Let’s run this down really quickly. The No. 1 pick has been traded, The Process has been feted, the Celtics are stockpiling more picks, Paul George is probably getting traded, Jimmy Butler has already been traded by thousands of Twitter users, the Cavs don’t have a general manager, LeBron is annoyed about it, and it’s only Tuesday of draft week. Don’t say the NBA isn’t interesting!
So let’s dig into the draft. In fact, let’s dig even deeper. Actually, let’s dig deep enough to where you’re not even sure if the international players we mock in the 50s are even real. Andrew Sharp focused on the first round yesterday, and now we’re going to look at the greater scheme of the draft. Yep, all 60 picks. Don’t be afraid. Lean into it. Just a couple more days.
Here’s our best guess at what this is going to look like. Read on, and stay tuned.
Note: This post has been updated to reflect pre-draft trades involving the Lakers, Nets, Hornets, Hawks, Wizards and Pelicans.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz, G, Washington | Freshman
Mocking this one is like getting extra credit for spelling your name correctly. The Sixers’ much-discussed play for a backcourt star bore fruit in the form of the blockbuster deal that signaled the official start of rumor season. Fultz is an ideal fit as a ball-handling partner for Ben Simmons, and that duo gives Philly a nice long-term engine and some security given the uncertainty surrounding Joel Embiid’s health. The Celtics decided Fultz wasn’t the right fit, but he remains the top prospect in the draft and has a chance to really thrive in Philly. It’s a win for the front office and fan base, and now The Process can focus on results.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA | Freshman
The Lakers have considered Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox, but at this point Ball appears the favorite for L.A. at No. 2. His unique ability to engineer an offense and make others better makes him a nice fit with what the Lakers want to do, particularly given the arrival of Magic Johnson plus Luke Walton’s history in Golden State. L.A. will want to play fast, and Ball’s skills are tailor-made for that.
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3. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, F, Duke | Freshman
Expect more trade discussions to take place involving this selection, but if the Celtics keep their pick, expect them to draft a wing. This could be Josh Jackson (who may have greater value in a deal), but the better fit for Boston would be Tatum, thanks to his potential to space the floor, play some power forward and become a go-to scorer down the line. Jackson’s well-publicized decision not to work out for the Celtics is worth noting.
4. Phoenix Suns: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky | Freshman
The Suns are looking for a guard to pair with Devin Booker long term and could cast their fate with yet another Kentucky product. Fox’s willingness to defend and potential as an end-to-end playmaker addresses some needs for Phoenix, and he offers considerable upside as his jump shot improves. Jackson could also be a strong fit here.
5. Sacramento Kings: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas | Freshman
There’s some scuttle that the Kings covet De’Aaron Fox and could package pick Nos. 5 and 10 to select him. The more likely situation is Sacramento drafts whichever player slips to this spot. They’d be pretty happy if Jackson gets here, and his ability to attack the rim and defend on the perimeter instantly upgrades the rotation. He may not be the crown jewel in this ambling rebuild, but he’s a strong piece to build around nonetheless.
6. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac, F, Florida State | Freshman
Given the changes in the front office, the Magic could be considering a longer rebuild, and Isaac has the most intriguing long-term prospects of the names that remain. His skill level, length and versatility could be game-changers as he matures physically and gains confidence. Dennis Smith and Malik Monk should also be in the mix for this spot, given Orlando’s need for scoring.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona | Freshman
The Wolves have a wealth of talent already and don’t necessarily need to take on a long-term project, but Markkanen’s mix of shooting and size makes him well-suited alongside with Karl-Anthony Towns and to open up space for Minnesota’s athletic perimeter players. Jonathan Isaac would be the long-term home run if he’s available, but Markkanen is a solid alternative.
8. New York Knicks: Malik Monk, G, Kentucky | Freshman
New York needs backcourt help and shooting. Monk fills those needs nicely with his highlight-reel ability and consistency from long range. Smith and Ntilikina also make sense here. Monk is the purest scorer of the three, and the Knicks can continue grooming his all-around skills.
9. Dallas Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France | 18 years old
It’s well-known the Mavs have done plenty of homework on Ntilikina. Chad Ford reported Ntilikina’s coach at Strasbourg will join the team at summer league. Mark Cuban has even been to see him. Dallas would address a longtime need at point guard with this selection. They could also turn to Dennis Smith.
10. Sacramento Kings: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State | Freshman
Smith would be a bargain if he slips to No. 10 and fits nicely with Sacramento’s collection of picks. Smith’s range likely falls between 6 and 12, and in this scenario, the Kings would likely be tempted. They could also grab a big man with this second lottery pick. This is the point in the draft where value begins to get cloudy.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville | Sophomore
The blend of explosiveness, versatility and upside Mitchell brings should be enticing for the Hornets. He looks like an ideal backcourt partner for Kemba Walker in the long term, ideally able to defend the other team’s best guard, provide floor spacing and secondary playmaking. Charlotte could stand to get more athletic.
12. Detroit Pistons: Zach Collins, F/C, Gonzaga | Freshman
Teams are intrigued by Collins’s potential to space the floor and his impressive defensive displays last season. The Pistons need shooting, but Collins would be good value here, and a solid piece no matter what direction they go. Detroit’s been involved in trade rumors dating back to February and could certainly be active.
13. Denver Nuggets: OG Anunoby, F, Indiana | Sophomore
Anunoby could sit out much or all of his rookie season as he continues to rehab his knee. He remains one of the highest-upside defensive players in the draft. Denver’s already dealing with a crowded roster, and can afford him as much time as he needs to get healthy.
14. Miami Heat: Luke Kennard, G, Duke | Sophomore
The Heat have interest in a big with some shooting ability to complement Hassan Whiteside, and players like John Collins and T.J. Leaf could be in play here. But Kennard has been a hot name and might be the best shooter in the class, period. He’d be a valuable piece and absolve Miami of any pressure to overpay Dion Waiters, who can (and should) opt out of his deal for next season.
15. Portland Trail Blazers: John Collins, PF, Wake Forest | Sophomore
This is the first of Portland’s three picks, and the Blazers have a crowded cap sheet as it stands. Trades are possible given it’s unlikely they use all three, but a big like Collins would fit nicely alongside Jusuf Nurkic. He’s benefited from workouts and has convinced some that he has stretch-four potential. It helps that Collins is younger than some of the freshmen in this class.
16. Chicago Bulls: T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA | Freshman
Given all the smoke surrounding a potential Jimmy Butler deal, Chicago’s draft route and overall course is somewhat unpredictable. Whatever happens, the Bulls need to get more athletic and add perimeter shooting. Leaf’s offensive versatility fits that mold no matter which direction they go from here.
17. Milwaukee Bucks: Harry Giles, F/C, Duke | Freshman
Milwaukee has worked out mostly big men in this draft range. Giles has considerable potential if he can stay healthy, and it can’t hurt that the Bucks’ staff has a strong recent history with injury recovery and rehabilitation (see Khris Middleton’s torn hamstring and Jabari Parker’s first ACL tear). The Bucks have been all about upside in recent drafts and can swing big again picking in this range. He could bring immense value in the late teens.
18. Indiana Pacers: Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina | Junior
Assuming Paul George winds up elsewhere in, give or take, the next 365 days, the Pacers need to start positioning themselves for the future. Teams hope Jackson’s strides as a shooter continue, and his overall skill profile makes him a relatively safe selection. He could be a nice supporting piece.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Justin Patton, C, Creighton | Freshman
The Hawks are rumored to be targeting a big at this spot, and Patton has as much long-term upside as anyone in this range. With Paul Millsap’s status unclear, Atlanta could be on the verge of some change. They can groom Patton as they chart their next steps.
20. Portland Trail Blazers: Jarrett Allen, C, Texas | Freshman
Allen’s physical tools and defensive potential would make him an interesting long-term play in Portland, assuming the Blazers keep this pick. He has a long way to go developmentally.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: D.J. Wilson, F, Michigan | RS Sophomore
OKC is one of several teams in the 20s rumored to be high on Wilson. His shooting range, size and defensive versatility hold obvious appeal as the Thunder continue to search for the right pieces to support Russell Westbrook.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Terrance Ferguson, SG, Adelaide 36ers | 18 years old
If Ferguson falls into the late first he’ll make for a nice upside swing, the type of risk the Nets must take given their lack of lottery picks. Ferguson would pair with Caris LeVert and D’Angelo to give Brooklyn a talented backcourt to build around.
23. Toronto Raptors: Bam Adebayo, F/C, Kentucky | Freshman
Adebayo’s mobility allows him to extend his defensive range all the way out to the perimeter, which could be a major plus for the Raptors. He’s a high-energy player and brings the sort of blue-collar mentality Toronto has favored in past draftees.
24. Utah: Anzejs Pasecniks, C, Latvia | 21 years old
Between Gordon Hayward and George Hill, Utah’s team will either get more expensive this summer, or take a massive step backwards. Drafting Pasecniks allows the Jazz to stay flexible and keep him overseas if need be. His mobility and face-up skills, including some promise as a jump shooter, are rare for 7-footers. This route could make sense.
25. Orlando: Derrick White, G, Colorado | Senior
After passing on a playmaker at No. 6, the Magic get one here who can step in and help out at both guard spots. White’s motor and quickness helped him stand out in the run-up to the draft, and he gives Orlando a nice change-of-pace option to put some pressure on defenses. This is the second of the Magic’s four picks, and they could conceivably move it or take the stash route.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Isaiah Hartenstein, F/C, Germany | 19 years old
The Blazers will be hard-pressed to keep all three picks, and if they do they’re likely to go the overseas route based on the numbers game. Hartenstein has legit size and some skills that make him a good fit in theory for the modern game, but he has a ways to go still. Portland can afford to wait, particularly until after they figure out their roster shuffle.
27. Los Angeles Lakers: Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA | Freshman
Anigbogu is one of the youngest, toolsiest big men in the class and gives the Lakers an intriguing project to work with. He could slip on draft night due to concerns about an injured knee.
28. Los Angeles Lakers: Kyle Kuzma, F, Utah | Junior
Kuzma’s athleticism, versatility and potential to stretch the floor have played him into late first-round conversations, and L.A. is among the teams said to have interest. The Lakers are in search of shooting for their uptempo attack, and should prioritize a guy who can run the floor and space it.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Ivan Rabb, F/C, California | Sophomore
The Spurs have largely worked out mobile bigs in this draft range, which makes sense given their aging roster and a glaring long-term need for rim protection. Rabb is a strong rebounder and a player once considered a potential lottery pick. He makes sense here as an investment for San Antonio, where he can focus on a smaller role and refine his offensive skills.
30. Utah Jazz: Semi Ojeleye, F, SMU | Junior
Ojeleye’s toughness, ability to shoot the three and play both forward spots should have appeal to the Jazz, who like multi-dimensional front-court players and could lose Gordon Hayward and/or Joe Ingles.
31. Charlotte Hornets: Jonah Bolden, PF, Australia | 21 years old
Another trendy name of late, Bolden has worked out well recently and has a chance to go in the first round thanks to his size, ball-handling and shooting ability. Teams haven’t seen as much of him, but he’s a perfect fit for the league with his profile. Charlotte could use another floor-spacer.
32. Phoenix Suns: Josh Hart, G/F, Villanova | Senior
The Suns are said to be targeting a wing at this spot. Hart will garner interest at the back of the first round and would bring defensive versatility and toughness to a young roster that needs a dose of both. He’s seen as a pretty safe selection relative to this range.
33. Orlando Magic: Tony Bradley, C, North Carolina | Freshman
Bradley will be a nice developmental piece wherever he lands as he gets into better shape. He’s a strong rebounder and a first-round caliber talent. Picking at 33 and 35, Orlando will have good options in this range. They could also look to deal these second-rounders.
34. Sacramento Kings: Tyler Lydon, PF, Syracuse | Sophomore
This would be a pick with some upside for the Kings, who are in need of real assets. Lydon’s ability to stretch the floor and rebound makes sense with the other young bigs the Kings have assembled.
35. Orlando Magic: Mathias Lessort, F/C, France | 21 years old
The Magic will likely need to go the stash route with one of these selections, and Lessort, a high-energy, athletic big, has role-player intrigue in the second round.
36. Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Bell, PF, Oregon | Junior
Bell is a unique sort of defensive specialist and could be a strong fit with the Sixers. He’s undersized, but athletic enough to center small, fast-paced lineups and switch on defense. The Sixers have four second-round picks and will be in position to swap with teams looking to buy into the draft.
37. Boston Celtics: Frank Jackson, G, Duke | Freshman
Foot surgery has precluded Jackson from working out for teams, but he was good at the combine and has first-round potential. He’s an athletic slasher who needs to learn the finer points of guard play. The Celtics have a logjam in the backcourt and on their roster, but wouldn’t be pressured to rush him. It’s hard to see him falling much further than this.
38. Chicago Bulls: Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State | Sophomore
The Bulls’ revolving door of playmakers could be stabilized at least somewhat with a dice roll on Evans. He’s undersized, but does a lot of smaller things well and would certainly help the Bulls play faster. Evans has a shot at the first round, but slips in this scenario based on teams’ needs.
39. Philadelphia 76ers: Alec Peters, F, Valparaiso | Senior
To make the Fultz-Simmons operation work, the Sixers will need shooting. The experienced, skilled Peters accomplishes that.
40. New Orleans Pelicans: Wesley Iwundu, G/F, Kansas State | Senior
Iwundu makes sense for the Pelicans as a complementary playmaker and defender. You can never have enough versatile wing players these days.
41. Atlanta Hawks: Caleb Swanigan, PF, Purdue | Sophomore
Swanigan is one of the most unique players in this class and needs a team willing to invest in his specific strengths. He could be a steal in the second round if someone has an intelligent plan for him.
42. Utah Jazz: Edmond Sumner, PG, Xavier | Sophomore
After the Jazz pass on playmaking in the first round, they take a flier on Sumner’s athletic ability here as he recovers from an ACL tear. He could provide long-term help at a position of need.
43. Houston Rockets: Sterling Brown, G/F, SMU | Senior
The Rockets, in particular, can always use multitalented shooters, and Brown feels like a perfect fit. As second-rounders go, he feels like a safe bet to become a contributor somewhere.
44. New York Knicks: Davon Reed, G/F, Miami | Senior
Reed is another interesting 3-and-D prospect that makes sense for someone in this range. The Knicks badly need help on the wing.
45. Houston Rockets: Frank Mason, PG, Kansas | Senior
The experience and hard-working mentality Mason brings could have appeal for the Rockets. His shooting ability would allow him to play on or off the ball.
46. Philadelphia 76ers: Alpha Kaba, F/C, France | 21 years old
It’s doubtful the Sixers use all these picks. Kaba is an athletic, toolsy big man, and Philadelphia can play the waiting game.
47. Indiana Pacers: Tyler Dorsey, G, Oregon | Sophomore
Dorsey’s crafty scoring and ball-handling makes sense for the Pacers here.
48. Milwaukee Bucks: Dwayne Bacon, Florida State | Sophomore
The Bucks add some scoring punch with Bacon, who’s worth a dart throw for someone in the second round with his blend of size and strength.
49. Denver Nuggets: Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor | Junior
Motley has good size for a power forward and could certainly go much earlier in the second round. If he stays active and improves as a shooter, he could be a nice find.
50. Philadelphia 76ers: Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State | Senior
A lack of ideal size and strength could hamper Morris’s playmaking abilities in the NBA, but a team with a fluid roster situation like the Sixers can afford to give him a tryout.
51. Denver Nuggets: Devin Robinson, F, Florida | Junior
Taking a look at Robinson’s versatility and quickness on the wing makes sense for a young Nuggets roster that could lose Danilo Gallinari in free agency (plus the fact Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried could be trade candidates for what feels like the umpteenth season).
52. New Orleans Pelicans: L.J. Peak, SG, Georgetown | Junior
Peak’s athleticism on the wing could make sense for the Pelicans, who need to be competitive this season. He’s an NBA-caliber athlete who needs to develop as a scorer and ballhandler, but could be useful with his energy early on.
53. Boston Celtics: Vlatko Cancar, F, Slovenia | 20 years old
A lanky forward who looks like one of the more promising second-round stashes, Cancar is a good shooter and continues to develop as an all-around scorer. The Celtics have three second-rounders and may need to bring Ante Zizic and Guerschon Yabusele over, which means moving these picks or drafting overseas could be the play.
54. Phoenix Suns: Thomas Bryant, F/C, Indiana | Sophomore
Bryant is an active, hard-working big with serious length who could fill a need for the Suns eventually. He has the ability, but needs polish.
55. Utah Jazz: Aleksandar Vezenkov, F, Cyprus | 21 years old
A talented combo forward who likes the ball in his hands, Vezenkov is a solid scorer but lacks NBA athleticism. If he improves as a shooter, he could get an NBA audition down the line.
56. Boston Celtics: Ben Moore, F, SMU | Senior
Moore is an intriguing player late in the draft thanks to his defensive versatility and range of offensive skills. He needs to develop as a scorer. This is another selection the Celtics could look to move.
57. Brooklyn Nets: Kobi Simmons, PG, Arizona | Freshman
After an underwhelming year at Arizona, Simmons remains a strong athlete but has a long way to go toward actually playing in the NBA. He could make sense for the Nets as a project.
58. New York Knicks: Cameron Oliver, PF, Nevada | Sophomore
An intriguing late-draft flier thanks to his elite athletic ability and potential to become a floor-spacer, Oliver is certainly worth a look in this range.
59. San Antonio Spurs: Jaron Blossomgame, F, Clemson | Senior
Blossomgame’s advanced age, injury history and unconvincing three-point shooting ability make it tough to peg where he falls in the draft. The Spurs could be a fit given his defensive versatility and potential to chip in right away.
60. Atlanta Hawks: Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga | Junior
Williams-Goss is the type of intelligent passer who could make sense in the Hawks’ system as a potential backup for Dennis Schröder.