It’s the time of year for everyone to take their shot at predicting the NBA Draft. Here at A Royal Pain, we decided to spice it up a little. Rather than guess what NBA general managers will do next Thursday, Bryant West and I took on the role of GM for each club and alternated picks with an NBA Mock Draft.
Again, this is not a prediction. This is how we would make selections if we ran each team, so check out our NBA mock draft below.
1. Scott: Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins, G/F, Kansas
- Embiid is enticing, but the injury risk is too much for me at No. 1. Wiggins fills a big need for Cleveland as an impact wing with huge potential on both ends of the court.
2. Bryant: Milwaukee Bucks – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
- The Bucks don’t need a big man as much as they need wing help, but Embiid is too good to pass up on here, even for Jabari Parker. His back issues are concerning, but not a dealbreaker until some future information says otherwise.
3. Scott: Philadelphia 76ers – Jabari Parker, F, Duke
- Sixers got their PG last year, and Nerlens Noel should provide a presence down low. Now it’s time for a true difference maker in Parker, who has an NBA-ready offensive game inside and out.
4. Bryant: Orlando Magic – Dante Exum, G, Australia
- The Magic could go forward here (Noah Vonleh or Julius Randle would both be great fits), but no one left has the potential stardom gene as evidently as Exum. He’s an all-around gifted scorer with great size for the point guard position.
5. Scott: Utah Jazz – Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
- Now we get to have fun. I don’t know what to make of Utah, but there’s no one who clearly fills their SG/SF need. So I’m taking Noah Vonleh, who forms a solid trio up front with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
6. Bryant: Boston Celtics – Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
- As much as I’d like to leave Gordon (my personal favorite) for the Kings, Boston should snag him here. He needs a lot of work offensively, but his fantastic defense, ability to do the little things and crazy athleticism are hard to pass up on.
7. Scott: Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
- The Lakers need to take a chance on a player with star potential, and they also need a commanding floor general. Smart’s talent is too much to pass up here.
8. Bryant: SACRAMENTO KINGS – Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
- I don’t love the fit between Randle and Cousins – they’re both similar players who command the ball, except Randle lacks Cousins’ range. Randle also is a mediocre defender at this point, and wouldn’t help on that end in the immediate future. Still, given who is left on the board, this is an easy choice; Randle is the most talented player left, and talent comes before fit with a high lottery pick. He’s a beast inside, and while he’s a bit undersized, he’d give the Kings a truly frightening duo down in the paint and on the glass.
9. Scott: Charlotte Hornets – Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
- The Hornets are a playoff team and should get someone ready to contribute now. Josh McRoberts and Anthony Tolliver were this team’s No. 2 and No. 3 three-point shooters — McDermott provides an immediate upgrade as a reserve gunner.
10. Bryant: Philadelphia 76ers – Dario Saric, F, Croatia
- Sure, Saric might not join the NBA for a season or two (especially if he isn’t happy where he ends up), but why would Philadelphia care? They aren’t trying to win any time soon, and Saric is the most talented player left on the board and the smartest player in the draft.
11. Scott: Denver Nuggets – James Young, G/F, Kentucky
- Denver has some nice pieces but doesn’t seem ready to contend any time soon. Young is loaded with potential and could be a great running mate for Ty Lawson in a couple years.
12. Bryant: Orlando Magic – Jusuf Nurkic, C, Croatia
- With the guard positions taken care of with Exum and sophomore Victor Oladipo, the Magic can take a shot at the second best center in the class. Nurkic is raw and unathletic, but has great size and fantastic low-post potential.
13. Scott: Minnesota Timberwolves – Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
- I was tempted by some other names, but with Kevin Love’s future up in the air, Minnesota would do well to add some ready-to-go frontcourt depth.
14. Bryant: Phoenix Suns – Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
- Phoenix is a deep team whose biggest need is probably at SF, but Harris is just too good to pass up on at this point. He’s the best defensive guard in the class and has solid offensive skills.
15. Scott: Atlanta Hawks – Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
- The thought of Jeff Teague running the break with Kyle Korver on one wing and Nik Stauskas on the other is reason enough for this pick. He’s the best player available and can help a playoff team immediately.
16. Bryant: Chicago Bulls – Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
- This is a perfect fit for the Bulls – they need a shooter badly, and Hood needs a defensive coach. After a year or two of defensive development, Hood could be considered a steal at this spot.
17. Scott: Boston Celtics – Zach LaVine, G, UCLA
- Combined with the Gordon pick earlier, this would give the Celtics a serious athleticism boost. LaVine’s game is a work in progress, but Brad Stevens is used to developing young talent.
18. Bryant: Phoenix Suns – T.J. Warren, F, North Carolina State
- While Warren is more of an inside scorer than a jumpshooter, Phoenix has a lot of big men who can shoot from the outside, which fits well with the very versatile Warren.
19. Scott: Chicago Bulls – Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn
- Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin are free agents, and Derrick Rose needs some insurance. Enter Napier, who can be a shot in the arm for the Bulls lazy offense.
20. Bryant: Toronto Raptors: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
- With Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez hitting the free agent market this summer, Toronto locks up the best remaining point guard and a hometown kid. Ennis has solid all-around potential and is a very good ball handler.
21. Scott: Oklahoma City Thunder – Clint Capela, F/C, Switzerland
- It’d be hard for any pick here to crack the Thunder rotation so a project like Capela makes sense. He’s a big man with a lot of upside who can develop behind Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams.
22. Bryant: Memphis Grizzlies – Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
- The Grizzlies have one of the best NBA defenses already, so they can afford to add in Anderson, a fantastically talented offensive player but one who struggles defensively with his below-average athleticism and speed.
23. Scott: Utah Jazz – K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
- McDaniels is a nice two-way wing prospect for the Jazz. He’s a strong athlete who uses his nasty 6’11″ wingspan to contribute on both ends of the court.
24. Bryant: Charlotte Hornets – Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
- The steal of the draft; Payton is a rumored lock for a teen selection, but Charlotte would likely love to snag him here. He’s a work in progress with serious shooting problems, but he’s a good athlete, a great passer, and a tough defender.
25. Scott: Houston Rockets – P.J. Hairston, SG, UNC/NBDL
- With a year of NBDL experience under his belt, Hairston should be able to contribute as a bench scorer immediately for the Rockets, who are more apt to add NBA-ready talent.
26. Bryant: Miami Heat – Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
- Grant lacks any consistency as a shooter, but is otherwise a very well rounded player. He’s a great defender and a great athlete, and gives the Heat an extra bench defender.
27. Scott: Phoenix Suns – Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
- McGary was a lottery pick last year before being derailed by back issues and a drug suspension. As Phoenix’s third 1st rounder, he would make a solid investment who can provide depth up front.
28. Bryant: Los Angeles Clippers – Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
- Early is an athletic freak and was the heart and soul of the Wichita State team that won 35 games this season. He’s an all-around nice prospect who could be a steal at this spot in a few years.
29. Scott: Oklahoma City Thunder – C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
- With Caron Butler and Thabo Sefolosha hitting free agency, the Thunder could use some perimeter depth, and Wilcox is one of the best spot-up shooters in this draft.
30. Bryant: San Antonio Spurs – Glenn Robinson SF, Michigan
- A slightly disappointing year offensively cost Robinson quite a few spots on the draft board, but San Antonio is the best in the league at developing raw talent into usable players. Robinson has the makings of a very solid player, but his three-point range needs extensive practice.