- With the NBA draft lottery and combine behind us, which prospects have helped themselves the most? The Front Office mocks all 60 draft picks following a surprising week in Chicago.
With the combine officially in the rearview, the NCAA’s May 29 withdrawal deadline fast approaching and the draft itself exactly one month away, it’s an opportune time for a mock draft update. While there’s a lot left to be determined as teams do business behind the scenes and hold private workouts for players, the big picture gets clearer every day.
As always, our mock draft paints a picture of what the draft might look like if it took place on a given day. For evaluations and rankings of the available prospects, check out our most recent big board, a fluid, comprehensive list of the Top 100 players.
Heights and weights have been adjusted to reflect players’ combine measurements.
1. Pelicans: Zion Williamson, PF, Duke
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 285 | Freshman
Well, this won’t surprise anyone. The inexplicable wave of chatter that Williamson would ever consider returning to Duke wasn’t exactly logical. Williamson had a positive meeting with the Pelicans at the combine and walked away expecting to be a Pelican, as evidenced by his stepfather’s public comments. New Orleans is also dealing with Anthony Davis’s trade demand, so there are a number of directions they can theoretically go, but Williamson is already one of the league’s most valuable young assets and holds a world of potential. Don’t expect the Pelicans to overthink this.
2. Grizzlies: Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 175 | Sophomore
League-wide chatter at the combine suggested the Grizzlies have already settled on taking Morant at No. 2, although there’s still technically time for things to change between now and the draft. As Memphis weighs trade options with Mike Conley, Morant would become his natural successor, with the ability to be a franchise-changing player. Imagining him in tandem with Jaren Jackson Jr. is pretty tantalizing. It will take Morant some time to fully adjust to the speed of the NBA, but he’s as gifted a playmaker as you’ll find.
3. Knicks: RJ Barrett, G/F, Duke
Height: 6'7" | Weight: 200 | Freshman
All things considered, New York ended up in relatively solid position here, with a pick that could be an asset in their pursuit of star talent, or could turn into Barrett, giving them a scorer to build with. Granted, he’s not a neat fit noting the Knicks’ expected pursuit of Kevin Durant. But he’s very young and still a good option here given the things he can already do. Improving his jump shot and decision-making skills might go a long way.
4. Lakers: Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 195 | Sophomore
There’s some intrigue as to what the Lakers might decide to do with this pick, as it’s probably more valuable to them as an asset to trade for established talent than in the form of a rookie, given the impetus to win now with LeBron. If they do make the pick, Culver would be the best guy left on the board. He’s made big strides over the past two seasons, and if he can improve his shooting, there’s a chance he can be a real part of a team’s foundation. There’s not much flash to his game and he’s not an explosive athlete, but Culver does offer a pretty appealing floor.
5. Cavaliers: Cam Reddish, SF, Duke
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | Freshman
After drafting Collin Sexton in last year’s lottery, Cleveland doesn’t figure to target one of the point guards here. With John Beilein now coaching the team, expect the Cavs to gradually pare down the roster and cultivate younger talent. Despite a disappointing year at Duke, Reddish does offer some upside with his physical tools and shooting potential, and figures to end up somewhere in the lottery. There’s no obvious home-run pick at this spot, so the Cavs are theoretically in great position to trade down and add assets, given they sit in front of two guard-needy teams in the Suns and Bulls. Be it Reddish, De’Andre Hunter or someone else, they might be able to get a player they covet several spots later.
6. Suns: Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
Height: 6'3" | Weight: 170 | Freshman
There’s reason to be skeptical Garland has a promise from the Suns, as some have speculated. As things stand, the only team in front of them that might select him would be the Lakers, who need to maintain asset flexibility with the fourth pick. The Cavs probably don’t need him, and so there’s a chance he falls to this spot regardless of a guarantee. It’s more likely that promise came from a team further down in the lottery, and that Garland left the combine to prevent teams from having complete access to his medical information, as he continues what is said to be a slow recovery from a torn left meniscus. He comes with some risk, but also some playmaking upside, will likely be the second guard off the board. He’s certainly a fit here.
7. Bulls: Coby White, G, North Carolina
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Freshman
Whichever of White or Garland makes it to this spot would be sensible for Chicago, who are set up front and likely aren’t tied down to Kris Dunn as the long-term future at point guard. White possesses a good deal of upside, tied to his size, perimeter shooting and developing lead guard skills. He’d still be a good choice in this scenario, although NBA teams generally seem to prefer Garland, who is more of an intuitive playmaker at this stage in his career.
8. Hawks: De'Andre Hunter, F, Virginia
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 225 | Sophomore
The Hawks are set in the backcourt and will have some options with their two picks, whether it’s shoring up their frontline or looking to use them as trade chips. While Hunter is one of the more mature players set to go near top of the draft, the associated question of where his ceiling actually lies makes it more difficult to see a rebuilding team investing in him as a top-five pick. Atlanta would be a strong fit for him, granting him a chance to play off of gifted shot-creator Trae Young and focus on a supporting role. Hunter is a big, physical defender who has expanded his game offensively, although he has limitations playing off the dribble that may keep him from being a prolific scorer.
9. Wizards: Sekou Doumbouya, F, Limoges
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 230 | Age: 18
It won’t be clear which way the Wizards go here until their front office situation is settled, Denver’s Tim Connelly decided to remain with the Nuggets. In terms of upside, Doumbouya is an appealing project in this range, as the youngest player expected to be drafted and having come into his own over the course of the season in France. An athletic combo forward with shooting touch, positional size and impressive defensive versatility, Doumbouya will require some time and attention to develop, but has a lot of long-term potential if all goes well.
10. Hawks (via Mavericks): Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 220 | Freshman
Atlanta should be able to address their hole at center with one of their two picks, with Hayes and Goga Bitadze both likely on the board. Hayes is a better fit for the Hawks’ transition-oriented style, and better suited to run the floor, finish plays and protect the basket next to Trae Young. While there’s going to be a lot of skill development and learning required here, Hayes is physically one of the most impressive bigs in the draft, and as he continues to add strength and fill out, he has a chance to become a valuable, starting-caliber option in a couple seasons.
11. Timberwolves: Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga
Height: 6'8" | Weight: 230 | Junior
The buzz at the combine was that there is very little chance Hachimura slips out of the lottery, with Minnesota generally thought to be a soft landing spot for him. NBA teams value his alpha-dog mentality, physical tools and defensive switchability, and many are of the belief that Hachimura can still take his game to another level, particularly if his shooting improves. There’s some risk his feel doesn’t improve offensively. But those who feel comfortable projecting Hachimura as an efficient secondary scorer who rebounds and defends both forward spots can justify it here.
12. Hornets: Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 210 | Freshman
Most every team is well aware of Porter’s impressive gifts as a ball-handler and athlete, and there’s only so far he can really be allowed to slip on draft night. Some scouts talk about him as a top-five pure talent in this draft. But he’s going to require some significant nurturing to reach his potential, and teams continue to hold concerns about how seriously Porter approaches the game and whether he’s ready to handle being a professional. The Hornets, perennially stuck picking in this range, might be in position to take a big swing here.
13. Heat: Nassir Little, F, North Carolina
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 225 | Freshman
There’s a degree of optimism shared by some teams about Little’s personality and work ethic, one which makes him a more appealing long-term project even after a tough season at UNC. He has a ways to go before getting up to speed, but athletic wings with his body type and physical ability aren’t easy to find. The Heat should be able to get the most out of him, and if Little can up his skill level as a ball-handler and shooter, his length and strength will give him a chance to make an impact.
14. Celtics (via Kings): Goga Bitadze, C, KK Buducnost
Height: 6'11" | Weight: 245 | Age: 19
Bitadze comes off the heels of an impressive season with Mega Leks and on loan at Buducnost in the Euroleague. His high-level experience, legit size and natural scoring ability around the basket put him on good footing as he begins his NBA career, and it feels increasingly likely he lands somewhere in the late lottery. The key with him is going to be fit, in terms of how teams like to use their bigs, as he’s more of a traditional interior player. But Bitadze is an underrated athlete who can get much more out of his body, and his production at a young age overseas bodes well. The Celtics have three picks as they enter a critical off-season, and should be able to go best player available with the first selection.
15. Pistons: Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 215 | Freshman
It’s been hard to find teams particularly enamored with Langford after the season he just had, and though his body and athletic tools look the part, there are valid concerns about the holes in his skill set, particularly his ongoing jump shooting struggles. While Langford was mostly productive and played through a thumb injury, he struggles to create good shots off the dribble and lacks a degree of creativity to his game that will create problems against better defenders. The Pistons need help on the wing, and at this point in the draft, it’s easier to justify taking the plunge.
16. Magic: Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 190 | Freshman
The Magic need shooting, and negative wingspan be damned, Herro’s ability to stroke from distance and surprisingly well-rounded skill set will make him an appealing fit to a lot of teams. While there are still some physical limitations he’ll face at the next level, he’s proven he’s more than just a specialist and added value in other ways for Kentucky. If he can refine his on-the-move shooting into an elite skill, Herro should be able to hang around the NBA for a long while.
17. Nets: Bol Bol, C, Oregon
Height: 7'2" | Weight: 235 | Freshman
As the Nets continue to try and add depth up front, Bol offers tangible upside but also a good deal of risk. Where he eventually lands will have a lot to do as teams obtain access to his medicals and get a better sense of his long-term health picture. There aren’t many players like Bol, a jump shooting 7-footer with a natural stroke, and even with the clear holes in his game and questions about his work ethic, at some point in the draft it will become tenable to roll the dice. The fact he weighed in light at the combine, even coming off injury, is a little scary and makes you wonder how well he can keep weight on. A team with multiple first-rounders would be best positioned to select Bol and take the gamble; his range is somewhat wide because of how divisive he can be from team to team.
18. Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech
Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | Sophomore
Indiana can go a variety of directions with this pick, with a good chunk of their roster set to hit free agency and a big off-season ahead. Adding perimeter talent makes the most sense, with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis entrenched up front. What Alexander-Walker lacks in athletic upside and innate ability attacking the basket, he should be able to compensate for with feel and skill, and he could be a strong eventual fit playing off of Victor Oladipo.
19. Spurs: Mfiondu Kabengele, PF, Florida State
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 255 | Sophomore
Kabengele is sitting pretty firmly in first-round territory, with teams intrigued by his rim protection and three-point shooting His heavier body type belies surprising mobility, and there’s some upside if he can continue working into better shape. The Spurs stand to get younger up front through this draft.
20. Celtics (via Clippers): PJ Washington, PF, Kentucky
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 230 | Sophomore
Whether or not the Celtics get Kyrie Irving back, the thing they certainly don’t lack for is scorers, and a potential glue guy like Washington might make sense in this slot, He wouldn’t be a sexy pick, but has an appealing, translatable skill set that should fit into an NBA frontline sooner than later. If Washington can continue to improve his outside shooting, it should go a long way.
21. Thunder: Matisse Thybulle, SG, Washington
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 200 | Senior
Ever since Thybulle’s notable decision to decline a combine invitation, there’s been a wave of leaguewide speculation as to whether he received a promise in exchange for shutting things down. For a development-focused organization like the Thunder, Thybulle’s athleticism, length and elite defensive instincts make for an appealing toolkit, and if he can knock down open threes at a good clip, he could become an extremely valuable role player. OKC tends to prioritize defense and athletic tools in the draft, and this would be in character.
22. Celtics: Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State
Height: 6'4" | Weight: 215 | Freshman
Dort’s physical, workmanlike style has earned him fans around the league, and his athleticism and strong body type create a degree of floor. It‘s easy to see him being able to keep up with his tools. His shooting and skill level do create some concern, but the fact Dort plays as hard as he does leaves hope for him turning into a solid defender. He’ll need to rein it in a bit offensively, and his jump shot is a big question, but he could be another solid potential role player for Boston at this spot.
23. Jazz: Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210 | Junior
Clarke’s athleticism, energy and defensive capabilities might bolster Utah’s rotation right away. He’s a divisive player from scout to scout, as some teams view him as more of a second-round type given the limitations posed by his height and skill set. He’ll have to continue improving his outside shooting to maximize his chances. But for a competitive team that can plug him in as a role player early on, Clarke will be an interesting option. He had a prolific year at Gonzaga, but teams are still trying to assess which parts of his game will translate.
24. Sixers: Cameron Johnson, SF, North Carolina
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210 | Senior
At this point, Johnson looks one of the more NBA-ready wings available, with a potentially elite catch and shoot profile that makes him a good first-round bet despite his advanced age and history of leg injuries. He’ll only be average defensively, but his touch and mechanics are for real, and Johnson will have to be accounted for on the floor at all times. A playoff team like the Sixers might be able to use him immediately as a plug-and-play floor spacer.
25. Blazers: Keldon Johnson, G/F, Kentucky
Height: 6'6" | Weight: 215 | Freshman
Johnson’s stock dropped a bit as his limitations became evident at Kentucky, but he does enough offensively and brings strong enough intangibles to appeal to a playoff team as a future contributor. His competitive approach is easy to appreciate, and he should be able to shoot and defend enough to find a niche. Johnson has always been wired as a scorer, and may have to rein in some old habits to make it work. He’d be a good supporting piece for Portland.
26. Cavs (via Rockets): Nic Claxton, F/C, Georgia
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 200 | Sophomore
Cleveland stands to add to its frontline long-term, and Claxton’s size, skill level and potentially versatile game hold a degree of intrigue. He’s not a finished product, but if he stays in the draft, it’s easy to see him ending up in this range just based on his upside. He has surprising ball skills and defensive mobility, and will make for an interesting project if he comes out now. A strong week at the combine helped his case here.
27. Nets (via Nuggets): Luka Samanic, F, Olimpija
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 225 | Age: 19
Samanic had a great showing at the combine and likely played his way into first-round territory, showcasing his offensive versatility and an improved physique that bodes well for the growth of his game. He’s ideal as a stretch-four with his skill level and size, and didn’t look bad moving his feet defensively, either. His feel, ballhandling and perimeter shooting stand out. The Nets are never afraid to go international, and he’d fit nicely.
28. Warriors: Bruno Fernando, C, Maryland
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 235 | Sophomore
Fernando will be a solid depth piece for someone’s frontcourt, and his motor and physicality are clear strengths at this stage of his development. He’ll need to become a more consistent shooter and shot-blocker to maximize his ability, but of the centers in this range, his body and athletic readiness stands out. The Warriors are always on the hunt for role players with their late first-round selections.
29. Spurs (via Raptors): KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 210 | Sophomore
The Spurs are not afraid of taking on long-term development projects, and Okpala possesses the type of size and athleticism on the wing their roster currently lacks. While he had an inconsistent year at Stanford and will likely require seasoning in the G League, Okpala’s best flashes are tantalizing, and the hope is he can add some value as a big, slashing wing who plays both ends of the floor. He’s still figuring out how good he can be, but as he starts to tap into more of his ability, he could return a lot of value in this part of the draft.
30. Bucks: Neemias Queta, C, Utah State
Height: 7’0” | Weight: 225 | Freshman
Queta’s immense length and defensive potential make him an appealing long-term option up front, and despite a mixed showing at the combine, he’s an interesting project for a team that can afford to develop him. He needs to get stronger, but he’s a disruptive shot-blocker, runs the floor well, and could see his game take off as his frame matures. The Bucks could make a play on upside here.