NBA Mock Draft
Okay, so by now you've seen all the names splashed across your big-screen TV or you've eyeballed 'em on the internet:
In any event, everyone seems to know the 1-2-3 order when it comes to tonight's NBA Draft being held in Brooklyn but something's telling us this is gonna be one crazy night soon after the New Orleans Pelicans select Duke's 6-foot-6, 272-pound Zion Williamson with the numero uno pick in this year's draft, Memphis grabs Murray State point guard Ja Morant with the second overall pick and the New York Knicks grab Duke's RJ Barrett at number three.
1. NEW ORLEANS -- ZION WILLIAMSON, PF, Duke: The burly lefthander wasn't thrilled when the Pelicans snagged the NBA Draft Lottery top spot last month but he's "cool" with the idea that he will be a centerpiece player for a franchise that hit the re-set button. Still, don't expect "Z" to bring the Pels a playoff spot just yet.
2. MEMPHIS - JA MORANT, PG, Murray State: Word on the street was that the Grizzlies had "soured" on this dashing point guard that averaged 10 assists a game last year but recent knee procedure doesn't scare 'em off and so they decline Boston's offer for picks #14 and #22 (and a sweetener too). P.S. trading veteran PG Mike Conley to Utah yesterday sealed this Morant selection.
3. NEW YORK - RJ BARRETT, SF, Duke: Note that the Atlanta Hawks dangled a pair of first-round picks (#8 and #10) in front of the Knicks for this choice but NY didn't bite though there could be something to N'Orleans trading pick #4 plus a player to move up one slot. Stay tuned.
4. PHOENIX (projected trade with New Orleans) - DARIUS GARLAND, PG, Vanderbilt: The Suns will move up two slots and chuck in a future draft pick in order to land this dynamic shooter who will ease the scoring load on Devin Booker (26.6 ppg). P.S., Phoenix makes this move after an unsuccessful attempt to land Mr. Conley.
5. CLEVELAND - JAXSON HAYES, C, Texas: The Cavaliers are forecasted to land a guard or small forward here but they continue to shake up this draft by snatching up this seven-footer who has a long way to go before he's fully developed. Cleveland loved this kid's workouts and takes a stab even though he's slated to go #10-12.
6. NEW ORLEANS (projected trade with Phoenix) - CAM REDDISH, SF, Duke: Truth is Pelicans would like to land "Dookie" Barrett to go along with Zion but instead "settle" for a different Blue Devils' star here. Reddish is generally considered a top six / seven prospect but he better compete with more fire on the pro level.
7. MINNESOTA (projected trade with Chicago) - BRANDON CLARKE, PF, Gonzaga: Here's what we do know … The Timberwolves really want this 23-year-old to be paired with Karl-Anthony Towns and fear he won't last till the 11th pick, so they flip-flop draft choices with the Bulls and toss in a player or two to be named later.
8. ATLANTA - DE'ANDRE HUNTER, SF, Virginia: The Hawks owns picks #8, #10 and #17 and find selves unable to pull off some draft day deal (wanted to send two of the three picks to either New York or Boston but couldn't pull the trigger) but this isn't a bad "booby prize" as national champ is great defender and clutch shooter.
9. WASHINGTON - JARRETT CULVER, SG, Texas Tech: Who really knows what the Wizards' roster will look like come opening night in 2019-2020 but once this national championship game runner-up star dropped in this draft, the D.C. guys are there to snap 'em up faster than you can say Wes Unseld!
10. ATLANTA - CAMERON JOHNSON, SF, North Carolina: The Hawks stay in the ACC here after nabbing Hunter (UVa) with previous pick and we told y'all recently that this 6-foot-9, three-point shooter was rising on everyone's draft boards.
11. CHICAGO (projected trade with Minnesota) - COBY WHITE, PG, North Carolina: Talk about hitting a home run! The Bulls liked this kid at #7 but gambled that he might slip a few spots and wound up with their man plus goodies via Minny. How did he average only 4.1 assists last year for the Heels?
12. CHARLOTTE - NASSIR LITTLE, SF, North Carolina: Ding, ding, ding … three Carolina Tar Heels in a row will go here in this draft as Michael Jordan's pro team can't resist but will Little show more consistency than he did in college?
13. SAN ANTONIO (projected trade with Miami) - SEKOU DOUMBOUYA, PF, France: The Spurs are always thinking international player first / foremost and simply cannot believe this 6-foot-9 stud is still sitting here outside the top 10. So, San Ant sweeps in and sends the Heat picks #19 and #29 and maybe even more.
14. SACRAMENTO (projected trade with Boston) - PJ WASHINGTON, PF, Kentucky: The Kings know these Kentucky kids need a couple of years seasoning before they bloom and that's cool because this franchise won't even sniff the post-season for another year or two. Note Sacramento didn't own a first-round pick but moved in here and will pay Boston plenty.
15. DETROIT - RUI HACHIMURA, PF, Gonzaga: The Pistons would have liked for Doumbouya to have fallen onto their laps here but no dice and so they snatch up 20 ppg dude who plays hard all the time. If Motowners can trade down and get a pair of later first-round picks, they'll do so.
16. BROOKLYN (projected trade with Orlando) - BOL BOL, C, Oregon: Word is the Nets are "all-in" on free-agent PG Kyrie Irving and now want a back-liner to team with ever-improving Jarrett Allen, so they'll make a deal and gobble up Bol who is on everyone's radar these next five picks.
17. ATLANTA - GOGA BITADZE, C, Georgia (Euro League): The Hawks' final pick in Round I is a major project but there's whispers he could be another Nikola Jokic … say what! Note this pick comes via recent deal with Brooklyn that sent Allan Crabbe to the Hawks.
18. INDIANA - ROMEO LANGFORD, SG, Indiana: The Pacers "stay home" and grab one-and-done Hoosiers' star who played with thumb injury for much of 2018-19 campaign. Yes, Indy one of a handful of teams that hoped Bol would drop to its teens pick.
19. MIAMI (projected trade with San Antonio) - TYLER HERRO, SG, Kentucky: Old Kentucky Wildcat star (see 1960's) Pat Riley loves this kid's gunslinger mentality and sees 'em as a potential 20 ppg guy.
20. BOSTON - DYLAN WINDLER, SG, Belmont: Figure GM Danny Ainge and Company want another deep-ball shooter and so the C's snag this sharpshooter who nailed 43 percent of his triple tries last year.
21. OKLAHOMA CITY - TY JEROME, SG, Virginia: The Thunder would like to establish a solid "third scoring option" to go with Russell Westbrook and Paul George … and this kid can play point guard too.
22. BOSTON - NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER, SG, Virginia Tech: A legit top 20 talent here that slips down a touch and retooling Celtics love his versatility and overall moxie.
23. MEMPHIS (completed trade with Utah) - GRANT WILLIAMS, PF, Tennessee: The current rankings have this veteran Vols star as a mid-second rounder in some books but Grizz said to like his maturity (and mature body).
24. PHILADELPHIA - MFIONDU KABENGELE, PF/C, Florida State: If this 6-foot-10, 260-plus pounder can give relief (say 10-to-12 minutes per game) to sore-kneed Joel Embiid, then Sixers might just get their long-lost (see 1983) title.
25. NEW YORK (projected trade with Portland) - KZ OKPALA, SF, Stanford: The Knicks zoom back into Round I to grab this lanky dude (he's 6-foot-9, 210 pounds) and deal off a future draft choice plus one of those many expendable point guards too.
26. CLEVELAND - KEVIN PORTER, SG, USC: Cavs are pinching themselves that highest-rated guy still available (we've seen Porter ranked anywhere between #15-to-#20 in this draft pool) and now will keep fingers crossed he can shoot 41 percent again from "3".
27. ORLANDO (projected trade with Brooklyn) - ERIC PASCHALL, PF, Villanova: This Wildcat is a very mature 23-year-old that played on a national championship squad just two years ago.
28. GOLDEN STATE - CARSEN EDWARDS, PG, Purdue: No telling what this Warriors' roster will look like next year, so three-time champs decide to go best offensive backcourt player on the board and snatch up 24 ppg scorer from the Big 10 who plays like his hair is on fire.
29. MIAMI (projected trade with San Antonio) - KELDON JOHNSON, SG, Kentucky: Hey, Riley goes after another UK alum here and this smooth-as-silk guy will allow the Heat to go with three-guard approach much of the time.
30. MILWAUKEE - LUGUENTZ DORT, SG, Arizona State: Energizer-type player who goes to the hoop hard and not afraid to get hit. Solid pick for Bucks' bunch now slightly favored to win it all next year.
NOTE: Catch our NBA Draft recaps plus much more in tomorrow's Jim Sez.