Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2017 NBA Draft. Included is 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.
Last week I had Lonzo Ball as the #1 overall pick, mostly to prove a point that I don’t think Fultz is the sure-thing top overall pick like most mock drafts seem to believe. This week I’m completely selling out and putting Fultz first, because I really do think he’s the best player in this draft and the closest thing to a sure-thing that there is. Also, I really hope he doesn’t end up in Boston. What a shame for him to be underutilized in such a stacked guard rotation there. For him or Ball to end up with the Celtics would be an absolutely waste considering how good both of those guys could very well be right out of the gate for a team like Phoenix or Philadelphia.
I’ve also got Zach Collins back in the lottery this week, which is something I really do think will happen despite his relative lack of playing time in college. His size, his defense and his range combine for a prototypical stretch big in today’s NBA. I don’t know if he’ll be any good, but once teams get past that Dennis Smith/Lauri Markkanen threshold, you’ve got to reach for the stars. There’s not a lot separating the first round, frankly, so it’s a matter of taste, fit and risk.
Speaking of inexperience, Ike Anigbogu feels like the prototypical Milwaukee Bucks pick, doesn’t he? Physically imposing but unproven on a team rife with players who made their way on that same resume.
Portland has three first-rounders and ended up with Leaf, Kennard, and Adebayo in this mock. Not a bad haul, but the truth is they’d probably draft a Euro stash with one of those picks if they even kept them all. They’ve got bigger needs than adding three rookies anyway. It’s easy to see them trading at least one of those away or attempting to consolidate and move up.
Either way, this entire thing will get blown up next week since the Combine is immediately forthcoming. That will change my opinion on a lot of things, I’m sure, and the lottery isn’t far behind. Right now, we’re grabbing at straws. The truly educated guessing comes soon.
Last week we covered that creating a mock draft is the equivalent of building a large puzzle. You identify and spread out all the pieces, find the four corners as your foundation and then build within that frame.
We’ve now reached a corner of the puzzle’s foundation. The NBA Draft Combine is upon us and will move the needle for several prospects.
Notable college players are weighing whether to keep their names in the draft or return to school. Hamidou Diallo, Tony Bradley, Frank Jackson, Andrew Jones, Semi Ojeleye, Rawle Alkins and D.J. Wilson will get a better sense of their draft stock at the Combine.
Markelle Fultz has an opportunity to solidify his case to become the No. 1 overall pick with Lonzo Ball skipping the Combine.
In addition to Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, Lauri Markkanen, Jonathan Isaac, Malik Monk, Dennis Smith, Frank Ntilikina, Rodions Kurucs and Isaiah Hartenstein will not participate in the Combine.
As we covered last week, once the lottery takes place, we’ll have almost the entire foundation. The NCAA deadline to return to school on May 24 will be another piece with the NBA early entry withdrawal deadline on June 12 being the final piece of the foundation. From there we’ll finalize the pieces and make the perfect mock draft puzzle.
That’s when the fun begins.
So, the good news is that the draft will begin to get some color in the coming weeks. The draft combine began on May 9 and will run through May 14, and traditionally, it’s been a week where we are able to learn a bit about where the minds of many of the league’s teams are. As I said last week, in my experience, most teams use the draft to fill needs on their roster, while some will occasionally select the best player available, even if it will create a logjam.
Two days after the combine concludes, on May 16, the draft lottery will be held in New York. We will finally know for certainty where the Boston Celtics will draft, as well as whether the Los Angeles Lakers will be able to exercise their pick or fork it over to the Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, the New York Knicks (currently in the seventh slot), will learn their fate, as well. Depending on how the chips fall, there will be tremendous fallout.
Now, in terms of what we currently know: I am hearing fewer people suggesting that Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball slip out of the first two spots, with Fultz considering among most as the consensus top player. Depending on whether the Celtics opt to exercise the pick or trade it because they believe that Isaiah Thomas is their point guard of the future is an interesting storyline, so I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on that. There will be a tremendous ripple effect.
At this point, I have had a few conversations with people familiar with the thinking of Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and I’ve been told that despite the draft being loaded with talent at the point guard position, with Carmelo Anthony believed to have played his final game in New York, the Knicks might actually have their eyes set on a replacement, with Duke’s Jayson Tatum being a name to watch.
Another name that’s come up in conversations I’ve had recently is that of John Collins of Wake Forest. Collins is currently projected to be a mid first round pick, but does have the potential to move up based on the growth that he showed over the course of last season. He, as well as Tyler Lydon of Syracuse, I’ve been told, will each have an opportunity to move up the draft boards.
It’s all mostly conjecture, though. The good news is that by the time we drop our next mock draft on May 17, we will have had the results of the combine and the draft lottery. At that point, we can begin filling some pieces in with more certainty.
With the NBA Draft Combine getting underway in Chicago today, the focus of NBA executives is going to be on the next tier of players as the top tier in attendance won’t do much more than an interview and take physicals.
However, that won’t stop the debate about who will be the top players taken. Despite the prevailing belief in NBA circles being that Markelle Fultz’s skill set translates the best of all of the prospects, there are some that are pegging Lonzo Ball as possibly having the biggest upside because of his intangibles.
The story from the Ball fans is that he has uncanny court vision and awareness and plays so unselfishly that he’d fit in better with teams that already have players in place, which is the case for most of the teams looking at a top five pick. Ball isn’t without his issues; he is not much of a mid-range shooter, he has virtually no game film in pick and roll situations (a staple of NBA basketball) and he is a somewhat streaky and unorthodox shooter.
As much as people like to focus on the noise around Ball by way of his father LaVar, few teams see him as a negative, other than his visibility in the media. One executive said if his team were drafting Ball, they would set very clear ground rules around LaVar and hold both accountable to them.
NBA teams have been watching the Ball situation for more than a year and say that the coaches at UCLA had nothing but glowing things to say about Lonzo and his work ethic, and that LaVar wasn’t much of a problem for them.
While Fultz might look like the perfect NBA package, there are some that say Ball might be the best bet on a future star – but concede there is an extreme boom-or-bust scenario the team drafting him is going to have to come to grips with.
There is almost no doubt that Ball has that “it” factor teams covet. The question is, will anyone pass on what seems to be a sure thing in Fultz to see if it’s something that translates to the NBA?
2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock
What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.
What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.
Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:
2020 NBA Mock Draft – First Round – 08/21/2020
The 2020 NBA Draft order is now locked in, however, there are tons of additional questions to be answered in the coming weeks. Here is a look at the first round, in this Basketball Insiders Mock Draft.
To say the 2020 NBA Draft has been chaotic is an understatement, however with last night’s NBA Draft Lottery out of the way, things are starting to at least trend in a positive direction.
That doesn’t mean there are not challenges ahead, namely when the actual NBA Draft will take place.
There is a growing sense that the NBA and the players are going to push back the start of the next cap year, which will likely impact when and how the NBA Draft plays out.
Typically, the Draft is a major transaction window for NBA teams, and with so much unknown surrounding how the salary cap will be set, and when trades and transactions typically consummated around the draft would become official, there is a lot of uncertainty, making the 2020 NBA draft wide open on many fronts.
The hope among teams is that some clarity on all of this will surface in the coming weeks, but for now most teams are operating in uncharted waters.
With all of that in mind, here is a look at the 2020 NBA Draft First round, which will be the first of many weekly Mock Drafts we’ll be dropping all the way up to the draft, whenever that finally gets set.
The Basketball Insiders Annual Consensus Mock Drafts will begin in September, as will full 60-pick mocks starting next week, so stay tuned.
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.
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
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.
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