We are near the end of the draft evaluation process and draft day is today, which means it's time for one more edition of my mock draft. With the Anthony Davis trade in the rear view mirror, the lottery is a little shaken up with the Pelicans now having the fourth pick, but now is the time for franchises to turn their fortunes around and draft prospects that'll be beneficial to their future. Without further adieu, let's jump right into the 1st pick, where the New Orleans Pelicans are on the clock.
1. New Orleans Pelicans select Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
No surprise here at all. With the Pelicans finally trading Anthony Davis, this is about to become Zion's team very soon. He's arguably the most hyped prospect since LeBron James, and will join Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and others on a very exciting young Pelicans squad.
2. Memphis Grizzlies select Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
The Grizzlies have already locked Morant at the #2 slot, cementing him as the point guard of the future in Memphis. With Memphis having traded Mike Conley, I'm expecting Morant to start right away and play very important minutes for the rebuilding Grizzlies.
3. New York Knicks select R.J. Barrett, SF, Duke
The Knicks slipped a couple picks down in the draft but are still able to land one of the best prospects in the draft in Barrett who can basically do it all on the court. He's very vocal about his desire to play in New York and would immediately be a franchise cornerstone to build around in the Big Apple.
4. New Orleans Pelicans select De'Andre Hunter, SF/PF, Virginia
Hunter's name shot up the draft boards during his March Madness run with Virginia, including a championship game where he was the best player on the floor the entire night. Hunter's versatility is the key to this pick, as he can play the 3 and 4 because of his size. He's one of the more polished players in the draft and will create a talented trio of forwards with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers select Cameron Reddish, SF, Duke
Reddish didn't shine as much as expected during his lone season at Duke, but his potential is still immense and has thoroughly impressed in his draft workouts. The Cavaliers could use more firepower on their wings, and having Reddish as an ideal 3-and-D type player is exactly what the Cavs should be looking for.
6. Phoenix Suns select Jarrett Culver, SG/PG, Texas Tech
Culver put Texas Tech on the map this year with an incredible March Madness run that ended with a loss to Virginia in the Championship Game. Similar to Reddish, Culver can be a versatile, 3-and-D type player that can defend multiple positions. The Suns may be looking for a point guard, but Culver does have previous point guard experience with the Red Raiders, and his defensive prowess may be too much to overlook for the young Suns.
7. Chicago Bulls select Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
I would have had Garland projected higher and going to the Lakers, but he slips to the Bulls after the Davis trade. It's still a good fit, as he is a shot creating and sharp-shooting guard with quick hands on the defensive end, and he can easily light up the scoreboard with his backcourt mate, Zach LaVine.
8. Atlanta Hawks select Nassir Little, SF/PF, North Carolina
The Hawks are revamping their identity and transforming themselves into a three-point launching squad, but they lack wing players who can contribute on the defensive end. That's where Little can step in and be a physical defender alongside John Collins, as well as slashing to the basket and hitting the occasional jumper. His shooting isn't the strongest, but he has plenty of time to improve on it and his driving ability helps make up for it.
9. Washington Wizards select Sekou Doumbouya, PF, France
Doumbouya is a player that may be riskier than other options but has the potential to be one of the better players in this draft class. His hustle and drive defensively are off the charts, and was able to shoot the three with some consistency in his draft workouts. The Wizards won't likely be in the playoffs next year with John Wall being injured, so they can afford to take a chance on Doumbouya here.
10. Atlanta Hawks select Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
The Hawks have almost every position filled on their roster with players like Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, and now (according to the mock) Nassir Little. The one piece they are missing is a center, and there is arguably no better center in this draft than Jaxson Hayes. Hayes is your typical old-school center that is a shot-blocking machine and an elite finisher inside (shot 72% from the field at Texas). He won't be much of a contributor outside the paint, but can create opportunities for players like Young and Huerter through tough screens.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves select Coby White, PG, North Carolina
With Derrick Rose now a free agent and Jeff Teague only having one year remaining on his contract, the Timberwolves could use a point guard to pair Karl-Anthony Towns with. And with Darius Garland already selected, Coby White would be the next best option for the Wolves. White was a scoring machine with the Tar Heels, and the Wolves could use another go-to scorer beside Towns for the foreseeable future.
12. Charlotte Hornets select Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Outside of Zion, there might not be a more intriguing prospect in the draft than Bol Bol. He's a 7'2 center with limitless range, remarkable ball control, elite rim protection, and good at creating shots off the dribble. Unfortunately, he slips down to #12 because of injury concerns and lack of size (only weighs 208 pounds) but he could be a transcendent big man in the future. With Kemba Walker being a free agent, Charlotte has nothing to lose by drafting Bol, and fans can hope that a core of Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, Bol, and others are able to lure Kemba into re-signing a long-term deal.
13. Miami Heat select Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
With Dwyane Wade retiring and Dion Waiters being thrown on the trade block, the Heat could use another scoring wing to help bolster their squad. Romeo Langford can be that player, as was touted as one of the best scorers of his class coming out of high school. He fell under the radar this year but with a 6'11 wingspan, driving past other wing players should come with ease, and he has the physicality to give smaller guards nightmares. His jump shot could use some work, but the ability to shoot the 3 is there.
14. Boston Celtics select Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
Clarke is an ideal power forward in today's game: he can stretch the floor, protect the rim, and hit the trey ball when left open. His size is small and he may have a tougher time guarding bigger centers and power forwards, which is why he slips in this mock, but he is already one of the more polished players at his position. The Celtics are looking to win now and Clarke is the perfect selection for a win-now team.
15. Detroit Pistons select Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
The Pistons are stuck in no-man's land with what feels like an eternity of close to .500 finishes, but have talented players like Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. They have a nice wing in Luke Kennard, and Johnson could supplement him very well. He's the perfect size for a small forward and was a lights-out shooter in his final season with the Tar Heels (45.7% from 3). Kennard and Johnson could form one of the scariest shooting tandems in the East if the Pistons select the former Tar Heel.
16. Orlando Magic select Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Although they had a successful season in which they surprised many and made the playoffs, the future of the Magic is still uncertain with Nikola Vucevic's free agency looming. The Magic are all set with big men, and with Terrence Ross also a free agent, the Magic could use another scoring wing. Porter didn't get a whole lot of run at USC but has shown plenty of potential to be a bonafide scorer in the NBA with impressive shot-creating ability, as well as an explosive athlete.
17. Atlanta Hawks select Keldon Johnson, SG, Kentucky
Johnson was a little bit of a disappointment in his lone season at Kentucky, as heavy expectations were given to him, but his style of play fits what the Hawks are trying to create. He's a pretty consistent shooter and is big for his position, and he isn't afraid to battle against other big men on defensive and for rebounds. The potential is clearly there, and the Hawks should be able to unlock it.
18. Indiana Pacers select Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG/PG, Virginia Tech
The Pacers have a lot of key guards and wings heading into free agency this offseason, such as Darren Collison Bojan Bogdanovic, and Wesley Matthews. Picking up Alexander-Walker, who can play both point and shooting guard, gives them an option to go younger and pick up a player that is an excellent shooter and versatile defender. With Victor Oladipo still sidelined, Alexander-Walker could receive important minutes in his first NBA season.
19. San Antonio Spurs select Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia
This is the most "Spurs" pick you can find, as the Spurs thrive with finding overseas talent. They can also use another talented big man to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge, and Bitadze would complement him very well. He's a big, rim-protecting center but can also adapt to today's game with an assortment of post moves and a smooth jumper as well.
20. Boston Celtics select Rui Hachimura, PF/SF, Gonzaga
I have the Celtics taking both Gonzaga big men in this mock, as they are two of the most NBA-ready big men coming into the league this year. He's able to stretch the floor and knock down both threes and mid-range jumpers consistently, and can embrace contact around the rim. With Al Horford likely gone in the offseason now, the Celtics have plenty of younger bigs to develop and work with.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder select Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
This pick makes too much sense for the Thunder, as they need three-point shooting in the worse way possible. Enter Herro, a top shooter in this draft class with the potential to be unstoppable when on a roll, and the Thunder have begun to fix their shooting woes in the draft.
22. Boston Celtics select Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia
The Celtics are another team that could use some more three-point shooting to their squad, and Jerome would make sense for their final first-round pick. He can be a reliable scoring option off the bench, and can keep up on defense against other wing players.
23. Memphis Grizzlies select P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky
The Grizzlies should look to take the pick best available, and that would be Washington. He would give the Grizzlies another big man who can stretch the floor along with Jaren Jackson Jr. He's also very active on the defensive end, as he racked up plenty of blocks and steals during his time with the Wildcats.
24. Philadelphia 76ers select Matisse Thybulle, SF/SG, Washington
Thybulle is easily one of the better defenders in the draft, and with players like Tobias Harris, J.J. Redick, and Jimmy Butler all now becoming free agents, picking up Thybulle as an insurance wing would be a good move for Philadelphia. His size may be small but he makes up for it with an enormous 6'11 wingspan and his tenacious on-ball defense. He's the 3-and-D type of wing player the Sixers could really use.
25. Portland Trailblazers select Luguentz Dort, SG, Arizona State
With Rodney Hood and Seth Curry slated to hit free agency, the Trailblazers could use a back-up wing player. Dort might not be the most reliable player on offense with a shaky jumper, but his defensive tenacity is his main selling point along with his relentless finishing at the rim. He projects to be a Marcus Smart-esque player, and could bring some defensive spark off of the Blazers' bench.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers select Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia
This pick is all about potential, and the Cavs can afford to throw a pick at Samanic, who could be a special player someday. He's very talented offensively, and his size allows him to be the ideal stretch four in today's NBA. He's not a definite to play in the NBA and there is personality concerns that come with him, but for the Cavs, it's worth a shot.
27. Brooklyn Nets select Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova
The Nets are trying to build a contender, and drafting someone with lots of college experience might be beneficial here. Paschall won the National Championship with Villanova two years ago and was the main guy on their team this year, averaging 16.1 points per game. He's a player that can do everything at a consistent rate and is a great locker room guy, something the Nets have proven ideal as of late.
28. Golden State Warriors select Talen Horton-Tucker, SF/SG, Iowa State
There's really no telling what the Warriors are going to look like next season, but the one thing that looks for certain is that they will have holes at the wings, with Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant either leaving or hurt. Horton-Tucker is probably better off suited at the 2, but he can step in and make the smart plays on offense and defense. His freakishly long wingspan (7'1) has the ability to wreck havoc on opposing offenses and help him get to the paint as well.
29. San Antonio Spurs select Dylan Windler, SF/SG, Belmont
Windler is hands-down one of the best shooters in this draft class, and the Spurs were statistically the best 3-point shooting team in basketball last season. It would be a great match, as the Spurs could use more wing help with Rudy Gay entering free agency.
30. Detroit Pistons select Jalen Lecque, PG, Brewster Academy
This pick would allow the Pistons to get younger at the point, as Reggie Jackson is entering the final year of his contract. Lecque probably won't get a ton of NBA action, but he would have been one of the best prospects entering the draft next year, and the potential is definitely there.
31. Brooklyn Nets select KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford
32. Phoenix Suns select Chuma Okeke, PF/SF, Auburn
33. Philadelphia 76ers select Mfiondu Kabengele, PF, Florida State
34. Philadelphia 76ers select Carsen Edwards, PG, Purdue
35. Atlanta Hawks select Nicolas Claxton, PF/C, Georgia
36. Charlotte Hornets select Grant Williams, PF, Tennessee
37. Dallas Mavericks select Darius Bazley, SF, Princeton HS
38. Chicago Bulls select Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
39. New Orleans Pelicans select Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas
40. Sacramento Kings select Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee
41. Golden State Warriors select Jaylen Hoard, PF, Wake Forest
42. Philadelphia 76ers select Zach Norvell Jr., SG, Gonzaga
43. Minnesota Timberwolves select Zylan Cheatham, PF, Arizona State
44. Miami Heat select Shamorie Ponds, PG, St. John's
45. Detroit Pistons select Isaiah Roby, SF/PF, Nebraska
46. Orlando Magic select Tremont Waters, PG, LSU
47. Sacramento Kings select Jontay Porter, C, Missouri
48. Los Angeles Clippers select Louis King, SF, Oregon
49. San Antonio Spurs select Yovel Zoosman, SG, Israel
50. Indiana Pacers select Jalen McDaniels, PF, San Diego State
51. Boston Celtics select Deividas Sirvydis, SF, Lithuania
52. Charlotte Hornets select Terence Davis, SG, Ole Miss
53. Utah Jazz select Terance Mann, SF, Florida State
54. Philadelphia 76ers select Joshua Obiesie, PG, Germany
55. New York Knicks select DaQuan Jeffries, SF, Tulsa
56. Los Angeles Clippers select Miye Oni, SG, Yale
57. New Orleans Pelicans select Cody Martin, SG, Nevada
58. Golden State Warriors select Jordan Poole, SG, Michigan
59. Toronto Raptors select Jaylen Nowell, SG, Washington
60. Sacramento Kings select Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA