NBA Mock Draft: Version 3

Steve Alexander
Ed Isaacson weighs in with his take on an NBA Mock Draft. He's got Anthony Bennett going to the Suns at No. 5
Ed Isaacson weighs in with his take on an NBA Mock Draft. He's got Anthony Bennett going to the Suns at No. 5

The Draft Lottery took place on Tuesday night and the Cleveland Cavaliers snuck into the No. 1 position, the Charlotte Bobcats (soon to be Hornets) got bumped down to No. 4, and the Washington Wizards made a big leap up to the No. 3 pick. Here’s our latest Mock Draft along with the order we’ll see them picking on June 27th in the NBA Draft.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel C Kentucky

The Magic didn’t get the No. 1 pick, but that shouldn’t hurt Noel’s chances of going No. 1. In fact, it might help his cause. The Cavs are set at point guard and power forward, but have questions almost everywhere else. Tyler Zeller looks like a nice backup center, while Anderson Varejao’s days are numbered in Cleveland, and simply can’t stay healthy. Noel is coming off an ACL tear and likely won’t be available until December (at best), but that’s not enough of a reason for the Cavs to pass on him here. However, there is also a decent chance they’ll try to trade this pick, if they can make the right deal.

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2. Orlando Magic – Ben McLemore SG Kansas

The Magic’s bad luck continued with the news they failed to land the No. 1 pick, but No. 2’s not bad. The hype machine on McLemore is in overdrive and he’s the consensus No. 2 pick in this draft, although I won’t be surprised if they take a point guard here, in the form of Michigan’s Trey Burke. Jameer Nelson won’t be around too much longer and Burke appears to be undervalued, in my opinion. The arrival of McLemore could mean fewer minutes for guys like Arron Afflalo and Tobias Harris, but if the Magic are set on taking the best player available, McLemore looks like the pick here. He might be the best two-way player in this draft, has serious shooting range, and I can’t think of many NBA teams who would pass that up.

3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter SF Georgetown

I may be higher on Porter than most other industry folks, but this looks like a perfect match, especially with Porter already grounded in D.C. The Wiz are set at the guard spots with John Wall and Bradley Beal, and have plenty of big men to plug and play. However, Trevor Ariza hasn’t proven to be a reliable starter and Martell Webster is battling free agency, injury and age. Porter looks like the best small forward in this draft, can get it done on both ends of the court, and is very versatile. And with a core of Wall, Beal and Porter, the future would be looking very bright in Washington, at least until you get into the paint.

4. Charlotte Bobcats – Anthony Bennett F UNLV

The Bobcats (Hornets in 2014-15) appear to be set at PG (Kemba Walker), SG (Gerald Henderson) and SF (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), while power forward is a big problem with Byron Mullens, Josh McRoberts and Tyrus Thomas all failing to consistently contribute. Bennett makes a lot of sense here, although he’s a classic “tweener,” meaning he’s not really going to be a true small or power forward due to his 6’7” size. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them plug Bennett in at power forward and let him compete for Rookie of the Year. They could also use an offensive-minded center with Bismack Biyombo around, which mean Alex Len is also in play. Bennett's right arm is in a sling after shoulder surgery, so he's not going to be able to do much before the season starts and is not scheduled to attend Summer League, but I doubt it will hurt his stock too much, if at all.

5. Phoenix Suns – Victor Oladipo SG Indiana

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 best player in this 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, depending on how he’s used.

6. New Orleans Pelicans – Alex Len C Maryland

Len is a big, athletic two-way center but is also injured, coming off ankle surgery. However, it does sound like there’s a good chance he’ll be ready for the start of the season.  The Hornets have Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson at power forward, while Greivis Vasquez has the inside track for another season at point guard, and Eric Gordon is the starting shooting guard as long as he’s healthy. They could easily be looking for another SG option here, and would also welcome a replacement for Robin Lopez at center, or a small forward other than Al-Farouq Aminu. If any of the previously mentioned players are still on the board at No. 6, I could see the Pelicans taking Porter, Bennett or Oladipo here. But if they’re all gone, Len makes a lot of sense.

7. Sacramento Kings – Shabazz Muhammad G/F UCLA

The Kings didn’t get as good of a pick as they were hoping for, but fans are just happy to still have a team. They’ve been looking for a small forward for a long time and John Salmons isn’t the answer. They would probably love to see Porter available here, but my guess is he’ll be long gone. Muhammad is strong and could finally provide a solid answer at small forward in Sacramento, although there are concerns about his basketball IQ and inability to dish the rock. 

8. Detroit Pistons – Trey Burke G Michigan

Brandon Knight could end up being a backup NBA point guard, and Rodney Stuckey and Jose Calderon won’t be around forever. The Pistons really could use a small forward with this pick, but if Porter and Muhammad are off the board, they’ll have to take the best available player. And the biggest question with Burke is whether or not he’ll still be around after the No. 7 pick. The fact he played for Michigan and looked outstanding in the NCAA tournament will not be lost on Joe Dumars, at least in theory.  

9. Minnesota Timberwolves – C.J. McCollum G Lehigh

The Timberwolves need wings and with Ricky Rubio all set to run the Wolves offense until he can’t take it anymore, McCollum would slot in nicely at shooting guard, where the Wolves are severely lacking. McCollum is a combo guard with strong offensive skills and could also adapt to become a reliable NBA point guard, where he could serve as a backup for Rubio. He looks like a great fit in Minnesota.

10. Portland Trail Blazers – Cody Zeller F/C Indiana

Zeller’s one-dimensional game was exposed in the tournament, but he’s still slated for a lottery pick and the Blazers seem to always be looking for centers. Zeller’s probably going to be a better NBA player than what he showed in the tourney and his ability to run the floor will work in his favor. His standing vertical leap of 35.5 inches was particularly impressive at the combine, and only helped his stock. In short, no player standing 6’9” over the last 10 years has been able to get up as high as Zeller did last week.

11. Philadelphia 76ers – Rudy Gobert PF/C France

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. Gobert looks like an impressive big man. He 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. However, he’ll likely have to play behind Thaddeus Young and Hawes, at least for part of his rookie season, if not all of it.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto) – Kelly Olynyk C Gonzaga

The Thunder could use an eventual replacement for Kendrick Perkins and unlike Perkins, Olynyk appears to be a decent offensive player, averaging nearly 18 points per game at Gonzaga last season. This team needs offensive-minded big men, making Olynyk look like a nearly perfect fit.

13. Dallas Mavericks – Michael Carter-Williams PG Syracuse

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. Carter-Williams is a nicely sized point guard and if he ever develops a reliable jumper, he should end up having a long career.

14. Utah Jazz – Dennis Schroeder PG Germany

Mo Williams and Jamaal Tinsley are in the final stages of their careers, and Earl Watson is nothing more than a backup. The Jazz need a point guard and can easily grab Schroeder at this point in the draft. Schroeder is a nicely sized 6’2” PG that should immediately make an impression on Ty Corbin and his teammates with his speed and ability to get to the rack. He made a big jump up my draft board for this version, and makes a lot of sense for Utah.

15. Milwaukee Bucks – Jamaal Franklin SF San Diego State

The Bucks look set with young big men like Larry Sanders and John Henson, and still have Ersan Ilyasova to start at power forward. But they could use an upgrade over Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and whomever else they plan on plugging in at small forward. Franklin is a freakish athlete and led his college team in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals. And he can even play defense and created more shots for himself last season. Franklin might be the most underrated player in this draft.

16. Boston Celtics – Mason Plumlee C Duke

The Celtics need big bodies, as evidenced by the fact Kevin Garnett is finishing his career as a center instead of a power forward. Plumlee would give them some depth at C. He may not be ready to start right away, as his offensive game is still developing, but he’s a solid defensive presence with some athleticism, and fits a need for the aging, and soon to be depleted, Celtics. They will also give Steven Adams a close look here.

17. Atlanta Hawks – Steven Adams C Pittsburgh

The Hawks have needed a solid big man, well, pretty much forever. They also need a shooting guard, but finding a true center should be the top priority. Adams is going to be a bit of a project, but he’s 7’0” tall, athletic for his size and should thrive at running the floor. 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.

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston) – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG Georgia

The Hawks clearly have a need at shooting guard, as Lou Williams still came off the bench even when he was healthy. Caldwell-Pope, the SEC player of the year at nearby Georgia, averaged 18.5 points and should be a very good 3-point shooter in the NBA. And I’m guessing that unlike Dwight Howard, he wouldn’t mind playing in Atlanta after starring at UGA. He’s also a solid defensive player, and really looks like a perfect fit for the Hawks.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers) – Sergey Karasev SF Moscow

The Cavs may be looking for a small forward here if they take Noel (or trade the No. 1 pick), 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 and high basketball IQ. Defense and a lack of athleticism are the biggest concerns with Karasev, but not enough that he won’t be taken in the first round.

20. Chicago Bulls – Gorgui Dieng C Louisville

The Bulls are set at most positions, especially after the strong play of wingman Jimmy Butler this season. But they could use some depth in the paint and Dieng might end up being a nice insurance policy for Joakim Noah’s chronically bad feet. Dieng’s stock rose during the NCAA Tournament and he should be a very good NBA defender, which will make him a hit with Tom Thibodeau. And his offensive skills have potential given his ability to knock down the mid-range jumper, and he looks like a nice fit in Chicago.  

21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State) – Tony Mitchell F North Texas

Mitchell is an athletic freak and is another guy that could help a Utah team stacked with big men, but lacking effective wing players. He’s another ‘tweener, but I doubt the Jazz would have a problem slotting him at small forward and turning him loose.

22. Brooklyn Nets – Dario Saric F Croatia

The Nets clearly need wing players, as Gerald Wallace fell off a cliff this season, Joe Johnson and his feet aren’t getting any younger, and MarShon Brooks still hasn’t been able to rise to prominence. Whether the answer will be Saric remains up for debate, but the 6’10” forward has a solid offensive game and high basketball IQ. He plays a lot like Andrea Bargnani, which means he’s not going to clean the glass, but the Nets should have Reggie Evans, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez to do that. 

23. Indiana Pacers – Jeff Withey C Kansas 

Withey is a deceptively adequate athlete and a former volleyball player. Strength is a concern, but he’s a good shot blocker and knows what to do with the ball when he gets it down low. If he can bulk up, he could end up being a very good NBA center one day. In short, he’d be a solid potential backup for Roy Hibbert.

24. New York Knicks – Shane Larkin PG Miami

The Knicks’ greatest need is probably power forward, as Amare Stoudemire’s legs are on their last…legs. But Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd are not going to be able to hold down the point guard position for too much longer, either, and Pablo Prigioni is talking about playing in Europe next year. Larkin is very quick and looks like a good pairing with Carmelo Anthony, as the Knicks could really get out and run with Larkin running the show. He’s only 5’11”, but did a great job of running Miami’s offense last season.  

25. L.A. Clippers – Allen Crabbe SG California

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, likes to run off screens and has a solid offensive game, which should work well with the Clippers’ offense.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis) – Glen Rice Jr. SF Rio Grande (D-League)

Rice got kicked off of Georgia Tech’s team last season, but says he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, each time he got into trouble. He’s already got serious D-League experience, where he averaged 25 points per game while leading his team to the championship, which is huge, and did very well at the combine. Perhaps no player’s stock has risen as much as Rice’s over the last several weeks. He now looks like a near lock to go in the first round, and the Wolves need wings, badly.

27. Denver Nuggets (via Memphis) – Archie Goodwin SG Kentucky

Andre Iguodala and Evan Fournier were both quality shooting guards last season, but the Nuggets are also pretty stocked at most other positions. Goodwin will have to work on his shooting and creating his own shot, but the potential is there.  And with Iguodala entering the twilight of his career, taking a wing prospect here makes sense for the Nuggets, although they could also look at a center, like Lucas Nogueira, with this pick.

28. San Antonio Spurs – Lucas Nogueira C Brazil

The Spurs have plenty of big men, including grandpa Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and ACL-less DeJuan Blair, but could still use some depth and upside in the paint. The Spurs love drafting foreign players and Nogueira is a freakish athlete with raw offensive skills. Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard give them one of the best sets of guards and wings in the league, so taking a big man makes sense. And this might finally be the year Nogueira gets drafted in the first round and shows up next season as a rookie.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Reggie Bullock SF North Carolina

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. The Thunder still don’t have a suitable backup for Kevin Durant, and don’t really need one, but Bullock is talented and could serve a nice bench player for the Thunder next season.

30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, Heat) – Giannis Adetokunbo SF Greece

The Suns could use help at several positions and small forward is one of them, while Danny Ainge is reportedly a fan of Adetokunbo. He needs to have the ball in his hands to be effective and will likely need some time to adapt to the NBA game, but he’s a great ball handler and a stellar athlete. The 30th pick seems like a great time to take a flier on him. 

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