This is the second Dime Mock Draft since the lottery gifted Cleveland with their third No. 1 pick in four years. Except, as we’ve recently heard, the Sixers are hoping to add Andrew Wiggins to their run-and-gun offense that’s got an opening on the wing. With No. 1 still up in the air, the rest of the lottery and first round is likewise shrouded in mystery. We attempt to open the curtains in our fifth mock draft.
[RELATED: Dime Mock Draft 4.0: Post-Lottery Changes]
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins
6-8, 200 lbs. SF
As stated many times by just about everybody there are very few wrong options here for the Cavaliers who should have been focused on the options of Nik Stauskas versus Dario Saric with the No. 9 Overall Pick. Instead they the big winners after the NBA Draft Lottery with the choice of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Joel Embiid with the No. 1 Overall Pick. How about that? Wiggins has been the consensus No. 1 Overall Prospect on my board all year based on his elite athleticism, defensive potential, and upside as an offensive player and that does not change here. Embiid and Parker can change the franchise for the better it is difficult to pass on the caliber athlete that Wiggins is in today’s very perimeter oriented, athletic league. So far Dion Waiters, Jarrett Jack, and the other perimeter options the Cavaliers have tested have not clicked well with Kyrie Irving because of their need to play on the ball. Wiggins is less demanding in that regard more effective off the ball in transition, in catch-and-shoot situations, put-backs, and using his natural athleticism to score.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker
6-8, 235 lbs. F
Parker is a smart young prospect that is not only a polished offensive talent, but is also a marketable talent for a market with a star. With the long athletes in place already in Larry Sanders and Giannis Antetokounmpo he is able to step-in immediately as a scorer on the offensive side of things. As an athlete Parker is undervalued and has terrific length for his future as an NBA combo forward. Situation is nearly as important as talent as we have seen year over year where very talented prospects flounder with poor situations. The Bucks provide Parker with a great situation to build around him as the face of the franchise with new ownership, a new head coach, and nowhere to go but up from here.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid
7-0, 250 lbs. C
He could go No. 1 Overall or Embiid could fall here, to his basement, with the 76ers giving them one of the best big men prospects in years. With Michael Carter-Williams in place, Nerlens Noel as a potential hybrid forward/center defender, and another lottery pick coming down the pipeline this year as well they can sit back here and select whoever falls to them from the Wiggins, Parker, and Embiid trio. In this scenario Embiid comes in as the center of the future allowing more space on the perimeter for MCW, Noel to play the four, and giving the 76ers a low post presence on both ends of the floor. The back injury is a long-term issue, but as long as Embiid can run the floor as a fluid athlete still, the back will not limit the excellent footwork and shooting touch he also has on offense.
4. Orlando Magic – Dante Exum
6-6, 196 lbs. G
As the Magic continue to add pieces to the roster that is talented in its own right, none of them have risen to the top as stars. With Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, and Tobias Harris already in place the Magic can take their time with the dynamic, but raw Exum from Australia. When the lights are on Exum has proven he can be a multifaceted playmaker both as a scorer and distributor. He is not a “point guard” at this stage in his development, but has the ball skills and athleticism to be an NBA guard. The backcourt of Exum-Oladipo is about as athletic as it gets with neither being a pure point guard, but having the most dynamic athlete with the ball in his hands is becoming more of the definition of the point guard position in today’s NBA.
5. Utah Jazz – Julius Randle
6-9, 250 lbs. PF
Best player available has to be the strategy here for the Jazz as they have already collected a nice core in Derrick Favors, Trey Burke, and Gordon Hayward [Ed. Note: Hayward is a restricted free agent this summer] already. While they have gone big a few times in the past handful of drafts they have not added a talent like Randle who can do all the things a four needs to at the NBA Level while also stepping out on the perimeter and creating major mismatches. At Kentucky he was able to rebound the ball consistently on both ends of the floor and score the ball. Whether on the offensive glass or defensive boards Randle has the potential to be a nightly double-double. Right now the Western Conference is very competitive, but in two years a Burke-Hayward-Randle-Favors core could be contenders when the old guard ages out.