2018 NBA Mock Drafts: Sam Vecenie

Sam Vecenie
By Sam Vecenie
CBSSports.com NBA Writer

Here is my final NBA Mock as the draft is tonight.
NBA Mock Draft - 06/23/2016
Round 1
1. Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons, SF, LSU: The Sixers have reportedly told Simmons that he'll be the number one pick. That means the intrigue for them starts with what they do with the rest of their roster. Are they able to find a taker of Jahlil Okafor? Maybe Nerlens Noel? How do they reshape this roster for success around Simmons? It all starts on draft night, and it would be a surprise if the Sixers didn't play a big part in how this thing all plays out with trades.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke: The Lakers have a relatively simple night ahead of them. Take Ingram, and be happy, is essentially what it comes down to. The 6-foot-9 forward out of Duke is a perfect fit for their roster, and should mesh well with fellow lottery picks D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. Not much else to say about this one that hasn't already been said.
3. Boston Celtics
Kris Dunn, PG, Providence: This is where the draft begins in earnest, because nobody knows what the Celtics are going to do. Do they keep the pick and take a player? Do they trade it? It's very wide open right now. I'm going with Dunn for now for a few reasons, despite the fact that he and his agency have tried to steer him away from the point guard-laden situation. First, the Celtics are known to like him. Second, he fits Danny Ainge's ideal model of toughness, athleticism, and defense. Finally, I think he's the most likely trade target for a team to move up for. The point guard position is a mess in this draft, and any of the other teams in the lottery could look to try to move up and grab him to assure themselves of the best lead guard in the draft.
4. Phoenix Suns
Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington: This is going to be one of three players: Chriss, Dragan Bender, or Jaylen Brown. I'm going with Chriss as the upside play here. The Suns are known to be big fans. It's certainly not the direction I'd go -- Bender is the better player and prospect, for me -- but Chriss gives them an athlete to pair with Devin Booker and whichever point guard they decide to keep out of Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
Jamal Murray, SG, Kentucky: Tom Thibodeau is said to be a fan of Murray's gusto and confidence, and the team could really use some help in the backcourt. Murray would be a nice fit with Ricky Rubio as a terrific floor-spacing shooter, and would work either as the first guy off the bench behind Zach LaVine or in the starting lineup and allowing LaVine to run his own unit offensively from the off-guard spot.
6. New Orleans Pelicans
Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma: The Pelicans would be pleased if either Hield or Dunn fell, as it would give them a 22-year-old that is ready to compete immediately. Hield fits well with current point guard Jrue Holiday, and would obviously help to space the floor for a guy like a Anthony Davis inside. I'd expect all of the Murray, Dunn, and Hield trio to be on the board. If those three are out, Jakob Poeltl and Jaylen Brown could be in the mix.
7. Denver Nuggets
Dragan Bender, PF, Israel: I'm not entirely sure how big Denver is on Bender, given that looking at their draft history he's actually a bit of an outlier on terms of production. They tend to like guys who have shown more than Bender has. Having said that, he'd just be tremendous value at this spot, and the team obviously scouts well enough over there to know that. It's hard for me to believe they would pass on him.
8. Sacramento Kings
Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga: This would be the first semi-surprise of the draft in terms of order. The Kings are known to be high on Sabonis, and could easily select him over some of the more well-established names depending on who falls. If Dunn or Hield get here, they'll be the pick. But if not, Sabonis makes sense as a guy they can pair with both DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein in a variety of lineups.
9. Toronto Raptors
Jaylen Brown, SG, California: The Raptors are going to need a backup center to replace Bismack Biyombo, which will put Jakob Poeltl, Deyonta Davis, and Skal Labissiere in the mix. However, I don't think Masai Ujiri would pass on the value of Brown. Brown has potential to play both the 3 and 4 in small-ball lineups, plus can do a wide variety of things defensively in terms of switching and attacking ball-handlers. It would be a good fit outside of the shooting questions.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Jakob Poeltl, PF, Utah: The Bucks will probably either look big or reach for a point guard here. Poeltl is a good fit inside because he can provide the toughness, rebounding and touch that their players currently occasionally struggle with.
11. Orlando Magic
Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State: This is a tough call here, because I think in an ideal world Frank Vogel and the Magic would like to get someone who can help now. But if you look around the board, that guy doesn?t really exist. So they decide to go with Davis here, as the fit with all of their big men is pretty superb.
12. Utah Jazz
Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse: Atlanta would probably like to be in the market for a big man here, but I?m not sure that the fit will be there unless they want to take Labissiere. Richardson had a strong workout for the Hawks early in the process, and could represent a nice upside play for Atlanta. Also look at fellow ASM Sports product Malik Beasley in this spot.
13. Phoenix Suns
Dejounte Murray, PG, Washington: Murray has been rumored to be on the Suns wish list for a while. They also apparently like Denzel Valentine, but it's unknown if the knee issues will give them pause. Here, Murray gets to team up with his former Washington teammate Chriss as the Suns look to move both Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe according to reports.
14. Chicago Bulls
Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State: The Bulls traded Derrick Rose yesterday, and should be in the mix for a guard. Valentine has questions about his knees, but the fit in Chicago's offensive scheme with Fred Holberg is unquestionably terrific.
15. Denver Nuggets
Timothe Luwawu, SG, France: Again, the Nuggets scout overseas as well as anyone, and have a legitimate need on the wing. Luwawu would bring them athleticism, motor, defensive ability, and the potential to shoot it and operate as a ball-handler. This would be a really nice mix of fit and talent.
16. Boston Celtics
Ivica Zubac, C, Croatia: Teams go back and forth on Zubac and Zizic, and they have some questions about Zubac's medical history and whether or not he'll stay healthy long-term. However, what's not questioned is that he has the most upside of the two, and the Celtics could look to allow him to develop overseas for another year while stashing him with Mega Leks.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
Henry Ellenson, PF-C, Marquette: The Grizzlies are said to have promised Malachi Richardson they would take him if he falls to No. 17. However, I'm not entirely sure he gets there, and if he's not Ellenson would be an interesting selection for the Grizzlies as a frontcourt piece.
18. Detroit Pistons
Wade Baldwin IV, SG, Vanderbilt: Baldwin would be a nice fit with both Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson in the backcourt due to his length and shooting potential. He could help lead the team?s second unit early in his career.
19. Denver Nuggets
Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky: This would be a bit of a sizable drop, but the Nuggets could continue to build their floor-spacing and shooting.
20. Indiana Pacers
Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State: Can't see Beasley getting past this spot, as the Nets will be in the market for some high-upside guards like he, Dejounte Murray, and potentially Malachi Richardson depending on who falls. Another name to keep an eye on: hometown kid Isaiah Whitehead.
21. Atlanta Hawks
Juan Hernangomez, PF, Spain: It would be a surprise if Atlanta made both picks. Still, Hernangomez ability to stretch the floor and provide floor-spacing would be a terrific addition to Atlanta, or anyone else who felt the need to move up to this spot to take the ACB's young player of the year.
22. Charlotte Hornets
Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State: Valentine is still in the mix as high as No. 13 to Phoenix, but here he falls as the knee concerns are still there. Valentine is going to be a good NBA player in some capacity. He shoots it to well and passes too exceptionally to fail fully. It's just how long that career will be.
23. Boston Celtics
Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Turkey: Korkmaz would represent a solid stash opportunity here for the Celtics, as it would be unlikely that they'd want to help him pay the difference of his buyout at this late stage of the draft. He'd be a solid upside play for a team that could use them.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
DeAndre' Bembry, SF, Saint Joseph's: Bembry comes from St. Joe's and the Sixers should know his game well. He wouldn't help their floor spacing, but the team does need help on the wings and his ability to create offense would definitely help.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
Brice Johnson, PF, North Carolina: The Clippers are said to be high on Johnson and value him as someone who could step in quickly and contribute to a team that needs further depth in the frontcourt.
26. Philadelphia 76ers
Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame: Jackson is an explosive point guard who could work well with the 76ers next to Ben Simmons due to his ability to play on or off ball.
27. Toronto Raptors
Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas: Diallo was a big riser at the combine, and the big man would represent a solid project for the Raptors to undertake as a guy who can defend the weak side of the rim and run the floor well.
28. Phoenix Suns
Ante Zizic, C, Croatia: This is probably my least favorite pick of this mock draft. I think that Zizic goes higher than this, potentially as many as 15 or so picks higher depending on the movement within the draft. He's a superbly productive player who is possibly the most ready player to contribute coming over from Europe this season.
29. San Antonio Spurs
Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky: This is just a perfect fit of basketball IQ and letting the board come to them. The Spurs get a terrific player in Ulis, who despite his stature will likely play in the NBA for a while.
30. Golden State Warriors
Damian Jones, PF, Vanderbilt: The Warriors will have a need inside if they lose both Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao. Jones is a project, but he's extremely athletic and intelligent, and is probably worth the first round investment at this late stage.
Round 2
31. Boston Celtics (from PHI via MIA)
Guerschon Yabusele, PF, France: Yabusele was among the most productive young players in France this season, and projects as a powerful face-up 4.
32. Los Angeles Lakers
Diamond Stone, C, Maryland: The Lakers need another center, and Stone is an upside pick that could pay dividends in the future.
33. Los Angeles Clippers (from BKN)
Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor: Prince could easily go in the first round, but if he fell to the Clips at this spot they'd be happy to get a steal.
34. Phoenix Suns
Thon Maker, C, Australia: Maker could just as easily end up in Round One, as the Sudanese-Australian is considered a high-upside player who could eventually turn into a starter.
35. Boston Celtics (from MIN via PHX)
Paul Zipser, SF, Germany: Zipser is the kind of athlete and shooter at a mobile 6-foot-8 who fits perfectly in Brad Stevens' system.
36. Milwaukee Bucks (from NO via SAC)
Petr Cornelie, PF, France : He's really skinny, but if Cornelie can fill out the 6-11 forward has a superb jump shot to stretch the floor.
37. Houston Rockets (from NY via SAC)
Zhou Qi, C, China : Zhou is a tough one to gauge right now. Maybe he goes in the first round. Maybe he falls outside the top 45. Still, he is 7-2, blocks shots, and can shoot.
38. Milwaukee Bucks
Georgios Papagiannis, C, Greece: Papagiannis is a good stash opportunity as a 7-foot-2 big man that was productive in Greece this season.
39. New Orleans Pelicans (from DEN via PHI)
Isaia Cordinier, SG, France: Cordinier is a project, but he's skilled and smart with the ball, and might develop into a steal in the second.
40. New Orleans Pelicans (from SAC)
Isaiah Whitehead, SG, Seton Hall: I think Whitehead goes somewhere in the top-40, be it for someone who trades for him or just takes him.
41. Orlando Magic
Malcolm Brogdon, SG, Virginia: I have Brogdon rated as a first round player. He'll play in the NBA for a while and would be a tremendous get here.
42. Utah Jazz
Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan: With LeVert, it's all about the foot. If a team believes in the foot, he's a first round talent. If teams don't think he can stay healthy, he might go unselected.
43. Houston Rockets
Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville: Onuaku is a tough player who rebounds well and defends well both inside and out.
44. Atlanta Hawks (from WAS)
Stephen Zimmerman Jr., C, UNLV: It's not out of the question Zimmerman goes Round One, but it's more likely the former five-star ends up in the second.
45. Boston Celtics (from MEM)
Rade Zagorac, SF, Serbia: Zagorac would be a steal here, for sure, as the skilled forward can really score the basketball and pass.
46. Dallas Mavericks
A.J. Hammons, C, Purdue: The Mavericks take a shot on another semi-lottery ticket. If you strike gold with Hammons, he might become a starter.
47. Orlando Magic (from CHI)
Ben Bentil, PF, Providence: Another potential jump shooting 4-man who can really score, but has some questions as to who he defends.
48. Chicago Bulls (from POR via CLE)
Patrick McCaw, SG, UNLV: McCaw could possibly go in the first round, but this draft is just so deep that one of these solid college kids is going to fall relatively deeply due to the nature of stashing picks. He'd be great value here.
49. Detroit Pistons
Kay Felder, PG, Oakland: He's a little bowling ball that can really score and pass. Who he defends at his size will be key.
50. Indiana Pacers
Isaiah Cousins, SG, Oklahoma: Cousins has gone from slightly off the radar at the Portsmouth Invitational to a likely selection in the upcoming draft. Great work from him in the pre-draft process.
51. Boston Celtics (from MIA)
Pascal Siakam, PF, New Mexico State: Siakam is a hard worker who will rebound at the next level. The question is whether or not he has the explosiveness.
52. Utah Jazz (from BOS via MEM)
Andrey Desyatnikov, C, Russia: An auto-eligible 7-foot-3 center who teams will hope can become the next Boban Marjanovic due to his size and mobility.
53. Denver Nuggets (from CHA via OKC)
Anthony Barber, PG, NC State: Barber could end up much higher than this. He's a terrific scorer off the dribble and can really hit shots from the midrange.
54. Atlanta Hawks
David Michineau, PG, France: An athletic French point guard that is auto-eligible for the draft. He can get a bit wild, but he's a good project to stash.
55. Brooklyn Nets (from LAC)
Wayne Selden Jr., SF, Kansas: An early entrant, the key with Selden is the jump shot. Can he hit them consistently enough to stay in the league?
56. Denver Nuggets (from OKC)
Gracin Bakumanya, C, France: He decided to stay in the draft as an early entrant, which makes me believe he has a promise from somebody.
57. Memphis Grizzlies (from TOR)
Gary Payton II, PG, Oregon State: Payton is a terrific defender who may struggle on offense due to an inability to shoot.
58. Boston Celtics (from CLE)
A.J. Hammons, C, Purdue: Hammons could also go quite a bit higher than this, although his past has given teams some pause and he needs to work on his ability to defend on the perimeter.
59. Sacramento Kings (from SA)
Shawn Long, PF, UL Lafayette: This is a bit speculative. I think someone trades back in to grab him late.
60. Utah Jazz (from GS)
Joel Bolomboy, PF, Weber State: Bolomboy is a superb athlete who wowed at the combine plus can shoot the ball from distance.