It's summer, and that means it's time for my annual (first round) mock draft. You could read my 2017 draft right here, and my 2016 one by clicking here. I have to say, I'm super fucking proud of myself for finishing yet another year of this, and this is by far the longest I've committed to almost anything in my life. Anyway, below you will find a completely subjective mock draft with custom made GIFs, lighthearted, not-so-serious writing, and way too much time and effort put into a damn mock draft. Don't get me wrong, there is a ton of care put in this from hypothesizing trades to attempting to choose draft picks that make sense for every team, but I want this to be the sorbet to all the serious, meaty mock drafts out there. Enjoy.
One of my favorite things about Ayton is that in every interview I've seen from him, he's almost frothing at the mouth at the prospect of being able to talk shit at the next level. He can't wait until he's a sophomore bullying people for their lunch money and hoarding their chocolate milks in his JanSport and selling them for a profit. In the past, I've touched on a visual theory that the Phoenix Suns are by far the angriest young team (Chriss, Jackson, Booker) in the league, and they're only going to get younger and angrier. Be prepared for a cranky day out in the desert.
The Suns will undoubtedly have their Distracted Boyfriend moment with Doncic, but when your girl is sculpted like a David Robinson who isn't held captive by the seas for two years, you should be thankful and just pick him.
Do you think Michelangelo's intention while sculpting Ayton was for him to be, at best, Al Jefferson with a freakish body? He's going to learn how to defend at a passable level. Do you think Finster from Power Rangers popped Deandre into his Monster-Matic machine and prayed that he would pass like Serge Ibaka? Let him improve organically on his weaknesses and in the end, I think we'll see him flourishing as an all-around center sooner rather than later.
Bagley is sipping tea (not spilling it) because he knows how NBA Twitter will react if they Kings made this pick in real life. It's just the price you pay for doing Kings Things for the past decade. But in this reality, Sactown has zero big men on their roster with the skill set that Bagley possesses. You could say that he's fitted with all of the big man Infinity Stones if drafted by Sacramento, including the one that blesses him with sensational hair. Bagley, I must warn you, Kosta Koufos is going to go to great lengths to get his clammy hands on that sucker.
It wouldn't surprise me to see the Kings snatch up Doncic here, but I can also imagine them having the utmost faith in Bogdan and Fox holding down the ball handler/scoring role in the backcourt, and not make them regret taking a big man in 2018.
(*acquired by the Memphis Grizzlies who trade the #4 pick and Dillon Brooks for the #3 pick.)
The good news is, the Grizzlies end up winners of the Doncic Sweepstakes. The bad news is that they get extorted in the process. The Hawks' Travis Schlenk grew a mustache in the offseason just to twirl it in this moment, and held back a distorted, muffled cackle when demanding the rights to Dillon Brooks. Chris Wallace begrudgingly accepted the deal. In the end though, for superstar level talent (by the Grizzlies estimations), they bite the bullet and hope that a top flight European guard can match the production level that their big men seem to churn out each year.
My sources also relayed to me that Doncic reportedly interviewed with the Hawks just a few days ago and answered "Stankonia" as the answer to "What is OutKast's best album?" They mentioned that one ATL exec slammed his fist on the table in disgust, while another excused himself from the room in utter disbelief.
(*acquired by the Atlanta Hawks who trade the #3 pick for Dillon Brooks and the #4 pick.)
The Hawks get the man they wanted all along and get an extra morsel on their chocolate chip pancake. The Hawks could've gotten more potential value for Doncic if they shopped the pick around the league, but in my theorized mock, they realistically only wanted to trade back only one or two spots at most so they could still secure JJJ while adding another young player as they attempt to retool with a platoon of draft picks during this draft and the next one. They would've been happy keeping Doncic, but they're over the moon with Jaren Jackson Jr.
But yeah, I can't explain it. Sometimes you just look at a player and you can't picture them donning any other jersey. JJJ 💖 ATL.
The Mavericks pull the first gotcha bitch (!) of the draft when they draft Wendell Carter Jr. as their future big man instead of Mo Bamba. In my humble opinion, Carter is getting mega disrespected by LON (Lack of Name) syndrome. I almost caught the sickness myself. Initially, I felt an innate desire for this guy to drop into the late teens because his name was just so damn boring. Trae Young? It works. Mo Bamba? Rolls off of the tongue. Shai G? Fucking superb. These are world class basketball names. Wendell Carter Jr. just doesn't cut it for most people.
But the man can pass, he can shoot, he can defend inside, and he plays with some aggression when he has the ball in the paint. He was truly hiding in the shadows of Bagley, and is in his own right, a hell of a player. The entire basketball world sometimes gets caught up in every measurable and detail outside of basketball, when the best choice is to just pick a guy that offers you everything that you want in a new age center.
*raises hand with mouth slightly agape to say something poignant, but sighs loudly as I realize nobody really gives a shit about the Magic*
This is my team, so I could blabber on for days about what's right (a little) and what's wrong (a lot) with the Magic, but I'll try my best to keep this short and sweet.
No offense to D.J. Augustin, but if Grays Sports Almanac is correct, he's 100% going to have a bad year next year. And I was legitimately shocked that I'm a year older than Shelvin Mack because I was under the impression that he was in his early 30s. The NBA barely likes to acknowledge the Magic as a franchise, so picking up Trae Young for all of his offensive prowess and Brand Power wouldn't be the worst idea for the Magic, who need a guard (as well as any sort of talent). The foil to this plan is the well known fact that John Hammond is widely known to favor elongated, gangling limbs, and Trae Young is the proverbial stump to his redwood fetish.
Personally, I've warmed up to Trae Young and I find myself wanting to see him shoot 30 footers and attempt semi-wild passes to Isaac and Gordon because I don't care anymore (I do, I really do, sadly). What's worrying to me is that all of Hammond's interviews seem to be very telling and forthright, which makes me believe that the Magic are going to go with a dude that nobody expects.
(*acquired by the Los Angeles Clippers who trade the #12 pick and #13 pick for #8.)
The Clippers are in dire need of star power and are ready to risk it all, Tristan Thompson style (or just several late lottery picks style), to achieve it. The Cavaliers on the other hand are bracing for the tsunami of toxic chemicals and left feet to wash ashore in LeBron's wake, and want to address a few immediate needs while also anticipating a top 5 draft pick next year without LeBron.
I can't put my finger on it, but Michael Porter is the guy I'd be least excited to cheer about in the top 10, and it's not because of his skills. I think 100% of it is the whole Matt Damon x Kris Humphries look he has going, but I think I can shake my indiscriminate bias if he balls out and shows that his back is good enough to carry the Clippers to the promise land. Or if he lets me scope out hot chicks in the stands on the bench with him, whichever comes first.
The only downside about Mikal and his fit with New York is his age, it's a shame that he's going to be 33 when the Knicks are finally ready to compete (just kidding, Knicks fans -- I hope). This is basically a throwaway year for the Knicks as Porzingis isn't going to be ready to play until late in the season, and there's no incentive to sign any short-term fix free agents to try and win 33 games. The Knicks finally have a draft with little fanfare, taking a player that most fans would be excited with, and a player that is projected to have an extremely high floor. With this pick, the bridge isn't over. Quite frankly, it's just beginning.
HELP! HELP! HELP! HELP!, Where are the children? Are they all right? Just kidding, I'm not Ghostwriter. I'm also not Bryan Coangelo, I swear. I'm just a dude who sold him cotton candy at a fair in Allentown in '95 once. Please don't talk shit about his collars though. Seriously. What are you guys, 12? Anyway, I just wanted to say that "Nicolas Saint" is wrong here because I would NOT make this pick. I want Redick here for 10 more years and this guy would only get maybe five minutes a game. What we really need here is a big man. Can we also stop this "The Process" moniker and find a new one? At some point, we have to move past the process into winning. What? Did you suggest "The Burner"? Stop, that's not funny. I told you it really isn't me. Oh, hey Embiid... *nervous chuckle* what are you doing here in the office so early? Why are you carrying a gallon jug of Shirley Temple and an iron? *gulp*
Collin Sexton is bearer of what is known as The Look, and has the competitive spirit to match, as evidenced by his 3 vs 5 gem of a game versus Minnesota. His on-court style and strengths are the antithesis of what Kemba Walker brings to the table, for better or worse, and the Hornets are looking to move on from the last surviving Bobcat this summer as they explore trades.*
(*Shai is also an option at this pick.)
Give me a second please, I left my window open by acco43\fokfspfe[44 .
(*acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers who trade the #8 pick for the #12 and #13 picks.)
I like Miles quite a bit. I've read too many mocks that are down on him, saying how he's just going to be a tweener at the next level, and how he'll struggle to impact the game as much as he does in college. In all of the game tape I've seen of him, he's consistently attacking the basket with aggression, shooting it from deep on good averages, and has sneakily impressive body control for being a bit thicker than your average (gotta say, didn't think I'd be calling anybody "thicc" today). Plus he reps Flint, Michigan hard and Flint still needs help. You can help or send money to Flint residents by going here.
(*acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers who trade the #8 pick for the #12 and #13 picks.)
Shy-G may end up the best pure point guard of the draft, and if he does, his damage will be done in the shadows like a nebulous villain. He wields a body archetype that you think would mimic a number of bigger NBA point guards that can't shoot, but his college numbers at Kentucky, even if on small attempts, are a sign that he could tear up that "big PG, bad shooter" stereotype in a short amount of time. The Cavaliers would gladly start both Shy-G and Miles this upcoming season at an attempt of a quick rebuild for a city that will watch LeBron James leave their home once again and never return (except a one-day when he retires). That was actually heart-wrenching to write.
Year after year, this is the team I always have the most trouble with doing these mock drafts. I originally had the Nuggets taking a chance on Khyri Thomas with a bit of a "reach" here as a replacement for Will Barton (if he leaves), but then I noticed that the small forward position is a bit thin if they decide to move on from Wilson Chandler via trade this offseason. Knox is super young and is a bit of an enigma as far as what talent he can paint the league with, and the Nuggets could be opening a Fortnite chest with a golden rocket launcher inside of it with this guy. The Nuggets are always about 35 deep, and have a number of players that are deserving of more playing time than they actually get, so the Nugs can go a number of different ways here. Just don't trade Donovan Mitchell level talent away again, please.
The Wizards need an intervention and anger management classes, but the biggest thing they need is an infusion of young talent. Since 2014, only Kelly Oubre Jr. has joined their roster as a draft pick, and they've dodged a lot of the hate that the Brooklyn Nets got for trading away their future because of the magnitude of how badly the Nets fucked up. Keep the damn pick, Grunfeld. Gortat is almost a sure bet to be gone, so technically, they can look for a big at this spot, but I like the guard and wing prospects around this pick much, much more than the bigs that are available. Address the big man issue in free agency, draft wing here. Zhaire Smith's stock has cooled off for some scouts and insiders with his below average combine measurements and showings, but he is a filthy athlete that has a lot of offensive growth still to come.
This is my biggest reach pick in my entire mock, but I think the Suns are in a position to attempt some Icarus-esque experimentation while not trying to melt the kid in the process. I have two reasons why this pick is going to work.
Firstly, has a guy named Anfernee in the NBA ever failed to produce? No.
Secondly, look at this list of HS to NBA players. I'd wager about 2/3 of those players became decent role players in the league, if not outright stars. The Phoenix Suns can take a chance on talent with how many picks they have in this draft (4), with a young, alluring point guard developing next to Booker.
This mock draft business is tough, man. I could've easily went Okobo here, but I'm betting on the Bucks going with the "safer" pick, even if he's the less popular option of the two currently. "Scary" Terry Rozier ruined Bledsoe's stock in an eerily similar mirror to what Pusha T did to Drake last week, but in actuality, Bledsoe's hot and cold on court play would've cast doubt on his future as franchise point of the Bucks regardless of the Boston series. The Bucks also have Malcolm Brogdon , who has a Shane Battier-like moxie as a 2nd year vet, but works best as a steadying, combo guard commander from the bench. Holiday, Okobo, or even Brunson here is a move that I can see the Bucks making on draft night, and whoever it is will reap the reward of getting to drink smoothies with Giannis after arriving for their Introductory Press Conference.
(*acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers who trade the #25 pick and Ivica Zubac for the #18 pick.)
The Lakers move up to snag a falling Robert Williams. He's one of the better big men in this draft, however, I have him dropping only because he hoards a skillset that the NBA as a whole is moving away from. Luckily, the Lakers need someone that will bang around the paint, rebound, and attempt to catch bodies with each and every dunk. The Lakers, more than any other team, are a team pegged to make a lot of moves this offseason, potentially trading away Julius Randle and other youngsters to go after Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, or even LeBron James. Zubac in this scenario is a causality of numbers and isn't happy with a super reduced role, so the Spurs will welcome him as a reclamation project.
Elie Okobo is un homme d'esthétique. The Menace looks to be on the outs, and the Atlanta Hawks try their luck with another foreign point guard, but this time decide to throw their neon dart a bit west of Germany. Okobo is said to be rising up the draft boards quickly over the last week, which always gives me pause for concern and reminds me of many past European guards that got drafted 10-20 spots ahead of where they rightly should have, but watching film of this guy play (check out his 44 point outburst) is an experience, and leaves you wondering what he can do against NBA players.
Jamal Crawford is a living legend, but being a designated shooter that the Timberwolves had to depend upon last year put them in a number of precarious positions during the season, and even handed them a few losses. We have to protect Jamal's legacy from being tarnished. The NCAA darling (ignore his Twitter stuff for a second, if you can!) is a solid addition to a team with a bench, that outside of Bjelica, needs a whole lot of shooting and scoring to come out of it. You could also say he brings "winning", because the pundits on draft night love to source this as a tangible thing that translates from college to the pros, but the only thing I want to see translating is the money student athletes don't yet receive.
If Favors leaves in the offseason, the Jazz might be looking for frontcourt help in the draft, but I do like the prospect of a shutdown shooter like Khyri flourishing in SLC from the bench as a mini-microwave to spell Mitchell, or even play with him when Mitchell is the primary ball handler. I absolutely love how the Jazz's roster is constructed, as many of their players are elite at multiple areas on the court, allowing for any sort of pick to work here.
Daddy Trent was way more swole than Junior in that picture, but I'm still trying to catch up to my pops in that category too, so I feel his pain. Sidenote: God, it must be weird for Nowitzki to play against both fathers and their sons in the NBA. He's definitely seen some shit. And I've seen Trent Jr. on mock drafts placed in the early 20s all the way to mid 30s, but for me, he would be a solid get as a shooter with size who can light it up off of the bench and do a simple job -- shoot. Something that every team, but especially the Bulls, could use.
A guy named Chandler Hutchison seems oddly destined to play in Indiana for his entire career. I'm not sure why his name screams "Pacer", but it just does. And as of writing this, he's earned the nickname "Captain Hutch" from me, I encourage all of you to follow suit. Don't ask any questions.
In my last draft, I had Donovan Mitchell falling to pick #20 in the draft and being drafted by the Portland Trailblazers for some scoring off of the bench. I could maaaybe have squeezed a job in the lower level front office of Portland if that actually happened, but the Jazz ruined my plans. I tried, Portland. I really did. And it's not because I didn't think he had the talent to go higher, but there was a lot of mid-lottery big man talent that I anticipated coming off of the board in 2017. Well, it's another year and the Trailblazers still need offense coming from anybody other than CJ, Nurk, and Lillard. Why not take a net murderer from the DMV?
(*acquired by the San Antonio Spurs who trade the #18 pick for Ivica Zubac and the #25 pick.)
The post-Duncan Spurs have veered away from the whole European drafting modus operandi for boring old NCAA players, but it makes sense in the grand scheme of things. They simply don't have the luxury of being able to stash players like they used to (besides the current Nikola Milutinov), and accents confuse Kawhi.
Shamet juxtaposed with Dejounte Murray, who is a fascinatingly freakish rebounder at his position, creates a fun 1-2 punch for two point guards who do two very divergent things. With this pick I'm also predicting the end of Tony Parker's career in San Antonio, but I've learned a long time ago never to never feel confident of Spurs-involved predictions. Jalen Brunson is also at play here, but I anticipate the Spurs settling on Shamet and falling in love with his incendiary stroke.
This was a difficult pick for me to make because I tried to factor in potential free agents like Paul George or LeBron James, etc, and how their acquisition would affect the balance of their roster. But I also thought it would be funny for the Sixers to send one last "fuck you" to the Boston Celtics and draft a big man who can rebound, which is something that the Celtics do desperately need. The only salaried big man on the Sixers current roster for next season is Joel Embiid, so drafting Mitchell Robinson would be a luxury to have when The Process gets tired, or, you know, yeah. Knock on wood.
The Boston Celtics are my top choice for morphing into the new Spurs in terms of drafting and stashing talent on their roster. If he's willing (or wants) to come over, he can play limited spot minutes on a deep ass Celtics team. Or they can wait a year or two and bring him in with a more guaranteed role after playing overseas for that extra year. He has a lot of defensive flaws, but on a team like the Celtics, he can count on a "take-your-pick" number of teammates to shoulder the defensive load and let him work his magic on offense.
Musa I (of Mali) was one of the richest people in the history of the world. In fact, he was so rich from the gold trade that historians couldn't estimate his overall wealth. In addition, he also made a long journey to Mecca while destroying the economies of cities in his path as he showed off his extraordinary wealth to onlookers.
The second biggest slide in my mock draft is probably KBD, and it's strictly the result of injury related concerns and recent setbacks in workouts. I like his fit here and I think the Warriors future intention with him would be to groom him to fit the Iguodala role (minus the passing) off of the bench and do everything (on a lesser scale) that Draymond does.
Who knew the free ride would continue after college? Hah!
The Nets were by far my hardest team to draft for since they could use talent everywhere and nowhere. D. Loading might work best as a SG, LeVert can play 1-3 effectively, Dinwiddie had an impressive stretch at PG for a while, and Jeremy Lin is a solid guard when not hampered by injuries. The Nets frontcourt with Jarrett Allen and RHJ are untouchables as far as I'm concerned, and they have a few interesting bench pieces to plug the holes when needed. I landed on Okogie, who is a high octane guard with athleticism, confident shooting, and feels comfortable with the ball in his hand. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE NETS ARE FREED FROM BILLY KING. GOD FUCKING BLESS.
Does this look like a man that cares if anybody likes him? Little do you know, he's enjoying the hearts (and balls) of his enemies in that Styrofoam box. The biggest compliment I'm going to give this dude is that if you squint your eyes really hard, his name sort of looks like "Draymond Green" from far away, and that's what the Hawks will hope for in a player with this pick. The Hawks address a lot of needs in this draft with JJJ, Okobo, acquiring Dillon Brooks, and end it with a do-it-all, pesky, love him only if you're on his team sort of player.