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!
Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
Is the top seed in the East and the top pick in the draft within reach? Thank the Brooklyn Nets. I'm sure the Celtics do every day.
Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State
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.
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
Joel Embiid is at a 24.4 player efficiency rating with T.J. McConnell throwing him passes. Just imagine.
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
Pop him out on the wing, let him score, and watch him develop as a reliable counterpoint to Devin Booker's perimeter game.
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
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
Fans subjected to the slow fade of Deron Williams deserve a different part of the career arc at the point. Yogi Ferrell is exciting, but Ntikilina could be a franchise-altering player.
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
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.
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
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.
Tyler Lydon, SG/SF, Syracuse
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.
The winning streak doesn't change the fact that Hassan Whiteside's block percentage has halved, and that the Heat appear to be reluctant employers of Whiteside, contract or no contract.
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
A perfect fit at the four to stretch interior defenders away from the Andre Drummond rebounding machine and give Detroit a second bomber to pair with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
With Paul George on the block, Jackson looks like a reasonable George replacement, and one more aligned chronologically with Myles Turner, this franchise's north star.
Miles Bridge, SF, Michigan State
The combo of athleticism and shooting prowess that is catnip to Billy Donovan.
Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue
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
A scoring point guard whose shooting efficiency will keep the Raptors from dipping offensively as much when Kyle Lowry is off the floor and reinforce Dwayne Casey's best habits as coach.
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.
Ivan Rabb, PF, California
Too many skills and tools that could turn into skills for the Jazz to pass on Rabb here.
Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin
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.
Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
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.
Thomas Bryant, PF, Indiana
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.
Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
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.