Denver another option.
23. Utah: Theo Maledon, PG, 6-5, 180, France
Maledon has great size for a point guard and has a lot of experience for a 19-year-old.
24. Milwaukee: Jalen Smith, PF, 6-10, 225, Maryland
Smith is an active big man who also has the potential to be a floor-spacer, a must in Milwaukee’s system.
25. Oklahoma City: RJ Hampton, G, 6-5, 185 pounds, Little Elm (Texas) HS
The Thunder’s rebuild appears to be fully on, so why not grab a combo guard with room to grow?
26. Boston: Leandro Bolmaro, SG, 6-7, 185, Argentina
Bolmaro has good size and great vision, but there are questions about his scoring. Boston can afford the risk.
27. New York: Tyrell Terry, PG, 6-2, 160, Stanford
Terry has the kind of shooting, IQ and feel that could make him a great value if he’s still on the board.
28. Lakers: Nico Mannion, PG, 6-3, 190, Arizona
Mannion didn’t shoot well enough to be taken much higher, but his smarts make him an attractive fit for the playmaking-starved Lakers.
29. Toronto: Desmond Bane, SG, 6-6, 215, TCU
Bane is an aggressive scorer with prototypical size and some room to grow as a complete player.
30. Boston: Tyler Bey, F, 6-7, 215, Colorado
Bey was the best defender in the Pac-12 and can guard anyone 1-4 while making a respectable number of threes.
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