NBA Mock Draft 5.0: Post Lottery Edition
After months of waiting, the fans finally know what pick their team will have on NBA Draft night.
With NBA playoffs going on and the bubble being so successful, fans tend to forget about one aspect: the teams who didn’t make the bubble. These 8 teams, as well as the other 6 who made the bubble but couldn’t make the playoffs now have something else to look forward to and that is receiving a potential franchise-altering player. The Minnesota Timberwolves lucked out and took the number one pick in this year’s draft, followed by the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets.
Read below for a full NBA mock draft of picks 1-14, and why it would make sense for these teams to take these players.
1) Minnesota Timberwolves- Anthony Edwards (SG)
Minnesota lucks out with the first pick, and last time they had this pick they took an All-Star and top 3 NBA center in Karl Anthony Towns. This time, they’ll target the guard position and take Anthony Edwards, the 6’5 guard from Georgia. Edwards is an elite scorer who can consistently get to the basket and has shown at times that his below 30% three-point percentage will only increase as time progresses. He will partner with former All-Star DeAngelo Russell to create one of the scariest young backcourts in the league to go with Karl Anthony-Towns.
The Timberwolves did draft Jarrett Culver, who is also a shooting guard, at the 6th pick last season. Anthony Edwards is too good to pass up however and is a much better fit for the team.
2) Golden State Warriors- James Wiseman (C)
The Golden State Warriors will go right back into championship form with this pick. The only player they’ve been missing through all these champion runs is a center, and they get one here with Wiseman. Wiseman is an incredibly efficient scorer, shooting 77% in the sample size we saw in college, and uses his size to grab rebounds. What most defines his game is his shot blocking ability. Pair him with former defensive player of the year in Draymond Green as well as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins, and the Warriors could be the favorite to win it all once again next season.
Don’t be surprised if the Warriors shop this pick. Whether that means trading back and gaining assets or trading this pick for a superstar, the Warriors may be very busy on draft night.
3) Charlotte Hornets- Onyeka Okongwu (PF/C)
The Hornets will have to make a big decision between two former Chino Hills stars and teammates in Okongwu and Lamelo Ball. Ultimately, Okongwu is the better decision for them. The Hornets are paying Terry Rozier 18 Million next season, and at 26 years old he certainly has more time to grow and Devontae Graham emerged as their best player last season at the other guard position. The Hornets drafted Miles Bridges and PJ Washington recently to fill in the forward position leaving center as the only hole on that team.
In comes Okongwu, who checks all the boxes for the Hornets. The Hornets finished 26th in rebounds per game and 25th in blocks per game last season, which will change when they draft a quality center.
4) Chicago Bulls- Lamelo Ball (PG)
The Bulls luck out here and potentially get there best player since Derrick Rose. At 6’7, Lamelo has great height for a point guard, which he uses to grab rebounds at a high rate for a guard. His field goal percentage wasn’t great overseas, but that’s something he will work on as all fans know that he has unlimited range. Lamelo is a triple double threat every night and will make his teammates better with his elite vision on the court.
He will join Coby White, who had a strong end to the season in the backcourt, which means they will either move their star Zach Lavine to the small forward position or ship him to another team. If Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter can take a jump under whoever they hire as their next head coach, the Bulls can sneak into the playoffs next year.
5) Cleveland Cavaliers- Deni Avdija (SF)
Obviously the numbers aren’t impressive, but winning the MVP of the European U20 Championship proves that he is one of the best young prospects in the league. at 6’9, he has great athleticism for his size and can play the small forward or power forward position for the Cavaliers next season.
The Cavaliers have two talented young point guards in Darius Garland and Collin Sexton and just traded for the best rebounder in the NBA in Andre Drummond. They still have Kevin Love who can become a mentor to Avdija. Avdija will most likely not burst into the scene and immediately become a star, but in 2-3 years he could be a top 10 small forward in the NBA.
6) Atlanta Hawks- Obi Toppin (PF)
The college basketball player of the year finds a home in Atlanta. Words can’t do justice for how good he was last year at Dayton showing that he can do everything on the court. He has great athleticism for his size, can shoot, and grab a rebound when needed. If his college play can translate to the NBA, he will be extremely dangerous and immediate help to a team that can contend next year.
John Collins is one of the most talented young power forwards in the league, but is a free agent in two years and will most likely want at least 20 million a year. By drafting Toppin, they have the luxury of not having to worry about paying him in two years if they have Toppin performing at a high level alongside two top 10 picks from last year in Deandre Hunter and Cameron Reddish, as well as star Trae Young and Clint Capela.
7) Detroit Pistons- Isaac Okoro (SF)
Okoro is very lengthy and when fully developed will be able to shut down any player. He is one of those players that makes his team better and is able to score efficiently. The Pistons finished 22nd in defensive rating this season, which they need to improve and Okoro will enable them to do so.
The Pistons really need any player so taking Okoro is a best player available type of situation. Christian Wood showed some potential before the shutdown last season and they still have Blake Griffin if he can stay healthy, so Okoro should be able to make an impact from Day 1.
8) New York Knicks- Tyrese Haliburton (PG)
The Knicks obviously wanted to move up, not down in the lottery and draft Lamelo Ball, but Haliburton isn’t a bad option either. Haliburton nearly averaged a 50/40/90 in college, something extremely rare and already proves he can score at an efficient level. More importantly is he is a past first point guard, something this Knicks team needs. As if that’s not enough for them to draft him, he’s also a great defender as shown in his steals per game total, which is great for a team that had the 23th best defensive rating and 17th in steals per game.
He will pair nicely with last years second overall pick RJ Barrett in the backcourt. The Knicks also have two underrated young players in Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson and with a new coach, the Knicks are on the right pace to make the playoffs in the near future.
9) Washington Wizards- Devin Vassell (SG/SF)
If you are a draft nerd, this has to be one of your favorite players. Vassell is a do it all guy who has one of the highest upsides of any player in this draft. He’s a plus defender, efficient shooter, and doesn’t turn the ball over very often. He’s one of those players that will be a leader from Day 1 and prioritizes winning over anything else.
The Wizards have a huge decision this offseason, and that is whether to trade or keep their star Bradley Beal. John Wall is finally returning after two years of being hurt, so the Wizards have to decide whether to try out the Wall-Beal experiment one last time or move on. If they do trade Beal, they can slide Vassell into that spot, and if they don’t he can still play that small forward position.
10) Phoenix Suns- Killian Hayes (PG/SG)
Hayes is a playmaker that the Suns have showed they need on the court. He has a few years of pro experience overseas already and is certainly a high risk high reward player. He will need time to develop, and who is a better mentor than current Suns point guard Ricky Rubio, who is very similar to Hayes in terms of play style.
The Suns have a young piece at every position but point guard, so Hayes fills in that role. The Suns showed a lot of promise in the bubble and players like Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson proved they’re going to be key players for the Suns in the future. Devin Booker is a star, and having Hayes there to create shots for him and help on defense will be huge for the Suns.
11) San Antonio Spurs- Patrick Williams (PF)
Patrick Williams just turned 19, making him one of the youngest players in the draft. He showed a lot of potential in the last couple of games of the college basketball season and would have shown even more if there was a tournament. He is a great player down low and can occasionally hit the three-point shot. He isn’t ready yet but will be a solid player when he develops.
Lamarcus Aldridge is now 35 years old, meaning his years are limited, and next year is the last year of his contract. They have a bunch of talented young guards and it is assumed that Demar Derozan will opt in to his player option. The Spurs need a center the most, but after Wiseman and Okongwu the position is very thin, meaning they’ll have to look at their next biggest hole which is the power forward position.
12) Sacramento Kings- Precious Achiuwa (PF)
Achiuwa embraced the role as the team’s star last year after Wiseman left and put up terrific numbers for Memphis. Achiuwa is a great shot blocker and rebounder despite his 6’9 frame, and can bully in the post. The Kings are a mess right now with Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley, but they do have a bunch of young talented players.
If Bagley can’t stay healthy, Achiuwa will fit in nicely at the power forward position but if he finally does stay healthy, the Kings might take a page out of the Houston Rockets playbook at start Achiuwa at the center. The Kings have a lot of things to deal with, but this is certainly a bright spot for them.
13) New Orleans Pelicans: Cole Anthony (PG)
In any other year, Anthony is a guaranteed top 10 pick, but the point guard position is so stacked that he slides to 13th in this mock draft. Anthony is a great scorer and at 6’3 he’s a great rebounder as well. He has shown great maturity for his age as well. Lonzo Ball hasn’t been great for the Pelicans, and if he isn’t playing at a high level by mid-season and Anthony is, the Pelicans might have to look to Anthony to be the point guard of the future.
Pelicans of course are led by Zion and he will be the face of the franchise, and Brandon Ingram emerged as an All-Star last season. They also have Jrue Holiday and Jaxon Hayes who could develop into a promising center, so a lot is riding on Lonzo Ball’s success. If he does achieve that success, the Pelicans can have a great 6th man in Cole and if not then they have Anthony as hopefully their point guard of the future.
14) Boston Celtics- Aaron Nesmith (SF)
The Celtics get arguably the steal of the draft in Aaron Nesmith. He is one of the few players who shoots better from three than from the field, and at such a high level. He can create his own shot as well as catch and shoot, and can be one of the best three point shooters in the league next season. He is also a decent defender as well.
The Celtics don’t really need anything besides but as mentioned earlier the position is weak. If the Celtics want to jump over the Raptors and Bucks, they’ll need a go to three-point shooter, and Nesmith can be that guy.
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