Where will each prospect land this summer in the NBA Draft? It’s time to take a deeper look into the teams who will be involved in the lottery of this year’s draft.
Sean Anderson and Ricky Widmer played ESPN’s lottery mock draft generator to determine the draft order. The Bulls, Sixers and Timberwolves landed in the top three, with the Lakers losing their first round pick to the Sixers (pick goes to Sixers if outside the Top 3).
This mock draft is based on what Sean and Ricky think teams should do — it’s not a prediction.
Ben Simmons, F, LSU Tigers*
Sean: I have been saying Ingram would be going number one to the 76ers in my mock draft, however, he was going there, because he is a better fit for the 76ers. Ben Simmons is the best player with the most potential in this draft.
Brandon Ingram, F, Duke Blue Devils
Ricky: All along, Sean Anderson has been saying that Ingram is a better fit for the Sixers than Simmons. Well, the Sixers didn’t have to choose with Simmons going to the Bulls at #1. The Sixers get a solid option at the SF position while getting a player who can really help stretch the floor.
Sean: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky Wildcats*
Jamal Murray is the best guard with the most potential, and a perfect fit for the T-Wolves. This would give them a deadly shooter from deep to pair with Wiggins, Muhammad, Towns, and LaVine. I feel this also gives them the capability to trade Rubio for another big man to pair with Towns. Drafting Murray gives them the capability to trade Rubio, start LaVine, have Muhammad be your sixth man, and make your starting five deadly.
Ricky: Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma Sooners
Hield is the perfect pick for the T-Wolves. Minnesota needs a player for can help space the floor (which Hield definitely can do). Also, it gives the team some options for the future of its backcourt. With LaVine as the starting SG, Hield could fit nicely as the backup or he could play alongside LaVine if the team decides to move on from Ricky Rubio.
Sean: Kris Dunn, G, Providence Friars
The Sixers get a gift with the Lakers falling out of the top three as they can now draft a guard that can play basketball at a NBA level. A trio of Okafor, Ingram, and Dunn could be one of the future, and you add Noel, Embiid, and Saric, if they develop, the 76ers might finally climb out from the basement.
Ricky: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky Wildcats*
The Sixers get the luckiest bounce of the lottery by getting the Lakers pick AND their own. After selecting Ingram at #2, the Sixers should make a pick to help out the backcourt. Jamal Murray makes the most sense because then the team doesn’t have to play a PG at the SG position (Isaiah Canaan). However, he could be a player who plays either PG or SG because he has more upside than Canaan or Ish Smith.
Dragan Bender, F, Croatia
Sean: I see this as a steal. Bender is a top three talent in this draft and the Suns need a big man. Tyson Chandler is getting older and that contract is terrible. Bender can develop a defense game from being behind TC and tighten his offensive side. Alex Len seems to be settling in, so him and Bender can form into a dynamic duo.
Sean: Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma Sooners
The Celtics need a dominant big man, but with three other picks in the first round they can wait to draft one. Buddy would be a great scorer off the bench and take pressure of Thomas and Bradley. Buddy will probably start down the road, but right now Bradley’s defense is too important. Plus, for a playoff team like Boston, adding a phenomenal scorer like Buddy could change their team completely.
Ricky: Jaylen Brown, F, Cal Golden Bears*
If this is any other team but the Celtics, I’d have Henry Ellenson selected with this pick. However, Boston has an interesting situation due to the depth of forwards on the team. This gives the Celtics the opportunity to select Brown here because he doesn’t need to be a star from Day One in Boston. Brown could play behind the forwards already in Beantown while he develops a jumper and works on his handling of the ball.
Sean: Jaylen Brown, F, Cal Golden Bears*
Jaylen struggled mightily at the end of the season, but I still see the potential in him. His ability to get to the rim is outstanding, but the lack of a jumper is obvious. The Pelicans can use just new talent next to Anthony Davis, and I feel a overhaul of that roster is coming.
Ricky: Henry Ellenson, F, Marquette Golden Eagles*
No matter who it is, everybody is saying the same thing about the Pelicans this draft. “They need to find somebody to play alongside Anthony Davis.” Ellenson gives the Pels options in the frontcourt. With Ellenson, they can play Davis at the 5 and Ellenson at the 4 or switch them. I’d assume Ellenson would be at the 5 instead of Davis because he 3-point percentage is worse than the brow and his rebounding is impeccable down low.
Sean: Henry Ellenson, F, Marquette Golden Eagles*
The Kings make me angry. You have a star in DeMarcus Cousins, but you do nothing to help him out. The Kings need to rehaul their team. From the front office, to the head coach, to the personnel. If they somehow keep Rondo, Gay, and Cousins, then they will have holes at the 2 and 4. They go Ellenson due to his potential to stretch the floor and open Boogie up inside.
Ricky: Kris Dunn, G, Providence Friars
The biggest need for the Kings this offseason will be finding a point guard. Rajon Rondo is on the last year of his contract and most likely is not staying in Sacramento. Dunn would be a steal for the Kings at #8. Although he isn’t the best shooter in this draft, Dunn has the passing ability to be very serviceable for the Kings. Dunn could develop into a “do-it-all” PG. He just needs to develop a better jumper.
Sean: Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
Furkan is shooting over 43% in both of his Euro-Leagues which is crazy. Pairing Mudiay with a guy with serious range could be deadly for Denver. That could be one of the best drive and dish combos in the league.
Ricky: Denzel Valentine, G, Michigan State Spartans
It’s clear that the two positions of target for Denver this offseason should be SG and SF. Guard will be the more important of the two because at least the Nuggets have Danilo Gallinari at SF. I have Denver selecting Valentine because of his versatility. He can play either at the guard or forward position and has a nice combination of playmaking, shooting, and defensive skills.
Sean: Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
Marquese is the polar opposite of Luis Scola. Athleticism oozes from this kid. Can stretch the floor and be great for the Raptors. He will need time to develop, but from what we saw from the back half of the season, Chriss can be a stud.
Ricky: Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
Toronto could be facing a huge hole to fill if they cannot bring back DeMar DeRozan this offseason.Because of that, Denzel Valentine could be a player the Raptors focus on. Furkan is shooting pretty well (43%) in both of his Euro-Leagues. He could be a nice shooter for the Raptors to add or a “draft and stash” because of his age (18).
Sean: Denzel Valentine, G, Michigan State Spartans
With Giannis at the point, Middleton at the two, Parker at the four, and Monroe at the five; the Bucks need to round out that rotation. Drafting Denzel gives them a smart player, who can do every asset of the game well. Perfect fit both from a need wise and skill wise.
Ricky: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah Utes*
To me, the weakest link on the Bucks is center Greg Monroe. Defensively, he’s a liability and this team needs a good/great defender down low. Poeltl gives the Bucks a center who already has the skills to become an elite defender in the NBA.
Ivan Rabb, F, Cal Golden Bears*
Sean: I think Ivan Rabb can be great. He is athletic, quick, but not completely ready to produce. Which is good, because I think he can develop into a great player behind Gordon and Vucevic.
Sean: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah Utes*
Poeltl is one of my favorites from this draft, but he has slipped in my mind. He looked strong at the start of the season, but as the season got near its end it is obvious he needs more strength to play in the post. However, I think he fits better with the Rockets right now, but he might fall down more especially if Thon Maker is eligible and impresses at the draft combine.
Ricky: Tyler Ulis, G, Kentucky
Yes, Dwight Howard will be leaving Houston. No, this doesn’t mean the Rockets need to draft his replacement ASAP. Personally, I think Capella and Harrell could be fine for the Rockets down low. PG could also be a position of need depending on what happens to Patrick Beverley this offseason. Tyler Ulis could be a great addition to Houston at the PG position.
Sean: Thon Maker, F, Australia
Speaking of Maker, he is a question mark. Will he be cleared to enter? Is he ready for the NBA? How long do you have to wait for that potential to develop? I think with the Suns earlier pick of Bender, and already having Chandler and Len that this is the perfect spot for Maker. He can learn and develop from more polished players. Maker has a lot of questions, but without a doubt, if he develops he can be a star.
Ricky: Domantas Sabonis, F, Gonzaga Bulldogs*
After taking Bender to help stretch the floor earlier, the Suns can now draft a forward/center to help them add depth down low. I’m a little bias because I actually had the opportunity to see Sabonis play in the Sweet 16 with my own eyes. I love what I saw from this kid and think he’d be a great addition to the Suns at #14.