Empire of the Suns post-lottery NBA Mock Draft: Suns fall to 6
The NBA Draft Lottery has concluded and the unpredictability of the event was not in favor of the Phoenix Suns.
They are picking sixth overall despite having the third-most favorable odds heading into Tuesday.
The official order is set, so let’s get into a mock draft. This mock is one writer’s opinion on the class and not an outright prediction on who will be picked where.
Let’s get into it.
1. New Orleans Pelicans — Zion Williamson, ?, Duke
Quite the moment for the Pelicans, who looked destined to start a rebuild with whatever they got with Anthony Davis aaaaand that was about it. Now, they add one of the three best draft prospects in the last decade. Tough break for the Suns, by the way, having to deal with Zion if both teams’ timelines and rebuilds work out.
2. Memphis Grizzlies — Ja Morant, PG, Murray State
It’s incredible how much the lottery can jumpstart a rebuild. Memphis now adds Morant to Jaren Jackson Jr., leaving them with a more than acceptable foundation to build off of.
3. New York Knicks — R.J. Barrett, G/F, Duke
I’m not really sure what Barrett and Kevin Knox is as a pair but with free agency expected to shuffle up whatever they have going, the Knicks should go best player available here.
4. New Orleans Pelicans (trade via LAL) — Jarrett Culver, F/G, Texas Tech
We have a trade! That can happen because it’s my mock draft and I make the rules! Anthony Davis to the Lakers, this pick and other stuff to New Orleans. Now, the Pelicans have Culver to go alongside Williamson. The issue is determining which one is the dominant ball-handler and maybe that guy isn’t there yet. Keeping Jrue Holiday would help.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers — Cam Reddish, G/F, Duke
Reddish has the best upside on the board. Pretty sure he’s not the best player, but Cleveland needs to swing with this pick.
6. Phoenix Suns — Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt
Garland’s primary weakness is his ability to do point guard things, which makes it an excruciating fit for the Suns. With that being said, what’s left on the board is anything but desirable and Phoenix taking a shot at a need makes sense. And if Garland works out, he’s going to be really, really good.
7. Chicago Bulls — De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia
Hunter brings something the Bulls need in terms of his defense and is intriguing next to Wendell Carter Jr. as a small-ball four. The problem is Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. exist. Difficult spot for them if Culver, Garland and Reddish all don’t fall here.
8. Atlanta Hawks — Brandon Clarke, C, Gonzaga
I’m gonna get weird here and give the Hawks either their backup center or John Collins’ frontcourt mate. Not sure which one could play power forward but let’s find out!
9. Washington Wizards — Jaxson Hayes, C, Texas
Hayes has bunches of potential as an athletic fundamental center. Washington has nothing to build around except Bradley Beal so let’s get it moving.
10. Atlanta Hawks (via DAL) — Kevin Porter Jr., SG, USC
Atlanta could do a whole lot worse than add another athletic shooter for Trae Young to find. Shouts to my guy Kevin Huerter.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves — Coby White, G, UNC
Minnesota’s guard situation is fairly questionable and they’d really be onto something around Karl-Anthony Towns if White turned out to be the real deal alongside the likes of Robert Covington, Josh Okogie and Dario Saric.
12. Charlotte Hornets –Sekou Doumbouya, F, Guinea
The Hornets’ roster is a mess and that makes them perfect for the draft and stash pick in the lottery.
13. Miami Heat — Romeo Langford, F/G, Indiana
Langford’s the type of raw prospect you hope catches on with the right team and Miami has the reputation of molding a lot of guys into useful role players. That’s the hope for Langford, who does have a pinch of star upside if his jumper develops.
14. Boston Celtics (via SAC) — Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia
Bitadze has a case to go in the top-1o that could develop into a reality. Celtics go best player available here.
15. Detroit Pistons — Keldon Johnson, SF, Kentucky
Take two from that Stanley Johnson pick from a couple of years back?
16. Orlando Magic — Bol Bol, C, Oregon
I’m not going to act like the wingspan worshippers in Orlando would pass on Bol.
17. Brooklyn Nets — P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky
I love this pick. Washington is a gamer and fits right in with Brooklyn’s philosophy by also giving them a much-needed extra body in the big department.
18. Indiana Pacers — Matisse Thybulle, G/F, Washington
Thybulle’s one of the best college defenders we’ve ever seen, so why not stick him on the floor with Victor Oladipo and lock up two opposing ball-handlers at once?
19. San Antonio Spurs — Nassir Little, F/G, UNC
Ah, yes, we have to let the potential top-five pick who slips go to the Spurs. What else did you expect?
20. Boston Celtics (via LAC) — Cameron Johnson, PF, UNC
Johnson absolutely reeks of the seasoned guy in the 20s who helps a playoff team right away. He’s got a whole lot of what you want from a stretch four these days, including a 45.7% mark on 5.8 three-point attempts a game as a senior.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder — Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky
Shooters around Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams. Simple.
22. Boston Celtics — Talen Horton-Tucker, G/F, Iowa State
Tucker’s a fascinating power-guard prospect who has way more skill than you’d think, but he knows it too much and it shows in his play. The Celtics could reel him back a bit.
23. Utah Jazz — Grant Williams, F, Tennessee
Williams is a guy you are drafting for his smarts and balance as a player. Prospects like him flame out all the time and prospects like him also wind up being incredibly valuable pieces for where they were picked. Utah’s a good bet to figure him out.
24. Philadelphia 76ers — Dylan Windler, SF, Belmont
As the inverse of Williams, Windler is really good at a few specific things. Shooting, getting to the rim and rebounding are his three and if they all translate enough, he will impact games.
25. Portland Trail Blazers — Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga
As you can tell, I’m not that much of a fan of Hachimura. He comes from the Aaron Gordon branch of falling in love a bit too much with creating off the dribble when he should focus on being more of a glue guy. Maybe Portland can get it out of him.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via HOU) — Luguentz Dort, SG, ASU
Honestly, I just want to see Dort and Collin Sexton piss teams off with how they defend ball-handlers. It would be really annoying, I bet.
27. Brooklyn Nets (via DEN) — Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G, Virginia Tech
Alexander-Walker’s patience as a ball-handler would be welcome and fit right in with Brooklyn, where he’d share it with a bunch of different guys. That’s a good thing and allows him to improve in other areas.
28. Golden State Warriors — Jaylen Nowell, G, Washington
Nowell’s one of my favorite players in this class. He’s crafty with the ball to score and knows how to move it too. Naturally, we put him on the Warriors.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via TOR) — K.Z. Okpala, F, Stanford
Okpala’s your modern forward in terms of athleticism defensively. Leave it to the Spurs to tweak some things and solve the rest.
30. Milwaukee Bucks — Chuma Okeke, F, Auburn
One of the big winners of the NCAA Tournament before injuring his knee, Okeke is another guy you take a chance on with his modern skills/size and hope you’ve struck gold.