We did an NBA Mock Draft two months ago, before the NCAA Tournament. Now that the NBA regular season is over, it’s time for another. Many players have declared for the draft; several remain undecided. The draft lottery is on May 16th, when we’ll find out the order. You’ll recognize many of the names below from the 50 Best Players in College Basketball list. Last June, we took a way-too-early look at the 2017 NBA lottery.
1 Boston (via Brooklyn) – Jayson Tatum, F, Duke. Have a glut of guards. In small-ball, Jaylen Brown can play the SF, Tatum the PF. Shot 34 percent on 3-pointers. A lot is dependent on how the Celtics do in the playoffs this year. That could determine the long-term future of Isaiah Thomas.
2 Phoenix – Josh Jackson, F, Kansas. Suns are loaded in the backcourt (Booker, Bledsoe, Knight, Ulis). Jackson is the small forward they’ve been looking for since Shawn Marion left in 2008.
3 LA Lakers – Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA. Probably an overreaction to the Kentucky game, but I wouldn’t take him here. Plus, it’s good to get away from Dad and cut the cord. The Lakers have to love this – local kid could be an ideal fit in Luke Walton’s offense.
4 Philadelphia – Markelle Fultz, G, Washington. Everyone has him 1st, and maybe I’m sleeping on him the way everyone did when he was in high school. A core of Fultz/Simmons/Saric/Embiid is potentially very scary to build around.
5 Orlando – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky. The Magic haven’t had an elite point guard since Penny Hardaway. Fox has elite potential. Witness his 39-point explosion against UCLA.
6 Minnesota – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga. I thought he should have stayed in school, and now I’ve got him this high? The Timberwolves were shockingly bad on defense for a Thibodeau team – bottom half of the league in everything. Collins + Towns will protect the rim.