As we approach another NBA draft, we approach the second edition of Parker’s Picks NBA Mock Draft. We will go through the two rounds of the NBA draft and take the players that I would take if I were the GM of these teams. This draft is a bit different than any other year, mainly due to the number of picks some teams have. The Nuggets, Celtics, Suns, and 76ers all have three first rounds picks and the four teams combine to hold about 33% of all the picks. It means there will be a ton of trades. To avoid confusion we took trades out and made these teams draft the best for their team. There will be times a player is drafted with the idea of future trades in mind, but once the first trade happens on Thursday the dominos will fall in a ridiculous order. That said accuracy has nothing to do with this and is more a look into each players fit and skill level.
1. Philadelphia 76ers- Ben Simmons, F, LSU
Simmons seems to be the clear number one, and recently the 76ers told him he is the pick. There is speculation that he will not fit in a front court with Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel so they will have to trade one of the pieces. While that may be so they cannot pass on Simmons for all of the upside that he brings. He comes in with an NBA ready body and has ball handles and play making ability that many forwards do not. He is not a strong shooter, but that is something he can learn to grow and with that will be able to fit into any scheme or front court.
2. Los Angeles Lakers- Brandon Ingram- F, Duke
Ingram is the clear cut easy pick behind Simmons. In terms of upside, no one can even come close to Simmons except for Ingram. Ingram has the length and is a decent shooter already, excelling in the mid-range. He has the shoulder width to show that he can put on more muscle, and with that should be able to handle NBA small forwards. He fills a need the Lakers have an has some super star upside making this a no brainer.
3. Boston Celtics- Dragan Bender- F- Bosnia
This is a pick the Celtics would love to trade out of, and probably will. Still, if the clock is ticking down, and no one is calling for pick three, the Celtics have to shoot for a star. Bender has the most star potential upside left in the class. He has the rare mix of being a 7’1” athlete with a shot. He is still a bit of a project and will not see the floor much right away, but given the upside, and the Celtics need for a star he fits the bill. He makes Jared Sullinger, a free agent more expendable, and eventually will make Jonas Jerebko expendable if he can prove to be a strong stretch four in the NBA.
4. Phoenix Suns- Marquese Chriss- F- Washington
The Suns butchered the Markieff Morris situation which gives them a decent sized hole in the stretch four position. Chriss can fill the hole, he just won’t be ready immediately. Chriss has a decent shot, and is really strong in athleticism, but he lacks the defensive ability and certainly is not a rim protector at this point. The Suns won’t need him to be, and will hope for him to be a force on offense as he can extend his shot out to the three point line. Physically and athletically he is worth a top five pick, and with the position need it will be tough for the Suns to pass.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves- Jamal Murray- G- Kentucky
The Timberwolves appear to be in a great spot here. They could really take anyone from 3-8 range in this draft, and they will let the other two teams dwindle the field and take the next best player. Murray is a great fit, and could have the most upside outside of the top two. He is a combo guard who can be a playmaker, but at his best can play off of the ball and is a scorer and creator. In between Ricky Rubio, and Andrew Wiggins he will be hands down the best shooter and will free a lot up for them. As mentioned he can handle the ball making him a good fit next to Zach Lavine as well. Having Lavine, Tyus Jones and now Murray in the back court makes Rubio very expendable this summer, and it takes Wiggins to the three much more. It is probably the perfect fit for the T-Wolves and Murray is another budding star to grow with Towns and Wiggins.
6. New Orleans Pelicans- Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma
Eric Gordon is going to test the free agency market and the Pelicans are probably glad. What makes their divorce even easier would be an NBA ready shooting guard to fall to them at six. Hield is the perfect fit to replace Gordon, and if he can stay healthy may be an upgrade as a rookie. Hield is a senior and really learned the game of basketball at Oklahoma. He now comes out as arguably the top shooter i the class, and has good length to join an Anthony Davis team. He is just a couple of months younger than Davis and the two should be able to mesh well in the NBA.
7. Denver Nuggets- Jaylen Brown- F- Cal
Brown has an NBA ready is going to be a strong wing defender in the NBA. He does not have a shot yet which is the biggest reason why he is still on the board this low. He fits in that he can play as a big two guard or a three in the NBA. He can fit in next to Gary Harris and Emmanuel Mudiay, and while either him or Mudiay will need to gain a shot to be more feared, Brown truly would be the third scoring threat of that group. It would take pressure off of the young kid and have him focusing on shooting and defense.
8. Sacramento Kings- Kris Dunn- PG- Providence
Dunn would be the ideal player to fall to the Kings at eight. They have been looking for a point guard seemingly since Mike Bibby, and with Dunn they may have found their future starter. Dunn has the length, athleticism and defense to be a strong starter in the NBA. He does not have the shot yet, but with time can develop into a better scorer. He fits the Kings gaping hole at point guard and makes Rajon Rondo much less likely to come back. It could be the only scenario in this draft that saves the King’s relationship with Boogie Cousins.
9. Toronto Raptors- Deyonta Davis- F- Michigan State
The Raptors here will be debating between Davis and Domantas Sabonis of Gonzaga. Sabonis is a more NBA ready player, but Davis has more upside, especially when considering defense. Davis got a year to learn under Tom Izzo, and while Izzo did not trust him at times, you saw great rim protection when he was on the court. Jonas Valanciunas, who is expected to start at center again this year does not have the rim protection, and it was left for Bismack Biyombo instead. Biyombo is supposed to leave via free agency, and it leaves a major hole. While Davis may not fill it next year, he has the skill set and all of the intangibles to become not only a rim defender, but a shooter and scoring threat on the other side as well.
10. Milwaukee Bucks- Skal Labissiere- F- Kentucky
Personally I do not think that Labissiere is a top ten player, but for what the Bucks are looking for he is a great fit. One thing the Bucks realized when acquiring Greg Monroe is that they need a shooter in the front court. One thing everyone noticed with Labissiere at college is that he cannot defend the rim. Monroe can defend the rim, and Labissiere best traits are attached to shooting outside of the paint. He has shown athleticism to defend the perimeter and can switch on pick and rolls which would be a great fit for the Bucks. The Bucks can sub in along with Monroe, can play him with Henson, heck they can throw him to the small forward position. This positionless team probably loves the idea of Labissiere and his versatility making it a perfect fit, and a tough one for the Bucks to pass on.
11. Orlando Magic- Domantas Sabonis- F- Gonzaga
The Magic could go in almost any direction here. Sabonis is a nice fit because he can play both the four and the five position. He is more light on his feet than Nikola Vucevic is, and in a more uptempo system may make Vucevic expendable. At the worst he can rotate and play next to Vucevic, and in smaller lineups can play the center position. The big problem here would be that he is not the best rim protector, and neither is Vucevic. Still to get help inside and have the chance to grow him into a better rim protector is worth the selection.
12. Utah Jazz- Wade Baldwin IV- G- Vanderbilt
The Jazz need a ball handling guard more than any team in the NBA. They lost Dante Exum for the season and last year had Shelvin Mack as their most trusted point guard. Baldwin is nice because he can play both guard positions. He can be a scorer next to Exum, but can also run the second and first teams in his absence. He is older than Exum, and not far behind experience wise, so to tie up the back court with young upside seems like a good plan.
13. Phoenix Suns- Jakob Poeltl- F- Utah
This is far from a need, especially after the first pick of Chriss, but Poeltl seems to be the clear top player on my board now. He can play the power forward and center position, but the biggest limitation of his game is that he does not play away from the hoop. While that is a tough piece to throw into a team with Tyson Chandler and Alex Len, it should be mentioned Chandler will be moving on soon and his best days are behind him. To look to future where Len and Poeltl can rotate next to and with Chriss has some life. It also obviously makes Len, Chandler and this pick a decent trade piece and the Suns would definitely have interest at this point.
14. Chicago Bulls- Dejounte Murray-G- Washington
The Bulls are usually not this high in the lottery, and with that should be shooting for a star. Murray gets a mixed bag of reviews, and is probably as far away from an NBA court as any pick in the top 14. Still, on the upside you have a long, tall, rangy point guard who has a developing shot, and looks to play defense. The Bulls have one year to decided on Derrick Rose before his contract is up, and while Murray may not show he is ready, he is the closest thing to a high quality point guard left in the draft. They may consider Tyler Ulis and Demetrius Jackson, but in terms of upside are going to go with Murray.
15. Denver Nuggets- Denzel Valentine- G- Michigan State
After taking Jaylen Brown early, the Nuggets go back to the wing but with a different type. Brown is a defender first, Valentine is a playmaker first. He has a much better shot, and the only question forcing Valentine this low is who he can defend in the NBA. Still, in a rotation with former teammate Gary Harris, and with the defensive rookie the Nuggets should be able to carve out a role for him that suits his abilities. He can even come off of the bench and run the second unit as an offensive spark. His offensive ability and how it fits with Brown makes him a great fit here.
16. Boston Celtics- Diamond Stone- C- Maryland
Stone seems to get a lot of heat for not being the most aware player, especially on defense. Still, he is one of the youngest players in the draft, and his body is ready to be an under the rim center. He has a decent touch as well, and could develop into one of the best offensive centers in the league. Still, he is a lot of refining away from that point right now. He does however have a ton of upside, potentially the most at pick 17, and the Celtics should be shooting for that right now.
17. Memphis Grizzlies- Tyler Ulis- G- Kentucky
One thing we learned about the Grizzlies this year is that their roster looks like a mess when you take away Mike Conley. Conley is a free agent this year and all signs point to him leaving Memphis. With Bryce Cotton and Jordan Farmar due a deal as well, the only current point guard on the roster is Xavier Munford. There is a good chance Ulis would be a better option as a rookie than Munford. Ulis is undersized, and projects best to a bench point guard, but he has the shooting, playmaking and leadership that give him a chance to be a starter in the league. He will not replace and have the Grizzlies forgetting about Conley but their need for point guard is severe, and he can at least help with the damage.
18. Detroit Pistons- Henry Ellenson- F- Marquette
Stan Van Gundy has been known to form a system with a center in the middle and shooters around him. That is exactly what they would get in the stretch four that is Henry Ellenson. He is essentially a poor man Kevin Love in that he does not have athleticism, defense or speed, but he has the size to bang for rebounds and he has a decent range. Luckily, the Pistons would not look to rim protection from him, and would certainly bring him off the bench to start. They can work on his defense, and in the meantime have a 7’ shooter who can play next to Andre Drummond.
19. Denver Nuggets- Ante Zizic- C- Croatia
There go the Nuggets taking their third Croatian center in as many years. The reality is that between their first three picks they will trade one, and their needs will shift. However, with their current construction this move can still work. They can send Zizic overseas while they work out their big man rotation in Denver. He has the upside to be a top ten pick, but has some refining to do, especially on defense. The Nuggets are now wide open to trades with three quality picks.
20. Indiana Pacers- Demetrius Jackson- G- Notre Dame
This would seem like the dream scenario for the Pacers. They get a guard who can handle the ball, and play with either point guards or shooters. Jackson has the athleticism and ball handling to be a starter. He is not the best shooter, and for the immediate can come off of the bench and run the second unit behind George Hill. He can also play with Hill or Monta Ellis when needed, and will probably be looked at as their top rotation guard off of the bench. There is speculation the Pacers want to move Hill to the two, and let Ellis go at some point and Jackson only makes that easier as well.
21. Atlanta Hawks- Timothe Luwawu- F- Turkey
There have been a decent number of comparisons to Luwawu and Thabo Sefolosha which makes it interesting that he would land in this spot. The Hawks big loss last year was Demarre Carroll and it hurt them more than they would think. In Luwawu they are getting a long wing whose best attribute is as a defender. They can rotate and mix the scoring of Tim Hardaway, Kyle Korver, and Kent Bazemore with the defense of Sefolosha and Luwawu and hope the right combinations come out of the mix. It should not happen yet, but the Hawks do get another body to throw at LeBron James as well.
22. Charlotte Hornets- Malachi Richardson- G- Syracuse
The Hornets just cannot go for another power forward here right? They also have a decent group of wing players to choose from at this spot. Michael Jordan seems to do most of his scouting on the couch watching the NCAA tournament and he probably fell in love with Richardson over it. Richardson showed in the tournament that he can shoot, create on his own and has the defense to defend multiple positions. Still, it was throughout the regular season that you understand why he is here. He is still a work in progress, especially when considering his ability to finish at the hoop and guard players stronger than him. Still he does fit into the Charlotte backcourt, and his length combined with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would be a strong wing duo. It definitely makes him worth it at this point of the draft.
23. Boston Celtics- Brice Johnson- F- UNC
After going for the home run of a front court in Stone and Bender early, the Celtics now find someone who can step into the front court immediately. Johnson doesn’t have much upside, but can be an energy forward off of the bench and can bring energy to both sides of the ball. He has the size and experience to make some sort of impact right away, but the hope is that long term he is rotating off of the bench.
24. Philadelphia 76ers- Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
Korkmaz probably has the highest upside left in the draft and is the youngest player which makes sense that the 76ers would take a shot. After so many picks on big men, it helps to finally take a shooter with upside. Korkmaz comes in as a straight shooter who really has not proven he can do anything else at the NBA level. He is still only 18-years old and has been playing professional basketball for over a year so he understands the talent gap. Still, he will probably be spending another year overseas, and the 76ers will hope to see progression this year.
25. Los Angeles Clippers- Deandre Bembry- F- St. Joe’s
Bembry would probably be the dream scenario here for the Clippers. After losing Matt Barnes last year the Clippers tried to heal that with Jeff Green and Paul Pierce and neither showed they can handle the duties. With Bembry he should be able to step on the court immediately and defend wings. He is not the shooter that will jump in and be respected in that same role as someone like Pierce, but he has an offensive upside that makes him worth the pick.
26. Philadelphia 76ers- Malik Beasley-G- Florida State
The 76ers were debating Korkmaz and Beasley at 24 so why not walk away with both. They are different prospects but both of them score and both are very young with upside. Beasley has the ball handling abilities to see an NBA court sooner, and could also potentially take some point minutes while playing next to Korkmaz in the future. In the worst case, only one of these guys turns out and they should be able to find a starter between one of them.
27. Toronto Raptors- Guerschon Yabusele- F- France
The Raptors continue to look for an athletic forward here. In a role where he brings energy off of the bench, Yabusele may be able to step in and help this team next year. In terms of athleticism and muscular frame, Yabusele has that and can use that to get rebounds and to run in transition. He still does not have much feel and can lost on defense, but he could be a strong fit here.
28. Phoenix Suns- Malcolm Brogdon- G- Virginia
With Brogdon they are getting a strong wing defender with the chance to a be 3-and-D player. After going front court in the first two picks, wing defense is the gaping need on the team and Brogdon will be able to come in and give them minutes immediately in that role.
29. San Antonio Spurs- Patrick McCaw- G- UNLV
The Spurs are the toughest team to project, but it feels as though McCaw has a high ceiling, and with a coach in Greg Popovich could eventually reach it. McCaw is really long, but rail thin at the moment. He also possesses a shot and ball handling abilities. He is pretty raw, especially on defense and given his size it is unlikely they will see him next year. Still, they can team him next to Kyle Anderson and watch the two long players develop and hope to get something out of them.
30. Golden State Warriors- Cheick Diallo- F- Kansas
The Warriors will potentially be losing Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and Anderson Varejao this year. It showed in the Finals that Bogut really was the only one to bring anything to the table. Diallo is a different type of center, but fits in exactly what the Warriors will want in their center. He is up-tempo and brings energy. He has a lot of work to do to complete his game, and the Warriors should not look to him right away, but coming off of the bench in a role similar to what Varejao saw could be a start for him.
31. Boston Celtics- Damian Jones- F- Vanderbilt
Jones looks like he is physically capable to defend the rim in the NBA very soon. He has some injury questions that may affect his stock, but at his lowest he is a bench defensive presence at 7’. It is a bold move by the Celtics, but if they can walk away with a rotation of Jones, Johnson, Bender, and Stone in a few years it could be one of the stronger rotations.
32. Los Angeles Lakers- Taurean Prince- F- Baylor
I seem to be a little lower on Prince than most. Still, it is just tough to see where he can be successful. He has the build and the size to defend wings, but at Baylor was never a strong wing defender. He was a talented rebounder due to his size, and has some offensive game, but his best attribute is going to have to be his energy. Still, the Lakers may be moving on from Nick Young and Prince and Larry Nance off of the bench could be fun.
33. Los Angeles Clippers- Kay Felder- G- Oakland
Felder has a decent amount of upside, but this kid can come in immediately and handle the NBA. His upside will probably never amount to starter, and his size is his biggest knock, but in a role behind Chris Paul he could be really effective. He could play next to Rivers on the bench, and if the team is to lose Rivers to free agency they have their immediate replacement.
34. Phoenix Suns- Paul Zipser- F- Turkey
Zipser is a different wing than their last pick in Brogdon. Zipser is more a pure shooter, who may not have the size or athleticism to stick around. He can play beside Brogdon as well as compete for playing time with him. If Mizra Teletovic is to leave via free agency, Zipser could see immediate playing time. If not, he is a candidate to draft and stash to clear up the roster.
35.Boston Celtics- Isaiah Whitehead- G- Seton Hall
After taking all of the big men needed the Celtics now shoot for the guard with the highest upside available. Whitehead can play either guard position, and as he grew up at Seton Hall, you could see a maturing basketball player. He can come in off of the bench and provide some scoring, and has the upside of a strong scoring guard in the NBA.
36. Milwaukee Bucks- Thon Maker- F- Prep High School
No one seems to know what Maker is or what his potential could amount to. He has not really played with any competition near his level, but for a thin 7-footer, some have said he is closer to a small forward than a center. The Bucks have had success taking unknown players at potential value and they go back to the well here.
37. Houston Rockets- Ivica Zubac- C- Bosnia
The Rockets are facing an off-season with Dwight Howard, Motiejunas, and Terrence Jones all becoming potential free agents. They have to draft for size, and Zubac comes with a decent amount of upside. He will need to put on muscle, and has already had a few injury questions, but at this point in the draft has the upside worth a shot.
38. Milwaukee Bucks- Caris Levert -G- Michigan
The pros for LeVert is that he has the size, he can handle the ball and he can score. For a team relying on a 7-footer to be their primary ball handle bringing Levert off of the bench can help. He dealt with a foot injury last year that killed his stock, but if he can battle back he will be worth the pick.
39. New Orleans Pelicans- Steven Zimmerman- C- UNLV
This is a guy that comes off as poor man’s Meyers Leonard. He is big, but finesse. He can shoot but also block shots. He is only 19 and has plenty of upside. It could also give them more reason to trade Alexis Ajinca.
40. New Orleans Pelicans- Fred VanVleet- G- Wichita State
In terms of upside there are plenty better. Still, with VanVleet you have a safe guard and a player who can defend off of the bench. The Pelicans have had problems at the point, and while they do not want him to be their starter, they at least will have some consistency with VanVleet.
41. Orlando Magic- Juan Hernangomez- F- Spain
Hernangomez profiles as a stretch four and can be utilized as a spell for Aaron Gordon.
42. Utah Jazz- Gary Payton Jr- G- Oregon State
The Jazz are not messing around and are hitting their need at guard hard. Payton will be very competitive and should be a strong bench defender.
43. Houston Rockets- Isaiah Cousins- G- Oklahoma
After the debacle that was Ty Lawson the Rockets still need some guard depth. Cousins is long and can defend which is perfect to fit next to James Harden.
44. Atlanta Hawks- Ben Bentil- F- Providence
Bentil should be able to come in and give minutes off of the bench. He can spell Paul Millsap and with the potential of losing Al Horford makes a strong depth choice in the front court.
45. Boston Celtics- Rade Zagorac- F- Serbia
This looks like a draft and stash and Boston will need to do something with all of these picks. Zagorac has the frame for a stretch four, but in the NBA projects mostly to a three who can hit shots.
46. Dallas Mavericks- Chinanu Onuaku-C- Louisville
Injury and lack of playing time have him out to be a bit of an unknown. Still, the Mavericks need interior size and depth and that is what Onuaku can provide.
47. Orlando Magic- Yogi Ferrell- G- Indiana
The Magic will still need some bench guard help. Ferrell will be the third point guard and that will probably be his best NBA role.
48. Chicago Bulls- Georgios Papagiannis- C- Greece
The Bulls are going for high upside here and hoping to hit big from this draft. Papagiannis is extremely big and surprisingly athletic, but has a lot to learn and will spend time overseas.
49. Detroit Pistons- AJ English- G- Iona
English is another shooter to put around Drummond in Detroit. His upside is a bench player, but he can provide offense and shooting in his role.
50. Indiana Pacers- Georges Niang- F- Iowa State
They will have to teach him defense, but he can come in off of the bench and put up some instant offense. He fits the stretch four role that they are looking for and while his upside isnt a starter they can get use out of him due to their system.
51. Boston Celtics- Zhou Qi- C- China
Total swing for the fences draft and stash player. The biggest question with him is somehow his age.
52. Utah Jazz- Prince Ibeh- C- Texas
He would be perfect in learning behind Rudy Gobert and the Jazz do need some depth, especially in the form of a rim protector.
53. Denver Nuggets- Cat Barber- G- NC State
Can come off of the bench as a point guard and provide offense.
54. Atlanta Hawks- Zach Auguste- C- Notre Dame
The Hawks look for someone to fill minutes in the case that Al Horford leaves.
55. Brooklyn Nets- AJ Hammons-C- Purdue
Hammons has a shot and has size which gives him a chance. Brook Lopez would be a great teaching help for him.
56. Denver Nuggets- Sheldon McClellan- G- Miami
Will be a bottom of the bench guy but can shoot well enough and has the size to be worth an investment.
57. Memphis Grizzlies- Robert Carter- F- Maryland
The Grizz moved on from Jarnell Stokes and have not seen enough from Jarell Martin yet. Carter can provide defense and size as a forward.
58. Boston Celtics-Petr Cornelie- F- France
Another draft and stash hope for a potential big man.
59. Sacramento Kings- Ron Baker- G- Wichita State
Can try to replace Marco Belinelli as a bench shooter
60. Utah Jazz- Isaia Cordonnier- G- France
Thin, but a long guard with shooting ability. More than likely a draft and stash.