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Draft day is finally here. And if the various reports over the last week or so are any indication, we could be in for a wild night. The top of the draft feels quite settled at this point, but there has already been one trade made. New Orleans sent Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, the 10th and 40th picks in this draft and a 2022 first (top-10 protected by way of the Lakers) to Memphis, in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas and the 17th and 51st overall picks.
Due to salary cap ramifications the deal won't become official until August 6, which means that the two Southwest Division teams will be picking for each other Thursday night. Golden State and the Lakers are two other teams that may be looking to make moves with an eye towards adding established players who can help them contend now, and there's also the minor matter of Ben Simmons' future in Philadelphia to take into consideration. With all that in mind, here's our fourth and final mock draft.
1. Detroit: PG Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
While the Pistons have said all the right things about keeping their options open, it feels safe to assume that Cunningham will be the first player to exit the Green Room. The 6-foot-8 guard can serve as either a primary or supplementary playmaker, and he can also defend multiple positions. Cunningham does have some strides to make as a perimeter shooter, but he projects to be a quality building block for the rebuilding Pistons to work with.
2. Houston: SG Jalen Green, G League Ignite
Unless the Rockets were to find a way to pry the top overall pick away from Detroit, GM Rafael Stone will essentially have two options here. Does he go with Green, who has the potential to develop into a high-scoring wing capable of helping the Rockets truly move on from the James Harden era? Or does he go with the versatile Mobley, who could pair up with Christian Wood in the frontcourt and give the Rockets two long, athletic bigs to build around? The pick here is Green, due in large part to what he could potentially be if given room to truly flourish on the perimeter.
3. Cleveland: PF/C Evan Mobley, USC
This will be an interesting spot to watch. The general consensus is that Mobley, a talented 7-footer who has the potential to be a very good face-up five, will be the pick here. The possibility of pairing him with Jarrett Allen is something that should have the Cavaliers fan base excited. But will it be Cleveland that makes it? John Hollinger of The Athletic reported that Oklahoma City may be looking to move into this spot. Sam Presti has more than enough draft assets to make a significant move, beginning with the three first-round picks that he has tonight. Mobley's the choice here, but we'll have to see which team's hat is on his head at the end of the night.
4. Toronto: PG Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
No change here from the last mock draft, as it appears likely that the former Gonzaga standout is headed north of the border. While the door hasn't officially been closed on Kyle Lowry returning, the expectation of many is that he'll sign with a team that's closer to being a title contender than the Raptors currently are. With Suggs in the fold, Nick Nurse can stay with the dual playmaker lineup, slotting the tough point guard into the lineup next to Fred VanVleet.
5. Orlando: SF Scottie Barnes, Florida State
Sure Barnes has some work to do when it comes to his perimeter shot. But he's a more than capable playmaker on the wing and, just as important, Barnes can defend multiple positions without any trouble. Early in the pre-draft process this was viewed as a potential landing spot for Jonathan Kuminga, but Barnes makes a lot more sense for the Magic. He doesn't lack for upside and, at present time, it just feels that Barnes has a higher "floor" when it comes to his potential as a pro.
6. Oklahoma City: SG James Bouknight, Connecticut
This is the first change from the third mock draft, with Bouknight vaulting ahead of Kuminga. While the UConn guard's shooting percentages and assist-to-turnover ratio weren't great, a deeper look at the offense that he was in is required. Being in positions where you have to make a play late in the shot clock can have a negative impact on a player's efficiency, and that was part of the problem for Bouknight. Also worth noting here is that he was limited to just 15 games last season due to an elbow injury. Bouknight showed well during the pre-draft process, and he'll fill a need for Oklahoma City when it comes to perimeter scoring.
7. Golden State (from Minnesota): SF/PF Franz Wagner, Michigan
Much has been made of the Warriors' desire to bolster a roster headlined by Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson before that trio's championship window slams shut. That could very well mean that Bob Myers makes a trade, using the team's draft assets and player contracts to add a veteran who can help the team win now. Jonathan Kuminga was originally in this spot, but the general feeling is that Wagner will be the pick. And, quite frankly, he's a better fit for the Warriors if they hold onto this pick. While he does need to improve as a perimeter shooter, the ability to defend multiple positions and fit into a team defensive scheme is what makes Wagner a solid value pick.
8. Orlando (from Chicago): SG Moses Moody, Arkansas
While the aforementioned Barnes has some work to do with regard to his perimeter shot, there are no such concerns with Moody. Also effective in ball-screen situations when given the opportunity, the former Arkansas standout is also a solid defender capable of taking on either twos or threes. This is likely the section of the draft where we see teams make a run on players who have the potential to fill the valuable 3-and-D role, and Moody can definitely do that.
9. Sacramento: SF/PF Jonathan Kuminga, G League Ignite
Kuminga is a high-level athlete, but he's going to need some time as far as skill refinement is concerned. That athleticism can best be put to use as a defender and finisher, but there were also issues in which he lost track of his individual assignment. What would help the Kings when it comes to Kuminga's development would be for them to re-sign Richaun Holmes, who's proven to be quite capable of cleaning up teammates' defensive mistakes. This is a risky pick for a team that's looking to make a climb in the West, but if it pays off the Kings will have a versatile defender with an emerging offensive game on their hands.
10. New Orleans: SG Josh Giddey, Adelaide 36ers
As noted in the intro, the player selected here will be headed to Memphis with the trade becoming official on August 6. Giddey was used as a primary playmaker in Australia, and his growth throughout the course of this season is why he's considered to be a lottery pick. He'll spend more time off the ball in Memphis but that won't be a major concern, so long as Giddey continues to make strides as a perimeter shooter. The Grizzlies were likely to pass on picking up Justise Winslow's $13 million player option as is, so there's a path to early rotation minutes for the rookie.
11. Charlotte: SF Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
During Michael Jordan's time as Hornets governor, the franchise has tended to go with players whose teams experienced a great deal of success at the college level. Kispert certainly fits in that regard, along with the fact that Charlotte needs more consistent shooters to play off of LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward. The former Gonzaga standout has good size for an NBA wing, and he won't be out of place from an athleticism standpoint, either.
12. San Antonio: PF/C Alperen Sengun, Besiktas
Is Sengun the best available player on the board at this point? One could make the argument either way. But if the Spurs were to land the Turkish league MVP, he would go a long way towards helping the team address its lack of a consistent interior scorer. Sengun does have some work to do defensively, but the presence of Jakob Poeltl can help cover for that early on.
13. Indiana: SG Chris Duarte, Oregon
Duarte has seen his profile improve noticeably in the pre-draft process, going from a mid-first projection to likely hearing his name called in the lottery. Yes he's 24 years old, but the versatile wing can both score and create for others, and he's also a very good defender. Duarte having the ability to make plays with the ball in his hands will help the Pacers when it comes to their depth, as T.J. McConnell will be a free agent and Aaron Holiday hasn't been consistently productive. This all being said, it would not come as a surprise if a team in need of wing depth looked to make a deal with the Pacers in order to take Duarte for themselves.
14. Golden State: PG Davion Mitchell, Baylor
Mitchell has taken a hit in the eyes of some evaluators, to the point where he would represent an absolute steal for the Warriors if available here. An absolute bulldog defensively, Mitchell could form a very good tandem with Draymond Green on that end of the floor. Offensively there are still some things to work out with regard to the consistency of his perimeter shot, but Mitchell does a good job of navigating ball screens and creating looks for himself and his teammates.
15. Washington: SF Trey Murphy, Virginia
Murphy, a 50-40-90 shooter last season, was considered by many to be close to the twenties than the lottery earlier in the pre-draft process. But it's very difficult for teams to pass up on that kind of shooting ability, not to mention the size and length that he bring to the table defensively. What happens with the Wizards roster this offseason remains to be seen given the never-ending Bradley Beal rumors. But if they're going to stick with Beal and Russell Westbrook, it's imperative that Washington surrounds those two with capable perimeter shooters. Murphy fits that mold.
16. Oklahoma City (from Boston): PF Kai Jones, Texas
The pick that the Thunder acquired in the Al Horford/Kemba Walker trade is used to fill a serious void in the frontcourt, with Jones being one of the most impressive athletes in the class. He didn't truly pick up the game until he turned 15, which makes Jones a bit raw as far as a draft prospect is concerned. But he runs the floor extremely well, finishes above the rim and was also an effective defender when involved in the two-man game. He'll need to get better at avoiding silly fouls, but that's an area where Jones should improve with more experience.
17. Memphis: PG Jared Butler, Baylor
Whichever player gets selected here will ultimately be headed to New Orleans, and Butler would represent a good fit. Sharing a backcourt with the aforementioned Mitchell, he has ample experience playing both on and off the ball, and is also a good individual and team defender. Sure the Pelicans selected a point guard in the first round last year in Kira Lewis Jr., but that shouldn't factor into the team's thinking. Not to mention, Lonzo Ball will be a free agent. While New Orleans is one of the teams expected to make a run at Kyle Lowry, there's no guarantee that they'll be able to sign him.
18. Oklahoma City (from Miami via the LA Clippers, Philadelphia, and Phoenix): SF/PF Jalen Johnson, Duke
As he only played in 12 games at Duke, Johnson is a bit of a "wild card" in this draft class. The "upside" label tends to get tossed around quite often come draft time, and that certainly applies to Johnson. He can be used at either forward position offensively, and there's defensive potential to be tapped into as well. Oklahoma City is in a spot where it can afford to gamble on a "lottery ticket" as, unless Sam Presti makes moves that would put the team on the fast track to contention, the rebuild is going to take some time. Johnson's timeline should line up well with Aleksej Pokusevski and Theo Maledon, who were allowed to play through mistakes as rookies.
19. New York: SF Ziaire Williams, Stanford
The Knicks are in serious need of help on the wings, and that would remain the case even if they did re-sign Reggie Bullock. The issue here: many of the best options, especially for a team that reached the postseason for the first time in a decade, are already off the board. It would not come as a surprise if Leon Rose looked to use New York's two first-rounders in an attempt to hop into the lottery, with a player like Kispert, Duarte or Murphy being the target. If the Knicks have to stay put, Williams has the potential to help address that deficiency on the wing. His percentages weren't great at Stanford, but he possesses good length/athleticism and can develop into a capable shooter in time.
20. Atlanta: SG Cameron Thomas, LSU
Thomas is one of the most prolific scorers in this draft class, a very hard worker who averaged 23.0 points per game in his lone season at LSU. He will need to get better defensively, but it isn't as if Thomas was a complete liability on that end of the floor. Atlanta doesn't lack for young wings, but a few of those players have struggled with injuries over the last couple of seasons. Thomas is capable of giving the Hawks' bench unit a welcome boost in the scoring department as they look to improve upon what was a very good 2020-21 campaign.
21. New York (from Dallas): PF Usman Garuba, Real Madrid
If you like versatile defenders then Garuba, who can guard any position on the floor, is your guy. There were times when he was entrusted with the task of defending opposing point guards, using his combination of length and athleticism to affect passing lanes and impact shot attempts. Garuba still has a substantial amount of work to do offensively, but the defensive base is a good starting point, especially if he were to wind up with Tom Thibodeau. However, as noted in the write-up for Williams at No. 19, we'll see if the Knicks look to use this pick in order to move up.
22. Los Angeles Lakers: PG/SG Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois
The best fit for the Lakers would be a 3-and-D wing who doesn't need a lot of touches in order to make an impact. But like the aforementioned Knicks, they'll likely need to move up to address that issue in this draft. Dosunmu wouldn't be an exact fit but his talent isn't to be overlooked, as the former Illinois standout proved to be a very good playmaker both in the half-court and in transition. And he does have experience playing off the ball, which helps when considering a potential partnership with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. If the Lakers keep this pick, they could do a lot worse than Dosunmu.
23. Houston (from Portland): PG/SG Tre Mann, Florida
Mann's opportunities -- and draft value -- improved substantially before last season even began, as Andrew Nembhard made the decision to transfer to Gonzaga. That meant that the ball was truly in the 6-foot-5 Mann's hands from the start, and he made noticeable strides as both a scorer and facilitator. Two areas where Mann will need to improve: finishing around the basket, and playing with greater physicality on the defensive end of the floor. Even with Kevin Porter Jr. being viewed as the Rockets' primary playmaker of the future, it wouldn't be a bad idea to add another player capable of contributing in that manner.
24. Houston (from Milwaukee): PF/C Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky
The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 2.6 blocks per game and was also a solid offensive rebounder during his lone season at Kentucky, as he produced a OREB% of 11.2. Jackson still has some work to do when it comes to his offensive skill set, as he's a bit limited away from the basket, but his work as a defender and rebounder make him an attractive option in this draft class. Should the Rockets pass on Evan Mobley at No. 2, which is the expectation, adding a rim protector in Jackson would help their numbers in the post.
25. LA Clippers: PG Sharife Cooper, Auburn
Cooper, whose season began late thanks to the NCAA having questions about his status as an amateur, was electric for the Tigers. In 12 games he averaged 20.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists per. That being said, the shot selection and decision-making will need some refining if Cooper is to be an impact player at the next level. With regard to the Clippers, Cooper would be quite the departure from the point guards already on the roster. That being said, being able to learn from those veterans could prove beneficial in the long run.
26. Denver: SG Keon Johnson, Tennessee
Johnson is an electric athlete, as evidenced by the 48-inch vertical that he recorded at the NBA Draft Combine. But he's considered to be a very raw offensive talent at this stage in his career, which likely explains why few view him as a lottery pick at this point. In recent years we've seen Denver take the "slow" approach with young players, due to either injury or a lack of experience. While that process can be a bit frustrating at times, it's one that may ultimately benefit Johnson if he were to be the choice here.
27. Brooklyn: SG Joshua Primo, Alabama
The 6-foot-6, 190-pound Primo won't turn 19 until Christmas Eve, which makes him the youngest player in this class. And it's also worth noting that he was originally not expected to enter college until this year, so he's very much a developmental prospect. That all being said, Primo shot 38.1% from three on nearly four attempts per game. The Nets may not need a lot of "help" on the perimeter given who their big guns are, but the team's "big three" could all be up for new contracts after this upcoming season. Primo would give Brooklyn additional depth on the wing, and the Nets can exercise some patience in developing him should they hold onto the pick.
28. Philadelphia: PG Jaden Springer, Tennessee
Springer had a solid freshman season at Tennessee, averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 3-pointers per game. While he did shoot better than 41% from three, that was on just 1.8 attempts per game. Springer still has progress to make as both a perimeter shooter and playmaker, but the upside would make him a solid option at this point in the draft.
29. Phoenix: C Day'Ron Sharpe, North Carolina
There's a shift here due to the trade that will send Landry Shamet to Phoenix in exchange for Jevon Carter and the 29th overall pick. That deal won't become official until August 6, so the Suns will be picking on the Nets' behalf. The Nets really don't have a need for another point guard, even if he's the best available player. So the choice is Sharpe, a mobile big who was a beast on the offensive glass for the Tar Heels. Something worth considering here: would the Nets look to use their two first in order move up in the draft order? That feels like a more likely scenario than the team holding onto both picks.
30. Utah: PG/SG Miles McBride, West Virginia
The Jazz need to get more athletic on the perimeter, an issue that became even more glaring in the postseason as both Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell struggled with injuries. McBride wouldn't fit the "wing" role, but he's a tough combo guard who can defend both ones and twos. He also managed to improve on the offensive end of the floor, increasing his scoring by more than six points per game while also approaching five assists per. McBride, who shot 41% from three last season, also has a 6-foot-8, 3/4-inch wingspan, which is a good measurement for a 6-foot-2 guard.
31. Milwaukee (from Houston): SG Quentin Grimes, Houston
32. New York (from Detroit via the LA Clippers and Philadelphia): PG Nah'Shon Hyland, VCU
33. Orlando: SG Josh Christopher, Arizona State
34. Oklahoma City: PF Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova
35. New Orleans (from Cleveland via Atlanta): SF Herbert Jones, Alabama
36. Oklahoma City (from Minnesota via Golden State): PF JT Thor, Auburn
37. Charlotte (from Detroit via Toronto and Brooklyn): SF Joe Wieskamp, Iowa
38. Chicago (from New Orleans): PG Rokas Jokubaitis, Zalgiris
39. Sacramento: C Isaiah Todd, G League Ignite
40. New Orleans (from Chicago): SF Kessler Edwards, Pepperdine
41. San Antonio: C Filip Petrusev, Mega Bemax
42. Detroit (from Charlotte via New York): SG/SF Aaron Henry, Michigan State
43. New Orleans (from Washington via Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Utah): SG/SF Terrence Shannon Jr., Texas Tech
44. Brooklyn (from Indiana): SG Austin Reaves, Oklahoma
45. Boston: PF Jericho Sims, Texas
46. Toronto (from Memphis via Sacramento): SG Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga
47. Toronto (from Golden State via Utah and New Orleans): C Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky
48. Atlanta (from Miami via Sacramento and Portland): PG Jason Preston, Ohio
49. Brooklyn (from Atlanta): SF Isaiah Livers, Michigan
50. Philadelphia (from New York): SG Juhann Begarin, Paris Basketball
51. Memphis (from Portland via Dallas, Detroit, and Cleveland): SG B.J. Boston, Kentucky
52. Detroit (from Los Angeles Lakers via Sacramento, Houston, and Detroit): SF/PF Vrenz Bleijenbergh, Antwerp
53. Philadelphia (from New Orleans via Dallas): SG David Johnson, Louisville
54. Indiana (from Milwaukee via Houston and Cleveland): PF Greg Brown III, Texas
55. Oklahoma City (from Denver via Golden State and Philadelphia): C Neemias Queta, Utah State
56. Charlotte (from LA Clippers): SG David Duke, Providence
57. Detroit (from Charlotte via Brooklyn): PF/C Sandro Mamukelashvili, Seton Hall
58. New York (from Philadelphia): C Luka Garza, Iowa
59. Brooklyn (from Phoenix): PG McKinley Wright IV, Colorado
60. Indiana (from Utah): SF Matthew Hurt, Duke