Instead of a big board this week, I’ll be doing a full first-round mock draft. With the Cavs able to basically have their pick of the litter in the draft (again), a 15-player wish list is slightly useless. Therefore, here’s the first RDE mock draft, running up until the Cavs’ pick in the second round, number 33.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas
We’re just going to go with the safe move in this mock. I’ll mock Parker and Embiid to the Cavs at some point before the draft, but for right now, Wiggins is the guy. He’s the best prospect in the draft, and fills a huge need as a defensive stopper and off-ball scorer on the wing.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker, F, Duke
The Bucks have a logjam in the post, with Zaza Pachulia, Larry Sanders, John Henson, and Ersan Ilyasova all commanding time at the four and five spots. Jabari can play small forward or power forward, and has a well-rounded offensive game that would work well with the current roster that lacks a go-to scorer. The fit makes more sense for them to take Parker rather than Embiid at this spot.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
The Sixers already have Nerlens Noel, but given the issues with Noel’s weight and strength, it would make sense for them to grab Embiid here and play him and Noel together. Embiid can stretch the floor a bit with a developing jumper, and having two rim protectors is never a bad thing. They have two picks in the top ten, so I like the idea of them drafting best player available at this spot, and that for certain is Embiid.
4. Orlando Magic – Dante Exum, G, Australia
Exum and Oladipo! Two long, lanky guards with complimentary skill sets that would destroy everything on defense sounds like something I could get behind. The Magic should be fun next year no matter who they draft, but they need a point guard most, so Exum makes a ton of sense.
5. Utah Jazz – Julius Randle, F, Kentucky
I don’t think Enes Kanter is a long-term starter for the Jazz. They also need a legitimate scorer in the post, because it doesn’t appear that Derrick Favors is going to be that. Randle can play with Kanter or Favors inside for Utah, and I’m not saying that he and Trey Burke could be the next Stockton and Malone, but when you’ve got two players that have the right skill sets to play that type of two-man game inside……you have to like what you’re getting if you’re a Jazz fan.
6. Boston Celtics – Noah Vonleh, F/C, Indiana
The Celtics have two solid post prospects in Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, but they’re lacking a really strong defensive anchor behind these two. Vonleh should be that player, able to protect the rim and move well in the pick-and-roll. He could also space the floor, and play with either Sullinger as a small-ball five, or as a more traditional power forward with Olynyk at center.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State
Smart is a strong pick for the Lakers. He’s a powerful guard who can get to the rim well, and has some decent defensive potential. More importantly, he has the type of personality as a leader that Kobe could definitely help mold, and with Kobe and Steve Nash around, the Lakers would be a great spot for him to develop as a combo guard.
8. Sacramento Kings – Dario Saric, F, Croatia
Sources have already leaked that the Kings are looking to move this pick, because they don’t want yet another young prospect to attempt to develop. If they don’t move it, Saric is a strong pick. It’s an unknown whether Saric will come to the NBA straight out of Europe next year, and the Kings would definitely be open to letting him play over there for a year or two more. If he comes over next year, Saric would fit in Sacramento as a stretch four that can handle the rock a little as well, and would be able to slide into their rotation as an accessory piece while he attempts to improve his shooting.
9. Charlotte Hornets – Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
The Hornets need shooting, and could use a backup forward, especially if Josh McRoberts leaves this offseason. McDermott is the best shooter in the draft, and could fit in here well, especially with Steve Clifford finding him a place on defense. I like this fit better than Aaron Gordon’s for Charlotte.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – James Young, G/F, Kentucky
With their frontcourt issues solved, Philly looks to add a promising wing. While Young can be a little erratic on both ends, he’s a strong three-point shooter and has a lot of defensive potential. With MCW, Young, Noel, and Embiid, Philly can take another developmental year, pick up one more young prospect next year, and look to make big strides in 2016.
11. Denver Nuggets – Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
Best player available. Gordon won’t slide too far if he drops out of the top 10, and Denver’s a nice place for him to land. They’ve got time to develop him over the next couple of years while they are fairly capped out, and they’ve done a pretty good job at turning Kenneth Faried from athletic freak into a more well-rounded forward.
12. Orlando Magic – Rodney Hood, G/F, Duke
If the Magic take Exum or Smart at the fourth pick, they could use another wing, particularly one that can shoot it from outside. Hood definitely fits that bill, and the Magic would look very fun with Dante Exum and an Oladipo/Hood combination spotting up from outside. Hood gives them even more roster versatility than they already have, and his fit here would be great.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Gary Harris, G, Michigan State
Harris didn’t test well at the combine, but he’s still a great two-way talent. Someone who can score from outside and defend on the ball would be a great help for Minnesota, and Harris can do both of those things as an upgrade over J.J. Barea.
14. Phoenix Suns – Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan
Stauskas is the best wing left on the board, even though I’m really low on his game. He’s a solid outside shooter, can attack the rim, and is a decent passer. He’d fit well as the third guard behind Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.
15. Atlanta Hawks – Zach Lavine, G, UCLA
The Hawks need another scoring guard, and Lavine could definitely fit that bill. If Atlanta plays him at shooting guard, attacking off the ball and developing his outside shot, I think they could get a lot of use out of him, and could compensate for his lack of good decision-making and shooting touch by playing him with Kyle Korver and Al Horford, two great decision-makers, and Mike Budenholzer is a good enough coach that he could certainly make good use of a player with that kind of athletic talent.
16. Chicago Bulls – Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Bulls need a backup center desperately, and Nurkic would be a sound option. He is a solid post scorer and strong PNR finisher, and developing defensive presence. Offense in general would be helpful for Chicago, and I think they would be able to use him quite well on that end.
17. Phoenix Suns – Clint Capela, F, Switzerland
This is one of my favorite landing spots for my favorite draft prospect. Capela could be a very effective garbage man for the Suns, finishing Dragic and Bledsoe’s PNRs, attacking the glass, and protecting the rim. He’d fit in great with Channing Frye and Markieff Morris, and would be an upgrade over Miles Plumlee at center.
18. Boston Celtics – K.J. McDaniels, G/F, Clemson
McDaniels is the type of outlet the Celtics need in their offense. A developing 3-point shooter and devastating transition finisher, McDaniels would be able to transition into a support role in the Boston offense, and would give them someone to defend larger wings on the perimeter, something they lacked last season when they had to rely on Jeff Green and Avery Bradley to try to do that.
19. Chicago Bulls – Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse
There really isn’t a need for Ennis in the middle of the first round, so if he isn’t picked by the Magic, I have a feeling that Chicago is the next team that would take him. Ennis would make an excellent safety valve at the point guard spot for the Bulls, and would bring a nice pass-first approach to a team that’s really been focused on using their point guard as a scorer, even when Derrick Rose is injured.
20. Toronto Raptors – T.J. Warren, F, N.C. State
The Raptors need a conventional three, and Warren could be that guy as another rim attacker for an offense that relies heavily on that. He would give them added roster flexibility, and could develop into a strong bench option for them.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Adreian Payne, F, Michigan State
Nick Collison won’t be able to play at his current level forever, and the Thunder have been desperate for frontcourt depth for the last couple of years. Enter Adreain Payne, basically a lesser version of Serge Ibaka, as their energy big off the bench. This would be unfair and amazing.
22. Memphis Grizzlies – Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA
Anderson’s slid as his athleticism has come into question, but the Grizzlies need a jolt of offensive ability from the small forward position, and Anderson could certainly be that. A great passer and outside shooter, and a potentially solid defender due to his length, Anderson would be a nice fit in Memphis.
23. Utah Jazz – Jordan Adams, G, UCLA
Alec Burks is a combo guard, and Gordon Hayward is more of a small forward. The Jazz need a true shooting guard, and that’s what Adams is. He’d add more scoring punch on the wing, for them, and along with Randle, transform a weak offense into a strong, well-rounded one.
24. Charlotte Hornets – P.J. Hairston, G, Texas Legends
With McDermott already on board, the Hornets would next look for another bench wing to help improve their offense. Hairston could definitely be that, and Charlotte would be a nice developmental spot for him, as it’s a stable environment with a good coach. Man, that’s weird to say about the former Bobcats.
25. Houston Rockets – Kristaps Porzingis, C, Latvia
I could see the Rockets looking to add another developmental piece here, with no real significant needs that could be addressed at this spot in the draft. Porzingis has great potential as an offense-first center, and the Rockets could put him in Texas and probably turn him into a mutant Spencer Hawes or something.
26. Miami Heat – Elfrid Payton, G, UL-Lafayette
The Heat might lose Mario Chalmers this offseason, and could use another ball-handler anyway. Payton would be fun as Norris Cole 2.0 for them.
27. Phoenix Suns – Vasilije Micic, G, Serbia
If the Suns are actually making all of these picks that they have this year, I have to think they’ll stash at least one player in Europe. Micic is probably the best fit of any of the international crop for them.
28. Los Angeles Clippers – Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse
A case of best player available. Grant could play in place of Hedo Turkoglu here, and his athleticism and defensive potential would make him an interesting player for the Clips’ development staff to play with.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
OKC could use another center as well as a power forward, and McGary fits the bill for something they could use: A very mobile five that can rebound well.
30. San Antonio Spurs – Jarnell Stokes, F, Tennessee
The Spurs might lose Boris Diaw this offseason, and could use more rebounding if Diaw doesn’t come back. Stokes is exactly that, and could give them similar production to what Dejuan Blair did last year for them.
31. Milwaukee Bucks – Bogdan Bogdanovic, G, Serbia
Bogdanovic is a solid scorer from the shooting guard spot, and if he’s available for the Bucks, I’d be interested to see what they could do with him. Their backcourt unit would be very intriguing with Brandon Knight, Nate Wolters, Giannis, O.J. Mayo, and Bogdanovic around.
32. Philadelphia 76ers – Glenn Robinson III, F, Michigan
The one thing the Sixers are missing here is a small forward, and Robinson is by far the best one on the table. He could be another off-ball scorer with a ton of athleticism on a team that suddenly would be very fun to watch.
33. Cleveland Cavaliers – Artem Klimenko, C, Russia
If Wiggins is the pick at the top of the draft, I like the Cavs looking for a center prospect to develop in the second round. Klimenko, in my opinion, is the best of any that are available, and with the three Canadiens and two Russians in the organization, the Cavs’ inadvertent attempt to become a strong hockey team would be complete.