With the college season coming to an unceremonious end and the NBA on hiatus until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak, teams are taking advantage of the additional time and shifting their full focus to the draft. While that doesn’t mean there’s a whole lot of clarity at this stage, given the murkiness surrounding the pre-draft process and a fully unclear calendar timeline, the fact that college and international seasons now have a definite endpoint at least solidifies players’ bodies of work. So consider this the unofficial start of draft season, even though there’s still a strong possibility the draft gets moved back.
As has been widely reported, the NBA continues to hold out hope that the season might resume in the summer. If that’s the case, then logically, the draft lottery will have to wait until win-loss records are final. It will potentially take some amending of the collective bargaining agreement on both ends in order to extend the calendar, but as things stand, there’s a general sense of optimism that play might actually pick back up. Of course, the unpredictability of the national pandemic will be a major determinant in what’s feasible.
This is the first mock draft of the season which projects both rounds, based on intel and conversations with executives, scouts, and others around the league. Team fit and need continue to come into play more acutely with this process, as the draft itself nears. For a ranking of the draft’s top prospects, see our Big Board.
1. Warriors - Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 225 | Age: 18 | Freshman
We went into depth last week on the merits of Edwards’ candidacy at No. 1—in short, his production, youth and high-end physical tools create a compelling case as the draft’s top prospect. The hope is that given time, Edwards develops into a capable, high-usage shot-creator on the wing, and that he will also add value defensively. It’s easier to accept his uneven freshman year with the appropriate context, being that most young, high-volume college shooting guards struggle with efficiency, and that Edwards played the entire season as an 18-year-old playing in what could have been his senior year of high school. Edwards’ ceiling as a potential All-Star, coupled with the likelihood he at least enjoys a base level of success at a high-demand position as a starting-caliber two-guard, makes sense as the top option in a relatively thin lottery.
Assuming the lottery order holds (and there’s a likelihood it will), the Warriors currently hold the best odds for the top pick. Rival teams have long speculated that Golden State may try and trade this pick to add talent to their roster in the short-term, with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson due back at full strength next season, the high financial commitment to a player who almost assuredly will not fit their competitive timeline, and the fact that the Warriors are beholden to little on the roster beyond their stars. They’ve accumulated valuable draft capital for the next couple years, and could attach picks to Andrew Wiggins’ contract in pursuit of a different max-contract player. Safe to say, Golden State winning the lottery creates a fascinating scenario, with potential league-wide ramifications based on what they choose to do with it.
If they do keep the pick, there’s an interesting debate to be had between Edwards and James Wiseman, with Edwards the more intriguing long-term play, but Wiseman playing a position of need with the type of physical tools that should allow him to contribute early. Still, the Warriors have traditionally gone center-by-committee (partially due to financial necessity), and have the type of perimeter talent to win that way. So, in a vacuum, simply picking the best prospect, Edwards gets the nod here.
2. Cavaliers - James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Height: 7’1” | Weight: 240 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Despite being limited to just three games after leaving Memphis due to his high-profile eligibility battle and subsequent suspension, Wiseman remains in the mix near the very top of this draft, as no other center in this class can match his blend of sheer size and athletic ability. The concerns stem more from what type of usage he’ll be able to warrant offensively, given the general trend away from post-up play and the ground Wiseman has to cover in terms of offensive skill. Still, if he becomes a rim-running, rebounding, three-point shooting center who also gives you high-end rim protection, that’s a pretty valuable player. He matches Cleveland’s timeline, and could be a long-term solution at center.
This had been something of a lost season for the Cavaliers, with the protracted John Beilein saga eventually spiraling into his departure, and top assistant J.B. Bickerstaff installed as the new long-term coach. There are already questions surrounding the backcourt fit between recent lottery picks Sexton and Garland, with both having much more to prove, and neither looking like a legit building block for a winning franchise at this juncture. With Kevin Love under contract for three more years and Andre Drummond holding an option for next season, Cleveland enters an important off-season with a need for long-term roster clarity. In order for the Garland-Sexton partnership to have a chance to succeed, the Cavs will need to cover for them defensively with real backbone defending at the rim. Drummond’s situation notwithstanding, Wiseman would be a sensible long-term fit here.
3. Timberwolves - Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210 | Age: 19
It would be easier to argue that the Timberwolves should just take the best prospect available had Gersson Rosas not just moved heaven and earth to create what we can presume will be a long-term backcourt partnership between D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley. With Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver also on the roster, Minnesota already has a logjam of young guards surrounding Karl-Anthony Towns at center. You’d think that might inform the organizational thinking, no matter where this pick ends up falling. Those circumstances make LaMelo Ball an even trickier sell as a long-term fit with Russell, given both are most comfortable creating with the ball in their hands and can be over-reliant on hoisting jumpers. This is a scenario where there might be a good case for trading down.
And so that brings us to Avdija, who improved his play in the back half of the season enough to solidify consideration in this part of the draft. It’s worth couching that with the fact there are still concerns here: Avdija doesn’t create shots in space on a consistent basis, and is unlikely to be more than an average defender based on his physical tools. Scouts are generally in agreement that he has to become a much more consistent jump shooter to succeed. But he’s a terrific passer, his feel for the game is advanced, and the hope is that his size and smarts will then split the difference. In Minnesota, Avdija wouldn’t solve the defensive woes, but he could thrive in a complementary role with the other scorers on the roster.
4. Hawks - Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 175 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
The Hawks got better results out of Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter as the season went on, and enter this draft sans a specific positional need after trading for Clint Capela. Haliburton makes for an interesting fit here as someone who can help Trae Young grease the wheels offensively. He’s at his best when accessorizing others, and the type of ball-moving glue that could be impactful just about anywhere, particularly on teams that already have an array of pieces in place for the long-term. His ability to play off the ball makes him an ostensibly better fit than LaMelo Ball. Isaac Okoro also makes sense here from a defensive standpoint, but given the Hawks invested heavily at forward last year, in this scenario they go a different direction. This is also a juncture where it might make sense to explore trading down.
Haliburton’s unorthodox shooting mechanics may cap his upside as an individual scorer, but his shot goes in, and he’s made progress. He has a way of greasing the wheels and increasing a team’s sustainable offensive tempo without needing to do anything outside his comfort zone. Atlanta needs to find a way to play sustainably fast, and figure out how to assemble a workable defense to cover for Young. Haliburton may not save a franchise by himself, and this is the very top of his range, but basketball is more fun with friends.
5. Pistons - LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 18
Considering his sheer skill level and facility for playmaking, it’s tough to envision Ball falling much further than this, but in his case, it seems much will hinge on how the lottery shakes out. The Pistons are one of the teams where he fills an obvious need, and are at an organizational juncture where they have little reason not to take the risk. Ball is one of the most talented players in the draft, but there’s concern about his poor outside shooting (he shot 27.9% on more than six three-pointers per game in the NBL), his struggles to put pressure on the rim, and issues defending on the ball. Granted, he’s 18 years old and was asked to anchor one of the worst teams in the NBL, so his productivity should be viewed as a positive. But some teams are turned off by the prospect of having to instill winning habits and rebuild around such an enigmatic player, and see far more flash than substance in his game.
Most around the league seem to agree that Ball won’t fall out of the top five, but that his situation is particularly fit-dependent, with the Knicks also a potential match, and if you go further down the board, Charlotte and Phoenix would have reasonable incentive. With few quality long-term pieces on the roster and the capacity to let Ball play early and develop through his mistakes, Detroit would make for a strong fit in theory. The Pistons need something to sell moving forward in what’s looking like a protracted rebuild. Ball is certainly a tantalizing option, and particularly so in a scenario where he makes it past the first few picks. But there are still too many questions attached for most to earnestly view him as the draft’s top prospect, and the two–five range seems to be realistic.
6. Knicks - Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Freshman
There’s a great deal of curiosity around the league as to how Leon Rose will handle his first draft after leaving the top post at CAA to run the Knicks. Expect a lot of debate about what it is New York actually needs, and discussion surrounding the agency/franchise dynamic and how it might impact basketball decisions. Okoro has endeared himself to teams as a relatively safe option with legit upside, as a hard-nosed, relentless defender and powerful athlete with room to grow offensively. He’s not a good jump shooter yet and isn’t a creative ball-handler, but he did show a solid feel for passing and making decisions, and his effectiveness in spite of what he lacked skill-wise was somewhat encouraging (he shot 60% on twos). The key is that his defensive instincts border on special—he has terrific balance and quick hands—and that he has a chance to be the type of wing who can at least keep up with elite perimeter scorers. Okoro won’t be a flashy pick by any means, but the Knicks need to find guys who actually like playing defense, and this is a step in that direction.
7. Bulls - Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 18
On the heels of a strong year in Germany, Hayes has all but solidified himself somewhere in the lottery, and should be of interest to a team like the Bulls in need of a playmaking guard (with Zach LaVine and Coby White both more scoring-oriented). Cast in a true lead role for the first time, Hayes rose to the challenge and has made a good case that he can handle point guard duties moving forward. He’s naturally creative, changes speeds well, and has succeeded in spite of being very left-hand dominant at this stage. Hayes has also made strides as a jump shooter. The primary knock here is his lack of strength and eye-popping athleticism—his craft is advanced, but some detractors are still concerned about translation. But he’s been trending in the right direction for the past couple months, although not being able to work out for teams in his case might be a hurdle.
8. Hornets - Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 235 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Okongwu worked his way into this mid to late lottery range with a highly productive freshman season, with teams coming to strongly value his perceived floor as a contributor. His skill level is not all that high, nor does he have the height you’d like, but he’s a natural athlete well-suited to playing uptempo, which might mitigate some of those concerns. He was one of the more impactful defensive bigs in college basketball this season, and while he has work to do defending the perimeter and recovering in ball screen situations, Okongwu presumably has the basic aptitude to learn those things. He’s also shown some jump shooting potential, which would help him a great deal and might be the difference between becoming a starter or simply a very reliable third big. Charlotte is one of the lottery teams in real need of a center, and the thought of pairing Okongwu with P.J. Washington in small, mobile lineups is certainly intriguing.
9. Wizards - Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 220 | Age: 22 | RS Sophomore
Toppin’s range is still a little bit trickier to peg than most right now given the dissonance between his age, his late-blooming trajectory, what teams typically prioritize in the lottery, and the fact he was arguably the best player in college basketball this season. He appears to be a readymade offensive contributor, but also comes with concerns on the other side of the ball as a slower big who may struggle to guard in space. He’s packed on muscle but still lacks lower body strength, to the point where there are concerns about who he matches up with and whether he can handle playing minutes as a small-ball center. The question here is simply how many teenagers you’d rather draft before rolling with Toppin as a relatively known quantity, and with the weirdness of this draft, it’s possible he could go a little higher than this, or fall closer to the back of the lottery. The prevailing thought around the league has been that Washington will try and make the playoffs next season with John Wall back in the lineup, and if there’s a win-now pick to be made at this juncture, it’s Toppin.
10. Suns - Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Phoenix has gone through a revolving door of guards the past few seasons and found some success pairing Devin Booker with Ricky Rubio, letting the former move off the ball more frequently and taking away some responsibility to create offense. Maxey would be an immediate upgrade off the bench and profiles pretty well as a third guard who can play on or off the ball, can finish capably and defend his position, and who most expect to end up shooting it better from distance long-term than he did at Kentucky. It’s easy to find undersized, bucket-getting two-guards, but what separates Maxey is his thicker build and potential to help close games defensively. Even after an uneven year in college, he figures to land in the back half of the lottery.
11. Spurs - Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 175 | Age: 18
The Spurs do have a ton of talented guards, but what their group currently lacks is a true facilitator. Maledon isn’t a naturally inventive player and is coming off an up-and-down year, but there are still believers who laud his work ethic and think that in the right system, he’ll be able to thrive. His size, open-court speed, shooting growth potential and ability to play on and off the ball create a degree of floor. But he certainly didn’t help his stock much this season, either, though in his defense, his role wasn’t always consistent and he’s still a teenager playing minutes in Euroleague, which in itself is a positive indicator. Maledon plays for Tony Parker’s club in France, so the homework here should be especially easy for San Antonio either way. He figures to land somewhere between here and the late teens.
12. Pelicans - Devin Vassell, G/F, Florida State
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
Vassell’s blend of size and length on the wing, tangible defensive impact and shooting ability create a pretty substantial floor, while the fact he’s a young sophomore with some room to grow offensively lends some credence to the upside. He was a big part of why Florida State was so good defensively, and evolved into a more consistent scoring threat in the back half of the season, albeit primarily in a catch-and-shoot capacity. He does have some limitations athletically that could limit his upside as a scorer, but simply being a consistent spot-up player can go a long way. In theory, he’s the type of player who can add value anywhere, even if he doesn’t turn into a starting-caliber option. With a wealth of young talent under contract for next season, New Orleans doesn’t have a defined roster need, and should have some options at this spot in in the draft.
13. Kings - Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Freshman
McDaniels was far from consistent this season at Washington, but he’s cut from the type of cloth that never fails to tantalize the NBA, and so the feeling around the league has been that he may still sneak into the lottery. You can point to his slender frame, ask why he’s not a better jump shooter, and pick apart his season, but you can also argue Washington’s lack of legit playmaking around him didn’t really do him many favors. According to Synergy, McDaniels shot 39.4% on 66 catch-and-shoot attempts and made 34.9% of jumpers on whole. If he’s not tasked with carrying an offense, there’s reason to think he’ll naturally improve. But he also has real issues playing through contact, which necessitates more mid-range shots than you’d like, and the risk is that he won’t hold up unless he can add real strength. Defensively, he spent the year in Washington’s zone, so there are questionmarks. McDaniels’ blend of size and skill will be enough for someone to roll the dice, with his range likely starting around here and ending around 20. Sacramento could justifiably take the risk.
14. Trail Blazers - RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19
Hampton has been a frustrating player to evaluate for a lot of scouts, and it’s hard to argue that going to Australia really helped his stock. His play on whole was below-average, which was probably to be expected given he reclassified, and that this would have been his senior year of high school. Hampton does have some things you can’t teach in terms of size, smoothness and quickness off the dribble, and he was a well-regarded high school prospect known for scoring. He can defend and should fit physically in the NBA as he matures. But it’s also tough to watch his film and walk away encouraged about his readiness for the league. This wouldn’t be a need pick for Portland, but they’ve taken more of a stockpiling approach in recent drafts, and Hampton has appeal here as a project of sorts.
15. Magic - Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Returning from injury to play out the final 13 games of the season was probably helpful for Anthony on whole, and his shooting splits improved in conference games, but at this point his stock remains in legitimate flux. He may have the widest range of any likely first-round pick. On one hand, it’s conceivable a team takes a swing on his pedigree and strong shot-making skills in the back half of the lottery, but objectively, it has been hard to find scouts who are sold on what he brings to the table, with the primary concern being whether or not his production impacts winning. North Carolina’s spacing and below-average supporting cast didn’t do Anthony many favors, but he struggled to consistently dictate gameflow as a lead guard and wasn’t much of a presence defensively, with average size and length limiting him in the passing lanes. In his case, the eval hinges less on the box score and more on his tendencies. It hurts a bit that he turns 20 in May.
16. Timberwolves (via Nets) - Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Stewart is certainly a throwback big, but his willingness to do the dirty work and understanding of who he is as a player has helped stabilize his stock. Washington wasn’t all that good, but Stewart was highly productive, and his broad frame, physicality and high-energy approach have endeared him to scouts, even if below-the-rim, bruising centers aren’t really where the NBA is headed. Scouts think he’ll be able to shoot from the perimeter and laud his work ethic. Defensively, he’ll face some limitations vertically, but his size and activity help bridge the gap a bit. In Stewart’s case, everything adds up to a point where teams feel comfortable with him, and for Minnesota, he could turn into a valuable stabilizing piece when Karl-Anthony Towns sits.
17. Celtics (via Grizzlies) - Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Mannion and Arizona ended the season on rockier ground than expected, and his struggles have cast added doubt about his athleticism, ability to finish at the rim, and his capacity to guard in the NBA. He’s more likely a mid first-rounder than lottery pick as things stand, and with those shortcomings, some think Mannion might be better cut out as a winning backup than as a starter. There is still a lot to like: Mannion is inherently unselfish, impressively polished, and a better jump shooter than he was able to show. He’s also competitive to the point where you think he figures out a way to succeed. Defenses focused heavily on stopping him in conference play, which was exacerbated by the fact Arizona didn’t have a legitimate secondary playmaker on the roster. Landing somewhere like Boston, where there’s a need for a backup point guard and he won’t have to play an outsized role, would put Mannion in good position to develop and succeed.
18. Mavericks - Aaron Nesmith, SG, Vanderbilt
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
There’s little question Nesmith profiles as one of the best three-point shooters in the draft, and while his 52% on 115 attempts in an injury-shortened season isn’t sustainable, it’s still wildly impressive. As long as the medical checks out on his fractured foot, teams seem pretty comfortable with his overall skill set. Nesmith isn’t extremely dynamic off the dribble, nor is he an elite athlete, but he’s well rounded enough to attack closeouts and should be able to defend respectably within a scheme. Most teams can use a guy like that. For Dallas, he could be a long-term upgrade on their collection of low-budget wings, and an eventual replacement in Tim Hardaway’s role.
19. Bucks (via Pacers) - Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21 | Sophomore
Bey feels like a particularly good fit in Milwaukee, who like versatile defenders, need everyone on the court to help space the floor for Giannis, and could use a player closer to contributing immediately given their championship aspirations. Teams historically feel comfortable with Villanova players, and Bey seems to be no different, having convinced more people that his shooting will translate and emerged as an anchor for his team this season. He’s started to add more off the dribble, and should become a useful role player as his game continues to expand. In this range, Bey looks like a reliable option at a position of value, with a little bit of upside to go with the floor.
20. Nets (via Sixers) - Patrick Williams, F, Florida State
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 225 | Age: 18 | Freshman
It’s not crazy to think Williams might rise higher than this, with an outside chance at sneaking into the lottery based on his extreme youth, versatility and promising athletic tools. He can legitimately defend three or four positions with his length and body type, and came on strong enough in February to showcase more of what he can do as a scorer. The chief question has been how good of a perimeter shooter he really is (32% on just 50 attempts), but he also shot 83% from the foul line, and mechanically looks to have some potential as a pull-up shooter. Williams is going to fit defensively, and his feel and untapped potential as a scorer should put him in play earlier in the draft than expected. Devin Vassell figures to be the first Seminole drafted, but it’s close. He doesn’t fit Brooklyn’s win-now timeline, but in this scenario, he’s clearly the best prospect left on the board.
21. Nuggets (via Rockets) - Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Freshman
To Achiuwa’s credit, he had a strong freshman year, anchoring a stingy Memphis defense with his versatility at center, as he’s capable of switching everything and appeared a bit more bought in than we’ve seen him in the past. Although the five is his best long-term position for that reason, he’s always wanted to play like a wing offensively, which frequently leads to some head-scratching moments. Teams have to parse whether it’s a feel issue, a self-perception issue, or both, and what type of role they think he can realistically. thrive in. Achiuwa has at least started to answer some of those questions, but he’s a much more palatable pick in this range than in the lottery. If he does learn to accept the right role, he could fit as defensive cover alongside Nikola Jokic.
22. Sixers (via Thunder) - Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Ramsey had a fairly solid freshman year, although he wasn’t quite consistent in elevating Texas Tech as the de facto go-to scorer, and there are some concerns about exactly what will translate. He shot an impressive 42.6% from three on 141 attempts, but was a below-average free throw shooter (64% on 78 attempts), both small samples but illustrative of the fact he likely has work to do. Ramsey settles for a lot of jumpers, and gets to the rim less than you think an athletic guard with his type of frame would. Defensively, he has solid instincts, which points to 3-and-D type potential. But he’s a little bit of a mixed bag, with enough upside to go in this range, but also with some questionmarks. The Sixers may need to re-up on wings this summer, and Ramsey could be a fit with his ability to play on or off the ball.
23. Heat - Kira Lewis, PG, Alabama
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 160 | Age: 18 | Sophomore
Miami enters the draft without a long-term point guard on the roster, and in this scenario Lewis is the best one available, and certainly a viable investment in this range. He’s still a ways away from understanding how to run an NBA team and sorely needs to add strength to his frame, but he has blazing end-to-end speed you can’t teach, and was successful this season using it to put pressure on defenses. Lewis is more of a drive-and-kick guy than a natural lead guard, but the fact he’s younger than a lot of freshmen leaves some optimism that he can develop into a solid rotation guard in time. There’s upside for a team willing to be patient.
24. Jazz - Josh Green, SG, Arizona
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Green’s freshman year was up and down to the point where much of the hype has dimmed, but his potential as a versatile, athletic lineup piece on the wing still makes him a worthwhile look in this part of the draft. He didn’t get to the rim enough and struggles playing off the dribble, but he actually shot the ball better than advertised from outside. He’s rangy with a solid frame on the defensive end, and his physical profile coupled with the potential all-around utility makes some sense here, even if he doesn’t quite have an elite skill. Green could be the type of low-maintenance role guy the Jazz seem to like, and there’s some 3-and-D floor in a worst-case scenario.
25. Thunder (via Nuggets) - Zeke Nnaji, F/C, Arizona
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 240 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Nnaji helped himself a good bit after entering this season off the radar, showcasing some potential as an athletic stretch big who can legitimately rebound, two important skills that don’t always come in concert. Defensively, he’s not polished or physical yet, which is where most of the nitpicking comes from right now. His post game is somewhat rudimentary, and he needs shots created for him. There’s certainly enough here for a team to consider him in the first round, and he’s a bit more modern than some of the other centers in this part of the draft. The Thunder stand to replenish their depth up front this summer, and should be able to do that at this spot if they choose.
26. Celtics - Leandro Bolmaro, G, Barcelona
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 19
Boston will enter the off-season with three first-rounders, which gives them some flexibility and also creates some incentive to consider looking international, with some rationale behind staggering rookie contracts given the number of young guys already on the roster. Bolmaro has a fairly wide range right now, beginning in the 20s and ending in the 30s, but there are teams who covet his size and evident feel for the game, even though he’s been somewhat tricky to see on a consistent basis playing primarily for Barcelona’s B team. Bolmaro will need some time before he can contribute consistently in the NBA, but has the type of natural flair and creativity you can’t teach, particularly as a big playmaker.
27. Knicks via Clippers - Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 270 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Scouts are all over the place on Carey, who has legit size and was one of the most productive freshmen in the country, but isn’t especially dynamic on either offense or defense, relying more on his touch around the basket and activity level than any abundance of skill in the post. That formula worked well in college, and he was highly efficient around the rim despite being very left-hand dominant. But he doesn’t figure to defend all that well in space, and might be best viewed in a back-end rotation role long-term, where he can turn in productive minutes situationally in a way that mitigates his exposure in bad matchups. For as much as he gets picked apart, Carey probably didn’t get enough credit for being supremely effective on whole. The Knicks could use some youth up front, and shouldn’t feel tied to much on the roster as things stand, anyway.
28. Raptors - Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 245 | Age: 21 | Junior
Tillman has a pretty clear path to being a useful role player and consistently made a winning impact on good teams at Michigan State, bringing toughness to the table defensively and also boasting a surprising level of versatility on the other end. He’s a useful shot-blocker, effective finisher, and also one of the better playmaking bigs in this class, with the knocks here being lack of elite athleticism, passable but average jump shooting, and some lack of upside due to his age and the fact he’s close to maxed out physically. Tillman is the type of no-frills, versatile guy the Raptors tend to like, and has the maturity to step into some minutes early on for a winning team.
29. Lakers - Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Freshman
Stanley was one of this season’s biggest risers, arriving at Duke as an older freshman relatively off the radar, but fast establishing himself as an essential piece for that team. He’s one of the best run-jump athletes in the draft, shot the ball well enough to pique interest, and perhaps most importantly, appeared to buy into an energy-based role on the wing akin to what he’ll be asked to do as a pro. Stanley isn’t much of a playmaker and will need teammates to create shots for him, but he has an outside chance at the first round as things stand. If the Lakers keep this pick, adding depth on the wing or at center makes sense.
30. Celtics via Bucks - Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
At some juncture in the draft, the Celtics probably ought to add depth at center, where they’ve taken a committee approach of late. Oturu is a need-based pick here after a highly productive sophomore season, albeit on a team that didn’t win a ton. He’s extremely strong and active and will be asked to rebound, finish, and hopefully knock down jumpers moving forward. His post play is pretty rudimentary, and he’s pretty right-hand dominant, lacking a degree of versatility that limits him here. Oturu is also slightly undersized for an NBA five, which hurts a bit more due to his defensive shortcomings. He’s not a first-round lock by any means, but the 20-50 range is viewed as highly fluid, and he makes a degree of sense here in this scenario.
31. Mavericks (via Warriors) - Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
32. Hornets (via Cavs) - Aleksej Pokusevski, F, Olympiacos
33. Timberwolves - Grant Riller, PG, Charleston
34. Sixers (via Hawks) - Jalen Smith, C, Maryland
35. Kings (via Pistons) - Tre Jones, PG, Duke
36. Sixers (via Knicks) - Tyler Bey, PF, Colorado
37. Wizards (via Bulls) - Immanuel Quickley, SG, Kentucky
38. Knicks (via Hornets) - Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State
39. Pelicans (via Wizards) - Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas
40. Grizzlies (via Suns) - Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas
41. Spurs - Kaleb Wesson, C, Ohio State
42. Kings - Amar Sylla, F, Oostende
43. Pelicans - Robert Woodard, F, Mississippi State
44. Trail Blazers - Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
45. Magic - Jared Butler, PG, Baylor
46. Celtics (via Nets) - Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
47. Bulls (via Grizzlies) - Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky
48. Warriors (via Mavericks) - Paul Reed, C, DePaul
49. Sixers - Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga
50. Pacers - Skylar Mays, SG, LSU
51. Thunder - Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon
52. Hawks (via Rockets) - Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State
53. Kings (via Heat) - Reggie Perry, C, Mississippi State
54. Warriors (via Jazz) - Paul Eboua, F, Pesaro
55. Nets (via Nuggets) - Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois
56. Hornets (via Celtics) - Abdoulaye N’Doye, G/F, Cholet
57. Clippers - Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
58. Raptors - Naji Marshall, G/F, Xavier
59. Sixers (via Lakers) - Myles Powell, SG, Seton Hall
60. Pelicans (via Bucks) - Elijah Hughes, SG, Syracuse