A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 3.0
The NBA draft order is officially set now that the lottery drawing has come and gone.
No more assuming the New York Knicks are the winner of the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, a lottery ticket that the Knicks hoped to cash in so that they could no longer be in the NBA lottery.
But instead of the Knicks, it was the New Orleans Pelicans who came away as the night's big winner by landing the top overall pick despite having a six percent chance of landing it.
After the Pelicans, the No. 2 pick belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies; the Knicks wound up with the No. 3 pick while the Los Angeles Lakers will select fourth overall.
Meanwhile, the Celtics will have the 14th, 20th and 22nd picks in next month's draft.
The pick they are owed from Memphis will be conveyed next year (when it will be top-6 protected) or in 2021 (when it will be unprotected).
Here's a look at the rest of the first round in my Mock Draft 3.0:
1. New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson, F, Duke
Will the potential pairing of Zion Williamson be enough to convince Anthony Davis to have a change of heart and stick it out with the Pelicans? New GM David Griffin is about to find out.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant, G, Murray State
The Grizzlies will have to think long and hard about continuing their rebuild centered around Ja Morant and find a new home for their veteran playmaker Mike Conley Jr.
3. New York Knicks
R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke
The worst record in the league, the Knicks wind up with R.J. Barrett, which for a consolation prize isn’t too shabby.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia
Entering the lottery draft with the 11th-worst record, the Lakers made the biggest jump and are poised to add one of the best all-around frontcourt players in next month’s draft.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Coby White, G, North Carolina
Pairing White with Collin Sexton gives the Cavs one of the fastest backcourts in the league which gives them a nice building block during their rebuild.
6. Phoenix Suns
Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt
His dribble-drive game, ability to change pace and get to the paint with ease will be a great addition to the Devin Booker-led Phoenix Suns.
7. Chicago Bulls
Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga
While Hachimura doesn’t have ideal size, he is a tough, physical player with a strong mid-range game that can only help the Bulls going forward.
8. Atlanta Hawks
Jaxson Hayes, PF/C, Texas
The Hawks have a great 1-2 punch to build around with Trae Young and John Collins. The addition of Hayes strengthens the defense while adding another rim-running big to the mix.
9. Washington Wizards
Jarrett Culver, G, Texas Tech
John Wall’s health remains an issue, so the addition of added firepower from the perimeter is a must takeaway for the Wizards in this draft.
10. Atlanta Hawks
Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
The Hawks continue to stockpile talent with the addition of Cam Reddish whose size, strength and versatility will make him a nice rotation player for the Hawks.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
Romeo Langford, G, Indiana
At this point in the draft, the Timberwolves have to take the best player available. It’s Langford who may get more burn from Day 1 depending on whether the Timberwolves can re-sign some of their free-agent-to-be guards.
12. Charlotte Hornets
P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky
The Hornets go with one of the more solid prospects in the draft. Washington does not project to be a star in this league, but a 6-7 wing with a 7-2 wingspan that’s a tough, gritty defender? Getting a player with that profile at this point in the draft is indeed a win-win for the Hornets.
13. Miami Heat
Bol Bol, F/C, Oregon
His length, versatility and star potential put any and all concerns about his health to the back-burner for the Heat.
14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings)
Keldon Johnson, G/F, Kentucky
Quality pick-up here for the Celtics in adding one of the better athletes in this draft who plays with the kind of edge that this Boston Celtics team needs more of from its roster.
15. Detroit Pistons
Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, International
Extremely raw talent now, but he has good instincts at both ends of the floor with the potential to be a solid two-way player.
16. Orlando Magic
Nassar Little, SF, North Carolina
Adding at least another wing to the mix is critical for the Magic, especially with Terrance Ross hitting free agency this summer and wing play so critical to the success of teams that make deep playoff runs.
17. Brooklyn Nets
Bruno Fernando, F/C, Maryland
Adding an enforcer-type like Bruno Fernando makes a lot of sense for the Nets whose playoff series loss to Philadelphia was in large part because of how physically dominating Joel Embiid was against Jarrett Allen.
18. Indiana Pacers
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech
The Pacers shot 40.7 percent from the field and 33.6 percent on 3’s in getting swept in their first-round series against Boston. Adding an instant offense-type player like Alexander-Walker addresses a serious need even with Victor Oladipo coming back next season in good health.
19. San Antonio Spurs
Grant Williams, F, Tennessee
A two-time SEC Player of the Year award winner, he’s undersized at 6-7 but more than makes up for it with his toughness, grit and a 6-11 wingspan. In other words, he’s a classic Spurs draft pick.
20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers)
Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga
A multi-positional defender, Clarke would bring added toughness and upside offensively with the potential to impact the game as both a small-ball big as well as a wing player because of his above-average versatility as a defender.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas
Tremendous bounce for a 6-11 big man, has a great motor, good shot blocker and at this point is likely the most talented player still on the board.
22. Boston Celtics
Matisse Thybulle, G/F, Washington
He’s starting to gain some first-round traction in the eyes of NBA teams because of his elite potential defensively and a perimeter shooting game that, while it’s not where it needs to be, isn’t nearly as bad or broken as some believed coming into the draft process.
23. Utah Jazz
Ty Jerome, G, Virginia
While there are concerns about how he will fare at the next level against better athletes than those he faced in college, his play-making, high basketball IQ and leadership skills make for what should be a seamless transition under Quin Snyder.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
Charles Bassey, F/C, Western Kentucky
It’s a given that Joel Embiid will miss some games this season due to injuries or “load management.” Adding a big like Bassey gives Philly the promise of developing a solid backup for Embiid going forward.
25. Portland Trail Blazers
Goga Bitadze, C, International
Has been on the radar of NBA teams for years. Not the most athletic big but he plays with great effort, finishes well at the rim and is more than willing to bang with the best of them.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets)
Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Plenty of red flags for Porter Jr. who is a top-10 player talent-wise. But injuries, suspensions and lackluster play make him a gamble many teams aren’t willing to take. But for the Cavs who are in rebuilding mode, drafting him here is a low-risk, high-reward choice.
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets)
Admiral Schofield, SF, Tennessee
The playoffs exposed Brooklyn’s lack of physical toughness. No worries about getting that from Schofield whose ability to knock down shots and provide a solid presence defensively makes him a value pick at this point in the draft.
28. Golden State Warriors
Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
One of the better scorers from the wing still available, the Warriors need to add some perimeter scoring depth to their bench and Nwora fits the bill.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors)
KZ Okpala, SG/SF, Stanford
Explosive athlete getting to the rim, KZ Okpala has tremendous upside as a scorer in this league due to his versatiity, ball-handling and shot-first mindset.
30. Milwaukee Bucks
Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State
The Bucks add some frontcourt depth and strengthen their interior defense with Mfiondu Kabengele who had a strong NCAA tournament run that opened the eyes of many to his potential beyond just being a shot-blocking defender who is related to Dikembe Mutombo.