With less than a month until the NBA Draft, I’m creating my own Lottery Mock Draft, which is only picks 1-14. This mock draft is my opinion, and my opinion only.
#1: Anthony Edwards
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
I have the Minnesota Timberwolves picking Anthony Edwards at #1 for a couple of reasons. I don’t have Lamelo Ball here because D’Angelo Russell and Lamelo’s play style contradict each other, and they also have an all-star center in Karl Anthony-Towns. Edwards, a 6’5″ SG would give Minnesota an incredible big three. During his one year at the University of Georgia, he averaged 19.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. His three-point shooting could use some work, as he only shot 28.4% from the three-point line, but overall he’s a great defender, a great dunker, and a decent scorer. An enforcer on both ends of the court, I don’t see him as the best player in the draft. In fact, out of the top five picks, I honestly think he’s going to end up being one of the worst, but he’s the best option for Minnesota.
#2: Deni Avdija
Team: Golden State Warriors
He may not be as well known as Lamelo Ball, but I think the Golden State Warriors will end up picking Deni Avdija. A professional player in Israel for three years, he has already won the league’s MVP award and is a 3-time champion. As a 6’9″ SF, the Golden State Warriors were “blown away” by his pre-draft workouts. Personally, I think James Wiseman would be a better fit for the Golden State Warriors, but they have indicated they do not want to take a center in the draft. That would give the Warriors a starting five of Steph, Klay, Deni Avdija, Wiggins, and Draymond Green (or some other interesting combo). They used a line-up similar to this in 2016 called “The Death Blitz,” where Draymond Green would play center so they could run circles around other teams. Avdija’s teammates and coaches have described him as a great player, a great teammate, and a player with a great work ethic.
#3: Lamelo Ball
Team: Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have been struggling a lot the last few years, and managed to luck into the #3 pick. More than anything, the Hornets need a star, a leader. They traded away their previous leader, Kemba Walker, for a big contract and an average starter. They need Lamelo Ball. In Charlotte, Lamelo Ball would have the opportunity to shoot however much he wanted to, and could draw fans. In Australia, Lamelo has proved that he can be a leader and that he can bring much needed offense to a team. There’s no doubt in my mind that Lamelo should go #3, unless Michael Jordan decides he wants his Bulls to take him.
#4: James Wiseman
Team: Chicago Bulls
I have the Chicago Bulls selecting James Wiseman, a 7’1″ big-man from the University of Memphis. Wiseman would be a great defensive presence for the Chicago Bulls, creating a core for them of Coby White, Zach Lavine, Lauri Markkanen, and Wiseman. The Bulls have a lot of scoring, but they need some work on the defensive end if they want to be a playoff team. Averaging 10.7 rebounds in 12 games, Wiseman is the player they need in the paint.
#5: Obi Toppin
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland would be incredibly lucky to get Obi Toppin. The reigning National Player of the Year, Obi Toppin is a 6’9″ power forward. He is a great scorer, rebounder, three-point shooter, and dunker, even doing a between the legs dunk in a game once. He would be a great lob passer for Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, and could learn a lot from NBA veteran and champion Kevin Love. Personally, if I were the Cavaliers, if Toppin does come out to be the player we hope he will, I would trade Kevin Love in a year or two. I think it would make the most sense to trade him and Tristan Thompson for Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore, Nassir Little, and Zach Collins. Bringing in more young talent could make Cleveland a threat in the east again for years to come, and it would all start with the 20 points and 7.5 rebounds from Obi Toppin.
#6: Tyrese Haliburton
Team: Atlanta Hawks
I initially struggled with who to have the Atlanta Hawks draft. A lot of mock drafts had Tyrese Haliburton going as #6, and while I was originally skeptical, I did some research and think he might work well on the Hawks. A 6’5″ guard, Tyrese Haliburton is a defensive playmaker who can assist, rebound, and score when necessary. As a sophomore coming out of college, he averaged 5.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists this year. He and Trae Young could make a deadly backcourt together, with Young providing the scoring and Haliburton just about everything else.
#7: Killian Hayes
Team: Detroit Pistons
Derrick Rose is going to be retiring soon, and the Detroit Pistons are going to be needing a new point guard. What better then to select Killian Hayes, a 6’5″ lefty point guard who is the 2nd or 3rd best in the class. Playing in France and the Euro-League, Hayes has faced much more difficult competition, and has learned more than his one and done or two and out peers in college. He can shoot the ball, spread the floor, and make great passes. The Pistons are in desperate need of a franchise player, so they’re going to have to take a chance.
#8: Aaron Nesmith
Team: New York Knicks
A 6’6″ sophomore small forward coming out of Vanderbilt, Aaron Nesmith is perfect for the Knicks, assuming his game can translate to the NBA. He averaged 23 points per game this season, and shot 52% from three! Granted, he averaged less than an assist and 5 rebounds per game, but his scoring is exactly what the Knicks need.
#9: Onyeka Okongwu
Team: Washington Wizards
The Wizards need a versatile, quick center, who can set picks and catch lobs from Bradley Beal and John Wall. And that’s exactly what Onyeka Okongwu is. He can definitely help the Wizards defense inside the paint, and has proved he can play in a fast-paced offense, as he did alongside Lonzo and Lamelo Ball in high school with a 7 seconds or less offense. He has also proven that he can score in the paint when necessary, making him the 2nd best center in the draft. The Wizards could use another center, as all they have right now is Thomas Bryant, and two random role players that get limited minutes, one of which has a $15 million contract. Okongwu is just what the Wizards need.
#10: Isaac Okoro
Team: Phoenix Suns
At this point, just about every player that has a chance at blooming into a star has been taken, with the exception of Onyeka Okongwu. The reason I don’t have the Knicks picking him is because they signed four power-forward/centers in free agency and don’t need another. Isaac Okoro is a 6’6″ Small Forward out of Auburn, who averaged 13, 4, and 2. I don’t see him doing too much in the NBA, but if he can improve his three-point percentage (shot 28.6% in college), he can be a key part of a young core in Phoenix, which has shown a lot of recent improvement and went 8-0 in the NBA bubble seeding games.
#11: Precious Auchiwa
Team: San Antonio Spurs
Coming out of the University of Memphis, Precious Auchiwa averaged a 15 point 10 rebound double-double while briefly playing alongside James Wiseman before the latter got injured. If Auchiwa is as reliable as they say, then he could learn a lot from LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Poppovich. Because maybe, just maybe, Precious Auchiwa could help lead the Spurs to the playoffs and eventually become their new Tim Duncan. He has the skills and a better three-point shot than Duncan. While this comparison is a big stretch and probably won’t happen, he’s a reliable 6’9″ PF that the Spurs could use.
#12: Saddiq Bey
Team: Sacramento Kings
Originally, I had Saddiq Bey at #11 and Precious Auchiaw at #12, but I can’t see the Kings drafting another Power Forward, when they already have Harry Giles, Marvin Bagley III, Nemanja Bjelica, Richaun Holmes, and Alex Len, who all play that position. Saddiq Bey is a 6’8″ Small Forward Sophomore coming out of Villanova, averaging 16, 5, and 2 while shooting 45% from three. He could be a decent contribution to a young Kings’ team, while learning from veterans Bogdan Bogdanović and Jabari Parker.
#13: Tyrese Maxey
Team: New Orleans Pelicans
Tyrese Maxey is a decent 6’3″ shooting guard coming out of college basketball powerhouse Kentucky. A one and done player, I can see him learning a lot behind veterans Jrue Holiday and JJ Reddick for the Pelicans. He only shot 29.3% from three, and averaged 14, 4, and 3, but there’s an unspoken rule on draft night: if there’s a shooting guard available at pick #13, you take him. Last year, the Heat got Tyler Herro at #13. And before that there was Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Zach Lavine, Jalen Rose, and of course, Kobe Bryant.
#14: Cole Anthony
Team: Boston Celtics
I think the Celtics would be a great fit for Cole Anthony. He can be the back-up they need for Kemba Walker and could potentially develop into a franchise player. He could learn from veterans and have a chance to contend for a championship. The only other thing I see the Celtics doing with this pick is drafting a big, since all they really have in the post is Daniel Theis and a not-yet ready Tacko Fall. Cole Anthony played basketball at the University of North Carolina.
Let me know in the comments below if you think anyone was ranked too low or too high, don’t forget to like, share, and as always, have an awesome day!