Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2017 NBA Draft.
Here is this week’s Mock and the Draft notebooks from each writer.
I didn’t put Lonzo Ball to the Lakers this week out of spite. It’s too neat a narrative that Ball would fall to Los Angeles after all that hullaballoo over only wanting to play for that one team and trying to scare away every other team from even considering selecting him. There’s just no way this is a done deal this early in the process, in large part because adding another ball-dominant guard might not even be the best thing for the Lakers. I know; teams draft talent first and figure out the fit later, but in this case, Josh Jackson arguably could be considered just as talented (albeit in different ways) and would be the better fit.
Imagine, if you will, the Sixers landing the #2 overall selection and the Lakers landing #3. In this thought experiment, does Ball still only work out for L.A.? While he’s not a great fit with the current group of Lakers, he’d be a perfect part of what Philadelphia is putting together. In fact, if L.A. were to take Jackson in the current draft order (and can you imagine the headlines if that’s the case?), Ball falling to Philly might actually be better for everyone involved. We’ll see how it all plays out, but I’m not ready to gift-wrap Lonzo for L.A. just yet.
Donovan Mitchell makes it into my lottery this week for the first time. He measured out in a big way at the Combine has been generating quite a bit of buzz. With a lower third of the lottery that’s pretty wide open, he seems like as good a bet to slip in there as anybody.
Hamidou Diallo (should he stay in the draft) saw a big jump from me this week for the same reason, and also because we know Milwaukee doesn’t mind taking risks on athletic and long big guys.
Somehow, Jarrett Allen, Justin Patton and John Collins all dropped into the 20s this week, which isn’t what any of those players deserve, but with the breadth of big men available this year, somebody’s going to tumble a bit. They (along with Rabb, Diallo, Giles, Leaf, and Adebayo) could all get mixed up in any of a number of orders.
Finally, Frank Jackson makes it into the first round for the first time in one of my mocks. I remember speaking with him as a high schooler and was incredibly impressed with his poise, charisma and maturity. Add those interview skills to how well he performed at the Combine, and he’ll get some looks from first round teams, especially with so few point guard prospects outside of the top ten.
It’s amazing how the very moment the lottery concluded, scouts and agents began spilling some beans about where certain prospects were bound to land. What makes it very interesting, though, is when sources who both seem to be in the know give you differing outlooks. It’s especially interesting when the scenarios all seem to make sense.
Last week, I offered a viable permutation of the first eight picks that had the Philadelphia 76ers causing a massive ripple effect that began with them selecting Malik Monk. While many believe that Monk would be a bit of a reach at three, I’ve been told that the Sixers are enamored with his potential, though the concerns about his size are quite real. As I said last week, what they ultimately decide to do with their third pick depends on where they see Ben Simmons fitting best, and that isn’t a decision that has been made quite yet. So Monk at three, I’ve been told, continues to be a real possibility. If Simmons is going to be their full-time play maker, they’ll go with Jackson at three; if not, they could go with Fox. If they want to hedge, they could take Monk. For now, I’m sticking with Monk, because I think he’s the pick that makes the most sense.
Knicks fans were giddy with that result, as it resulted in them improbably landing De’Aaron Fox with the eighth pick. At this point, this scenario should be considered far fetched. What I’m hearing as far as the draft plans for the Kings is that they were looking to walk away from the draft with a point guard and a wing. I’ve been told to bet on them taking Fox at number five and whichever of the highly projected bigs remains at 10.
As for the Knicks, the intel I’d be privy to said that the franchise wasn’t necessarily looking to draft a point guard with their eighth pick, but rather would select the best player available. Tuesday’s report that the Knicks were still looking to acquire Ricky Rubio, to me, suggests that they will do exactly that. For them, the road diverges: if they land Rubio, I would look for them to draft a small forward to replace Carmelo Anthony. If they don’t, the way the draft is looking is that they will have their choice of Dennis Smith or Frank Ntilikina. Word form within the Knicks organization is that they are enamored with the all-around game of Ntilikina, and if they continue to be married to the triangle, he would probably make more sense than Smith. I’m sticking with Smith at eight this week for the Knicks, though, mainly because I believe he is the supreme talent between the two, and I think the Knicks will eventually see the light.
For me, that’s what I’ve learned over the past week. One other tiny tidbit worth passing along: Jonathan Jeanne and Terrance Ferguson are the two international players being projected in the mid-20s that could make an improbable rise. In Jeanne, teams see a spry and nimble big who can run the floor and protect the rim. He opened eyes at the combine, is quite young and can be turned into an effective big in a pace-and-space system. He has amazing timing and instincts, despite not having much playing experience to this point. Ferguson is a tough spot shooter who would excel playing alongside a young, dynamic point guard. I could see Jeanne going in the teens and Ferguson in the early 20s.
Over the next week, I’ll be spending some time making some calls on a few players expected to go in the late first round. The Nets and Jazz each have been doing a lot of homework, from what I hear.
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge will enter the NBA draft with the most chips at the poker table. Those chips include tradable young players, the first overall pick and Brooklyn’s first-round pick next year. How Ainge uses those chips will depend on his long-term vision for All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. He will become an unrestricted free agent after next season and command a salary over $30 million annually.
Ainge can draft Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick as an insurance policy if he decides he doesn’t want to pay Thomas long-term, play the two together in the backcourt at times, or trade the pick for a star wing player such as Jimmy Butler. While the Celtics have Gordon Hayward on the free agent radar this summer, it’s no lock the organization will be able to pry him away from the Utah Jazz.
Similar to Boston, the Sacramento Kings have two valuable poker chips with the fifth and 10th overall picks in this draft. On paper, Sacramento should be able to land a long-term point guard and small forward with those selections. However, if Sacramento has its heart set on Josh Jackson, for example, the organization can dangle both picks to move up in an attempt to land him.
Orlando is considered a wild card with the sixth overall pick in the draft. The Magic let go of several staff members, including Harold Ellis, Michael Arcieri, and George Rodman, as first reported by Basketball Insiders. Those moves paved the way for Orlando to hire Jeff Weltman as president of basketball operations and John Hammond as general manager each with new five-year deals, as reported by The Vertical. Hammond shocked the world when he selected Thon Maker 10th overall at last year’s draft and Giannis Antetokounmpo 15th overall in 2013. Will he shock the world again this year?
The Dallas Mavericks recently sent Donnie Nelson and Tony Ronzone to Strasbourg to scout Frank Ntilikina, as reported by Basketball Insiders. Ntilikina could represent a long-term point guard solution for the Mavericks with the ninth pick.
Lastly, the Portland Trail Blazers remain the favorite around the league to play “Let’s Make A Deal” and trade one of their three first-round draft picks.
With the Draft lottery firmly in the window, there has not been a lot of movement around the top of the draft board according to NBA scouts and executives. However, the middle and the bottom of the draft is starting to move around a little as teams are starting to meet with players and hold workouts.
The biggest news of this week is the Orlando Magic, who have announced the hiring of both Jeff Weltman as Team President and John Hammond as General Manager. The Magic have been hosting workouts for several weeks, and some of that process may start again now that the Magic have real decision makers in place. The narrative around the incoming leadership is that no decisions on a path have been made and that both are going to evaluate their new team before doing anything drastic, but there is a sense that Weltman and Hammond are going to put their imprint on the Magic quickly.
Another notable is Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox. As much as people like to point to his poor three-point shooting, more and more teams label him as the sneaky play for the Lakers with the second overall pick. Like the Magic, the Lakers have been hosting workouts basically every day, but the real evaluation of the second pick has not started yet.
There are a couple of names to watch in the middle of the draft, namely Duke’s Harry Giles and Indiana’s OG Anunoby.
The narrative from scouts on both is they are elite level talents and likely solid NBA prospects, but both face questions about their status going forward.
Giles has torn both ACLs in high school (left in 2013, right in 2016) and has not been nearly as explosive as some had hoped after his second surgery. There is a belief that Giles could return to the elite form that made him a top high school recruit, but it’s far from certain. The risk and the unknown for Giles have his expected draft range all over the place. Some teams view Giles as a huge reward guy with some risk, while other see the risk as too great for where their teams are going to select. A team willing to gamble might end up with a very good prospect, but the questions surround what NBA team doctors think after seeing all of his medical.
Similarly, Anunoby tore his ACL in January and is in the middle of his rehab. There is a sense that Anunoby may not play at all next season. If that becomes the belief from NBA teams his draft stock could take a big hit, even though he is an elite NBA talent. There are some that view his floor as 21 to the Thunder, mainly because they tend to have an appetite for risk and a willingness to wait out injury.
Both players grade out very high in the talent department; the question is which teams bet on the future knowing that both players may not be able to be as involved as others on the board.
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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