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2015 NBA Mock Draft: Consensus Ver 2.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the 2015 NBA Draft, including a revised Mock Draft based on the latest information.

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Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2015 NBA Draft. Included is a revised Mock Draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts and information from in and around the process.

Here is Consensus Version 2.0:

Previous Version:  1.0 |


Yannis’ Notebook:

As much as the roster they fielded on some nights indicated otherwise, the Los Angeles Lakers truly were opposed to tanking this season. They were just ridden with bad luck with injuries, and never had great upside to begin with. That puts them in the nerve-wrecking fourth position as their pick is headed to Philadelphia if it’s outside the top five and there’s a perceived drop off in talent after the top four players – Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell – come off the board.

However, in this week’s version I have them going with Justise Winslow, assuming they end up where they’re projected at because as much as there’s a need for a young, dynamic ball handler in the backcourt like Mudiay, the Lakers seem to have the leg up on Rajon Rondo in free agency. Goran Dragic appears to be available too, and point guard isn’t the only glaring hole for the Lakers. Small forward is a major need as well. They replaced a potential long-term solution in Trevor Ariza years ago with a short-term fix in Ron Artest, but their faith in Wes Johnson to take over the position in his departure turned out to be misplaced. Despite all his God given talent, reportedly strong work ethic and flashes of brilliance, he was a bust in the purple and gold as well.

Winslow may have similar offensive limitations as Johnson. He’s not great off of the dribble, and his jumper comes and goes, but the difference between the two is Winslow’s approach and demeanor. He’s going to come in with an aggressiveness and disdain of losing that will impress even Kobe Bryant. He’ll guard multiple positions every night, gradually improve offensively and eventually become the long-term solution the Lakers are looking for at the position.

Building through the draft isn’t ideal for the Lakers; they want to build through free agency. But even as a rookie, Winslow will fit in nicely on a veteran squad. The perennial winner is mature, ready to contribute from day one and eager to fight for the only title missing from his trophy case.

Joel’s Notebook:

It’s easy to be wary about the international prospects, mostly because the majority of fans haven’t seen much of them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be disappointing for the fans of teams drafting them. While it’s true that Dario Saric was one such lottery pick a year ago who will continue playing overseas for a few more years, the two international guys slotted for top-10 consideration – Mario Hezonja and Kristaps Porzingis – are definitely worthy of whatever lottery pick will be used to nab them.

Like Saric, Hezonja is Croatian (the two actually played together on the Croatian national team), and he looks like one of the more talented swingmen in the class. He’s a strong, athletic shooting guard who can knock down threes and score in bunches, and obviously those are skills that translate well to the NBA game. The only issues with him are a questionable attitude and that he doesn’t have a ton of experience playing at a high professional level. His minutes with FC Barcelona have been spotty, but when he has played big minutes he typically has done pretty well. With his athleticism and range, he should fit in well with an NBA rotation, even if he may take a season or two to properly marinate.

As for Porzingis, he’s the lanky seven-footer from Latvia who pulled out of the 2014 NBA Draft just 10 days before the event, even though he reportedly had lottery teams interested in his services. He’s agile and fast, and he sports a mid-range shooting ability that will make him tough for opposing NBA fours to guard. Even better, he actually improved as the season went on and peaked in Eurocup play, where he averaged 11.6 PPG and shot 46 percent from deep. Yes, he’s one of those “stretch fours” that NBA scouts love. He absolutely can hit down the occasional three.

This week, I have Hezonja going to Sacramento to give them some more consistent three-point shooting, and I have Porzingis falling in with the HEAT because he’s the most talented player I see hovering around that spot and he fills a need for them in the frontcourt. Both guys are talented, but not as much as the top five on the board. After that, though, they’re just as solid as anybody in that second tier. Both should fall in 5-10 range if projections hold up.

Alex’s Notebook:

The Jahlil Okafor vs. Karl-Anthony Towns debate is very interesting. In talking to people around the NBA, some people are adamantly pro-Okafor while others are adamantly pro-Towns. However, in my opinion, Okafor is the better prospect and more of a sure thing than Towns.

We haven’t seen many 19-year-olds like Okafor. His post moves, footwork, basketball IQ, efficiency and passing ability are extremely rare in a freshman seven-footer. Most big men are raw when they start their NBA career, but Okafor will enter the league as one of the best scoring big men prospects we’ve seen in years.

One reason why Okafor is years ahead of most 19-year-old big men is because, at 14 years old, he started studying film of big men like Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Patrick Ewing and doing drills to improve his footwork. He has been working toward this and going through sessions with a trainer before he could even get a driver’s permit.

As a result, Okafor was virtually unstoppable in the post at the college level. He led Duke to the championship, and averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting a ridiculous 66.4 percent from the field. Okafor shot above 70 percent from the field in 20 games during his freshman season. He seems poised to be one of the best offensive big men in the NBA in a few years.

There have been questions about Okafor’s defense and it’s true that he needs to improve on that end. However, he’s extremely young and he should make strides on that end in time, especially with his excellent work ethic. And even if his defensive improvement is minimal, his offense is so far ahead of where most big men are at this point that he projects to be a very productive NBA player anyway. His floor is basically Al Jefferson and, if he becomes a two-way threat, his ceiling is an all-time great. NBA executives and players (including David Robinson) have already compared him to a young Duncan. Duncan has even said that Okafor is ahead of where he was at 19 years old.

It’s worth noting that there are concerns with Towns too. Because Okafor dominated for much of the year, people started to look for negatives in his game (as is often the case with players who seem like a lock to be the No. 1 pick). But looking at Towns, his sample size is smaller since he played fewer minutes and he didn’t get the chance to show that he can be a No. 1 option over a full season like Okafor did.

Also, Towns had some issues with fouling that kept him off the court. He averaged 2.9 fouls in 21.1 minutes, and fouled out in six games this year (more than all of his Kentucky teammates combined). By comparison, Okafor didn’t foul out of single game this year and averaged just 2.1 fouls despite playing 10 more minutes per game than Towns. Will Towns have even more issues with fouling in the league once he is facing NBA-caliber big men and playing significantly more minutes? The point I’m making is that neither player is perfect, and both have things they need to improve. It just seems like Okafor’s mistakes have been under the microscope more than others’.

The lottery results will obviously impact the Okafor vs. Towns debate, but just looking at their talent alone, I would go with Okafor. I think he has the potential to be a very special, franchise-changing player. If put in the right situation, he could be dominant for years to come.

Steve’s Notebook:

Last year, Utah Jazz point guard Dante Exum was dubbed the International Man of Mystery, with a hat tip to the movie character Austin Powers, but playing on the fact that so few people had seen him play.

This year, that title seems to have shifted to Emmanuel Mudiay, mainly because while he did play in China, and there was ample game film, so few domestic fans actually saw him play.

Mudiay has been training in L.A. for several months and is weighing the merits of taking part in the annual NBA Draft Combine next week in Chicago. Sources close to the situation said recently that Mudiay wants to take part in the Combine, but his brother who played a huge role in his life is graduating from college and he very much wants to be there for him.

A number of teams have already reached out to Mudiay and are trying to schedule individual workouts with him, so his camp already has a pretty good sense of where Mudiay stands in the grand scheme of the draft and, for now, seems to be pretty comfortable with where he could be drafted.

Most agents and insiders will tell you the key to the draft is understanding your “floor” – that team you won’t get past – and it seems Mudiay may already have that in place or at least enough of a sense of that to forgo the Combine.

One of the other comments from sources was how serious Mudiay is as a person. His inner circle has been trying to get him to lighten up and have some fun; however, the joke was that every time they try and get him to do something social he declines, opting to watch basketball games and vintage highlights or hangs out around his apartment.

Mudiay is said to be in incredible shape, and is eager to get into workouts for teams.

All of that is great in the context of information, but until Mudiay shows it somewhere, he’s still going to be doubted as the guy with something to prove. But if the sources close to him are even half right, he could be the first point guard off the board.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Managing Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 17 seasons. Alex Kennedy is a Senior NBA Writer and Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last seven years. Yannis Koutroupis is a Senior Writer and NCAA Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered basketball for the last nine years. Joel Brigham is a Senior NBA Writer and has covered the NBA for the last 10 years.

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Final

For the last seven weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers have been breaking down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft, here is their final look at all 60 picks.

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For the last seven weeks, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers have been breaking down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft. Each week they provided an updated mock draft that reflected how each writer saw the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts and information from the pre-draft process as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

Here is the Final Consensus Mock for the 2019 NBA Draft:

*** The 30th pick in the first round was traded to the Detroit Pistons, and the picks made reflect that trade, which will not happen until after the player is selected

***The 32nd pick in the second round was traded to the Indiana Pacers, and the picks made reflect that trade, which will not happen until after the player is selected

***The 41st pick in the second round was traded to the Golden State Warriors, and the picks made reflect that trade, which will not happen until after the player is selected

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 6.0

Jesse’s Notebook Some recent trades, including the trades for Anthony Davis and Mike Conley, as well as a few other transactions have shifted the draft board yet again. First-round picks are being moved around after a period in which prying away a first-rounder from another team was basically a non-starter. With the way the last few days have unfolded, and with the Western Conference seemingly wide open, I am predicting there will be several major trades on draft night. Add in the uncertainty surrounding several star free agents, and it’s simply impossible to predict with much precision what will happen on Thursday. However, this is the sort of environment that excites fans almost as much as the actual playoffs and NBA Finals, and I am not one to complain.

What is interesting about this is the fact that this draft seemingly drops off a cliff (arguably) once we get to the ninth pick. It would be more understandable to anticipate major moves on draft night with a loaded class, but that simply isn’t the case this year. My draft board has moved around wildly throughout this process, and I am bracing myself to be off the mark on draft night. All it takes is one trade for things to get thrown off in a major way, and I am anticipating at least a few major moves.

Throughout this process, I was looking for a handful of players to grab my attention and never let it go. Last season, that player was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and I was very interested in seeing where Michael Porter Jr. would ultimately land given his talent and injury issues. That player never really emerged this year, however. I think Cameron Reddish is one of the more intriguing players in the class considering his talent and upside, but shaky college record.

I look forward to revisiting this draft a few years down the road. At least one general manager is going to get a steal somewhere in the middle or backend of the draft. Considering how comparable the talent is throughout the board once we get past the lottery, it’s hard to say who the steal of the draft may be. Again, I am fully prepared for draft night to go off script in a major way. I recommend all NBA fans do the same.

Drew’s Notebook After months of planning, the 2019 NBA Draft is finally upon us. And per the usual, the closer we get, the harder it is to differentiate between fact and fiction given the number of smokescreens generated by agents and teams.

The Grizzlies appear dead set on Ja Morant. And rightfully so considering they traded away Mike Conley. The Knicks have continued to do their due diligence having worked out Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland just yesterday – and those close to Garland say the interest is real. On the flip side of the Knicks’ decision, RJ Barrett claims to have made considerable improvements since we last saw him at Duke – take that with a grain of salt. But the Knicks still appear to be the first team with a real decision to make.

We also hear that Nassir Little could go as high as nine to Washington and that Sekou Doumbouya might have a guarantee from Orlando at 16. So watch out for those curveballs, too.

As far as teams looking to consolidate their picks are concerned, the Hawks have resisted the idea of packaging the eighth pick along with 10 and/or 17, which may prohibit them from moving up as high as they would prefer. Atlanta owned six picks coming into the draft process – 8, 10, 17, 35, 41 and 44. They’ve already dealt 41 to Golden State and 44 to Miami. We’ll see if they continue moving/consolidating picks in hopes of mitigating the number of rookies they bring into training camp.

We’ve also heard that the Celtics would like to package their picks to move up, but it seems as though they’ve struggled to gain any traction – probably because teams can’t accurately predict who will be available with their selections (the Celtics’ first selection is 14). Boston may have to wait for some names to come off the board before others decide if trading back for multiple selections is the right move.

Draft night will inevitably deliver a number of surprises to the Brooklyn crowd. I expect heavy trade activity tomorrow night in advance of another wild free agency period, beginning June 30.

Spencer’s Notebook The day is here, folks! Tonight marks the official date of the 2019 NBA Draft, which will begin potentially one of the most hectic summers the association has ever seen.

In past notebooks from different versions of our Consensus Mock, I surmised that much of the shakeout would depend on what happened with Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Well, that situation resolved itself this past week when the Los Angeles Lakers made a franchise-altering trade with the Pelicans to land “The Brow” in Hollywood.

New Orleans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin now holds significant draft capital, as the team has both the first and fourth pick in this upcoming class. He also swindled three more first-rounders along with The Big Easy’s new upstart talents in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. Due to the abundance of young guard/wing talent, and multiple teams vying to trade up using different packages, there’s a reason for the Pelicans to deal away No. 4.

And because of the uncertainty of what will happen at that slot, it’s difficult to predict how the draft will ultimately shake out. For example, if New Orleans decides to hang onto it, they could take Darius Garland, or RJ Barrett (if he falls) or whomever they deem fits their organization. However, if a team like the Atlanta Hawks jumps the Cleveland Cavaliers to draft Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter, it could cause a domino effect that may completely alter everybody else’s plans.

Just in the past 48 hours, we learned about developments in New York. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the Knicks brass is seriously considering Garland at No. 3 and worked him out Wednesday. Whether this is actual interest or a way to drive up an asking price for their draft pick in order to make a deal of their own, we don’t actually know. The same thing could be said for Cleveland, who despite having Collin Sexton, is intrigued by the dynamic point guard.

At this point in the process, the real information could differ completely from what’s being leaked. Smoke is already filling up the room. It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in this year’s draft, especially when most people around NBA circles believe that, at the tail end of the lottery, there could be draft picks moved every which way.

This is like throwing a dart blindfolded. As I tweeted last night, we might be burning our mock drafts at the rate we rip up brackets in the month of March.

The Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks already moved their first-round picks in separate deals. That could only be the beginning. Who knows what the Hawks and Boston Celtics will do with three first-round selections in such a difficult class to differentiate player talent?

We won’t have to wait much longer to find out. Enjoy draft night, everyone!

Steve’s Notebook The 2019 NBA Draft is tonight in Brooklyn, New York, and while the suspense at the top of the draft board looks unchanged, there is a lot of potential for movement everywhere else.

As things stand today, Zion Williamson will be the top overall pick with almost no surprise there.

At number two, there continued to be talk last night that New Orleans was trying to pry the number two pick out of Memphis to grab Duke’s RJ Barrett, which would push Memphis back to the fourth spot and catching either Murray State’s Ja Morant or Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland, after the Knicks select at three. While these talks remain fluid, it does not appear at this point there will be a deal, but as is true with all trades, the right combination of assets changing hands can often turn a “No” into a “Yes.”

The New York Knicks have done their fair share of waffling on what to do at number three. While RJ Barrett remains the odds on favorite, the Knicks did take a long look at Garland on Wednesday in New York, as well as having surveyed executives from other teams for their views on Barrett, which is common due diligence, but also shows there may be some doubt on the long-term fit of Barrett.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have also been busy working on trade scenarios that could include in the fifth overall pick, the partially guaranteed cap clearing contract of JR Smith and their second pick at 26. The narrative around Cleveland is that they want to build around last year’s pick Collin Sexton, but the potential availability of Garland could test that commitment. Since the NBA Draft Combine, the Cavs have been linked to Duke’s Cam Reddish in trade down scenarios. There has been a belief that if Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver is there at five, the Cavs may grab him and flip him to the Atlanta Hawks for either of the eighth or tenth picks and the Hawks pick at 17 which they obtained from the Brooklyn Nets.

As for some of the notable teams:

The prevailing thought is the Chicago Bulls are grabbing either Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter or UNC’s Coby White at 7.

The Washington Wizards seemed to have three guys in their sights: White, UNC’s Nassir Little and Limoges CSP’s Sekou Doumbouya.

The Hawks seem to be where Mega Bemax’s Goga Bitadze is going to land, likely at the ten spot.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are said to be extremely high on Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura, although things could get interesting if Texas big man Jaxson Hayes is still on the board.

The Miami HEAT seem very open to trading their pick at 13, and there was talk in New York that Darius Bazley may be the HEAT’s guy, even as high as 13 if they keep the pick. The Pistons are also believed to be very high on Bazley.

The 2019 NBA draft is shaping up to be one of the turbulent drafts in recent years. A typical draft will have 15 to 18 transactions, most involving moving picks around. This year’s draft may double that when all the trade volume is done, so don’t get too attached to anyone your team may draft – they may not be there long.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: 60-Pick Mock Draft – 6/18/2019

The 2019 NBA Draft is Thursday and things seem to be taking shape at the top of the draft board. However, the middle of the draft could be wildly unpredictable. Steve Kyler offers up another 60-pick Mock Draft.

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The NBA Draft is upon us, and while there still seems to be a lot of things in play in the middle of the draft, the top of the board seems to be settling in on a defined order.

Assuming the top 10 picks stay where they are, the draft could go pretty much as scripted. After the top 10, it seems this could be a wildly unpredictable draft, with what’s shaping up to be a lot of pick movement, especially as certain guys rise or fall.

Here are some of the situation to watch:

The New Orleans Pelicans, fresh off their agreed Anthony Davis trade with the LA Lakers, are still exploring moves that could involve the fourth overall pick. The prevailing thought is if New Orleans can flip the pick for a solid veteran they would, but there has also been recent talk that they would like to try and trade up to grab Duke forward RJ Barrett in front of the Knicks. It doesn’t seem likely that Memphis would do such a deal unless they were assured they would get Murray State’s Ja Morant at four. The Knicks have been pretty locked in on keeping the third pick and have made it clear to local media that they would be happy with either Barrett or Morant, likely killing any traction on a Memphis-Pelicans swap.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had been linked to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal for the fifth overall pick, but traction on that seems to have died off once the Pelicans got control of the fourth pick and seem to have zeroed in on Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver if they keep the pick. The Hawks have been exploring options on moving one of their middle first round picks, either the 10 or the 17, which they will receive from Brooklyn as part of the pending Allen Crabbe salary dump. League sources doubt the Hawks keep all of their picks, but it’s unclear where those moved picks would land as of today.

Speaking of moved picks, the Boston Celtics have been exploring options on their three first-round picks; it is believed the Celtics will ultimately deal the player they select with the 20th overall pick, although league sources say Boston is open to moving all of them if the return is right.

There could be some teams to watch in terms of trading into the draft; The Houston Rockets have explored deals that would get them into the late lottery, it does not seem like there is traction on anything as of today, but it’s a situation to watch.

The Denver Nuggets have also explored deals to get into the first round, mainly to obtain inexpensive bench players. The Nuggets could be one of the teams to watch for with one of the Celtics or Hawks picks.

With all of that in mind, here is the latest NBA Mock Draft. You can look for the Final Consensus Mock Draft tomorrow.

UPDATED: 6/18 - 4:00pm

Stay tuned to Basketball Insiders for the latest news and rumors surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft and instant reaction pieces on all the picks in the first round.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 6.0

With one week left, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2019 NBA Draft.

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Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft. With every new version, you’ll see an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind; we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

As this process plays out, the mocks will evolve, so look for a new Consensus each Wednesday, all the way up to draft day on June 20th.

Here is this week’s Consensus Mock:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 5.0

Jesse’s Notebook: My board remains relatively intact from Ver 5.0, but I now have Darius Garland going to the Lakers with the fourth overall pick. Steve Kyler has reported that Garland may have a promise from the Lakers, which makes sense considering the team’s roster construction and Garland’s skill set.

I still predict the Knicks selecting RJ Barret with the third overall pick, but Jarret Culver seems intent on pushing for that slot by hyping up his defensive impact. Where I think things will get interesting is the fifth pick. Of course, what the Cavaliers ultimately do with the fifth overall pick depends on what happens with picks 1-4, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Cleveland takes a chance on someone who isn’t necessarily on our radar at this point.

Atlanta is emerging as one of the teams I am particularly interested in. Their front office is smart and aggressive collectively, so I am eager to see what they do on draft night. Atlanta is building an intriguing core of young talent, so a strong draft could catapult them another step forward in their rebuild.

While we are quickly coming up on draft night, I still don’t have a clear picture of what will happen after the 10th pick. My board continues to shift on a day-to-day basis and I would not be shocked if the draft ends up in chaos, with at least a few players making big leaps up the board and others suffering big drops.

Spencer’s Notebook: In the most up to date version of this mock draft, things have changed a bit. We learned about the first big trade prior to June 20, with the Brooklyn Nets sending Allen Crabbe, their current 17th pick to the Atlanta and a protected 2020 first-rounder for Taurean Prince and a future second round pick. Brooklyn offloaded a heavy contract to free up cap space for the upcoming summer of free agency, while the Hawks gained a meaningful extra selection.

It doesn’t quite shake things up in the lottery much yet, but that could certainly change. With three picks in the top 17 range of this draft, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Hawks to package together some picks to move up the board. It also offers flexibility for Atlanta with the amount of assets they possess.

Who knows what the Los Angeles Lakers do with that fourth pick, but if it’s kept, it could come down between Darius Garland and Jarrett Culver. The latter worked out for the team recently and the returns were impressive.

On another player I haven’t discussed much yet to this point – Nassir Little is a prospect that, before the NBA Draft process began, was expected to go at No. 15 at the highest after one year at North Carolina. His defensive ability comes into question, as does his outside shooting. It was all-in-all an underwhelming showing for a five-star high school prospect who—despite playing his role well—ended up as the Tar Heels’ sixth man.

However, there is no denying the athleticism and pro-ready frame, which will be Little’s ace in the hole heading into the draft. At the NBA Combine, he took an opportunity to show those elements off and ran with it. Put the former McDonald’s All-American in the right situation and the team who takes him might be getting a player with top-ten potential.

Drew’s Notebook: This past week looked like it would be a quiet one, and then the Nets traded the 17th overall pick and Allen Crabbe to the Hawks for Taurean Prince and a protected 2020 pick. So gone is the idea that Brooklyn will be drafting a backup big man. Instead, the Nets appear poised to make a play for at least one max-level free agent (if not two) in the very near future.

But the Nets aren’t the only team well-positioned following their trade. The Hawks now have three first-round picks. They can consolidate them via trade or they can opt to use all three. Either way, the Hawks are primed to add at least one top-flight rookie. Be on the lookout for the Hawks to discuss packaging all three picks in a deal with the Cavs and Bulls.

I am also interested in monitoring the New York Knicks’ interest in Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. Rumors have been circulating for the last week or so about their fascination with the 6’6″ shooting guard, which could indicate interest in trading down; Culver was projected between the fifth and ninth pick in last week’s Basketball Insiders’ 2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft — Version 5.0.

The Knicks represent an inflection point in this year’s draft. What they choose to do with the third pick sets the tone for at least picks four through eight. They can either select RJ Barrett, pick Culver or whomever else they feel best fits their team and philosophy, trade down for additional assets or package the pick with other assets in exchange for a superstar-caliber player. Their interest in a deal with the Hawks could be significant now considering the Hawks have a third 2019 first-round pick to trade.

Regardless of what the Knicks choose to do, all of the teams that pick after them must have a number of strategies fleshed out to ensure complete preparedness. And with the draft less than two weeks away, all of the teams picking in the lottery should be prepared for chaos.

Steve’s Notebook: If you have followed me in previous drafts (this is the 15th draft I have covered professionally), there is usually a point in which I lose faith in everything I think I know. Maybe it’s information overload after the Combine, the Pro Days and the workouts, but it seems every year I get to a point where I don’t trust what I am hearing.

Does Garland really have a promise to the Lakers? Jarrett Culver’s camp doesn’t think so.

Are the Cavaliers trading the 5th pick? Atlanta seems to think they have the inside track on a deal that would allow them to keep the 8th pick while picking up the 5th pick, but is that deal hinged on Cleveland landing Cam Reddish; who they have coveted since before the Draft Lottery?

Are the Bulls getting Lonzo Ball from the Lakers in exchange for the 7th pick? It seems they might if that additional pick nets the Lakers Anthony Davis from New Orleans, or will Chicago swoop and scoop all of the Davis suitors and land him in Chicago for themselves and keep the 7th pick?

The Celtics seem to be open to moving most of their first-round picks, but who is buying? Denver seems like they want into the first-round, so does Houston.

If the chatter around this draft is illustrating anything to me, it’s that the bulk of the picks currently being held in the 6 to 26 range could change hands, it seems that crazy at this point, but that may simply be a by-product of so many teams exploring what their draft options are.

If you are grading the draft process at home, please be kind, I am not sure how much I really know at this point, and sadly, that’s not uncommon.

Things usually take much firmer shape on the Tuesday before the draft, which thankfully is just a few days away.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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