I try to do this every year. It's my own mock draft gimmick. Basically I do two mock drafts. One based on all the stuff I read and hear and how it makes sense to me, and then a second based on what I would do if I ran the team, which also includes what I read and stuff, so there's a lot of overlap, but it sort of lets me talk about why I like some guys more than others.
Anyway, as always, it's really long. I'll try to come in an edit it later. It's gonna be loaded with spelling errors, and I'm not even willing to guarantee I didn't draft someone three times, or someone not at all who should go third.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Simmons. I wasn’t so sure for a while there. But especially with the news that they’re shopping Noel and/or Okafor, it feels like they’re trying to make more space for Simmons’ playmaking. I think the kid is gonna be great.
WHAT I WOULD DO: I would take Simmons too. Although, I have to admit, this is one of only a handful of teams for whom I thought Ingram was a real possibility over Simmons. As currently constructed, with a real post scorer in Okafor, you could argue Ingram’s shooting could separate him. If Dario Saric can play as a stretch four, Ingram goes in as an exceptionally long SF, and then you have spacing and length and athleticism floating around Okafor. That’s a real identity. I would still be concerned about how those three would add up defensively. I have some concern over Ingram defensively as a SF. His instincts are excellent, but sometimes he seems clunky. Maybe it’s because his feet look so big on his super skinny frame. I’m still not sure he doesn’t ultimately play out as a PF who can both stretch, and beat people off the bounce. He can defend the rim and sneak around in passing lanes. Sure he’ll get beat up defending the post, but that’s when you move him down to SF. Most teams would have to get out of their comfort zone offensively to do that. It’s the position I think Durant is best in too. But alas, Simmons’ size, ball handling, and vision, is just too rare a commodity. And oddly, while Simmons’ ceiling is huge, if he develops a jumper, I think the separating factor is his floor. That vision, rebounding, passing, and ability to change ends, to me means he’s a championship caliber role player at worst.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Since this is a two horse race, Ingram is the second horse. He’s a great fit here. Frankly this is another spot where he may be a better fit than Simmons, depending on how much you may still like DeAngelo Russell, who’s going to be a bit ball dominant in those decision making roles where Simmons has the opportunity to be a star.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Ingram again.
3. Boston (From Brooklyn)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Those first two are a formality. Now it gets interesting. For disclosure … I’m a Celtic fan. The Celtics could go in any direction from here. And Ainge is among the least predictable front office guys in the business. They’ve been connected in mocks to almost every player available from 3 to 10 in this spot. Heild, Murray, Bender, Dunn, etc. I think they’ll swing for the fences. I think there’s a thought that they take the most ready guy, seeing as they’re a playoff team, but Ainge has always preached the Best Player Available model, so I don’t see it. The most ready is probably Heild, who fits a need for shooting. There is a middle road they could take. Murray is potentially a top tier shooter himself, four years younger, and a better ball handler. But that backcourt rotation is crowded as it is. I think they shake things up by going Bender. They’ve been chasing defensive rim protection for a while now. And we know they covet spacing bigs. Bender theoretically brings both. He’s probably got the most upside of anyone left here. He’s a tough scout because of the limited playing time, but like I said, this is a management group that isn’t afraid to take a swing.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Personally, if I were running things, I would also take a long swing, but with another upside guy who’s flying up boards. Marquese Chriss. He’s also got huge upside. Probably a truer big than Bender, his athleticism is off the charts, and he can shoot. And like Bender, there’s real sample size issues. I know Chriss comes with some focus concerns, but that’s why you pay a high level coach, and work so hard to create a culture of winning, so you can take gambles on guys like this.
In both scenarios, a trade is totally possible. I can’t predict that. But personally I wouldn’t give up this pick for much short of Cousins. Unless you can bundle the trade in a way that gets you a stab at a free agent too.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Phx’s need at PF is sort of a ubiquitous draft note. Whatever is left of Bender, Chriss, or maybe Ellensen (who I saw at The Big East this year and wasn’t particularly impressed), will almost certainly go here. In this version of my prediction Bender is gone. I think they’ll take Chriss over Ellensen, but it’s probably way closer than it would be for me. Dunn and Murray are probably the best players on the board, but they’re too backed up at those spots, and too thin up front, to go that way.
WHAT I WOULD DO: In this version, Bender is still here, and he’s probably the best fit for Phx, even moreso than Chriss. I like the Best Player logic more than most, but even I couldn’t argue against Bender, who may be the Best Player anyway.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Dunn and Murray are probably the best players on the board at this point. I’m a huge Dunn fan. He’s a CT kid, and I’ve been watching him since High School. If management hadn’t changed to Thibs, I’d probably predict Murray. He’s the safer play in my opinion. The shooting works well with KAT and off Wiggins drives, and on the weakside of pick and rolls. And he can play both off the ball with Rubio, and on the ball enough to make an interesting mess paired with Levine. But Thibs … he’ll fall in love with Dunn. He’s all over the floor defensively. Pushes offensively almost to the point of it being a problem. And I can see Thibs not liking Rubio’s approach and eventually moving him. He’s old management anyway.
WHAT I WOULD DO: For the reasons I said, I’d go Murray. I think he’s a more universal fit. And that’s not easy for me to say, because I love Dunn. But I like Rubio still more than most. Hield is also an option here, but I put Murray and Hield in the same category, with Murray just being a notch above due to age, pedigree, and ball handling.
6. New Orleans
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: In this line, Murray is still available. New Orleans has Eric Gordon coming off the books, and Murray would be a natural fit. I actually think they’d prefer Dunn. Holiday comes off next season, and I think they’d like to pair AD with a career PG partner, and Holiday, while a good player, sort of is what he is at this point. I also think, were they available, either Bender or Chriss, would intrigue them, with Ryan Anderson probably leaving too. Davis is probably destined to play a lot of center. And spacing around him as a cutting PnR, or iso guy against an opponent’s biggest defender, is probably a model they’re chasing. But they’re both gone here. Ellensen is the next best fit in that spot, but I just think Murray is on another tier on most boards at this point. Heild against might be someone teams just prefer to Murray.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Here’s the spot I’d take Dunn. Again, in my opinion, we’re approaching the end of a tier at this point. Dunn is to me not only the BPA (Best Player Available), he’s not a bad fit as the heir apparent to Holiday.
7. Denver (From New York)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: I keep seeing Jaylen Brown in mocks here. I’d be shocked however, that if things fell as I’m thinking, and Hield were here, that Denver wouldn’t take him. He’d give them some identity. They need shooting. He’d play very well off of Mudiay. I don’t get the Brown fit. Mudiay is already a raw athlete they’re trying to mold, and he’s got the ball, and rightfully so in comparison to Brown. Their other asset is a cadre of good big young euro guys. Surrounding bigs and a PnR PG with Buddy, and hoping that Gallinari can return to being a shooting PF, is at least something they can use to evaluate how these guys all may eventually fit into a system. Watching Jaylen Brown careen towards the hoop while clogging up space for Mudiay doesn’t seem like it’ll help anyone.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Perhaps my thoughts above should’ve gone here. I would definitely take Hield. Ellensen is probably in the mix too, but I’m afraid he’s too groundbound to pair with either Nurkic or Jokic
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: This team just feels destined to screw this up. It’s a terrible spot for them. They’re going to be in desperate need of PG help, but they’re too far away from reasonably taking one in either direction. Ellensen and Brown are probably the consensus best players here, but the Kings have Cousins and Gay, as probably their only real NBA pieces playing those two positions. Brown is local enough that he’dve been easy to scout, even in HS, and his pedigree may drive them to take him. He is an NBA player physically, and just 19 years old. I could even see them reaching for a PG like Wade Baldwin, but I think if it fell like this, they’d take Brown.
WHAT I WOULD DO: If it were me, I’d trade Cousins to the Celtics for the three pick, take Dunn, get a couple young warm bodies to throw in there, James Young, maybe Smart, and then look at PF here, like Ellensen, Sabonis, or even Skal Labissier to play as a stretch next to Willie Cauley-Stein.
But again, I can’t predict a trade. I really don’t care for Brown. Ellensen has fallen far enough, and the possibility of playing him in a rotation where he can space for PnR diving WCS, or just play his jumper off of Boogie, is as good a fit as I’m probably going to find here.
9. Toronto (From Denver via New York)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Toronto has another run in them with this current configuration, so they’re either looking for future payoff, or depth. They used a first rounder not long ago on future, in Coboclo, and they will be losing depth this year because they’re probably get outbid for Biyambo, and probably lose Scola too. So another big is probably where they look. Ellensen would probably be considered a steal at this point, and while he doesn’t do any of the stuff Biyambo did for them, they’d almost have to take him.
WHAT I WOULD DO: I’d be thinking along the same lines, but in my line Ellensen is gone. Brown is still looming as the highest mocked player out there, but as I said, I just am not fond of him. Last year I think it was Stanley Johnson I had this thing about, and they’re similar players, but Johnson actually shot it much better than it seemed, and I liked him more than I like Brown. Even Brown’s instincts seem out of whack to me. Of the remaining bigs I have on this side, Sabonis and Poetl to me don’t pair well enough with Valenciunas, and he’s signed long haul. I think I’d roll the dice with pedigree, and take Labassier. I actually think he’d be a great fit here. He can protect the rim some behind Val, and stretch the floor on offense, and not be asked to do too much with the ball. And there’s upside if his instincts improve. I actually wouldn’t be shocked if things fell the way they did in my What I Think Will Happen Side, if they wouldn’t take Skal over Ellensen even, just because of the higher ceiling and potential fit.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: The Bucks are one of the weirdest mock teams out there. Some people say they need shooting, but they’ve got Khris Middleton and Jabari long term. Some say they need size, but they’re playing Monroe and John Henson and Miles Plumlee. And I’ve seen them tied to Point Guards because of a dislike of MCW. I’m betting they’d love Ellensen to fall here, he’s local, and helps with some of the shooting and size, but I have him gone already. Guards in this range are Dejounte Murray, and Wade Baldwin. I don’t think they need to reach for either of them. Labassiere is still here on this side, and while he brings some duplication, they have a tough roster to upgrade from this spot, so to me potential is worth the risk here. It’s another long athlete, and with the potential to help shooting wise. I think he fits.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Now Brown is really hanging around, but he feels like a terrible fit here. The good stuff he brings to the table, like potentially a defensive plug, gets pushed aside by the fact that Giannis would do it better. If you’re not going to put Brown on the other team’s best player, like The Pistons did with Stanley Johnson, why even bother? I’m not a huge Dejounte Murray fan either, for some of the same reasons. Ball dominant but probably not good enough to warrant it, and can’t shoot. Might as well just keep MCW. The Devil You Know, as the saying goes. Monroe gets big money for another couple years, but I’d look inside anyway. John Hensen is niche defender and PnR big at this point. I’d choose between Poetl, and Deyonta Davis. The roster is young, long, athletic, and probably built to be a defensive team, so I’d probably go Davis, even though in a vacuum I think Poetl is potentially a better player.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: The small positions would be extremely hard to upgrade for this roster from this spot. But so long as they have Vucevic playing center, and he’s such a good scorer and rebounder, they pretty much have to, they’re going to need help defending the rim, and if they can get that with shooting, that would be the goal. So mocks have had Labissiere going here all over the place, but I’m predicting he’ll be gone already on both sides of this thing. As much as he got hammered this year, he still brings a unicorn like skill set, so I just don’t see him falling this far. I really like Poetl and Sabonis, but neither fit here. Deyonta Davis is still on this side of things, and while he may not be a PF, his defense may play next to Vucevic, and his perimeter game shows inklings of existing. It’s not a great way for things to fall for Orlando, but it may be the best they can do.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Still, Jaylen Brown, but talk about a team that doesn’t need his particular skill set. I don’t like any of the fits I see around here, and there’s even a lot of limited upside. So if I’m in charge, I really roll the dice here. I take Thon Maker. He’s got huge upside, so why not go with that rather than a fit piece that may not really upgrade over the pieces you already have. Like Skal, he’s got some potential to defend the rim and stretch the floor. Some Serge Ibaka possibilities. He’s obviously got some real limited instincts, but to me it’s worth seeing what you can do with him.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: This is a team with a pretty well set front line in Gobert, Favors, and Hayward. They even have some depth with Rodney Hood at the three, and even Trey Lyles still has potential. I mention this because I keep seeing Poetl mocked here. I don’t know if it’s the local connection or not. I will admit, I really love Poetl, but this team seems like a terrible fit. He’s a genuine center, just like Gobert, with little room for flexibility. Even if they went big, I’d almost prefer Sabonis, who to me has a little more versatility at least defensively. They’re also hard to get a read on, because they have so much more info on Dante Exum than the public does. I’m still not sure if he’s even a PG or not. I see them going in the backcourt, and guessing Wade Baldwin. He’s a bit of duplication of Exum, but both of them feel like combo guards, and both have size and athleticism that would let them play together. He would give them insurance for Exum, and the chance to play together. His jumper is getting better, and physically he measures great, so he could play SG on either end.
WHAT I WOULD DO: I would go with more pure shooting. Furkan Korkmaz is probably the best shooter at this point. He’s got more prototype SG size, and enough ball handling to fit into a bigger scheme than just a catch and shoot weapon. And he’s really young. Not the athlete Baldwin is, but probably a better pure shooter. I guess in my scenario I’m counting on Exum becoming a legit PG. I think if I were running the team, I’d have to think that way.
13. Phoenix (From Washington)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Phx has a ton of picks, and I already have them addressing their glaring PF need at four. They seem to have enough assets tied up in the backcourt that I just can’t see them going that rout. I can envision them trying to stash someone overseas at this point. Korkmaz probably duplicates Devin Booker a bit much at this point. There are two bigs you see paired together in the mocks all the time, Ante Zizic and Ivica Zubac. Zizic is a guy I feel like that’s been talked about forever, but he’s still only 19. Zubac I admittedly know almost nothing about. Zizic I think they’ll take and try to keep over for another year while then hope they can use him as protection when Alex Len’s contract comes up and they still aren’t sure what he is.
WHAT I WOULD DO: At 13, my opinion of Jaylen Brown would probably matter less than the general opinion of him. However, this roster is a really tough fit for him. Knight plays a little two. They like TJ Warren and Archie Goodwin, and obviously Booker. Christ, PJ Tucker is kinda what Brown is in my opinion. I have concerns about Len myself, and I do really like Poetl, in spite of his slipping so far. I don’t like him quite enough however to ruin Len’s confidence before figuring him out. Stashing isn’t a terrible idea, but based on what I’ve read, I’m not sure the value is there. Zizic’s big not is his “motor”, which is a tough sell for me at 13. I think I’d double up on my PFs, I already took Bender, who maybe can stretch the floor and move more, so I go more traditional, and take Sabonis. He’s a lock to be a rotational player in the league. Very little downside. He’s going to rebound. He’s going to fit in because he’s such a good passer and he’s smart and tough. At worst he’s the type of piece a good team might trade for during a run.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Noah’s gone, Gasol is probably gone. This team is really undergoing and identity change. I know there’re rumblings about potentially moving Jimmy Butler, but I just don’t see it. I know he fit more under the old regime’s identity. But he’s too good a player to just get rid of. Butler, Portis, Mirotic being a matchup problem, figuring out what’s there with Snell, and what role McDermott can play on a real roster is pretty much the point of this coming season in my mind. I’d add figuring out of Rose is able and willing to return and just be a piece, which isn’t always easy to do in a city you once owned. I could see Rose going on to be a good player somewhere else, but it would be hard to accept just good in this city. Seeing as he’s fallen this far, I think they’d go Poetl. Portis isn’t a center. Poetl can really rebound and defend at the rim just with his size. He’s got good hands and is a good passer. This could potentially be a steal just because he doesn’t fit in a ton of other spots.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Again, Brown still hanging around, but I’d rather play Snell more and figure him out. Snell has had some great stretches, and has looked great in stuff like Summer League. There still might be more there. My fondness of Poetl is apparent above, and I’d do the same thing. I’d take Poetl in a heartbeat at this point. I’m already prepared to regret not taking him earlier in place of some of the more upside-y bigs.
15. Denver (From Houston)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: In both lines of thinking, I had Denver taking Buddy Hield here to help address their shooting. The highest rated players on most boards that are still left would be Sabonis, who I don’t think pairs great with the two “Itches”, Dejounte Murray, who’s sort of a homeless man’s Mudiay. They could use some athletic upside up front. Damian Jones is interesting, but probably more of a true center that wouldn’t work with the other two bigs. Maker is interesting. And there’s a couple wings I think they’ll consider here. Malachi Richardson has the basis of a good shot, and NBA length and athleticism (I’m a Syracuse fan for the record), and Denzel Valentine is a fit anywhere piece with experience that can shoot, and is about as smart about the game as anyone left. I think they’ll go Valentine. Adding more seasoned players like Hield and Valentine around Mudiay may be a strategy. That’s what I think they’d do here. That would be good spacing around the bigs and the PnR PG. (I can’t take him in my next entry, because I already did in that thread, but I’d take Maker here I were running the team and he as around. Faried is potential for trade at any moment, and the possibility of an athletic PF with some shooting touch around those bigs and with that PG would be worth the risk for me. Of course he and Mudiay would both probably wind up starting a Marijuana dispensary on a mountain side, which is why I don’t have one of these jobs).
WHAT I WOULD DO: For the same reasons I mentioned above, I’d probably take Valentine here too. That would be a roster I would watch. The other pieces still available just don’t fit, including Brown who already passed on, and even here my logic wouldn’t change.
16. Boston (From Dallas)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Again, Boston’s picks are hard to figure because a trade is so possible. The roster has so many young pieces on it, you’d almost have to think they’re drafting for the Main Red Claws at this point. I could see them being intrigued by Damian Jones here as a rim protecting big that they sorely lack, or Thon Maker as a huge upside project, and Richarson’s upside is interesting, but how much different is he really than James Young or RJ Hunter or Terry Rozier who don’t see the court. Sabonis is still here at this point, along with Dejuante Murray, as the most highly regarded, but neither of them seem to fit. A stash may make the most sense, especially if they really are trying to squeeze two max contract offers to people, or make trade space for a max contract and still have room to sign after. Ainge does like shooting, so I would guess he’d take Korkmaz and stash him for a year at least. They’re probably running out of roster spots on the Red Claws too.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Brown just doesn’t work here at all. That rotation is just loaded, and even has tons of young pieces at those positions. I could stash a player here for the same money reasons as above, but on my side Korkmaz is gone, and Zizic is probably the best piece left, however I have a third first rounder, and I’d rather try to stash someone in that spot, because pickings get slim if I have to stash two Euros. Baldwin is becoming a steal at this point to, but he’s maybe a worse fit than Brown between Rozier and Smart. I would take Damian Jones. A real center who can help at the rim, and the potential spot up a little. That Vandy team just had bad mojo this year, and he may be underrated a bit because of it.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: This is an extremely hard team to predict, with so much going on. They played such a unique style for so long, and now they’re under new management. Plus Mike Conley is a Free Agent, and Zack Randolph is in his final season. They could go in a number of directions. Marc Gasol is the only thing they’re really tied to. A potential replacement for Conley … Dejuante Murray? Tyler Ulis? Length and shooting … Richardson, or Malik Beasley? I think this team is going to look full makeover and take Thon Maker. He’ll have a year to learn while Randolph holds down the fort, but the eventual idea of Maker next to Gasol is really interesting. I think they’ll go out over the top to keep Conley, and hope that he plays well speeding up his game with a new identity after next year when they go to a more uptempo PF and play Gasol as a one in.
WHAT I WOULD DO: The value for Jaylen Brown has finally caught up with my opinion. Even if there’s pieces I like better, I’m pretty close to starting from scratch, so I can fit him in. He’s sort of a remnant of the grindhouse era. And even if I’m not crazy about him, I could probably flip him for something I’m more fond of, plus extra, considering how highly he’s thought of otherwise. I would have to take him here.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Detroit is almost universally tied to Denzel Valentine in Mocks, but that seems like wishful thinking to me obviously, because I have him gone on both sides of this. I think the reason that is is because there’s a lot of pieces in place here, and a player that can fill in multiple spots, and fit in with smarts and shooting, makes a lot of sense, because otherwise you’d be hard pressed to find a player who’s gonna take time from Reggie Jackson, KCP, Stanley Johnson, Tobi Harris, Andre Drummand, Marcus Morris. That’s a pretty decent and versatile core, with a few young pieces to fill in. So you’re looking for depth. On this side, Sabonis has fallen. I like him more than I think the league will, and that’s in spite of his higher view in mocks, because he plays such a traditional style of PF, which even more than center seems to be the position that is going. But he’s smart, and his rebounding and passing will translate, and he’s tough enough that I think he can back up at Center in smaller lineups.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Like I said, this is a tough roster to upgrade from this spot, so BPA becomes my primary focus. Most boards seem to show Dejaunte Murray or Wade Baldwin at this point as Best Available. Baldwin in particular would intrigue me as insurance for Jackson, however you can also make the case that if Jackson fails I’m done anyway. And because I think Baldwin has the size and athleticism to play off the ball, I can put him in rotation with KCP as well. I feel like I sort of get two backups for one pick. I don’t like any of the bigs left enough to take here as back ups. I could stash Zizic I suppose. And Malachi Richardson would be an intriguing rotation piece with Pope and Johnson, as he would sort of fit in between them. But there’s nothing behind Jackson, so I’d go Baldwin.
19. Denver (From Portland)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Third first rounder for Denver, and I’ve already got them taking two of the more polished pieces available in the draft in both threads. I think they’d be looking big upside or a stash pick here. Most of the higher upside guys are gone. Stephen Zimmerman has some pedigree, but is another center. Zubac is maybe the best stash, but again, a center. I think they’ll stash Timothy Luwawa here. He’s a high end athlete who should be a defender at worse, but he’s got some ball skills, and the foundation of a shot.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Me, I’m taking Malachi Richardson. I don’t know why there’s be a ton of fear taking three first rounders onto this roster. They’re changing this team anyway. Someday they’ll choose between the two bigs. Gallinari and Wilson Chandler won’t be on the next good Denver team. Load up on shooters and athletes. They may have value in trades later too. Richardson has big upside as both a shooter and defender moving forward. I’d let all three of them play this season in a rotation at SG and SF, and see who gels with Mudiay. It’s his team now anyway.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: I know Dejuante Murray is way ahead of him on most boards, but I think The Pacers would be more intrigued by Malachi Richardson’s upside. He measures both physically, and from the shooting numbers, and he’s young, with a high pedigree. He adds size on the perimeter to help with the idea of George playing PF, and for possibly replacing Ellis down the road. I also don’t think my What I Would Do thinking next is out of the question in reality.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Another team in a weird spot. Paul George is a stud. And Myles Turner seems like a genuine building block. The rest of the roster is filled with guys good enough to make you compete, but not enough to get you anywhere (George Hill, Monta Ellis, etc.). Problem is at this point you’re not going to be able to upgrade on most of those pieces. They also just got rid of a good coach, who was coaching a style they wanted to get away from. They also actively talked about playing George at the four. They want to go faster. He’s undersized, but there is a PG who can go fast in this draft. Tyler Ulis. I could envision Ulis starting this coming season, and I like George Hill. He’s the only guy left who can change a teams’ identity, and this team wants to change its identity. Hill would be a great look off the bench playing dueling PGs, and he’s a good enough shooter to do it. I really think this could happen too. Bird has the good will to make a major change like this, and it feels like they’re in the middle of it.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: This team is really at a crossroads. They’re way to good to find anyone that might crack their rotation, but at the same time, who knows what their rotation is gonna be. If Horford walks, it could be a huge domino. They’re getting close to having to make a decision between Teague and Schroeder. There are rumors they’re considering a Teague for Nerlens Noel deal, which makes sense if they’re expecting to lose Horford. Turn the team over to Schroeder and Noel, and start seeing what you can turn the other high end vets into, Korver and Milsap. I think they’ll look big here as a way to protect against Horford leaving. Damian Jones has a lot of upside for a big this late. They can still try to hold everything together, and Jones can still add valuable depth up front. Dejuante Murray would be the BPA, but with both PGs on the roster I don’t know how much he fits. Malik Beasley is an interesting combo of athlete/shooter that is probably underrated because of how bad FSU was, but he’s got pedigree, and could fit some on the team as it’s currently built. But I think they’ll take the middle road and try to protect themselves from Horford leaving, while not just throwing the pick away
WHAT I WOULD DO: I have all the same concerns I outlined above, but don’t have Jones’ potential left on this side. Zizic is still around to stash, otherwise the best bigs are probably Cheick Diallo, Brice Johnson, and maybe Stephen Zimmerman. So two undersized scrappers, and a project. I’d rather take Beasley, and try to hold everything together for another stab with this group. If Horford walks, you’re going to have move one of the PGs and start over anyway. Hopefully that can replace your big man hole better than Stephen Zimmerman, or either 6-8 guy. Again, I’m not forgetting Murray, he’s just too ball dominant for my taste when I’ve got either Teague or Schroeder moving forward anyway
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: These guys have some real figuring out to do. Al Jefferson is probably worth more there than anywhere else, but I don’t know if they’re going to go nuts for him. They’re tied to Kidd-Gilchrist. Kemba is their identity. And Kaminsky is actually a really good pairing as a pick and pop big with him. Other than that, they have a bunch of mid level wings to try and resign. They could look to replace one here. If he fell this far, they’d probably take a good hard look at Dejuante Murray, even though he’d be a poor fit next to Kemba, and even as a backup, Jeremy Lin is probably a better PnR guard anyway. Malik Beasley is still there, and he’s probably good enough to keep them from having to pay Courtney Lee 9 million dollars a year. Then they can overpay Batum, or put that money into bringing back Jefferson
WHAT I WOULD DO: Murray is still available here too, but I wouldn’t take him with Walker on my roster. I’m looking at the roster, and would love to find some shooting, but there’s nothing there. I’d be better off resigning either Batum or Courtney Lee, or both if I could, and using MKG as a defensive specialist. Or hit the market for someone younger who can shoot it. There is a guy I like way more than most, and I’m at a point where I’d take him. Ben Bentil from Providence. Again, I’m a Big East guy, and I’m certain I’m overrating him. His a touch undersized at 6-9, and not a rim protector, but he can really shoot it, and he’s really well put together, and will rebound. I think he’d be a fascinating fit next to Kaminski. He can guard the more post up types and let Frank freelance on defense more, and now you’ve got two bigs who can spread the floor around Kemba. Bentil is used to a pick and pop roll from playing with Dunn. Let Big Al walk, give Frank his rightful time on the floor, put Al’s money in Batum and another shooter on the wing, perhaps Lee, and move forward with a younger team that has an identity as shooters surrounding Kemba Walker
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Third first rounder for Boston, probably second for the Main Red Claws. Should be a hell of a season in Bangor. Again, I preface this by saying I think trades are on the board here. With what’s left, they’d almost have to look to stash a player. Murray is still here, and probably really valuable in this spot, but just doesn’t fit even a little bit. Guerschon Yausele is a guy who’s gotten hot. He’s an undersized PF who’s built like a tank with plus athleticism, but one Jared Sullinger is probably enough. Juan Hernangomez is probably a better fit. He’s more of a genuine stretch four and apparently not a bad athlete.
WHAT I WOULD DO: If it got to this point, you’d almost have to start stashing. Boston has two of the top five picks in the second round as well, and you’d almost be better off stashing this, and then fishing for a lower salary’d non-guaranteed guy at that point. Zizic is still available on this side, and he’s a guy I know the C’s have been linked too. That’s who I’d take. I’d almost prefer Yausele, just because he intrigues me, but all accounts are he wants to come over this year.
24. Philadelphia (From Miami via Cleveland)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: I had Phili taking Simmons first in both sides. They’ve still got to figure out what their combination of young bigs is going to flesh out into. Shooting would really help, as that’s not coming from Simmons. Wing play in general would help. However, all that said, this team looked almost passable for five or so minutes at a clip once Ish Smith came back. He’s off the books, and I’m sure they’d like to re-sign him, but with all these athletes and bigs who need touches around, I think they’ll take Tyler Ulis. The fear of the small in the league is going away. Guys can’t handcheck, so they can get places. And while you’d think the zone defense would make it harder for them to finish, that’s been neutralized a bit by the fact that the zone defense has made it hard for even the best finish wings to finish, as the whole league runs Thibs’ flood the strong side stuff. So having a guy who can get in there and make good decisions is super valuable. I bet Ulis plays and makes a real impact on someone next year.
WHAT I WOULD DO: I hate this pick on my side. Too much to figure out among the bigs to take another project. No real shooting around. Dejuante Murray is long overdue at this point, but this team just traded Micheal Carter Williams a few years ago basically because he was Dejuante Murray. I’ve already got Baldwin and Ulis gone. With everything else going on, I’d consider a stash guy but the best ones left are probably Luwawu and Hernangomez and Zubac. Luwawa can’t shoot it enough for this roster, Hernangomez is hopefully a lousey version of Saric, and Zubac is yet another traditional center. I guess I’ll just take Murray and try to re-sign Ish Smith so I don’t have to play him much. Also I can stop worrying about forgetting about him while writing this.
25. Los Angeles Clippers
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: I still have to worry about Murray on this side, but this isn’t the team. Things could change dramatically if they choose to move Blake, but I just don’t see it happening. I think they’re going to make one more real run with this group. They could really use some help filling out the wings, but there’s not much here that would work. Patrick McCaw and DeAndre Bembry have all around games that would probably help here, but they’d never get into rotations, and don’t have the athletic upside looking forward. They are, as always, thin up front behind DeAndre Jordan. Stephen Zimmerman has some pedigree as a prospect and some upside. I also think they’re intrigued by Bentil as a PF who can space the floor, and maybe serve as an emergency plan if they do decide to move Blake. I think they’ll take Bentil.
WHAT I WOULD DO: I have another guy that I like more than most, in addition to Bentil, and it’s another Big East guy. Isiah Whitehead from Seton Hall is cut from a similar cloth as Lance Stephenson, a guy Doc Rivers tried to use as a secondary ball handler to Paul. Whitehead is big and strong and fearless going to the rim, makes plays on the move, and has legit NBA range. He’s just streaky at everything. His decision making is as streaky as his jumper. Jamal Crawford’s deal is up, and that may be a role Whitehead could play.
26. Philadelphia (From Oklahoma City via Denver and Cleveland)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: A third first rounder for Philly, a team with Three centers, two PFs, a PG we just drafted two picks ago, no wings. I talked about Murray a few picks ago, but even with the value, I’m not sure I could do that to Ulis if I took him. Stashing someone would make a ton of sense, but that’s reaching now. Patrick McCaw is a pure wing who’s got the athletic chops to hang, and plays a smart game. If he jumper continues to develop he could work there.
WHAT I WOULD DO: On this side I got caught with Murray as my PG. I have the same issues with Hernangomez and Luwawau as I did a few picks ago. They’ve gotta start throwing some assets at the wing spots, and both McCaw and Bembry and fine in this range. I actually like Bembry a bit better as a player, but he just doesn’t shoot it well enough. I’d take McCaw here too.
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: This is Toronto’s second first rounder. I predicted them with Henry Ellensen as a stretch four before. Dejuante Murray has finally fallen too far. For a team this good, they’ll be hard pressed to help themselves for next year anyway. Murray’s upside is worth more than what they can get production wise. And he would provide some minimal insurance for the notion of DeRozen leaving. More like replacing Terrence Ross as he moved up. Either way that would be a disaster.
WHAT I WOULD DO: I took Skal Labissier as a stretch four who can protect the rim if all works out for him with their first pick. Yabusele would be an interesting pairing. He’s undersized, but skilled, and moves well, and just absurdly strong. I could see them trying him along the lines of how they used James Johnson in those short stretches where he wasn’t out of his mind. And he’s a potential replacement for the almost shockingly competent Patrick Patterson.
28. Phoenix (From Cleveland via Boston)
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: Another team with a third first rounder. In this scenario I had them taking Chriss, then hiding Zizic overseas. It’s an interesting roster because they’ve committed to two PGs, have a bunch of young wings to figure out. And now have a PF in Chriss and a young center in Len. They’re in serious best player available mode, unless they’re going to try and stash another player. Yabusele is still available here, and for a team that came into this draft with no PFs, walking out with two guys with such different styles at that position would be a great idea to me. Zimmerman may have more upside, but duplicates Len a bit. Bembry might be intrigueing, but he’d never crack all those wings they already have. Brice Johnson would be worth thinking about as a more traditional PF.
WHAT I WOULD DO: On this side, I had them landing Bender because Boston took Chriss in front of him. I really like the idea of pairing Yabusele with Bender, but he’s already gone on this side. Brice Johnson is still floating around as a traditional PF who can knock down a fifteen footer. And he can really change ends and rebound. He’d be good depth seeing as they had nothing at the position coming in.
29. San Antonio
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: They’ll take Malcolm Brogdon, because he consistently projected in the middle of the second round, and he can defend and shoot, and that’s what they do. He’ll probably replace Danny Green when they trade Green for some random pick that winds up winning the lottery in four years.
WHAT I WOULD DO: I’m not gonna sit here are pretend I’m smarter than the Spurs. I guess I’ll just take Brogdan too. I know there’s smoke about them chasing Durant, which seems crazy, but if it’s got any truth to it, someone like Brogdan might be able to let them move Danny Green. I also know there’s some rumors about them chasing Mike Conley, which seems even crazier because I don’t know what they’d do with Parker, but if there’s concern about Parker, and as much as I like Patty Mills, he’s only a year out, and undersized to boot, Demetrius Jackson has some long term upside at PG. And Michael Gbinijie from Syracuse could give you some back up minutes at both PG and SG.
30. Golden State
WHAT I THINK WILL HAPPEN: What does a 73 win team need? Not much. They are identified by shooting and defensive flexibility though, so I’m sure they’ll look there. I actually liked their Kevon Looney pick last year because he has some of that defensive flex to him. The also could be without a center at all next season, so maybe a flier on someone there works. I’m guessing they go with Steven Zimmerman’s pedigree and he can help leverage them when Ezeli and Bogut come off the books.
WHAT I WOULD DO: Zimmerman makes a lot of sense, but I think Bogut is a bit underrated for what he means to that team, and I think they’ll pay up on him, unless something crazy happens before then, like they use that money to sign Durant. I’d be looking more at that depth. Iguadala, Livingston, Harrison Barnes, even Barbosa and Brandon Rush come off the books in the next year or two. It’d be easier to not have to pay up to replace those guys if you could integrate a piece or two to step into those roles. I’d go with Gbinjie, who’s got PG experience so he’d value moving the ball, but still measures out as a SG or even SF, and can shoot it.
Probably , Simmons will select by Sixers and Ingram by LA . Then after first two ; Murray,Hield,Dunn,Brown,Bender seems very similar generally . First Murray and then Hield broke 3pt shooting record in Celtics workout . I think they will pick Hield , if they won't trade their right .
Suns looks like , they needs PF . But i don't think so . They should get Jaylen Brown . Very all around player and perfect fit for Suns .
Wolves and Pelicans have same goal , elite guard . Dunn/Murray/Hield , which one enable to pick .
Denver will probably select Bender or Jaylen imo . They really like Europeans players , They will love it , if Bender won't select .
Kings will jumps on Chriss , no doubt .
Raptors says , they needs a PF . So , Options are Skal or Ellenson . Skal is my favoruite player in that draft but they could pick Ellenson , who is more ready to play in the nba .
Magic and Bucks looking for a trade .
Jazz will select Dejounte Murray . They thinking Murray and Exum can play combo-guard .
And last one , i want to see son of Sabonis for playing Grizz . That would be nice .
Opps and i wonder what will happen to Furkan Korkmaz . A young talent from Turkey . I don't think he's ready , but he can grow for sure .