- Detroit Pistons- Cade Cunningham (PG/SG, Oklahoma State, Freshman)
The Pistons have clearly done their due dilligence throughout this draft prospect as they have giving stud prospects Jalen Green and Evan Mobley strong consideration as well, but at the end of the day, it is hard to imagine Detroit taking anyone other than Cade Cunningham. With his size, ability to run on and off the ball, facilitate in the pick and roll, defend, and hit shots, he checks every box in terms of what it takes to be a franchise player. Adding Cunningham to a core of Killian Hayes, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart, and Saddiq Bey gives that organization more promise than they ever have since their last championship in 2004.
Comparison: Grant Hill/Jayson Tatum
2. Houston Rockets- Jalen Green (SG, G-League Ignite, 19 years old)
It has been out there in the media the Rockets would really crave the opportunity of trading up for a talent like Cade Cunningham. Even though that is looking less and less realistic as we approach July 29, Jalen Green is a fantastic constellation prize. Green is a freak athlete that can jump over you or finish around you as well as any prospect I have seen, he has an elite scoring package, and he has that swagger and flash to his game that will make super marketable in the NBA. Pairing Jalen Green with a young nucleus of Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood is a very solid comeback after losing James Harden. Green may not go first, but he has as good of a chance to be a superstar as anybody in this class.
Comparison: Vince Carter
3. Cleveland Cavaliers- Evan Mobley (C/PF, USC, Freshman)
As Mike Schmitz of ESPN and Draft Express says, there are three legitimate number one talents in this draft… and the Cavaliers have the one that fits best for them fall right to their lap. Evan Mobley is the best defensive player in this class, he has great length, agility, and instincts that make him an elite rim protector that can switch in the perimeter at a high level. Offensively, he is somewhat raw, but his ability to handle in transition, find teammates, hot an open shot, and his touch around the basket give him star upside on that end as well. Some question Mobley’s fit next to Jarrett Allen, but his versatility makes me believe those two will work. Mobley, along with Allen and Isaac Okoro, would add the necessary defense around Darius Garland and Colin Sexton as well as give them someone the Cavs can legitimately build around.
Comparison: Anthony Davis/Chris Bosh
4. Toronto Raptors- Scottie Barnes (PF/SF, Florida State, Freshman)
There has been this narrative for a long time that Jalen Suggs is the clear cut fourth best prospect in this draft, even though he is still in the conversation, I am holding onto my theory that the Raptors will take Scottie Barnes. Barnes is my fourth best prospect; his size, length, athleticism as well as his elite defense and playmaking in transition makes me believe he is the actual fourth prospect in this draft with a real chance to be a perennial All-Star. Barnes’ versatility on both ends to go along with his fantastic character would be a great fit in Toronto. I would personally love to see a lineup where they use Barnes as their point guard, Fred Vanvleet at the shooting guard, OG Anunoby at small forward, Pascal Siakam at power forward, and a stretch big, the versatility and flexibility Barnes gives you is endless.
Comparison: Giannis Antetokounmpo lite
5. (TRADE) Oklahoma City Thunder- Jalen Suggs (PG/SG, Gonzaga, Freshman)
Thunder receive: #5 pick, #33 pick
Magic receive: #6 pick, #18 pick
Even though the Thunder have so many draft assets and are in a very early stage of their rebuild, they will need to find a way to get young players that are able to contribute at a high level, Shai-Gilgeous Alexander’s timeline will soon be ticking. Jalen Suggs is a day one guy as he is an athletic 6’5″ point guard who can defend at a high level, facilitate in transition, can provide substance as a scorer when needed, and is a natural leader. Suggs probably would have liked to go top four, but joining SGA in OKC, someone who can be the Batman to Suggs’ Robin, would be an ideal situation for his career.
Comparison: Jrue Holiday/Kyle Lowry
6. (TRADE) Orlando Magic-Jonathon Kuminga (SF, G-League Ignite, 18 years old)
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: #5 pick, #33 pick
Orlando Magic receive: #6 pick, #18 pick
The Magic had Jalen Suggs fall to their lap at five, but because they already have a surplus of young and talented point guards, it doesn’t make sense to bring Suggs in. Ideally, they should like to target a wing or big, especially one with massive franchise upside as they don’t have THAT GUY on their roster. Jonathon Kuminga is incredibly raw, he is not an efficient scorer from anywhere, he gets tunnel vision at times, and his defensive intensity comes and goes, but his freak athleticism, shot creation talent, flashes as a playmaker, and unreal defensive tools makes him a guy with the upside they need on their roster. Orlando needs to be patient with Kuminga, but they have the time to let his talent develop.
Comparison: Young Jaylen Brown/Patrick Williams
7. Golden State Warriors- Moses Moody (SF/SG, Arkansas, Freshman)
The Warriors probably should target trying to deal their two lottery picks along with other young assets to get a superstar who can help Steph contend, but there is no guarantee that guy will be out there in the very near future, so it is no guarantee the Warriors will deal their picks, picks they can still use to get young talent that can help now and provide promise in the future. Moses Moody is someone that can help them right away as he is a rangy, NBA ready defender who can hit shots and run off the ball very well, he also has enough life and substance off the bounce where he also has a lot of room to grow as well. Moody would be the perfect Golden State Warrior.
Comparison: De’Andre Hunter/Khris Middleton lite
8. Orlando Magic- James Bouknight (SG, UConn, Sophomore)
James Bouknight helped his stock during the draft process as much as anybody projected to go in the lottery. He is a natural born scorer, he a springy and fitness athlete that can really finish at the rim, he can create from the outside, and simply take over a game with his scoring. Orlando needs to continue to add more offensive talent, they were one of the worst offensive teams in the league last year, adding Bouknight to the mix gives them that much needed scoring punch. Orlando has a long way to go, but adding Bouknight and Jonathon Kuminga to their young core could eventually turn out to be game changing.
Comparison: Zach LaVine lite
9. Sacramento Kings- Franz Wagner (SF, Michigan, Sophomore)
The league is always looking for wings that can do a little bit of everything, that is exactly why Franz Wagner appears to be a lottery lock. At 6’9″ he is a very smart and switchable defender, he is a ball mover, he can occasionally handle the ball, and he was a very effective shooter when he is hot. Wagner doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but his floor is really high. Sacramento would be able to use him in many different lineups because he does so many things well.
Comparison: Kyle Anderson
10. (TRADE) Memphis Grizzlies- Josh Giddey (PG, Australia, 18 years old)
Memphis Grizzlies receive: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, 2021 picks #10 pick, #40 pick, and a protected 2022 first-round pick via the Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans receive: Jonas Valanciunas, #17 pick, and #51 pick
The Grizzlies absorbed two big contracts in a trade with the Pelicans to get that 10th pick in the first place, and according to Jonathon Wasserman of Bleacher Report and Jonathon Givony of ESPN, Josh Giddey appears to be the target at this spot, which makes making a pick prediction super easy. Giddey is drawing a ton of buzz as a 6’8″ point guard with a talent to run an offense, ability to find teammates, and rebound. I do have questions about his shooting, defense, and ability to score, but he is ready to contribute in the league and would be huge as someone who can take weight off of Ja’s shoulders as a playmaker.
Comparison: Taller Ricky Rubio
11. Charlotte Hornets- Kai Jones (C, Texas, Sophomore)
The Hornets frankly had one of, if not the worst, center rotations in the entire league. They will need to look at dramatically improving that area of their roster to balance the team out. Kai Jones would provide the talent level at that position they need. He is raw, he has only played basketball for four years, but he is the most athletic center in this draft who showed versatility defensively, the ability to be a high level rim runner, he also showed flashes of guard ability both as a shooter and ball handler. If Kai Jones becomes an immediate impact player, it is because he plays in an offense that allows him to run. Pairing Kai Jones with a point guard in LaMelo Ball who likes to push the pace would elevate him extremely.
Comparison: James Wiseman/Myles Turner
12. San Antonio Spurs- Alperen Sengun (C, Turkey, 19 years old)
The San Antonio Spurs have a very strong history with international prospects, they also are in need for a center with long-term potential. Alperen Sengun was one of the most productive players in European history for his age, he has an unbelievable bag in the post, he can really pass and potentially space the floor, his offensive versatility gives him the most upside on that end of the floor out of every big in this class, even over Mobley. Sengun would give San Antonio the upside they need to proceed towards a rebuild.
Comparison: Domantas Sabonis/Tim Duncan super lite
13. Indiana Pacers- Davion Mitchell (SG/PG, Baylor, Junior)
Scouts throughout the league have a tough time pegging how good Mitchell really is on both ends of the floor and if his lack of height minimizes his ceiling, this could easily make Mitchell fall to Indiana’s lap. I personally love Mitchell, he is a pest defensively that should be able to guard both guard spots, he is a solid passer, a shifty scorer and a good shooter. Rick Carlisle wants to win now and I can’t imagine any other better rookie at this range for Indiana to help accomplish that goal. Plus, we have a strong recent history of the 13th pick with Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, and Zach Laving going at that spot, it isn’t out of the question Mitchell continues that legacy.
Comparison: Donovan Mitchell/Patrick Beverley
14. Golden State Warriors- Trey Murphy III (SF, Virginia, Junior)
Trey Murphy is another example of someone who’s draft stock has sky rocketed, for good reason. He is a sneaky athletic 6’9″ wing that is one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft, and shoots super efficiently from all three levels, shown by him shooting 50/40/90 splits this past year. The Warriors need to keep targeting players that can win right now and Murphy certainly fits that mold. Between Moody and Murphy, the Golden State Warriors would add more of the length, spacing, and wing depth you need to go far in the playoffs.
Comparison: Mikal Bridges
15. Washington Wizards (PF/SF, Spain, 19 years old)
The Wizards are at a weird spot since nobody knows what direct they are heading this summer. Will Bradley Beal request or trade or will he stay and try to compete with the Wizards? Either way, Usman Garuba would fit on this team. He is one of the best defenders in the league, he can guard four positions and plays with a level of energy that is contagious. That defense would help the Wizards immediately. He also has a lot of room to grow offensively, especially as a shooter and decision maker, so if the Wizards start a rebuild, he can be involved in that process as a project as well.
Comparison: Jarrett Vanderbilt
16. Oklahoma City Thunder- Jalen Johnson (PF/SF, Duke, Freshman)
Jalen Johnson is a very confusing prospect, he is a very gifted player as a 6’9″ forward with good physical tools, as someone who can facilitate in transition and be a problem around the rim. But there are questions about his decision of leaving Duke as well as his inconsistency while at Duke. Regardless, Oklahoma City is in the business of acquiring talent and Johnson gives them more high-end talent to add to their developing young core.
Comparison: Deni Avdija
17. (TRADE) New Orleans Pelicans- Corey Kisbert (SF, Gonzaga, Senior)
Grizzlies receive: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, 2021 picks #10 pick, #40 pick, and a protected 2022 first-round pick via the Lakers
Pelicans receive: Jonas Valanciunas, #17 pick, and #51 pick
The Pelicans are in a good situation at this spot, perhaps they were targeting a sniper at pick 10, but between Chris Duarte, Trey Murphy, and Corey Kisbert, all of those guys would be considered a reach at 10 in my book. Being able to trade back to 17 while still acquiring Corey Kisbert, the best off ball shooter in the draft, someone who would add tons of spacing for New Orleans, who also could have been an option at 10 is a massive win.
Comparison: Joe Harris
18. Isaiah Jackson (C/PF, Kentucky, Freshman)
At this spot, after making two lottery picks already, Orlando now has a surplus of young wings and guards. WIth Mohamed Bamba and Wendell-Carter Jr. moving towards the end of their rookie deal, it makes sense to add a young big they won’t have to pay for quote some time. Isaiah Jackson is an athletic big who can run the floor, finish around the rim, hit an open mid ranger jumper, and he is the second best rim protector in this draft behind Evan Mobley. The defense in this young Orlando Magic core would look super promising after adding Jackson to their young nucleus of gifted defenders.
Comparison: Smaller Mitchell Robinson
19. New York Knicks- Tre Mann (PG, Florida, Sophomore)
The New York Knicks need to continue adding shot makers and guards who can space the floor at a high level, even after drafting Immanuel Quickley last year. Tre Mann is the most underrated player in this draft, he is 6’4″, super fluid and crafty playmaker who can score from all three levels to go along with an effortless stroke he can utilize from anywhere on the court, he also is a very solid passer who shows more flashes in that regard than people give him credit for. The Knicks would add a level of talent you rarely get at this spot, as well as somebody who fills multiple needs.
Comparison: D’Angelo Russell
20. Atlanta Hawks- Ayo Dosunmu (PG, Illinois, Junior)
It felt like Ayo Dosunmu was being super slept on throughout the draft process, but according to Zach Harper, there is a very good chance he goes top 22, as he should be. As a crafty 6’5″ guard who gets to his spots, is a good finisher around the rim, is absolute money from mid range, and a good defender, he can contribute on an NBA roster immediately. Atlanta doesnt have a high level backup point guard, Dosunmu would have a good chance to contribute right away, he could also be a good back court pairing with Trae Young at times.
Comparison: Shai-Gilgeous Alexander lite
21. New York Knicks- Day’Ron Sharpe (C, UNC, Freshman)
With Mitchell Robinson not always being healthy as well Nerlens Noel being a free agent, who may ask for a decent amount of money, addressing the back up center position for cheap makes a lot of sense for the Knicks. Sharpe is an athletic big with an NBA body that can gobble up rebounds, protect the interior, finish around the rim, and make passes out of the post. Sharpe could be the answer for the Knicks at the backup center role going forward.
Comparison: Robert Williams
22. (TRADE) Sacramento Kings (Via Los Angeles Lakers)- Keon Johnson (SG, Tennessee, Freshman)
Sacramento Kings receive: Kyle Kuzma, #22 pick
Los Angeles Lakers receive: Buddy Hield
Despite Keon Johnson impressing at the combine by breaking the max vertical record, there is a possibility Johnson slips. The Kings don’t have Johnson a guaranteed starting role or anything, but he has too much talent to pass on at this point. With his freak athleticism, defensive motor, he would give the Kings much needed defensive depth, he also has the upside as a creator in the mid range and as a slasher to eventually develop into a positive offensive player going forward. Johnson could be an exciting athletic pairing with De’Aaron Fox in the right lineup.
Comparison: Slimmer Isaac Okoro
23. Houston Rockets- Sharife Cooper (PG, Auburn, Freshman)
The Rockets do have a young dynamic back court in this mock draft with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., but they don’t have a young player who can really distribute and elevate these guard who mainly look to score. The way Sharife Cooper can handle the ball, change speeds, and pass, he is as special of a facilitator in this draft. His lack of shooting at his height is certainly concerning, hence why he could be available at this spot, but the Rockets would have enough scoring in their core where it could open up his game enough to be effective, even if he doesn’t fix his jumper. If he does fix that jumper, there is star potential there.
Comparison: Chris Paul without the jumper
24. Houston Rockets- JT Thor (PF, Auburn, Freshman)
A very cool subplot would be if somebody paired Sharife Cooper and JT Thor together once again on the same NBA after playing at Auburn together, Houston would be smart to do that. Thor is an intriguing athlete as a power forward, he is agile and switchable defensively, he is also good in transition and has tools as a shooter. His handle and shot are raw, but the physical tools and natural talent he displays makes him a first round talent. With the Rockets not having their pick every year going forward because of big trades in the past, swinging on talent is vital. JT Thor has intriguing long-term potential.
Comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu/Young Pascal Siakam
25. Los Angeles Clippers-Chris Duarte (SG, Oregon, Senior)
Chris Duarte the oldest projected first round pick at 24 years old, which could go either way for his stock, maybe a contender like the Warriors are intrigued by his maturity at the back-end of the lottery, but maybe his maturity and lack of room for growth because of his age scares teams off, who knows? But Duarte will come in as a veteran caliber player on a rookie deal with his shooting, secondary playmaking, and physical defense. The Clippers would be thrilled to have Duarte.
Comparison: Kevin Huerter/Danny Green
26. Denver Nuggets- Josh Primo (SG, Alabama, Freshman)
We just talked about the oldest prospect in the draft in the previous pick, now we are taking about the youngest prospect in the draft at Josh Primo. Primo wasn’t insanely productive at Alabama, but he was relatively productive for his age. He is a very good shooter with above average athleticism, good defense, and potential as a secondary playmaker. A deep team like Denver could be intrigued by Primio’s room for growth, if Primo had an extra year of development at Alabama, he would be a potential lottery talent, that is worth developing at this point of the draft.
Comparison: Caris Levert lite
27. Jared Butler (PG, Baylor, Junior)
Jared Butler is built to play a key role on a good team in the NBA right now. He has a high basketball IQ, he knockdown shooter, good passer in the pick and roll, really good touch, and he can defend. With Brooklyn not having the most established bench in the league by any stretch of the imagination, especially with Spencer Dinwiddie’s future in Brooklyn being in question, Jared Butler would be a great fit as a bench playmaker.
Comparison: George Hill
28. Philadelphia 76ers- Miles McBride (PG/SG, WVU, Sophomore)
Miles McBride and Philadelphia would be a match made him heaven. With his length, intensity, and elite defense, he has the grittiness to him that would fit very well with the personality of Philly and their fans. McBride is also another playmaker capable of spacing the floor, hitting tough shots, and finding open teammates. Doc Rivers rarely likes playing rookies, but McBride’s skillset and personality could potentially get him on the court early.
Comparison: Kyle Lowry lite
29. Phoenix Suns- Josh Christopher (SG, ASU, Freshman)
Josh Christopher certainly had his good and bad moments at ASU, but he has really proven at the combine that he is oozing with upside. He is a wired scorer with an athletic NBA frame that can finish through contact inside as well as hit difficult shots from the perimeter. His physical tools also give him a chance to be a dynamic defender in the NBA. Developing in a newly winning culture with elite coaching in the town of where he went to school should be good for his long-term development. Christopher’s defensive potential and athleticism could later make him a good wing pairing with Devin Booker.
Comparison: Nick Young
30. Utah Jazz- Na’Shon Hyland (PG/SG, VCU, Sophomore)
The Utah Jazz are an aging that will need to discover gems in the late first round to remain competitive in the Donovan Mitchell era since they will never be bad enough to draft elite talent, Na’Shon (Bones) Hyland could be that. Na’Shon (Bones) Hyland has as much range as anybody in this class, he can pull from half court, hit tough shots, and be crafty inside. He will need to get stronger to handle the physicality of the NBA, I wouldn’t expect Quin Snyder to play him early, but he is a really good prospect that fits the mold of wha Utah could later use.
Comparison: Immanuel Quickley/Jamal Crawford
31. Milwaukee Bucks- Cameron Thomas (SG, LSU, Freshman)
32. New York Knicks- Aaron Henry (SF, Michigan, Junior)
33. Minnesota Timberwolves (Via. Orlando Magic)- Isaiah Todd (PF, G-League Ignite, 19 years old)
34. Oklahoma City Thunder- Jaden Springer (PG/SG, Tennessee, Freshman)
35. New Orleans Pelicans- Vrenz Bleijenbergh (SF, Belgium, 20 years old)
36. San Antonio Spurs (Via. Orlando Magic)- Ziare Williams (SF, Stanford, Freshman)
37. Detroit Pistons- Quintin Grimes (SG, Houston, Junior)
38. Chicago Bulls- Joel Ayayi (SG, Gonzaga, Junior)
39. Sacramento Kings- Flip Petrusev (PF, Serbia, 21 years old)
40. Memphis Grizzlies (Via. New Orleans Pelicans)- Kessler Edwards (SF, Pepperdine, Junior)
41. San Antonio Spurs- Brandon Boston Jr. (SG, Kentucky, Freshman)
42. Detroit Pistons- Greg Brown (PF, Texas, Freshman)
43. Portland Trailblazers (Via New Orleans Pelicans)- Charles Bassey (C, Western Kentucky, Junior)
44. Brooklyn Nets- Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (PF, Villanova, Sophomore)
45. Boston Celtics- Jason Preston (PG, Ohio Junior)
46. Toronto Raptors- Herbert Jones (SF, Alabama, Senior)
47. Cleveland Cavaliers (Via Toronto Raptors)- Rokas Jokubaitis (PG, Lithuania, 20 years old)
48. Atlanta Hawks- David Johnson (PG, Louisville, Sophomore)
49. Brooklyn Nets- Lula Garza (C, Iowa, Senior)
50. Philadelphia 76ers- Sandro Mamukelashvili (C/PF, Seton Hall, Senior)
51. Memphis Grizzlies (SG, Iowa, Junior)
52. Detroit Pistons- Matthew Hurt (PF, Duke, Sophomore)
53. Dallas Mavericks (Via. New Orleans Pelicans)- Scottie Lewis (SG, Florida, Sophomore)
54. Indiana Pacers- Juhann Begarin (SG, Guadeloupe, 18 years old)
55. Oklahoma City Thunder- DJ Steward (PG/SG, Duke, Freshman)
56. Charlotte Hornets- Neemia Queta (C, Utah State, Junior)
57. Charlotte Hornets- David Duke (PG/SG, Providence, Junior)
58. New York Knicks- McKinley Wright (PG, Colorado, Senior)
59. Brooklyn Nets- Daishen Nix (PG, G-League Ignite, 19 years old)
60. Indiana Pacers- Jericho Sims (C, Texas, Senior)
Second Round Mock Trades:
- Minnesota Timberwolves receive: #33 pick
Orlando Magic receive: 2022 2nd round pick, cash considerations
2. San Antonio Spurs receive: #36 pick
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: 2023 second round pick
3. Memphis Grizzlies receive: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, 2021 picks #10 pick, #40 pick, and a protected 2022 first-round pick via the Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans receive: Jonas Valanciunas, #17 pick, and #51 pick
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: 2023 2nd round pick
4. Portland Trailblazers receive: #43 pick
New Orleans Pelicans receive: cash considerations
5. Cleveland Cavaliers receive: #47 pick
Toronto Raptors receive: cash considerations
6. Dallas Mavericks receive: #54 pick
New Orleans Pelicans: cash considerations