NBA Mock Draft: First Round

  • Mark Evans

Sports-Kings NBA Mock Draft

There is a very quick turnaround following the NBA Finals, with the Draft soon after. This being said, here is the updated Sports-Kings NBA Mock Draft, detailing the entire first round.

Who will your favorite team select?

Note: Our NBA Mock Draft ignores the possibility of trading picks.

Joel Embiid goes first in our NBA Mock Draft. credit: Boston Globe


1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas (@JrMarkyMark)

Cleveland took Anthony Bennett first overall last year with the hope that he would develop into their wing for the future. Maybe they should give up already. Bennett had a horrible season, but I just don’t see it happening. I also don’t think they want to give up on Waiters, for whatever reason, which means they will look away from the wing position.

Kyrie should benefit from having Embiid as a pick and roll man, and the Cavs could also use Embiid’s rim protection to make up for some of Kyrie’s defensive shortcomings.

Embiid is our first pick in the NBA Mock Draft, which is certainly not unusual if you poke around the web.

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke (@THEMarkPace)

The Bucks could use help at just about every position so they will draft the best available player in Parker. The Chicago native will provide instant offense for a team that finished 28th in scoring last season. Parker will play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo to give Milwaukee two young players to build around.

3. Phladelphia 76ers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas (@AndySportsKings)

The Sixers have been rumored to want to trade up for Wiggins, which means they’re afraid that Milwaukee or Cleveland will snatch him up at number one or two, respectively. So, with Wiggins still on the board, it seems like a no brainer.

Philly has also been rumored to like Dante Exum, but I can’t see them leapfrogging Andrew Wiggins to take him. It’s unusual to see Wiggins drop this far in an NBA Mock Draft, particularly one from last year where he was the consensus number one.

4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG, Australia (@JrMarkyMark)

I think this is a homerun for the Magic. A backcourt of Exum and Oladipo is a bit unorthodox, but having a backcourt pair that can both ball handle and run an offense like point guards is dangerous.

It might be an awkward fit right away. But if Orlando commits to the idea, it should really make them hard to defend. Isn’t a core of Vucevic, Oladipo, Exum, and Harris actually pretty good in a few years?

5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana (@THEMarkPace)

Exum would be the ideal pick for Utah, but Vonleh would still be a nice addition for the Jazz. Even though Kanter, Favors and Hayward are clogging up the starting lineup for now, Vonleh has too much potential for the them to pass on him. Vonleh is more versatile than Randle and could help Utah in a variety of ways.

6. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky (@AndySportsKings)

I’m not sure what Boston has in store during the offseason. I know that they’re interested in Kevin Love (who isn’t?) and they have a stockpile of draft picks and young pieces. They also have to consider what to do with Avery Bradley, and whether or not their future features players like Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green.

So, that being said, I simply took value, here. Randle is eying foot surgery after the draft, but the can flat out play the game. I can’t see Boston passing if Randle falls to number six.

Reminder: our NBA Mock Draft doesn’t consider trades; Boston may look for a deal here.

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona (@JrMarkyMark)

The Lakers need an injection of athleticism, and this is exactly what they’ll get with Gordon. It would have been preferable for Randle to fall into the Lakers’ laps here, as he’s definitely less of a long-term project. The Lakers will be bad again next season, and with Pau likely gone, Gordon will be able to get some minutes and work through the transition.

8. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State (@THEMarkPace)

With more teams switching to two point guard lineups, Smart and Isaiah Thomas could make for a  very good backcourt to go along with an already stellar frontcourt for the Kings. This addition will be a key piece for the future of the Kings.

In any given NBA Mock Draft, Smart could go a variety of places.

9. Charlotte Hornets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State (@AndySportsKings)

I’ve said this in other mocks that I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. Gary Harris, from Michigan State, can shoot the basketball. There will always be a place in the league for athletic wings, who can nail jump shots. This is a fact. I also love the way Harris could become a nice security blanket for Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson.

A shooter like Harris will help Jefferson in the event of double teams, and give a penetrating guard like Walker an outlet to find, as he drives to the basket. This seems like the perfect scenario for the Hornets.

credit: ESPN

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton (@JrMarkyMark)

This might be a bit of a reach, but I think the fit could be perfect. MCW and Wiggins offer a dangerous penetrating, slashing offensive attack.

Nerlens Noel should fit in nicely as the rim protecter and primary rebounder, and would help cover up for McDermott’s shortcomings defensively. Thad Young might be traded, so a stretch four is needed badly to create space for MCW and Wiggins.

If you look at another NBA Mock Draft, you’ll likely see Doug McBuckets lower on the list. What can I say, I’m an irrational fan.

11. Denver Nuggets: Nik Stauskus, SG, Michigan (@THEMarkPace)

Stauskus was one of the biggest surprises of the combine for me. Sure, some of the more athletic guys showed off just how athletic they are, but Stauskus proved that he isn’t just an overweight un-athletic shooter.

He proved he has the athleticism to play defense well enough to stay in games, and that is key for a shooter like him. Stauskus may be the best three-point shooter in this draft, and every team could use another shooter.

12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia (@AndySportsKings)

Note: There has been chatter that Saric will only come to America to play if drafted by the Lakers or Celtics. Let me be on record to say that if this is true, then Saric is a punk. It also makes the possibility of him being available for Boston at #17 very realistic. NBA teams do NOT like taking chances on foreign players, who might never come over and play. The Orlando Magic remember Fran Vasquez well.

If the Magic talk with Saric and feel that he will join the team upon being drafted, then this pick is great for the Magic. Saric is a versatile scoring big, with flashes of Hedo Turkoglu. He possesses the ability to shoot from all over, and team’s can run the ball through him in spurts. Sounds like a nice luxury to have if you’re a young, rebuilding team like the Magic.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke (@JrMarkyMark)

Small forward is a glaring weakness for the T-Wolves. Hood should be a nice fit as someone who proved he can space the floor and score, which is a necessity when playing with Ricky Rubio.

If Love is still around this season, maybe Hood can grow into a solid third offensive option after Love and Kevin Martin. The Wolves weren’t as far away as it seemed last season, and Hood should bring some help on the wing.

Again, our NBA Mock Draft doesn’t do trades. If Love is traded, this pick likely changes.

14. Phoenix Suns: James Young, SF, Kentucky (@THEMarkPace)

This is the first of three first round picks for Phoenix, and this draft will help solidify an already overachieving roster. The Suns can always use shooters in their offense, and Young brings athleticism as well as above average shooting ability.

He has the versatility to play either position on the wing. Young doesn’t turn 19 until after the draft so he still has plenty of room for maturity and improvement.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA (@AndySportsKings)

LaVine is another one of these super athletic guards who has many NBA teams salivating. The reason for this is that team’s look at LaVine’s ball-handling skills and believe they can convert the two-guard into the next explosive point guard.

Think Russell Westbrook at 6-6, because that’s precisely what any GM who drafts LaVine will be thinking. Imagine LaVine and Teague, terrorizing guards all over the country? Scary, athletic back court!

16. Chicago Bulls: T.J. Warren, SF/PF, N.C. State (@JrMarkyMark)

The Bulls need scoring-big time. It was tough watching them play offense this season without Derrick Rose, and I think this is where they try to address the problem. Thibs will have to fight a bit to make sure he can keep up defensively, but Warren proved to be a dangerous scorer in college.

Even if Warren is just a spark off the bench, Chicago needs someone who come in and get a few buckets.

17. Boston Celtics: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA (@THEMarkPace)

I’ve seen Anderson scattered throughout the first and even second round in mock drafts. I haven’t seen a consistent landing spot for him yet, but I think he could fit in well in Boston.

He has the ability to mesh well alongside Rondo, Randle and Sullinger. He played point guard some at UCLA so his ability to handle the ball with his size will be intriguing for teams.

18. Phoenix Suns: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State (@AndySportsKings)

If you ask anyone who has regular basketball conversations with me, they would tell you that I’ve criticized Payne for a while now, BUTTTTTTTTT.. I know three things (only three things):

 1) NBA execs love explosive, scoring point guards.

2) Stretch forwards grow more popular by the day.

3) One of the best weapons a driving/scoring point guard (Eric Bledsoe) can have is a spot-up shooter.

Seeing as the Suns already have two pretty solid scorers at their guard positions, I can totally see them passing on Jusuf Nurkic (which is who they should draft) to secure a stretch forward.

This is what our NBA Mock Draft is all about: SCIENCE!!

19. Chicago Bulls: Elfrid Payton, PG, LA Lafayette (@JrMarkyMark)

I got the pleasure of drafting twice for the Bulls; if you can’t tell, I want them to draft offensive. Payton has good and size for a point guard, so Thibs may not have to go crazy to make him a quality defender.

He can at least get into the passing lanes, and once he does so, he actually provides a threat to score on the other end; unlike Kirk Hinrich. Payton is also a decent passer, so the Bulls won’t have to worry about him taking their offense out of rhythm. This could be a huge steal.

20. Toronto Raptors: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Croatia (@THEMarkPace)

With Patrick Patterson being a free agent the Raptors will look to add to their front court, and Nurkic does just that. At 6 foot 11 and 280 pounds, he provides the size the Raptors will need down low.

credit: Fox Sports

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: P.J. Hairston, SG, UNC (@AndySportsKings)

Great size at 6-6, Hairston is also a guy who has a reliable jumper. I can’t stress how important I feel this attribute is, especially when trying to fit a piece into the Thunder’s scheme. Hairston shot nearly 40% last season from deep, on six and a half attempts per game. If he can play defense and sink open jumpers (the opportunity will be there in OKC), then he’ll be a breath of fresh air for the Thunder.

Remember, this is what Jeremy Lamb was supposed to do.

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse (@JrMarkyMark)

I don’t think this is a huge area of need for Memphis, but backup Nick Calathes is currently not under contract for next season. Ennis probably won’t be anything special, but I think he fills a role nicely almost immediately for a contender.

He has a good sense of how to run an offense; this, combined with his defensive ability, should make him a nice Mike Conley backup. Not a homerun pick, but I think the Grizzlies can get quality minutes right away.

23. Utah Jazz: KJ McDaniels, SF, Clemson (@THEMarkPace)

McDaniels provides athleticism and skill that would compliment Vonleh well. With Richard Jefferson contract expiring, McDaniels can fill a role of the bench. McDaniels also provide a safety net for Utah if Gordon Hayward decides to leave.

24. Charlotte Hornets: Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn (@AndySportsKings)

It’ll be odd seeing two point guards from the same college battle it out for the starting job. Just kidding. I believe that Kemba Walker’s job is fairly safe for now, but Shabazz could cause problems for Kemba down the road, as this kid has skill, and much like Kemba, doesn’t shrink under pressure.

I like the value of drafting an experienced point guard here. Gary Harris was taken for the Hornets already at number nine, and of all the available players left, Napier was tops on my board.

25. Houston Rockets: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland (@JrMarkyMark)

Dwight Howard and Omer Asik make for a very good center combination; but after that, the Rockets are thin when it comes to big men. Terrence Jones played admirably as an undersized power forward for a while, but the weakness was exposed against the Portland Trailblazers.

Capela would provide solid size and defensive ability, although he may not be ready to play right away. Houston will need to coach up Capela, but I like his long-term fit.

26. Miami Heat: Jordan Clarkson, PG, Missouri (@THEMarkPace)

The Heat are in desperate need of a point guard, and assuming (hoping) Mario Chalmers takes his lack of talent out of South Beach via free agency then the Heat will need to draft a point guard with this pick. The best case scenario would be if Shabazz Napier were to fall here, but Clarkson is also a good option. At 6 foot 5 he provides length, and he’s had good workouts leading up to the draft.

27. Phoenix Suns: Kristaps Porzingis, PF/C, Latvia (@AndySportsKings)

Porzingis is a highly skilled seven-footer from Latvia. His ability to shoot (from basically anywhere), post and play defense is what sells him as a prospect this year. What sold me on his fit in Phoenix is the fact that the Center position is their biggest question mark, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that Porzingis runs the floor like a small-forward.

Ideally, teams will shy away from wanting to play him at the five, because he’s seriously skinny, but in Phoenix it should not matter. He’s going to take the floor, in spurts, and showcase the ability to run with the likes of Bledsose and Dragic. Add in his ability to hit jumpers, and the Suns will have some serious offensive firepower.

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan (@JrMarkyMark)

Matt Barnes was solid at small forward, but the Clippers could use a little more depth at the position, particularly with how Jared Dudley looked last season.

Glenn Robinson III was content playing his role in college, which would translate nicely to an NBA contender. His game needs work, but right now, he has the defensive ability and body to give the Clippers some good backup minutes. Good enough with the 28th overall pick, right?

Not the flashiest pick in our NBA Mock Draft, but the Clippers need the depth.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary, C, Michigan (@THEMarkPace)

There are a slew of centers the Thunder could take here, and the Thunder should take one of them. I’m going with McGary, but take your pick out of any of them.

30. San Antonio Spurs: Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse (@AndySportsKings)

Frankly, the Spurs are going to make a player out of whoever they draft. That’s just my opinion. But for the value of getting a guy who can give you something right away, I like what Grant brings to the table. Add in the fact that the Spurs won’t expect a ton out of him right away, and this seems like a match that benefits both sides.

Well, there you have it: the Sports-Kings NBA Mock Draft. Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!

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