Woooohoooo! As I am writing this I am roughly 24 hours from the NBA draft and I could not be anymore excited. This draft cycle, I have watched more film and done more research than any other year and am ready for the big day. Tomorrow (the day of the draft), I will be releasing my big board 4.0 which will have my rankings of the top 60 players in this year’s draft. I have put all my work during this year’s draft cycle including three big boards, three mock drafts, eight scouting reports, and many interviews with prospects and analysts, all in one NBA Draft Database which you can check out below.
For this article I will be doing my 3rd and final mock draft of the cycle. Intel has been pouring out but it is incredibly hard to decipher what is real and what are just smoke screens. With that being said I did my best of combining intel, consensus big board, and my own thoughts to predict what will happen tomorrow night.
If you are interested in a mock draft where I pick what I would do as the teams check out my most recent podcast with Nick Agar-Johnson HERE!
1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith
My Big Board Ranking: 1
At 1, Orlando choses my personal number 1 prospect sharpshooter Jabari Smith. From day 1, Jabari Smith not only will be a three point shooter but he is also an incredibly special defensive talent. Smith has real concerns with his handle and playmaking but his work ethic, competitivness, and the willingness he has shown to get better should allow him to become a multiple time all star.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren
My Big Board Ranking: 2
There is tons of smoke out currently on what OKC’s plans are at 2 but the truth is no one actually knows what they will do. The Thunder have some depth at their guard positions and aren’t afraid to take swings which point the arrows to Chet Holmgren. Chet is a 7’2 mobile player who can guard 1-5 (hopefully), pass, and shoot. What’s not to like? (he is 195 lbs).
3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero
My Big Board Ranking: 3
Houston instantly becomes one of the most exciting teams in the league pairing Banchero with Jalen Green, Alperan Sengun, Kevin Porter Jr., and two other first round picks this year. Banchero is a big fluid athlete that can pass, playmake, and score on his own but questions over his defensive effort and three point shooting make him the most likely to fall to the 3rd spot.
4. Sacramento Kings: Keegan Murray
My Big Board Ranking: 6
Again, this is NOT what I would do but instead what I expect to happen. I like Keegan Murray but I believe drafting him over Jaden Ivey would be a mistake. Ivey seems like the obvious choice but reports indicate that both Sacramento ownership and Jaden Ivey may not be as interested in the marriage as it seems. Keegan Murray will still be a great player for this team as a versatile player on both sides of the ball.
5. Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey
My Big Board Ranking: 4
In this scenario, the pick is obvious. Ivey and Cunningham would be an incredible duo in the the backcourt and would surely highlight a playoff teams roster one day. Cunningham is a future top 10 player so finding him a co-star should be priority #1. Ivey’s speed, scoring, and energy should make it a near lock that one day he is all star.
6. Indiana Pacers: Dyson Daniels
My Big Board Ranking: 8
Daniels will probably never be looked at as a sexy pick but it will be remembered as a good pick. A backcourt of Haliburton and Daniels would be incredible basketball IQ and passing wise. Daniels will provide the Pacers with defense and passing and also has shown flashes of more to his game scoring the ball.
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Bennedict Mathurin
My Big Board Ranking: 7
As I was writing this paragraph, the Trail Blazers traded for Jerami Grant while keeping the 7th pick. This does not change who I have them picking but is worth noting. Mathurin offers the Blazers shooting while they attempt to compete in the West. Once this teams moves out of the Damian Lillard era, Mathurin will have opportunities to show what he can do on the ball and as a defender.
8. New Orleans Pelicans: AJ Griffin
My Big Board Ranking: 5
The Pelicans have proven stars in Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum so they may be looking to just build this roster around the edges and Griffin can help with that. As a year one player, AJ can operate as a sharpshooter on offense and at the very least a big body on defense. The reason I have Griffin at 5 on my board is I believe once his body heals from injury he has some real star potential.
9. San Antonio Spurs: Jalen Duren
My Big Board Ranking: 13
I am a little lower on Duren that consensus but this pick puts the Spurs in a weird place. The Spurs are full of guards and small wings which is exactly what is left on the board. Here San Antonio elects to find their center of the future in Duren. The reason I am lower on Duren is because after watching this year’s playoffs, I have a hard time imagining Duren being able to stay on the floor unless he grows being able to guard in space.
10. Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis
My Big Board Ranking: 10
I love Johnny Davis and it is easy to love how hard he plays. With that being said I do have a few questions on how his game will translate especially his shot and his ability to guard bigger players. I still bank on Davis being okay and at worst being a Jalen Suggs, Derrick White type of player which as we saw in the playoffs, is still a good player.
11. New York Knicks: Shaedon Sharpe
My Big Board Ranking: 12
If the mystery man, Shaedon Sharpe falls here and you are the Knicks then why not? Sharpe has a lot of question marks as someone who should be graduating right now but there is also just so much potential. The Knicks are always star hunting and getting Sharpe at 11 allows them to try and devolop a star the organic way instead of their cap space strategy like usual.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Ousmane Dieng
My Big Board Ranking: 9
The Thunder have a proven track record of devoloping players and making them the best player they could be and that is exactly what Ousmane Dieng needs. The first half of this season, Dieng was a nightmare that looked as if he would not get drafted at all. The second half of the season was completely different as he showed scoring, playmaking, and defensive flashes that warrant a top ten pick.
13. Charlotte Hornets: Malaki Branham
My Big Board Ranking: 11
I still hold James Bouknight stock as he was my #6 prospect last season but Branham may just be a more certain version of Bouknight. Branham and LaMelo would form a dynamic, high scoring backcourt that could hep Charlotte make a playoff push next season. Branham’s X-factor in the NBA will be his willingness and success shooting three’s.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji
My Big Board Ranking: 15
This pick would be from a team confident they will make the playoffs next season, which should be Cleveland. Caris LeVert was a nice pick up to play next to Darius Garland but the Cavaliers still need more wings. Ochai Agbaji would be the perfect pick for this team as he will provide defense and shooting and won’t be asked to do much with the ball.
END of Lottery
Since it is the end of the lottery and I actually wish to get this article out I will no longer be writing for each pick.
15. Charlotte Hornets: Mark Williams
My Big Board Ranking: 16
16. Atlanta Hawks: Jalen Williams
My Big Board Ranking: 20
17. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Sochan
My Big Board Ranking: 22
18. Chicago Bulls: EJ Liddell
My Big Board Ranking: 21
19. Minnesota Timberwolves: Dalen Terry
My Big Board Ranking: 17
20. San Antonio Spurs: Tari Eason
My Big Board Ranking: 18
21. Denver Nuggets: Jaden Hardy
My Big Board Ranking: 25
22. Memphis Grizzlies: MarJon Beauchamp
My Big Board Ranking: 30
23. Philadelphia 76ers: Christian Braun
My Big Board Ranking: 29
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Blake Wesley
My Big Board Ranking: 26
25. San Antonio Spurs: Nikola Jovic
My Big Board Ranking: 19
26. Houston Rockets: TyTy Washington
My Big Board Ranking: 27
27. Miami Heat: Patrick Baldwin Jr.
My Big Board Ranking: 34
28. Golden State Warriors: Jake LaRavia
My Big Board Ranking: 24
29. Memphis Grizzlies: Kennedy Chandler
My Big Board Ranking: 38
30. Denver Nuggets: Wendell Moore
My Big Board Ranking: 32
31. Indiana Pacers: Max Christie
My Big Board Ranking: 28
32. Orlando Magic: Bryce McGowens
My Big Board Ranking: 14
33. Toronto Raptors: Christian Koloko
My Big Board Ranking: 37
34. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendall Brown
My Big Board Ranking: 43
35. Orlando Magic: Walker Kessler
My Big Board Ranking: 49
36. Detroit Pistons: Jaylin Williams
My Big Board Ranking: 35
37. Sacramento Kings: Ismael Kamagate
My Big Board Ranking: 31
38. San Antonio Spurs: Caleb Houstan
My Big Board Ranking: 54
39. Cleveland Cavaliers: Trevor Keels
My Big Board Ranking: 50
40. Minnesota Timberwolves: John Butler
My Big Board Ranking: 42
41. New Orleans Pelicans: Jean Montero
My Big Board Ranking: 36
42. New York Knicks: Ryan Rollins
My Big Board Ranking: 33
43. Los Angeles Clippers: Dereon Seabron
My Big Board Ranking: 40
44. Atlanta Hawks: Andrew Nembhard
My Big Board Ranking: 47
45. Charlotte Hornets: Dominick Barlow
My Big Board Ranking: 41
46. Portland Trail Blazers: Peyton Watson
My Big Board Ranking: 55
47. Memphis Grizzlies: Jabari Walker
My Big Board Ranking: 44
48. Minnesota Timberwolves: David Roddy
My Big Board Ranking: 45
49. Sacramento Kings: Josh Minott
My Big Board Ranking: 48
50. Minnesota Timberwolves: Keon Ellis
My Big Board Ranking: 51
51. Golden State Warriors: Hugo Besson
My Big Board Ranking: 46
52. New Orleans Pelicans: Gabriele Procida
My Big Board Ranking: 23
53. Boston Celtics: Khalifa Diop
My Big Board Ranking: 53
54. Milwaukee Bucks: FORFEITED
55. Miami Heat: FORFEITED
56. Washington Wizards: Alondes Williams
My Big Board Ranking: 61
57. Golden State Warriors: Orlando Robinson
My Big Board Ranking: 60
58. Cleveland Cavaliers: JD Davidson
My Big Board Ranking: 68
59. Portland Trail Blazers: Kenneth Loften
My Big Board Ranking: 62
60. Indiana Pacers: Trevion Williams
My Big Board Ranking: 56