By; Kenny Doyle, Ben Pagani
NBA Mock Draft 2.0 from Guy Boston Sports Post Regular Season Edition is here! Picks 1-30 with breakdowns and NBA comparisons for lottery picks!
1. Boston Celtics- Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
NBA Comparison: James Harden/Kyrie Irving
Ben Pagani: Fultz (6'4") will add size to the Celtics backcourt and can easily be transformed to SG to play alongside Isaiah. Fultz is great with the pick and roll, whether he is the passer or scorer. He is also great at finding open teammates and knocking down jump shots, with or without being balanced. He shot 42% from three, and is a great catch and shoot man. But his big shooting weakness is his free throws. He shot an inconsistent 65% from the line. He also needs to work on his defense. He looked awful this year on defense, but with his size and wingspan it won't be hard to improve on this in the NBA.
2. Phoenix Suns- Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd
Kenny Doyle: If the Lakers keep their pick they should be expected to target Ball in the draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the offered up D’Angelo Russell with the #3 pick just to move up 1 spot and take him if the Suns made it clear they would otherwise draft him. Well that might be too intriguing a package to pass up, for the time being the Suns take Ball. Some still have the Suns taking Jackson, but adding a ball dominant 3 to Bledsoe and Booker seems like a fit that would be better utilized only if it had to be. Ball could be a transcendent NBA talent, and the Suns would likely be better off trying to build Booker and Ball into the future best backcourt in the NBA and moving on from Bledsoe who’s timeline doesn’t exactly line up with their young roster. The Kidd comparisons have run rampant all season, but they are well earned. Ball’s vision and unselfishness is truly something special.
3. Los Angeles Lakers- Josh Jackson, SG/SF, Kansas
NBA Comparison: Young Rudy Gay
Kenny Doyle: Jackson might be a consolation prize for the Lakers at this point, but he’s a damn good one. Jackson would likely play the 2 for the Lakers next to Russell and with Ingram at the 3, and they’d have to figure out how to share the ball amongst each other. Ball would be a better fit since he’s a pass first point who could run the offense and let Russell and Ingram do the scoring, but the Lakers would be hard pressed to pass on Jackson and hope to figure the rest out on the court later.
4. Philadelphia 76ers- Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
NBA Comparison: Young Shane Battier
Ben Pagani: 76ers coach, Brett Brown, has come out and said, "When I say point guard I mean point guard" in regards to Ben Simmons true position next season. This means they will not target De'Aaron Fox and pick Jayson Tatum, stealing him from the Magic. Tatum has a great insolation game, and has the potential to be an outstanding defender with his 6'11" wingspan and big frame. But he was very inconsistent on defense with Duke sometimes lacking toughness and intensity. Tatum is also great with his footwork and ball handling, such as, step backs, jab steps, fadeaways, turnarounds, crossovers, and in-and-out dribbles, but needs to work on dribbling closer to his body. He is troubled knocking down shots off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations, especially when contested. Lastly, Tatum is a good ball distributor and can find the open teammate.
5. Orlando Magic- Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford
Kenny Doyle: Magic fans are in desperate need of one thing: excitement. The team has disappointed in the playoff race year after year since Dwight left town, and while Gordon has helped keep the fans entertained at time, they still need more. Payton had a really solid season last year and flashed an ability to be a strong starting point in the NBA as his career moves on, so it will be interesting to see whether or not they Magic choose to move on from him in favor of one of the points in the draft this season. Nevertheless, with Tatum off the board, the Magic should take Monk and hope he can be a more consistent shooter in the NBA. They could start him and move Fournier to the 3, or move on from Fournier all together. The real decision for the Magic this offseason is what to do with Mario Hezonja and all their bigs.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves- Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State
NBA Comparison: Rashard Lewis
Ben Pagani: Isaac is a great fit for the Timberwolves style of play. He has great size standing 6'10" with a 7'1" wingspan. With this size comes his outstanding defense and rim play. He can shoot anywhere on the court, but has an inconsistent stroke. He can also get to the rim for layups and is a good ball handler for his size. Not to mention his ability to rebound and pass when he needs to. However, Isaac is inconsistent. He needs to work on dealing with contact, and using his left hand while driving. Also, he needs to box out on defense better, especially against big guys in the NBA. Lastly, Isaac needs to be more vocal and talk on the court.
7. New York Knicks- De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
NBA Comparison: Rich Man's Elfrid Payton
Kenny Doyle: The entire Knicks offseason plan hinges on whether they will be smart enough to let Derrick Rose walk in free agency and if Carmelo decides to waive his no trade clause. It’s hard to pick a player for the Knicks without knowing those two things, but the best talent on the board is Fox. Though he can’t shoot, a pick and pop set with him and Porzingis could be a deadly play for the Knicks offense. Passing on Frank Ntilikina might be tough for Phil Jackson and his hell bent triangle mindset, but they would be smart to with Fox on the board.
8. Sacramento Kings- Dennis Smith, PG, NC State
NBA Comparison: Steve Francis
Ben Pagani: Smith with improve the Kings very weak backcourt. Smith is one of the most explosive players in the draft. He is very shifty and physical, which allows him to get to the rim, and stay with his man and manage steals on defense. This said, he needs to be more consistent, and show more effort and intensity on defense. Smith is great at creating space for himself and has improved his shot from high school. He is also an amazing ball handler. When Smith penetrates he opens up teammates and he can certainly find them. He can pass with both hands, and will rack up the assist numbers with NBA level players. All this said, Smith has some improving to do. He is still learning how to run and control the floor like a true point guard. He needs be more vocal and establish good relationships with his teammates. He also needs to learn the right time to shoot or pass based on the situation. Lastly, Smith needs to established a more consistent stroke and stance to his jump shot.
9. Dallas Mavericks- Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, Arizona
NBA Comparison: Brook Lopez
Kenny Doyle: Dirk is likely retiring at seasons end and with most of the super athletic and talented point guards off the board, the Mavericks might look to draft Dirk’s replacement. A year under Dirk could do wonders for Markkanen. His skill set of a stretch 4 type could fill right in for Dirk once he’s gone, and if Dirk can help Markkanen with his post game, it could really make him all the more deadly. It’s mostly forwards and centers from here on out, and while Dallas could use guard help, they shouldn’t pass on the best talent on the board.
10. Sacramento Kings- Jarrett Allen, C, Texas
NBA Comparison: Bismack Biyombo
Ben Pagani: The Kings drafted a point guard earlier in the draft, so they'll target a big man here, especially since Demarcus Cousins is gone. Allen is long and lengthy giving him a huge boost around the rim. He is a great at getting put backs, and rebounds. With his long strides, he can even accelerate to the rim. He protects the rim well, with his big blocks. Allen has a nice touch to his shot, and even has a jump-hook. He is smart with the ball, and does not commit many turnovers. However, Allen is very inconsistent on offense, especially with his funky jump shot. He is a terrible 57% free throw shooter. Allen also needs to be more aggressive. He gets pushed around in the paint and sometimes looks like he's going only half speed.
11. Charlotte Hornets- OG Anunoby, SF/PF, Indiana
NBA Comparison: Justice Winslow
Ben Pagani: Anunoby is 6'8" and has a big frame with long arms. This gives him the ability to be a combo forward, and the Hornets lack a solid power forward. Anunoby is great at getting to the rim. He can absorb lots of contact and hang in the air for layups. He can also stay with his man on defense and is capable of guarding almost every position. Anunoby is streaky from three, but can knock down shots when he's open because of his slow release. He is also solid at catch-and-shoot jumpers. But he is a terrible career 52% free throw shooter. Anunoby is no playmaker and often struggles to find the open man. He is shy and unaggressive at times and often gambles for steals.
12. Detroit Pistons- Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
NBA Comparison: Louis Williams
Kenny Doyle: Something about Luke Kennard makes me feel like Stan Van Gundy is going to love him. He’s a crafty 2 who can shoot, has a high basketball IQ, and a deadly mid range game. Kennard will fill a need for the Pistons with Caldwell-Pope likely to leave on a massive offer sheet in free agency, so the Pistons would be smart to draft a player like Kennard, who projects to be better than Pope long term.
13. Denver Nuggets- Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
NBA Comparison: Derek Harper
Ben Pagani: The Nuggets have a nice big man core, but lack depth at the guard position. Standing 6'5, Ntilikina has excellent size for his position. Ntilikina is terrific with the pick-and-roll, and controls the tempo of the game. He also has great vision and terrific passing to go along with it. He is an 85% free throw shooter, and can knock down the three ball. Not to mention his ability to guard many positions, while forcing turnovers, blocking shots, and even rebounding. Ntilikina, however, is only a 31% career three point shooter and has trouble getting fouled at the rim. This is because he hasn't filled out physically yet and doesn't have the strength to drive on bigger players. Ntilikina biggest struggle though, is that he is over passive. He over passes to lesser teammates when it's his time to score. He often passes when he has an open lane or open shot.
14. Miami Heat - Harry Giles, PF, Duke
NBA Comparison: Chris Bosh
Kenny Doyle: Giles’ whole career hinges on whether or not he can get healthy. The Miami Heat are in a position where they can afford to take a little risk. They were supposed to be tanking and trying to get a great player at the top of the draft, but after going on a 60 win pace, taking a gamble on Giles to try to get their superstar isn’t a bad risk. Giles didn’t show much hope last season that his knee problems are behind him, but the Heat will hope that they are anyways. If Giles can return to his high school form, he would be the steal of the draft. However, that may be asking far too much from Giles at this point.
15. Bulls - John Collins, PF, Wake Forest
16. Trail Blazers - Justin Patton, PF/C, Creighton
17. Pacers - Ivan Rabb, PF, Cal
18. Bucks - Justin Jackson, SG/SF, North Carolina
19. Trail Blazers - Thomas Bryant, PF, Indiana
20. Hawks - Terrance Ferguson, SG, USA
21. Thunder - Dwayne Bacon, SG, Florida State
22. Nets - Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Germany
23. Jazz - Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga
24. Raptors - Rodions Kurucs, SF, Latvia
25. Trail Blazers - Semi Ojeleye, SF, SMU
26. Magic - Tyler Lydon, PF, Syracuse
27. Nets - Caleb Swanigan, PF/C, Purdue
28. Lakers - Bam Adebayo, PF/C, Kentucky
39. Spurs - Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville
30. Jazz - Johnathan Motley, PF/C, Baylor
Photo: (Sports Illustrated)