We still don’t know the lottery draft order, so I went with the odds for the first 14 picks. Keep in mind that this is just the first of many updated mock drafts to come, so you should expect to see some changes as we get closer to draft day (and once the draft order becomes finalized). Let’s do it.
1. Orlando – Trey Burke Michigan PG
Jameer Nelson is no longer a young player and it’s time for the Magic to start looking for his replacement. Burke may or may not be the best point guard in the draft, and while it may be a stretch to take him at No. 1, I could see the Magic doing so if they’re lucky enough to get the pick. Burke’s performance in the NCAA tournament was a great boost to his draft stock.
2. Charlotte – Nerlens Noel Kentucky C
Noel could easily end up being the No. 1 pick, depending on who wins the lottery. But the Magic already have their big man of the future in Nikola Vucevic, while the Bobcats probably wouldn’t mind an upgrade on offensively challenged Bismack Biyombo. This pick makes perfect sense, even though he’s coming off an ACL tear.
3. Cleveland – Anthony Bennett UNLV F
The Cavs have been looking for a small forward ever since youknowwho left, and Bennett looks like the best one in this draft. The downside is he's a bit of a 'tweener, not fitting the mold of a true small or power forward, and he could end up being injury prone. But he does enough on both ends of the floor to be lock for the lottery, despite the concerns. If he ends up in Cleveland, he could end up playing small forward, while his game and body might be better suited for small forward in the NBA.
4. Phoenix – Victor Oladipo Indiana SG
The Suns have all kinds of needs but shooting guard is an obvious problem, as they didn’t seem to fall in love with Jared Dudley or P.J. Tucker this season. Oladipo could end up being the steal of the draft, and possibly help point the Suns franchise in the right direction. Regardless of where he ends up, Oladipo should be an early front-runner for Rookie of the Year.
5. New Orleans – Cody Zeller Indiana F/C
The Hornets appear to be set at PG (Greivis Vasquez), SG (Eric Gordon) and PF (Anthony Davis/Ryan Anderson), but they could use a center or small forward other than Robin Lopez and Al-Farouq Aminu. Maybe they will grab a SF like Shabazz Muhammad or Otto Porter here, but if teams aren’t scared off by Zeller’s ugly NCAA performance, he could easily go at No. 5 in this draft.
6. Sacramento – Otto Porter Georgetown SF
The Kings have been looking for a small forward for a long time and John Salmons isn’t the answer. They’ll have their choice of Porter or Shabazz Muhammad here, but I think Porter is going to be the better pro, given his skill sets on both ends of the floor.
7. Detroit – Shabazz Muhammad UCLA SF
Kyle Singler may or may not be the future starting small forward of the future for the Pistons and they’re set with big men and have young Brandon Knight at point guard. They could look shooting guard here, but could also use a small forward. Scouts are leery of Muhammad’s bball IQ and lack of assists, but if he can perform well in workouts and say the right things, he could end up going at No. 7.
8. Washington – Alex Len Maryland C
The Wizards are set at the guard spots until further notice with John Wall and Bradley Beal locked up, while Emeka Okafor could be on his last legs. The Wiz also have needs at both forward spots, but do have Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker to hold down the fort, if Nene is about to shut it down. Len is a solid two-way center and looks like a fairly logical choice for the Wizards, but they could decide to turn Kevin Seraphin loose and go for a small forward instead.
9. Minnesota – Ben McLemore Kansas SG
Given the Wolves’ apparent need at SG (Luke Ridnour, Alexey Shved, Malcolm Lee), McLemore is a shot maker and the Wolves could certainly use one of those. He could end up starting as a rookie and his athleticism should make him a fun player to watch in the NBA, but my guess is the Wolves would prefer to see Victor Oladipo available here instead, as he has enough talent to possibly save David Kahn’s job, if he still has it on draft day.
10. Portland – Rudy Gobert France PF
It sounds like PF/C J.J. Hickson won’t be back with the Blazers next season and they can play LaMarcus Aldridge at either big-man position. Gobert has a massive 7’9” wingspan and moves very well for a guy standing 7’2”. He should be able to clean the glass and play well enough offensively to make an immediate impact in the league. If the Blazers do take him, he’ll have to hope that the curse on their centers is over.
11. Philadelphia – Mason Plumlee Duke C
Andrew Bynum didn’t exactly work out and Spencer Hawes, despite some very nice runs this season, still may not be the long-term answer. And even if he is, adding a guy like Plumlee is going to give them some depth at C. His offensive game is developing and he’s a solid defensive presence with some athleticism.
12. Oklahoma City (via Toronto) – Kelly Olynyk Gonzaga C
The Thunder aren’t exactly stacked at center and Kendrick Perkins seems to always be hurt. This team really doesn’t have any real needs outside of more big men, so taking one here makes sense. Olynyk might be better poised for a slower offense, and if the Thunder pass on him, he would probably be a good fit with the center-challenged Mavericks.
13. Dallas – Michael Carter-Williams Syracuse PG
Rick Carlisle apparently can’t stand Darren Collison, so much so that he decided to roll with Mike James in a lottery campaign. They desperately need a center, and I could see them taking Olynyk or another big man here, but they also could use a point guard. Williams-Carter is a nicely sized point guard and if he ever develops a reliable jumper, he should end up having a long career.
14. Utah – C.J. McCollum Lehigh G
The Jazz are another team that could use a point guard (Mo Williams is getting up there in years) or a shooting guard (Randy Foye probably wouldn’t have started for many other teams). McCollum is a combo guard with strong offensive skills and could adapt to become a reliable NBA point guard. He looks like a great fit in Utah, although my guess is they would take Carter-Williams if he is still available when they pick.
15. Milwaukee – Jamaal Franklin San Diego State SF
The Bucks could clearly use a small forward after starting Luc Richard Mbah a Moute there for the last couple years, while they’re set at all other positions. Franklin is a freakish athlete and led his team in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals. And he can even play defense.
16. Boston – Isaiah Austin Baylor PF/C
The Celtics have a problem at both big man positions and this kid can play both of them. He was pretty inconsistent as a freshman at Baylor but he’s young and should have plenty of time to bulk up and work on his game. I’ve got him going earlier than many other mock drafts, so we’ll have to see what kind of buzz he’s generating closer to the draft. But the C’s need a big man, as Kevin Garnett is entering the “last legs” stage of his career.
17. Atlanta – Gorgui Dieng Louisville C
The Hawks have need a solid big man, well, pretty much forever. They also need a small forward, so they should be looking at the best player available at forward or center when they pick. Dieng looks like he might have a decent offensive game brewing and should also be a defensive force. As a Hawks fan, I could accept the arrival of Dieng this summer.
18. Chicago – Archie Goodwin Kentucky SG
The Bulls are pretty much set across the board, except at shooting guard. Sure they have Marco Belinelli, whose middle name might be ‘inconsistency,’ and the ancient Rip Hamilton, but they could do better. Jimmy Butler looks like a better option at SF backing up Luol Deng than a starting SG, but that’s up for debate. In any case, Goodwin’s an athletic wing who could really see his stock rise if his workouts go well, but there are concerns about the accuracy and mechanics of his jumper. If he’s still available at 18, he looks like a solid choice for the Bulls, although it could take him a couple years to fully develop. It’s also possible that poor shooting in workouts could cause him to fall drastically.
19. Cleveland (via Lakers) – Sergey Karasev Moscow SF
The Cavs may be looking at another small forward here, as that is easily their biggest need, and Karasev would likely be one of the best small forwards left on the board at this stage. He’s only 19 and has plenty of upside, along with a competent offensive game. Defense is the biggest concern with Karasev, but not enough that he won’t be taken in the first round.
20. Atlanta (via Houston) – Giannis Adetokunbo Greece SF
As noted previously, the Hawks could certainly use a small forward, as Kyle Korver and DeShawn Stevenson held it down for most of this season. Danny Ainge has compared Adetokunbo to Scottie Pippen and Nicolas Batum, so I’m not really sure I need to say more.
21. Utah (via Golden State) – Shane Larkin Miami PG
The Jazz certainly don’t need any more big men, as they already have too many to keep them (and their fantasy owners) happy, so another guard makes sense. And because McCollum may be more shooting guard than point guard, I could see them reaching for Larking here. He was pretty inconsistent at Miami, but point guard is thin this year. He could fall out of the first round, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jazz happen to reach for him here.
22. Brooklyn – Reggie Bullock North Carolina SF
The Nets clearly need a small forward, as Gerald Wallace fell off a cliff this season, and MarShon Brooks may be too undersized to be a serious small forward. Bullock hasn’t really been allowed to fully explore his offensive game, spending much of his time as a spot-up shooter instead of being allowed to create his own shot for the Heels. He’s not a lock for the first round, but is perfectly sized for an NBA wing position and my guess is his stock will rise in workouts.
23. Indiana – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Georgia SG
The SEC player of the year averaged 18.5 points and should be a very good 3-point shooter in the NBA. Of course, if Danny Granger can come back healthy, the Pacers will have the wing positions locked down with him and Paul George in tow. But they’re not looking for help right away and there appears to be some concern that Granger’s knees could end up cutting his career short. KCP should have a solid NBA career and the only question is whether he’ll still be on the board when the Pacers pick here.
24. New York – Tony Mitchell North Texas SF/PF
The Knicks’ greatest need is probably power forward, as Amare Stoudemire’s knees probably won’t last too many more seasons. Mitchell’s biggest problem is that he’s a classic ‘tweener, meaning he’s not really big enough to be a true power forward, but is just big enough to be oversized at small forward (6’8” – 235). But the Knicks could use some depth at both positions and he can jump out of the gym, meaning his workouts will probably be impressive enough for him to be taken in Round 1.
25. L.A. Clippers – Allen Crabbe California SG
The Clippers have a need at shooting guard, with Willie Green getting a lot of starts and Jamal Crawford embracing the role of sixth man. Crabbe is a shot maker and has a solid offensive game, which should work well with the Clippers’ offense.
26. Minnesota (via Memphis) – Steven Adams Pittsburgh C
The Wolves have Nikola Pekovic and Greg Stiemsma at center, but some depth wouldn’t hurt if they can address their shooting guard need earlier in the draft. They could take another SG here, but if Adams is available, he’ll be tough to pass up. Adams is going to be a bit of a project, but he’s 7’0” tall and athletic for his size. He’ll need to work hard to develop an inside game worthy of the NBA, but has enough upside that someone will grab him in the first round.
27. Denver (via Memphis) – Jeff Withey Kansas C
Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee have been able to hold down the fort in Denver, and while they might be better off drafting a shooting guard, getting a center makes sense. Withey is actually quite an athlete and a former volleyball player. Strength is a concern, but if he can bulk up, he could end up being a very good NBA center one day.
28. San Antonio – Dario Saric Croatia F
The Spurs have plenty of big men, including grandpa Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and ACL-less DeJuan Blair, but could use some depth and upside in the paint. The Spurs love drafting Euros, but Saric looks a lot like Andrea Bargnani, meaning he’ll spend time outside of the paint and could really struggle on defense. However, he’s got plenty of upside and I could see the Spurs grabbing him on draft night.
29. Oklahoma City – Mouhammadou Jaiteh Boulogne C
Jaiteh is only 18 years old and as noted previously, the Thunder could use more big men. He’ll be an undersized center at 6’9”, 220, but is already chiseled with an NBA body despite his young age. He’s going to be raw offensively early on, but looks like he should already be able to hold his own in the NBA.
30. Phoenix (via Cavs, Heat) – Ricky Ledo Providence SG
The Suns could use help at several positions, but shooting guard seems to be their most pressing need. Ledo’s offensive game is pretty solid and he could end up becoming a volume scorer in the NBA. There are questions about his basketball IQ, body language and background (he’s transferred schools many times), but the talent in definitely there. I am a fan and think he could end up being one of the steals of this draft. Especially if he falls into Round 2.