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Written by Ben Pfeifer
The NBA draft is coming closer and closer. 60 collegiate stars will have their dreams come true on thursday the 23rd of June, and here is what I think will happen.
1.Philadelphia 76ers-Ben Simmons, SF/PF, LSU.
Simmons is the best player in the draft, plain and simple. He is an incredible talent who knows the game better than anyone in the class. His only knocks are his 3 point shot, and his attitude. If he can correct these things, he could become a great player for Philadelphia, who desperately needs help.
2.Los Angeles Lakers-Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke.
Many compare this lanky shooter to Kevin Durant, which is fair. He is a very good shooter, a solid all around scorer, and a decent defender. His intagibles are the reason he is so wanted. Ingram is 6’9, with a 7’3 wingspan, and a 9’1 standing reach. His strength is his major weakness. If he can get stronger, expect Ingram to be a force for the young and promising Lakers.
3.Boston Celtics-Marquese Chriss, PF, Washington
I am very confident that the Celtics will trade this pick, but this mock does not address trades. The Celtics are stacked at guard, and will likely select a big man. The popular pick here is Dragan Bender, but I like Chriss here. Chriss is a prototypical NBA 4 with athleticism and defensive ability. He is a force at the rim, but he is young and inexperienced. He is limited on offense but could be deadly if he could develop a consistent jumper. I think Chriss is a safer pick than Bender, and a better pick for a win now team.
4.Phoenix Suns-Dragan Bender, PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
The Suns need an upgrade at the 4 spot. Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic are not cutting it. If Bender is here at this pick, Ryan McDonough and Co. will be ecstatic. Bender has incredible upside; standing at 7’1, has the ability to move like a wing and shoot the 3, he didnt average good numbers overseas. If he can improve his mechanics and body, he could be the missing piece the Suns have needed.
5.Minnesota Timberwolves-Jamal Murray, PG/SG, Kentucky
Murray is an explosive scorer and a very good shooter. During a workout with the Celtics, he made 79 out of 100 three pointers. He had a very effective freshman campaign, averaging 20 points. He is not great defensively and is not extremely athletic. He will need to develop a more all around game to be effective, but his scoring will allow him to contribute day 1 for a very promising Minnesota team.
6.New Orleans Pelicans-Buddy Hield, SG, Oklahoma
Everybody talks about the Simmons/Ingram debate, but not enough talk about Murray/Hield. The Pelicans will likely take whoever is left. Hield is a lights out shooter, and a natural leader and scorer. There are questions about his age, and lack of production outside of his senior year. With Eric Gordon possibly leaving this offseason, Hield can step in immediately. All New Orleans need to do is sign Hassan Whiteside and they will be a contender.
7.Denver Nuggets-Kris Dunn, PG, Providence
Dunn has the ideal size for an NBA point guard, standing at 6’4 and 205 pounds. Dunn is extremely quick and athletic, and is a great all around guard. He can make threes, shooting 37% in 2015. He is a great passer and a solid defender. Mudiay seems to be more of a 2, and Dunn is the best player available, and will likely make a big impact year 1 alongside Mudiay
8. Sacramento Kings-Jaylen Brown, SF, Cal.
Brown is arguably the most athletic player in this draft, and is an incredible talent. He only shot 29 percent from 3 and won PAC-12 freshman of the year. Brown is a raw, developmental prospect who will likely need a year or two to develop. Staying another year in college could be extremely beneficial to Brown’s game.
9-Toronto Raptors-Henry Ellenson, PF, Marquette
Ellenson does not have the athleticism of a typical NBA big man, which is a turn off to a lot of teams. But, Ellenson is the most offensively gifted big man in the draft. He will help a Raptors team who really needs a power forward. Dwane Casey can develop Ellenson into something special.
10.Milwaukee Bucks- Jakob Poeltl-C, Utah
Poeltl is the best center in this class. He is a good defender and rebounder, and runs the floor well. The Bucks had a dissapointing 2016 season, and Greg Monroe underperformed. Poeltl could step in and make an impact early for this promising team.
11.Orlando Magic-Skal Labissiere, PF, Kentucky
Labissiere was a projected top pick before the season, but a dissapointing performance slid him down draft boards. Still, Skal has a ton of upside and could be a dominant player. New head coach Frank Vogel could use a dominant big man to learn under Nikola Vucevic and become a solid NBA player.
12.Utah Jazz-Wade Baldwin IV, PG, Vanderbilt.
Baldwin is a big guard with a high ceiling. He is a 6’4 athletic scorer, can shoot the 3, and drive. His major knock is his lack of point guard instincts. He isn’t a good passer and is not a good decision maker. The Jazz need a reliable guard, and Baldwin could fill that void.
13.Phoenix Suns-Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State
Valentine was one of the best players in college this season. He is an all around player who can do a bit of everything. The Suns can use him in whichever way they need to use him in, and Valentine’s leadership could be very useful in a young Suns locker room.
14.Chicago Bulls-Deyonta Davis, PF, Michigan State.
This is purely a potential pick. Davis is 6’11 and is athletic. He is a rim protector, a strong finisher, and runs the floor well. Even with these many strengths, Davis lacks post moves and a jumper. Davis can learn under veteran Pau Gasol, and maybe even be the next Dennis Rodman.
15.Denver Nuggets-Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga
Sabonis is a very NBA ready power forward who works hard and has good mechanics. He could be a solid role player behind all rookie first teamer Nikola Jokic.
16.Boston Celtics-Timothe Luwawu, SG/SF, France
Luwawu is one of the best two way players in the draft. He can have an impact right away with his defense and his athleticism.
17.Memphis Grizzlies-Dejounte Murray, PG/SG, Washington
Murray is a big, young and athletic guard who is very exciting to watch. He has a developing outside shot. With Mike Conley potentially leaving this summer, Murray could play quite a bit for Memphis.
18.Detroit Pistons-Furkan Korkmaz, SG/SF, Turkey
Kormaz is a 6’7 guard with a good stroke. He is a natural scorer but could see some time in the D-League for a couple years before he is ready to play.
19.Denver Nuggets-Malachi Richardson, SG, Syracuse
Richardson is a natural scorer and a big player. He had an incredible NCAA tournament, leading underdog Syracuse to the Final Four.
20.Indiana Pacers-Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
Jackson is only 6’1 but is very good. He is extremely athletic, has very good point guard skills, and is developing a three-point shot. He could help a pacers team who needs a point guard of the future and a second to Paul George.
21.Atlanta Hawks-Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State.
Beasley had a productive freshman season. He is a very good shooter and will give 100% effort. He knows himself well. Beasley could step in right away and replace Korver or Hardaway.
22.Charlotte Hornets-Brice Johnson,PF, North Carolina
Johnson had an excellent 2016 season for North Carolina. Johnson is a great rebounder and is good scoring down low. Johnson could pair with Jefferson to greate a nice frontcourt duo.
23.Boston Celtics-Cheick Diallo, PF, Kansas
Diallo is a strong-athletic big with a high motor. He gives the hustle that not many give in the NBA today and can be a great presence on the Celtics bench.
24.Philadelphia 76ers-Thon Maker, PF, Australia.
Maker is a 7’1 player with point guard skills and a three-point shot. Yes, you read that right. Maker is young and inexperienced, but his potential is too much for the Sixers to pass on.
25.Los Angeles Clippers-Taurean Prince, SF, Baylor
Prince is a good three-point shooter who is athletic. He is a hustle player and has potential to be a solid role player for the Clippers.
26.Philadelphia 76ers-Tyler Ulis, PG, Kentucky.
If Ulis was 6’3, he would surely be a top pick. He is a pass first point guard with incredible handles and a knack for the game. But when he needs to he can score. He shows great technique on defense. But Ulis’s 5’9 height holds him back. If the Sixers can come away with Simmons, Maker, and Ulis, they will be very happy.
27.Toronto Raptors-DeAndre Bembry, SG/SF, St. Joseph
Bembry is a long and quick guard who can guard all 3 positions. He has a decent three-point shot. With Derozan possibly leaving this offseason, expect the Raptors to look for a replacement.
28.Phoenix Suns-Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt.
Jones is a versatile athletic center. The Suns could use more depth in the frontcourt, making this a solid value pick.
29. San Antonio Spurs-Juan Hernangomez, SF, Spain
Hernangomez is a solid offensive player with a good shot. Think of a less athletic Mario Hezonja. The Spurs take a lot of good foreign players (Parker, Ginobli, Diaw, etc) so don’t be surprised if Hernangomez pans out.
30.Golden State Warriors-Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
Zizic is a solid center who can rebound and play defense. The Warriors need more depth at center, with a lot of big men being free agents.