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.
6. Boston Celtics – Noah Vonleh
6-9.75, 247 lbs. PF
As the slow rebuild continues the Celtics have Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley in place with the wildcard of Rajon Rondo for the future. Not a lot of blue chippers in place already, which puts a lot of pressure on Danny Ainge and company to add a building block for the future. Vonleh has the defensive skill-set and length to come in as an impact defender and rebounder from day one. Where he separates himself from the other forwards in this class is his ability to shoot the ball from the mid-range and potential as a scorer overall. In the pick-and-roll (and pop) Vonleh can score the ball, has a decent handle, and will defend his position right from the start.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart
6-3.75, 227 lbs. G
Oklahoma State, So.
The burden of being the “Lakers rookie” next year is twofold. One, they have to be able to earn the respect and live with being a teammate of Kobe Bryant’s. That is a litmus test for a prospect and one tough boot camp to come out of with a positive Mamba reaction. The other is having the weight of the team laid on his shoulders. Smart has the strength, maturity, and toughness to handle those burdens. The Lakers can build around Smart as the (point) guard of the future in lieu of the very near future of life without Bryant as the face of the franchise.
8. Sacramento Kings – Aaron Gordon
6-8.75, 220 lbs. PF
The Kings could go point guard here with their uncertainty with Isaiah Thomas as the point guard of the future or draft the best available athlete to compliment the young roster they are slowly, very slowly, putting together. Sure, the Cavaliers have had an embarrassment of riches in recent drafts, but so have the Kings with five consecutive top seven picks. With only two of them on the roster today bringing in an athlete like Gordon does a lot for this young team. Gordon is a high energy defender that allows DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore to be elite level offensive players. This is a perfect fit for both the Kings and Gordon.
9. Charlotte Hornets via Detroit Pistons – Nik Stauskas
6-6.5, 207 lbs. SG
The real winners of the NBA Draft Lottery were the Charlotte HORNETS with the Cleveland Cavaliers moving up, they moved in…To the lottery. Adding scoring and versatility to the offense is sorely needed to elevate the Hornets from a team that is happy to be invited to the playoffs to a team that is winning games. Stauskas is an above average ball-handler and playmaker at the guard position who can shoot lights out coming off of screens through the offense. He is a perfect backcourt mate to Kemba Walker stretching the floor, giving him another ball-handler, and adding to the fourth worst offense that made the playoffs this year.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans) – Gary Harris
6-4.25, 205 lbs. G
Michigan State, So.
When you have a potential star in Michael Carter-Williams on the perimeter you have to add players to compliment them. The roster is filling up with two-way athletes that can defend, score, and add versatility to the team long-term. Harris is one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft class on the ball or off. He showed that the past two years at Michigan State while also being a reliable play-maker, big time shooter from NBA three-point range, and showing he can switch between each guard position with ease.
11. Denver Nuggets – Elfrid Payton
6-10, 223 lbs. F
From 50 wins to the lottery for the Nuggets with virtually the exact same roster. That’s never a good sign. Here is where the Nuggets have to capitalize on that lost season with another piece to the puzzle. While point guard was not the most desperate need for the team with Ty Lawson running the offense, but in this NBA having multiple athletes in the backcourt who can handle, create, and make plays with the ball has become more than a trend. Payton is a two-way athlete at the point who can get to the paint as needed, defend, and relieve Lawson of the play-making burden.
12. Orlando Magic (Via New York Knicks) – Dario Saric
6-10, 223 lbs. F
If the Jazz and 76ers both get second lottery, then the Magic would like to get in on this game as well. With Dante Exum in the bag along with the current regime of young talent the Magic can swing for the fences here with Saric. As a stretch-four Saric can make plays with the ball, rebound, and get out in transition to facilitate the offense letting the elite young athletes fill the lanes. Adding Saric and Exum gives the Magic two of the most talented mysteries in the draft that could be major gets in the end.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Doug McDermott
6-7.75, 218 lbs. F
The T-Wolves have other needs, but adding a marketable young prospect like McDermott helps with the impending Kevin Love drama that is about to take over this summer. They are going to need a shooter, scorer, and someone that can go and get shots on their own which is exactly what they need. Pick-and-pops with Ricky Rubio and the offensive versatility of Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic will emphasize the offensive skill-set of McDermott.
14. Phoenix Suns – Adreian Payne
6-9.75, 238 lbs. PF
Michigan State, Sr.
Since Amare Stoudemire left in free-agency four years ago the team has been looking for a replacement in Channing Frye, Markieff Morris, and other band-aids like Hakim Warrick and Hedo Turkoglu. None have worked in that respect, but they have worked as a unit this past year. Adding Payne to the mix gives the Suns a two-way athlete that can shoot the NBA three, defend the position, and rebound at a quality rate. This is a long-term solution to a potential near rising problem with the upcoming free agency of Frye and a decision on the role of Morris beyond Sixth Man.
15. Atlanta Hawks – James Young
6-6.75, 213 lbs. SF
The NBA is filling up with players like Young who are not necessarily steady and reliable, but are dynamic enough to win games on their own. At Kentucky, Young showed he was able to get to the basket to make plays, shoot the NBA three, and score in transition. With his size and length Young is an ideal NBA wing that can play both the two and the three on the offensive end. He is a limited defender, but a terrific athlete that can improve on that end in time.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte Bobcats) – Jordan Clarkson
6-5, 186 lbs. G
The days of the one playmaker Derrick Rose Show on offense has to end for the Bulls to be a serious contender again. Clarkson can play on or off the ball as seen this year at Missouri with the ability to handle, create, attack, and shoot the ball from three-point range. Whether the Bulls package and move up or use their two picks to add extra play-makers the end game has to be to add a punch to the offense.
17. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets) – Zach LaVine
6-5.75, 181 lbs. SG
Adding one of the best athletes in the draft who has the potential to be an impact combo guard in a handful of years is a quality find here. LaVine is an explosive athlete with the ability to make shots, score in transition, and has point guard experience from high school. Patience is the key with his development and the Celtics will have plenty.
18. Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards) – T.J. Warren
6-8.25, 220 lbs. SF
N.C. State, So.
The Suns could use an upgrade on the wing on the offensive end and while Gerald Green has been a great comeback story this year, he is not going to be around for the long haul. Warren can score in a variety of ways, is efficient on the offensive end, and is more versatile than given credit for as an all-around basketball player.
19. Chicago Bulls – Kyle Anderson
6-8.5, 230 lbs. F
Additional play-making is sorely needed for the Bulls who have a championship level defense with, at times, a D-League level offense. Anderson is a unique playmaker who can take pressure off of Derrick Rose and run the second unit. Looking at the NBA Finals and the impact of a Boris Diaw-type making plays from the perimeter at the four or five position.
20. Toronto Raptors – Clint Capela
6-11, 222 lbs. F/C
If the Raptors keep the perimeter intact with Kyle Lowry, DeMarr DeRozan, and Terrence Ross then more athletes in the paint with a defensive focus like Capela could serve well for the team long-term. While Capela is not a “immediate impact” prospect the long term potential of he and the rest of the young athletes make the Raptors a formidable young team.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas Mavericks) – Rodney Hood
6-8.5, 208 lbs. SF
Typically the Thunder are drafting late in the first, which they will again this year, but here they can address a need (bench shooting) and take the best available talent. Hood is not a great defender, but will fit in with this ensemble on the bench as a shooter and slasher to compliment Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
22. Memphis Grizzlies – Tyler Ennis
6-2.5, 181 lbs. PG
The Grizzlies were 14th in the NBA in assists, but seemed like a team that struggled to score relying on Mike Conley Jr. more than any team relied upon one specific player. Ennis might be a lottery talent, but he falls into a great position for his game and a team that needs him.
23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors) – P.J. Hairston
6-6.25, 228 lbs. SG
D-League (via North Carolina) 1992
While the Jazz have some nice pieces on their young roster they have needs all across the roster. They addressed the paint with Randle and here, with Hairston, they get an NBA ready scorer on the perimeter with good ready strength and shooting.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland Trail Blazers) – Kristaps Porzingis
6-11, 220 lbs. PF
With another year or two of strength building and experience Porzingis could be a lottery talent, but as is he is a long-term prospect as a stretch-four with NBA three-point range. Another piece to the slow build in Charlotte.
25. Houston Rockets – Isaiah Austin
7-0.5, 219 lbs. F/C
Austin is a rare breed of size, athleticism, and three-point shooting for a 7-footer that not only adds versatility to a very good offense, but can also block shots impacting the game on both sides.
26. Miami Heat – Spencer Dinwiddie
6-6, 205 lbs. G
The Heat have been to four consecutive NBA Finals with the Big Three surrounded by aged, seasoned role players. It is time to add youth to the offense with another play-maker in Dinwiddie who is a talented play-maker to compliment Norris Cole in the backcourt.
27. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana Pacers) – Jusuf Nurkic
6-11, 280 lbs. C
Draft-and-Stash has to be the most viable option and Nurkic is a big, skilled, offensive center who can come over in a year or two to give the Suns depth.
28. Los Angeles Clippers – Mitch McGary
6-10, 250 lbs. F/C
Sure the Clippers had big men on their roster last year. They did. Then again they really only had two (Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan) that were capable of playing around the basket. McGary is a high energy bruiser that will play inside, rebound, and provide some toughness.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Vasilije Micic
6-4, 185 lbs. PG
Draft-and-Stash for the second first round pick with Micic who provides stability in the backcourt, a young play-maker that can stay overseas for another year, and insurance for a potential Reggie Jackson departure.
30. San Antonio Spurs – K.J. McDaniels
6-6, 196 lbs. SF
Every year the Spurs add quality athletes that bring versatility to the roster just keeps winning year after year. While McDaniels has his limitations he is a dynamic defender that uses his elite athleticism in a multitude of ways on both ends of the floor.
What do you think?
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