NBA Mock Draft boards are floating all over the internet as expected. Before the draft takes place on Wednesday at 8 PM ET, Woodward Sports dives into what the first 14 selections will look like before then.
NBA Mock Draft is something that will set a google search scrambling with hundreds of articles and projections of what player will be selected at each number. Seeing everyone else partake in the fun, Woodward Sports will throw in its two cents as well. Here we go.
1.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Unless the Timberwolves are going to trade D’Angelo Russell soon, Edwards makes the most sense for them with the first overall pick. He’s NBA ready. At 6’4, 225 pounds, he carries a unique combination of size, speed, and shot-making ability. A backcourt of him and Russell could potentially be a problem for years to come. He’s the sure first man to be taken on nearly every NBA Mock Draft board. Unless the Timberwolves decide to roll with LaMelo Ball, expect Edwards to be first off the board
2.) Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
The Warriors had a down year last season by all accounts. And it turns out it could be a blessing in disguise. With the No.2 overall pick, they can potentially trade it before the draft to acquire another superstar. However, if they stand pat, they can select their big man for the future. He’s a good finisher at the rim and could immediately compliment the Warriors starting five.
3.) Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
The Hornets need a big man. Cody Zeller will not cut it for them, so here would be an excellent chance for Hornets owner Michael Jordan to make a smart selection and improve their low-post presence. He’s a sensational rim protector and a great defender. Although he is undersized for his position, he has a high-IQ and can contribute immediately.
4.) Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
For the Bulls, the No. 4 slot is interesting. They’ve extended a qualifying offer to Denzel Valentine, and Otto Porter will exercise his player option. They have depth at each position (to a degree). Avdija would be a logical pick. His versatility makes him a threat in several different positions. He’s a project and will need to add some size, but it could work. There is pressure to play him immediately.
5.) Cleveland Cavaliers: LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
We have finally reached the winner of the LaMelo Ball sweepstakes. There is no player on the Cavaliers roster with the upside of Ball. With Cleveland’s city in need of a basketball star since LeBron James’ second departure, Ball checks that box and then some. He’s a creative playmaker, an excellent passer, and arguably has the best court vision of any player in the draft.
6.) Atlanta Hawks: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Grabbing Toppin here would be a solid choice for the Hawks. They already have John Collins. And selecting another 6’9 forward doesn’t seem wise unless they are going to trade him. Nonetheless, Toppin is a player the Hawks cannot afford to pass on. He can finish at the rim, efficient scorer, and is versatile. The Hawks would be able to move him around in the frontcourt. If drafted at No.6, Toppin can be an immediate contributor.
7.) Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
ESPN’s Jay Bilas says that Haliburton has the potential to be an All-Star. And with the Pistons needing a point guard for the future, Haliburton is a great selection here. Many fans in Detroit are high on the Pistons taking Killian Hayes. However, Haliburton is a better passer, mid-range shooter and can provide the Pistons the spacing they’ve lacked. If the Pistons decide to keep Derrick Rose, he’d be a great mentor for Haliburton. Also, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey desires a floor general. With the IQ Haliburton has, he could be a franchise staple at Detroit’s point guard position.
8.) New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, PG, France
It doesn’t matter who the Knicks select. The franchise is in shambles, and the lack of leadership from top-down begs to question the franchise’s goal. Nonetheless, Killian Hayes could be an excellent pick for the Knicks. He’s improving his 3-point shot, something that is a necessity for the next level. His first step isn’t explosive, which could be a problem at the NBA-level (unless you’re Luka Doncic). However, he’s a crafty passer and playmaker. When he does drive to the rim, he’s a strong finisher. If Hayes is available at No.8, the Knicks would be foolish to pass on him.
9.) Washington Wizards: Issac Okoro, SF, Auburn
What the Wizards should do and what the Wizards probably will do are two different things. John Wall’s health is a constant issue, and his contract without production is a more significant issue. For the Wizards, this is a perfect opportunity to rebuild the team and draft their point guard for the future. Cole Anthony would be a great fit. However, the Wizards have yet to give any indication that they’re looking to end the John Wall/Bradley Beal experiment. Knowing this, Issac Okoro seems likely. He’s a good passer and defender that can contribute immediately.
10.) Phoenix Suns: Patrick Williams, PF, FSU
The reigning ACC sixth man of the year has tremendous upside all-around. He’s an explosive combo forward who’s quick and can finish at the rim. His decision making is questionable, but that can improve. There is tons of potential with Williams, but the Suns will need to be patient in developing him. After trading Kelly Oubre Jr. to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday afternoon, Willaims can grow to be a versatile scorer for the Suns’ needs.
11.) San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State
If we know anything about Greg Popovich and the Spurs, they like to play it safe. Devin Vassell is a safe pick. Scouts rave about his instincts on both sides of the ball. He’s also an incredible defender and able to shoot from beyond the arc. To me, that sounds like a Coach Pop type of player.
12.) Sacramento Kings: Saddiq Bey, SF, Villanova
It’s hard to figure out what the Kings are doing with their roster. At times, it comes off as if they aren’t even sure. After trading guard Bogdan Bogdanovic to Milwaukee Bucks on Monday evening, they’ll need some scoring. Bey is NBA-ready, as he is an excellent catch and shoot player. He shot 45.1 % last season from beyond the arc and knows how to play in the pick and roll. While he won’t fill a void at Bogdanovic’s position, he can fill the scoring void.
13.) New Orleans Pelicans: RJ Hampton, PG, New Zealand
The Pelicans are another team that will have to fill a void after sending one of its players to the Milwaukee Bucks. On Monday evening, the Pelicans traded Jrue Holiday to the Bucks for three first-round picks and two swaps. Newly hired Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy is going to need a floor general. With rumors of guard Lonzo Ball possibly out the door, this is the perfect opportunity to take Hampton here. At 6’4, he’s an excellent sized guard, which is something they’ll miss losing Holiday. He’ll need some time to grow, but the Pelicans are not ready to compete just yet anyway. He’s great at driving to the basket, impressive court vision, but his shot selection will need some work. Still, this could be a great pick if Van Gundy grooms him correctly. This may be the only NBA Mock Draft you see with Hampton selected at this spot.
14.) Boston Celtics: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
RJ Hampton is someone that could slip down to Boston at the No. 14 selection. However, if he doesn’t, expect the Celtics to take Maxey right here. The Celtics love having two-way players. Under the guidance of Brad Stevens, Maxey would be a great addition to the Celtics bench. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, great defender, and a high IQ player.
Expect more NBA transactions over the next 24 hours, which could make this list obsolete, especially if any of these teams trade these picks. For now, this is a projection of what teams might do on Wednesday night. Expect more NBA Mock Draft boards to be changed in the coming hours.