The NCAA tournament is almost here! That means that most players will declare from the NBA Draft soon, so why don’t we get ahead start and start to predict where they land when they start their NBA careers. This is based on current records, as the NBA has a lottery which determines the order. None the less, let’s get right into the mock draft for the 1st round picks.
#1 New York Knicks: Jahlil Okafor C, Duke
The man Knicks fans have been calling for since what seems like the start of the season, will finally come to the Knicks, giving the Knicks their first major piece to build around along with Carmelo Anthony. Remember, Okafor is a freshman, so it’s no guarantee Okafor will declare for the NBA Draft.
#2 Philadelphia 76ers: D’Angelo Russell G, Ohio State
D’Angelo Russell is a combo guard that can do it all. Drafting Russell would begin the rebuild the 76ers backcourt after they traded Michael Carter Williams. With all the other picks the 76ers have in the draft, they should be able a solid point guard as well.
#3 Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Anthony Towns F: Kentucky
Karl Anthony Towns gives the Timberwolves a new franchise power forward after dealing Kevin Love last off-season, and if Kevin Garnett sticks around for a few years, Garnett could help develop Towns and turn him into a dominant power forward. Minnesota has a golden opportunity here.
#4 Los Angeles Lakers: Emmanuel Mudiay PG, China
Who knows, maybe Steve Nash stays another year and teaches Mudiay some tricks of the trade at the point guard spot. Regardless of what happens, Mudiay is the franchise point guard that can compliment to Kobe Bryant well, and if the Lakers do something in free agency to add more help around him and Kobe, he will have all the tools to become great.
#5 Orlando Magic: Stanley Johnson SF, Arizona
With Tobias Harris possibly pursuing other options in free agency, the Magic should look to pick their future small forward in Johnson. Plus, if they are able to get Harris back, the Magic will be able to play him at power forward, so its a win-win for them right here.
#6 Denver Nuggets: Kevon Looney PF, UCLA
With almost everyone on the Nuggets potentially being involved in a trade, the Nuggets could look to get one of the best power forwards available at their spot, in Kevin Looney if the team decides to move Kenneth Faried. If not, they may use the pick on a new player for another player they trade, or shop the pick.
#7 Sacramento Kings: Kristaps Porzingis F, Lativa
Since the Kings are still in search of a future power forward, they can look to the international side and take a chance to see what Porzingis brings to the table. That would give the Kings and young 5 that can do some damage.
#8 Utah Jazz: Willie Cauley Stein C, Kentucky
Enes Kanter is now out of the picture in Utah, giving the Jazz a perfect chance to use a draft pick on another Kentucky product in Willie Cauley Stein. Drafting Stein would be the closet thing to a perfect rebound the Jazz can get.
#9 Boston Celtics: Myles Turner, C Texas
With the Celtics having an un-clear look at their center potion for the future, Myles Turner can fill in the role perfectly to add into the Celtics re-building core. Plus, along with all the Celtics 2nd round picks and the other 1st rounder they have, they can look else where, and try to land another center like Frank Kaminsky.
#10 Indiana Pacers: Cliff Alexander PF Kansas
David West could potentially being calling it a career now, and with Paul George’s future of returning this season un-cretain, the Pacers could get a high reward in George missing the playoffs by drafting their future power forward in the lottery, to make another deep run in the playoffs.
#11 Detroit Pistons: Kelly Oubre Jr. SF, Kansas
Two Kansas players going back-to-back? I see it happening. Especially since the Pistons cut Josh Smith and traded away Kyle Singler, the Pistons will need someone to fill in their much needed power forward role. Kelly Oubre Jr. is the man for the job.
#12 Charlotte Hornets: Justice Winslow SF, Duke
Michael Kidd-Glichrist may never reach full potential, so the Hornets should take a flyer on Justice Winslow as a possible future replacement. Winslow certainly has a better shot than Gilchrist, but the defense may need to improve before the Hornets pull the trigger.
#13 Phoenix Suns: Caris LeVert SG, Michigan
The Suns love to have point guards, but it’s nice to have a shooting guard too right? I believe the Suns will take LeVert in hopes of getting some nice contributions behind Brandon Knight if they’re able to retain him this Summer.
#14 Houston Rockets (Via Pelicans): Frank Kaminsky C, Wisconsin
They call him Frank the Tank, and he will be able to learn under one of the best centers in the NBA in Dwight Howard. Kaminsky’s outside shooting ability will also be dangerous for the Rockets as they can use him to stretch out defenses.
#15 Atlanta Hawks: (Via Nets): Justin Anderson G/F, Virginia
One of the weakest spots on the Hawks roster is the small forward position, as they only really have one true small forward in DeMarre Carroll. Anderson would help give the position some much need depth, and could be a vital piece for them.
#16 Philadelphia 76ers (Via Heat): Jerian Grant
As I previously said, the 76ers traded away their franchise point guard in Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks, leaving them with a void to fill. I had them getting D’Angelo Russell, and passing on Emanuel Mudiay, but Grant is a great consolation prize, as he is one of the underrated players coming into the draft.
#17 Milwaukee Bucks: Trey Lyles PF, Kentucky
The Bucks will be in need of big men coming into the off-season, so they should get ahead start by adding some power forward dept in Kentucky’s Trey Lyles. He will be able to strength the Bucks strong bench, as the Bucks bench features one of the highest scoring in the league already.
#18 Oklahoma City Thunder: Devin Booker SG, Kentucky
Dion Waiters and Andre Roberson isn’t the worst shooting guard tandem in the league, but adding Devin Booker into the equation would be huge for Oklahoma City, as it strengths their bench and their weakest position.
#19 Washington Wizards: Bobby Portis PF, Arkansas
The Wizards already have one of the best back-courts in the NBA, so why not add some depth in the front court. Portis is just the man for that, as he can be solid for the Wizards on their quality bench next season.
#20 San Antonio Spurs: Jakob Poeltl PF, Utah
With the Spurs getting older in their front court, they could draft Jakob Poeltl, as he can learn under arguably the greatest power forward to play the game Tim Duncan, and be mentored by one of the best coaches of all-time in Greg Popovich.
#21 Chicago Bulls (Via Cavaliers): Delon Wright PG, Utah
That’s right. I have another back-to-back picks with players from the same school. With Derrick Rose’s constant knee injuries, the Bulls should look to draft the Wooden Award candidate Delon Wright to play point guard when Rose can’t.
#22 Cleveland Cavaliers (Via Bulls): R.J. Hunter SG. Georgia State
Hunter will fill add solid scoring to the Cavaliers behind J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert at the shooting guard position. Hunter could also be used to play a little point guard behind Kyrie Irving when the Cavaliers need it.
#23 Boston Celtics (Via Clippers): Tyus Jones PG, Duke
Sure, the Celtics have Isiah Thomas and Marcus Smart at point guard, but with the Celtics flexibility in the draft, they could be able to swing a bunch of trades that could involve their current point guards or this draft pick. It’s just a matter of what happens on draft day.
#24 Dallas Mavericks: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF, Arizona
Jefferson will add into the Mavericks much need depth at the small forward position, as it’s pretty thin with Chandler Parsons and Richard Jefferson being the only key factors. Most late 1st rounders are depth picks, so it would be a nice pick for Dallas.
#25 Toronto Raptors: Sam Dekker SF, Wisconsin
The Raptors need some small forward depth, and Sam Dekker is the guy for them. Sure, there might be other players that you can debate are better, but Dekker fits what the Raptors need. Dekker can heat up instantly, and he can fly higher than the sky.
#26: Los Angeles Lakers (Via Rockets): Christian Wood PF, UNLV
The Lakers need depth, well everywhere. Since I have them going with a point guard with their lottery pick, they will select a big here, which will added to their front court bench rotation, and with the Lakers injuries, you may never know where he’s needed.
#27: Portland Trail Blazers: Montrezl Harrell PF/C, Louisville
Harrell can fill in at the four and five for the Portland Trail Blazers, a luxury many NBA teams don’t have. With the Blazers not exactly having the strongest front court depth in the league, Harrell would be a great pick for them.
#28: Memphis Grizzlies: Dakari Johnson C, Kentucky
The Grizzlies don’t have much center depth behind Marc Gasol, and we all know a player out Kentucky can certainly change that in an instant. Johnson will take some of the load off of Gasol, and let him to be able to get a little more rest for the future.
#29: Brooklyn Nets (Via Hawks): Jake Layman SF, Maryland
With the Brooklyn Nets trying to swing into the younger movement after their championship or bust trade, Layman could easily add into the grove, by giving the Nets some depth at the small forward position, which is lacking for them majorly right now.
#30: Golden State Warriors: Ron Baker PG, Wichita State
Sure, the Warriors have the MVP front runner in Stephen Curry, but everyone needs a back-up. With the Warriors 3rd string player in Leandro Barbosa most likely gone after this year, Baker can easily fill in and do even better.
Round 2 will be coming up on Sunday.
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