A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 7.0: All over but the picking
BOSTON -- Workouts for draft prospects are a thing of the past now. All those months spent by NBA executives and bleary-eyed scouts watching one video after another of some wannabe NBA baller have come to this.
The NBA draft will kick off in earnest tonight, a draft many expect will include teams flipping picks the way the Phoenix Suns hire - and fire - coaches (they’re on No. 8 within the past 11 years). In what most agree is a good, but not great, draft, those teams with multiple first-round picks, such as the Celtics, are doing what they can to unload their first-rounders in hopes of landing more seasoned talent.
Still, that was the case in 2016 when the Celtics last had a trio of first-round picks and were eager to trade at least one of them before winding up with Jaylen Brown at No. 3, along with Guershon Yabusele (No. 16) and Ante Zizic (23) in the first round. Boston may once again wind up with three first-round picks, all of whom will be selected from a similar pool of talent because of each pick’s proximity (Nos. 14; No. 20 and No. 22) to one another.
Regardless, the Celtics focus remains on figuring out the best way to bolster a roster that’s now in serious transition. And the first real crack at doing that begins now.
Here’s the final installment of NBC Sports Boston’s Mock Draft 7.0:
1. New Orleans
Zion Williamson, F, Duke
We haven’t seen this level of hype for a player coming into the NBA since LeBron James. Is Williamson potentially that good?
2. Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant, G, Murray State
It’s hard to imagine that a coach getting the case of the munchies, was the beginning of this unranked, not rated high school prospect winding up as the second-best player in this draft class.
3. New York
R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke
Don’t let the workout with Darius Garland fool you. The Knicks know who their man is at No. 3, assuming they keep the pick.
4. New Orleans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
Jarrett Culver, G, Texas Tech
The Pelicans need shooters in the worst way, with Culver ranking among the best in this year’s draft.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Darius Garland, G, Vanderbilt
There are more pressing needs, but Garland’s talent ultimately proves to be too much for the Cavs to pass on.
6. Phoenix Suns
Coby White, G, UNC
Tremendous speed from one end of the floor to the other, selecting White finally addresses the Suns’ biggest need for years - a point guard.
7. Chicago Bulls
De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia
Any team that drafts Hunter is sending a message that they’re willing to draft substance over sizzle. There’s little wow-factor in his game other than he makes winning plays at both ends of the floor, consistently.
8. Atlanta Hawks
Jaxson Hayes, PF/C, Texas
With a boatload of first-round picks, the Hawks kick things off right by taking arguably the best center in this draft who can defend at an elite level and runs the floor well enough to get easy baskets and help Trae Young pad his assists total.
9. Washington Wizards
Sekou Doumbouya, SF/PF, International
The Wizards can play it safe and go with Cam Redish of Duke or Nassir Little of UNC. But they need a potential game-changer and Doumbouya, while extremely young, has the kind of upside few players in this draft possess.
10. Atlanta Hawks
Cam Reddish, G/F, Duke
He didn’t live up to the lofty expectations at Duke, but his talent, athleticism and big-time scoring potential make him solid pick-up at this point in the draft.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
Nassir Little, G/F, UNC
As disappointing as he was during his lone season at UNC, there’s still a tremendous amount of upside to Little’s game which is why he will be a lottery pick.
12. Charlotte Hornets
Romeo Langford, G, Indiana
The ability to play all three perimeter positions not to mention being a good finisher at the rim gives Charlotte a jack-of-all-trades kind of player who can help the team playing with Kemba Walker, or embrace a bigger role if Walker signs elsewhere.
13. Miami Heat
Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga
He is a tough, gritty player who shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range last season, with a 7-foot-2 wingspan that helps him both as a defender and rebounder even if he’s battling bigger players.
14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento Kings)
Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky
Reports about him impressing the Celtics during his workout were not (too) exaggerated. Good shooter, better play-maker than he’s given credit for being. A solid addition for the Celtics at this point in the draft.
NBA Draft Highlights: Tyler Herro, Kentucky
15. Detroit Pistons
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech
Too many of Detroit’s guards are either point guards or shooting guards only. Alexander-Walker provides a solid combo guard with a high basketball I.Q. and ceiling for growth.
16. Orlando Magic
Goga Bitadze, C, International
There’s no guarantee they’ll re-sign Nikola Vucevic this offseason. Adding Bitadze helps fill that void or worst-case scenario, provides more frontcourt depth.
17. Atlanta Hawks
Brandon Clarke, F, Gonzaga
The bonus pick from the trade with Brooklyn provides the Hawks with one of the more efficient players in all of college basketball last season who has above-average versatility that allows him to be a factor as a small-ball “big” in today’s game.
18. Indiana Pacers
P.J. Washington, F, Kentucky
The Pacers could use a player such as Washington who is part banger - he led the Wildcats in rebounding last season - and part long-range bomber (shot better than 42 percent on 3’s last season).
19. San Antonio Spurs
Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Clearly in need of structure, Porter Jr.’s camp could not have asked for a more ideal start to his career than under the watchful, intense eyes of Gregg Popovich.
20. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers)
Bol Bol, F/C, Oregon
At this point in the draft, Bol’s upside is just too tempting particularly for a Celtics team that’s closer to a rebuild than a title re-tool at this point.
NBA Draft Highlights: Bol Bol, Oregon
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Keldon Johnson, G/F, Kentucky
He has a quick first-step, consistent motor and knows how to use his size effectively either bullying smaller players or using his speed and athleticism when matched up with a bigger foe.
22. Boston Celtics
Ty Jerome, G, Virginia
Your prototypical point guard, he’s a solid playmaker who is a solid, reliable shooter. And he plays with the kind of edginess that Boston needs more of at this position, especially with Kyrie Irving likely gone and Terry Rozier’s return uncertain.
2019 NBA Draft Highlights: Ty Jerome
23. Memphis (from Utah Jazz)
Grant Williams, F, Tennessee
Not the most athletic, undersized forward in the draft, the 6-7 Williams makes up for it with a high motor, excellent footwork and a killer mid-range game.
24. Philadelphia 76ers
Cameron Johnson, F, UNC
A bit older than most of this year’s prospects, as a fifth-year senior last season, he shot better than 45 percent from 3-point range for the Tar Heels.
25. Portland Trail Blazers
Eric Paschall, F, Villanova
He has quietly worked his way up the draft board from a solid second-rounder to a versatile big whose name should be among the first 30 called tonight.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Houston Rockets)
Mfiondu Kabengele, C, Florida State
A highly productive big man in limited minutes, he becomes a high-reward, low-risk draft pick at this point for a Cleveland team that’s well into rebuilding mode.
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Denver Nuggets)
Admiral Schofield, F, Tennessee
He’s a tough, rugged 3-and-D type guy who played all five positions at Tennessee and shot better than 40 percent in the last three seasons for the Volunteers.
28. Golden State Warriors
Nicolas Claxton, F/C, Georgia
Despite his slim frame (7-foot, 217 pounds), his length and ability to block/alter shots and switch out defensively on perimeter players in pick-and-roll sets, makes him a solid addition at this point in the draft with a decent amount of upside.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Toronto Raptors)
Matisse Thybulle, G/F, Washington
Arguably the most talented perimeter defender in this draft, his strengths - effort, toughness, versatility - gives him a chance to be one of the few late first-round picks who could potentially see playing time early.
30. Detroit Pistons (via Milwaukee Bucks)
Dylan Windler, G/SF, Belmont
A deceptively good athlete and rebounder, Windler shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range in his last three seasons for Belmont - a skill that the Pistons desperately need to add to their roster.