Mock Draft 6.0 FINAL MOCK DRAFT
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Alex Len (7’1” C, Maryland)
Who knows what’s going to happen with this selection. Chad Ford says Cleveland is still leaning towards taking Nerlens Noel, while other reports say they prefer Alex Len. Then, last night it surfaced that they had offered a huge package to Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Love which would include the first overall pick. So Cleveland may not even have this selection come Thursday night, but if they do, I’ll give Alex Len the edge. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the better prospect at this point with a higher ceiling. He and Kyrie Irving could form a deadly pick & roll combo, and Len has potential to be one of the best two-way centers in the NBA a few years down the road.
2. Orlando Magic – Victor Oladipo (6’4” SG, Indiana)
This pick is contingent on the rumored draft night trade of Arron Afflalo for Eric Bledsoe. Assuming that deal goes through, the Magic will likely be looking to add either Oladipo or Kansas’ Ben McLemore with this pick. I think Oladipo’s reputation as a leader and defensive force coupled with McLemore’s apparent lackluster effort in pre-draft workouts will put him over the top. The defensive potential of a Bledsoe/Oladipo backcourt is truly exciting.
3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter (6’9” SF, Georgetown)
This selection would probably come down to a decision between Otto Porter and Nerlens Noel for the Wizards. Washington could definitely use some youth in their frontcourt, but Otto Porter’s agent has suggested that there’s no way he falls out of the top three, so this could very well mean Porter is Washington’s dream scenario. Porter can fill a gaping need at SF and fits in perfectly with young guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.
4. Charlotte Bobcats – Nerlens Noel (6’11” C, Kentucky)
Nerlens Noel reportedly professed interest in playing for Charlotte before the lottery draw, so you have to think sliding out of the #1 selection wouldn’t hurt too much. His ACL surgery was performed in Charlotte as well, so he’ll appreciate the opportunity to rehab in a familiar setting. There’s really no telling how long he’ll need to recover, but if he does, he’ll be a truly versatile defensive force for a team desperately needing help in the low post.
5. Phoenix Suns – Ben McLemore (6’5” SG, Kansas)
The Suns will probably go with the BPA with the fifth selection. They have a need everywhere aside from PG. According to reports, they’re hoping McLemore or Oladipo will fall to them at five. Due to poor interviews and appearing out of shape at workouts, McLemore’s stock has been on the decline, but Phoenix is a good spot for him to land. Playing with Goran Dragic could really elevate his game. He has a ton of upside and potential.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – Trey Burke (6’1” PG, Michigan)
The Pelicans haven’t really been in the public eye leading up to the draft, so it’s hard to tell which direction they’ll go on draft night. They do already have Greivis Vasquez at PG, but I’m dubious to the possibility of him being the answer for the future as the team builds around Anthony Davis. Trey Burke embodies the ideals of leadership and winning and will be a great option for the newly named Pelicans for a very long time.
7. Sacramento Kings – Anthony Bennett (6’8” PF, UNLV)
The Kings already have a decent rotation at PF with players like Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson, but Bennett is clearly the BPA here and a rare talent. Any team would welcome his offensive arsenal and potential to operate as a combo-forward in the NBA. He and DeMarcus Cousins could potentially form one of the most potent frontcourts in basketball.
8. Detroit Pistons – CJ McCollum (6’3” PG/SG, Lehigh)
Brandon Knight hasn’t really worked out for the Pistons. He was moved to SG last year after they traded for Jose Calderon. Now, Calderon clearly isn’t the long term solution, so they’ll definitely consider replacing him with a younger player, and McCollum would be a great choice. He’s not a true PG in the sense of the term either, but I really feel like he’s a great fit on that roster with his shooting, ball handling, and leadership.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6’6” SG, Georgia)
Minnesota is another team involved in a lot of trade talks right now, so this is another pick that has potential to be moved. They really like Indiana’s Victor Oladipo, but he won’t fall to ninth. If they don’t land him, then they’ll most likely look at the other wing prospects here such as Caldwell-Pope or Shabazz Muhammad. The Wolves need more of a complimentary player next to Rubio, and Shabazz is a player who demands the ball. Caldwell-Pope fits better in Minnesota, and he’s apparently very high on their radars.
10. Portland Trailblazers – Cody Zeller (7’0” PF, Indiana)
Rumors are starting to spread that Zeller could go as high as #4 to the Bobcats but, in my opinion, this area looks to be his sweet spot. He’s certainly a gifted athlete and was productive in college, so one would expect him to go higher, but there are some concerns about his toughness and lack of top-level potential. He’ll have a positive impact though and will likely be a fan favorite due to his hard work.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Steven Adams (7’0” C, Pittsburgh)
The 76ers are desperate for size. Cody Zeller seems like the ideal fit, but he likely won’t be available, so that could leave Philadelphia choosing between players such as Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee, Gorgui Dieng or Steven Adams. Adams is really raw, but he has more upside and a higher ceiling than the other names previously listed, so he gets the edge here. Philadelphia doesn’t seem to be planning to compete this year anyways, so Adams will have time to develop.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Kelly Olynyk (7’0” C, Gonzaga)
The Thunder probably would’ve preferred guys like Zeller or Adams, but Olynyk isn’t a bad consolation prize. The Thunder obviously don’t need much, so he fits in nicely as a floor spacer on offense for guys like Durant and Westbrook to get to the rim, and while there are concerns about his ability to check true Centers, it would be less of a problem due to having perennial DPOY candidate Serge Ibaka next to him.
13. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Carter-Williams (6’6” PG, Syracuse)
Dallas wants to clear cap space to take a few big swings in free agency, so they could deal this selection. Another possibility is taking a foreign player like Sergey Karasev or Rudy Gobert and stash them overseas for a year. However, PG is a huge need for Dallas, and after the Clippers landed Doc Rivers, they can kiss the thoughts of Chris Paul goodbye. Carter-Williams’ length, athleticism and court vision could be too much for them to pass up here. The franchise could take him and attempt to make him their PG moving forward.
14. Utah Jazz – Dennis Schroeder (6’2” PG, Germany)
If I’m the Jazz, I’m ecstatic Schroeder makes it this far. He’s way more talented than the 4th PG in this draft and could be a great fit for the Jazz. He’ll be on a team with young talent across the board at other spots, so he won’t be forced into a big role early on. His ball handling ability combined with a lightning quick first-step will allow him to get wherever he wants on offense, and his athleticism and length will make him a capable defensive player.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Shabazz Muhammad (6’6” SG/SF, UCLA)
Monta Ellis is set to opt out of his contract, so Milwaukee will need to try to find some players to fill the scoring void he’ll leave behind. Whoever takes Shabazz is definitely rolling the dice, but fifteenth overall in this draft is most certainly worth it. He has a killer instinct and potential to be one of the most lethal scorers in the league a few years down the road.
16. Boston Celtics – Giannis Adetokunbo (6’9” SF, Greece)
Ray Allen left for Miami, Doc Rivers left for Los Angeles, and rumors are that Garnett and Pierce could be moving on as well. Danny Ainge is going to have his hands full if he wants to keep the Celtics competitive. Unfortunately, they’re not in a very good position to add a high impact player in the draft. Why not target an unlimited potential prospect like Adetokunbo? If it works out, you have a star. If not, you’re still the Celtics.
17. Atlanta Hawks – Sergey Karasev (6’7” SF, Russia)
Karasev has received at least one first round promise, and with two selections to spend, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Atlanta has given him one of those promises. Karasev has gone from being a late first round pick to an expected top-20 selection. He has a deadly jump shot which allows him to be effective stretching the floor. The Hawks could definitely use an upgrade at SF, and Karasev could be their guy.
18. Atlanta Hawks – Gorgui Dieng (6’11” C, Louisville)
The Hawks seem to be reluctantly blowing the team up. Josh Smith is likely gone in free agency, and Joe Johnson was traded to the Nets last year. The only keeper they have for the future is Al Horford, so they’ll be looking to add some pieces around him. 17th pick Karasev and Gorgui Dieng here are great fits with their shooting and defense, respectively. Dieng also allows Horford to slide to his more natural PF position.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Reggie Bullock (6’7” SF, UNC)
After passing on Otto Porter with the first overall selection, Cleveland will look for a SF at 19. Bullock has been rising up draft boards and rightfully so. He’s a hard-worker who continues to improve as a shooter; he’s also a great rebounder and moves well without the ball. He may not be the long-term answer in Cleveland at SF, but he can definitely be a great role player off the bench who can provide depth at SG and SF.
20. Chicago Bulls – Jamaal Franklin (6’5” SG, San Diego State)
Kawhi Leonard’s performance in the Finals will probably help Franklin’s stock on draft night. The Bulls have needed some youth at SG for a number of years now and have to be happy with Franklin’s potential next to Rose. There have been rumors of a Deng trade though, so this pick may change wildly depending on what happens there.
21. Utah Jazz – Tim Hardaway Jr. (6’6” SG, Michigan)
After taking Schroeder 14th, it seems very likely that Utah could add to the backcourt again with the 21st pick. It’s clear that Alec Burks isn’t the answer at SG, so they could certainly use some depth at the position. Hardaway Jr. has good size and is a good scorer who also excels in transition. He’ll never be a star, but he could be a solid fit in Utah with their long-term plans.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Mason Plumlee (7’0” C, Duke)
Every time we’ve sat down to do these mocks, Plumlee seems to be the guy falling the most relative to his stock on other boards. However, I just don’t think he’s talented enough to be a lottery pick, and most teams will go with more versatile or higher-upside players. He’s certainly a gifted athlete for his size and has had some great coaching, so I see the Nets (as a Kris Humphries replacement) to be the best fit for him.
23. Indiana Pacers – Allen Crabbe (6’6” SG, Cal)
Indiana’s greatest weakness definitely lies in their backcourt, most prominently at SG. With the 23rd selection, there’s a good chance they’ll take a look at guys such as Crabbe, Hardaway Jr., Franklin, etc. Crabbe is the only one of those still available here. He is a lethal spot-up shooter with terrific range, but he needs to improve as far as creating his own look goes.
24. New York Knicks – Rudy Gobert (7’2″ C, France)
The huge Frenchman has had more motion on pre-draft boards than I have seen in recent years. He’s gone from a second rounder before the combine, to a lottery pick, and then finally seems to have rested in the 20’s. As such, there’s difficulty gauging his value in such a weird draft. One thing is for certain: he has the potential to be a big time defensive presence and could be an interesting understudy for Tyson Chandler.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Ricardo Ledo (6’6” SG, Providence)
After essentially trading for Doc Rivers, Chris Paul should be in safely in LA, so they can now turn their focus towards building around what they already have in Paul and Blake Griffin. They could definitely use a few more players on the wing, and Ledo has steadily risen up draft boards into first round contention. He has top-notch scoring instincts and exceptional ball handling skills.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Glen Rice Jr (6’6” SF, D-League)
Glen Rice Jr. has had a stranger path to the draft than most prospects. After an underwhelming tenure at Georgia Tech that saw him eventually removed from the team, he took his talents to the NBA Developmental League. He would struggle for a few months, but then he finally turned the corner and became one of the best players in the (D) League. He’s a great athlete who seems to have finally grown up, so he should be great value here.
27. Denver Nuggets – Tony Snell (6’7” SG/SF, New Mexico)
Andre Igoudala has somewhat surprisingly decided to opt for free agency, so if Denver holds onto this pick, it wouldn’t surprise me if they added depth on the wing. Snell has a beautiful stroke with solid explosiveness. He also possesses good ball handling ability and simply a really intriguing skill-set. Denver would be a good place for any young prospect to land as they can learn from some great players.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Tony Mitchell (6’9” PF, North Texas)
Typical Spurs pick, right? Mitchell had tons of hype coming into this season, but really fell flat along with his team under a new head coach. He has a ton of potential to have an impact similar to a Kenneth Faried, but needs to be reined in a little bit. Who better to do that than the Spurs?
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Shane Larkin (5’11” PG, Miami)
Oklahoma City will more than likely add a big with one of their first round picks and PG depth with the other. Shane Larkin at 29 could be a huge steal; Milwaukee has expressed serious interest in him at 15. He would be an ideal backup to Russell Westbrook. Despite being small, he’s a winner and can do it all on the court.
30. Phoenix Suns – Lucas Noguiera (7’0” C, Brazil)
“Bebe” has climbed up some draft boards recently, so getting him at 30 could be a great value pick. He has always had intriguing physical tools, but he has (until recently) had issues with his motor and desire to improve. If he continues to work hard, the Suns could have a very good draft with him and Ben McLemore.
By Brian Emory and Steve Weddington