No time to rest for NBA fans. We’re all still soaking in what we witnessed in Game 7, but it’s already time to welcome the next generation of talent into the league.
We’re pretty confident we know who the first two names to be called will be, but after that, this draft turns into a world of unknown.
Here’s a look at how the first-round of Thursday’s NBA Draft could unwind.
|1. Philadelphia 76ers||Ben Simmons||SF/PF||LSU||Freshman|
|2. Los Angeles Lakers||Brandon Ingram||SF||Duke||Freshman|
|3. Boston Celtics||Jamal Murray||PG/SG||Kentucky||Freshman|
|4. Phoenix Suns||Dragan Bender||PF||Croatia||N/A|
|5. Minnesota Timberwolves||Buddy Hield||SG||Oklahoma||Senior|
1. 76ers — Ben Simmons (SF/PF, Freshman, LSU)
Obvious pick that already has some major sources reporting Philly has contacted Simmons to let him know he’s the pick.
2. Lakers — Brandon Ingram (SF, Freshman, Duke)
Best scorer in the draft. Too tough to pass up on possibly the next KD. Perfect fit with young core in place.
3. Celtics — Jamal Murray (PG/SG, Freshman, Kentucky)
May swap with Sixers for Noel, in which case Philly takes Dunn. If not, C’s need best player on the board which is Murray.
4. Suns — Dragon Bender (PF, Croatia)
A well-rounded, NBA-ready prospect makes this team no better next season, so time to take the chance. If Bender is half of Porzingis it’s a victory.
5. Timberwolves — Buddy Hield (SG, Senior, Oklahoma)
Dunn is super intriguing if Philly doesn’t trade up for him, but the new coaches in MIN feel the team’s ready to win. A horrible 3-point shooting team from a year ago makes Hield the perfect add for multiple reasons.
|6. N.O. Pelicans||Kris Dunn||PG||Providence||Senior|
|7. Denver Nuggets||Jaylen Brown||SF||California||Freshman|
|8. Sacramento Kings||Marquese Chriss||PF||Washington||Freshman|
|9. Toronto Raptors||Domantas Sabonis||PF||Gonzaga||Sophomore|
|10. Milwaukee Bucks||Jakob Poeltl||C||Utah||Sophomore|
6. Pelicans — Kris Dunn (PG, Junior, Providence)
Best player on the board also fills a need when considering how beat up Holiday has been in recent seasons (and the PG position in general). Creates dangerous pick-and-roll with Anthony Davis.
7. Nuggets — Jaylen Brown (SF, Freshman, Cal)
Super athletic wing to place alongside Emmanuel Mudiay becomes a scary duo on defense and in transition. DEN has too many bigs to think about another unless they’re trading.
8. Kings — Marquese Chriss (PF, Freshman, Washington)
The Kings also have too many bigs to think about, but any other wing player would be a stretch here. Sacramento could look to move up or down a couple picks.
9. Raptors — Domantas Sabonis (PF, Sophomore, Gonzaga)
Should be a great fit for a win now team that desperately needs to add perimeter shooting, especially from a position of size. This kid can rebound too.
10. Bucks — Jakob Poeltl (C, Sophomore, Utah)
MIL needs another big, the question at this stage of the draft is who. Poeltl is one of about five prospects in play here, so your guess is as good as mine.
|11. Orlando Magic||Skal Labissiere||PF||Kentucky||Freshman|
|12. Utah Jazz||Henry Ellenson||PF/C||Marquette||Freshman|
|13. Phoenix Suns||Timothe Luwawu||SG||France||N/A|
|14. Chicago Bulls||Wade Baldwin||PG||Vanderbilt||Sophomore|
|15. Denver Nuggets||Furkan Korkmaz||SG||Turkey||N/A|
11. Magic — Skal Labissiere (PF, Freshman, Kentucky)
Orlando could go anywhere with this pick, but the consensus is that they’ll go big and Skal should slide here. He was the No. 2 prospect behind Simmons before the season, so he’s worth a late lottery pick.
12. Jazz — Henry Ellenson (PF/C, Freshman, Marquette)
Utah has bigs, but none that can shoot. Ellenson adds a new dimension to the front court if they decide not to reach on a guard and give Dante Exum a chance to prove himself.
13. Suns — Timothe Luwawu (SG, France)
Keeping the international man of mystery theme alive for Phoenix. This kid was once considered a top-7 or 8 pick, so what do the Suns have to lose?
14. Bulls — Wade Baldwin (PG, Sophomore, Vanderbilt)
Hearing a lot of noise that this is the guy the Bulls are locked into. Could mean bye bye, D-Rose.
15. Nuggets — Furkan Korkmaz (SG, Turkey)
Some people prefer Korkmaz to Luwawu, especially when you factor in his size. I’m not an expert on either of them, but both will fall in the mid-first-round to teams looking for shooting.
|16. Boston Celtics||Brice Johnson||PF||North Carolina||Senior|
|17. Memphis Grizzlies||Dejounte Murray||PG||Washington||Freshman|
|18. Detroit Pistons||Denzel Valentine||SG||Michigan State||Senior|
|19. Denver Nuggets||Malik Beasley||SG||Florida State||Freshman|
|20. Indiana Pacers||Deyonta Davis||PF||Michigan State||Freshman|
16. Celtics — Brice Johnson (PF, Senior, North Carolina)
Jared Sullinger is probably not walking back through that door for the Celts. Johnson fills the rebounding void while providing much more athleticism to the front court and will be ready to play right away.
17. Grizzlies — Dejounte Murray (PG, Freshman, Washington)
Memphis could be bracing to lose Mike Conley, so that means best PG on the board. Even if they expect Conley to stay put, a backcourt player likely makes the most sense.
18. Pistons — Denzel Valentine (SG, Senior, Michigan State)
Valentine is going to slip in the draft due to concerns about his knee. He’s still a tremendous talent that has the potential to be a late bloomer in the NBA as he was in college.
19. Nuggets — Malik Beasley (SG, Freshman, Florida State)
Beasley might be a little bit of overkill considering I have Denver already selecting two wing players. You never know which players will pan out, though, so the more the merrier.
20. Pacers — Deyonta Davis (PF, Freshman, Michigan State)
I have a feeling Davis may slip in this draft, which means he’ll probably go top-10. Outside of his rebounding, I just haven’t seen anything that mades him as highly touted as he’s been advertised.
|21. Atlanta Hawks||Thon Maker||PF||Australia||N/A|
|22. Charlotte Hornets||Malachi Richardson||SG||Syracuse||Freshman|
|23. Boston Celtics||Ben Bentil||PF||Providence||Sophomore|
|24. Philadelphia 76ers||Demetrius Jackson||PG||Notre Dam||Junior|
|25. L.A. Clippers||Taurean Prince||SF||Baylor||Senior|
21. Hawks — Thon Maker (PF, Australia)
Somebody’s gotta take him. If you’ve read this much of a mock draft you know Maker’s story. Wherever he lands I think we all can’t wait to see him play and decide if we think he has the ability to develop into anything.
22. Hornets — Malachi Richardson (SG, Freshman, Syracuse)
Richardson will take some time to develop, but he has the ability to help Kemba and Batum by providing more wing scoring. Richardson’s athleticism suggests he can be a good two-way player.
23. Celtics — Ben Bentil (PF, Sophomore, Providence)
Bentil has been projected as a second-rounder is most mocks, but the way he scores probably makes him worth a higher pick. The Celtics could desperately use a front court scorer.
24. 76ers — Demetrius Jackson (PG, Junior, Notre Dame)
This scenario has each team making their own pick, so no Dunn means Philly still needs a PG. Jackson is a great value at this stage.
25. Clippers — Taurean Prince (SF, Senior, Baylor)
LAC is always searching for a SF and Paul Pierce and Jeff Green probably aren’t the long-term solutions. Prince is worth a try to fill that role.
|26. Philadelphia 76ers||DeAndre Bembry||SG||Saint Joseph's||Junior|
|27. Toronto Raptors||Diamond Stone||C||Maryland||Freshman|
|28. Phoenix Suns||Damian Jones||C||Vanderbilt||Junior|
|29. San Antonio Spurs||Malcolm Brogdon||SG||Virginia||Senior|
|30. G.S. Warriors||Cheick Diallo||PF||Kansas||Freshman|
26. 76ers — DeAndre Bembry (SG, Junior, Saint Joseph’s)
Hometown kid from St. Joe’s who has been picking up steam as the draft process has gone on. It’s doubtful Philly will use more picks on bigs after Simmons at the top, so a wing like this makes sense.
27. Raptors — Diamond Stone (C, Freshman, Maryland)
Bismack is gone after his playoff emergence, so a backup center is a need. Stone isn’t the athlete Biyombo is, but has great upside.
28. Suns — Damian Jones (C, Junior, Vanderbilt)
Jones had the potential to be a top-5 pick before the season began. Phoenix would have no issue taking Jones and Bender in the same draft since they have opposite skill-sets and Bender should take time to develop.
29. Spurs — Malcolm Brogdon (SG, Senior, Virginia)
Manu won’t be the backup SG forever. This pick screams Spurs based off personality and NBA-readiness, but Brogdon could turn into a solid two-way player.
30. Warriors — Cheick Diallo (PF, Freshman, Kansas)
Diallo was once a top-10 pick, but had a tough time getting minutes. He has high upside and Golden State figures to lose a little front court firepower this offseason.
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