The NBA Draft is a little more than two weeks away, and teams are beginning to host private workouts for some of the top prospects. Here's our next stab at a mock draft. It's what we believe teams should do when they go on the clock on June 21.
1. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona
The Suns don't need to overthink this one. Ayton was the second freshman since 1993 to average 20 points, 11 rebounds and shoot 60 percent from the field. He's a force inside and his versatile offensive game is Day 1 ready. He'll also be one of the league's biggest players at 7-foot-1, 260 pounds. Even if he never develops into an elite defender he will more than hold his own as a scorer and someone who regularly impacts the game. He's a can't-miss prospect.
2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic, PG, Slovenia
Let's not overthink this one, either. De'Aaron Fox improved as the year went on and looks every bit the team's point guard of the future. That shouldn't stop a talent-depleted organization from taking the best player left in the draft. Doncic, at 19 years old, was named MVP of the world's second best league and was a terror at EuroBasket 2017, playing against multiple NBA players and helping Goran Dragic and Slovenia to a gold medal. They'll make Fox/Doncic work.
3. Atlanta Hawks: Jaren Jackson, C, Michigan State
They have a keeper in John Collins, last year's first-round pick. Adding the most versatile big men remaining in the class would serve as a great complement to Collins, who attempted nearly 60 percent of his shots at the rim and more than 75 percent from 10 feet and in. That will play, so long as there's another big with him who can space the floor. That's Jackson, who shot 50 percent from top of the key 3-pointers and had a better block rate than Texas' Mo Bamba as a freshman with the Spartans.
4. Memphis Grizzlies: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
The biggest question mark in the class because of the back surgery that kept him out of all but three games this past season, Porter is still worthy of a top-5 pick. This presumes that Porter's medicals check out and teams are comfortable enough with his back to invest in him long-term. It helps, too, that Memphis is lacking in versatility on the wing after the Chandler Parsons experiment fell flat on its face, ironically because Parsons couldn't stay healthy.
5. Dallas Mavericks: Marvin Bagley, PF, Duke
Dallas loves its advanced stats as much as it loves its athleticism. The Mavericks get both in Bagley, who in this author's opinion is the best talent in the class. Pairing point guard Dennis Smith Jr. with Bagley creates a versatile, lightning-quick 1-2 punch that should be deadly in pick-and-roll scenarios. All Bagley did as a freshman was lead Duke in every major scoring and rebounding category, win ACC Player of the Year (and Rookie of the Year) and was the first player since Blake Griffin in 2009 to average 21 points, 11 rebounds and shoot 61 percent from the field.
6. Orlando Magic: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Orlando needs help everywhere, but especially at the point. Their current depth chart is 30-year-old D.J. Augustin and 28-year-old Shelvin Mack. Once you're done chuckling consider that Young made history as a freshman at Oklahoma and would almost certainly improve his efficiency surrounded by shooters in Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon (to an extent), while working pick-and-roll action with Nikola Vucevic. Orlando also has the length defensively to hide Young; they were 13th in the NBA defensively after dealing Elfrid Payton at the trade deadline.
7. Chicago Bulls: Mo Bamba, C, Texas
Yes, it's best-case scenario for the Bulls as the freakishly long unicorn falls to them at No. 7. Bamba made headlines for his shot-blocking ability but his rebounding might have been even more impressive; his 28.2% defensive rebound rate was 15th in the country, and he scored on 71 of his 96 offensive rebounds. He also has an expanding offensive game, making him an intriguing fit with the Bulls. At the very least he improves a Bulls defense ranked 28th in the NBA last year; at best he becomes Rudy Gobert with 3-point touch. The upside here is outrageous.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via BRK): Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
Let's assume LeBron James leaves in free agency. The Cavaliers need plenty of help on the wing, especially defensively. Rodney Hood and Jeff Green are free agents, and the possibility of a Kyle Korver retirement exists. Enter Bridges, a prototype 3-and-D wing who would take on a large role in the absence of James. Bridges was one of four players in college hoops last year to make 2.5 3-pointers on 43% shooting or better, and he was the anchor of a Wildcats defense that ranked 11th in the country a year ago. He has perhaps the highest floor of any top 10 prospect not named Ayton.
9. New York Knicks: Wendell Carter, PF, Duke
There isn't a better player/team fit in the draft than Carter to the Knicks. Pairing the 6-foot-10 Carter with Kristaps Porzingis gives New York an even more secure defensive frontcourt, and Carter's post presence allows more freedom for the Unicorn to roam the perimeter. They're a match made in heaven, and if Frank Ntilikina can make a second-year jump the Knicks will be back in playoff contention. Enes Kanter declining his $18.6 million player option would help Carter's growth, but even a year to learn under Kanter would do the rookie some good. This is a perfect situation.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via LAL): Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
Ben Simmons is the point guard of the future. Duh. And they did take Markelle Fultz first overall a year ago. But there's plenty of versatility to go around in that backcourt, as both Sexton and Fultz could play off the ball. T.J. McConnell needs to be paid after the 2018-19 season, and Jerryd Bayless is off the books in a year, too. This seems like an odd fit, but picking the best talent available seems like the right move for a Sixers team that moves pieces around as well as any team in the league. Brett Brown will find a spot for Sexton and Fultz to mesh with Simmons.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky
Best player available. It shouldn't be a difficult decision for the Hornets when they're on the clock. They're on the hook for nearly $120 million in contracts next season, so whoever they draft will likely get a grace period year like Malik Monk received this past year. Going back to the Kentucky well and drafting a scorer in Knox seems like a good bet. He's solid insurance if the Hornets decide to walk away from Jeremy Lamb in a year and gives Kemba Walker a potential second scorer they've been in search of for years.
12. LA Clippers (via DET): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky
A no-brainer here. The Clippers are in search of their next great point guard after dealing Chris Paul. Gilgeous-Alexander is the best point guard remaining and might wind up being the best of the class. He's 6-foot-6, gets in the lane and shot well, albeit on a limited number of attempts. He also has a near-7-foot wingspan (6-foot-11.5) and will be able to defend easily at the next level. Whatever he becomes offensively, either as a pass-first guard or shooter, is an added bonus. Taking a Kentucky point guard is always a good decision (as long as it isn't Marquis Teague).
13. LA Clippers: Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech
The Clips' shooting guard position is a bit of a mess. Lou Williams exploded in his first year in L.A., but Austin Rivers is a more natural fit at the point (and will be a free agent in a year) and Sindarius Thornwell, who averaged 21.8 minutes after the All-Star break, is a stopgap. The Clippers' Achilles heel has always been its depth, and getting Smith, who is more athlete than basketball player right now, improves it. He'll mesh as a complement to the scoring-oriented Williams. These are important picks for Doc Rivers after they swindled the Pistons in the Blake Griffin trade in February.
14. Denver Nuggets: Lonnie Walker, PG, Miami
Another combo guard for Mike Malone and one who will defend at a high level creates a perfect fit. the Nuggets exploded offensively but also finished the year ranked 26th in defensive efficiency. Having a bouncy defender in Walker, capable of defending both guard positions, gives them both a replacement for impending free agent Will Barton and backup point guard Devin Harris. Walker will make a Day 1 impact wherever he lands.
15. Washington Wizards: Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M
There's no denying Williams' talent as a basketball player. Whether he can harness that talent and continue to progress is another. A team will roll the dice on Williams, a sophomore who never played to his potential with the Aggies, and it could be a Wizards team that needs more young, athletic scoring in the frontcourt. Williams is a Lottery talent. If he puts it all together he becomes the steal of the class. A coach like Scott Brooks could certainly tap into that potential.
16. Phoenix Suns (via MIA): Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy
The Suns won the Lottery and the opportunity to draft a can't-miss prospect in Ayton. Now they get to swing for the fences on their second pick in the first round. Simons was a five-star prospect who opted for prep school over Louisville in the wake of Rick Pitino's firing. It's tough to get a read on Simons, other than he'll probably need some time in the G-League before he's ready to contribute. Simons fits with Phoenix's up-tempo style and has elite athleticism, jumping 41.5 inches at last month's Combine.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Chandler Hutchinson, SF, Boise State
Don't be surprised if Hutchinson rises as draft night nears. He's already 22 - ancient in today's NBA - but was a 20-point scorer with the ability to defend multiple positions. There's a real chance the Bucks say good bye to Jabari Parker this summer, leaving a void on the wing. Tony Snell and Sterling Brown are more perimter threats, whereas Hutchinson has the ability to play "up" a position. Hutchinson has "rock-solid pick" written all over him, which is good for a Bucks team that's taken quite a few draft risks the last few seasons with mixed results.
18. San Antonio Spurs: Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
Bridges' tweener status could cause him to fall on draft night. He's a pure scorer, has elite athleticism and improved as a leader by staying an additional year at Michigan State. By all accounts he's more ready now than he would have been if he entered the draft as a freshman. The problem is he's still 6-foot-6 without a true position, doesn't have a great handle and lacks any real quickness. So, of course, Gregg Popovich and the Spurs will turn him into a four-time All-Star.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via MIN): Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia
With three selections in the first round it's likely the Hawks will use one of their picks on a stash. Musa is considered the second best International prospect after Doncic, and he fits the bill for the Hawks as a lanky, scoring wing. His frame needs filling out but the talent is there to make him a first-round prospect. Per ESPN, Musa was the sixth teenager in the Adriatic League to average 20 points per 40 minutes. The other five were all NBA contributors: Goran Dragic, Nikola Jokic, Dario Saric, Ante Zizic and Jusuf Nurkic.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton
Defense, defense, defense. The Timberwolves' offense is set with Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler. One would think that latter name meant their defense was set, but that's been anything but true. Tom Thibodeau desperately needs to improve on Minnesota's 22nd ranked defense, and Thomas accomplishes just that. His 6-foot-10 wingspan and quick first step make him someone ready to defend from Day 1. Plus he's already 22 years old so maybe Thibodeau will look past the rookie tag and actually play him.
21. Utah Jazz: Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State
Utah struck gold in Donovan Mitchell and can do so again with a player like Bates-Diop. The senior dominated in his final season with the Buckeyes, averaging 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year and has excellent length as a small forward. He improved his jumper as a senior, which could be the difference in him being a nice defender and a solid rotation player. He fits with Utah and gives them insurance for when players like Jae Crowder, Thabo Sefalosha and Alec Burks come off the books.
22. Chicago Bulls (via NOLA): Landry Shamet, G, Wichita State
The Bulls have arguably the least versatile backcourt in the NBA. When Denzel Valentine is your Swiss army knife, that's an issue. Shamet presents the Bulls with a rare (in their case) skill set of someone able to handle the ball, provide defensive length and shoot well from beyond the arc. In fact, Shamet was the only player in the country to average 5.0 assists, 2.5 3-pointers and shoot 44 percent from deep. He's everything the Bulls are looking for and is also one of the top talents left on the board.
23. Indiana Pacers: Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland
Huerter made a leap as a sophomore, averaging 14.8 points while making nearly 42 percent of his 175 3-pointers. A strong Combine performance allowed him to keep his name in the draft, and at 6-foot-7 he's got enough length to guard at the next level. Indiana could move on from Lance Stephenson this offseason and replace him with a much better shooter to help a Pacers offense that ranked 25th in 3-point makes and 26th in attempts a year ago.
24. Portland Trail Blazers: Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova
The NCAA Tournament's biggest winner was also the NBA Draft Combine's biggest winner. DiVincenzo would find himself in a perfect spot in Portland, replacing Shabazz Napier and becoming a combo guard on the second unit. DiVincenzo's stock continues to rise and shows no signs of stopping.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (via CLE): Mitchell Robinson, C, Chalmette High School
The spectrum in which Robinson could be drafted is as wide as any player in the class. He impressed last week in workouts and could see himself rising on draft boards as June 21 nears. But the unknown - he hasn't played in an organized game in more than a year - could scare off general managers, especially in a draft class full of talented big men. Still, Robinson is super athletic with elite size and length, and he has range that extends to the 3-point line. The Lakers are in need of talent everywhere, and gambling on Robinson this late in the first round is a good one.
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Omari Spellman, PF, Villanova
One of the surprise underclassmen to keep his name in the draft, Spellman gets to stay close to school going off the board to the Sixers. He'll act as a replacement for free agent Ersan Ilyasova (and Amir Johnson), becoming the newest pick-and-pop threat in the Philly offense and someone who can also defend on the interior. He's just 6-foot-9 but rebounds well for that lack of elite size and will make his money on the offensive end. He's built for the league after shooting 43 percent from deep as a freshman.
27. Boston Celtics: Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech
The Celtics are set just about everywhere with Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving returning to a team that was one win away from an NBA Finals berth. If there was one area they could improve upon it would be off the ball in the backcourt. Marcus Smart is a free agent and may have a price tag too high for the Celtics to match, and Okogie brings a lot of similar defensive traits to the table. He's 6-foot-5, touts a 7-foot wingspan and averaged 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks; he was one of four players in the country to average those defensive numbers. Boston gets a defensive stud at a much cheaper price.
28. Golden State Warriors: Gary Trent, SG, Duke
Does it really matter? The Warriors are set everywhere but if we need to give them more ammunition, let's go with a shooting guard. Both Nick Young and Patrick McCaw will be free agents this summer and likely have priced themselves out of Golden State (unless they want to take discounts to remain with a bordering dynasty). That leaves the Warriors to find another second-unit wing, and Trent shooting 40 percent from deep will obviously serve him well in Oakland.
29. Brooklyn Nets (via TOR): Troy Brown, SG, Oregon
The Nets are flush with players on the wing, including DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Allen Crabbe. None of those players can handle the ball all that well, something Brown would bring to the table off the ball. His jumper was horrid last season but the former five-star recruit has boatloads of potential and the size to pair with it. He's great value this late in the first round, something the Nets need to be looking for until the Boston trade heist is fulfilled.
30. Atlanta Hawks (via HOU): Tre Duval, PG, Duke
The Hawks are betting on potential here. Duval looks the part at 6-foot-3, a 6-foot-8 wingspan and a 195-pound frame. He plays above the rim and has a great first step. That's the good part. The bad part? He shot 29 percent from beyond the arc, 43 percent from the field and didn't reach 60 percent from the free throw line. Simply put, he really struggled as a shooter and needs plenty of work on it before he contributes. The Hawks are hoping his jumper gets fixed.