The Eastern Conference Finals wrapped up last night, with the Miami Heat punching their ticket to a fourth straight NBA Finals. With the NBA Finals starting next Thursday, and the month of June beginning tomorrow, the upcoming NBA Draft is approaching very quickly.
We know the draft order, and we know who SHOULD be available when the Utah Jazz pick at number five, but things are very unpredictable as we seen last year when the Cleveland Cavaliers shocked everyone by drafting Anthony Bennett number one overall.
Here is a look at our updated mock draft.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins
I still think that the Cavaliers best pick would be to take Wiggins or Parker at number one. Teams really like Embiid, but his back injury has raised some concerns. Wiggins was projected out of high school as the next LeBron James, so why wouldn’t Cleveland want to draft the next “King”?
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker
The Bucks tried to win this year, and found out that they were just plain awful. After finding out that, they decided to tank and try and get a high draft pick. Now with the second overall pick, they have a chance to take a guy like Parker who could come in and help immediately. Parker has an NBA ready body, and the Bucks can use all the help they can get.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Dante Exum
I think that the rumblings from around the league have Exum creeping up higher and higher in this draft. The Sixers got the Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams in last year’s draft, and they could take a guy like Exum to pair up with him in the back court. If the Sixers have a starting back court of MCW and Exum, they are going to be very long and athletic.
4. Orlando Magic – Marcus Smart
The Magic are in need of a point guard, and with Exum gone, they will probably take the next best one in Smart. Drafting a guy like Smart gives them a point guard to pair up with Victor Oladipo, who can get to the basket and create instant offense. Smart is also a great defender. A back court of Smart and Oladipo is probably just as good of a back court as Exum and Oladipo would have been.
5. Utah Jazz – Joel Embiid
Because of the back injury, a lot of teams have concerns about Embiid. Those concerns will probably fade once the NBA Draft reaches us. However, for now, he has slipped a bit and if he falls to the Jazz, they could potentially get a steal. Embiid has comparisons to potentially being a dominant big man like Hakeem Olajuwon. If the Jazz can get him, pair him alongside Derrick Favors on the front line, and have Enes Kanter be the first big off the bench, the Jazz’s front line is going to be tough to beat.
6. Boston Celtics – Julius Randle
Randle was projected before the season as the third player in the freshman trio with Parker and Wiggins. Early projections had Parker, Wiggins, and Randle going 1-2-3 is some kind of order at the draft. Randle’s draft stock slipped a bit throughout the year, and I’m not really sure why. Randle was a double-double machine in college and led his team to the National Championship game. Regardless, the Celtics need help and Randle will be some immediate help that can pair with Rajon Rondo in the pick and roll that could be deadly.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Noah Vonleh
I have said it in many articles and I still stand by it…I have never been a huge fan of Noah Vonleh. I didn’t watch him but a handful of games, but the games that I watched him, he never stood out as a guy that is going to be a dominant big man in the NBA. If you look at his profile on NBADraft.net, his NBA comparison is Wayman Tisdale. What??? GM’s seem to be intrigued with his freakishly large hands and his potential, but I will stand by my thoughts and think he doesn’t pan out in the NBA. Good pick for Jazz fans if he goes to the Lakers.
8. Sacramento Kings – Aaron Gordon
You look at the roster for the Kings and you see a lot of talent, but they never can get it together. Drafting a guy like Gordon to play with Demarcus Cousins could give the Kings a front court duo that could be really, really good in the future. Gordon is very athletic and could give the Kings a much needed spark at the power forward position. The Kings could lose their point guard to free agency this season, so that is another position they could be looking at here.
9. Charlotte Hornets – Doug McDermott
The Hornets are back and the Bobcats are a thing of the past, both on and off the court. Last season, Al Jefferson helped lead the Bobcats to the playoffs, and to a top five finish in defense. Head coach Steve Clifford is a defensive guy, and because of that he could be wanting to go after a guy that can contribute on the defensive end. McDermott isn’t a guy that is known for defense, he just knows how to score. That is something that the Hornets are going to need, however. Their defense got them to the playoffs, but Big Al can only score so many points. Kemba Walker helped, but they still need another scorer. McDermott can provide that.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Dario Saric
I don’t know much about Saric, but from what I’ve read, the guy can play. However, there was a report that came out the other day that said Saric will only come over to the United States and play in the NBA right away if he is drafted by the Celtics or Lakers. So it looks like Saric might not be coming over to the NBA this year. The only way he gets drafted by either team is if he falls to Boston’s other first round pick at 17.
11. Denver Nuggets – Gary Harris
Harris can shoot the three ball, and the Nuggets could use another shooter off the bench. The Nuggets problem this year was injuries. They had a good majority of their main players out for the majority of the season because of injury. The Nuggets look to have everyone back this year and if they can keep everyone healthy, and add a guy like Harris who can score off the bench, they can be back to one of the better teams in the mix in the Western Conference.
12. Orlando Magic – Nik Stauskas
Just like the Nuggets, the Magic could also use a shooter off the bench. Stauskas was a great three point shooter at Michigan and could bring that to the NBA. I have some concerns about him being able to create his own shot at the next level, but as a guy who can float to the open spot and shoot wide open shots, he’ll give you that every time.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Rodney Hood
Other than a couple guys up at the top, Hood was one of my favorite players to watch in college. Hood is good! (Hashtag that) If Parker had somewhat of an off game, Hood was there to help pick up the slack. He can score the ball and can be a nice piece for the Wolves off the bench. He has a bit of a small frame, and that will get tested at the next level, but he is really long. If he can bulk up a bit and add to that length, Hood could be a steal in the middle of the first round.
14. Phoenix Suns – James Young
While at Kentucky, Young had his ups and downs. He can be really good, but he is inconsistent. He has potential though. Jeff Hornacek really helped out the Suns this last season, and finished the season second in the Coach of the Year voting. Phoenix has a nice young core, and hopefully they can keep restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe on the roster. Young, if he plays to his potential, would be a nice piece off the bench for Phoenix.