Welcome to NBA Mock Draft 8.0 at SKORNorth.com, our penultimate edition.
This is the third version with the current draft order in place, any trades that happen between this publishing and the actual draft beginning (looking at you, New Orleans) will be shown in version 9.0, set to release the morning of the draft on June 20.
The first five versions of this exercise all incorporated simulations from Tankathon.com. The previous seven mock drafts can be found below.
We include brief writeups for each lottery selection and feature the complete first round.
1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson, Duke
You know it, I know it, everyone in the NBA knows it. The Pelicans are picking Zion and that’s that.
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant, Murray State
The Grizzlies hired former Milwaukee assistant Taylor Jenkins as their head coach earlier this week and he’s specialized in player development. All signs point to moving on from Mike Conley at point guard and handing the keys to the franchise to Jaren Jackson, Jr. and Morant.
3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett, Duke
When the news broke on Wednesday that the New Orleans Pelicans were in discussions with both Los Angeles and Boston about a trade for Anthony Davis, it was moderately surprising that the Knicks weren’t mentioned. Maybe their package of assets, even with the No. 3 pick included isn’t as strong as those of Boston and the Lakers, but this is still a strong chip in a draft with three top end players thought to be at the top. If the Knicks pick here, Barrett is probably the guy. If the Knicks don’t pick here, Barrett is probably the guy that is selected.
4. Los Angeles Lakers – De’Andre Hunter, Virginia
The Lakers – unlike the Knicks – were reportedly in discussions with the Pelicans for Davis, and the fourth pick would be part of the package. If it’s not, the Lakers have plenty of needs, including outside shooting and defense. Hunter can help with both of those immediately. He should be an above average defender in his career and will instantly be one of the three best 3-point shooters on the Lakers.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers – Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
The Lakers selecting Hunter opens the door for the Cavaliers to take a bit of a risk on forming an excellent young backcourt with Garland and Collin Sexton. Garland has a skillset that could resemble Damian Lillard’s one day in the NBA. He’s a bit of an unknown after playing only six games at Vanderbilt thanks to a torn meniscus.
6. Phoenix Suns – Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech
Culver and Devin Booker in the backcourt could be a fun pairing for the Suns. Culver should enter the NBA as a strong defender and scorer at 6-foot-6. Phoenix could benefit from grabbing more of a facilitating guard here, but Culver isn’t a bad pick.
7. Chicago Bulls – Coby White, North Carolina
The Bulls have a solid group of young players between Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter, Jr., but Kris Dunn has been a failure at point guard. If this team is going to reach anything of significance, they need an upgrade at that position. White is a bit of a raw prospect, but shouldn’t have any issue playing at NBA speed or shooting from 3-point range at the next level.
8. Atlanta Hawks – Cam Reddish, Duke
There’s been rumors of the Atlanta Hawks potentially moving up in this draft to No. 5 (Cleveland), partly to ensure that they could grab someone of Reddish’s caliber. They already have their backcourt of the future in Trae Young and Kevin Huerter and a strong frontcourt piece in John Collins. Reddish would give them a potential star on the wing that could round out what is starting to look like a future contender.
9. Washington Wizards – Nassir Little, North Carolina
Little didn’t put it all together in his only year at North Carolina, but he still has all of the tools to be successful in the NBA. His outside shot needs to improve, but he’ll be one of the more athletic guys in this draft class even without. It.
10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas) – Sekou Doumbouya, France
Doumbouya is looked at as a project right now. He’s been playing professionally overseas but has been compared to Toronto’s Pascal Siakim as of late. If that’s the end product, the Hawks are big winners here. He’s a freak athlete that needs much of his game refined.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Tyler Herro, Kentucky
In the eighth version of this mock draft, Herro makes his first appearance in the lottery, vaulting up to No. 11 with Minnesota. Herro spent one year at Kentucky and there are reasons to think that the best is yet to come for him. He possesses a skill that the Wolves severely lack in the backcourt, which is shooting from the perimeter. He only shot 35% from 3-point range at Kentucky, but his 93% mark from the free throw line suggests that he’s going to be better than 35% consistently. He can shoot off the dribble or in the catch and shoot. There are shades of Devin Booker at Kentucky in his game. He could be a steal at 11 despite not being someone that’s been talked about a ton thus far. It’s worth noting that he was invited to the NBA Draft by the league, suggesting he may go higher than some anticipate.
12. Charlotte Hornets – Romeo Langford, Indiana
Langford is a score-first guard that could potentially be the first step of a rebuild if the Hornets are without Kemba Walker moving forward. Maybe Walker sticks around and Langford is some help for him, but if not, this is a solid beginning to the rebuild in Charlotte.
13. Miami Heat – Kevin Porter, Jr., USC
Porter, Jr. is a guy that could have been a top-5 talent in this draft, but had character concerns while at USC. He was dismissed from the team during the season at Southern Cal, but has the talent to potentially be a star in the NBA.
14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia) – Jaxson Hayes, Texas
Hayes slipped a bit in this mock as a result of the Hawks going with Doumbouya, but the Celtics would be getting rim protection from the 6-foot-11 center and a high-flier to send towards the rim on pick-and-rolls.
END OF LOTTERY
15. Detroit Pistons – Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
16. Orlando Magic – PJ Washington, Kentucky
17. Atlanta Hawks – Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga
18. Indiana Pacers – Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech
19. San Antonio Spurs – Goga Bitadze, Georgia
20. Boston Celtics (from LA Clippers via Memphis) – Bol Bol, Oregon
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Cameron Johnson, North Carolina
22. Boston Celtics – Matisse Thybulle, Washington
23. Utah Jazz – Grant Williams, Tennessee
24. Philadelphia 76ers – Carsen Edwards, Purdue
25. Portland Trail Blazers – KZ Okpala, Stanford
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Houston) – Darius Bazley, Princeton High School
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Denver) – Johntay Porter, Missouri
28. Golden State Warriors – Keldon Johnson, Kentucky
29. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto) – Dylan Windler, Belmont
30. Milwaukee Bucks – Nicolas Claxton, Georgia