Welcome to NBA Mock Draft and Lottery Simulation 2.0 at SKORNorth.com. Like in the first version, we use Tankathon.com to simulate the order of the draft, because there’s no sense in waiting until May 14 to find out the actual order. It’s time to have fun now while the playoffs go on.
Here’s the result of this week’s draft simulation, which is drastically different than the first version and that’s what makes it fun.
Here’s how things ended up this week.
1. Atlanta Hawks – Zion Williamson, Duke
In this week’s edition of the mock draft and simulation we see a different lottery winner with Atlanta’s ping pong balls popping up on May 14. That’s the only difference at the No. 1 spot though, they’re still selecting Duke’s Williamson and not thinking twice about it. This is actually one of the more fun scenarios for unbiased NBA fans. Williamson would be added to a group of players that already includes Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and John Collins. If Williamson pans out, the Hawks could be a championship contender a couple seasons down the road.
2. Chicago Bulls – Ja Morant, Murray State
The Bulls have a need in the backcourt alongside Zach LaVine. Morant would be terrific in Chicago and could potentially help to take the Bulls out of the NBA’s basement. He’s an outstanding passer and his game should be awesome in transition at the NBA level.
3. Dallas Mavericks – RJ Barrett, Duke
Barrett would be a nice prize to help complete Dallas’ young core of players. They already have Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, but adding in a third potential star to that max could really help to maximize what Dallas can get out of the first two players. Add in the fact that the Mavericks will have tons of cap space on July 1 and Dallas is in business.
4. Phoenix Suns – Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
The Suns need some backcourt help alongside Devin Booker. Culver isn’t the ideal ballhandling guard the Suns need – being able to grab Morant would be ideal – but he might be the top guard available in a lottery that seems to be filled with bigs. In an ideal situation, the Suns would be able to trade back and grab Darius Garland, but he’s too much of a reach in the top four.
5. New York Knicks – Cam Reddish, Duke
The Knicks need star players, that’s how New York operates. They’re hoping to make a big splash in free agency this summer, and drafting fifth would be a real buzzkill for their plans. Reddish is the guy with the most ‘boom-or-bust’ potential left on the board.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers – De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
Hunter landing in Cleveland would be a big win for the Cavs if they fall outside the top four. He’s a very steady, switchable defender and will be a capable offensive player at the NBA level. Hunter might not have the highest star potential in this draft, but he might also have one of the lowest floors.
7. Washington Wizards – Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
This may be a bit of a stretch, but Garland will be able to potentially become a high-level scorer at the NBA level. He’s a solid passer and the Wizards have a very uncertain future of what John Wall will look like as he returns from a torn Achilles’ tendon.
8. New Orleans Pelicans – Sekou Doumbouya, France
The Pelicans may be trading Anthony Davis away this offseason and starting a rebuild. Doumbouya would be a nice piece – even if he might be a bit of a project – to jumpstart that rebuild.
9. Boston Celtics (via Memphis) – Coby White, North Carolina
There’s a chance that the Celtics lose either Kyrie Irving or Terry Rozier to free agency and could be in the market for a guard. By time the draft comes around they might have a better pulse on those situations. And if Irving returns, this pick might be traded to New Orleans for Davis.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves – Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
This would be a huge win for the Wolves if Clarke falls to them at No. 10. He would be an ideal big to pair alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. He’s not a terrific shooter from deep, but he can play center on offense, which helps to open up Towns’ game even more. The only downside to his game offensively is his shooting. He can attack the rim, set good screens, and make passes that most centers don’t. Defensively he’s very switchable and an awesome shot blocker. He might struggle at times defensively against elite offensive centers, but there’s quite a bit of upside otherwise. Clarke is also already 22 years old, and will be 23 years old before he plays his first NBA game, but for a team like the Wolves that isn’t in a full-on rebuild, seeing him need less developmental time despite maybe having a lower ceiling would be a good thing.
11. Los Angeles Lakers – Nassir Little, North Carolina
The Lakers need to try and find another star. Little could be a bit of a boom or bust guy. He wasn’t great at North Carolina, but he could be a guy that develops late into a better NBA player.
12. Charlotte Hornets – Romeo Langford, Indiana
The Hornets might be losing Kemba Walker in free agency. Langford would step in as a replacement of sorts if he does bolt as the Hornets would start a long-term rebuild. If Walker stays, Langford could be some much needed backcourt help.
13. Miami Heat – Kevin Porter Jr, USC
Porter Jr. plenty of upside, and Miami is a franchise that’s searching for a star. He’ll need some time to develop, and may end up being a bust, but for picking 13th he’s got a high ceiling.
14. Boston Celtics (via Sacramento by way of Philadelphia) – Jaxson Hayes, Texas
Like their previous pick in this exercise, the Celtics could be dealing this pick to the Pelicans for Davis. If not, Al Horford is getting older and adding another big as a bit of an insurance policy wouldn’t be a bad idea.
How else the Wolves could have gone:
Minnesota going with Clarke is probably the right play if he’s there and they don’t move up in the order. If Garland is available and Clarke is gone then that would be a smart play as well. Luckily for the Wolves, they’re probably in the position where they can take the best player available no matter the position.