Part 2 : Picks 15-30
Just a reminder, this is my best estimate! Some of these picks could go in the second round. It really is hard to pick this year, especially without March Madness. Without further ado, Part 2!
#15 Orlando Magic : R.J. Hampton (SG) New Zealand
Surely, Orlando will not draft another big. Right? They must be looking at the guard position, the best they currently have is D.J. Augustin. I don’t know how much of a future there is with MCW or Fultz. Hampton was originally projected to be a lottery pick and if he is still available here, it is hard to see Orlando passing up on him. He needs a bit of work, but Orlando aren’t exactly in “win now” mode.
#16 Portland Trail Blazers : Aaron Nesmith (SF) Vanderbilt
To me, Nesmith seems to be a great selection for Portland. He made more than half of his 3 point attempts last season and has pretty good size for the position. He will be able to create spacing on the floor and help open up shots for Lillard or McCollum. Nesmith is an excellent off the ball mover, he is always on the go. He is lacking in ball handling skills, but with CJ and Dame, that isn’t really a problem.
#17 Minnesota Timberwolves : Precious Achiuwa (F) Memphis
The general consensus is that Precious Achiuwa has one of the coolest names in the NBA. It’s also very, very likely that he is taken by Minnesota here. Precious is anything but. He doesn’t have much of an outside shot, but more than makes up for it with his defensive abilities. Should be an excellent 4 alongside Towns, but is also versatile enough to play the 5 when Towns is on the bench. This is a no brainer.
#18 Dallas Mavericks : Jalen Smith (C) Maryland
A versatile big who can shoot the 3. Sounds like he will be right at home in Dallas. Teams already have enough problems guarding Dallas and this selection will only make it more difficult. Not only that, but Smith is a pretty decent defender and rebounder. It’s hard to see this pick backfiring. I can see smith playing at the 3,4, or 5 and starting or coming off of the bench.
#19 Brooklyn Nets : Cole Anthony (PG) North Carolina
Obviously, Durant and Irving are the main factors for the Nets moving forward. They aren’t looking to make a huge splash here, just for someone to contribute to their title aspirations, which are immediate. Anthony won’t be starting, but could be a very good scoring threat off of the bench, which is all Brooklyn needs from him.
#20 Miami Heat : Tyler Bey (SF) Colorado
If I could sum him up in a word, it would be explosiveness. Or athleticism. If you want a player comparison, think Derrick Jones Jr. Bey is also a very intelligent player. One thing he definitely has is a work ethic. You know that Jimmy is going to love that. I don’t think Miami will be able to resist Bey and I think he will flourish in their system.
#21 Philadelphia 76ers : Desmond Bane (G) TCU
Philly have a great point guard in Ben Simmons, but what is he missing? An outside shot! Bane will bring them exactly that. He is more comfortable playing off of the ball, which is perfect. He is basically a spot up shooter, who can spread the floor for Simmons. A really good spot up shooter, around 44% from outside. He should be excellent alongside Simmons and will hopefully discourage Embiid from straying too far outside of the paint.
#22 Denver Nuggets : Aleksej Pokusevski (C) Serbia
Pokusevski is the modern day prototype for an NBA centre. At 7’0″, 208 pounds, he is a long centre who can dribble and shoot. He is a pretty good decision maker and passer as well. He is pretty lanky, so it is unlikely he will be able to play in the post, but he is skillset is versatile enough to counter that. His lack of size hurts him defensively, but he isn’t bad at that end of the floor. Just weak. Having a fellow Serbian in Nikola Jokic should only help him adjust to life in the NBA3.
#23 Utah Jazz : Isaiah Stewart (F) Washington
Stewart is another player who interviewed well with almost everybody and will be popular because of his attitude. After last season, Utah could do with a morale boost. Stewart is also a great rebounder and a shot blocker, he should fit in well with a good defensive team (at least they should be!) like Utah. With Gobert and Stewart guarding the paint, Utah will rack up the blocks. Not to mention he will have a good defender to learn from in Gobert.
#24 Milwaukee Bucks : Theo Maledon (PG) France
Milwaukee need help and they need it bad, particularly in their backcourt. Time and time again, they have crumpled when the pressure is on. I can’t see them moving on from Middleton, but moving on from Bledsoe seems likely. Enter Maledon. He should be ready to play instantly, having played professionally overseas. That is a big advantage. At worst, he ends up being average. At best though, he is an elite combo guard who can contribute right away to a team with championship aspirations.
#25 Oklahoma City Thunder : Tre Jones (G) Duke
Perhaps slightly undersized, but he makes up for it with his intelligence. Jones is an excellent floor general and very confident in leading an offense. He can be a bit of a streaky shooter but has definitely shown improvement, and can continue to do so. Jones is more valuable for his very impressive defense. With Chris Paul set to depart, this seems like an excellent choice for the rebuilding OKC.
#26 Boston Celtics : Jaden McDaniels (F) Washington
McDaniels is a wildcard, but considering that Boston have 3 first round picks, they are the most likely to take a gamble on him. McDaniels has the potential to be one of the best players in this draft class. But, he also has the potential to play his way out of the NBA in a just a couple of seasons. He has drawn criticisms for his lack of basketball IQ, a poor attitude, small frame and a general disinterest in basketball. That’s a lot of question marks, but his offensive potential (key word is potential!) and sheer athleticism are rightfully drawing attention. I think Boston take the gamble, just because they are an excellent team and this pick doesn’t really matter to them.
#27 New York Knicks : Malachi Flynn (PG) San Diego State
New York really needs help at the guard position (let’s be honest, they need help everywhere!), so I can’t see them taking another forward in the first round. There is a buzz going around that Flynn is pretty high on their radar. Flynn is an active an engaged defender and can play good team defense as well as iso. On offense, he is a great passer, especially from the pick and roll position. He is a confident shooter, but won’t drive to the basket much. This shouldn’t be a problem if Toppin, Robinson and Barrett are the front court though.
#28 Los Angeles Lakers : Cassius Winston (SG) Michigan State
The Lakers could go for a big here, considering both of their centres are getting up there in years. However, I think their best strategy would be another guard. It doesn’t matter what happens during the regular season, come playoffs, AD will be the centre. Whether he likes it or not. It’s what they need to win. The Lakers are hoping to go back to back with their titles, so they need someone who can contribute now. Winston is that. He is a versatile shooter who can score from anywhere. He is intelligent and knows when to shoot and when to pass. Forget Green. Forget Smith. Winston is a guy who can consistently hit a big shot. Defensively, he leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m sure the Lakers can hide that.
#29 Toronto Raptors : Xavier Tillman (F) Michigan State
Tillman isn’t an elite athlete, but is intelligent on both ends of the floor. He is a smart defender and knows how to pick his spots on offense. He isn’t really an offensive threat, but he is a smart passer and has the potential to improve on offense. At 29, he is a bit of steal with his size and intelligence. It’s hard to see Toronto passing up on that, especially considering how they flamed out in the playoffs.
#30 Boston Celtics : Leandro Bolmaro (SF) FC Barcelona
Another risky pick, but one worth taking for Boston. Bolmaro is under contract for the remainder of the season with Bolmaro, so he is more of a future asset. Bolmaro is coming off of a disappointing season with Barcelona, but has potential to be a decent NBA player. Boston don’t have anything to lose and nothing else really jumps out at this position. I think they are better off taking someone who won’t impact their team at all this season. This leaves them to have another chance in the playoffs, whilst Bolmaro is developed elsewhere.
That’s a wrap! If you want to have a bet on some of the positions, here are my best bets. All prices are in Australian dollars and are correct at the time of writing. They will likely have changed a bit by the time of reading.
Everyone seems to agree that Precious Achiuwa is going to be the 17th pick. He is paying $2.07 to be picked later than 15th.
Similar to above, all signs point to Patrick Williams going to Detroit at number 7. $1.59 for him to be in the top 10. Should be very safe money.
$2.56 for Edwards to be drafted before Ball.
$3.32 for Wiseman to be drafted before Ball.
$5.20 for Ball to be the third pick.
Williams, Haliburton and Hayes all to be top 10 picks is paying $2.33.
I’m fairly confident on the order of the top 4 : Edwards, Wiseman, Ball and Hayes. Only the Bulls could mess this up by not taking Hayes. I have currently contacted Sportsbet to request odds and a market for this.
There are a few other markets worth exploring, but do so at your own risk! I’ll be back to recap everything on Draft Day, I’ll have all the results up shortly after it ends. In the meantime, I’ll likely be doing some PS5 reviews and game reviews. Thanks and good luck with your own mock drafts and/or bets!