Wednesday, November 18th, the NBA draft will be here, as 60 young men’s lives will forever change, as they will achieve their lifelong dream of being drafted to an NBA team. This mock draft of mine will give you guys an idea of what draft night could look like, as I will be doing my mock draft 1.0 with trades.
Who will be trade-up candidates? Who will trade down? What’s your favorite team’s biggest draft need? What’s my opinion on certain players? You’ll find out below, as I invite you to get comfy, take a few minutes longer on your break at work, stay in bed, get comfortable on that toilet, sit back, relax, enjoy some snacks, and enjoy!
Pick 1. Timberwolves: SG, Anthony Edwards
I think pick one could be up for grabs, as Minnesota would be willing to send the pick away for a player like Devin Booker, reuniting him with his best friends of D’Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns, but that won’t happen, and they won’t have a trade that’s attractive enough to part with the pick.
One could make a case for Lamelo Ball here and argue he’s the best player in the draft, but I’m bringing fit into the equation a little here. The Timberwolves just acquired Russell, so they won’t take Ball here, as he would take the ball out of his hands more often.
At 6’5 225 pounds, Edwards already has an NBA ready body, as he can step in right away and be a go-to scorer, and has the frame to be a solid defender with some work. His athleticism, size, and offensive scoring prowess reminds me of Victor Oladipo, as I think that’s a solid comp.
Don’t pay attention to his shooting numbers in college, he had to do what seemed like everything for the Bulldogs last season. All of a sudden, the Timberwolves have a big-3 of Towns, Russell, and Edwards, a very bright future.
Pick 2. Knicks: PG, Lamelo Ball
We have a trade to announce, as the New York Knicks trade the Golden State Warriors (Who will actively be shopping the pick) Mitchell Robinson and the 8th overall pick, for the second overall pick.
The Warriors number one need overall is a big man down low and they land the athletic Robinson, who’s one of the better young centers in the game. With fluid athleticism, a shot-blocking prowess, and the potential to spread the floor from mid-range, and if in the gym with Steph and Klay, maybe three-point land for Robinson.
Why does New York make the trade? New York is desperate to land a franchise player, as they proved they can’t attract any with TWO max slots available. Their best bet is trading for one, with their young assets and 8th overall pick. Ball is a player a franchise can build around, as at 6’7 he can do it all from passing, rebounding, and scoring, being a triple-double threat each time he steps onto the floor and is a threat to lead the league in assists his rookie season.
Pick 3. Hornets: C, James Wiseman
Charlotte fills a need at center, as they select the former first ranked player in the nation in James Wiseman. We have limited film of him in college, which is a shame, but in limited time, we saw why he was so highly coveted, as he’s the perfect modern day NBA big man.
At 7’1, 240 pounds, with a 7’6 wingspan, Wiseman has a throwback center measurables, but has elite athleticism and skill for his size. Down low, he can score well, using his size and athleticism, and once he finds a go-to move down low, will be even more of a problem when posting up.
Defensively down low, his huge wingspan is a problem for opponents, as he can block and alter most shots. But what makes him special is what he can do away from the paint as well, as he is athletic and long enough to stay with perimeter players momentarily if switched onto them, and on offense, he has a nice shot that can expand to three-point range and can put the ball on the ground and has a good enough of a handle to score from the wing. My NBA comparison to him is a taller, more athletic Deandre Ayton.
Pick 4. Cavaliers: SF, Deni Avidja
We have another trade to announce, as Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers get aggressive, and trade pick five, and Kevin Porter Jr. to Chicago for pick four overall, to get their guy in Avidja.
At 6’8, 210 pounds with a 6’9.5 wingspan, Avidja has the Luka Doncic point forward measurables. I’ve seen some mocks have Cleveland select a guy like Toppin pick five overall, but with Kevin Love, Andre Drummond, Larry Nance Jr., and Tristan Thompson on the roster, adding a big man like Toppin just creates a logjam at the position.
So why does Cleveland get so aggressive for Avidja?? I’m warning you guys now, during the draft process, and after workouts, teams are going to fall in LOVE with him, as he can play the 1-4 positions.
He’s the second-best passer in the draft behind Ball, and is very crafty with how he approaches the game, whether that’s creative passes or unorthodox ways to score the ball. He’s good with the ball in his hands as the primary ball-handler, good off the ball as well as he’s a good slasher and spot-up shooter, along with being effective in transition.
Some may think trading away Kevin Porter Jr. to move up just one spot in the draft is a lot, but there’s a big difference between Avidja’s impact and potential upside, and a guy like Isaac Okoro. He has an upside of Luka and a floor of Danilo Gallinari.
Pick 5. Bulls: SF, Isaac Okoro
Chicago flips the fourth overall pick for Kevin Porter Jr. and Isaac Okoro, taking advantage of Cleveland’s aggressiveness, in pursuit to land the next Doncic. Chicago could get a big man here, but I think they’ll stay patient with their young frontcourt of Lauri Markannen and Wendell Carter Jr.
Otto Porter Jr. isn’t the future at the SF position for the Bulls, as Okoro makes sense here. Okoro, in my opinion, is the best perimeter defender in the draft, with the potential to be the best overall defender in the draft when it’s all said and done thanks to his NBA ready frame and versatility.
Okoro is raw on the offensive side of the ball but has a high upside if he can develop a consistent shot. A solid NBA comparison for Okoro is the Celtics Jaylen Brown, who shot just .294% from three at California before entering the draft.
Pick 6. Kings: C, Onyeka Okongwu
Another trade! The Kings move on from Buddy Hield, as they continue their rebuild, by trading Hield and pick 12th overall to the Hawks for pick six, Kevin Hueter, and pick 50 of the draft as well.
Atlanta takes advantage of Hield’s disappearing role with the Kings, as they pair the former Oklahoma Sooner, that is a 20 point per game scorer, in the same backcourt with another Sooner legend, Trae Young, forming an exciting offensive explosion in the backcourt in Atlanta.
Hield’s time in Sacramento is running out, as the writing is on the wall. They flip him for Okongwu, who athletically reminds me of Bam Adebayo with his versatility. The Kings needs a true center, as Bagley is more of a PF, Giles potentially won’t be on the team next season, and isn’t the long term option at center, and Richaun Holes is just a guy.
Pairing Okongwu with Bagley forms a very athletic and dynamic frontcourt. Okongwu is probably the best, and for sure the most proven rim protector in the draft, as he averaged 2.7 blocks his freshman season at USC.
He also is athletic enough to stick to guys on the perimeter when in a switching situation, just like Adebayo, and on offense can handle the ball well for his size. He needs to work on his shot a bit more to be a threat outside of the post, but shows promise there.
From day one, while still being raw, you’ll see a very energetic, versatile, and explosive big man that can hold his own on guards in switching situations, while being an elite rim protector. A skillset similar to Adebayo’s will make scouts and GM’s salivate.
Pick 7. Celtics: PF, Obi Toppin
Boston trades picks 14, 26, and 30 to the Detroit Pistons for pick seven in the draft. First off, why would both of these teams make this trade? Boston has potentially 14 players under contract carrying over into next season, and not only do they not have any need for three first round picks as a contending team, but they simply don’t have any room either.
Detroit on the other hand only has nine players potentially under contract heading into next season, and in the middle of a rebuild, would covet having three first-round picks to work with. Three first-round picks to move up seven spots seems like a lot, but Danny Ainge collected these picks for a reason, to move up into the draft for a difference-maker, or trade for a proven veteran.
Either way, a contending Celtics team with no roster room isn’t going to use all three of their draft picks on draft day. Talk about a difference-maker, college basketball’s best player last season, Obi Toppin still available here at seven overall just feels wrong. If a dynamic player like Toppin is available, Danny Ainge will have no problem parting with the picks.
Toppin’s NBA comparison’s to me is Amare Stoudemire, or a little less athletic Blake Griffin. Toppin is going to have his limitations, especially on defense, but is a dynamic athlete that is a force to be reckoned with in the air, and in transition.
He also has a smooth shot and will be able to stretch the floor well. He would fit in well with Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum at the power forward position, but in my opinion with the way the league is headed, could be a serviceable small-ball five, especially if the team is sold at a player like Grant Williams playing the Power Forward spot.
Pick 8. Warriors: G, Tyrese Haliburton
After trading away the second overall pick in the draft, Golden State added a center, which was a huge need, and they use pick eight of the draft to select Tyrese Haliburton from Iowa State, who in my opinion is the best player available.
Haliburton can back up Steph Curry and facilitate the offense while he gets a breather (6.5 assists last season), but he can also play alongside him, and play off the ball (he shot 41% from three-point range last season).
Haliburton adds to his versatility, as his 2.5 steals a game last season for the Cyclones shows us that he is a next level defender, guarding on the ball, and playing the passing lanes, as he uses his length on his 6’5 175-pound body with a 7-foot wingspan, very well. He reminds me of Dejounte Murray.
Pick 9. Wizards: G, R.J. Hampton
The Wizards would love to see a big man fall to them here at nine, but Wiseman, Okongwu, and Toppin are already spoken for. In this situation, Washington takes Hampton here, who has the highest upside of all the remaining players on the board.
Drafting a guard when you have John Wall and Bradley Beal sounds like a head-scratching move, but drafting the best player available, who has the highest upside of all the remaining players available, adding into the equation the uncertain future surrounding their backcourt, it’s a great draft selection.
My pro comparison for him is one you haven’t probably heard yet and may sound strange, but he’s a taller & lankier Russell Westbrook when he entered the league. He currently stands in at 6’5 175 pounds, while the aforementioned Westbrook was 6’3 190 pounds his rookie season.
The comparison sounds strange, but both are combo guards that use their speed and athleticism to their advantage, and like Hampton, scouts really didn’t know which guard spot Westbrook would play, and like Westbrook, Hampton’s biggest need for improvement in order to the next step, is his shooting ability.
Pick 10. Suns: PG, Killian Hayes
Like D’Angelo Russell (My pro comp for Hayes), Hayes is a 6’5, smooth, left-handed point guard who makes up for their lack of elite athleticism, with a unique, smooth, and crafty approach to the game.
He’s really left hand dominant, but is a very good passer, especially off of the pick and roll, as he would feast alongside Deandre Ayton. Speaking of fit, Hayes would also be a good fit alongside Booker, as he, like Russell, can play the shooting guard position as well, with what appears to be a promising jump shot if he can work on his consistency from three-point land.
His ceiling improves dramatically if he can become more comfortable and consistent from that range, as he’s more apt to get to the basket and shoot crafty layups or score from midrange using a good floater, or his step back, which appears to be his favorite move.
He currently lacks the ability to create open looks for himself, as he uses screens, but excels in creating for others, and could be much more dangerous the more he trusts his shot from long range.
Pick 11. Spurs: SG, Devin Vassell
The Spurs could go multiple routes here, but they take Vassell, who I think is the best player available, and is a talented wing that the Spurs needed, considering the future of Demar Derozan on this team looks bleak.
At 6’7, with a 6’10 wingspan, Vassell proves to be a good defensive, sharpshooting wingman, or what some people like to call, your typical 3&D player. He needs to add weight to be more versatile, but once he does that, he could be a very impactful guy that the Spurs would LOVE.
He’s not going to be an all-star more than likely, but outside of weight issues, he’s a very polished prospect. What you see is what you get, with added strength making him much more versatile on defense and offense.
Pick 12. Hawks: PF, Patrick Williams
After sending pick six to the Kings, Atlanta adds Buddy Hield but will take a swing on William’s upside, as he’s one of the youngest players in the draft. Williams is raw, but at 6’8 225 pounds, Williams has the potential to be one of the better modern power forwards in the league.
He is a good athlete, who shows great promise on the defensive side of the ball, as he averaged a steal and a block apiece in college last season, showcasing a high basketball IQ, and an ability to guard wing players as well.
His shot looks promising, as he should be able to spread the floor with more work on his shot. A potential Hawks lineup of Trae Young, Buddy Hield, De’Andre Hunter, Patrick Williams, and John Collins during certain stretches, looks very very intriguing.
Pick 13. Pelicans: SF, Saddiq Bey
Like Devin Vassell, Saddiq Bey is your typical 3&D wingman, that will slot in nicely around Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson, to help spread the floor. Look, you can never not have enough shooters in the NBA, but on top of that, JJ Redick isn’t getting younger, as Bey can fill in the role he provides when it’s time.
While unlike Vassell, Bey comes into the NBA with a more mature body, ready for the league, but also shows less upside and athleticism than Vassell. There’s a lot of high upside, and riskier picks ahead of Bey, but he’s safer than most of them. You know what you’re going to get.
Pick 14. Pistons: G, Cole Anthony
After trading down with Boston, Detroit still ends up with the 2nd overall recruit out of high school heading into his freshman year, Cole Anthony. Anthony’s stock took a hit in what was an off-year for the Tar Heel program in general but is worth the risk here at 14.
With Reggie Jackson now gone, and Derrick Rose not being the future at point guard with the team, the Pistons can develop and groom Anthony up until the trade deadline, or until he’s ready, and trade Rose then. This player comparison may seem weird, but my comp for Anthony is Lou Williams. Like Anthony, Williams isn’t a true point guard but isn’t big enough to play the shooting guard position. However, something that both players can do is score, and score in bunches, as Anthony could win some 6th man of the year awards if he can’t develop into being a true point guard.
Pick 15. Magic: G, Tyrese Maxey
Like RJ Hampton and Anthony above him, deciding which position he’s best suited to play will take some time. I think day one he will be more ready to play off the ball at the shooting guard position, but I think I’ve seen enough to believe that with his speed and athleticism, Maxey can be the starting point guard for this Magic squad, who has the veteran DJ Augustin, and the high risk, developmental guard in Markelle Fultz at that position.
At 200 pounds, he has a solid NBA body, and his strength and length will allow him to have success guarding both guard positions. His quick and fluid shooting stroke shows that he has the potential to be a difference-maker from three, although he didn’t shoot the ball well as a spot up shooter from three last season, shooting just 29.2% from three at Kentucky last season.
He lacked consistency last season and looked uncomfortable playing off the ball, which gives me the inkling that he’s a more natural point guard, as he’s a quick decision-maker with the ball in his hands, but will need to play with more control to be a ball-dominant playmaker at the next level. He reminds me of a taller, longer, stronger, Collin Sexton.
16. Trailblazers: SG, Aaron Nesmith
Like I said earlier, you can never not have enough shooters, and Nesmith just might be the best pure shooter in the draft. He only played 14 games at Vanderbilt, but averaged a whooping .522% from three point range last season, while shooting 8.2 threes a game in that limited action.
But he’s more than a one-trick pony, as he showed promise in his college career at rebounding the ball, as he averaged 5.3 in two seasons at Vandy, and also showed he can be a 3&D wing with his 1.4 steals per game last season as well.
His playstyle and build reminds me of a Buddy Hield, as they are both not elite athletes, but both have a dangerously confident shooting stroke, with the ability to grab five rebounds a game, and put the ball on the floor, and create for themselves and others at times as well.
Like Nesmith, Hield also swiped just over one steal a game in his college career as well, with a career average of 1.3, making this player comparison a pretty solid one in my opinion. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will love dishing the ball to Nesmith, out of their drive, as they try to attack and score in iso situations.
Pick 17. Timberwolves: PF, Precious Achiuwa
After using their first overall pick on shooting guard Anthony Edwards, the Timberwolves select what would be their biggest need, which is at the Power Forward position. Achiuwa was the leader of the Memphis Tigers team when Wiseman left, as he used his elite athletic profile to showcase why he’s a first-round pick.
He has a great body for the league, standing in at 6’9 225 pounds, with a 7’2 wingspan, and has room to grow. He’s uber-athletic, with a crazy bounce that gives him good success above the rim, but he’s also capable of guarding wing players in iso situations and can hang with guards in switching situations with his appropriate speed and good length.
Along with guarding inside and out, Achiuwa shows promise at being a stretch 4 that can shoot the ball facing up from midrange and can potentially be a thing from three, as he shot .325% his lone season at Memphis. If he can reach his upside, he can have an impact similar to Serge Ibaka, who has a similar build and versatility that Achiuwa brings.
Pick 18. Mavericks: PG, Kira Lewis Jr.
Kira Lewis Jr. is the best player available, and if he gets taken above a few guards above him, like Tyrese Maxey, Cole Anthony, and RJ Hampton, I wouldn’t be shocked. He took a massive step forward in his sophomore season, as he averaged 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per contest while shooting 36.6 percent from three.
He’s the fastest player in the draft, with a good handle that relies on a change of speed and direction to get to the rim, and is creative at scoring inside, and can stop and shoot a nice floater before then as well.
The Mavericks need a point guard, but he’s also a good player to play off the ball, for when they want Luka bringing the ball down, as he can move without the ball well and put himself in position to score that way, and his 36.6% shooting from 3 suggests he can be a good spot-up shooter as well. With some added weight and more body control, he will be a solid starter for this Mavs team, as he can run an offense, and play alongside Luka while he runs it.
Pick 19. Nets: SG, Josh Green
Josh Green’s draft spot in mock drafts are all over the place, but I like where I have him slotted here. Green was a highly sought after five-star prospect from IMG Academy, who was simply just inconsistent his freshman season at Arizona.
At 6’6 210 pounds, Green shows off a promising frame with a 6’10 wingspan, with good athleticism. He averaged 12 points per game, along with 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.5 steals a game, on 36.1% shooting from three.
He’s sort of a “Blank canvas” prospect, as he has good measurables and skills that an NBA team can use to mold to their liking, as he has a chance to be a really athletic 3&D wing alongside KD & Kyrie if he improves and develops. My NBA comp for him would be a more fluid and athletic Kevin Knox, who’s 6’7 215 pounds, with a 6’11 wingspan.
Pick 20. Heat: PF, Jalen Smith
It’s no secret that Miami will be looking for a more athletic and dynamic big man to either back up Bam Adebayo, or in some situations, play alongside him. Smith, who’s 6’10 225 pounds (Will need to add some weight), averaged 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game, while shooting a staggering 36.8 percent from three, which will make scouts drool over what he can bring to the table.
He’s a good rim runner, and will be utilized heavily in the pick and roll, with his ability to catch alley-oops, but can also pop out after a hard screen and hit the mid-range jumper, as he has a solid shooting stroke, and can even stretch the floor from three-point land.
On defense, he uses his wingspan and athleticism to be a shot-blocking menace, as he’s a top 3 shot-blocker in the draft. He’s not as fluid of an athlete as Wiseman or Okongwu is, as they can switch on guards and put the ball on the floor with more ease than Smith, but at pick 20, he can do a majority of the things they can do, but at a much more discounted price.
Pick 21. 76ers: PG, Tyrell Terry
The more I watch clips of Terry and read up on what he brings, the more I like him. At 6’2 160 pounds, and don’t take this the wrong way, or think I’m dissing or dogging on him, but he reminds me of a Great Value version of Trae Young, which at pick 21, I think is a steal.
His freshman year at Stanford, he averaged 14.6 points per contest, along with 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists a night on 40.8% shooting from three.
The 76ers needs a backup point guard bad to provide scoring off the bench, but also, the 76ers played Simmons more at the four than in years past, so if Terry can develop and improve and get caught up to the NBA’s speed, he potentially could start for Philly.
Pick 22. Nuggets: C, Aleksej Pokusevski
Getting to the Western Conference finals last season, whoever the Nuggets draft right here won’t see the floor probably to make an impact on a championship-contending squad, which means they could ship this player away for a more immediate impact type of player, and if a guy like TJ Warren could be traded for “Cash Considerations” on draft night, I’m sure pick 22 could land them just that.
But I have them keeping the pick here and drafting a Nuggets esque developmental pick here with Pokusevski, who, if I had to compare him to anyone in the NBA, it would be Bol Bol, as he’s 7 foot tall, and rail-thin at just over 200 pounds, but has freakish ball skills for a guy his size and offers one of the highest upsides in the whole draft.
Pick 23. Jazz: PF, Isiah Stewart
Much has been said about Stewart’s lack of upside, as he’s more of a throwback type of player, and how he’s a second-round prospect, but guys… the dude can just flat out hoop.
The former 3rd ranked player in the nation produced in his lone season at Washington, as he scored 17 points a game, grabbed 8.8 rebounds a game, and had 2.1 blocks per game as well.
If you look up Utah’s roster, you’ll see they need a power forward in the worst way, as they probably miss Derrick Favors, who is now a Pelican, but Stewart’s draft comparison is just that, a Derrick Favors. Pick 22 you get the high upside pick, pick 23 you get the more instant production.
Pick 24. Bucks: PG, Theo Maledon
The Bucks could use another guard off the bench, and Maledon also possesses one of the highest upsides still available in the draft, as at 6’5 190 pounds, with a 6’9 wingspan, Maledon has some exciting tools as a combo guard.
He has the adequate length to be a pest on defense, and be versatile on that side of the ball, guarding both guard positions.
On offense, he appears very controlled and makes the right reads in pick and roll situations, as he attacks the defense well. He can fit the ball into some tight windows to make the right pass, and that passing mentality and craftiness show he can be a true point guard. There are fewer questions about where he will play at the next level than some of the other guards taken above him.
He lacks elite quickness and the ability to break down defenders and create space for himself, but he uses his length to his advantage, as he can get around defenders and use the length to score, as he shot 57% from the field around the restricted area, as he’s a crafty finisher.
He has the potential to be a solid shooter, as he has a solid looking form, and has the length to shoot over people, as my only bugaboo with him is the fact that he can’t shoot off the dribble as well as I’d like, which has caused him to be a little two dimensional in his production on offense. My draft comparison for him would be Dante Exum.
Pick 25. Thunder: SF, Jaden McDaniels
For a rebuilding team like the Thunder, drafting a player with the highest upside at this point in the draft seems to be the only correct move. McDaniels was a former five-star recruit out of high school but didn’t show much his freshman season at Washington, as he had a very disappointing season.
At 6’9 and just around 200 pounds, McDaniels was drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant out of high school, as he’s tall, lanky, with a smooth, good handle, as he flashed a high scoring and defensive potential due to his athlete athleticism. He’s super raw and is more of a “Blank canvas” prospect than Josh Green I listed above. This is as boom or bust of a prospect there is.
Pick 26. Pistons: SF, Tyler Bey
With their second of three picks in this draft thanks to the Celtics trade, Detroit selects one of my favorite sleepers in the draft, Tyler Bey. Small Forward is a huge need in Detroit, as their need at small forward is just as big as Utah’s was at power forward if you looked both of their rosters up.
Tyler Bey was the Pac-12’s defensive player of the year, a conference that had Onyeka Okongwu in it, as he averaged 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks a contest last season. He averaged 13.8 points and nine rebounds last season as well. Bey could be a 3&D wing, but also could be a small-ball four in the NBA, as he has a good young frame, standing in at 6’7 220 pounds, with a 7’1 wingspan. His upside isn’t huge like Jaden McDaniels, but he is good enough to have a solid role in year one and be a contributor for ten years.
Pick 27. Knicks: C, Vernon Carey Jr.
After trading away Mitchell Robinson, New York all of a sudden would have a need at the center position, as they’ll use pick 27 to select former five-star prospect Vernon Carey Jr. out of Duke.
He averaged 17.8 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game, and 1.6 blocks per game his freshman season. Left-handed, standing in at 6’10 270 pounds, but surprisingly athletic, Carey reminds me of a taller Memphis Grizzlies great, Zach Randolph.
When getting the ball down low, he already has multiple moves he can do with the ball and knows what he wants, which is great for a player his age. He also can stretch the floor, as he shot 38.1% from three last season, as can faceup well and score from midrange, but can also put on the floor for a few dribbles and get to the basket that way.
With Lamelo Ball at the point, Carey is a great fit, as he is a good screener, with agile feet on rolls, and has a dynamic impact on that part of the game, as he can score down low off the roll, but can also pop out and shoot from midrange.
Pick 28. Lakers: G Jahmi’us Ramsey
In L.A., the defending champs number one need is shooting, and Ramsey, who shot 42.6% from three last season, does just that. At 6’4 195 pounds, with a 6’10 wingspan, he’s also a very good athlete with good combo guard skills, and solid defensively, with 1.3 steals a contest. He won’t be a focal point player for the Lakers but is simply a better version of what Alex Caruso, the 6’5 combo guard brings to the table.
Pick 29. Raptors: C, Zeke Nnaji
Now I don’t know if it’s the Arizona connection or the fact that he even looks like a younger version of him, but the 6’11 240 pound Nnaji reminds me of Channing Frye. With Marc Gasol rumored to leave the NBA to finish his career in Spain, and Serge Ibaka potentially leaving this summer has Toronto looking to add a big man here at pick 29.
Nnaji led the Wildcats in scoring last season, and his per 36-minute averages of 18.9 points and 10.1 rebounds shows double-double potential, and he has a promising shot to spread teams from midrange as well.
At pick 29, you’re getting a big man that is a great athlete, that excels in the pick and roll game and rebounding, with potential to be a floor-spacing center, which I think is good value here at 29, as he could be a potential starter for the Raptors.
Pick 30. Pistons: C, Daniel Oturu
Detroit flipped Obi Toppin to Boston for their future at point guard with Cole Anthony, a plug and play big need at small forward with Tyler Bey, and selects Oturu at Center, which was another big need with the loss of Andre Drummond.
Oturu is the best center available at this point in my mock draft, as he averaged 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks a game for Minnesota last season. Oturu is a slightly less athletic than Nnaji but offers more potential on the defensive side of the ball. His shot, like Nnaji, also shows promise, as he shot .365% from three, but there is a dip like hitch in his shot which might need some tweaking if he’s going to have success stretching the floor in the NBA.
So there you have it, my first mock draft of the season, as I believe the early portion of the draft could get wild with trades, as the draft is very top-heavy. Let me know what you guys think!