Even with his now-famous daughter Mallory Edens as a representative, Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens only got the second pick, and new Cavs GM David Griffin, with Nick Gilbert‘s bow tie in his pocket, were awarded the top selection setting off a firestorm of conspiracy theories since it was their third No. 1 in four years. More importantly, how does this change Dime‘s mock draft?
The top 14 picks are now set, with two teams receiving a pair of lottery picks due to trades: the Orlando Magic (4 and 12) and the Philadelphia 76ers (3 and 10).
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1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins
6-8, 200 lbs. SF
For every Cavs fan that asked for a do-over after the NBA Draft, well, here you go. The Cavaliers won the lottery, beat the odds, and have a new General Manager in David Griffin in a position to gain a lot of equity with the fan base. In this spot Griffin can draft the most athletic talent in Andrew Wiggins to pair with the young nucleus of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson. The team was a fringe playoff team all last year and adding a dynamic wing with defensive potential, transition scoring ability, and the upside of Wiggins fits in nicely with them. Wiggins is not the most NBA-ready prospect, which makes Grant think more than twice about Jabari Parker here, but he has too much potential to pass up on. Just look at last year’s draft for all the evidence you need in justifying picking the player with the most potential rather than the player you think “fits” in the best.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker
6-8, 235 lbs. F
The best place to be in this draft might be at the No. 2 spot, because the decision is made for you in a lot of ways. Obviously the Bucks could go in many different directions and be an outlier here, but after the coin lands on Wiggins for the Cavs they can calmly walk to the podium and accept their consolation prize. Parker is a pure, natural scorer that can play the three or the four on the offensive end. He fits in right away with the athletic bookends of Larry Sanders and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the front-court as the counterbalance and scoring threat. Parker’s shooting, scoring, and offensive acumen make him an easy pick here. Not to slight his talent, Parker is an option to go No. 1 Overall any year, and could be the best overall player long-term in this class.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid
7-0, 250 lbs. C
To have the year the 76ers had last year and to welcome in a fresh, healthy Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid to the front-court will be a welcome addition for head coach Brett Brown. Embiid makes a lot of sense here moving Noel to the four and not relying on him right away to be an 82-game center in this physical game coming off of injury. With his offensive skill-set and defensive potential Embiid in a lot of ways is the perfect counterpart to the excellent defensive abilities of Noel in the front-court. With Michael Carter-Williams running the show Embiid can take some pressure off of him by throwing the ball down to the block for easy buckets as Embiid develops. Not to mention the 76ers will be on the clock again fairly soon here in the lottery…
4. Orlando Magic – Dante Exum
6-6, 196 lbs. G
In two years the Magic could have the most dynamic back-court in the NBA with Victor Oladipo and Dante Exum. Think about what that would look like for a minute. The core of Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Moe Harkless would welcome the additional play-making ability of Exum playing both guard positions. He is the “international man of mystery” in this class, but Exum has proven against like competition that he is the next in line of the big, athletic point guards that can score and distribute the ball. As of right now he is more of a two and will be able to play off of Jameer Nelson and Oladipo early on with little pressure on him night-in-and-night-out.
5. Utah Jazz – Julius Randle
6-9, 250 lbs. PF
The Jazz falling hurts because they were looking at getting whoever dropped between Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, and Exum, but now they have a pool of very talent prospects on the next tier. With Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, and Derrick Favors as the primary core in Utah an athletic rebounding machine like Randle would open up things for the offense. His transition scoring ability and potential to grab 20-20 on any given night is a rare blend. Add in the potential of Randle eventually running point forward and this team is going to be a nightmare for opponents on the offensive end sooner versus later.
6. Boston Celtics – Noah Vonleh
6-9.75, 247 lbs. PF
General Manager Danny Ainge has been trashing this draft class from day one and he slide down a spot. Call it karma if you will. In falling he does not have to worry about selecting one of the overrated athletes at the top, they are all gone, rather he slides in Vonleh with Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and Kelly Olynyk to slowly build this team up. Vonleh does not blow you away in any one particular category, but is the best combination of post defense, rebounding, and mid-range shooting for any big man in this class. Slowly, he could be the most undervalued and consistent player in this class.
Click for the next eight lottery picks…
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart
6-3.75, 227 lbs. G
Oklahoma State, So.
No “stars” left and with no one position of need the Lakers can bring in the point guard of the future in Smart. They do not have one position of need rather the team has five with a bare cupboard for a roster outside of the injured and aging Kobe Bryant. Smart is built to take a beating as a lead guard and plays with fire on both ends of the floor. He will earn Bryant’s respect for that and could be the leader for the next few years.
8. Sacramento Kings – Aaron Gordon
6-8.75, 220 lbs. PF
As long as they stay away from point guards here they should be alright. The Kings are trying to rebuild the team and the image of the team with a young front office and head coach. Their star DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most talented players in the NBA, but needs to be surrounded with well rounded athletes to mask his flaws allowing him to be the dominate scorer he is destined to be. Gordon checks of every box from personality, character, effort, energy, motor, athleticism, and overall basketball intangibles. He may never be a “star,” but Gordon will always work to get better and compete at a high level.
9. Charlotte Bobcats via Detroit Pistons – Dario Saric
6-10, 223 lbs. F
The Hornets have to get Kemba Walter some help with the play-making duties or he will break down sooner versus later. A point forward like Saric could allow Walker to move off the ball at times and space the floor for Al Jefferson in the paint. For years Saric has been a coveted talent, but has yet to put it all together on and off the court. This could be a good situation with a tough, grounded young defensive team around him.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans) – Gary Harris
6-4.25, 205 lbs. G
Michigan State, So.
Round Two in Philly: With Embiid on board the 76ers can look to the perimeter to give Carter-Williams some help with the play-making. Harris is not a point guard or a shooting guard, but a combo that can defend either position and make plays with or without the ball. He is a big time shooter that makes tough shots when his number is called. MCW-Harris-Noel-Embiid could have a bright future in an aging Eastern Conference.
11. Denver Nuggets – Tyler Ennis
6-2.5, 181 lbs. PG
Why a point guard? Well, the Nuggets have Ty Lawson of course, but they also have very limited play-makers outside of Lawson and the NBA is steadily becoming a two play-maker league right now. Ennis is not a big point guard or an elite athlete, but his steadiness and poise balance out the offense and he can play on and off the ball.
12. Orlando Magic (Via New York Knicks) – James Young
6-6.75, 213 lbs. G/F
Round Two in Orlando: Exum provides a point guard of the future and here, with Young, they add a lightning in a bottle scorer and streaky shooter. While Young is not a perfect prospect, go back and watch his defensive low-lights in the NCAA Tournament, he is a unique offensive talent with good NBA size.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Nik Stauskas
6-6.5, 207 lbs. SG
Minnesota is in a tough spot with no coach, a star player on the market, and drafting in the toughest area of the NBA Draft; the soft middle. While Stauskas may not be an athletic star he can shoot the ball with the best of them, is a good playmaker, and fits in next to Ricky Rubio who is the complete opposite of Stauskas as a shooter.
14. Phoenix Suns – Adreian Payne
6-9.75, 238 lbs. PF
Michigan State, Sr.
No miracle in Phoenix so they go from a potential No. 6 Seed in the NBA Playoffs to that very similar position of drafting at the end of the lottery. Looking for an impact the team now type player and one that fits a need Payne checks both those boxes. He is an NBA ready stretch-four with good rebounding and defensive capabilities. Future replacement for Channing Frye?
What do you think?
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