In theory, this won't be updated again, because the general managers of the NBA are going to do us all a favor and wait until the draft begins to start wheelin’ and dealin’, but in the off chance that doesn’t happen, check back if/when any trades go down today and the mock will reflect that soon after.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have acquired Al Horford, the 34th pick, a 2025 first-round pick and the rights to Serbian guard Vasilije Micic for Terrence Ferguson and Danny Green.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Anthony Edwards, G/W, Georgia
Trading out of the No. 1 spot and acquiring an established player and/or more draft assets is probably their ideal plan of action, but the latest rumor coming out of Minnesota is that they prefer to draft Anthony Edwards first overall. Edwards is a positional fit between Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, especially if he reaches his ceiling defensively and becomes more willing to locate off-ball, spot up and shoot threes.
2. Golden State Warriors - James Wiseman, C, Memphis
There are so many rumors flying around regarding Golden State that it’s hard to take a single one seriously, but this pick likely comes down to three choices; James Wiseman, Onyeka Okongwu or Deni Avdija. James Wiseman said in an interview that the only teams he’s worked out for are the Warriors and Hornets; in my opinion, a trade-down is unlikely for the top-two, so Wiseman goes to Golden State since they pick before Charlotte. He’ll be in an ideal situation to develop while contending for championships alongside one of the best point guards of all-time in Stephen Curry.
3. Charlotte Hornets - LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks (Chino Hills HS)
As has been the case for months, Hornets fans expect GM Mitch Kupchak to select whoever is left between Ball, Wiseman and Edwards. The recent rumors suggest that Edwards and Wiseman are likely to go one and two, regardless of which teams select them. Ball has the highest ceiling in the draft as a 19-year-old 6’ 7” point guard with gifted court vision and a unique passing repertoire. Either he or Terry Rozier would have to start the season coming off the bench, but it’s hard to be disappointed with Ball’s value at three.
Just before midnight last night, Mike Schmitz said on ESPN’s NBA Draft preview special that Chicago is basically deciding between Patrick Williams and Deni Avdija. Williams has a much higher ceiling, is a better shooter and fits well next to all of the Bulls’ young players. His stock also seems to be rising at a higher rate than Avdija’s is.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (Israel)
Outside of picking a guard, there are a fair amount of possibilities with Cleveland’s pick. Deni Avdija remains their favorite prospect, and Chicago likes him a fair amount too, so it’s likely that he goes either fourth or fifth. He’s a good fit for the Cavs with his defensive versatility and playmaking ability. Toppin or Okoro are also possibilities here.
The Hawks have been rumored to be involved with the Celtics in a Gordon Hayward trade, but this pick will likely stay in their hands unless given out in a different deal. Tyrese Haliburton is a complimentary two-guard for Trae Young with his defense and length at the point of attack, as well as being comfortable a low-usage spot-up shooter and passer on offense. Isaac Okoro, Devin Vassell or Patrick Williams could be it here, too.
7. Detroit Pistons - Onyeka Okongwu, C, Southern California
The Pistons could go in many different directions, especially if the board looks like this when they come up. They’re rumored to have promised Patrick Williams, and they attended Ball’s private workout, but neither are likely to be there at seven. Onyeka Okongwu gives them a defensive anchor for the future; he can protect the rim, switch onto ball-handlers, and play a variety of pick-and-roll coverages, while offering a lot of room for growth as a ball-handler and passer.
8. New York Knicks - Obi Toppin, F/C, Dayton
Every rumor available suggests New York is the lowest landing spot for Obi Toppin, but beyond the Knicks and Cavaliers, it’s hard to find a fit for him. His appeal as a pick-and-pop big that can dunk anything in transition is understanding, but the defensive drawbacks are real. It will be interesting to see which team takes the reigning Naismith Player of the Year.
9. Washington Wizards - Isaac Okoro, W/F, Auburn
Isaac Okoro is an incredibly versatile defender with an NBA-ready frame and underrated point forward chops, but his draft range is wider than most top prospects. Cleveland is probably the peak for him, though he could slide out of the top-10. Teams would probably end up regretting that.
Phoenix landed Chris Paul and kept the 10th pick, which general manager James Jones deserves a lot of credit for. Devin Vassell is, by far, the safest bet at this point in the draft to contribute for a team that’s suddenly a yearly playoff contender. Him and Mikal Bridges would clamp opposing guards and wings, and he’s shown flashes of self-creation. The Suns are going to be a very fun team this season.
11. San Antonio Spurs - Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama
After literal decades of consistent success, the Spurs might actually be the most directionless team in the NBA going into the draft. DeMar DeRozan accepted his player option, but almost certainly to be used as a chip in a trade with a contender because LaMarcus Aldridge also wants to be moved. The Spurs have a few young guards already, but all of the wings and bigs worth taking at 11 are gone and Lewis Jr.’s frenetic pace of play and shooting potential will be appreciated by Gregg Popovich.
12. Sacramento Kings - Killian Hayes, G, ratiopharm Ulm
Despite being ranked in the top-five on a lot of big boards, Killian Hayes’ draft range reportedly extends to the mid-teens. Him being in the mix for the Hornets’ pick at three wouldn’t be surprising, and him being available at 15 wouldn’t be either. Hayes has ideal combo guard size and commands an offense well beyond his years, but NBA front offices are all over the place on him.
13. New Orleans Pelicans - Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
Tyrell Terry’s stock has risen lately and his shooting fits well on any team. He’s grown two inches to 6’ 3” since his college season ended and if he can add weight to his frame in the next few years, he should be okay. Even if he doesn’t become a good defender, his shooting and passing should buoy his value and having Lonzo Ball next to him on the perimeter helps, too. New Orleans will be very active in trade talks tonight.
14. Boston Celtics (via MEM) - R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (Little Elm HS)
R.J. Hampton has been rising up draft boards in the last few weeks, and there’s even a report connecting him to Boston. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams and Romeo Langford were all “bad shooters” in college, so we know the Celtics aren’t afraid to take players who need to work on their jumper. Hampton’s scoring would mostly be limited to transition opportunities as a rookie, but he sees the floor well and is a top-tier athlete. Boston is trying hard to move up/down the board.
15. Orlando Magic - Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
Orlando needs one of Cole Anthony, Maxey, Terry or Lewis Jr. to fall to them, and Anthony might even be the best fit of the three. His shooting slides in nicely next to Markelle Fultz, and Fultz takes some playmaking and creation pressure off of Anthony, who struggled with those things at North Carolina. Anthony would be great value at 15.
16. Detroit Pistons (via HOU) - Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
Houston acquired a pick in the 2020 draft and promptly shipped it out to Detroit. This is definitely going to be dangled, along with seven, to Golden State, Charlotte, and Chicago, especially if Ball doesn’t go first overall. Even if they don’t trade up, Okongwu and Maxey would be an exceptional haul for the Pistons, who need all the talent they can get.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via BKN) - Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis
Minnesota is aggressively trying to trade the first overall pick, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this one was being tossed around in trade talks as well. Precious Achiuwa’s ceiling and ideal role is similar to peak Kenneth Faried to me, albeit more modernized as Achiuwa has shown some flashes of floor-spacing potential. He’s a great defensive fit between Towns and Russell with his ability to switch from bigs onto guards and play with energy on that end.
During his virtual combine workout, Xavier Tillman hit 75 percent of his spot-up attempts off of movement from beyond the arc. Tillman has always been a “if he can shoot, he’s going to be good” prospect but if he has added the ability to make movement threes, it’s a wrap. His level of playmaking, rim protection, and shooting from a 6’ 8”, 266-pound basketball savant should be illegal. He would be excellent in lineups with Luka Doncic and/or Kristaps Porzingis.
The Brooklyn Nets are obviously looking to win now, given their pursuit of James Harden. If that trade is agreed upon, Houston will be making this selection, but for now it’s Saddiq Bey. Bey is the most NBA playoffs-ready prospect on the board here and he fills a position of need since Taurean Prince has been heavily involved in trade rumors. His movement shooting and switchable defense should be useful off of Brooklyn’s bench.
20. Miami Heat - Jalen Smith, C/F, Maryland
Jalen Smith could go much higher than this, but the rumors for mid-first round prospects are way too much to keep track of at this point. He’s been linked to the Heat throughout the draft process and they could use more defense to back up Bam Adebayo than what Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard offer them.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (via OKC) - Aaron Nesmith, W, Vanderbilt
Aaron Nesmith made 119 of his 290 total 3-point attempts over two seasons at Vanderbilt (a foot injury limited him to 14 games as a sophomore) and is a career 82.5 percent free throw shooter, so it’s a safe bet that he’ll be able to knock down jumpers at the next level. Nesmith’s shooting versatility and potential to fill out his frame and become a solid perimeter defender seems like something Daryl Morey would invest in, given floor-spacing is the team’s biggest need.
22. Denver Nuggets (via HOU) - Desmond Bane, G/W, Texas Christian
The only real question with Desmond Bane is how much room there is for improvement in his game at 22 years old; he put up voluminous numbers at TCU and has been one of the top performers in combine shooting drills. Denver needs role-playing wings that can shoot and defend and Bane will thrive in that role with some added secondary ball-handling. His draft range probably starts at 16 and ends around this pick.
23. New York Knicks (via UTA) - Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
Malachi Flynn is a talented pick-and-roll player that has been improving his off-the-dribble scoring throughout the draft process. The Knicks are severely lacking in the lead ball-handler department, and every rumor points to them searching for their future point guard. Flynn is probably not a star in the NBA but he’s a pretty safe bet to be a contributor. This pick is likely to be used as ammo for a trade-up in the lottery, though. New York and Charlotte are probably in close contact today.
24. New Orleans Pelicans (via MIL) - Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State
The Bucks got their number-two guy to pair next to Giannis Antetokounmpo in Jrue Holiday, and now the Pelicans have arguably the best draft asset cupboard in the league. It’d be surprising if they don’t trade up and actually use all four of their picks tonight, but Terry and Robert Woodard II would be a beautiful first-round haul. Woodard is a nice potential three-and-D fit alongside Williamson.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (via DEN) - Aleksej Pokuševski, C/F, Olympiacos B (Serbia)
Despite his sky-high upside and truly unique skillset, the only team Aleksej Pokuševski has been linked to so far are the Oklahoma City Thunder; which makes sense, given their willingness to draft projects and develop them. It’s highly likely that OKC moves up to ensure they land Poku, and they certainly have the assets to do so; few teams have been connected with him but his upside is well worth a shot at 25. Poku is a top-3 talent in this class if he pans out.
By default due to their plethora of picks, Boston gets a potential draft-and-stash guy in Leandro Bolmaro. He needs more experience to get acclimated to the pace of professional basketball, but he’s still great at taking it to the rim and plays super aggressively on both ends. At 6’ 7”, all he needs to do is develop and add a consistent jump shot to have a clear path to becoming an NBA rotation player.
27. Utah Jazz (via NYK) - Zeke Nnaji, C/F, Arizona
Utah’s lack of depth was apparent in the bubble when Donovan Mitchell had to do literally everything for them offensively. Nnaji should develop into a nice floor-spacer and switchable defender pretty soon after he gets into the league, and Utah could use an immediate contributor more than a developmental piece, though they are fans of Jaden McDaniels. It was a savvy move by Utah to acquire another pick from the Knicks to move down only four spots in the 20s.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder (via LAL) - Jaden McDaniels, W/F, Washington
Oklahoma City lands another developmental project with their second late-first, but I don’t think that’d be an issue for them. Jaden McDaniels is essentially a lock for the first-round despite there being a lot of questions being asked by NBA scouts about how low his floor is. At 6’ 10”, few prospects in this class can handle and shoot as fluidly as McDaniels can, and some team is going to bet on that; it could very well be the Thunder.
29. Toronto Raptors - Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon
During an episode of The Ringer NBA Show podcast, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor mentioned that Payton Pritchard may have a promise in the late-first round. That would be an absolute shock, but there are a ton of guards in that late-first/early-second round tier so there are bound to be some unexpected risers and fallers. It’s anybody’s guess which team that was (it could’ve been the Lakers, they traded their pick after this rumor came out), but Toronto makes sense with their lack of lead ball-handler depth.
30. Boston Celtics (via MIL) - Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Effort is one thing that teams will never have to worry about while Isaiah Stewart is on the court, and that’s something that the Boston front office values. Stewart has great footwork in the post and is athletic enough to defend bigs in the NBA; he’ll be a nice role-player if he adds more perimeter skill and learns how to anchor an NBA defense. The Celtics have been rumored to have interest in Stewart for a while now.
31. Dallas Mavericks (via GSW) - Elijah Hughes, W, Syracuse
There have been little-to-no rumors regarding Elijah Hughes, which makes it difficult to find a spot for him. Dallas is probably trying to use this pick as a trade chip to move up from 18 or acquire a veteran, but if they stay, Hughes would be a good pick. He’s going to be more efficient as a scorer in the NBA and he has the physical tools to defend wings.
32. Charlotte Hornets (via CLE) - Isaiah Joe, G/W, Arkansas
If the Hornets land Ball with the third pick, they could opt to surround him with as much shooting as possible. Isaiah Joe is one of the draft’s best shooters and has serious potential as a high-level three-and-D wing if he fills out his frame. Mitch Kupchak has mentioned that this pick might be used on an older player that could spend time with the Greensboro Swarm, but anything can happen and Joe at least fits the “could spend time in Greensboro” part of that quote.
33. Minnesota Timberwolves - Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
34. Oklahoma City Thunder (via PHI) - Grant Riller, G, College of Charleston
35. Sacramento Kings (via PHX) - Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
36. Philadelphia 76ers (via NYK) - Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
37. Washington Wizards (via CHI) - Tre Jones, PG, Duke
38. Utah Jazz (via NYK) - Josh Green, W, Arizona
40. Memphis Grizzlies (via PHX) - Paul Reed, F/C, DePaul
41. San Antonio Spurs - Killian Tillie, C/F, Gonzaga
42. New Orleans Pelicans - Mason Jones, G/W, Arkansas
43. Sacramento Kings - Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
44. Chicago Bulls (via MEM) - Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
45. Milwaukee Bucks (via ORL) - Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
46. Portland Trail Blazers - Jay Scrubb, G/W, John A. Logan (JUCO)
47. Boston Celtics (via BKN) - Yam Madar, G, Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)
48. Golden State Warriors (via DAL) - Nate Hinton, W, Houston
49. Philadelphia 76ers - Nick Richards, C, Kentucky
50. Atlanta Hawks (via MIA) - Lamine Diane, F, Cal State Northridge
51. Golden State Warriors (via UTA) - Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
52. Sacramento Kings (via HOU) - Jalen Harris, G/W, Nevada
53. Oklahoma City Thunder - Ty-Shon Alexander, G/W, Creighton
54. Indiana Pacers - Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
55. Brooklyn Nets (via DEN) - Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
56. Charlotte Hornets (via BOS) - Kaleb Wesson, C/F, Ohio State
As mentioned in our latest podcast, I’ve become a bigger fan of Kaleb Wesson after his combine measurements and shooting numbers came out. He’s 6’ 10”, 253 pounds and he’s one of the better shooting bigs in the draft. There are serious questions about defense and seeing the floor, but it’s the 56th pick. If Wesson lasts four seasons in the NBA it’s a success.
57. Los Angeles Clippers - Skylar Mays, G, Louisiana State
58. Philadelphia 76ers (via LAL) - Cassius Stanley, W, Duke
59. Toronto Raptors - C.J. Elleby, W, Washington State
60. Milwaukee Bucks (via NOP) - Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky