Following the most shocking draft lottery we have ever seen, our team has put together a mock draft of the first 14 picks in the draft based on who we think is best fit for each team.
1.New Orleans Pelicans- PF Zion Williamson (Duke, 6-7, 285)
- This is a no brainer for the Pelicans. In reality, they can’t do anything wrong here. They really have two choices they can do here that can’t really hurt them. One is to retain Anthony Davis and make amends with him to form one of the best frontcourts in the NBA. The other option is to use a team like the Knicks or Lakers and trade Davis for their pick plus assets. For example, if the Lakers strike and send a package that includes the 4th overall pick, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and other assets, the Pelicans can now start their franchise with Williamson, Ingram, whoever they draft with number 4, Jrue Holiday and Hart. But for now, Pelicans fans can wait and see what happens to this franchise that can really only go up.
2. Memphis Grizzlies- PG Ja Morant (Murray State, 6-3, 175)
- The Grizzlies have two options here: draft Morant and let him learn from Conley, or keep Conley around and try to build around RJ Barrett. Ultimately, the Grizzlies understand that prime years of Conley are declining and they need to use him as much as possible. They will use him to work with Morant. Teaming Morant with Jaren Jackson Jr. for the future is a great start for this rbuilding franchise. If the Grizzlies can ship out Conley at the deadline this year to a team like the Jazz, Pistons or Lakers they could receive some more assets to help rebuild along with Morant getting the whole second half of the year as the primary starter.
3. New York Knicks- SG RJ Barrett (Duke, 6-7, 210)
- Well Knicks fans you got a Blue Devil, maybe not the one you wanted but Barrett will be alright. A long, athletic guard that will learn to play more forward in the NBA, Barrett has several comparisons to his game that will likely translate his game well. With Barrett, the Knicks can build with him, Dennis Smith Jr., and even Kevin Knox if they elect to keep the pick. Look for the Knicks to aggressively trade for Davis on draft night. If they can pull it off, it would likely mean giving up the pick, Knox, 2021 first round pick (from Dallas), and maybe even Mitchell Robinson. This would leave New York with Smith Jr., Davis and maybe DeAndre Jordan. Jordan is an unrestricted free agent whom the Knicks could possibly recontstruct his contract to build a power frontcourt. Knicks will also have spending money as well to go after big name free agents. Anything can happen in New York, for now, just be happy that you are guarenteed either Morant or Barrett.
4. Los Angeles Lakers- F DeAndre Hunter (Virginia, 6-7, 225)
- The Lakers need size down low badly. Unfortunately, there are no centers projected to go this high. Hunter is the best available player to join the jam packed forwards for the Lakers. Drafting Hunter could be the start to forming a trade package for Davis. By solidifying Hunter, the Lakers can afford to ship out Kuzma, Ingram, Hart and others. LeBron needs talent and he needs talent now. Hunter is a safe pick that will provide hustle and a strong work ethic. Again, this pick is very simple based off of the fact that any team can strike for Davis at any given time.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers- SG Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech, 6-6, 195)
- Culver is a great pick for Cleveland here. He brings athleticism and leadership to this young team. If the Cavaliers elect to stick with Kevin Love, new head coach John Beilein could have a lot of fun with this team. This would bring a starting five that includes featured players such as Collin Sexton, Culver, Love and Tristan Thompson. With role players that include Larry Nance Jr and Jordan Clarkson. No, they aren’t the greatest team out East but they will definitely fight for a playoff spot if they play their cards right. Look for Culver to open up Love more allowing for Love to have a healthy, bounce back season.
6. Phoenix Suns- PG Coby White (North Carolina, 6-5, 185)
- I really like this pick for Phoenix. Ultimately, it comes down to White or Darius Garland. I think White is the most reliable after coming off a very successful freshman year with the Tar Heels. It seems to me that the Suns really want Devin Booker to focus on building his game and it is hard for him without help at the guard position. This gives them a big three of Booker, White and DeAndre Ayton to build with. New head coach Monty Williams wants to win and win now. After making minor moves last season that included bringing in role players like Tyler Johnson and Kelly Oubre Jr., the Suns have established a bench that can come in and fight. With good assets in TJ Warren and Mikal Bridges in the starting lineup, the Suns are definitely heading in the right direction in the rebuild.
7. Chicago Bulls- PG Darius Garland (Vanderbilt, 6-2, 175)
- After an injury limited him to five games a season ago, Garland’s one year of college ball was highlighted by sitting out and watching his team go 9-23 including a winless conference season at 0-18. There was zero chance he was going back to school after that. Garland gives the Bulls a break at point guard. This will allow them to take a lot of pressure off of Kris Dunn and maybe even put Dunn to a sixth man role. After starting the rebuild, the Bulls have brought in some nice assets including Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Teaming Garland up with this young Bulls team has Chicago fans excited for what the future holds.
8. Atlanta Hawks- F Cameron Reddish (Duke, 6-7, 215)
- The third Blue Devil taken in the top ten, Reddish did not really get a chance to show off his talent being the third player out of the big three with Duke. Reddish could be a huge steal for Atlanta especially with them being able to finish out their starting lineup having two picks in the top ten. Reddish provides sharp-shooting and aggression to this young team. The Hawks are looking to build with players like Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter. Reddish gives them a great shooter who I think compares to a mix of Andrew Wiggins and Rudy Gay. Reddish will start right away and help them start off where they want to be.
9. Washington Wizards- F Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, 6-8, 235)
- Wizards fans could argue to go with a point guard here or to trade up and get a point guard. But with Hachimura on the board, it is important to get Beal a player to work with after getting rid of Porter Jr. a season ago. Hachimura was a huge success at Gonzaga and is a great pick up for Washington. With Howard picking up his player option for 2019-20, the Wizards can pass up on Jaxson Hayes to bring in a great player like Hachimura. Expect Rui to be inserted to lineup right away and give Washington a player who they can trust to work with Beal for a good duo. Also, when John Wall eventually comes back, this team could quite possibly start to scare the Eastern Conference again. It all depends on how Howard and Wall bounce back. They will also need to bring in key pieces to their bench whom they mostly traded away over the last two years.
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas)- C Jaxson Hayes (Texas, 6-11, 220)
- Being compared to Clint Capela, Hayes is a huge piece for Atlanta. Bringing him in with Reddish, Hayes forms a blocking machine down low with John Collins. This Hawks team will be one to watch out for over the next couple seasons as they could grow into a team that should not be messed with. It is only going to go up for you Atlanta fans out there!
11. Minnesota Timberwolves- F Sekou Doumbouya (France, 6-9, 230)
- The first player from overseas is taken here with the 11th pick. Coming in at 18 years old, Doumbouya is a chance the Timberwolves could be willing to take. Ultimately, it comes down to him or Nassir Little here. Minnesota really likes the upside with the Doumbouya pick, it is very risky but he could make a nice fit with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. I can’t promise this will work out for Minnesota, but just think he could be the next Porzingis so don’t boo yet.
12. Charlotte Hornets- SF Nassir Little (North Carolina, 6-6, 220)
- Finally a player that can force Marvin Williams out of the Hornets starting lineup. Nothing against Williams, but they have proven they can’t win with the lineup they have. Kemba Walker has put thewhole team on his back the last couple years and he neds help now before he decides enough is enough and leaves. The Hornets could flirt with picking Bruno Fernando here but it all comes down to which position is needed more. Little provides a great basketball background here for Charlotte. He was originally a top five pick but did not have the greatest year at North Carolina. Former coach Roy Williams speaks very highly of Little and says his game will translate very well. If the Hornets can find a way to get Nicolas Batum to play as good as the money he is making, and Willy Hernangomez can take the next step, the Hornets could be onto something here. Kemba will be nothing but smiles seeing Little’s name come up on draft day.
13. Miami Heat- PF Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga, 6-8, 215)
- The Heat could use some help at the power forward position. Clarke will become the 2nd Gonzaga player taken in the lottery round and provides experience for this Miami Heat team. Whether he starts or comes off the bench for James Johnson, Clarke is a guy that can get the Heat into the playoffs rather than finishing out of them. A big question mark is with Hassan Whiteside, after Bam Adebayo took his starting spot a year ago, how will his bounce back season come? Hopefully Clarke gives him somebody to work with and helps Whiteside’s comeback as well. Good pick up for the Miami Heat.
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento)- C Bruno Fernando (Maryland, 6-10, 245)
- I think the Celtics have one of two options here: take Fernando or take Bol Bol. Fernando is the more reliable player after Bol just sat out the whole year at Oregon. Fernando provides a bench player to work with Robert Williams for years to come. While Al Horford and forwards like Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum will get minutes over these guys, if the Celtics do start to break apart, Williams and Fernando will be a great duo to have with them. Look for Fernando to play a big role off the bench next year if the Celtics do indeed take him with their 14th pick. Also, the Celtics have two more first round picks after this so expect them to make some trades and maybe even select a player from overseas.