With the NBA Draft Combine set to begin, it’s time to take a look at the complete 1st round and where players will potentially go. The NBA Combine can be big for some players to make a name for themselves, while others will want to reassess what we already know or thought we knew. As a final note, the mock draft won’t be able to be set in stone until the lottery on May 20th where we find out where teams will be picking in the top 14 picks.
- 1. Milwaukee Bucks – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
While I previously had Wiggins here, I just feel Embiid’s potential is too high to pass up here for a Bucks’ team desperate for a franchise player. A big part of this selection will be after the lottery, when he takes a physical with teams. If his back is cleared, then he should be the top pick. Also, Embiid won’t be participating in the combine.
- 2. Philadelphia 76ers – Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
Back-to-back Jayhawks off the board 1-2 shows the recruiting job Bill Self is doing in Lawrence. You could easily make a case for Wiggins to go in the top slot. After a solid freshman season at Kansas, Wiggins would be a great landing spot for a 76ers squad that struggled mightily down the stretch. With Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel already in place, the 76ers need a franchise player on the wing.
- 3. Orlando Magic – Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Parker is a little bit of a different breed than Wiggins. He doesn’t necessarily have the high ceiling of Wiggins and Embiid, but he is a safe pick in that he could easily develop in a regular All-Star. He’s a confident player and a perfect fit for a Magic team also in the need of a point guard.
- 4. Utah Jazz – Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia
At 6’6″, Exum offers tremendous size for a player that can handle the ball like him. The Jazz already have their future point guard in Trey Burke, so Exum will most likely be an off-guard, but he is more than capable of doing that.
- 5. Boston Celtics – Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
A lot will depend on what scouts see at the combine, but I still think Randle is the best player available at this spot and can be considered a player-ready-to-play for the Celtics.
- 6. Los Angeles Lakers – Noah Vonleh, C, Indiana
Vonleh is a player that still has a lot of room for improvement. With the Combine coming up, people will see all of the physical potential he has, of which he barely tapped into during his lone season at Indiana.
- 7. Sacramento Kings – Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
The Kings are in most need of a steady power forward. Gordon possesses exceptional athleticism for his size and I believe he is capable of adding a three-point shot.
- 8. Detroit Pistons – Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
The Pistons feature plenty of talent, yet struggled to put it all together with Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, and Greg Monroe. Stauskas is arguably the best shooter in the class and has further added to his game in his second season at Ann Arbor.
- 9. Cleveland Cavaliers – Dario Saric, PF, Croatia
The international forward comes in at 6’10” and has tremendous upside. Despite being a bit of a risky pick, Cleveland is desperate to find some supporting players for Kyrie Irving.
- 10. Philadelphia 76ers (via NOR) – Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
If they take Wiggins with their first pick, they will already have a good core of young players. Although some red flags were raised this past season, Smart looks to be a terrific complement to Carter-Williams.
- 11. Denver Nuggets – Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
While some of the guys above may have more upside, I believe Harris is a guy more than capable of warranting his lottery pick status. In his two-year stay at Michigan State under the tutelage of Tom Izzo, Harris greatly improved. He has the ability to stroke it from deep and get up in your face on the defensive end. He is a good with a Denver team desperate for a backcourt player to pair with Ty Lawson.
- 12. Orlando Magic (via NYK) – Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
The Magic are desperate for a point guard. Provided they pass on Exum with their first pick (which is the smart choice), then I like them to take Ennis here.
- 13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Duke
At 6’8″, Hood has good size that will allow him to be a long range option in either a starting role or instant offense off the bench.
- 14. Phoenix Suns – James Young, SG/SG, Kentucky
Young has already proved he can be a deadly offensive weapon. The lefty can be a potent three-point shooter while also having above-average driving ability.
- 15. Atlanta Hawks – Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton
After one of the most-prolific college careers in history, McDermott should be able to provide some help right away. However, I consider him to be more of a catch-and-shoot guy at the NBA level.
- 16. Chicago Bulls (via CHA) – Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
With the loss of Luol Deng mid-season, the Bulls will be looking for a replacement. Anderson is one of the more talented players coming out, considering he is 6’9″ and plays the point at times.
- 17. Boston Celtics (via BRK) – Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
Nurkic is a physical beast, checking in at 6’11” and 280 pounds. He is probably the next best center option and could make sense here for a rebuilding Boston team.
- 18. Phoenix Suns (via WAS) – T.J. Warren, SF/PF, N.C. State
Warren is a true offensive weapon and would be a good piece to add to an overachieving Suns’ team.
- 19. Chicago Bulls – K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
McDaniels is definitely athletically-gifted, so it will be interesting to see his work at the Combine. Outside shooting is a concern, but something he can improve with time.
- 20. Toronto Raptors – Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
Terrific physical tools make Grant well-worth a look inside the first-round.
- 21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via DAL) – Clint Capela, PF/C, Switzerland
Capela is a candidate for a team to let him work on his game. The Thunder have the luxury of taking this path.
- 22. Memphis Grizzlies – P.J. Hairston, Texas Legends, SG
Would be a perfect fit for Memphis’ style and fills one of their needs.
- 23. Utah Jazz (via GS) – Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
Payne fits here to add interior depth behind Favors and Kanter. His hardworking mentality is a good fit for any team.
- 24. Charlotte Bobcats (via POR) – Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
After an impressive tournament performance, Early puts his name on the map as one of the more athletic and versatile players for his size.
- 25. Houston Rockets – Kristaps Porzingis, PF, Sevilla
Still a very young prospect at 18-years-old, the 7-footer offers great potential for a Rockets’ team on the rise.
- 26. Miami Heat – Shabazz Napier, PG, Miami Heat
Shabazz has an all-around game, which he put on display in the NCAA Tournament, which will intrigue the two-time defending champs.
- 27. Phoenix Suns (via IND) – Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
One of the more less-known prospects in the draft, Payton will be a perfect option as a backup for breakout star Goran Dragic.
- 28. Los Angeles Clippers – Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
The Clippers are desperate for some bigs behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. McGary still needs some work on the offensive end, but can hold his own on the glass.
- 29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
I like Adams upside to compete with Jeremy Lamb and Thabo Sefolosha for minutes at shooting guard.
- 30. San Antonio Spurs – Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA
LaVine has potential for the long-term, but I feel it might take a while to reach it. He didn’t do a ton in his lone year at UCLA, but some flashes of this upside were seen.