Whenever a team is entitled to a lottery pick, they’re expecting to get a player that can turn the franchise around or, at least, take them a step forward towards Championship contention.
And, judging for what we’ve seen so far out of the best prospects in the world, as well as the franchises most likely to end up with a lottery pick next Draft, we’ll go ahead and let you know about our way-too-early mock Draft.
14. Charlotte Hornets: Tyrese Maxey (PG), Kentucky
The Charlotte Hornets signed Terry Rozier on a three-year deal to be their starting point guard for the future, but there are still some doubts about his ability to carry this franchise to success, as he’s struggled with inconsistency.
Therefore, the Hornets could have a re-do with Tyrese Maxey, a solid combo guard that can shoot lights out, put defenders on skates, and be a constant menace whenever he’s on the floor. His defense is still a huge concern, but he’s got the talent to be worthy of the risk.
13. Sacramento Kings: N’Faly Dante (C), Oregon
N’Faly Dante is still a bit raw, so it could take him a while before being able to make an impact at the NBA level. Still, he’s got the physical tools, playmaking and brains to be a steady contributor, sort of a poor man’s Al Horford.
Dante has a huge wingspan and nice hands for a big man. He’s a top-tier athlete with a great feel for the game and is a very smart player. However, he tends to struggle in the post and is still a work in progress in both ends of the hardwood.
12. San Antonio Spurs: Theo Maledon (PG), France
Theo Maledon is the ultimate Spurs pick. He’s an international player with top-5 prospect talent that’ll likely slip up in the Draft and fall right into Pop’s lap, something we’ve seen over and over throughout the history of this franchise.
Maledon has top-tier defensive instincts and is a natural playmaker. He’s got the size to play both guard spots and the brains to impact the game right away. Some consider him the best international prospect of this Draft, so it would be great to see what the Spurs can take out of him.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Jalen Smith (PF), Maryland
Jalen Smith’s Draft stock is on the rise right now, as the second-year forward out of Maryland has shown top-tier athleticism and coordination for a guy of his height, working as a guard in the body of a big man and improving on every aspect of his game.
Smith has developed a nice, consistent shooting stroke. He can play at both forward spots and even some small-ball center, which would be great for the Blazers, that have struggled all year long with the lack of depth at all those spots.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nico Mannion (PG), Italy
Nico Mannion can do a little bit of everything. He’s well-round up and can impact the game on both sides of the ball, as he’s got great defensive instincts as well as a sweet scoring touch, although he tends to get caught off guard from time to time.
Mannion can change gears in no time and he’ll pull up as soon as he has the chance of doing so. He’s got the talent to be a lights-out shooter at the NBA level, so he’d be a perfect fit next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander going forward for the Thunder.
9. Memphis Grizzlies: Samuel Williamson (SF), Louisville
Samuel Williamson keeps on climbing the ladder in the latest mock drafts. He’s one of the best athletes in this class and his work ethic and quick first step help him get an advantage against most defenders at the college level, but he’ll need to add some muscle to thrive in the NBA.
Also, he’s proven to be a more than capable spot-up shooter as well, so he’d be a nice fit next to Jaren Jackson Jr and Ja Morant, who could set him up for a lot of wide-open shots with his drives. Also, he can even play at the two, so don’t sleep on him.
8. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Advija (SF), Israel
The Atlanta Hawks have already put together a strong core with Trae Young, John Collins, DeAndre Hunter, and Cameron Reddish, so Deni Advija would be the icing on top of the cake for one of the most exciting young teams in the league right now.
Advija has a smooth scoring touch and a great halfcourt game. He’s a solid passer and playmaker but needs to put a lot of work on his defense. Still, he’ll have to decide whether he’ll come to the league or spend another season overseas.
7. Detroit Pistons: RJ Hampton (PG), New Zealand
The Detroit Pistons have struggled for years, and that has a lot to do with the lack of a true starting point guard. Now, they have the chance to get a franchise player on RJ Hampton, who turned down the NCAA to take his talents to the NBL.
Hampton has the length to play and defend both guard positions with great ease and he makes his presence felt in the paint with his length. He’s an athletic and strong player that can hold his own against pros already, but needs to work on his shot selection.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaiah Stewart (C), Washington
The Cleveland Cavaliers could finally have a young, athletic, All-Star caliber big man in Isaiah Stewart, an undersized center that could also play at the four through stretches thanks to his athleticism and ability to create off the dribble.
Stewart is strong, fast, and has great defensive instincts. He could dominate both sides of the glass as he’s an elite athlete with great hops and timing, but he needs to put a lot of work on his offense if he wants to make it in the NBA, especially in his jump shot.
5. Chicago Bulls: Jaden McDaniels (SF), Washington
The Chicago Bulls have been looking for a defensive-minded 3-and-D kind of wing player, and Jaden McDaniels is exactly what the doctor ordered. McDaniels is not the most polished scorer in the Draft, but has the tools to finally help the Bulls compete.
McDaniels has top-tier defensive instincts and has enough size and strength to hold his own against most power forwards as well. He needs to improve his shooting, but his presence could ease a lot of things for Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine in the defensive end.
4. Washington Wizards: Cole Anthony (PG), UNC
Cole Anthony has been drawing a lot of attention since his days at high school, as he’s proven to be a guy more than capable of being a volume scorer. He’s spent years working out with NBA players, and can shoot at a high-clip and finish through contact.
Anthony would be a perfect backup for an aging and injury-prone John Wall, but he needs to limit his turnovers. Also, he’s not a pass-first kind of point guard but has the potential to be one of the most unstoppable scorers in the league.
3. New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Edwards (SG), Georgia
Anthony Edwards would be another top-tier young addition for the Pelicans’ young core. He may not be exactly what they need, as they’re already stacked at that spot with Josh Hart and Nickeil Walker-Alexander, but he’s got All-Star potential.
Edwards is aggressive, smart, and pretty strong. He’s got the size to play the two or the three, but the handles and playmaking of a point guard as well. He’s an elite athlete that won’t back down from a challenge but needs to do a better job at taking care of the ball.
2. New York Knicks: LaMelo Ball (PG), Australia
LaMelo Ball keeps turning heads in Australia. He’s playing vs. former NBA players and grown men, and he’s putting defenders on skates at will. His offensive package is almost unheard of, and while his IQ and shot selection have room for improvement, he’s got outstanding passing skills.
Also, the youngest Ball brother has a lot of confidence in his game and he won’t hesitate to take a big shot in the Madison Square Garden. He’s the player that can finally turn the franchise around, especially next to a talented wing-like RJ Barrett.
1. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman (C), Memphis
You know what they say: the rich get richer. If the Golden State Warriors decide to tank their way through the season, which they should; they’d get a top-tier talent on James Wiseman, the perfect complement for a franchise trying to stay at the top of the world.
Wiseman has the defensive upside to be a top-notch rim protector. He’s a great rim-runner, has a sweet touch around the rim, and his offense is ahead of schedule, as he can stretch the floor with his shooting as well. He’s tailor-made to play next to Steph, Klay, and Draymond.