Predictions

Zack’s NBA Mock Draft

  1. Philadelphia Sixers – Ben Simmons (F) LSU

With the number one pick this year the Sixers are free to select the best talent in this year’s draft and Ben Simmons is the can’t miss prospect. He is 6’10” and can rebound and score in the post like a big man but can handle the ball, pass, and run like a guard. His shooting and defense are the main areas where improvement is needed but his unique skill set makes him nearly impossible to pass up despite the Sixers abundance of young promising big man. Drafting Simmons will likely result in and justify the trading of Jahlil Okafor or Nerleans Noel.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram (F) Duke

It has become well known that Simmons and Ingram have separated themselves as the top two prospects in the draft and the Lakers will take whichever one the Sixers leave for them which I believe will be Ingram. Ingram had a great freshman campaign at Duke last year where he impressed many scouts and closed the gap on and started the debate if Simmons truly was the number one prospect. Ingram is long, lean and can flat out shoot and score the ball. When he adds some muscle and fills out his frame he will be even more of a force.

  1. Boston Celtics – Buddy Hield (G) Oklahoma

The Celtics are a very good team and one in a win now situation as they have already established themselves as a contender in the Eastern Conference. They could use a scorer especially one that can hit consistently from long range that can come in and contribute right away. Buddy Hield fits this need of theirs exactly, he is experienced as he stuck around in college all four years and has shown that he can flat out score in a variety of ways including from three point range as he put on jaw dropping performances all throughout last season.

  1. Phoenix Suns – Dragan Bender (F) Croatia

Bender has been regarded as one of the top prospects in this draft class. He comes from Croatia and is a big body at 7’1” but like most European big men has the ability to stretch the floor which in today’s NBA is a valuable skill set to have on your team. The Suns need help in many positions but most notably forward and they have shown interest in Bender so I can see him being selected here.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jamal Murray (G) Kentucky

Jamal Murray was Coach Cal’s star freshman at Kentucky this year. He showed the ability to really score the basketball in that he could attack the basket as well as shoot the three and that he has the ability to play either guard position. Murray has good size for a guard at 6’5” may be the best overall guard prospect in this draft as he has a huge upside and adding him to the core of young players already in place in Minnesota would be a perfect fit.

  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Kris Dunn (G) Providence

Dunn is an explosive point guard and those types of players have been thriving in the league in recent years so there is no reason to think that Dunn cannot join that group and be successful. He is a good all-around player solid in like all aspects but room for improvement everywhere as well in my opinion. For Dunn specifically, I believe it is important that he go to a team where he is a good fit despite his talent and upside because if he doesn’t I do not see him flourishing and I think New Orleans could be an ideal destination for last year’s Big East Player of the Year.

  1. Denver Nuggets – Jaylen Brown (F) California

Brown is maybe the most intriguing prospect in the draft because of his extremely high upside coupled with concerns that he may not ever reach the heights that some scouts think that he should be able to. Strong and explosively, Brown is arguable with most gifted prospect in terms of athleticism but he needs to improve himself as basketball player if he wants to become a star in the league. Brown has all the physical tools but will need to improve most notably his shooting as well as his passing, ball handling, and basketball IQ.

  1. Sacramento Kings – Marquese Chriss (F) Washington

Chriss was a prospect that I personally was not very aware of during the college basketball season but the Washington freshman has experienced a meteoric rise in the prospects rankings leading up to the draft after all of the pre-draft processes. He like Jaylen Brown is regarded as arguably the most gifted athlete in this draft as he is very explosive and he also has great size at 6’10”. He has shown a nice shooting touch and his offensive game has scouts raving. Defensively especially in terms of rebounding he needs to improve but he has all of the physical tools to be successful in those areas.

  1. Toronto Raptors – Domantas Sabonis (F) Gonzaga

The son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis stormed onto the scene at Gonzaga showing great toughness and a skillset with footwork and shooting touch in the post that was beyond his years. After two successful seasons developing his game in Spokane, Sabonis is poised to follow in his father’s footsteps and take his talents to the NBA. I personally love Sabonis as a prospect despite scouts concerns with his lack of length and athleticism because I feel that the high energy, intensity, and toughness that he plays with will make up for that.

  1. Milwaukee Bucks – Jakob Poeltl (C) Utah

Poetl is a 7 footer who experienced a great couple of years at Utah. He works very hard, runs the floor very well for a big man, is agile moving side to side, and does not shy away from contact. His attributes make him a good defender and that is always a plus but offensively he needs to improve vastly in developing skills especially a post game as most of his points in college came from simply outworking the opponent.

  1. Orlando Magic – Henry Ellenson (F) Marquette

Ellenson came into Marquette as a highly touted recruit and did not disappoint as he put together a solid freshman year. Ellenson is a good sized, very polished big man offensively as he has great skills in the post with the ability to score and pass out of it and has shown the ability to stretch the floor and shoot from the outside. There are concerns about his athleticism and due to the lack of it he needs to try to work hard to improve that or his defensive instincts in order to get better on that side of the floor.

  1. Utah Jazz – Deyonta Davis (F) Michigan State

Davis is an interesting prospect as he did not put out eye popping numbers as a freshman at Michigan State but his physical tools have scouts raving. He is a tall, long, strong big man who is a force on the defensive end of the floor as he has established himself as a rim protector and also has the ability to guard the pick and roll and smaller players further out on the floor. He is a solid rebounder which makes sense given his physical attributes and has shown potential to be a good offensive players but needs plenty of polishing offensively.

  1. Phoenix Suns – Dejounte Murray (G) Washington

Murray possesses great size for a point guard at 6’5” with great length and is an explosive athlete making him the ideal NBA point guard in that aspect. Murray handles the ball like it’s on a string exhibiting a great crossover and range of other moves allowing him to create space to score the ball and his explosiveness have made him good finisher at the rim. He needs to improve his jump shot but with how often he is able to find his way to the basket that is not a huge concern to some teams and he is very lean so he needs to add some muscle. He is shown that he is a great rebounder for a guard and has the potential to be a lockdown defender.

  1. Chicago Bulls – Brice Johnson (F) North Carolina

Johnson had a great year averaging a double-double and leading North Carolina to the national championship game. He showed the ability to score and rebound the ball and his size and athleticism is the reason why. He makes very good decisions offensively in not forcing bad shots so he shoots a very high percentage. He needs to improve his outside shooting as well as his defensive and passing if he wants to be a consistent all around player.

  1. Philadelphia Sixers – Wade Baldwin (G) Vanderbilt

The Sixers need guards and Baldwin is a great combo- guard talent who is still raw with a lot of potential. He has good size at 6’4” with a 6’11” wingspan and 200 lbs. Baldwin plays hard on both ends of the floor. He is a great defender with the ability to defend multiple positions and offensively goes strong to the basket and has a good outside shot as he shot over 40% from three point range during his time at Vanderbilt. He is a good passer and plays very well in the open court which is the game we’ve become accustomed to the sixers wanting to play. If Baldwin improves his ball handling and basketball IQ and polish his game in the terms of the skills he already possesses then he can be a star in this league and a steal with the 24th pick.

  1. Philadelphia Sixers- DeAndre Bembry (F) St. Joes

Bembry will probably be off the board by this pick but I sure hope that he slips and that the Sixers can keep him in Philadelphia. Bembry is an athletic wing that thrives in the open floor and is a great scorer with the ability to break defenders down off the dribble to create his own shot and finish at the rim. He has a great feel for the game offensively as he does not turn the ball over often and is a very good rebounder for his position. Bembry’s biggest concerns are that he needs to become a more consistent shooter and improve his defensive instincts.

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