As draft night approaches next month (Nov. 18), DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson takes a look at how he believes the first round will pan out.
Editor’s note: The mock draft doesn’t necessarily reflect the top 30 players on the DraftNasty Big Board but takes a peek into how each individual team will draft based on their need(s).
1. Minnesota Timberwolves- Anthony Edwards 6’5 225 SG- Freshman Georgia
Anthony Edwards is the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft. Georgia head coach Tom Crean has had success with slashers like Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo, Edwards is poised to be the next all-star in that crop.
2. Golden State Warriors- Lamelo Ball 6’7 181 PG- Australia
An often overlooked player in the Warriors dynasty was Shaun Livingston, as his length and high basketball IQ provided a valuable asset off the bench. Lamelo Ball fits this mold if Golden State opts to keep this pick.
3. Charlotte Hornets- James Wiseman 7’1 240 C- Freshman Memphis
The Hornets have opted for wings like P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges in past drafts. With the emergence of Devonte’ Graham, the Hornets add to their young core with a big man.
4. Chicago Bulls- Isaac Okoro 6’6 225 SF- Freshman Auburn
The Bulls bevy of scoring guards includes Coby White and Zach LaVine. It’s time to get a two-way prospect who could remind scouts of Miami’s Jimmy Butler.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers- Deni Avdija 6’9 220 SF- Israel
The Cavaliers have filled out their roster with international talent like Ante Zizic, Cedi Osman and Dante Exum. With the fifth pick, Cleveland adds an all-around offensive weapon from Israel.
6. Atlanta Hawks- Obi Toppin 6’9 220 F- Sophomore Dayton
Lloyd Pierce is the coach best suited to improve Toppin’s defensive fundamentals. The Hawks also have the roster to surround the Dayton sophomore with shooters who can spread the floor for his monstrous attacks at the rim.
7. Detroit Pistons- Killian Hayes 6’4 216 PG- France
If Hayes is still here, it will be a choice between him, Tyrese Haliburton and Cole Anthony. Seeing as how Detroit seems to be building around a young nucleus which includes Hayes countryman Sekou Doumbouya, look for Hayes to get a long look from the Pistons.
8. New York Knicks- Tyrese Haliburton 6’5 175 PG- Sophomore Iowa State
The Knicks have struggled to find the right point guard in years past with names ranging from Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Jr. and Elfrid Payton. Haliburton could become the most offensively gifted of the bunch.
9. Washington Wizards- Onyeka Okongwu 6’9 245 F- Freshman USC
The Wizards haven’t been athletic in the frontcourt in a long time. Ian Mahinmi, Marcin Gortat and Dwight Howard have patrolled the lane in recent years. Okongwu is a defensive-minded presence, who pairs well with John Wall and his breakneck pace.
10. Phoenix Suns- Devin Vassell 6’6 185 SG/SF- Sophomore Florida State
The Suns look to be an up-and-coming team led by guard Devin Booker and center Deandre Ayton. This is an ideal spot for Vassell’s continued development.
11. San Antonio Spurs- Jalen Smith 6’10 225 F- Sophomore Maryland
Smith is graded as more of a late round talent but the fit is clear with the Spurs. Unlike other lottery teams, San Antonio won’t need Smith to develop immediately and can clearly define his role.
12. Sacramento Kings- Aaron Nesmith 6’6 213 Wing- Sophomore Vanderbilt
The Kings have a total of six players up for free agency, three of which are shooting guards/ wings. Nesmith could be a spark off the bench and provide a fill in for Buddy Hield if he is traded.
13. New Orleans Pelicans- Josh Green 6’6 210 SG- Freshman Arizona
Green is a two-way prospect that in time could take the Pelicans’ perimeter defense to the next level. His ability to get out in transition pairs well with their talented wings.
14. Boston Celtics (from Memphis)- Cole Anthony 6’3 190 PG- Freshman North Carolina
Like they did with Romeo Langford last year at Pick 14, look for Boston to take the best available prospect and have them spend 2021 as a learning year. Anthony could use the time to learn behind incumbent Kemba Walker.
15. Orlando Magic- Kira Lewis 6’3 165 PG- Sophomore Alabama
The Magic have opted for defense with acquisitions like Mo Bamba, Markelle Fultz and Michael Carter-Williams. It’s time for Orlando to add some scoring punch (Lewis averaged 18 PPG in 2019).
16. Portland Trail Blazers- Patrick Williams 6’8 225 F- Freshman Florida State
As we saw in the bubble, this team’s achilles heel is defense. Williams would be an instant upgrade and energy player.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Brooklyn)- Saddiq Bey 6’8 216 F- Sophomore Villanova
Bey does a little bit of everything and doesn’t need the ball with a roster full of offensive-minded players like Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.
18. Dallas Mavericks- Tyrese Maxey 6’3 198 G- Freshman Kentucky
Maxey would benefit from being paired with a bigger guard like Luka Doncic. Look for the former Wildcat to be used much like HC Rick Carlisle employed Trey Burke in the bubble.
19. Brooklyn Nets (from Philadelphia)- R.J. Hampton 6’5 181 G-Australia
The Nets, if healthy, have a roster ready to compete for a championship. With this pick the Nets take the best talent left on the board.
20. Miami Heat- Xavier Tillman 6’8 245 PF/C- Junior Michigan State
Tillman fits the Miami Heat culture and could be a long term replacement for Udonis Haslem. His willingness to play defense and crash the glass will be a welcome addition for a team that lacked depth once Bam Adebayo went down with an injury in the 2020 NBA Finals.
21. Philadelphia 76ers (from OKC)- Vernon Carey 6’10 270 PF/C- Freshman Duke
Doc Rivers is one of the few coaches left that still values traditional big men. Carey could also see early minutes if Joel Embiid is dealt this offseason.
22. Denver Nuggets (from Houston)- Daniel Oturu 6’10 240 C- Sophomore Minnesota
Oturu can take pressure off of Nikola Jokic to handle the scoring load and provides a boost off the bench.
23. Utah Jazz- Cassius Winston 6’1 185 PG- Senior Michigan State
With Jordan Clarkson and Emmanuel Mudiay heading for free agency, Quin Snyder selects a point guard that plays in the mold of veteran Mike Conley.
24. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana)- Jahmi’us Ramsey 6’4 195 G- Freshman Texas Tech
The Bucks select Ramsey, a shooter (42-percent from 3-point range), in case Kyle Korver (39 years old) is not retained.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Denver)- Paul Reed Jr. 6’9 220 F- Junior Depaul
Reed Jr. is a defensive anchor and an insurance policy to Nerlens Noel.
26. Boston Celtics- Tyler Bey 6’7 218 G- Junior Colorado
The Celtics already have a young core, so look for them to take at least one older draft entrant with their plethora of picks, much like they did last year with Grant Williams.
27. New York Knicks (from Clippers)- Precious Achiuwa 6’9 225 F- Freshman Memphis
After choosing a point guard earlier in the draft, New York takes a chance on an athletic power forward prospect.
28. Los Angeles Lakers- Nico Mannion 6’3 190 G- Freshman Arizona
We saw how instrumental Rajon Rondo was in the Lakers’ championship run. With this pick, Los Angeles adds a developmental playmaker. Mannion averaged 5.3 assists and 2.6 turnovers per game in his lone season with the Wildcats.
29. Toronto Raptors- Tyrell Terry 6’1 160 G- Freshman Stanford
This could be a steal for Toronto at this spot. Despite his thin frame, Terry plays with a toughness and IQ that head coach Nick Nurse covets from his guards.
30. Boston Celtics (from Milwaukee)- Jordan Nwora 6’7 225 F- Junior Louisville
Boston has the team already assembled to compete deep into the playoffs. Nwora is a polished ‘tweener, who plays to his strong suits.