With the NBA Draft nearing ten days before arrival, the rumor mill has been getting spicy. Whether it’s who certain franchises are infatuated by, or which teams are looking to move up, or out, of the draft — the commotion is there.
With all the rumors said, for this rendition of my mock draft, no picks are changing hands. Though, that doesn’t stop the rumors from pouring in.
Here’s who to look out for on draft night:
1. Detriot Pistons – Cade Cunningham, PG, Oklahoma State
No surprises here at pick no. 1. Cade Cunningham has been the consensus number one prospect from start to finish of the college season, and that leverage will carry over to Adam Silver at the podium.
Murmurs have surfaced that the Pistons have interest in making a one-two swap with the Houston Rockets to net G-League Ignite guard Jalen Green, but Troy Weaver isn’t letting the Rockets off the hook again (see: James Harden trade.)
Cunningham fits the bill of Detriot to the tee as his 6-foot-8 frame makes him the perfect counterpart to Killian Hayes in the backcourt, or an oversized point-guard if need be. Cunningham’s palate is filled to the brim move than anyone else in the class and if he’s able to develop a quick first step — opposing coaches will be having some nightmares. Even without it, they still will.
2. Houston Rockets – Jalen Green, PG/SG, G-League Ignite
Rockets’ GM Rafael Stone wasn’t able to swindle Weaver for the first pick, but Houston still snags a home run piece with Jalen Green.
Green is the most electric prospect in this draft class, but his capabilities are endless. As a 6-foot-6 guard, Green both orchestrated and dominated with the G-League Ignite last season. In his games, Green has shown a knack at scoring the basketball making use of his lightning-fast first step to blow by defenders for layups and posterizers. Outside of the penetration, Green’s “Harden-Esque” stepback tormented defenders as his trademarked move created wide-open triple on a consistent basis. Even off of the ball, Green handled defenders both off the catch and slashing to the basket. The only knock is his pick-and-roll defense, but he’s loaded everywhere else.
Green is the most-gifted scorer in the draft class, and with Houston, he’s bound to provide major scoring abilities from the get-go. Makes for a unique pairing with Kevin Porter Jr.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – Evan Mobley, C, USC
Recent reports of Cleveland exploring Collin Sexton trades have put the Cavs on the map for both trade-down scenarios, and a new craving for a guard — but with Evan Mobley on deck, he’ll be too hard to pass up.
Mobley brings Cleveland a much-needed frontcourt addition who can be paired with Jarrett Allen, or run the center spot on his own. Mobley has the unique ability to mirror defenders, one through five, on defense, making his opposition second guess taking him on the dribble. Mobley’s 7-foot frame also allows him to both closeout on shots, but also sneak into plays for rejections and screen recoveries.
As an offensive piece, Mobley has flashed signs of being dominant in both pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop settings while also dousing in ball handling roles in the halfcourt.
4. Houston Rockets – Jalen Suggs, PG, Gonzaga
Houston has mingled on-and-off with Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, but with them going after his first-name counterpart, Suggs slipped right into Toronto’s grasp.
Suggs gives Toronto flexibility with their future. After Kyle Lowry cried following what he thought was his final Raptors game a few months ago, the 35-year-old will be off into unrestricted free agency. Plus, with a disappointing playoff miss, Toronto may also be in the running to put on a firehouse sale, shipping off playing such as Pascal Siakam for draft capital. Lastly, Toronto may wish to run things back.
Suggs fits in with any of these scenarios.
The idea of a Suggs-VanVleet backcourt is salivating at the surface level as Suggs’ pass-first mentality fits right into Toronto’s glove for current needs. Suggs can swap between either guard position and has proven to be a tremendous playmaker off the ball. However, he still needs to sure up off the catch to be a reliable off-ball threat.
5. Orlando Magic – Scottie Barnes, SF/PF, Florida State
Orlando may be the hottest buyer in the trade market with picks no. 5 and 8, but no transaction will be set in place with Scottie Barnes on the board.
Barnes was widely projected to be the sixth-best prospect after last month’s draft lottery, but as more and more reports come out — some teams see the Seminole as a top 3 player on the board.
Barnes has a long way to go on the offensive end as his perimeter game was lacking in his single season in college, but his relentless finishing downhill coupled with a polished passing ability make him intriguing on that end. What Barnes makes up with his unpolished shot comes in his defense. As a defender, Barnes makes use of his 6-foot-8, 7-foot-2 wingspan build to pester defenders with rim protection and closeouts you typically don’t see at his position. Barnes’ defensive ceiling sees the cut of All-Defensive caliber as his agility makes him a multi-positional threat while taking on matchups.
The Orlando Magic take a slight risk in betting on Barnes’ shot panning out, but a forward tandem of Scottie Barnes and Jonathon Isaac make their investment well worth it.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jonathan Kuminga, G-League Ignite
Thunder GM Sam Presti has had a long lineage of taking swings at high risk, high reward prospects. With G-League Ignite alum Jonathan Kuminga still remaining, Presti is given the easy choice to pull the trigger.
Kuminga will be Presti’s first high-stakes boom-or-bust pick in close to a decade, but his blend of athletic ability, defensive upside, and seeds of creation make him a worthy selection.
Simply put, Jonathan Kuminga can fly. Whether Kuminga is going for a breakaway dunk in transition or cutting in for a backdoor finish, he’ll be looking to take on contact. Kuminga’s wild energy when attacking the basket has the tendency to place him in heavily contested looks but when under control his work at finding the angle on layups is at astute levels for an 18-year-old.
Kuminga had his fair share of beatings while defending in the G-League, but his versatility still makes him a talking point. Kuminga worked on defending both guards and forwards with the Ignite while working on all facets of screen defense particularly dominating while playing out of a pick-and-roll. Even as a shot blocker, Kuminga was locked in.
The biggest swing factor that could land Kuminga everywhere from a role player to a two-way star rests in his play as a shooter. Kuminga has a lot of artillery creating with spin jumpers and hop steps being a key to his game, but he shot paltry 24.6% from outside last season. If there’s one good takeaway from this stat, his confidence never wavered attempting right around five tries a night.
Kuminga may not be highly regarded from the jump with his shaky shooting, but if he can figure that side of his game out — people will be asking how he landed at six.
7. Golden State Warriors- Davion Mitchell, PG/SG, Baylor
With an aging core of a 33-year-old Steph Curry, a 31-year-old Klay Thompson, and a 31-year-old Draymond Green, the Warriors will be on the hunt to win now. They are a likely contender to trade out of this pick and even package this one with pick no. 14, but with trades not allowed — they’ll take Davion Mitchell.
Mitchell gives the Warriors a plug-and-play guard for the now, but also a cog into the future. To this point, Mitchell is the oldest player off the board at age 22, but his refined defense stacked with a blistered three-point shot makes him a solid addition.
Mitchell would be a sturdy sixth-man in this scenario as his 44% three-ball would seamlessly over to taking shootaround shots à la Steph Curry.
8. Orlando Magic – James Bouknight, SG, UConn
Having just added Scottie Barnes into the mix, Orlando will now be looking to snatch a member at the helm, or at the guard spots. They’ll take James Bouknight here.
Bouknight has slowly risen up draft radars even as high as pick no. 6, but his placement here is a solid consolation prize. Bouknight shot below 30% from distance this past season with UConn, but his in-season flashes culminating with an impressive pro day now have should believing his shot creation ability clocks in at an All-Star level.
Bouknight will source some much-needed perimeter scoring as the current piecing of Markelle Fultz, RJ Hampton, and Cole Anthony could use a strict scorer as opposed to primary on-the ball playmakers.
9. Sacramento Kings – Jalen Johnson, SF, Duke
Jalen Johnson has mixed reviews with his dirty resume of pulling out of his high school and college season prematurely, though the potential star power is too much for the Kings to pass up.
Johnson is a clean-slate prospect. His archetype consists of just about everything, but currently, he’s a master of none. His floor could see him out of the league in a flash, but the ceiling turns him into a jack of all trades forward.
This move is for the future as with the team finally parting ways with Harrison Barnes as the main prize, Johnson brings in a high upside piece who could solidify a core with De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.
Johnson has a fairly rudimentary game, but the infancy stages of a three-level point forward are enticing.
10. New Orleans Pelicans- Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
If it’s not clear already, Zion Williamson is the future in The Big Easy. The one problem with Zion? He needs some help hitting from three.
To cope with Zion’s only gaping issue, the selection of Corey Kispert hands the Pelicans the top shooter in the class.
Kispert shot the lights out with the Bulldogs running off screens, pulling up, or simply shooting off the catch for buckets. He’s a low maintenance, plug-and-play prospect who will be in the double-digits if he catches you looking in the opposite direction.
A role for Kispert may see him starting off of the bench, though his shooting makes him flexible in almost every rotation.
11. Charlotte Hornets – Kai Jones, C, Texas
The Charlotte Hornets committed highway robbery selecting LaMelo Ball third in last year’s draft. They’ll be taking Kai Jones here in an effort to pair the youngest Ball brother with his go-to sidekick.
As much as I’d love to see Cody Zeller soar up for alley-oop dunks, it’s now happening. Kai Jones is a springy big man who would be prolific setting screens for Ball while also rolling inside for head-to-the-rim jams. Jones’ skillset also works out to the three as his shifty feet can get him out for pick-and-pops on no contest.
Jones’ high-tempo play also works to the defensive side as though he isn’t able to guard all positions, his rim protection will put a lid on any kinds of inside attacks, including penetrations.
12. San Antonio Spurs – Usman Garuba, C, Real Madrid
For almost every draft analyst, it’s become a tradition of sorts for the Spurs to take a shot in the international pool every year.
That tradition will not be snapped today.
Garuba has a mystique surrounding him that has some people seeing him outside of the top 20, but that aroma will be taken as a selling point from San Antonio.
Garuba is one of the top defensive prospects in the class using his 6-foot-8, 7-foot-3 wingspan frame to cover ground and clobber his opponents with rejections. Even as a rebounder, Garuba has the skills.
Playing his last season with Real Madrid in the Liga ACB, Garuba’s prior competition exceeds all other prospects in the class, and with the way he excelled overseas, it’s expected he’ll be ready on defense.
Offensively, Garuba will be working from the ground up. His game is limited outside of the painted area, and even then he may need to bolster up.
Garuba could be a swing and a miss, but at the ripe age of 19, he could easily develop into San Antonio’s core of defensive specialists in Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker, and Keldon Johnson.
13. Indiana Pacers – Josh Giddey, PG/SF, Adelaide 36ers
For most teams thus far, their draft selections have had a primary focus on need. For the Pacers, they take their nab at potential with Australian guard Josh Giddey.
Giddey brings the element of an oversized guard to the table as at 6-foot-8, Giddey towers over his point-guard counterparts. Giddey brings a support role from the 1-3 giving an extra spark in both the playmaking and shooting department.
The fit with Giddey is more of a “wait and see” situation here as the return of T.J. Warren may stifle Giddey’s chances to start. Regardless, Giddey enhances the lineup versatility more than anyone else remaining as he can pair up with Aaron Holiday with the second unit, and switch into sets with Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert with little dropoff.
Indiana could use a defensive specialist here to put a net around Aaron Holiday’s impending free agency, but the Pacers will need more than just a glue guy if they want to make a playoff push in the next few seasons.
14. Golden State Warriors – Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
Piggybacking off of Golden State’s selection in Davion Mitchell, the Warriors are using pick no. 14 for more immediate impact players. Franz Wagner is the obvious pick.
Warriors GM Bob Myers will need to put up a balancing act to keep forwards Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. on the roster for next season. Oubre Jr. is asking for over $20 million over the offseason, and Andrew Wiggins will be making $64 million in the next two years. It’s not worth it.
Wagner provides the Warriors a cheap 3-and-D wing who would brace the impact for an Oubre Jr. departure. Similar to Mitchell, Wagner would play a bench role, but also has the ability to play with the Splash Brothers for cuts and catch-and-shoot jumpers.
15. Washington Wizards – Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
The Washinton Wizards have been stuck in neutral for five years. The recent addition of Russell Westbrook did jolt their production, but if they wish to have any longevity with Bradley Beal — major pick-ups need to come fast. Moses Moody gives the Wizards some light.
Moses Moody’s free fall ends here. Being mocked as high as pick no. 7, Moses Moody both checks the boxes as a steal, but also the Wizards’ needs.
The Wizards’ current shooting guard grouping of Raul Neto and Garrison Matthews was held up by strings last season, and it became apparent neither will be long-term options. Moody gives that grain of hope as he flashed both three-level scoring and lockdown defense with the Razorbacks.
At worst, Moses Moody becomes the next fill-in guard in line with Westbrook and Beal. At best, he’s playing with both in a starting lineup.
16. Oklahoma City Thunder – Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
Oklahoma City enters their near back-to-back selections (16 and 18) with a board full of talent, and strategy in mind.
For the Thunder, their board is stuck between Tennessee guard Keon Johnson, and Turkish big man Alperen Sengun. With Memphis wedged between their streak at pick 17, their current needs play a major factor in this selection. With Memphis’ frontcourt seemingly in check, the Thunder select Keon Johnson here.
In another boom-or-bust pick for Oklahoma City, Johnson fills the gashes of the team’s guard rotation joining Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Theo Maledon, and Ty Jerome to solidify their young core. Johnson’s upside is in the same category as their prior selection in Jonathan Kuminga. Johnson broke the Combine record with a 48-inch vertical last month, and with soaring ability comes a highlight reel and a barrage of rebounds.
Johnson works well off the ball slashing for backdoor cuts, but he also has the flexibility to handle working off of the pick-and-roll. One thing is for certain, however, if you give him an inch of the room he’s both taking a mile, and adding you to his mixtape.
As a shot creator, Johnson has had moments of glory pulling up, stepping back, and spinning into jumpers — but he is far too inconsistent at the moment. As an off-ball threat, he also is undercooked as he failed to reach a 30-percent threshold from beyond the arch.
17. Memphis Grizzlies – Alperen Sengun, C, Turkey
In classic Grizzlies fashion, they go best available with this pick.
Memphis is in need of backcourt pieces as opposed to more players in the frontcourt, but with an already well-rounded bench, those needs go out the window. Sengun joins an already loaded frontcourt in Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, Jonas Valanciunas, and Xavier Tillman, all players who’ve proved themselves on the floor.
Sengun is already considered a project, and his new future in Memphis may hinder him to limited minutes, or even time basking in the G-League, though his blueprint is there. Sengun is your typical back-to-basket big, not a lot of jumpers, just a gritty interior presence leeching in the post. Sengun already has tremendous footwork for a 19-year-old so his benchmark may be his new teammate, and potential mentor, Jonas Valanciunas.
18. Oklahoma City Thunder – Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky
After a foiled attempt at securing both Johnson and Sengun, the Thunder go after the next best option at center in Isaiah Jackson.
Jackson joins the Thunder as their only center after the departures of Al Horford and Moses Brown but his playstyle is nothing like his predecessors. Jackson is nimble for the position making him useful in pick-and-roll sets with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander though some believe he may even grow into a pick-and-pop piece.
His tempo meshes with Oklahoma City’s current roster as at 6-foot-10 Jackson can run the floor, push the pace, and defend the basket at a high rate.
19. New York Knicks – Ziare Williams, SF, Stanford
New York has been all for taking swings in the last few drafts, and they’ve done a solid job hitting with those picks in Mitchell Robinson and Immanuel Quickley. There run does not stop in this draft — opting to select Stanford’s Ziare Williams.
Williams is the cream of the crop in low-floor, high-risk players. Williams is a 6-foot-8 point forward who is capable of soaring in for athletic flushes. As a ball-handler, Williams’ dribble speed is off the charts for a forward his size, making him difficult to stop in penetrations. On the defensive end, Williams’ length also factors into the belief he’ll translate into a multi-positional defender in the NBA.
The largest factor into Williams’ hype comes from his jumpshot. Now let’s not sugarcoat this here, Williams was an abysmal shooter at Stanford. However, even with his inglorious statline, the 19-year-old tapped into shooting off the catch, off pullups, or through shot creation.
As a prospect, Williams has a very long way to go, but if developed properly — he could be the perfect piece next to RJ Barrett.
20. Atlanta Hawks – Jaden Springer, SG, Tennessee
With Lou Williams likely off the books for Atlanta next season, the Hawks will need to find Trae Young’s apprentice off the bench. Atlanta could easily pick up Trae’s backup in the free agent pool, though with an already loaded frontcourt, taking a shot here with Jaden Springer makes sense.
Springer is a 6-foot-4 combo guard who was decorated in attacking on penetrations but also as a defender in a heap of situations. In a one-on-one setting Springer can hold his own against most guards and even forwards in stints. In the pick-and-roll, Springer is shifty enough to go over or under screens and recover.
Springer starts out off the ball with Atlanta as the 18-year-old was inconsistent as a shooter and often times settled for contested jumpers. He looks decent as a catch-and-shoot player though he’ll need to make a leap as an on-ball shooter to man the lead guard behind Trae.
21. New York Knicks – Nah’shon “Bones” Hyland, PG, VCU
Following a one-pick hiatus, the New York Knicks sound off another high reward pick in Nah’shon “Bones” Hyland.
Hyland was the biggest stock riser concluding the NBA Draft Combine as the guard flared off stepback threes endlessly, capped with no-look assists while on the attack.
Hyland’s profile is identical to now teammate Immanuel Quickley as both are shifty guards who have prolific stepback threes, excellent vision while penetrating, and has a solid understanding of pick-and-roll offense.
The biggest quality Hyland possessed comes from his microwave type of playstyle where once he’s hot, he’s the biggest threat on the floor. This also comes with some polarizing game-t0-game statlines.
22. Los Angeles Lakers – Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
Los Angeles could use a point guard if Dennis Schroder elects to leave over the offseason, but in selecting the most NBA-ready player remaining, they’ll find his replacement in free agency.
Chris Duarte is the oldest player in first-round consideration at 24-year-old, and there’s a serious resume as to why he gets looks despite the age. Duarte was locked on from distance with Oregon nailing over 43% of triples through DHO’s and catch-and-shoot opportunities. As a defender, Duarte also has active hands and can keep track of his man.
Duarte comes in as an immediate impact player off the bench and could potentially open avenues at the three, or make guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Talen Horton-Tucker expendable.
23. Houston Rockets – Trey Murphy, SF, Virginia
The Rockets nailed down their guard combination with their prior selection in Jalen Green, now support pieces should be on the menu. Houston could go the obvious route here with another boom-or-bust pick but the fit and value with Trey Murphy makes him the selection.
Murphy is the top 3-and-D prospect remaining at this spot, and at 20-year-old old, the Cavalier isn’t out of the Rockets’ timeline. Murphy shot well into the 40-percent mark from distance with Virginia last season, and his 6-foot-9 frame makes him an ideal size to place at the wing. He’s not going to wow you with on-ball skills, but he’s a glue guy who’ll hit the open shot.
On defense, Trey’s size makes him a versatile threat who can shatter the floor and face multiple positions.
Low risk with this pick, Houston finds their next Robert Covington.
24. Houston Rockets – JT Thor, PF, Auburn
After taking one of the safer choices in Trey Murphy, Rafael Stone ramps up the energy and takes JT Thor out of Auburn.
JT Thor was far from mesmerizing with the Auburn Tigers, but the 6-foot-9 wing gave promising glimpses almost everywhere in his rookie campaign.
Thor is extremely athletic for his size, even to the point of hammering down near free-throw line windmill dunks with relative ease in his pro day. Thor also has an intriguing outside game as his quick, fluid release has scouts feeling fairly optimistic about his development.
Thor’s size makes him a legitimate threat as a rim protector, but he’s still an unknown in defending the perimeter.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Isaiah Todd, PF, G-League Ignite
The Los Angeles Clippers will have their hands tied until 2026 as all future firsts will either outright go to the Oklahoma City Thunder, or can be swapped as a payout for receiving Paul George.
Due to these circumstances, the Clippers will need to cater for both the now and the future with this pick — even despite the recent reports of Kawhi Leonard’s ACL injury. Having that being said, Isaiah Todd is the pick.
Todd is a projected early-to-mid second-round pick by most, but the G-League Ignite alum possesses traits the Clippers organization has come to love. The Clippers will have Marcus Morris under contract for next season but if Serge Ibaka declines his player option and leaves, Todd can help bring an offensive spark.
Todd was considered the littlest brother to Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga while playing for the G-League Ignite but on multiple occasions — Todd was the reason they were in the game. Todd can stretch the floor as a pick-and-pop player while also having enough vertical to roll to the basket and finish. Even as a mid-range scorer, he has an arsenal of a jumper, but also turning around in the post.
Todd needs to work on his defense and rebounding as he had tough outings facing true centers while hardly crashing the glass, but going against forwards was never a glaring issue.
Even if some consider this pick a reach, Todd checks the boxes and has great value for the back of the first.
26. Denver Nuggets – Tre Mann, PG/SG, Florida
Tre Mann rarely scathed the floor in his Freshman year with Florida, but after a booming season that saw him lead the team in scoring — Mann has the skills to be picked into the late lottery. Denver stops the snowball effect here.
The Nuggets have a history in taking prospects who fall such as Michael Porter Jr., Bol Bol, and RJ Hampton — they continue with Mann. Unlike other Denver picks, Mann is expected to play right away as with star guard Jamal Murray missing a portion of the regular season, they will need guard services pronto. Mann has the archetype of Murray as a shot-creating guard who utilizes his stepback for threes while also being a good enough handler to tap inside.
Denver hits gold in both value and fit with Mann.
27. Brooklyn Nets – Ayo Dosunmu, PG/SG, Illinois
If there’s one team expected to be selling off their first round-pick — it’s the Brooklyn Nets. However, with no deal in place and a need at the one, Ayo Dosunmu is off the board.
Spencer Dinwiddie has been flirting with the idea of making a splash in free agency and the Nets simply cannot align with him. Dosunmu becomes a safety net who can source solid playmaking ability while being able to lockdown both guard positions off the bench.
Dosunmu may rub heads with Mike James if he returns for a second season, but Dosunmu’s 6-foot-5 build makes him a competent piece as an off-ball two, he’ll still need to figure out his shot though.
28. Philidelphia 76ers – Kessler Edwards, SF, Pepperdine
Kessler Edwards hits the draft class as a three-year player out of Pepperdine, but Philly needs production over any projects in the class.
Edwards fills in exactly what the 76ers are in search of — another 3-and-D wing. At 6-foot-8, Edwards can play 2-4 as a defender but he also can be a corner sitter on offense and be the recipient of Ben Simmons’ assists.
Edwards shot at a 40-percent clip in college on threes and his play could make for some interesting pairing with Matisse Thybulle and Paul Reed.
29. Phoenix Suns – Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
Sharife Cooper is the shocking slider of the class as the presumptive mid-first-rounder winds up barely cutting into the first. Phoenix will take him with open arms.
The Suns may not be able to maintain Cam Payne following this offseason, if that’s the case, Cooper can bring Payne’s energy. Cooper may be the quickest guard in the class as the 6-foot-1 orchestrater was all over the place in college. Cooper is a highly touted down-court passer and even will rattle off jump passes and cross-court dimes if the occasion presents itself.
Cooper would make for a quality backup and a great future piece for the Suns as backed by Chris Paul, if he resigns, he could climb the ranks into a starting guard at some point. To get there, however, he’ll need to improve with his shot.
30. Utah Jazz – Jared Butler, PG/SG, Baylor
Jared Butler was ineligible to compete in NBA competition a mere few weeks ago, now that cloud has passed, and he’s the newest member of the Jazz.
Butler is a do-it-all guard who has the ability to score from all three levels of the floor. Butler developed a strong passing game serving up teammate Davion Mitchell with cross-court and jump passes all season, but he also was hardy on the defensive end.
Butler isn’t the most athletic guard in the class. He uses every inch of his 6-foot-3 frame to absorb contact though.
31. Milwaukee Bucks – Greg Brown, PF, Texas
Milwaukee could very well be on their way to the Larry O’ Brien in 51 years, that’s not going to stop them from working on the future. Greg Brown goes at the top of the second.
Brown was lightning in a bottle for the Longhorns last season rising high as a prominent lob threat and interior finisher during his stint with the team. Brown does have some work ethic concerns after showing less than stellar effort in the Draft Combine scrimmages, but they look past that here.
Brown at full force makes for an excellent rebound chaser and shot-blocker, but he’ll need to become a consistent spot-up player for a spot in the regular rotation.
The schedule for Brown could see him ping-pong between the G-League and NBA ranks, though he’s a perfect fill-in with the Bucks if he pans out.
32. New York Knicks – Joshua Primo, SG, Alabama
New York’s overhaul of high potential athletes make them a winner of this mock draft as they go for this class’ youngest prospect in Joshua Primo.
Primo won’t turn 19 until December, and though his college numbers were lacking, his upside as a 6-foot-6 wing make him a first-round target by most accounts. New York buys the hype here as they hope to fill out Primo’s game as a shot creator who can defend at either guard spot.
Primo may need to mature in Westchester for a bit, but he’s a great investment in the second round.
33. Orlando Magic – Filip Petrusev, PF/C, Mega Soccerbet
Orlando’s haul of Scottie Barnes and James Bouknight has sealed any true minutes from 1-3. Having that in mind, Orlando takes a shot in the dark with Adriatic Basketball League’s Filip Petrusev.
Petrusev has played the majority of basketball in the United States playing for Monteverde Academy and Gonzaga for two seasons. Petrusev was top member of Gonzaga’s core following last season, but after an abrupt halt of play due to CO-VID, Petrusev signed on to join Mega Soccerbet.
In his time overseas Petrusev has played a step above the competition averaging 23.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a game last year to receive the ABA MVP award. Petrusev brings a fun element of a stretch five as he shot over 42 percent last season and would better guards Hampton, Fultz, and Anthony in the pick-and-roll.
Fun fact, Nikola Jokic also won the ABA MVP prior to joining the Nuggets.
34. Oklahoma City Thunder – Vrenz Bleijenbergh, PG/SF, Antwerp Intl.
All signs have pointed to Oklahoma City showing interest in Vrenz Bleijenbergh all month. Now, Presti finally snags his guy.
Bleijenbergh could be a sneaky pickup at 18 for Oklahoma City as Bleijenbergh has reportedly been working out against other first-round prospects, but he still manages to fall to no. 34 here.
Bleijenbergh screams Thunder plyer. As a 6-foot-11 prospect, he plays a lot of the time working around the perimeter or handling the basketball. Bleijenbergh had a seasoned campaign from three last year nailing 37.5% of triples on near five attempts a night and his production will be expected to carry over.
Bleijenbergh has open connections with Thunder guard VIt Krejci, and with a 6-foot-8 Krejci and a 7-foot Aleksej Pokusevski in place — they make for an oversized trio of playmaking point forwards.
35. New Orleans Pelicans – Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky
In the same manner as Corey Kispert, New Orleans opts to select another three-point shooter to go along with Zion.
New Orleans has reportedly been shopping around center Steven Adams for potential trades as of late, and though Bassey wouldn’t contribute right away, he helps rewire the Pelicans center position.
Bassey is able to fade on screens for a pick-and-pop or stay out 15 feet for jumpers and he also has a nice touch around the basket.
Bassey gets added on as a 20-year-old project with a lot of offensive upside.
36. Oklahoma City Thunder – Cam Thomas, PG, LSU
Oklahoma City goes for best available at this pick, rolling the dice on 6-foot-4 guard Cam Thomas at 36.
Thomas is in the same grouping as Frank Jackson and Jordan Clarkson as microwave guards who can give that extra kick off the bench. Thomas has one of the better stepback jumpers in the class and a nose for getting open at all three levels for takes. As a penetrator, Thomas won’t be posterizing anyone anytime soon, but he does drive-in intending on snagging some free throws.