We’ve now far surpassed the midway point of the season, and the NBA Trade Deadline this afternoon. The Pelicans acquiring DeMarcus Cousins further thickens the Western Conference playoff race, however trading for Nerlens Noel may be a step towards nabbing the 8-seed come April. Here are the current ESPN BPI Projected Records we will be using for order of the draft – http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/page/BPI-Playoff-Odds/espn-nba-basketball-power-index-playoff-odds
Enjoy this Post-Trade Deadline edition of MavsWorld Mock Draft 2.0!
The Celtics had a major advantage as we approached the NBA Trade Deadline with the potential #1 pick under their belt as a bargaining chip. However, they opted to keep the pick throughout the rest of the season. I’d still look for them to make a draft day trade, yet I still believe Markelle Fultz is the consensus #1 pick, regardless of who holds the pick on draft night.
After a season full of letdown, the Suns are searching for another piece to play alongside Devin Booker for the foreseeable future. To me, Lonzo Ball is the clear cut #2. While the Suns don’t necessarily need a PG, Ball is too good of a prospect to pass on at this point.
Earlier this season, I had Jackson much further back on my draft board, mostly due to his slow start on the offensive end of the floor. However, in the months since, Jackson has proven to be not only a slasher, but a valuable passer and shooter in the Kansas offense. The Lakers need all the talent they can get, and Jackson may be the cornerstone they need.
Malik Monk stays at #4 overall, just as he was in Mock Draft 1.0. The 76ers need scorers that can consistently drop in 20+ points a night, and I think Monk fills the biggest hole in their young lineup. With Ben Simmons returning before next season, the Sixers will be primed to make a run at the playoffs.
The Magic have needs just about everywhere, especially now after trading away Serge Ibaka. The best place to start? Get a franchise PG that will make everyone else on the floor better. Dennis Smith has proven all year that he will be a major contributor to any NBA team he’s on, and I think he’ll be a step in the right direction for the Magic.
Throughout the season, Jayson Tatum has showed up and showed out every time he touched the floor. Though he’s slipped some in the draft, it’s mainly because of the great play of Josh Jackson and the team needs ahead of him. The Timberwolves aren’t too far from competing for a playoff spot, and with Andrew Wiggins at SG and Karl Towns at PF, adding a dominant scorer like Tatum to the lineup could be the push they need.
The Knicks are (or need to be) in full rebuild mode. Derrick Rose is obviously not the future of the franchise, and aside from Kristaps Porzingis they have needs at every position. Getting a court general is a must and although De’Aaron Fox is still on the board, after hitting on Porzingis, I see the Knicks going international to grab Ntilikina here at 7th overall.
If there’s one thing I see in Isaac that I really dislike, it’s how skinny and frail he is. However, at 6’10 with the abilities of a guard, Isaac brings a unique skill set to the table. He has a pure shooting stroke, elite length, great slashing ability, and top notch defensive potential. The only major question mark surrounding Isaac is regarding how much strength can he add this offseason. No doubt the poor play of Brandon Ingram this season will discourage GMs, however his potential is unavoidable.
Here we are, past the trade deadline, and the Mavericks are still right in the thick of the lottery. After trying their best to blow this season on a playoff push, we’re 2/3 of the way through the season and still at #9 in the lotto. I think grabbing Lauri Markkanen here is a huge win for the Mavs. He’s an International 7’0 Stretch Big (sound familiar?) with good rebounding ability and good athleticism for such a big guy. Plus, having a year to play alongside the greatest international player of all time? I’m all in.
After trading away DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are now in a complete restart. With Buddy Hield already in hand, and Jonathon Isaac already drafted (in this scenario) adding the second-best passer and quickest player in this draft class to facilitate the offense is almost a no brainer. Fox is lightning fast, good on defense, and an improving shooter. He’ll be a step in the right direction for this restructuring team.
The Blazers just added Jusif Nurkic to bolster their front court for the future, and with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum on the rise, adding a 19-year-old athletic freak will allow them to take the next step in the Western Conference. The only big weakness in the Blazers lineup is at SF, and Miles Bridges is one of the best prospects at small forward in this draft.
After a slow start to the season, the Heat have gone on an impressive tear. Whether or not they’ll even end up in the lottery is questionable at this point. However, if they do indeed stay in the lotto, adding depth to the front court will be a major concern in this draft. Williams is an elite athlete with great potential moving forward.
Had it not been for major injury setbacks throughout the last two seasons, Harry Giles would’ve been a candidate for any of the top 5 picks in this draft. However, Giles has had a rough time staying on the floor this season at Duke, dropping his stock more and more. The potential is still there, however the injury concerns could scare away any team.
The Nuggets love international players and need a PF. What a perfect fit! Hartenstein is a 6’11 big with a good shooting stroke, great court vision, surprising quickness, and good defensive upside. While his game needs work, he’s a really good fit for the Nuggets roster.
Justin Patton has been flying up draft boards since the beginning of the season. The 19-year-old redshirt freshman is averaging 14 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks on 70% shooting. He’s got good bounce and mobility for a 6’11 center, along with good rim protection and back-to-the-basket scoring. He’ll fit well with Giannis Antetokounmpo and help the Bucks get even close to playoff run.
With the Pacers opting to keep Paul George, they’ll now be looking for another big piece to pair him with. With the ascension of Myles Turner, adding another Texas big man to the fold may be exactly what the Pacers need. Allen is a massive 7 footer with great length and shot blocking ability. He may be the best center in this years draft, and he’s only 18 years old.
The Bulls have a major need in the front court, and Bam Adebayo may be one of the most slept on players in this years draft class. With elite athleticism and rim protection, Adebayo could be a defensive star in the coming years. Chicago needs some help to put alongside Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, and Adebayo may be just that.
The Pistons are one of the youngest teams in the Eastern Conference, but they lack elite shooting throughout their roster. KCP is developing well, but aside from him they’re a bunch of slashers and rebounders. Terrance Ferguson is an uber athletic guard with good shooting ability. Although a rough season in Australia has caused him to fall down the board, this year of experience in pro basketball could help him in the future
Had Ivan Rabb entered last year’s draft, he was a sure lock to be a late lotto pick. However, in staying, he’s forced himself to enter a more talented class. Rabb is currently having a great season at Cal, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per contest. No doubt his extra year has helped him improve his skill set, and he’ll now be a steal for any team after the lottery.
The Thunder have surprised everyone this season by making a crazy playoff push without Kevin Durant. However, they’re still quite a few pieces away from returning to the Western Conference Finals. Anunoby has fallen down the board some after suffering a season ending injury, however I fully believe he’ll return to form and help fill the void in the Thunder lineup.
T.J. Leaf is by far one of my favorite players in this class. He’s been having a great season at UCLA, and will no doubt be one of the better players in the second half of the draft. His ability to stretch the floor, along with his improving rebounding, will help the Blazers fill their weak front court. Meyers Leonard and Ed Davis are great and all, but they need someone better.
Caleb Swanigan is the most underrated player in the class. After being turned away by NBA GM’s because of his weight, Caleb Swanigan returned to Purdue and completely transformed his game. Swanigan is now in shape, and has learned how to use his great strength to score and grab ridiculous amounts of rebounds. He’s averaging 19 points and 10 boards per game (23 points and 15 rebounds per 40 minutes) and will be a steal here for the Wizards, who are in dire need for front court help.
The Jazz don’t really have any weaknesses. They’re really deep in the backcourt, and with Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors down low, they don’t need much help in the front court either. Lydon is a good two way player that will add depth at the SF/PF position, with Gordon Hayward’s looming free agency, Lydon may have to step in at SF sooner than expected.
Justin Jackson’s breakout year hasn’t gone unnoticed. He’s increasingly becoming one of the more dominant scorers in the ACC. His length and athleticism give him great defensive potential, and the Raptors, after acquiring Serge Ibaka, could be one piece away from contention.
Johnathon Motley may be the most skilled big man in this class. He’s a great passer for a 6’10 PF, he can stretch the floor from deep, and he has a 7’4 wingspan. Motley is the leader of the top-10 Baylor Bears, and he’d be a steal for the Magic this late in the draft.
The Nets are royally screwed. The Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade may go down as one of the worst in NBA history. Instead of grabbing a superstar prospect like Markelle Fultz, they’ll have to settle for an average prospect late in the first round. AND Boston owns their 2018 first rounder too. Andrew Jones is good, he’s a step in the right direction, but the Nets need a new SG, SF, and PF too.
Having three picks in this draft could be really good for the Blazers. They’ll have the opportunity to add a ton of depth to their already good roster. Luke Kennard is one of the top scorers in the ACC, and he’s developed into a quality defender. He’s slipped some in draft position, but thats mostly due to team needs.
Grayson Allen has caught a lot of grief this year for being immature, however he’s come back strong and been a major contributor to a great Duke team. Allen plays with a fire and intensity that is unmatched, and he’s primed to be a good sixth man for an NBA team early in his career.
One of the more unknown prospects in the draft, Pasecniks is one of my sleepers. At 7’2 220lbs, Pasecniks loves to run the floor and has great defensive potential. The Spurs love to grab the unknown gems and develop them into studs, and I think Pasecniks could be a great young big man.
The potential NCAA Player of the Year sits farther down the board for a few reasons. First, he’s subject to the Perry Ellis effect. He’s stayed at Villanova for four years, which means he’ll be 22 or 23 at the time of the draft. Second, he lacks elite athleticism and length for the NBA game. While I think he’ll be a great pick this late in the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him taken higher.