NBA Mock Draft 3.0: Celtics dictate the direction at No. 1
BOSTON – The Boston Celtics enter next month’s NBA draft from an unfamiliar position of power as they will dictate the direction of how things go as the owner of the number one overall pick.
While multiple league executives insist that the Celtics are likely to select Washington’s Markelle Fultz, Boston continues to do its part in covering all the bases at or near the top of the draft order.
The Celtics’ brass recently attended a workout involving Harry Giles, Malik Monk and T.J. Leaf – all of whom are projected as first-round picks with Monk being the only one likely to be among the top-10 picks.
As GMs will tell you, the process for figuring out the draft order is a fluid work in progress. But in my conversations with executives, scouts and other league officials, here’s a consensus look at how the NBA draft will take shape currently.
1. BOSTON – Markelle Fultz, G, Washington
The Celtics need another shot creator besides Isaiah Thomas in the worst way, making this a no-brainer for Boston.
2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA
Declining a workout with the team holding the No. 1 overall pick isn’t normal, but it makes sense for Ball who wants to be a Laker … but is the feeling mutual?
3. PHILADELPHIA – Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
His shot needs work, but Jackson’s athleticism and potential defensively makes this a solid pick for the Sixers.
4. PHOENIX – Jayson Tatum, F, Duke
Very polished among players in this draft class, his versatility makes him an attractive target for the Suns.
5. SACRAMENTO – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
With Ty Lawson and Darren Collison hitting free agency this summer, it’s imperative that the Kings draft the best point guard available.
6. ORLANDO -- Frank Ntilikina, G, France
Newly installed Magic GM John Hammond who drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee, could take another dip into the international pool.
7. MINNESOTA – Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
His lithe frame might be a concern to some, but Isaac has the potential to create mismatches because of his length and ability to play both forward positions.
8. NEW YORK KNICKS – Dennis Smith, PG, New York
The Knicks are more about sizzle than substance, but in taking Smith they get both: a big-time scorer who can also play the point.
9. DALLAS – Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
At 6-foot-3, he’s undersized to play shooting guard but for a team needing of some added scoring punch, Monk is among the best in this year’s draft class.
10. SACRAMENTO – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
He doesn’t necessarily address a specific need for the Kings, but Allen’s talent is too good to pass up at this point in the draft.
11. CHARLOTTE – Lauri Markkanen, C, Arizona
A 7-footer with a really good catch-and-shoot, pick-and-pop game, Markkanen is one of the better stretch big men in this draft
12. DETROIT – Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
The Pistons need shot-makers, and they land one of the best in this draft in Mitchell who should help immediately.
13. DENVER – Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina
Lanky frame, has quick first step to the basket in addition to being able to defend multiple positions.
14. MIAMI – T.J. Leaf, F/C, UCLA
Very skilled big man who won’t provide much of a low-post game, but has “stretch big” skills that the Heat could use.
15. PORTLAND – Zach Collins, PF/C, Gonzaga
High energy talent, a strong NCAA Tournament showing catapulted him into a borderline lottery (top-14) pick.
16. CHICAGO – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
One of the NBA’s worst shooting teams a year ago, the Bulls add Kennard who was a 43.8 percent shooter from 3-point range last season.
17. MILWAUKEE – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
High motor big man with great physical tools, was overlooked because of the attention drawn by fellow UCLA freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf.
18. INDIANA – Justin Patton, C, Creighton
One of the best athletes in the draft at the center position, Patton shows tremendous promise and potential at the next level.
19. ATLANTA – John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
Good rebounder, decent scorer around the basket and defender with a limited perimeter game.
20. PORTLAND – O.G. Anunoby, F, Indiana
Tremendous wingspan (7-2) for being 6-9, would have been long gone by now if not for him rehabbing from torn ACL injury.
21. OKLAHOMA CITY – Ivan Rabb, F/C, Cal
Runs the floor well but we didn’t see much of that in Cal’s slow tempo system last season.
22. BROOKLYN – Rodions Kurucs, F, Latvia
Is on the thin side at around 200 pounds, but the 6-8 Kurucs has quick first step, is an explosive leaper and can play multiple positions.
23. TORONTO – Terrance Ferguson, SG, Australia
Spurned Arizona to play overseas last season overseas. Really good spot-up shooter, but can very streaky.
24. UTAH – D.J. Wilson, F, Michigan
Can shoot 3’s, has a 7-3 wing span and blocks shots. Look for Wilson’s stock to rise as the workout season heats up.
25. ORLANDO – Jonathan Jeanne, C, France
There will be comparisons to fellow Frenchman Rudy Gobert, but the 7-2 Jeanne is a far more skilled player offensively who has 3-point range.
26. PORTLAND – Harry Giles, F, Duke
After having done little during freshman year at Duke, Giles’ potential makes him a high-reward, low-risk target at this point in the draft.
27. BROOKLYN – Jordan Bell, PF/C, Oregon
The Nets’ identity going forward is that of being a scrappy bunch. Bell’s style of play seems a natural fit.
28. LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Bam Adebayo, F, Kentucky
One of the nation’s best on the offensive glass, his defense and scoring outside the paint leave a lot to be desired.
29. SAN ANTONIO – Derrick White, G, Colorado
Unheralded recruit on every level, White’s below-the-radar rise makes him yet another ideal late first-round fit for the Spurs.
30. UTAH -- Tyler Lydon, SF, Syracuse
The lack of physical strength is a concern, but Lydon’s strength – shooting the ball – makes selecting him at this point a worthwhile gamble.