nba-draft

Mock Draft Update – June 24 Update

Winter is coming… or is it just the June 26 NBA draft? As one of the most exciting days of the year approaches, teams’ entire futures will be put on the line. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling pretty happy with my mock draft. Sure, there were one or two tweaks here and there, but overall things seemed pretty settled. Then one little Navicular bone suddenly changed the entire backdrop of the draft. I have been asked a lot this week if Embiid will be another Greg Oden, and the answer is “I don’t know.” I put a great deal of pride into being a draft scout, not a doctor, and that is why it’s so hard for me, without advice from an expert physician close to the situation, to make a well-informed decision. Never the less, I have put together my final mock draft which has ALL 60 picks, so let the chaos commence!

This is the final mock draft of the year. If you have any feedback or questions about the selections, please tweet James your thoughts: @Jamesplowright

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~ ROUND 1 ~

  1 | Cleveland Cavaliers |Jabari Parker (-), SF/PF, Duke (6-8, 235)

There is a lot of contradictory chatter coming from numerous “sources” about what Cleveland will do with this pick (at this point of the year, agents and GMs are throwing all sorts of smoke out there). Embiid’s injury opens up the top spot, with Parker emerging as the most likely option for Cleveland to select at this point. Likely a debate between Parker and Wiggins, both of whom worked out in Cleveland this week.  Parker has the ability to contribute immediately with a scoring punch alongside Kyrie Irving. While there are still question marks about his defensive abilities, Parker looks like the player that Cleveland has zoned in on.  Reports had Parker at the top of Cleveland’s big board for the entire college season. Due to all the drama with Embiid’s foot, it is likely the Cavaliers will go back to their initial pick.

 2| Milwaukee Bucks |Andrew Wiggins (+1), SF, Kansas (6-8, 200) 

The Bucks wanted Jabari, but they I think it is likely they end up with Wiggins as a consolation prize. Pairing up Antetokounmpo and Wiggins on the wings would give Milwaukee one of the longest and most athletic combinations in the league and truly immense upside. I think Exum also gets a look here but new owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens are likely to want someone a little more NBA ready. Lasry said, “We want a player who is going to help us from Day 1.” Wiggins can be that guy, but I don’t see him becoming the franchise player some do; he simply doesn’t have the mentality. I see his ceiling as an elite role player such as Kawhi Leonard rather than someone who carries his team single handedly.

 3 | Philadelphia 76ers | Dante Exum (-1) PG/SG, International (6-6, 196)

The 76ers are desperate for Wiggins; that much is clear. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a draft-night deal to acquire him in some way. We already know they offered the third pick and Thaddeus Young for Cleveland’s No. 1 pick. I still feel that deal may gain some legs if Cleveland is convinced it could trade down to No. 3, pick up an asset and draft Embiid, which according to reports they are seriously considering. I think it is highly unlikely the Sixers select Embiid after taking Noel last year. I personally think Exum will have a better career than Embiid and see some Derrick Rose in his game. Pairing Carter-Williams with him would give the Sixers one of the most unique backcourts in the NBA. Both guys have terrific length and driving ability, but neither would be described as a shooter. Let’s also not forget the Brett Brown connection: Brown has coached Exum with the Australian national team and they’ve had a pretty strong relationship.

 

 4 | Orlando Magic | Marcus Smart (+4), PG/SG, Oklahoma State (6-3, 227)

Orlando is not tanking anymore. The 2014-15 season has to be about winning. Selecting Joel Embiid at this point would go against the grain and also in some way toward alienating Nik Vucevic, who is quietly emerging as one of the best centers in the league. This may seem like the “boring” pick, but in my opinion it is the most sensible. The Magic brought Smart in for a second workout last week, but reports then emerged that Smart had averages performance in both workouts, souring the Magic on him. I just don’t buy that. The Magic have been high on Smart for two years. I doubt a couple of workouts will have completely changed their mind. A Smart-Oladipo backcourt would be one of the best defensive pairings in the league. It would also be similar to a Dragic-Bledose pairing in that they could both spend time initiating the offense. I could see them taking Vonleh here, but that is more to do with his upside and terrific fit next to Vucevic rather than Smart’s drawbacks.

 5 | Utah Jazz | Noah Vonleh (-), PF, Indiana (6-9, 247)

Vonleh is beginning to get looks from Orlando at No. 4. I am still enamored bu his unique mix of size, length and skill; there’s almost no NBA comparison for him. With the Jazz management recently coming out and declaring Favors a center, that leaves the power forward spot open, which is why I see Vonleh or Randle going here. I ultimately selected Vonleh due to his ability to stretch the floor, which would seemingly fit next to Favors a little better than Randle would.

 6 | Boston Celtics |  Joel Embiid (-2), C, Kansas (7-0, 240)

The big Embiid slide finally stalls at No. 6. Danny Ainge has always been an opportunist and I don’t know if he could pass on such a talent at six. I have spoken to numerous people who cover the Celtics and many feel that they would find it very hard to pass on Embiid. No, he wouldn’t be able to contribute anytime soon, but the Celtics are only in year one of rebuilding and in no rush to make the playoffs this season. Current power forwards Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk would look to fit nicely with Embiid, who really could become the next great Boston Celtic. At some point, the risk over selecting Embiid has to be lesser than the potential reward. I see Philly and Milwaukee taking players on an equal talent level in Exum & Wiggins and both Utah and Orlando wanting to get back to contention this year. This leaves Boston who is in the right stage of the rebuilding process to take this gamble.

 7 | LA Lakers | Julius Randle (-), PF, Kentucky (6-9, 250) 

Even with Randle’s foot injury I see LA taking him at No. 7. The Lakers are looking to get back to the playoffs sooner rather than later, evidence by their two-year, $48.5 million extension to Kobe Bryant. Randle is NBA ready, even if he does end up needing surgery. The Lakers need bigs and have Robert Sacre as their only big currently with a contract for next year, Randle would bring the Lakers a dominant inside scorer and a fantastic rebounder. His off-ball defense is certainly a worry and the quality of his jump shot is largely unknown due to the role Randle played for Caliapari at Kentucky. Reports from workouts say his shooting has been ok, but he does have a small hitch in his shot when he steps out beyond 20 feet.

 8 | Sacramento Kings | Elfrid Payton  (+9), PG, Louisiana Lafayette (6-4, 185) 

I feel Aaron Gordon will get a serious look if he is available here, but the more people I speak to, the more inform me that Elfrid Payton is a serious contender for the Kings at No. 8. With Rudy Gay reportedly opting in for his contract player option, the Kings have very little CAP flexibility and it appears they might struggle to retain Isaiah Thomas who is a restricted free agent this offseason. Payton would bring a great defensive presence to a team that desperately struggled to stop anyone last year. Mike Malone has preached defense, but not had the personnel to have any success as of yet. With Cousins, Gay and Mclemore, the Kings are not in desperate need for scoring from their point guard, so I think this would be a very smart pick by Sacramento.

 9 |  *Charlotte Hornets  | Nik Stauskas (-4), SG, Michigan (6-6, 207) 

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Hornets have narrowed their pick down to Nik Stauskas or Doug McDermott. This is not really a surprise and just reaffirms what a lot of people had already assumed. Stauskas make more sense to me. Henderson doesn’t seem to fit great with Charlotte’s current starting unit and Stauskas brings shooting and good vision, which are two key aspects. Clifford has also spoken about how he likes size on the perimeter, and at 6-foot-6, Stauskas ticks that box. Stauskas is a much better shot creator than McDermott and will be able to take some of the ball handling pressure off Kemba Walker and enable him to play off the ball. Stauskas would also instantly improve Charlotte’s outside shooting, as Clifford says, “Your spacing is your shooting”.

 10 | *Philadelphia 76ers |  Aaron Gordon (-1), PF, Arizona (6-9, 220) 

I’m not happy with Gordon dropping to 10 –he’s getting looks as high as Orlando at four and Utah at five – but there is always one guy who slides in the lottery, and I have a feeling it might be Aaron Gordon. The Sixers would be ecstatic with him at 10. Sure, a combination of Carter-Williams, Exum, Noel and Gordon wouldn’t be able to score, but like I said Hinkie is all about maximizing value. He would take Gordon in a heartbeat and figure out how he fits (or doesn’t fit) with the roster later. Gordon is a jump shot away from being a top-three pick in my opinion. However, we have all seen how Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s poor jump shot has held back his career.

 11 | *Denver Nuggets |  Dario Saric ( -5), SF/PF, International (6-10, 225)

It emerged on Monday afternoon that Saric had signed a deal with Turkish powerhouse Anadolu Efes, keeping him in Europe for another two years. This will certainly turn off some of his suitors, but according to Ken Berger the Nuggets are enamored with his skill set and have given him a promise at 11. It is hard to know what to believe at this stage of the process, but the Nuggets don’t seem to have really taken to any of the prospects so far, so this move would make sense. The Nuggets have a lot of assets at the moment, and they keep throwing their hats in the ring for a lot of big-name stars. Not especially liking anyone else, taking a talent like Saric, who would arguably have been a top-eight pick if he was coming over this year makes sense. Also, if Saric continues to develop, his draft rights could really increase in value and become an incredible trade asset. Whatever the case, it appears Denver is very high on the Croatian Stat-Stuffer and he could be their man.

 12 | *Orlando Magic | Doug McDermott  (-), SF/PF, Creighton (6-8, 218)

The Magic ranked 25th in offense last year, so they’ll be looking to add another scoring punch to pair with Smart in the late lottery. I am unsure what the Magic would do here – take a swing on someone with upside or go with a more known quantity? If they want youth and potential, I expect them to go with James Young, but I reckon they would find it hard to turn down McDermott who would bring a high level of professionalism and basketball IQ to this very young Magic team. With Smart and Oladipo in the backcourt, the Magic could really use with a lights-out shooter. What Rob Hennigan plans to do with Arron Afflalo will also factor into what happens with this pick. Numerous sources say that several teams are interested in acquiring the former Bruin. Look for Charlotte and Chicago to intensify their trade discussions as the draft draws closer.

 13 | Minnesota Timberwolves |  Adreian Payne  (-2), PF/C, Michigan State (6-10, 239)

Payne, my big sleeper of the lottery, would be a steal at 13. He’d be the perfect third big off the bench behind Pekovic and Love (if Love stays put) and would bring a good mix of shot blocking and rebounding, along with a smooth stroke out to 3. Even if Love were to be moved, Payne is pretty versatile, so he could fit into any role you give him. Gary Harris could also get a serious look here, as both would be terrific pickups in the late lottery.

 14 | Phoenix Suns | James Young  (-), SG/SF, Kentucky (6-7, 213) 

With the first of many Suns first-round picks, I expect Phoenix to take whichever one of Harris, Young or Stuaskas falls to them at 14. The Suns are in desperate need of wing depth with Gerald Green entering the last year of his deal and P.J. Tucker due for a big payday. Young is a versatile scorer with a pretty advanced offensive game. Considering his age, it may take a season or two, but he will become a very efficient scorer at the next level. Ryan McDonough prioritizes drafting players who play both ends of the floor; Young will have to really focus on his defense. However, he projects to be an NBA shooting guard, so his size and length should help him. At Kentucky, he was forced to play the three and some four due to the makeup of the Wildcats’ roster.

 15 | Atlanta Hawks |  Gary Harris  (-5), SG, Michigan State (6-4, 205)

With John Jenkins failing to beat the injury bug in recent years, the Hawks will be looking for more depth at the shooting guard position. Harris has the type of game that allows him to fit in most places. He plays good defense and is a strong shooter; who wouldn’t want that? Budenholzer was forced to play a lot of Mack-Teague lineups due to injury last year. Harris would provide a nice spark off the bench behind Kyle Korver. Harris has also drawn interest from Charlotte, Orlando and Minnesota, but I don’t see him getting passed by the Hawks at 15. After this pick, I feel there is another drop-off from potential starters to likely bench players.

 16 | *Chicago Bulls |  Rodney Hood  (-), SG/SF, Duke (6-8, 208)

The Bulls are in need of wing depth, shooting and versatility, and Hood brings all those skills to the table. The Bulls were simply unable to score in this year’s postseason appearance against the Wizards; Washington was able to pack the paint and dare Kirk Hinrich to shoot 3’s. Hood is slightly one-dimensional – he can’t handle the ball or create for himself – but the one thing he can do is shoot, and he does it extraordinarily well (42 percent from 3). This would obviously fill a need for the Bulls. Hood gets a bad rep on the defensive end due to half the nation tuning in to him getting benched for his poor defense against Mercer in the NCAA tournament, but that isn’t fair to Hood. Despite not being a lockdown guy, Hood is actually a decent enough defender. Given his speed and length, he also has the potential to become a much better defender under Thibodeau. One interesting point to be aware of here is Hood’s stomach problem which made him miss the start of several games this season. He recently missed the Charlotte workout for the same reason. He’ll have to get control of his nerves, as his condition could very well worsen playing in packed stadiums every night.

 17 | *Boston Celtics | TJ Warren  (-2), SF, North Carolina State (6-8, 220)

With the Celtics selecting Embiid with the sixth pick, I see them boosting their wing scoring by also picking T.J. Warren. I expect Jeff Green to be moved this summer, which will save some money to re-sign Avery Bradley and open up minutes for Warren. The Celtics already have two stretch-fours in Sullinger and Olynyk, which would help negate some of Warren’s expected shooting struggles. The Celtics ranked 28th in points per game last year. Fortunately, Warren has the ability to score at an efficient rate and is a terrific cutter, so playing with Rondo would be a match made in heaven. All in all, I see this as a good fit for both parties.

 18 | *Phoenix  Suns | K.J McDaniels  (+2), SG/SF, Clemson (6-6, 196)  

The Suns have already taken one wing, but they could do it again, as K.J. McDaniels would fit nicely alongside James Young. McDaniels is a defensive specialist whose game would complement that of the offensively talented Young. The Suns employ one of the highest paces in the league and love to get up and down, which would suit McDaniel’s game perfectly as he’s terrific in transition. If P.J. Tucker were to leave this year, McDaniels could fill the void of the “tough-nosed” defensive stopper. If he improves his jump shot, he could really prove to be a terrific value pick.

 19 | Chicago Bulls | Jusuf Nurkic  (+5), C,  International (6-11, 280) 

News that Carmelo Anthony is opting out and becoming a free agent may lead the Bulls to only have one rookie in camp in an attempt to clear CAP space. Nurkic would look to provide good value at 19. After putting up monster numbers in the Adriatic league, he looks to be the one of the best big-man prospects in the first round after Joel Embiid. If the Bulls were to bring Nurkic over now, he would act as a reliable backup to Noah and would certainly be an upgrade over Nazr Mohammed.

 20 | Toronto Raptors | Tyler Ennis (-2), PG, Syracuse (6-2, 182)

Multiple sources say that the Canadian born Ennis won’t get past Toronto at 20. They have already had him in for a second workout and are in desperate need of a point guard. Ennis would have a defined role as a very talented backup if the Raptors can successfully re-sign Kyle Lowry. However, if they can’t, he also has the ability to step in and start. Overall, this pick makes sense for a lot of reasons.

 21 | *Oklahoma City Thunder |  PJ Hairston  (-), SG/SF, D-League: Texas Legends (6-5, 229)

With Thabo Sefolosha looking like he will be playing elsewhere next season, the Thunder will be looking to add some wing depth, especially after Jeremy Lamb’s underwhelming postseason play. Hairston would likely have a role on the Thunder from the get-go. He would provide better outside shooting than Sefolosha and better defense than Lamb. There are rumblings that the New York Knicks are looking to trade into the first round with Hairston as their target. In fact, the Thunder and Knicks almost decided on a trade involving Iman Shumpert at the trade deadline, so I wouldn’t be surprised if those talks were revisited. That said, I think the Knicks would have to give up even more, as Shumpert wouldn’t be enough to get the deal done by himself.

 22 | Memphis Grizzlies | Shabazz Napier  (-), PG, UConn (6-1, 175)

This is one of the few picks that hasn’t changed from my previous mock draft.  With all of the changes going on in the Grizzlies front office and the meddling Robert Pera, it is so up in the air what the Grizzlies may do here. Memphis is starved of any offensive firepower and ranked 27th in points per game and last in 3-pointers attempted and made. Napier would be able to bring a good scoring punch to the Memphis second unit. Napier even surprisingly received an invite for the NBA green room. Few players have increased their stock as much as Napier in the last month.

 23 | *Utah Jazz | Jerami Grant  (-), SF/PF, Syracuse (6-8, 214)

Grant’s stock has taken a big hit the last few weeks, as he’s struggled in workouts with his jump shot looking as shaky as ever. However, Utah can afford to take someone who may not make an immediate impact since he wouldn’t be asked to do much in Utah apart from play defense and rebound the basketball. Grant gives the Jazz something they don’t have and something that every team needs: a long, athletic wing defender.

 24 | *Charlotte Hornets | Jordan Clarkson (+6), PG/SG, Missouri (6-5, 186)

Despite an inconsistent season at Mizzou, Clarkson has risen up draft boards since the Chicago draft combine. Clarkson has great size for both guard positions and a good feel for the game. The big worry is Clarkson’s shooting which was very streaky; some say it was due to Clarkson struggling to cope with the news of his father being diagnosed with cancer. However, at the combine and in workouts, Clarkson has proved himself and emerged as a late first-round prospect. The Hornets are looking for a bigger backup point guard who can play behind Kemba Walker. Clarkson would fit nicely in Charlotte and has the tools to be a solid defender at the NBA level.

 25 | Houston Rockets | Damien Inglis (-), SF/PF, International (6-8, 240)

Daryl Morey ‘s refusal to pick up the fourth-year option on Chandler Parsons contract was a signal of intent – they are going to do everything they can to land a third star to put next to Howard and Harden. This means it is likely they take an international player in the draft whom they can have the option to keep overseas. This would create a little more cap space this summer. However, the Rockets may want to address their need for perimeter defense. Inglis would tick both boxes. He may stay over in France for another year or two, which would suit Houston, or he could come over now and try to become a “3-and-D” kind of player. Inglis is a great athlete with a good frame. His 7-3 wingspan is truly remarkable for a player his size. His 38 percent shooting from 3 would also fit well into Houston’s trigger-happy system.

 26 | Miami Heat |  Zach LaVine  (-8), SG, UCLA (6-6, 181)

The LaVine slide is over at 26, as there are not many better environments in which to learn than Miami. LaVine would be able to learn from a terrific coaching staff and set of future Hall of Famers (assuming they opt in or re-sign). LaVine may finally be able to learn how to use his athleticism and increase his basketball IQ under some close tutelage from the big three. Some may argue the Heat have more immediate needs, but I don’t see any players available at this point who could crack the Miami rotation next year.

 27 | *Phoenix Suns | Clint Capela (-), PF, International  (6-10, 210)

Hornacek and McDonough seemed to be impressed by Capela’s ability to run the floor and score in transition in his workout with the Suns. When you look at the makeup of the Suns roster, it is in need of some size and shot blocking ability, and Capela would be able to bring those qualities. It appears Capela wants to come over to the NBA now, which may not be a bad thing with the Suns looking to carry their momentum on from last year and make the playoffs. Despite a subpar showing in the Nike Hoop Summit, Capela possesses an NBA-caliber body and the core skills to make a good quality NBA big.

 28 | LA Clippers | Patric Young (-), C, Florida (6-10, 247)

The Clippers spent the entire 2013-14 season searching for a backup big man. Patric Young could be Doc Rivers’ Kendrick Perkins. Some may argue this would be too high for him, but I think Doc Rivers will be wanting to take someone who can have a role and make an impact right away. Mock drafts get blown up every year, so why not have one or two picks that appear unlikely?

 29 | Oklahoma City Thunder | Cleanthony Early (+2), SF, Wichita State (6-7, 209)

The Thunder would love to get their hands on Damien Inglis here, but with him off the board I look at them going for a more NBA-ready prospect. Caron Butler and Perry Jones largely failed to succeed for the Thunder this season. Enter 23-year-old Early, who is one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft. Early isn’t going to wow you with any particular part of his game, but he is a good, long defender and has a knack for scoring the ball. With the Thunder’s period of contention possibly winding down, they may finally be at the point where they stop taking high upside prospects for more NBA-ready prospects such as Early. If they do, however, go down the “high upside” route, I could see Kyle Anderson, or more likely, Glen Robinson III being selected here.

 30 | San Antonio Spurs | Kyle Anderson  (-), SF, UCLA (6-8, 230)

Anderson doesn’t have the most aesthetically pleasing game which goes someway to explain why he may be available at 30; scouts have come away unimpressed by his workouts. In a weaker draft, I feel a team would be more likely to gamble on the highly skilled UCLA product, but with so many other great prospects in the first round, he may be left right until the end of the first round. San Antonio would be a fantastic landing spot for Anderson. The unselfish system would suit his game, as he could flourish in a role somewhat similar to what Boris Diaw has done for the Spurs. That said, Diaw is a much better defender.

~ ROUND 2 ~

<strong>Milwaukee</strong>31 | Milwaukee Bucks | Vasilje Micic, PG, International (6-5, 202)

The Bucks are in need of a pure point guard with Brandon Knight possible being traded and Ramon Sessions becoming a free agent this summer. Micic would be good value at this point and would have been considered a first-round talent in most other drafts.

32 | Philadelphia 76ers | Thanisis Antetokounmpo, SG/SF, Delaware 87ers (6-6, 205)

Thanisis played for the 76ers’ D-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, this past season, so Philadelphia has seen as much of him as anyone. Thanisis had a terrific year. Though he is still quite raw, that wouldn’t really be a problem in Philly’s current rebuilding stage.

33 | Cleveland Cavaliers | Nick Johnson, PG/SG, Arizona (6-3, 198)

This may seem high for Johnson, but I believe he is an early second-round talent. The Cavaliers could do with a good perimeter defender to play behind Irving and Waiters. Being one of the most athletic guards in the draft helps make up for Johnson’s lack of size for a shooting guard. Johnson is a fantastic teammate, who would bring a strong work ethic to the Cavs and serve as a solid bench player.

34 | Dallas Mavericks | Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee (6-8, 263)

The Mavericks are in need of bigs. Jarnell Stokes is a first-round talent and thus would make a terrific value pick at 34. Dallas desperately needs some interior toughness and ranked just 26th in rebounding last year. Stokes is a readymade role player who could contribute immediately.

35 | Utah Jazz | CJ Wilcox, SG, Washington (6-5, 201)

Wilcox could go as early as the late first, but then the teams in the early second are already loaded at shooting guard. If Wilcox is still available at 35, I expect Utah to snatch him. With Gordon Hayward’s restricted free agency upcoming this summer and Alec Burks’ average 3-point shooting ability, Wilcox could find himself a niche as a solid 3-and-D guy.

36 | Milwaukee Bucks | Mitch McGary, C, Michigan (6-10, 263)

The Bucks have a slew of second-round picks the Bucks can afford to take a swing on someone such as McGary. Despite being injured for much of the college year and having been unable to participate in workouts, his strong performance in the 2013 NCAA Tournament is still fresh in many minds of NBA personnel.

37 | Toronto Raptors | Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA (6-5, 209)

With John Salmons becoming a free agent and Landry Fields capitulation, there are certainly minutes available behind DeRozan. If Adams was more athletic he would likely be a mid-late first-round pick. In the second round, he looks to be another great value pick.

38 | Detroit Pistons | Joe Harris, SG/SF, Virginia (6-6, 215)

The Pistons are in desperate need of shooting to fit around Monroe, Smith and Drummond. As a solid defender and very good spot-up shooter, Harris seems to tick all the boxes for the Pistons. CJ Wilcox, Jabari Brown and DeAndre Daniels could also get looks here if they are still on the board.

39 | Philadelphia 76ers | Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, International (6-6, 200)

The Sixers have so many second-round picks that it’s likely they’ll trade a number of them, but if they don’t I see them taking a couple of international prospects to stash overseas. Bogdanovic is probably the best international prospect at this point in the draft. Tavares, Klimenko and Jokic could also get looks here.

40 | Minnesota Timberwolves | Glen Robinson III, SG, Michigan (6-7, 211)

After taking Payne with the 13th pick, the Timberwolves will be looking to take a wing with their second pick. Robinson is a little less NBA ready than the Timberwolves may like, but his upside would be too high to pass on. Robinson also fills a need at shooting guard as it appears ever more likely that Kevin Martin is going to be moved.

41 | Denver Nuggets | Artem Klimenko, C, International (7-1, 228)

The Nuggets are in desperate need of a post presence. Klimenko could learn nicely behind fellow countryman Timofey Mozgov. It is reported Klimenko would come over right away, if requested, which might suit Denver, who might not be seeing Saric for a couple of years.

42 | Houston Rockets | Spencer Dinwiddie, PG/SG, Colorado (6-6, 205)

The Rockets need to improve their defense. They’ve already taken a specialist wing in Inglis at 25 and can now target a defensive guard. Dinwiddie has great size and can play both backcourt position and should be a very good defender at the next level. He also shot 41 percent from 3 before tearing his ACL this season. The Rockets wouldn’t need an immediate impact from Dinwiddie, which would give him the time he needs to recover.

43 | Atlanta Hawks | Nikola Jokic, C, International (6-11, 253)

Budenholzer and Danny Ferry spend more time scouting European prospects than almost anyone else in the league. The Hawks are in need of rotation players at both the four and five. Jokic has a very versatile and diverse skill set, which is something the Hawks would especially value.

44 | Minnesota Timberwolves | Walter Tavares, C, International (7-3, 265)

Payne is NBA ready, Tavares is certainly not, however 7-3 big men with good athleticism and shot blocking skills don’t grow on trees. Tavares has not been playing for very long, but has already established himself as one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the Spanish ACB.

45 | Charlotte Hornets | DeAndre Daniels, SF/PF, UConn (6-8, 196)

I expect O’Bryant, Brown and Christon to get a look here, but Daniels’ combination of size and shooting would fit well in Clifford’s system. Daniels is a little bit of a project, who needs to get a lot stronger and learn to play hard for the entire game.

46 | Washington Wizards | Lamar Patterson, SG, Pittsburgh (6-5, 226)

The Wizards could afford to add some guard depth with Miller and Ariza both free agents this year. The Otto Porter shooting guard experiment failed miserably and Glen Rice Jr. struggled mightily at times. Patterson isn’t a high-upside guy, but he is a real sleeper in this second round.

47 | Philadelphia 76ers | Eric Moreland, PF, Oregon State (6-10, 224)

Moorland is a high-upside guy, who has terrific size and athleticism for his position. The Oregon State star surprised many by declaring for the draft. Look for a team who isn’t relying on its second-round pick for production to select him in the late second.

48 | Milwaukee Bucks | Ioannis Papapetrou, SF, International (6-8, 223)

This will be the Bucks’ third pick in the second round, meaning they would be likely to take a draft-and-stash guy. Papapetrou is also from Greece so it is highly likely the Bucks scouting department have seen a lot of him when scouting Antetokounmpo.

49 | Chicago Bulls | Xavier Thames, PG, San Diego State (6-3, 187)

The Bulls took a shooting wing and a big man with their first-round picks. Therefore, a backup point guard such as Thames would make sense in the second round. Thames is more of a scoring guard, but that may not be a bad thing for the starved Chicago offense.

50 | Phoenix Suns | Russ Smith, PG, Louisville (6-1, 160)

Again, I would be surprised if the Suns keep all their picks. Scratch that, I would be STUNNED. If they still own the 50th pick, Smith wouldn’t be a bad option, as he is one of the quickest guards in the draft, which suits the Suns style. I see him filling the Ish Smith role with the potential to be a lot better.

51 | Dallas Mavericks | James McAdoo, SF/PF, UNC (6-9, 228)

McAdoo may fall out the draft entirely, but the Mavericks are in need of a good defensive specialist. McAdoo has the size, speed and athleticism to be a good defensive-minded rotation player.

52 | Philadelphia 76ers | Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri (6-4, 202)

So far in this mock, the Sixers are taking Exum, Gordon, Thanisis and Moreland, which doesn’t represent a lot of shooting ability. Brown would be a nice scoring guard off the bench, whose drawbacks would somewhat be offset by his backcourt teammates, Carter-Williams and Exum.

53 | Minnesota Timberwolves | DeAndre Kane, PG/SG, Iowa State (6-4, 200)

Kane is older than James Harden, but that shouldn’t take too much away from his successful season at Iowa State. If Kane was any younger he would be a first-round pick. Unfortunately though, he is a late bloomer who has had some past character issues. Kane could even go undrafted. If he did, I am sure he would catch onto an NBA roster. I like him a lot.

54 | Philadelphia 76ers | Cristiano Felicio, PF/C, International (6-9, 240)

Another draft-and-stash guy. Philly has surely got to move some of these picks, right?

55 | Miami Heat | Jordan Bachynski, C, Arizona State (7-2, 254)

With Chris Anderson opting out, the Heat are in need of a big man who can protect the rim. Bachynski is very mature and possesses great size and shot blocking ability. There are a lot of things Bachynski can’t do, but playing in Miami would allow him to focus on his strengths, protecting the rim and rebounding.

56 | Denver Nuggets | Khem Birch, PF/C, UNLV (6-9, 209)

Birch is arguably the best shot blocker in the draft. With Faried and Mozgov not being the best rim protectors, Birch could find himself a role.

57 | Indiana Pacers | Johnny O’Byrant, C, LSU (6-8, 257)

O’Bryant could go a lot higher, but if he slides this far, then I could see him going to Indiana and being a cheaper version of Lavoy Allen who becomes a free agent this summer. O’Bryant is undersized, but an absolute rebounding beast.

58 | San Antonio Spurs | Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier (6-3, 186)

Christon has great physical tools and also possess great vision. Unfortunately his shot is still streaky. Christon is the kind of high-character, high-basketball IQ guy who would adapt well in San Antonio. Christon is another sleeper of mine, who I think will have a very successful NBA career as a backup guard.

59 | Toronto Raptors | Corey Jefferson, PF, Baylor (6-9, 218)

Jefferson lacks motor, but has the tools to be a good NBA player. There are questions over whether he really has the drive to be an NBA player, but at 59 the Raptors can afford to take the risk. He also provides some cover if Patterson were to leave as a free agent this summer.

60 | San Antonio Spurs | Alessandro Gentile, SF, International (6-6, 200)

I find it highly unlikely the Spurs would take more than two rookies into training camp. More likely, I see them in typical Spurs fashion taking a draft-and-stash player who could emerge as the next Manu Ginboli.

 

 

 

 

About James Plowright

I am from Manchester, England and have recently graduated from the top sporting University in the country, Loughborough. I am currently working at BBC Sport, as you can imagine I have to look elsewhere to fuel my basketball addiction. I am a Charlotte Horncats fan... Long story, I am also the sole member of the "Free Joel Freeland" club. I have written for various NBA websites including Bobcats.com, Bobcats Planet, Real GM and last year I started my own website "The Lottery Mafia" which covers the NBA's lottery bound teams. I know what your thinking and yes, I do love tea and crumpets. Considering I cover the NBA I probably shouldn't "support" a team but I can't help but enjoy watching the Charlotte Horncats consistently fail, its like a car crash... I just can't look away.

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