This NBA Draft looks stronger and stronger every day. You can make a case for a handful of No. 1 overall picks, which isn't usually the case. Still, as of now, the top of my mock draft remains unchanged following the epic Lonzo Ball-Markelle Fultz showdown from this past weekend and Ball's Player of the Year type performance Thursday night vs. Oregon. But plenty of prospects are playing their way into and out of the hearts of scouts and GMs around the league.
The following draft order is based on current SportsLine projections for for finishing order, and we will continue to update this mock as the predicted order of finish changes.
To the big board!
Yes, small forward, but a 6-foot-10 small forward who blocks shots and handles without turning it over much. Essentially a prototype Luke Walton player.
Pop him out on the wing, let him score, and watch him develop as a reliable counterpoint to Devin Booker's perimeter game.
It isn't exactly clear how Markkanen will fit on this Orlando roster, but you could say that about most of the people on the roster already.
Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M
18 points in his most recent game against LSU, once again an offensive focal point, and bigger still--not a single turnover. And the rim-protecting will allow Karl-Anthony Towns to wander more freely.
Dennis Smith, PG, N.C. State
The Pels are looking for a center lately for some reason, but Smith is really what they need, a hyper-athletic playmaker who posts 30-point games with ease and would punish defenses used to focusing on Anthony Davis without penalty
Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Vlade Divac is happy to overlook offensive inefficiency--one doesn't employ Rudy Gay otherwise--and the 25th-best defense in the league will happily soak up Jackson minutes on that end of the floor.
It will be a very Knicks move to draft Monk, who can help plenty of teams at the two, and see if he can become a point guard.
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
A defensive stopper at the point who can't shoot threes? Easy to see how Jason Kidd will fall in love here. And Fox facilitating for this powerful Bucks offense is fantastic to imagine.
A wing who can score without providing opponents with a clear path to the basket on the defensive end will come in handy for the 30th-ranked defense of the Nuggets, and as a salve to coach Mike Malone's sanity.
Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona
The infusion of offense Steve Clifford's team desperately needs, and with a bonus--he's learned how to defend under Sean Miller, a must in Charlotte.
| Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor |
I think it's early to give up on Noah Vonleh, but he hasn't progressed this season, and Motley is essentially what the Blazers are hoping Vonleh will become.
Hart makes sense as a shooter and scorer for the Bulls, but he makes just as much sense as a culture-changer.
T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA
Miles Bridge, SF, Michigan State
The combo of athleticism and shooting prowess that is catnip to Billy Donovan.
Put Swanigan into lineups with Dwight Howard, and opponents might never see another second-shot opportunity. Plus I want to see Swanigan's shot in a Mike Budenholzer system.
Frank Mason, PG, Kansas
Isaiah Hartenstein, C, Germany
Stash him overseas and hope you've landed yourself a Markkanen or Porzingis type player much later in the draft.
Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
He's shooting 80 percent from the field over his last four games, the kind of efficiency that Dwayne Casey loves so dearly.
Too many skills and tools that could turn into skills for the Jazz to pass on Rabb here.
Happ fits snugly into a Nuggets team that works to beat you on the boards (second in the league), and will help Mike Malone build his identity into the roster he inherited.
It's striking how much Collins' game reflects what the Nets have tried to make Brook Lopez into this season. Collins is already excellent at scoring in transition. He's already an elite roll man in the pick-and-roll. Lopez is on the block, and Collins is the logical replacement.
| Tacko Fall, C, Central Florida |
Imagine when the Rockets shift from Clint Capela in the lineup to Fall? Picture that offense with a rim protector like Fall, who makes 75 percent of his shots from the field as well.
After averaging 11.6 points per game over his first 18 contests, he's at 17.7 in his past six, including 31 against Penn State.
A perfect understudy for Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
Harry Giles, PF, Duke
The team best-positioned to take a flyer on Giles and see if he ever regains the form that made him a potential top overall pick, back before all his injuries.