- Philadelphia 76ers – Ben Simmons, Australia, 6 ft 10 in, f
The big Australian is starting to fall to two on some mock boards behind Brandon Ingram, who some scouts are assessing may have better long-term potential. Character issues are also a worry, but he’s just too good not to go number one – on this mock board at least.
- Los Angeles Lakers – Brandon Ingram, Duke, 6 ft 9 in, sf
Whilst some scouts view him as the “smarter” pick at number one (whatever that means), Brandon Ingram has not yet fully convinced me he is a better pick than Ben Simmons. He has started to – but he hasn’t done the job completely.
- Phoenix Suns – Dragan Bender, Croatia, 7 ft 0 in, pf
The Phoenix Suns would love to jump up to either number one or two on the draft board on lottery night to grab that franchise altering talent, but Dragan Bender out of Croatia is hardly a bad consolation prize. European big men are always quite literally “lottery picks”, but given the talent he has shown thus far, Dragan Bender would be a great addition to Phoenix.
- Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn) – Jaylen Brown, California, 6 ft 7 in, g/f
Jaylen Brown has been playing rather poorly lately, shooting just above .200 his past five games, culminating in California’s elimination from the NCAA tournament. While this may hurt his stock, he still has an NBA ready body and tonnes of upside – whether he’ll declare for the draft or not is another story.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Jamal Murray, Canada, 6 ft 4 in, g
In stark contrast to the man listed above, Jamal Murray is flying up draft boards, with three games above 19 points in his past five outings. He rebounds well for a guard, but his NBA role is still undefined – he has the body of a point guard, but his playmaking skills are not quite there yet.
- New Orleans Pelicans – Kris Dunn, Providence, 6 f 4 in, pg
The New Orleans Pelicans have dropped a few games this past fortnight, resulting in them moving down to the sixth worst record in the league. Despite a chance to take Buddy Hield out of Oklahoma, I still have New Orleans taking point guard Kris Dunn out of Providence to solidify that starting point guard spot going forward.
- Sacramento Kings - Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, 6 ft 4 in, sg
Speaking of lottery jumps, Sacramento jumped from 10th to 7th in the last few weeks, giving them a chance to burn a 10th lottery pick in 10 years – this one on popular scoring machine Buddy Hield. Hield has his fair share of detractors, citing his age and one-dimensional play, but there’s no doubting the kid can score and score like few others in his class. This one should be a pretty easy choice.
- Denver Nuggets - Ivan Rabb, California, 6 ft 10 in, pf
Ivan Rabb has been consistent all year long, including three double-doubles in his past five games. He could easily sneakily move up the draft on draft night, such is his talent and potential, but right now I have him heading to Denver at #8.
- Toronto Raptors (via New York) - Skal Labissiere, Kentucky, 6 ft 11 in, pf
As you may have noticed, I’ve once again warmed up to Skal Labissiere. His play recently has been completely revolutionary, but he is shooting better, producing when he gets time, and is starting to show glimpses of the talent that had him going first overall once upon a time.
- Milwaukee Bucks - Jakob Poeltl, Austria, 7 ft 1 in, c
Jakob Poeltl has been putting up some monster numbers the past few weeks, against some very good teams. 29 and 11 against California and 16 and 18 against Fresno State were two of his better games, affirming that Poeltl has a chance to be a very valuable NBA centre.
- Orlando Magic - Domantas Sabonis, Lithuania, 6 ft 10 in, pf
In what is a loaded class in the front court at this time in the draft, young Domantas Sabonis is really starting to put his hand up. In his past five games, his points totals have been 24, 18, 15, 21 and 19, with three 10+ rebound games. The truly scary part is the fact that he’s only 19.
- Utah Jazz – Deyonta Davis, Michigan State, 6 ft 10 in, pf
Deyonta Davis has been on and off lottery boards all year long, and in this week’s update, he’s on. In limited minutes the past few games, he has still managed to remain productive; however, Michigan State’s early tourney exit may persuade him to stay in school another year.
- Phoenix Suns - Brice Johnson, North Carolina, 6 ft 9 in, pf
Brice Johnson is another power forward who has been putting up impressive totals lately in a competitive big man field. An average of 16.5 points over his past five games, including 21 and 10 against Providence has helped him stand out as a potential late lottery grab.
- Chicago Bulls – Denzel Valentine, Michigan State, 6 ft 6 in, g/f
Denzel Valentine has really put his hand up recently as a modern swingman every NBA team craves, averaging 19, 7.5 and 8 with exceptional shooting percentages this year at Michigan State. Whilst he will probably end up going a little earlier than this, any team that could nab him this late in the draft would be potentially making away with draft day theft.
New this week: Deyonta Davis, Denzel Valentine
Dropped out: Furkan Korkmaz, Stephen Zimmerman