The lottery is behind our backs and with 13 teams entitled of 14 Draft picks, Mock Draft continues to shape up and speculation grows amidst who should or should not be the 1st overall pick of this year’s Draft.
Considering how deep and talented this class is, neither team could go wrong with the 3rd best players available, but either way, there are a lot of intangibles that have to be considered when mocking. Is this young guy the right fit? Does it respond to a need or a problem the team has?
The upside is something much scouts take into account, even way more than NBA ready kind of skills. Today, we’re going to go ahead and do our way too early lottery mock Draft, so if your team missed the playoffs, you better check this out.
14. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – Denver Nuggets
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of this years’ most intriguing prospects, mostly because his defense is already NBA ready and his unpolished offensive game has shown glimpses of what could wind up being a standout two-way combo guard for the future.
The Nuggets already have a deadly backcourt featuring great defenders and off-ball scorers in Jamal Murray and Gary Harris, SGA being the “purest” playmaker of the three of them, and most likely leading the second unit next to Will Barton.
13. Robert Williams – LA Clippers
Robert Williams may fill DeAndre Jordan’s void –should he walk away for free this summer- and contribute right away for the rebuilding Los Angeles Clippers, being able to play both the 4 and the 5 due to his great wingspan and ability to guard bigger opposition.
His offensive game is pretty undeveloped and makes the most of his points out of lobs and finishing below the rim, not to mention his post skills leave a lot of room for improvement, but his speed; athleticism and defensive awareness make him a very valuable pick at 13th.
12. Miles Bridges – LA Clippers
Miles Bridges would be the Clippers’ obvious choice with the pick they got from Detroit in the Blake Griffin trade, an explosive and quite strong combo forward that brings a lot of hustle on both ends of the hardwood, especially when it comes to defense.
He’s a bit undersized to play the 4 but makes up for it with top-notch hustle and positioning, and is a hell of a rebounder for his size. Still, his jump shot needs some improving to do, but he’s shown great strides from his rookie year at Michigan State.
11. Kevin Knox – Charlotte Hornets
Kevin Knox has the potential to become one of the league’s best combo forwards in a couple of years, as the freshman out of Kentucky is an extremely crafty and versatile scorer that could either create his own shot, attack the basket or shoot from midrange.
Also, he’s got an impressive 7’1 wingspan and the potential to guard multiple positions and make the most of his size, although he tends to disappear from time to time, especially when his shot isn’t falling, trying to force things a bit on the offensive end of the floor.
10. Mikal Bridges – Philadelphia 76ers
Mikal Bridges is one of the most proven players of this class, being a 2 time NCAA Champion with Villanova, and the fact that he’s still taken into the top 10 despite not being a freshman or sophomore should tell you enough about his NBA ready talents.
Bridges is a standout wing stopper at the shooting guard of the small forward spot and has also grown to become an elite perimeter shooter. Even though his upside seems limited and he lacks aggressiveness when driving to the rim, he’s a can’t miss prospect that could contribute right away.
9. Collin Sexton – New York Knicks
Collin Sexton would create a lot of problems in the Knicks crowded backcourt, with a major logjam at the point guard position with Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke already on board, but this healthy competition may be enough to see who winds up actually showing up for the Knicks.
Sexton would be the best player available for the Knicks here, as the freshman out of Alabama knocked everybody off their feet with his strength, aggressiveness and ability to finish through contact, making up for his lack of size. He’s still got a lot of room for improvement, but he’s proven that he can definitely make big plays when it matters the most.
8. Trae Young – Cleveland Cavaliers
Trae Young has drawn a lot of comparisons with Stephen Curry due to his unlimited range and outstanding playmaking and handles, but –just like Curry- his shot selection and proneness to turn the rock over are huge question marks for the undersized combo guard out of Oklahoma.
Nonetheless, Young’s a terrific scorer that can contribute right away, and his basketball IQ should improve through mistakes. We already know he’s incredibly unselfish, but whether he’s ever ready to be a good defender would also take a major toll on his overall impact as an NBA player.
7. Mo Bamba – Chicago Bulls
Mo Bamba has set the Draft combine record with a freakish 7’10 wingspan and has the potential to become a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate due to his strength, length, athleticism and overall awareness, being an elite shot blocker and rebounder that also showed great skills guarding all the way to the perimeter.
His offensive game is non-existent whatsoever, mostly because he doesn’t even faces up to take a look at the rim and makes all of his damage within 1 feet of the rim, either with offensive boards or lobs; but even if he never becomes an offensive factor, he’s the kind of defensive anchor that could put the icing on top of the cake for this rebuilding Bulls.
6. Wendell Carter Jr – Orlando Magic
Wendell Carter Jr is not your average back-to-the-basket big man, and his mobility will definitely grant him success on an NBA level, being more suited to play the power forward spot but having the kind of length and wingspan to play some center as well.
He’s a very smart young man that knows how to properly run the floor and even post up against bigger opposition, doesn’t force things on offense and takes good care of the rock despite being a below average ball handler. On the downside, he’s kind of slow to come back on defense and needs to gain some muscle to try and stop NBA players.
5. Michael Porter Jr – Dallas Mavericks
Michael Porter Jr is one of the most exciting prospects in this class, being considered by much the best player on this Draft due to his ability to consistently score from all over the floor, drawing comparisons with a young Kevin Durant as perhaps the most versatile offensive player of this class.
MPJ is the prime high risk – high reward player of this class, as his back injury back at Missouri, made him lose most of the season, so whether his talent would translate to an NBA level remains a huge question mark up to this date.
4. Jaren Jackson Jr – Memphis Grizzlies
Jaren Jackson Jr has a lot of upside in both ends of the floor, but he’s still kind of raw and unpolished in both ends as well. He’s one of the best rebounders of this class and is a gifted athlete with a 7’4 wingspan and 9’1 standing reach, and he doesn’t hesitate to make the most of his size in the post.
Nonetheless, he tends to force things on offense a bit and needs to put a lot of work on his jump shot. He won’t hesitate to pull up from three, but still lacks that kind of range. Still, he looks like a stud in the making, but he’ll need some time to get there.
3. Marvin Bagley III – Atlanta Hawks
Marvin Bagley III has the kind of skill set to become one of the deadliest scorers in the league at the power forward position. His face-up game is already elite, is an outstanding rebounder and has the ability to finish with both hands, has a reliable jump shot and his post moves and footwork are quite impressive.
On the downside, he needs to improve a lot on the defensive end of the floor and has kind of short arms that limit his wingspan, not to mention he definitely needs to gain way more strength not to get bullied down low by NBA players and also be able to finish through contact.
2. Luka Doncic – Sacramento Kings
Luka Doncic is considered by much as the best player on this class and he definitely makes a very strong case for it, being just 19-year old but perhaps the most experienced player on this Draft, showing vast basketball IQ at both guard spots, scoring off ball with a well-developed offensive repertoire as well as being a great and willing facilitator.
He’s ready both physically and mentally to compete right away and always finds a way to score even when his shot isn’t falling, although he’s struggled in isolation both offensively and defensively due to his lack of lateral quickness. On a side note, he’s played some small forward as well this season, so he’s one of the most versatile players of this class.
1. DeAndre Ayton – Phoenix Suns
DeAndre Ayton recently stated that “the NBA has never seen a prospect like him” and that kind of confidence is one of the reasons why he’s a prime can’t-miss kind of talent. The 7 footer is one of the most polished offensive players in the world at just 19 years old, and his explosiveness and strength make him virtually unstoppable in the offensive end of the floor.
He’s already NBA ready, fast and physical big man that properly knows how to run the floor, has great handles, speed and a well round up feet game as well, and has excelled with his ability to shot from all three levels and the charity stripe. His lone question mark is his commitment on the defensive end but has the kind of tools to become an elite two-way big man.