With the NBA Draft Combine underway and the draft order now set following Tuesday’s Draft Lottery, here is the second edition of our Extended mock, including explanations for why teams would select each player.
1. Detroit Cade Cunningham 6-8 220 PG/SF Oklahoma State Fr.
Cunningham came into the season as the prohibitive favorite to go number one overall. And his play did nothing to change that over the course of the season, as he was clearly the most impressive prospect from a consistency and production standpoint. A case could be made that he doesn’t have the highest ceiling among this year’s draft class, however he likely has the highest floor. He figures to be a “culture” changer and brings a level of confidence and maturity that should allow him to overcome a bad situation and thrive. Cunningham has a strong, calm demeanor and never seems to become rattled or thrown off his game. His focus and determination are keys to his success and should allow him to be an elite facilitator with size in the mold of Luka Doncic. While he doesn’t have quite the killer instinct or facilitating ability of Doncic, he’s a better shooter than Luka entering the league.
Why the Pistons take Cade Cunningham: The Pistons first time winning the lottery since they made Darko Milicic one of the biggest busts in NBA history with the 2nd overall pick in 2003. Cunningham is the obvious choice here, and while he lacks the upside of some other guys like Mobley, Suggs and Green, he has the highest floor of any player with his polished shooting ability, size and maturity. Music to the Pistons ears as they’re lacking stability and a culture as much as they are talent. Cunningham may not be able to turn around Detroit the way Luka Doncic has in Dallas, but he can be a key piece if they are able to add another franchise level talent in the near future. The selection of Cade also likely means they will look to move fifth overall pick from last year Killian Hayes, as he’s not a great shooter and likely doesn;t fit alongside Cade as both are ball dominant guards.
NBA Comparison: Jayson Tatum
2. Hpuston Evan Mobley 7-0 215 PF/C USC Fr.
Mobley is the first player since Anthony Davis to win Conference, Freshman, and Defensive Player of the Year awards. And Davis is a name that gets linked to Mobley as they’re both freak athletes with defensive and scoring ability. What seems to separate AD from Mobley is his consistency and focus. On top of everything, Mobley has intriguing ball handling skills. His defensive ability as both a rim protector and perimeter defender gives him a lot of potential, and makes him extremely intriguing. Based on pure upside, Mobley is probably the player with the highest ceiling in this year’s draft. So why is he projected to fall past 1? Mobley’s demeanor concerns some scouts due to his lack of consistency with regard to intensity and focus. Mobley does not always illustrate ideal body language and shows a tendency to defer at times instead of taking over. With an obvious talent like Mobley, perhaps that is nitpicking. But there is a fine line between being a high level NBA player and being a generational bigman that impacts a team’s ability to contend for titles.
Why the Rockets take Evan Mobley: The James Harden/Daryl Morey era is over, and while they came extremely close to winning a title, they ultimately fell short. Houston didn’t waste any time moving a disgruntled and out of shape Harden, showing that they understood that blowing a team up completely is favorable to trying to hold on to the past or too long. And for having the worst record in the league, Houston was rewarded with the second pick in the draft. The team has kevin Porter who had a promising season for them. But in reality Porter is not a player they likely are going to consider when making the selection. If they decide Jalen Suggs or jalen green are the best option to build their future around, they will likely go with them. But Mobley gives them a player that many envision a Chris Bosh/Anthony Davis type of player. And while the center position is way out of vogue right now, Mobley’s upside may be too great to pass on.
NBA Comparison: Pau Gasol
3. Cleveland Jalen Suggs 6-4 205 PG Gonzaga Fr.
Suggs hit arguably the biggest shot in NCAA history considering the stage, Final Four, degree of difficulty, and number of eyes on him. Suggs is sure to benefit financially from the brand name he’s cultivated at the college level. He has ideal leadership and toughness, having been a five star quarterback in Minnesota high school. He’s a dominant athlete with impressive size at the point guard position. He came into college as a borderline top 10 recruit, and quickly established himself as a player that could contend to be the top pick. He lacks Cade Cunningham’s skill level as a scorer, granted they were used in different roles in the freshman seasons. And it’s clear Cade is the superior shooter with more length. Where Suggs gets the edge is his speed and athleticism and defensive potential.
Why the Cavaliers take Jalen Suggs: .The Cavs have taken point guards in two out of the past three drafts and a wing in last year’s draft. So it’s logical that they would love to see Mobley be available to them here. Whether they would trade up to 2 to secure him is another story. But if Houston selects Mobley, as we are projecting, then the pick likely comes down to one of the Jalen’s. Suggs is seen as the safer pick as he is viewed as being more focused, and having less off court concerns. He has proven himself as a consummate team player and shown the ability to elevate the play of teammates. Green is the upside pick, but may require a team with a stronger cultural framework in place. Job security could be the final factor that tips the scales in Suggs favor. Whether Cavs GM Koby Altman feels confident enough to swing for the fences on a riskier pick like Green, instead of taking a player seen as more of a sure bet remains to be seen.
NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd
4. Toronto Jalen Green 6-6 180 SG G-League Fr.
Green has some freakishness to his athleticism, and combines that with a very smooth and polished floor game. He certainly doesn’t lack for sizzle, with a sick repertoire of crossovers and the ability to mesmerize opponents and create offense for himself on the perimeter. He figures to go in the 3-5 range after a solid season playing for the Ignite in the G-League. Green, along with fellow G-leagers: Jonathan Kuminga, Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd were the NBA’s guinea pigs, with players being recruited away from their college teams in some instances, and given the opportunity to play in the G-League before being drafted. The G-League “experiment” appears to be a success in the midst of the pandemic, paving the way for future players (Jaden Hardy for instance) to follow in their footsteps.
Why the Raptors take Jalen Green: Green would benefit from playing with a team that has a championship core in place and a culture of winning that seemed to get sidetracked by playing in Tampa last year and sustaining a number of injuries. The team brought in Gary Trent Jr in a trade deadline deal that allowed them to get younger and likely cheaper and Norman Powell has probably plateaued and was going to stretch their cap in the future. There is a lot of speculation that the Raptors could look to blow up the team as it’s currently constructed. Whether they would actually move on from their top talent Pascal Siakam, an integral part of their championship run, remains to be seen, but there is some speculation that it could happen. One possibility could be for Orlando’s picks (5-8) targeting a player such as Barnes or Kuminga.
NBA Comparison: Larry Hughes
5. Orlando Scottie Barnes 6-9 225 SF/PF Florida St. Fr.
Barnes is a tricky prospect to project since the NBA’s game has shifted so heavily to shooting, and it’s clearly Barnes biggest weakness. Barnes does a ton of things to help his team win. He’s a thoroughbred with a 7’2 wingspan and plays at times as a point forward with the ability to defend positions 1-through-4. He’s got some parallels to Draymond Green with his skill set and while very few can match Draymond’s passion for the game, Barnes is a high level competitor with intangibles in his own right.
Why the Magic take Scottie Barnes: Orlando could look to package their picks to move up for someone like Suggs or Green and perhaps find a trade partner with either Cleveland or Toronto liking a player such as Barnes or Kuminga plus the option to roll the dice at 8 or use that pick as a trade asset. After trading away Aaron Gordon, the team has a glaring hole at both forward positions. Not to mention a hole at center after moving Vucivic to Chicago. Kuminga arguably offers the most upside, but there’s a growing sentiment among scouts that Barnes may leapfrog him and go higher on draft night. Then again, Barnes inability to shoot may spook Orlando, as they had high hopes for Aaron Gordon to develop into a superstar. And while he became a very solid contributor for them, he was probably taken too high and with expectations that were too optimistic considering his offensive limitations. But Barnes is a winner and potentially a Draymond Green type, who can spearhead the team’s defense as well as play some point forward.
NBA Comparison: Draymond Green
6. Oklahoma City Jonathan Kuminga 6-8 205 SF/PF G-League Fr.
Kuminga has as much raw talent as any player in this draft. He’s a freak athlete with an NBA frame at 19, great versatility, and possessing the ball skills to run the break as well as create offense for himself. He shut down his season a few games early coming off a minor injury, but showed flashes that should insure he’s a high lottery pick. He can still improve in a number of areas including shooting and defense, but his potential is considerable if he lands in the right situation and applies himself. Kuminga has a chance to be a standout at the next level and has a ceiling amongst the top 2-3 overall players in this year’s draft.
Why the Thunder take Jonathan Kuminga: OKC would probably do cartwheels if Kuminga were to fall to them at 6 as he’s got as much upside as anyone in the draft. The Thunder have the fire power to package picks and move up as well. So if they decide they want to move up to 3 or 4 for one of the Jalens, it’s entirely possible they could make it happen. Kuminga gives them the most bang for their buck if they pick at 6 and he’s available. He’s a versatile and extremely athletic forward who has a chance to be a star at the next level.
NBA Comparison: Jaylen Brown
7. *Golden State James Bouknight 6-5 190 SG UConn So.
Bouknight was one of the breakout stars of the season, coming off a promising freshman year at Storrs. While he doesn’t have elite length, he has sneaky athleticism and had numerous highlight plays at the rim. He shows a lot of grit and determination with a crafty skill set that has shown excellent improvement. He showed just how lethal a scorer he can be with his 40 point performance in an OT loss to Creighton in December. Bouknight fell short of expectations with just a 6-8 wingspan at the combine measurements, but remains intriguing as high as 7 due to his dynamic play making and scoring ability.
Why the Warriors take James Bouknight: The Warriors could look to package their two first rounders and try to move up. They also could look to use their picks in a bigger trade, perhaps targeting an established veteran that could help their current team make a push for a title over the next few seasons. James Wiseman could also be added to a deal if his value is considered good enough to net a player that fits their up tempo system better. The Warriors would love to see Barnes fall to them. But that appears unlikely right now. Bouknight is a talented athlete and scorer who would give their backcourt depth along with sixth man Jordan Poole.
NBA Comparison: Anfrernee Simons
8. *Orlando Keon Johnson 6-5 185 SG Tennessee Fr.
Despite struggling to score consistently in the early part of the year, Johnson improved as the season went along and found ways to contribute. He was probably the NCAA leader in highlight plays, and had what most considered the dunk of the year. He’s an above average athlete with excellent versatility and upside. While he’s a bit of a project, the fact that he’s such a talented athlete and hard worker gives his outlook a lot of promise. He’ll likely begin his career as somewhat of a project, and defensive specialist, but if his offensive game clicks, he’s got star potential. Johnson showed what a phenominal athlete he was with his 48 inch vertical at the NBA combine.
Why the Magic take Keon Johnson: .The team is essentially building from scratch after dealing away both Vucevic and Aaron Gordon at the trade deadline. Point guard appears to be the one position (Fulz and Anthony) where they have some talent. After parting ways with Evan Fournier, the team is in need of a 2-guard. Gary Harris was added, but it remains to be seen whether he is the team’s long term answer at the 2. Johnson is certainly a long term project type, but the Magic are a team that just blew everything up, so they are likely looking at a long rebuild and players such as Johnson would be given more leeway to make mistakes and develop with playing time.
NBA Comparison: Latrell Sprewell
9. Sacramento Jalen Johnson 6-9 220 SF/PF Duke Fr.
Jalen Johnson is one of the draft’s big wildcards. Johnson did himself no favors by quitting on the Duke team when things got difficult, and making the decision to “focus on training for the upcoming draft”. Johnson certainly won’t get high marks when teams inquire about him from his former head coach. But it’s unlikely that he will slide too far considering the upside and how highly rated he was entering college. He’s got an intriguing combination of athleticism and versatility to play some point forward and also slide over to the PF position as a modern face up 4. One of the real polarizing picks with some scouts seeing him closer to where he entered the season, around 5-6 range, while others see him falling out of the lottery and possibly even further.Johnson will excite coaches with his versatility and skill set having the ability to use as a match up problem going small ball.
Why the Kings take Jalen Johnson: Johnson is not a lock to go in the lottery even, but he has a number of teams that like him and could certainly go to a team with uncertainty in their frontcourt like the Kings. Bagley may or may not be in the Kings long term plans, and taking a player with the ability to play the four like Johnson would give them options. Johnson gives the Kings versatility as a player that can guard multiple positions and play as a point forward as well as in the paint.
NBA Comparison: Stephen Jackson
10. New Orleans Corey Kispert 6-7 220 SG/SF Gonzaga Sr.
Kispert had a breakout senior season and elevated his stock considerably to becoming a potential lottery pick. He obviously struggled shooting in the NCAA tournament and lost some ground, however he remains an intriguing prospect due to his elite level shooting ability. Kispert lacks great speed and is just average athletically. But his steady improvement throughout his college career and his dedication to strength and conditioning are obvious. He was very dependable as a clutch shooter throughout much of his college career, and he stepped up as Gonzaga’s main bucket-getter throughout their near perfect season.
Why the Pelicans take Corey Kisspert: After moving on from JJ Redick, the Pelicans could use a sharpshooter to spread the floor for Zion. Kispert is probably the top shooter in this year’s draft and one of the more NBA ready players, which will be music to the ears of whatever coach they decide to hire. The Pelicans are feeling pressure to produce with Zion entering his third season, and expectations starting to build. Davion Mitchell is a possibility here being another of the older and most NBA ready guys. But the team appears to be wanting to have Zion be their primary ball handler, so whether Mitchell would fit in with them is the big question. Kispert would seem to fill their greatest area of need, shooting.
NBA Comparison: Joe Harris
11. Charlotte Moses Moody 6-6 205 SG/SF Arkansas Fr.
Moody was one of the most productive freshmen in the country, displaying a very polished shooting stroke. And although his three point numbers dipped some over the course of the season, it’s clear he has high level shooting ability. Moody ended up hitting just 36% from three on the year, but developed the reputation as a quality outside shooter in high school and was comfortable in the role of go to scorer at Arkansas. While not the most explosive run jump athlete, he possesses a huge 7′ foot wingspan, which allows him to defend and get shots off more effectively than most players his height.
Why the Hornets take Moses Moody: Charlotte tried hard to move up for James Wiseman in last year’s draft, and in the end had the rookie of the year, LaMelo Ball fall into their laps at 3. Can Ball evolve from a highlight reel phenom into a guy that can carry a team into the playoffs every year and even become a contender? The jury is still out. they were essentially a .500 team with and without him and did not make the playoffs in year one. But they clearly made a good choice in the 2020 draft. Moody or Kispert, if he fell to them, would seem to make the most sense here as floor spacers. The team currently lacks a quality shooter on the perimeter and Moody would offer an upgrade to Cody Martin and Malik Monk on the wing.
NBA Comparison: Glen Rice
12. San Antonio Kai Jones 6-11 220 C Texas So.
Jones is from Nassau, Barbados and is in his fourth year in the US having come over prior to his junior year of high school. He’s obviously raw considering his usage rate and background, but shows a solid feel for the game, all things considered. The fact that he’s such a quality shooter and also such a fluid and bouncy athlete, at his size, gives him a great deal of intrigue. While there’s obviously a long road ahead with his development, and the floor and ceiling have tons of space between them, he’s likely to get plenty of looks at the end of the lottery and stands a good chance of being drafted in the 10-15 range.
Why the Spurs take Kai Jones: .Jones is a long term project but his outside shooting and athleticism gives him a lot of intrigue. The Spurs have a long standing history of being one of the best organizations at developing players. And a young big with a ton of upside would figure to be a great match for a team with numerous quality back court players. They’re obviously very familiar with Jones, playing at Texas, and with the Spurs in a rebuild mode of sorts, a long term, upside pick seems to make a lot of sense.
NBA Comparison: Jaxson Hayes
13. Indiana Davion Mitchell 6-2 205 PG Baylor Jr.
Mitchell was Baylor’s best player and is likely to benefit most from Baylor’s run to a National Title. He took the Bears on his back and carried them as their fearless, emotional leader. He also showed impressive ability to impact the game on both ends all season. Mitchell is a blur with the ball in his hands, and has the physicality to play through contact and impose his will against weaker opponents. He has a chance to be a lock down defender at the next level and despite his age, granted he may not be able to cover 2-guards with the same level of success on switches. Mitchell stands a good chance to find a spot in the late lottery area and be the first senior to hear his name called on draft night (with Kispert being his main competition).
Why the Pacers take Davion Mitchell: This mock has Mitchell sliding to 13 due to the fact that there isn’t a huge need for point guards in the mid to late lottery area. The Pacers have a solid point guard in place with Malcom Brogdon. But Brogdon has the size to cover most shooting guards and could probably form a solid backcourt with Mitchell. Mitchell would be excellent value at 13, despite his age. He carried Baylor to a national title and his tough nosed style would figure to fit in well with the Pacers. Unless a team decides to move up for him, there’s a good chance Mitchell could be a player that provides excellent value where he’s selected.
NBA Comparison: Ty Lawson
14. Golden State Ziaire Williams 6-8 185 SG/SF Stanford Fr.
Like most of the freshman class, Williams had an up and down season and how much of that is attributed to COVID-19 and the lack of development for younger players depends on who’s making that judgement. Williams had quite possibly the most challenging situation of anyone on this list considering the team was playing in a county with the most stringent COVID-19 regulations and it kept the team from practicing as well as having to stay in a hotel off campus. Not an ideal set of circumstances. Williams has good shooting ability, but struggled to show it, and was seen by some as a potential top 10 pick coming into the season. He’s got solid length and fluidity, and could easily be undervalued on draft night due to aforementioned circumstances. The talent is clear, but adding strength and consistency, plus better shooting, will be key for him.
Why the Warriors take Ziaire Williams: The Warriors could go in a number of directions here. Wagner is a possibility if available. Ziaire gives them a potential replacement for Kelly Oubre and a player with the length to play multiple positions. He struggled to shoot to his abilities at Stanford. But he’s an intriguing upside pick due to his athleticism and shot making ability. There’s a real chance the Warriors decide that having two rookies to develop along with Wiseman is too much and move out of this pick.
NBA Comparison: Rashard Lewis
15. Washington Franz Wagner 6-9 220 SF/PF Michigan So.
Wagner struggled in March. And depending on how much importance you put into tourney performance, may have hurt his stock as much as any prospect with his lackluster play. He has tremendous passing and vision for a 6-9 forward, and his feel for the game and basketball IQ are real selling points. He’s got solid quickness, and while he’s not going to blow anyone away with his athleticism, his dexterity and composed game makes him intriguing to scouts. He didn’t light it up as a scorer in his sophomore year, but after Isaiah Livers went down towards the end of the season, he rose to the challenge, and helped lead Michigan to their first Elite Eight in years.
Why the Wizards take Franz Wagner: The Wizards could use Wagner’s outside shooting and ability to spread the floor. He could platoon with Rui Hachimura at the 4. And also potentially log minutes at the 3. The league is moving towards position-less basketball, and someone like Wagner benefits as he’s not really a 4 or a 3, but his shooting ability plays into his favor. Wagner could go a few spots higher, but figures to find a spot in the late lottery or just outside.
NBA Comparison: Nemanja Bjelica
16. Oklahoma City Josh Giddey 6-8 205 PG Australia Intl.
Similar to Scottie Barnes, Giddey is able to impact the game in a number of ways despite shooting limitations. Giddey is a legit point guard at 6-8, and has the ability to elevate those around him with his great vision and passing skills. He’s not the most explosive athlete, but he’s got solid foot speed and understands how to set up defenders with fakes and hesitation moves. He benefits from the outstanding rookie season from LaMelo Ball, as it further legitimizes the Australian league, in terms of level of competition to gauge a player’s ability.
Why the Thunder take Josh Giddey: Giddey gives the Thunder a solid asset as a big point guard with great vision that could be platooned with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He would get the chance to play for the Thunder and could develop his deficiencies on a team that appears intent on loading up through the draft the next few years. Giddey is seen as a potential lottery pick after a very solid season playing in Australia. He would be an excellent value at 16 for OKC.
NBA Comparison: Joe Inglis
17. Memphis Josh Christopher 6-5 215 SG Arizona St. Fr.
Christopher was another highly rated freshman that showed flashes but struggled with consistency. He’s a high motor, high intensity player and has excellent explosiveness and scoring ability. The biggest concern with Christopher is not whether he has enough confidence but whether he has too much confidence. He is in the “Swaggy P”, Nick Young class of colorful personalities, so the challenge will be to get him to focus all the “creativity” and swagger into the right avenues. Christopher has incredibly thick legs and is super explosive. He’s got the added benefit of having professional basketball brother Patrick to lean on for guidance.
Why the Grizzlies take Josh Christopher: The Grizz could use more depth and an eventual replacement for Dillon Brooks, who’s under contract for two more seasons, at the 2 position. Christopher is an explosive athlete and likely a couple years away from being a real contributor at the next level. He offers a young team like Memphis solid value as an explosive scoring guard. His timeline would seem to fit in well as they have both Brooks and Grayson Allen currently, so Christopher would potentially be able to grow into the role.
NBA Comparison: Norman Powell
18. Houston Nah'Shon Hyland 6-3 175 VCU So.
Most scouts see “Bones” in the 25-40 range and is shaping up to be one of the draft’s more interesting sleepers. He showed nice potential with his ability to create offense for not only himself but teammates. Hyland has an impressive repertoire of offensive skills with a tremendous handle and polished shooting/scoring ability. Despite a lack of size and strength, Bones could offer an instant offense for a team off the bench, at least early in his career. With a playground flare to his game, Hyland is ultra quick and athletic and makes a lot of highlight plays. Hyland put his skills on display at the NBA Draft combine and lit the gym on fire with 17 points knocking down three 3s in a row.
Why the Rockets take Nah’Shon Hyland: After securing their bigman of the future at 2, Houston can focus on their backcourt with their three late first rounders. The Rockets are starting from scratch but would be adding a real sleeper in Hyland who could learn behind John Wall and be a valuable scorer off the bench for them. Hyland is one of the top shooters in the draft and is being criminally underrated as a second rounder by some. Look for a wise NBA decision maker such as Jerry West to end up with Hyland on draft night. Hyland needs strength, but has attributes and skills that should make him a valued asset at the next level.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Clarkson
19. New York Miles McBride 6-2 200 PG West Virginia So.
McBride is a player that for much of the season was not expected to be in this year’s draft and may still ultimately opt to return to West Virginia. But he had a breakout season including strong showings in his two match up with projected number one pick Cade Cunningham. McBride has above average size and athleticism, as witnessed by his above the rim finishes on the break. And he’s also a promising shooter from the perimeter. He’s got to work on his point guard skills and nuances of the position, but he’s clearly learned solid defensive fundamentals after two seasons under Bob Huggins.
Why the Knicks take Miles McBride: .The Knicks have finally found success being constructed as a defensive minded team with Coach Thibs, and McBride comes from a defensive minded system at West Virginia. With Derrick Rose and Elfred Payton both free agents and uncertainties, point guard is an obvious position of need for the Knicks. Resigning Rose for another season (or someone like Kyle Lowry) and bringing on McBride as an apprentice would seem like an ideal situation for them.
NBA Comparison: Derrick White
20. Atlanta Cameron Thomas 6-4 210 SG LSU Fr.
Thomas lit up the SEC in his freshman season and is a natural born scorer. He was the fourth leading scorer in the country at 23 points per game, and the leading freshman scorer by nearly three a game. While there are some obvious limitations to his game, being an undersized and unathletic 2-guard, the fact that he is so proficient on the perimeter in a shooter’s era helps his cause. He has a solid wingspan in the 6-7 neighborhood, making up for being potentially an inch or so shorter than listed.
Why the Hawks take Cameron Thomas: Hawks GM Travis Schlenk has shown the foresight of building a team around shooters in today’s game. And Thomas is one of the draft’s best shooters making him an excellent fit here. The Hawks have been the big surprise of this year’s playoffs and Trae Young is proving that he has the altruism to put the team over the individual that teammates gravitate towards. And he has proven to be a Stephen Curry type of weapon that makes leads evaporate in short order. Thomas would give the Hawks more offensive firepower as an instant offense scorer off the bench.
NBA Comparison: E’Twaun Moore
21. *New York Jaden Springer 6-4 205 SG/PG Tennessee Fr.
Springer doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional guard at either position. But he should find a role as a combo, and continue to improve on his weaknesses. While he lacks elite athleticism and offensive skills, he plays with a great deal of determination. He has a very scrappy style of game, attacking the basket and playing a high level of intensity on both ends. He’s an extremely hard worker and will look to fill a role similar to Marcus Smart for Boston for a team as a defensive stalwart with toughness and physicality.
Why the Knicks take Jaden Springer: Another player with defensive principles instilled into his game that would figure to be high on Tom Thibideau’s list of acceptable draft picks. Springer is a grinder and excels on the defensive side with his toughness. After going with McBride at 19, the Knicks could look to address their frontcourt with someone like Garuba. But with a lot of uncertainty in the backcourt going into free agency, another guard to spell Barrett and be a menace defensively would seem to fit in well with the new look Knicks.
NBA Comparison: Jerryd Bayless
22. LA Lakers Usman Garuba 6-8 230 PF/C Spain Intl.
Garuba played a solid season showing some real progress in the Spanish League. He’s an athletic big with great length and the ability to be disruptive on the defensive end. He has also shown the ability to knock down threes at times, but still needs work to become a real threat from the outside. While short in stature at 6-8, his huge 7-2 wingspan and solid physical strength makes him effective on the glass. Another important aspect is his lateral speed and ability to defend on the perimeter, adding some intrigue to his potential.
Why the Lakers take Usman Garuba: .Garuba had a tremendous end to the season, and could end up going higher because of it. He would help shore up their depth in the front court and potentially be a defensive weapon right away. His ability to defend multiple positions and also defend on the perimeter gives him a lot of intrigue. He’s still a work in progress offensively, so it’s unclear how much he could play for a team with a window of title aspirations closing rapidly.
NBA Comparison: Amir Johnson
23. *Houston Trey Murphy 6-9 220 SF Virginia
Murphy passes the eye test with an NBA body and a very smooth and athletic frame and ability to move. He’s a Rice transfer and took a little while to adjust to the jump in level of competition. he has a bit of a blender personality and will likely need to be encouraged to be more aggressive in order to become the scorer and player that he can. He’s a bigtime shooter, and combine that with his great frame and athleticism and he could really turn into great pick down the road.
Why the Rockets take Trey Murphy: After moving Robert Covington to Portland in the off-season, the team could use a player like Murphy that can knock down outside shots from the wing position. Eric Gordon is still under contract for three more seasons, but the team may look to move him and go younger if they can. Murphy is a long term project who needs to continue to gain confidence and experience against high level athletes, but could benefit from the opportunity of playing in Houston with a long term rebuild underway.
NBA Comparison: Robert Covington
24. *Houston Tre Mann 6-5 190 PG/SG Florida So.
Mann was a highly rated prospect coming out of high school and while he may not have busted out as a star in college, he slowly emerged as a key player and had a clutch shooting performance in the tournament. He’s viewed as a combo, but has solid ball skills. He’s got excellent size if he evolves at the point guard position and shows very good ability to create shots for himself in ISO situations. He fits the mold of the instant offense sixth man.
Why the Rockets take Tre Mann: With four first rounders, the Rockets can hedge their bet on a position of strength in this draft, like point guard. The Rockets go for another point guard to develop under John Wall. Mann has offensive ability that could allow him to succeed in the role of a scorer off the bench. the sophomore also offers solid value in the mid-20s with his potential, considering his age. he’s got excellent size for the PG position and should be able to play some shooting guard too within the rotation.
NBA Comparison: Jordan Poole
25. LA Clippers Ayo Dosunmu 6-5 200 PG/SG Illinois Jr.
Dosunmu is one of the draft’s most polarizing prospects with a wide range of views surrounding his talent and in turn, where he will land. He’s a big lead guard and had an extremely productive season, ending up among the nation’s top scorers at over 20 points per game. He’s really polished his ability to score in the ISO game and has solid decision making leading the break. There are concerns that he may be peaking to some degree as he’s not the most athletic guard, but based on productivity and positional size, there’s a lot to like.
Why the Clippers take Ayo Dosunmu: The Clippers have a window of opportunity to win a title over the next few seasons, so taking a more NBA ready guy probably makes the most sense for them. Dosunmu is a versatile combo guard who showed solid development over his three year career. He could come off the bench and potentially learn behind their current older backcourt until he’s ready to be a regular contributor. They could opt for an upside guy, but Dosunmu is probably the most proven and gives them a potential starter in the second half of the draft.
NBA Comparison: Delon Wright
26. Denver Joshua Primo 6-6 205 SG Alabama Fr.
Primo is a versatile guard with excellent ball handling and scoring ability. He sustained an injury that knocked him out of action but was able to bounce back quickly and finish the season. Primo has excellent size and athleticism and a very smooth skill set with the ability to create shots off the dribble He was a bit of a surprise to enter the draft but has really impressed with his play in the Pre-Draft build up, and it looks as if he will
Why the Nuggets take Joshua Primo: .Denver has one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the NBA and can afford to take a flyer on a long term project type of player like Joshua Primo. The Nuggets have made excellent picks over past few years finding a number of high level players in the mid to late first round, not to mention second round (Jokic). Primo could give them depth in the back court, and eventually push Will Barton for a starting spot at the 2-guard position.
NBA Comparison: Caris LeVert
27. Brooklyn Charles Bassey 6-11 235 PF/C Western Kentucky Jr.
Bassey bounced back surprisingly well, looking quicker, and even more mobile and athletic than he had in his freshman season when he sustained what looked like a devastating (even possibly career ending) leg injury. While today’s NBA game has moved away from the “traditional” bigman, Bassey shows some new age attributes. He displayed the ability to move his feet laterally on the perimeter as well as face up and hit extended range shots, so that bodes well for him. Bassey is one of the draft’s few quality bigmen. The question of how much the NBA has downgraded the center position is a potential obstacle for Bassey.
Why the Nets take Charles Bassey: With Jarrett Allen now on the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Nets could use a young big man to groom for the future. They may ultimately move this pick for a player more equipped to help them win in the short term. But Bassey is an intriguing option and is further along than some other options. He may not be able to give them much when the playoffs roll around, but he could be a solid option to log minutes in the regular season and give Blake Griffin more time to rest for their next playoff push, should Griffin opt to return.
NBA Comparison: Gorgui Dieng
28. Philadelphia Chris Duarte 6-5 195 SG Oregon Sr.
Despite being one of the oldest players in the draft, Chris Duarte has a lot of first round intrigue due to his breakout senior season and impressive combination of athleticism and skill level. His shooting became a real strength and he took over as Oregon’s number one option offensively and team leader as a senior. His athleticism really stood out and he improved his three point shooting from 33% to 42%.
Why the Sixers take Chris Duarte: The Sixers were a few weapons away at the end of the Atlanta Semi Final series. Danny Green is aging and his injuries and inability to be on the floor a deep into the playoffs is a concern. Duarte is one of the most NBA ready players in this year’s draft and could provide some Danny Green type skills for a team that has knocked on the door, but so far fallen short of making the NBA Championship.
NBA Comparison: John Starks
29. Phoenix Jared Butler 6-3 195 SG/PG Baylor Jr.
Butler figures to add some value to a team in the late first round as a big time shooter with a championship pedigree. He Is a hard nosed combo and really more of a shooting guard than a point at 6-3, which decreases his value some. Add in the fact that his athleticism is well below standard at the next level and it’s hard to see him climbing too high, but end of first round seems realistic. He gets a boost due to the fact that he has a good deal of experience at the highest level and has proven to be a clutch performer and defender.
Why the Suns take Jared Butler: The Suns have a solid and deep backcourt with Devin Booker and Chris Paul as the starters and guys like Cameron Payne and Jevon Carter plus Torrey Craig backing them up. Payne becomes a free agent after this year, so it will be interesting to see if he gets a huge offer and decides to leave town. Butler could provide some help if that were to happen playing both guard spots and adding a Championship pedigree and proven clutch shooting ability to a team that looks set to contend for the title for the next few seasons.
NBA Comparison: Bryn Forbes
30. Utah Johnny Juzang 6-6 210 SF UCLA So.
Juzang lacks great athleticism, but he’s got solid size and is a gifted scorer. The fact that today’s NBA puts such a premium on shooting helps his cause, and he showed that he can not only knock down big shots but also create shots for himself with a polished handle and ISO game. Juzang arguably had the biggest stock boost of any prospect with his tournament play in UCLA’s surprise 5 game win streak to the Final Four. Juzang has left the option open to return to UCLA, however after such a tremendous showing in March, it would seem to be in his best interest to strike while the iron is hot and capitalize on his phenomenal Tournament performance.
Why the Jazz take Johnny Juzang: Juzang needs to get stronger and is probably a seasons away, but with shooting at such a premium in today’s game, he’s got the potential to develop into a valuable asset. He’ll need to get stronger and become a better defender, but would have a great opportunity to develop behind a very skilled group of wings in Utah.
NBA Comparison: Duncan Robinson