NBA Mock Draft 8.0: Shaping up to be an unpredictable draft night
BOSTON – Mock Drafts always have a certain fluidity about them, but this year feels different.
The usual rumors and trade talk began earlier than usual.
And as we embark on tonight’s draft, it’s shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable ones we’ve had in years.
The Boston Celtics set things off by landing the top overall pick, only to flip it for the No. 3 pick and a future first-rounder in 2018 or 2019.
Not soon after that, Paul George forced the Indiana Pacers to put him on the trade block when, through his agent, he told them that he would not sign a long-term deal with them once he hits free agency in the summer of 2018.
Phil Jackson has said he’s thinking about trading Kristaps Porzingis and has had several suitors, the Celtics included.
And then there’s the Jimmy Butler may/may not be traded drama … this has made for an awesome lead-in to tonight’s draft.
With that, here’s the latest and greatest Mock Draft 8.0
1. PHILADELPHIA – Markelle Fultz, G, Washington
The Sixers didn’t hesitate to move up to the top spot where they will select Fultz, the consensus top player in this draft.
2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA
Trading away D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn clears the path for Ball to take over the point guard duties from Day One.
4. PHOENIX – Josh Jackson, F, Kansas
Arguably the best two-way talent in the draft, this pick may be on the move to the New York Knicks.
5. SACRAMENTO – De’Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky
The Kings need a point guard and at this point, Fox’s elite speed and transition potential make him a natural fit right here.
6. ORLANDO – Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State
Only worked out for teams in the top-4 of the draft, Isaac’s defensive versatility will get him playing time immediately with the Magic.
7. MINNESOTA – Lauri Markkanen, C, Arizona
His scoring potential from the perimeter is unique even for a 7-footer, but minutes will be hard to come by as he adjusts to the NBA game defensively.
8. NEW YORK – Dennis Smith, G, N.C. State
True competitor, has Russell Westbrook-like potential for a Knicks team that looks as though they are ready to hit the reset button … again.
9. DALLAS – Frank Ntilikina, G, International
Provides the Mavericks some a much-needed depth in the backcourt with arguably the best international prospect in this year’s draft.
10. SACRAMENTO – Zach Collins, F/C, Gonzaga
High energy role player who provides the Kings depth in the frontcourt.
11. CHARLOTTE – Malik Monk, G, Kentucky
He slides down a little further than most anticipated, but his shooting will help bolster a Hornets team that needs a knock-down shooter like Monk.
12. DETROIT – Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is expected to be re-signed, but Mitchell gives them a nice addition if a deal with KCP doesn’t get done.
13. DENVER – Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
Allen has great size, a tremendous wingspan and should help a Nuggets defense that was among the NBA’s worst last season.
14. MIAMI – Justin Jackson, G, North Carolina
Able to score and defend multiple positions, the Heat add a proven winner in Jackson.
15. PORTLAND – O.G. Anunoby, F, Indiana
He may not be able to play this season due to an ACL injury, but the Blazers have the kind of depth where they can wait.
16. CHICAGO – John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
The Bulls would have loved for Kennard to slip to No. 16. Instead they add a versatile big man coached by former NBAer Danny Manning.
17. MILWAUKEE – Bam Adebayo, F, Kentucky
For a team that’s long on length, Adebayo brings a gritty, toughness to the team that they need.
18. INDIANA – Harry Giles, F, Duke
With Paul George on his way out, the Pacers take a flier on Giles whose gimpy knees are the biggest concerns with a player with lottery-pick talent.
19. ATLANTA – T.J. Leaf, F/C, UCLA
Very underrated in his lone season at UCLA in large part because of the play of Lonzo Ball.
20. PORTLAND – Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Runs the floor well and has lots of upside, but don’t look for Patton to contribute much as a rookie.
21. OKLAHOMA CITY – Luke Kennard, G, Duke
An elite perimeter shooter can only help Russell Westbrook who could only benefit from the added space a shooter like Kennard can create.
22. BROOKLYN – D.J. Wilson, F, Michigan
Trading for D’Angelo Russell and drafting Wilson does wonders for the Nets’ overall athleticism.
23. TORONTO – Terrance Ferguson, G, International
Good pull-up jumper game, helps bolster a Raptors bench that could use a little jolt.
24. UTAH – Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU
Only 6-6, Ojeleye’s muscular 241-pound frame provides the potential for him to be a solid small-ball defender as his offensive game rounds into shape.
25. ORLANDO – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
Has great size, length and quick feet but lacks experience which may limit his opportunities to play early.
26. PORTLAND – Anzejs Pasecniks, C, International
With three first-round picks, don’t expect Pasecniks to be state-side this season.
27. LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse
The Lakers have their pass-first point guard with Ball. They come back with a stretch big like Lydon.
28. LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Isaiah Hartenstein, F/C, International
Don’t be surprised if the Lakers stash this pick away for another year or two before bringing him over to the NBA.
29. SAN ANTONIO – Kyle Kuzma, F, Utah
Shot the ball well at Chicago pre-draft combine last month, followed that up with solid workouts and interviews. Another on-the-rise prospect.
30. UTAH – Derrick White, G, Colorado
Solid addition for the Jazz this late in the draft; can play both guard positions if needed.