We’ve entered the home stretch, with the draft three days away and the real scenarios now coming into focus as teams finalize their preparation. Trade winds continue to swirl heavily all over the first round, in what could be one of the more active draft nights in recent memory, considering how many teams hold multiple picks. Cade Cunningham remains the projected top selection, and the top five or six picks have come into focus, but there’s still a great deal of intrigue and anticipation around the NBA going into Thursday night. So, it’s time for another mock draft update, with some major changes to my projections, and lots of new intel on the dynamics going on behind the scenes.
As always, this mock attempts to project what the draft might look like on a given day, and is based primarily off my own intel and conversations with a range of executives, scouts and others around the NBA. Expect another update or two as Thursday night draws closer.
1. Pistons: Cade Cunningham, G, Oklahoma State
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Freshman
While the Pistons have yet to firmly commit to a choice here, the general expectation around the league remains that Cunningham will be the first player off the board. He worked out for the Pistons last week and is thought to be happy to land in Detroit, where he’ll become the face of the franchise. The Pistons will reportedly do their due diligence and work out Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs, and appear likely to keep their plans close to the vest as long as possible, much like the Timberwolves did last year with their selection of Anthony Edwards. But a robust trade market for the top pick does not seem to have materialized, and the option of staying at No. 1 and taking Cunningham remains the simplest one for the Pistons.
While perhaps not a consensus choice for every team at No. 1, Cunningham is widely viewed as the safest option, with a versatile skill set tailor-made to enhance a modern offense, even if he’s not a full-time lead guard in the long run. Cunningham can play and excel out of a wide range of spots on the floor, unusual for a prospect his age, which makes the process of adding talent in future drafts much more malleable in the long run. His improved jumper significantly improves his outlook as a scorer, and his rare intangibles and unselfish approach to winning basketball are increasingly difficult to find.
2. Rockets: Jalen Green, SG, G League Ignite
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The vast majority of rival teams have zeroed in on Green as the likely choice for Houston at No. 2. While sources say the Rockets have been calling around to gauge trade possibilities involving the 2 pick, it feels more likely that they stand pat. That confidence has been bolstered by the fact that Green is the only projected top pick expected to work out for the Rockets at this point in time. League sources have indicated there is a level of disinterest within Evan Mobley’s camp regarding Houston as a destination, raising questions as to whether that potential marriage would be ideal for either side. Rival teams do not expect Mobley, Jalen Suggs or Cade Cunningham to work out for Houston before draft night.
The Rockets reportedly have interest in trading up to No. 1 with the Pistons, but there’s skepticism around the league that Houston would match Detroit’s hefty asking price. But Green is thought to be comfortable landing in Houston, has major upside as a scorer, and has been viewed as the Rockets’ preferred choice dating back to lottery night. Whether his game will prove compatible in the long run with the ball-dominant Kevin Porter Jr. is a fair question, but Green’s ceiling as a shot creator is substantial. He’d immediately become the centerpiece of the Rockets’ rebuild.
3. Cavaliers: Evan Mobley, F/C, USC
Height: 7' 0" | Weight: 215 | Age: 20 | Freshman
It appears Mobley will be available to the Cavaliers at No. 3, and while Cleveland has a number of bigs under contract, he’s a potentially special talent who should override any short-term positional concerns. The Cavs are thought by rival teams to be focused on Mobley here, and while Cleveland is expected to entertain trade offers for this pick, this does seem like a strong match. Mobley is not a perfect fit with restricted free agent center Jarrett Allen—whom the Cavs appear invested in—but his unique versatility and perimeter skill should allow him to spend some time next to Allen in dual-big lineups, at least in the short term. Mobley projects as a low-maintenance, high-impact performer and potential franchise centerpiece, and skilled, two-way bigs of his ilk don’t come around often.
Barring an influx of attractive trade offers, this shouldn’t be an overly complicated choice for the Cavs, and Mobley could end up being their best player in relatively short order. Pairing him with the promising Darius Garland would be a step in the right direction. This is a crucial summer for Cleveland, with the Cavs’ front office thought to be under some pressure due to a lack of on-court progress. They continue to explore potential Collin Sexton trades in an attempt to reshape the team. The prospect of adding Mobley does raise the question of whether Cleveland can realistically carry all of Allen, Kevin Love and Larry Nance going into next season.
4. Raptors: Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The Raptors have become one of the more fascinating teams to watch as the draft approaches, simply due to scenarios where they could package this selection, along with current players, to reshape the team. Rival teams believe Toronto is interested in acquiring a star talent, with nobody on the roster deemed untouchable, and they have been among the teams most strongly connected to Ben Simmons. But that type of scenario may not materialize before the draft, and so the broad assumption around the league has been that Toronto will select Suggs here, as a long-term replacement for free agent Kyle Lowry.
If nothing materializes, there’s a great case to be made for simply staying put, as Suggs remains an excellent fit for their roster and organizational culture. He’s an elite-level athlete, hard-nosed competitor and comfortable sacrificing shots in the interest of team success. The Raptors have done diligence on prospects projected all over the lottery, and will be prepared in the event they wind up moving around. But there are many around the NBA who view Suggs as part of the top tier of prospects in this class, and it would be a surprise if he weren’t the pick here.
5. Magic: Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Freshman
With three days until the draft, rival teams fully expect the Magic to select Barnes at No. 5 and keep him in his home state. That said, Orlando continues to surface as a candidate to move around in the draft, with two top-eight selections as ammunition to make a trade. Whether or not the Magic could tempt Houston or Cleveland to move back is fair to wonder at this point, but Orlando’s decision-makers are thought to be very comfortable with Barnes here, presuming they stay put.
While Barnes doesn’t boast the type of scoring ability traditionally found in top-five selections, his range of impressive intangibles, elite passing skills and defensive acumen have built a convincing case. He would be a strong match for Orlando, possessing the length and versatility that fits their traditional draft ethos, and a galvanizing personality that could help stabilize their young locker room. Pairing Barnes and Jonathan Isaac as a versatile defensive backbone would give the Magic a unique base on which to build out the rest of its roster in the coming years.
6. Thunder: James Bouknight, SG, UConn
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
Sources say the Thunder have made overtures about trading into the upper reaches of the draft, but so far have yet to gain serious traction. Rival teams remain wary of the possibility that they could leap into the top three. Although Oklahoma City is among the more tight-lipped front offices in the league, rival teams generally agree that Bouknight and Jonathan Kuminga are the two players most likely in the mix here if they stand pat. At any rate, it remains unlikely Bouknight falls past No. 8. He gathered a ton of steam at the draft combine, where a nuclear shooting display at his pro day caused many decision-makers to think long and hard. He’s still a bit polarizing around the league, with one school of thought ascribing star potential and others viewing him as more of a bench scorer or sixth man.
If Oklahoma City stays here, it will be in position to gamble on Bouknight’s substantial upside and can pair him with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in a dynamic young backcourt. Bouknight would likely be afforded room to expand his playmaking skills and operate with freedom. He’s shown real imagination finishing in the paint and creating shots, and teams expect he’ll be more than adequate as a jump shooter. He plays with impressive poise and could excel in a situation where defenses can’t key on him incessantly.
7. Warriors (from Timberwolves): Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 220 | Age: 18
Kuminga was viewed as a top-five pick for much of the past draft cycle, and the possibility of him slipping in the draft has become a hot topic around the league over the past week. He is certainly not the flavor of the month, and there are feasible scenarios in play where he could slip out of the top 10. Kuminga remains one of the higher-upside talents in the class, with elite athletic tools and coordination at his size, but concerns over his ball-dominant style of play, jump shot and NBA readiness have contributed to the shift in perception. League sources say Kuminga has struggled to gain traction during the predraft process, and rival teams continue to speculate as to how far he might slip. With three days to go, Kuminga has become the biggest wild card in the draft.
The Warriors’ situation here also hinges on whether they can use their draft capital and noncore players to engineer a suitable win-now trade, and there’s some expectation around the NBA that Golden State would be willing to go all in to land whichever disgruntled star might become available. Whether they can actually pull it off is a fair question, but the prospect of adding two rookies in the lottery doesn’t necessarily help the Warriors’ efforts to return to the playoffs after a two-year hiatus. With Steph Curry's nearing free agency, Golden State doesn’t have much time to waste. But Kuminga will still be tempting here from a sheer value perspective, and the Warriors are thought to be targeting more experienced talent with their pick at No. 14.
8. Magic (from Bulls): Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
Height: 6' 9" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
While this is a bit of a swing spot in the lottery, Orlando is thought to be primarily focused on wings here. Considering the likelihood they add Barnes at No. 5, logic suggests the second selection will be a prospect who projects as a competent shooter, to help ensure a workable fit. With several young guards already on the roster, Orlando can theoretically pick from the wings available here, with Wagner, Moses Moody and Ziaire Williams among those linked. Rival teams believe Magic are interested in trading this pick in the right scenario, as they don’t necessarily need to add multiple rookies to their roster, and are likely to enter next season with a bit of a logjam in the rotation, barring subsequent moves.
Wagner has had a bit of a mysterious predraft process, as he opted out of the combine and has conducted workouts quietly, but looks poised to land in the top 10 barring a surprise. Although he never fully broke out as a scorer at Michigan and is more of a high-level complementary prospect, Wagner’s well-rounded game has made him a popular commodity, with a mature approach on offense that isn’t predicated on volume shooting to add value. He’s an excellent team defender with the size to match up on a range of personnel. He’d be a nice match here as the Magic reimagine their roster, capable of playing either forward spot and fitting into a wide range of lineups.
9. Kings: Alperen Sengün, F/C, Besiktas (Turkey)
Height: 6' 10" | Weight: 240 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Sacramento has been shopping this pick around in attempts to improve the team, and has been linked heavily to Franz Wagner should he be available here. Sources say the Kings are also among the teams with serious interest in Sengün, who recently worked out in Sacramento. His impressive production as a teenager in Turkey will be particularly appealing to analytics-driven front offices, with his age and counting stats likely to model well in the long run. The question here is really how much a post-centric prospect like Sengün is worth in today’s NBA: He’s already a statistical outlier, but only the most dominant interior players justifiably command high-end usage.
With terrific finishing skills and burgeoning passing vision, Sengün is clearly a lottery-level talent, though not a fit for every team’s style of play. Concerns about his ability to protect the basket in the NBA persist. He’s a good bet to be a productive NBA player, but if he’s not a star, it’s fair to wonder what he’ll really be worth. The Kings badly need interior help of any kind, with the jury still out on Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes headed for free agency, and could be tempted by Sengün here.
10. Grizzlies: Josh Giddey, G, Adelaide 36ers (Australia)
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 205 | Age: 18
As reported by ESPN, the Grizzlies and Pelicans are finalizing a trade that sends Jonas Valanciunas, the 17th and the 51st picks to New Orleans in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, this pick at No. 10, the 40th pick, and a future first-rounder.
League sources believe that the player Memphis is targeting here is Josh Giddey, presuming he’s available. Giddey would give the Grizzlies another talented playmaker to take pressure off Ja Morant. He’s one of the draft’s best passers and has improved his jumper to a workable level over the past year. With exceptional feel for the game and a productive year in Australia under his belt, Giddey is extremely advanced for a teenager, and doesn’t turn 19 until October. His strengths feel translatable into a useful bench role at worst, with his height and smarts enabling him to play all over the floor. He could conceivably go as high as No. 7 to Golden State, who are known to be heavily interested.
11. Hornets: Kai Jones, F/C, Texas
Height: 6' 11" | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
Charlotte enters the draft in need of help up front, and are thought to be eyeing bigs at this spot. Jones has come up here as a potential target, and has a chance to develop into a valuable defender and floor-spacer down the line. His potential to knock down jumpers, finish lobs and protect the paint—coupled with unusual athletic gifts and skill flashes—make him one of the higher-upside options on the board in this part of the lottery. He was never an especially consistent producer at Texas, and will still be very much a project for whoever drafts him. This is likely the very high end of Jones’s range, which runs into the teens, but he’s a pretty seamless hypothetical fit in Charlotte, where he’d likely benefit from playing as a lob target for LaMelo Ball.
12. Spurs: Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
Height: 6' 7" | Weight: 220 | Age: 22 | Senior
Sources say the Spurs have angled to move up in the draft and into the top 10. They have historically been content to stand pat on draft night, however, and the better bet may be San Antonio making a pick here. The Spurs have a large collection of perimeter talent, headlined by the fast-improving Keldon Johnson, but have a need for more shooting on the roster. Kispert fits the bill here, as one of the top three-point threats in the draft, and an experienced college prospect who is closer to making an immediate impact than most. While Kispert isn’t a naturally creative player, that won’t be too much of a concern considering the guard talent already on the roster. His range starts at No. 10 and runs into the teens.
13. Pacers: Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor
Height: 6' 1" | Weight: 205 | Age: 22 | Junior
Mitchell has been strongly linked to the Pacers and Warriors as a late-lottery option, and is a good bet to come off the board at one of those two selections. Indiana has mostly been connected to experienced prospects at this spot, as they plan to push for the playoffs next season under Rick Carlisle. Mitchell fits the bill here, with the Pacers in need of another ballhandler. Teams have been a bit cooler on Mitchell than the public discourse for much of the season, with his age, size limitations, and less-convincing résumé as a shooter pushing him down some boards into this part of the draft. But his intangibles, work ethic, defensive toughness, and developing offensive game are still highly enticing, and would fit well here in a situation where he’s not tasked with sky-high playmaking usage.
14. Warriors: Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
Height: 6' 6" | Weight: 190 | Age: 24 | Senior
According to league sources, the Warriors brought in Duarte, Davion Mitchell, Moses Moody and Trey Murphy for a competitive two-on-two workout Sunday, in an effort to get a better handle on their pending decision at No. 14. All four prospects had previously visited Golden State for solo workouts. This second lottery pick is more of a luxury for the Warriors, who don’t expressly need to add two rookies to their roster, much less one, but is also a serious trade chip in any potential efforts to trade for a star. But if Golden State opts to take a longer-term prospect at No. 7, it stands to reason they’d select a more experienced player here, aiming to give Steve Kerr another rotation option going into a critical season. Duarte is one of the oldest players in the draft, but his reliability, shooting and well-rounded game are big draws, and he has a chance to sneak into the late lottery here. His range runs into the teens.
15. Wizards: Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
Height: 6' 6" | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The Wizards’ direction with this pick seems likely to be determined by the fate of Bradley Beal, who is being monitored closely by rival teams in the event he requests a trade. If Beal is content to stay put next season, Washington may look for more immediate help. If that situation shifts, it may behoove them to select a younger, long-view prospect here. There are viable scenarios where Moody could go in the top 10, but it’s also possible he slides into the teens, with opinions varying widely on his upside. He does profile well as a 3-and-D wing, but his lack of explosiveness and handle and longer development timeline makes him a better fit for teams that can be patient.
16. Thunder (from Celtics): Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The Thunder have been connected to a wide range of players with their two picks in the teens, and have explored using one or both of Nos. 16 and 18 to move up into the lottery, sources said. Oklahoma City should also have strong options if they stay put, with a big name or two likely to slip to this spot. Johnson has one of the wider ranges of any projected first-round pick: He could sneak into the top 10, or fall into the teens. Concerns about his below-average jumper and ball skills have put his stock in flux. Johnson needs to refine his offensive game to maximize his considerable potential, but has better feel than a typical project wing, and a tough, defensive-oriented mindset that could expedite his pathway to useful minutes. He’s one of the best athletes in the draft. The Thunder have time on their side and can certainly afford to take a swing here, if they wind up making the pick.
17. Pelicans: Trey Murphy, F, Virginia
Height: 6' 9" | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Junior
The Pelicans are set to acquire this pick from Memphis in a multi-player deal, designed to free up salary cap flexibility for New Orleans, and bringing back a center in Jonas Valanciunas who can space the floor more capably next to Zion Williamson. The Pelicans have been linked as a suitor for free-agent-to-be Kyle Lowry, as they seek to add veteran experience to their backcourt, and weigh Lonzo Ball’s restricted free agency. The 17th pick should give the Pelicans an opportunity to add another complementary piece, with Murphy’s size and ability to space the floor making him a strong fit.
Murphy has been among the biggest winners of the predraft process and has worked his way into the teens, with an appealing combination of positional size, athleticism, shooting, and projectable defense. Murphy isn’t a great ballhandler or creative passer, but has a good sense of his own strengths and weaknesses and shouldn’t be a major liability. Scouts I’ve spoken with have frequently used Phoenix’s Cam Johnson as a comparison.
18. Thunder (from Heat): Jalen Johnson, F, Duke
Height: 6' 9" | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Freshman
This would be something of a fall for Johnson, who entered the year projected as a lottery pick, but he seems to have gained little traction in the predraft process. He’s a very intriguing upside pick outside the lottery, as it’s difficult to find players with his blend of size, ball skills and passing vision. Johnson has his warts, particularly his inconsistent jumper, but any slide in the draft will primarily be indicative of how teams chose to weigh the background intel from his high school and college careers. Johnson remains an appealing reclamation project in the right circumstances, with a pretty clear pathway to an NBA role if things break correctly. While he no longer seems lottery-bound, he figures to come off the board in the late teens or early 20s. The Thunder have room on the roster to develop another big or two, and could go in that direction here with their third first-round pick.
19. Knicks: Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky
Height: 6' 10" | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The Knicks have made attempts to move up into the late lottery by combining their two first-round selections, sources say, and could still find a suitable move going into draft night, whether that’s acquiring NBA talent, or moving around in the draft. New York has also been the team most frequently linked to Jackson over the course of the predraft process, noting the team’s demonstrable penchant for Kentucky players. While Jackson is inarguably raw and not particularly skilled, he’s an exceptional athlete, and flashed enough intriguing things during the season to solidify first-round interest. The hope is that Jackson will emerge as a rim-running center who protects the basket, but he’s not particularly reliable yet and viewed as more of a project. He’s an acquired taste for some scouts, who question his offensive acumen and feel.
20. Hawks: Ziaire Williams, SF, Stanford
Height: 6' 9" | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Williams is one of the tricker prospects to peg going into draft night, with interest all over the first round. League sources believe he helped himself to some extent on the workout circuit—his combination of positional height, skill level and shooting ability has always been tantalizing for scouts—but questions surrounding his injury history and lack of consistency dating back to high school may be what holds him back entering draft night. Concerns about his ability to put pressure on the rim and overall consistency persist. But Williams’s upside is still appealing from a development perspective, and teams looking to take a shot on talent will have serious interest in the first round. The Hawks appear to be focused on guards here, but Williams would be an interesting addition to Atlanta’s personnel, offering more size on the perimeter and shooting to complement Trae Young.
21. Knicks (from Mavericks): Usman Garuba, F/C, Real Madrid (Spain)
Height: 6' 8" | Weight: 230 | Age: 19
Teams are all over the board on Garuba, who has one of the most intriguing defensive profiles in the draft, but is lagging behind in terms of offensive skills at this point, leading to questions over what his eventual role might be on that end of the floor. The Knicks have a defensive-minded head coach in Tom Thibodeau, and could be intrigued by what Garuba has to offer. He’s exceptionally well tested for his age, having cut his teeth in Real Madrid’s senior team and the Spanish national team, and he should have utility as a physical, switchable ball screen defender who can guard all over the frontcourt. But teams are concerned about how far away he might be on offense, and it’s possible he slips into the 20s.
22. Lakers: Jared Butler, G, Baylor
Height: 6' 3" | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Junior
The Lakers figure to be in the market for immediate help with this pick, and are expected to exhaust all avenues to reshaping the roster this summer despite the financial constraints created by their current contract situation. With Butler having been medically cleared by the NBA to play, teams continue to prepare as if he’ll come off the board as usual. The prospect of medical risk may affect where he lands on draft night, but his range starts in the late teens and runs into the early second round. Butler is a clear first-round talent and a steady, proven contributor who can play both guard spots capably. Teams have always raved about his intangibles, and there are some who preferred him as a prospect to Baylor teammate Davion Mitchell.
23. Rockets (from Blazers): Day’Ron Sharpe, C, North Carolina
Height: 6' 11" | Weight: 265 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Rival teams say the Rockets are open to trading one or both of these picks in the 20s, although it’s unclear how high they can actually get by combining them. If they stay put, they shouldn’t be overly bound by positional constraints. Sharpe has had a strong predraft process that could culminate with him coming off the board earlier than many expected, with a chance to sneak into the top 20 depending on how things break here. League sources say he’s worked himself into great shape, has shot the ball well in workouts and has done well in interviews. He has the makings of a reliable role player in the long run, with his ceiling tied to his offensive development. While not supremely athletic or skilled as a scorer, Sharpe is a highly competitive, high-effort rebounder with more upside than most traditional bigs in his mold.
24. Rockets (from Bucks): Joshua Primo, SG, Alabama
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 190 | Age: 18 | Freshman
It’s unclear whether the Rockets will actually make this pick, but making a long-term investment in a younger player does fit with their timeline. After a strong showing at the combine and impressive predraft process behind closed doors, Primo now looks like a lock to land in the first round, with real interest from teams beginning in the teens and running into the 20s. He’s demonstrated a more diverse offensive game than he showed in a spot-up role at Alabama, with combo guard skills and an impressive level of poise and focus. The fact that he’s the youngest draft-eligible prospect adds a layer of appeal as a long-term project, and he’s in the mix for teams that can afford to be patient. Primo has starter-level upside in the long run.
25. Clippers: Bones Hyland, SG, VCU
Height: 6' 3" | Weight: 165 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
The Clippers have primarily been linked to guards at this spot but have needs across the board, with much of their veteran supporting cast hitting free agency in the next couple of years. Hyland has been gathering steam ever since a strong showing at the combine, and is thought to have some traction in the top 25. While he’s a scorer by nature and quite slender for an NBA two guard, his ability to make tough shots is hard to find, and has helped separate him from the large pack of guards in the 20–40 range. While his game is not the most diverse, Hyland is viewed as a potentially valuable bench scorer.
26. Nuggets: Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Freshman
While Thomas’s inflexible, shoot-first approach has been a divisive topic and a long-standing challenge to evaluate, he’s inarguably one of the more consistent, accomplished scorers in the draft. The questions here primarily surround the translatability of his playstyle, and his general disinterest in defense and sharing the ball. But there’s some thought that he might fit nicely as an extra scorer on a team with an established pecking order, and the Nuggets fit the criteria there. It will fall on Thomas to become a more malleable player in the long run, but his production is hard to knock, and he’ll have much easier shot opportunities coming his way on a good team, in theory. Denver has historically been content to draft whomever falls to them, and Thomas would be a nice value play in this scenario.
27. Nets: Miles McBride, PG, West Virginia
Height: 6' 2" | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
McBride has earned a number of fans around the league with his toughness, on-ball defense and shot-making skills, and will enter draft night in the mix for teams all over the 20s. He’s undersized, but has off-the-charts length and a reliable pull-up jumper that gives him a little more to offer than your typical defensive-minded college guard. Optimistic scouts think he has the chops to anchor bench units, and the Nets should be in the market for more NBA-ready talent if they keep this pick, making McBride’s poised, no-frills game a nice fit here.
28. 76ers: Tre Mann, G, Florida
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
Daryl Morey has never been particularly attached to his draft picks, and history suggests the Sixers will entertain trade offers here, making it an interesting spot for a team to grab a player who unexpectedly slips to the back of the first round. Considering the large glut of guards penciled in all over this part of the draft, it’s inevitable that a few of them will fall. Teams expect Mann to come off the board in the 20s, but the range seems fairly wide, and it’s possible he could slip to the back of the first round, or potentially out of it. Mann is a skilled ballhandler with a quality jumper and good size for his position. But the knock on him is that he’s a bit one-dimensional, as he’s more scorer than setup man, doesn’t play a physical style and isn’t known for being a committed defender. Still, there’s some nice upside here if his offensive skill package clicks.
29. Suns: Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Springer’s range remains extremely wide going into draft night, noting the morass of guards projected in the 20-to-40 range, and the fact he’s still 18 and viewed as more of a long-term prospect. Not every playoff-bound team will rush to select a teenager, but Springer does have real upside, particularly if he falls toward the back of the first round. He battled injuries during a productive freshman year, and projects as a solid defender with an unorthodox but effective floor game. He’s still one of the more divisive players in the class, as scouts remain split on where his upside lies. While the Suns are potentially in position to sustain their success moving forward, they should eventually seek to develop a long-term backcourt partner for Devin Booker, and this pick could be a spot to address that.
30. Jazz: Quentin Grimes, SG, Houston
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 210 | Age: 21 | Junior
The Jazz are reportedly looking to move off salary, and could look to attach this pick to an unwanted contract in a trade that would further that pursuit. Grimes was one of the biggest winners at the combine and has played his way into late first-round consideration, with a well-rounded perimeter game and strong intangibles that have earmarked him as a potential role player. Grimes reinvented himself at Houston as a ball-moving, complementary jump shooter, and plays with a level of maturity and confidence that should endear him to playoff teams in this part of the draft. He’d be a good fit as an extra playmaker and shooter in Utah’s system if the Jazz stay here.
31. Bucks (from Rockets): Josh Christopher, SG, Arizona State
32. Knicks (from Pistons): Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
33. Magic: Isaiah Todd, PF, G League Ignite
34. Thunder: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Villanova
35. Pelicans (from Cavs): Joel Ayayi, G, Gonzaga
36. Thunder (from Wolves): Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois
37. Pistons (from Raptors): JT Thor, F, Auburn
38. Bulls (from Pelicans): Jason Preston, PG, Ohio
39. Kings: Juhann Begarin, SG, Paris Basket
40. Grizzlies: Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine
41. Spurs: BJ Boston, SG, Kentucky