Round 1, Pick 1: Golden State Warriors select James Wiseman, C, Memphis
It’s been a month since my last mock and I still like this pick for Golden State. Their biggest needs clearly lie in the frontcourt, and Wiseman easily has the highest ceiling of any prospect. If they want a more NBA-ready prospect, the Warriors may target Onyeka Okongwu, but if I’m Golden State, I’m not overthinking it, and I’m taking Wiseman #1 overall.
Round 1, Pick 2: Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Obi Toppin would be an intriguing fit here in Cleveland, but I’m sticking with my original pick in Edwards. He’s a consensus top-three prospect on the board, and I believe the Cavaliers will take his high ceiling over Toppin’s high floor. If Edwards straightens out some defensive issues and becomes consistent from range, the Cavaliers may select a franchise level guard here.
Round 1, Pick 3: Minnesota Timberwolves select Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
As seen so far, I really like the early stages of this mock to remain the same. I think Isaac Okoro would be another possibility at #3, but he’s considered a little bit more of a high-risk selection, especially this early. Obi Toppin may be the safest bet in the draft. There’s questions as to how much more he will improve, but he’s the best power forward available and addresses a major area of need for Minnesota.
Round 1, Pick 4: Atlanta Hawks select Deni Avdija, SF, Israel
My first deviation from the original mock, my opinion of Avdija has risen the more I’ve analyzed the draft prospects from this class. One of his biggest strengths is playmaking off the ball, which would be an ideal fit for the Hawks, who are all-in on Trae Young as their franchise floor general. Last year’s draft class proved to be underwhelming for Atlanta, so grabbing a prospect with professional experience here would be ideal. He brings an aggressive mindset and stingy defense to the table, and I think his grit is a fit in Atlanta, where an injection of energy is needed to lift this team off the runway.
Round 1, Pick 5: Detroit Pistons select Lamelo Ball, PG, USA
Lamelo slipping to #5 may seem somewhat improbable, but for the second straight mock, I don’t see a fit for him before Detroit selects here. The Hawks and the Warriors have entrenched point guards, and Minnesota has bigger needs elsewhere. I think he’s a fit in Cleveland, but ultimately, the availability of Anthony Edwards is too tempting. Thus, the steal of the draft heads to the Pistons who grab Lamelo Ball. After gaining some international experience in favor of the NCAA, Ball is ready to burst onto the scene in the NBA, and while there are concerns, there are too many pluses to overlook here. Detroit should jump at the chance to snare Ball at #5.
Round 1, Pick 6: New York Knicks select Killian Hayes, PG, France
My third straight pick that strayed away from the collegiate level, and my second pick that strays from my original mock. Okongwu and the rapidly slipping Okuru remain possibilities here, but I’m going for who in my opinion is the second best point guard on the board in this year’s draft class. Hayes has major playmaking ability, and his dynamic skillset should entice the Knicks to take a chance on their potential point guard of the future here at pick #6.
Round 1, Pick 7: Chicago Bulls select Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
Originally picked sixth overall in my first mock, Okongwu slips one spot further, where Chicago gladly snaps up the versatile and mobile freshman center out of USC. I mentioned Okongwu as a potential #1 pick, and I really could see a lot of teams grabbing him before Chicago picks at #7, but the Bulls would be happy to add an impact interior player who can complement the wildy athletic Zach Lavine.
Round 1, Pick 8: Charlotte Hornets select RJ Hampton, PG, USA
Despite Okoro still available, the Hornets elect to go for their original pick from the first mock draft, selecting a creative guard who offers a versatile skillset offensively. Although Charlotte may not be getting the flashiest player in the draft, the Hornets need a solid point guard who can be the foundation of their rebuild.
Round 1, Pick 9: Washington Wizards select Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
Okoro’s sudden rise to stardom at Auburn may be unsettling to some teams picking in the lottery. Okoro wasn’t projected as a one-and-done pick entering the year, and there’s questions about his natural scoring ability. However his high ceiling is well worth the risk this far into the draft, as the Wizards snap up the SEC star at #9.
Round 1, Pick 10: Phoenix Suns select Cole Anthony, PG, UNC
Phoenix has needs at virtually every position, and I have them going for Anthony, who’s draft stock probably slipped due to his injury during his lone season with the Tar Heels. I like Anthony over the other point guard option here – Tyrese Haliburton – and a few of Phoenix’s other possible selections. I think Anthony has the highest ceiling, and picking at the edge of the lottery pick, selecting on potential seems like a great idea.
Round 1, Pick 11: San Antonio Spurs select Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
If the Spurs are faced with this pick with the aforementioned selections already made, then snagging Haliburton should be a no-brainer. Point guard is a clear need in San Antonio, and Haliburton is quite clearly the best prospect available here at pick #11. Considered to have one of the highest basketball IQs of any prospects, Haliburton may be a nice fit into Greg Popovich’s system.
Round 1, Pick 12: Sacramento Kings select Theo Maledon, PG, France
There’s a decent amount of point-guard needy teams early in this draft, so Maledon goes slightly above his slot value (17th ranked prospect by ESPN). Maledon is an efficient and high-intensity player. After averaging just 17 minutes per game in the French professional ranks, Maledon’s lack of experience is a question, but playing alongside shot creators Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox should help him out early in his career.
Round 1, Pick 13: New Orleans Pelicans select Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
Getting Achiuwa at pick #13 would be very solid value for the Pelicans, and I think that this selection comes down to a choice between the top two power forwards still available in Achiuwa and Saddiq Bey of Villanova. Achiuwa’s versatile defensive ability fits the needs of New Orleans’ exciting young core a little better, and he likely has the higher ceiling, so I like the Pelicans to take the Memphis star here.
Round 1, Pick 14: Portland Trailblazers select Saddiq Bey, PF, Villanova
Also very needy for a power forward, the Trailblazer may find themselves taking whoever New Orleans leaves on the board with their 14th overall selection. Bey is a versatitle weapon, but there’s question marks as to whether he has an elite skill that will help him survive in the NBA game. Either way, he’s the best power forward available, so Portland would do well to make this selection here.
Round 1, Pick 15: Orlando Magic select Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
Ranked the 12th best overall prospect, Nesmith would be a steal at pick #15 for Orlando, who would be adding a versatile wing who may be the best shooter in the draft. After playing just fourteen games due to injury, sample size is an issue, but the Magic should take the risk on Nesmith, who averaged more than four 3-pointers a game, while shooting the three-ball at a 50% clip.
Round 1, Pick 16: Minnesota Timberwolves select Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
The Timberwolves need to fill a lot of gaps during this draft. After addressing the power forward position at #3 overall, Minnesota turns to the shooting guard position thirteen picks later, picking up the first Kentucky product in Tyrese Maxey. Described as a physical defender and an instinctive scorer with the touch to score from anywhere on the court, Maxey is one of the top shooting guards in the draft class, and the T-Wolves go with him over FSU’s Devin Vassell.
Round 1, Pick 17: Boston Celtics select Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington
Getting a big man is a priority for the Celtics, who need help at power forward and center. With an 8’11 standing reach, McDaniels fits the bill, although he may need a year or two to develop. However, finding a player who can be an NBA contributor right away is usually difficult outside the lottery, so McDaniels is a worthy, need-filling project.
Round 1, Pick 18: Dallas Mavericks select Patrick Williams, SF, Florida State
This selection could depend on Dallas’s mindset entering the draft. If they feel they are ready to compete in the Western Conference, they may try and find a center that addresses their more glaring need. However, what I believe is more likely is that Dallas acknowledges they’re probably still a year or two away, and rather goes with a safer selection, with no elite center available on the board. Patrick Williams is a great option at shooting forward and a high-upside selection for Dallas. Would Dalllas try and trade up into the lottery for a shot at Okongwu or – in the case of an unlikely fall – Wiseman? It’s possible, but this mock doesn’t involve trades.
Round 1, Pick 19: Milwaukee Bucks select Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
This was a tough selection to choose here. I heavily considered going with Florida State’s Devon Vassell, but I ultimately felt that Mannion was a more NBA-ready prospect, and the Bucks are smack in the middle of their championship window. Mannion is a good facilitator with some questions regarding his scoring ability. However, Milwaukee has plenty of offense, and simply adding a skillful point guard that can take some attention off Giannis would be huge for the Bucks, so give me Mannion here at #19.
Round 1, Pick 20: Brooklyn Nets select Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Serbia
The Nets may opt for a more NBA-ready prospect, as Pokusevski is the youngest player in the draft class – he won’t turn 19 until December. However, the Nets have three years left of Kevin Durant, and while expecting a championship in his first year as a healthy Net seems like high expectations, Brooklyn expects to be competing for a title in 2 or 3 years, which may fit Pokusevski’s timeline. Whomever Brooklyn selects here will likely give an indication of where the franchise thinks they stand in their rebuild timeline.
Round 1, Pick 21: Denver Nuggets select Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
My original mock had Vassell dropping all the way to the end of the first round, despite being ESPN’s 16th-ranked prospect. However, as I drafted my second version, I simply couldn’t justify Vassell slipping so far. The Florida State guard is too talented to be ignored for so long, after shooting 42% from 3-point range in his career. Denver, despite not desperately needing a guard, will go for the upside selection in Vassell here.
Round 1, Pick 22: Philadelphia 76ers select Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
Initially thought to be hunting for a power forward, Philadelphia’s priorities may change depending on Ben Simmons and how he performs in the NBA Restart. Simmons was recently moved to power forward, where his inability to shoot the three-pointer will be less noticeable, and if he performs well, he may stick there long-term. However, until he’s seen in game action, the assumption here is that Philly will still chase a power forward, and with Jalen Smith available, they’ll take the versatile offensive threat out of Maryland. Defensively a work-in-progress, Smith is still a good shot-blocker and made 60% of his two-point shots. He may be a good option for the 76ers, who love their big men.
Round 1, Pick 23: Miami Heat select Tyler Bey, PF, Colorado
I love the pick of Bey here, who projects as a very solid defender at the NBA level after winning Defensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12. He’s got improvements to make offensively, and adding some size will be important if he’s to guard big men at the next level. Despite questions about his current offensive ability, scouts love his shooting touch, leaving hope that he will improve. For a young Miami team on the rise? Bey may just be a beautiful fit on the South Beach.
Round 1, Pick 24: Utah Jazz select Kira Lewis, PG, Alabama
Point Guard and Center are the positions of need for Utah, so Isaiah Stewart also is a possibility. I also thought about having the Jazz snag Jahm’ius Ramsey out of Texas Tech. Ultimately, however, I was intrigued by the speed and soft shooting touch of the Alabama point guard, Kira Lewis. Lewis is considered one of the quickest players in the draft, and if develops into an above-average facilitator, the Jazz could find a sneaky 6th man or even starter at pick #24 here. 32-year old Mike Conley mans the point guard position in Utah right now, so Lewis could be groomed to take over in a year or two.
Round 1, Pick 25: Oklahoma City Thunder select Josh Green, SG, Arizona
This is virtually a no-brainer here for the Thunder. Very needy at shooting guard, OKC sees Green, the 20th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board, slip to #25 here. He’s a safe pick with a high-floor and a steal this late in the first round. The Thunder are truly a confusing team as nobody thought they’d be in a position to pick this late in the draft, so their long-term set-up for success is somewhat unclear. Getting Green would be a very solid and need-filling selection for Oklahoma City.
Round 1, Pick 26: Boston Celtics select Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
A good first step for continuing to build a young core through the draft? How about grabbing two first-round freshmen who were a dynamic tandem during their lone year in college. Both projected first rounders out of Washington, Stewart and Jaden McDaniels were described by head coach Mike Hopkins as one of the best big-man duos in program history. With Stewart available, the Celtics could be intrigued by both addressing a position of need and pulling in the second half of that tandem, snaring a pair of players with a year of experience building chemistry behind them already.
Round 1, Pick 27: New York Knicks select Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
After grabbing French point guard Killian Hayes with their first pick, the Knicks look to address a Kristap Porzingis-sized hole in the paint, opting to select one of the most dominant big men in the country from this past season. Watching Azubuike play at Kansas was reminiscent of watching vintage big men, even drawing comparisons to Shaq at times. There are questions about whether he can adapt to the modern NBA style of play. That question may limit his ceiling, but at the same time, do the Knicks have a lot to lose right now? They’re horrible, and Azubuike has looked very, very good at a position that the Knicks have looked very, very bad at. If he’s available, I like New York to pull the trigger on the Kansas star here.
Round 1, Pick 28: Toronto Raptors select Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
Carey is a fringe first-round pick, but with big men still going at a very high rate in my draft, he creeps up from the 32nd best prospect on ESPN’s big board and into the back end of the first round. The Raptors were expected by many to be in somewhat of a rebuild after losing Kawhi Leonard, but they remain in the NBA title chase as the league resumes play within their Orlando bubble. Carey is an elite rebounder and shows potential to add outside shooting to his skillset, which would make him a versatile asset on the Toronto roster. Injury concerns and questions on the defensive end have Carey ranked lower on the board than his talent and blue-blood experience at Duke would normally suggest, but if he capitalizes on his potential, this is a late round steal for the Raptors.
Round 1, Pick 29: Los Angeles Lakers select Leandro Bolmaro, SG, Argentina
If the mock were to play out this way prior to pick 29, it would be crushing for the Lakers. Their clear biggest need is at center and after a bevy of the slipped to the end of the first round, three straight players that figure to be L.A. targets are taken right before the Lakers select. This may force Los Angeles to look elsewhere, as I’m not sure there’s another talent that can justifiably be taken in the first round at the position. Daniel Oturu from Minnesota could make a case, but it might be a reach. Instead, the Lakers get a pretty nice consolation prize in Leandro Bolmaro, who looks like the best player remaining on the board, ranked by ESPN as the 21st best prospect in the class. There’s less of a need for guards at the back end of the first round – hence the slip – but Los Angeles is picking up a very solid prospect here. There are questions about his ceiling as a shooter, but Bolmaro projects as a creative, playmaking guard who can finish effectively near the basket and play with great defensive intensity. Maybe this pick doesn’t address L.A’s biggest need, but it’s a really solid pick-up.
Round 1, Pick 30: Boston Celtics select Jah’mius Ramsey, PG, Texas Tech
It seems extremely likely that the Celtics will trade one of their three first round picks, but this mock is trade-free, so having addressed their most prominent needs with their first two selections, the Cs have a little bit of freedom to pick a high-ceiling player here. Ramsey may be one of the top pure scorers in the draft with potential on the defensive side of the court. There’s questions about his decision making but given that he averaged 15 points a game while “living off contested jumpers” there’s a high ceiling if he cleans up his shot selection.
Round 2, Pick 31: Dallas Mavericks select Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
The Lakers passed on Oturu and Los Angeles’s loss is Dallas’s gain, as they snare the Minnesota big man, who measures in at 6’9 and 240 pounds. With good size, he will be an excellent complementary piece in the paint to franchise player Luke Doncic, making this some great value at the beginning of the second round.
Round 2, Pick 32: Charlotte Hornets select Zeke Nnaji, PF, Arizona
The Hornets have so many holes to fill that virtually nobody is off the table when they are selecting. After grabbing point guard R.J. Hampton in the first round, Charlotte turns their attention to the frontcourt, picking up the 7-foot Nnaji out of Arizona. 25th-ranked prospect Robert Woodard does remain on the board, so that also seems like a viable possibility, but Charlotte chases the prototypical size and talent and a player from a more traditional basketball power.
Round 2, Pick 33: Minnesota Timberwolves select Robert Woodard, SF, Mississippi State
Minnesota’s quest to fill a large number of roster holes continues early in the second round with their third selection of the draft. Picking at #33, the Timberwolve are met with a pleasant surprise as first-round talent Woodard has slipped into the second round, giving Minnesota a better-than-expected option in this slot. Woodard brings great defense and three-point shooting to the table, projecting as an off-the-ball forward. Best available player at a position of need? Mark it down, move him out – Woodard’s headed to Minnesota.
Round 2, Pick 34: Philadelphia 76ers select Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
Heading away from their traditionally favored big men, the 76ers pick up the undersized but lethal Cassius Winston, who had the Spartans primed for a deep NCAA Tournament run after a rocky start to the season. Winston is considered to be a prospect that can immediately help at the NBA level, having shot 43% from three-point range as a three-year starter with the Spartans. Polished and ready to contribute, he’s both a perfect selection and great value here for the 76ers.
Round 2, Pick 35: Sacramento Kings select Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State
Sacramento picks up the next best center available, addressing their biggest need after electing not to so with their first pick. Tillman is a defensive stalwart, and he was one of the few players who had success in locking down Luka Garza in the paint this season. The second half of Michigan State’s star duo in this draft, Tillman goes one pick after Winston to the Kings, where he could compete for playing time right away.
Round 2, Pick 36: Philadelphia 76ers select Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
Desmond Bane is an underrated prospect out of a TCU program that overwhelmed last season, finishing just 16-16 on the year. However, their lackluster record was not due to Bane, who averaged 16.6 points per game on 45% shooting, to go with 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists. After grabbing Winston two picks earlier, the 76ers double down with another guard and secure Bane’s services early in the second round.
Round 2, Pick 37: Washington Wizards select Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
Wizards neglected what is possibly their post pressing need, going for value with their selection of Isaac Okoro in round 1. If that happens in reality, look for Washington to try and trade up. As it is, landing Dotson at #37 is a nice consolation prize for a point guard-needy team.
Round 2, Pick 38: New York Knicks select Elijah Hughes, SG, Syracuse
Keep the New York man in New York. Hughes is originally from New York, and he went to Syracuse, where he tore it up, particularly over his final two seasons. Hughes is comfortable in the Big Apple, and New York has a need at shooting guard, so this seems like a natural fit early in the second round.
Round 2, Pick 39: New Orleans Pelicans select Tre Jones, PG, Duke
Duke is almost a farm system team for the Pelicans at this point, so why stop now. There are five Duke alumni on New Orleans’ roster, so picking up a 6th shouldn’t be a problem. Jones is a high-IQ player and impressed in his 2nd season after a disappointing debut year with the Blue Devils. New Orleans do have major needs in the paint, but after drafting Precious Achiuwa with their first pick of the draft, I don’t see a prospect that’s worth taking here, so the New Orleans Blue Devils – Pelicans – go with Tre Jones at #39 overall.
Round 2, Pick 40: Sacramento Kings select Jordan Nwora, PF, Louisville
I’ve been a little surprised how little buzz Nwora has drawn throughout the draft process. The Buffalo, New York product put up 18 points a game on 44% shooting and was an excellent rebounder for Louisville, torturing the ACC night after night throughout his excellent career. The Kings bite on Nwora here, slightly ahead of his projected slot (44th ranked prospect on ESPN), as his talent is too tantalizing to pass up.
Round 2, Pick 41: Memphis Grizzlies select Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon
The Grizzles have the likely Rookie of the Year this season in Ja Morant, but not getting to pick until the 41st selection (barring a trade) will make repeating that feat unlikely. However, snaring Pritchard here would be an amazing find. Pritchard may go earlier, although he should definitely be a 2nd-round selection. If Memphis can address one of their biggest needs with the Pac-12 Player of the Year – they shouldn’t hesitate on pulling the trigger on the Oregon floor general.
Round 2, Pick 42: New Orleans Pelicans select Skylar Mays, SG, LSU
Again, it is difficult for the Pelicans to find a big man that isn’t a reach with this pick, and there’s no top Duke prospect around, so instead, they go for an in-state gem in LSU’s Skylar Mays. Mays is 6’4 and 205 pounds – an excellent build for a guard – and was one of the best guards in the SEC last season. He’s originally from Baton Rouge and is Louisiana born-and-bred. Why not keep him where he’s comfortable?
Round 2, Pick 43: San Antonio Spurs select Reggie Perry, C, Mississippi State
I’ll let the Spurs reach a little bit here. They’ve been on a slow decline for the last five seasons, but they remain at least somewhat relevant and may try and draft for need here. Perry fills one such glaring need at center, and after averaging a double-double as a sophomore in the SEC, he’s an intriguing selection in the middle of the 2nd round.
Round 2, Pick 44: Portland Trailblazers select Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
This is pretty much just a best-available pick for Portland. They addressed their biggest need by picking Saddiq Bey at power forward with their first selection. There may be a need at center, but having already snared a frontcourt addition, the Trailblazers opt for the backcourt, where Flynn is still available at #44. Great value and a worthy selection here for Portland.
Round 2, Pick 45: Chicago Bulls select Grant Riller, PG, Charleston
Dotson, Pritchard, Jones, and Flynn represent some well known 2nd-round point guard prospects, but all have left the board by the time the guard-needy Bulls select here at pick #45. Riller has the scoring touch, averaging 21.9 points per game for each of his final two years with Charleston, and the mid-major product is most definitely an interesting 2nd-round addition for whomever drafts him. Ranked the 39th-best prospect by ESPN, he’s great value here for Chicago.
Round 2, Pick 46: Orlando Magic select Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
The Magic went with shooting forward Aaron Nesmith with their first pick, and they remain in need of a point guard here. They’ll go best available and take the former Stanford floor general midway through the second round.
Round 2, Pick 47: Boston Celtics select Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke
The Celtics aren’t really drafting for need by this point, and they pick up an intriguing shooting guard prospect. Stanley put on a show at Duke at times, and while there are inevitable concerns that come with a prospect coming off the board late in the second round, there’s no doubt he has plenty of athleticism and could become a NBA contributor.
Round 2, Pick 48: Golden State Warriors select Paul Reed, PF, DePaul
The Warriors haven’t made a selection since getting Wiseman #1 overall, but they continue to address the frontcourt with pick #2, grabbing the 6’9 Reed out of DePaul. It’s no secret that Golden State has plenty of star power at guard, so it makes sense for them to get rim protectors and wing players during this draft.
Round 2, Pick 49: Philadelphia 76ers select Killian Tillie, C, Gonzaga
With a third 2nd round selection, the 76ers don’t really have glaring needs they haven’t already addressed, so they head to the frontcourt to pick up an intriguing prospect in Tillie, who tore it up under Mark Few at Gonzaga. Can his dominant play in the West Coast Conference translate to the NBA – the 76ers will take the chance on that here.
Round 2, Pick 50: Indiana Pacers select Abdoulaye N’Doye, PG, France
The Pacers don’t get to pick until the tail end of the draft, and there’s a few holes they can focus on. They’ll address one of those needs at point guard, and hope that N’Doye, a 6’7 guard out of France, can fulfill his potential as an international prospect.
Round 2, Pick 51: Golden State Warriors select Yam Madar, PG, Israel
The Warriors addressed the front court with their first two picks and now adds depth to their backcourt, adding Israelian prospect Yam Madar. They don’t need immediate contributors at guard, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson still roaming the court in the Bay Area, which gives the Warriors time to try and groom Madar to play at the NBA level.
Round 2, Pick 52: Oklahoma City Thunder select Kaleb Wesson, C, Ohio State
There’s a fair amount of options for solid frontcourt prospects available to the Thunder, who are definitively needy at both power forward and center. Ultimately, the Thunder go with Ohio State’s 6’9 Kaleb Wesson, who averaged 14 points and 9.3 rebounds per game with the Buckeyes during his junior season.
Round 2, Pick 53: Sacramento Kings select Kenyon Martin Jr., SF, USA
The Kings have a wealth of picks, making their fourth selection here, so they go with a position they haven’t addressed yet, picking up the 6’7, 215-pound Martin out of IMG Academy late in the second round.
Round 2, Pick 54: Atlanta Hawks select Paul Eboua, PF, Cameroon
Having not selected since their fourth overall pick, the Hawks are looking for prospects with potential here, as picking up NBA-ready prospects at the tail-end of the draft will be extremely difficult. Eboua, weighing in at a wiry 198 pounds and standing 6’8, is certainly an interesting international prospect. For an Atlanta team that has struggled to get back into contention despite no glaring holes on their roster, he’s a pretty nice pick at this point in the draft.
Round 2, Pick 55: Brooklyn Nets select Nick Richards, C, Kentucky
The Nets have glaring needs at power forward and center, but only two selections in the draft, spaced 35 picks apart. Thus, filling the need with NBA-ready talent will be difficult late in the second round, but Brooklyn gets solid value in the 7-foot out of Richards. If you have a position of need and no transcendent talent, pick the player who fits the physical profile and played for a program that pumps out NBA big men.
Round 2, Pick 56: Los Angeles Clippers select Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky
A second straight Kentucky selection – the Clippers use their lone pick of the draft to snare a point guard, addressing a position of need with Hagans, who averaged 11.5 points and 6.4 assists in 2019-20. Hagans’ teammate Immanuel Quickley is also a possibility here, but I’ll lean towards Hagans for this pick.
Round 2, Pick 57: Charlotte Hornets select Sam Merrill, SG, Utah State
Merrill, who we ran a draft feature on earlier this spring, prior to the postponement of the draft, was last seen hitting a buzzer-beater to stun San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference championship. The Utah State star has the ability to shoot his way onto a NBA roster, and Charlotte could be a place where he gets some early opportunities to showcase his stuff.
Round 2, Pick 58: Toronto Raptors select Immanuel Quickley, PG, Kentucky
After Tyrese Maxey was their only selection in the first round, the Kentucky Wildcats see three of their players get selected in a four-pick span late in the second round, as Toronto picks up the second half of the Kentucky point guard duo, snaring Quickley. After getting Vernon Carey in the first round, the Raptors walk away with two productive collegiate players from blue-blood programs, so certainly not bad for Nick Nurse’s squad.
Round 2, Pick 59: Philadelphia 76ers select Josh Hall, SF, USA
Hall elected to not play collegiate basketball, most recently competing for Moravian Prep in Hickory, North Carolina. He’s a fringe-level draft prospect, and this mock does have Hall coming off the board with the penultimate pick. The 76ers have their 5th selection of the draft and use it on the prep school 19-year old.
Round 2, Pick 60: New Orleans Pelicans select Nathan Knight, C, William & Mary
Not exactly a blue-blood selection to end our mock draft. The Pelicans pick up Knight with the final pick, taking a player who absolutely tore up the Colonial Athletic Association to the tune of 20.7 points and 10.5 rebounds on 52.4% shooting. The quality of competition was certainly lower, but Knight’s production makes him worth a flier at #60 .