With just hours remaining until the NBA Draft, here is my mock draft:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel – Kentucky (C)
All signs point to Cleveland picking Nerlens at number one. He fills a positional need, and many scouts consider him to be the highest upside player in this draft class. Also, he will likely miss half of the season, giving the Cavs a chance to have a high lottery pick in next year’s loaded draft. Other potential picks here include Alex Len and Victor Oladipo.
2. Orlando Magic – Victor Oladipo – Indiana (SG)
The Magic have made it clear that Nerlens is their first choice, but if he is off of the board, they will either trade the pick or draft Oladipo. Minnesota has made their interest in this pick known as they are enamored with Oladipo due to his incredible motor and defensive ability.
3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter – Georgetown (SF)
There is a general consensus among NBA writers that Porter will be taken third overall by Washington. He does everything well, and fills a positional need for the team. The only other player in contention here is Anthony Bennett.
4. Charlotte Bobcats – Ben McLemore – Kansas (SG)
Charlotte has been pretty quiet with who they have been targeting, so I am just assuming that they will select McLemore, as he is probably going to be the best player left on the board, and because he fills a positional need. Other targets could include Alex Len, Cody Zeller, and Anthony Bennett.
5. Phoenix Suns – Anthony Bennett – UNLV (PF)
The Suns will likely select the best player left on the board, as they could use an upgrade at every position. If this is the case, look for them to take Bennett, Len, or McLemore. I think they will lean Bennett because they already have a competent center in Goran Dragic.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – Alex Len – Maryland (C)
Len would be a great fit for New Orleans as he would give the team a great young front court featuring Len and last year’s number one overall pick Anthony Davis. Other players in contention here are Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams.
7. Sacramento Kings – C.J. McCollum – Lehigh (PG)
The Kings are looking to target a point guard with this pick, and according to several reports McCollum is their favorite. Other targets here could include Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams.
8. Detroit Pistons – Trey Burke – Michigan (PG)
The Pistons will likely grab the best player available, which at this point is Burke. He would give them a solid young core consisting of Trey Burke, Andre Drummond, Brandon Knight, and Greg Monroe. Other options here include Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. McCollum.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – Cody Zeller – Indiana (PF)
Before the season Zeller seemed like a top three pick, but he disappointed this season and at one point it seemed that he would fall out of the lottery. But now many teams have been impressed with his workouts, and he has greatly increased his draft stock. Other options here include C.J. McCollum and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
10. Portland Blazers – Sergey Karasev – Russia (SG)
Many teams have been trying to move up in the draft to select Karasev. Unfortunately for those teams, he may be off of the board when they pick. Portland needs to add a shooter, and Karasev fits the bill. Another potential target is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Georgia (SG)
The 76ers have been very quiet about whom they plan to draft, but I think they will take Caldwell-Pope based on the positional need. Other targets here include Steven Adams and Michael Carter-Williams.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Steven Adams – Pittsburgh (C)
Oklahoma City wants to trade up in the draft to select Alex Len, but if they can’t they will likely choose Steven Adams. He is a defensive minded center that would have a few years to develop behind Ibaka and Perkins. Other options here could include Michael Carter-Williams and Kelly Olynyk.
13. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Carter-Williams – Syracuse (PG)
At this point, Carter-Williams would be the steal of the draft. He could be taken as early as 6, but he doesn’t fit a positional need on the majority of lottery teams. Dallas will likely trade this pick and whoever ends up with it will likely choose Carter-Williams.
14. Utah Jazz –Shabazz Muhammad – UCLA (SF)
Muhammad could go as early as 6, but he could also fall out of the top 20. He would make sense for the Jazz as he would fill a positional need and because they desperately need a scorer. Other options here could be Shane Larkin, Dennis Schroeder, and Lucas Nogueira.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Shane Larkin – Miami (PG)
The Bucks desperately need a guard as Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are both free agents this off season. This makes Larkin the obvious pick as he is already capable of leading an NBA offense. Another option here is Dennis Schroeder.
16. Boston Celtics – Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga (C)
The Celtics need a big man, and their favorite at this point in the draft is Kelly Olynyk. They are also reportedly looking to acquire a late first or early second round pick to select former Missouri point guard Phil Pressey. Other options at pick 16 include Shane Larkin and Dennis Schroeder.
17. Atlanta Hawks – Giannis Adetokunbo – Greece (SF)
The Hawks have made their interest in Adetokunbo very well known, and will likely rejoice if he is on the board when they pick. He will likely need to spend time in the D-League before he is NBA ready, though.
18. Atlanta Hawks – Lucas Nogueira – Brazil (C)
Nogueria has greatly improved his draft stock over the past few weeks due to his exceptional workouts. He would make sense for the Hawks, as they lack depth in their frontcourt. Other options here include Mason Plumlee and Dennis Schroeder.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Tim Hardaway Jr. – Michigan (SG)
This pick may be traded, but if it isn’t, Cleveland will look to add a wing player. Hardaway has risen on a lot of draft boards, and would probably be the Cavaliers’ first choice if he is still on the board.
20. Chicago Bulls – Dennis Schroeder – Germany (PG)
The Bulls could use some guard depth, so Schroeder would make a great fit. Other options here could be Tim Hardaway Jr. and Reggie Bullock.
21. Utah Jazz – Isaiah Canaan – Murray State (PG)
The Jazz need someone that can score in the backcourt, so Canaan would be a great fit. Jamaal Franklin is another possibility here.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Mason Plumlee – Duke (C)
The Nets could use some front court depth behind Brook Lopez, so Plumlee is a real possibility. Gorgui Dieng would also make sense here.
23. Indiana Pacers – Jamaal Franklin – San Diego State (SG)
The Pacers biggest need is a backup guard, so Franklin could find himself taken here. Allen Crabbe, Reggie Bullock, and Ricky Ledo could also be taken here.
24. New York Knicks – Allen Crabbe – California (SG)
With the possibility of losing J.R. Smith and Pablo Prigioni, the Knicks will have a serious hole at the shooting guard position, so Crabbe would make a lot of sense here. Franklin, Ledo, Bullock, and Hardaway Jr. are also possibilities here.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Reggie Bullock (SG)
The Clippers need someone that score off of the bench, so Bullock may land here. Other possibilities include Tony Mitchell and Allen Crabbe.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Gorgui Dieng – Louisville (C)
The T-Wolves need another big man, so Dieng would be a perfect fit. Also, don’t be surprised if this pick is traded to the Nets in exchange for Marshon Brooks.
27. Denver Nuggets – Tony Mitchell – North Texas (PF)
The Nuggets have made this pick available, so I am just plugging in the best player left on the board at this point. Another option is Tony Snell.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Erick Green – Virginia Tech (PG)
There are several reports that say that the Spurs have promised to draft Green, so he seems like the obvious choice here. Rudy Gorbert is another name to watch.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Ricky Ledo – Providence (SG)
The Thunder don’t have many needs at this point, so why not gamble with a player like Ledo? He has by far the most upside at this point in the draft, and at this point in the draft there is little risk.
30. Phoenix Suns – Tony Snell – New Mexico (SF)
Snell has gone up on draft boards recently, and could end up being taken before this. But if he is here, Phoenix will almost surely draft him. Other targets could be Rudy Gorbert and Ricky Ledo.