Now that the NBA Draft Lottery determined who will be making selections 1-14 and in what order on draft night, it’s time to shake up the lottery picks from our NBA Mock Draft 1.0.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
The Timberwolves have a perfect opportunity to add to their already talented young core in the form of a draft pick or a trade. If they do make a selection with the number one pick, Minnesota needs a sure-thing, and there isn’t a surer pick than Edwards, who plays smart and with a ton of energy. Combined with his athleticism and excellent scoring ability, Edwards and D’Angelo Russell can be the frontcourt of the future for the Timberwolves.
2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
The 2019 finals loss against the Toronto Raptors seems like years ago, and now the Warriors have the worst record in the league. However, Golden State will be finals contenders next year after their all-stars return from injury and they have the number two pick at their disposal. On the off chance that they keep the pick, James Wiseman makes the most sense for an aging contender like the Warriors because he can contribute right away in their biggest position of need thanks to his impressive mobility, shooting, and defense in his 7’1 frame.
3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks
The relevancy that Ball would bring to the Hornets would be matched only by the owner of the franchise himself coming out of retirement again to play for them. Such a talent hasn’t graced this team in decades, possibly excluding Kemba Walker. The Hornets know that Terry Rozier isn’t their point guard of the future, but a backcourt of Ball and Devonte Graham can rival the splash brothers in Golden State. If Ball falls to Charlotte, they will finally have added a piece that can push the team into contention with the help of Graham, PJ Washington, and Miles Bridges.
4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija
The young backcourt is set for the Bulls with Coby White and Zach LaVine, and their frontcourt is set with Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen. Avdija makes a lot of sense here because of his versatility at the forward positions and because Chicago doesn’t have an apparent direction as of now. He can play a complementary role and be the second star to LaVine if they decide to keep him, but Deni is also someone they can easily build around if the Bulls trade LaVine. No matter what direction the franchise chooses to go in this offseason, drafting Avdija should be part of their plan.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Collin Sexton and Darius Garland can be great together as a backcourt duo, but there needs to be more of a young core than that to eventually return to contention. Obi Toppin probably won’t be able to command an offense in the NBA, but he can be an elite finisher and someone who will always command the attention of the defense. Toppin would give Cleveland a huge boost, and he’d provide dunks every night that would remind fans of Lebron James.
6. Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
Okongwu is listed as a center, but he can easily slide into the power forward spot and play with Clint Capela. That frontcourt, along with John Collins, would dominate the glass on both ends while still allowing for a fast-paced offense that they like. Defensively, rim protection would be a huge strength with Okongwu. This is more important for Atlanta than anyone else because Trae Young allows a lot of guards blow by him to the basket. The Hawks’ are almost ready to contend, and another big man like Onyeka Okongwu is just the prospect to get them into the playoffs.
7. Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
The Pistons need to go best player available here because almost every position is a need for them. Haliburton probably won’t win Rookie of the Year in Detroit because he doesn’t have a lot to work with, but he can be an elite point guard one day on a championship team. Detroit needs to start somewhere, so it might as well be the floor general who can shoot, pass, play defense, and is a fantastic decision-maker with an extremely high basketball IQ.
8. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
The Knicks are looking to make their first great lottery selection since Kristaps Porzingis. Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett can be starters on the team for a very long time, but they need a point guard who actually lives up to his potential. Many believe Killian Hayes is a better prospect than Haliburton, and the Knicks should be ecstatic to land either one. Hayes knows when to score and when to set up his teammates, and he does both extremely well. He is truly a modern NBA point guard with his 6’5 frame and gifted shooting ability, and someone who can give New York hope for the future.
9. Washington Wizards: RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers
With all the Bradley Beal trade rumors in the regular season and next offseason, the Wizards might consider drafting a younger, cheaper Bradley Beal by the name of RJ Hampton. Hampton, like Beal, can be an elite scorer and three-point shooter in the league, but he needs to get stronger in order to make his game more well-rounded. Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, and potentially Hampton is a very solid young core in addition to whatever assets Beal brings back in the trade.
10. Phoenix Suns: Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
The Suns are hoping that their impressive bubble performance carries over into next season and into the playoffs. Devin Booker will perform at an all-star level and Deandre Ayton should be solid. Isaac Okoro is a player who should be able to compliment them both perfectly. Okoro’s excellent athleticism makes him a force on defense and an impressive finisher. It also gives him versatility on both ends of the floor, as someone who can guard two or three or even four positions is invaluable in today’s NBA. While Okoro still needs to improve on his offensive skills, his athleticism and high IQ should make him a starter right away.
11. San Antonio Spurs: Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
There might be a lot of turnover on the Spurs next year, so they would be wise to use their number eleven pick on a safe prospect who the Spurs know what they’re getting from. What they know they are getting from Saddiq Bey is great shooting, solid defense, and a high IQ player who seems to almost always make the right play. He’s not the most athletic player in this class, but Bey is a player who directly impacts winning. Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs historically value those kinds of players, and Bey would be valuable coming off the bench or in the starting lineup.
12. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
The Kings have had great three-point shooters in Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovich. However, it’s uncertain whether either of them will be on the team next year. In light of these uncertainties, Sacramento might target Aaron Nesmith, possibly the best overall shooter in this class, who is also a gifted defender. Nesmith has some foot injury history which is why he will probably be available at number twelve. The Kings might be hesitant to go with Nesmith because Marvin Bagley has missed a lot of time with a foot injury of his own, but Nesmith can become an elite 3 and D player in the league if he stays healthy.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Pelicans fans shouldn’t look Cole Anthony as a potential replacement for Lonzo Ball as much as a potential running mate. Ball can do many things, but scoring isn’t his strength. Luckily for New Orleans, scoring is Anthony’s specialty. The two young point guards have different skill sets but can make up for each other’s weaknesses with their own respective strengths. Anthony would likely be an impact scorer off the bench for a surprisingly deep Pelicans squad next year, but he has the potential to be a starting point guard because of his other attributes, including rebounding, defending, and the energy that he brings on the court.
14. Boston Celtics: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
The Celtics are one of the best teams in the NBA and have one of the brightest futures in the league. The fact that they have a lottery pick is almost unfair. Boston drafting Devin Vassell would make things that much less fair. Vassell actually plays like Jayson Tatum, but with a little less physicality because of his slightly smaller frame. He is a great scorer who has shown sneaky rebounding and passing ability. There likely wouldn’t be room for Vassell to start in Boston right away, but he can score off the bench and provide depth at the small forward position with Gordon Hayward being frequently injured.