NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Kings get coveted prospect, Jazz make a surprise selection

Victor Wembanyama. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
Victor Wembanyama. Mandatory Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dariq Whitehead, Duke
Dariq Whitehead, Duke Blue Devils. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports /

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Colby Jones, SG, Xavier

With Ja Morant set to receive a hefty suspension and his future up in the air, the Grizzlies might not be in win-now mode anymore, but they can still draft an NBA-ready player so Memphis does not miss a beat while Morant is gone. Jones is a versatile two-way player who I can see being an All-Rookie team player by the time the season ends. An impressive shooter and defender, Colby Jones can do it all.

26. Indiana Pacers (via CLE): Noah Clowney, PF, Alabama

Even though they drafted Taylor Hendricks with the 7th overall pick, they continue to build some frontcourt depth by selecting the talented, versatile 6’10” big man.

27. Charlotte Hornets (via DEN): Dariq Whitehead, SG, Duke

Before the 2022-23 NCAA season started, Whitehead was a projected top 5 pick in this year’s draft. Due to injuries and a slow Freshman season, his stock plummeted. Whitehead has a great feel for the game, and if he can get back into his groove, he could be the steal of the draft. Pairing him with Lamelo Ball and Brandon Miller should speed up the process of him getting back to himself.

28. Utah Jazz (via PHI): Sidy Cissoko, SF, G League Ignite

After drafting Bilal Coulibaly and Jalen Hood-Schifino, the Jazz can take more of a risk with their third selection of the first round. The 6’7″ SG/SF is impressive on defense and can develop offensive tools.

29. Indiana Pacers (via BOS): Rayan Rupert, SF, France

With their third selection of the first round, the Pacers lean toward a defensive-minded wing. Rayan Rupert is a 6’6″ forward with a 7’2″ wingspan and is one of the most impressive defenders in this draft.

30. Los Angeles Clippers (via MIL): Amari Bailey, PG, UCLA

With the last pick of the first round, the Clippers opt to keep Amari Bailey in Los Angeles. The talented point guard has seen his draft stock rise since the NBA Combine and has the potential to solve the Clippers’ backcourt questions.