• Draft Day: NBA Mock Draft 1.0
  • NBA-MockDraft
  • We’ve all been speculating about the Parker/Wiggins/Embiid race to the top pick since we first learned their names or saw them rise to eye-level with various rims at college arenas across the country. Now that the draft order’s been set—yay, Cleveland (blank stare)—we’ve got until June 26 to rearrange our draft board according to team need, combine results, potential, hearsay, thrown chicken bones and hot air. Herewith is the Triangle Offense’s Mock Draft 1.0.

  • 1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Jabari Parker

    Assuming that the Cavs don’t trade the pick—and really, they should given the lack of veteran presence on the team—it’ll be easy to go for the Duke product here. He’s a smart inside-out scorer whose savvy and size (he’s 6’8”, 240 lb.) will help him fit in alongside various lineups. Parker’ll be a good insurance policy, too, if Luol Deng bolts in July.

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  • 2. Milwaukee Bucks - Andrew Wiggins

    The first three picks are pretty much set outside of the order—it’s gonna be Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins. Who goes where is the question, and while it’ll be tough for the Bucks to pass on Embiid, they probably should. He’s the biggest question mark of the three, health-wise at least, and Wiggins started the year as close to a consensus No. 1 pick as it gets these days. At 6’8″ and right around 200 lb., he has a guard’s handle and insane hops. Pair him with Giannis and watch them go.

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  • 3. Philadelphia 76ers - Joel Embiid

    Considering Phily drafted a center last year, how can they justify doing it again? It’s not like Nerlens Noel can just slide to the 4 or anything. Maybe defensively he can guard stretch 4s, but wouldn’t quicker 4’s just take him off the dribble? Not to mention, offensively where do you play him? He needs to play close to the rim to be effective. Noel and Joel Embiid can’t play at the same time, so the Sixers should draft Embiid and then trade him.

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  • 4. Orlando Magic - Dante Exum

    The Magic have done the most legwork of any team scouting the Australian Exum, who at 6’6” (with a 6’9” wingspan) could form a long and interchangeable backcourt with last year’s number two pick Victor Oladipo. It’d be an upgrade at the position—over Jameer Nelson—for a team that’s been trending more athletic in the past few seasons and Exum’s already been dropping hints that he’d like to go to Orlando or the Lakers.

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  • 5. Utah Jazz - Noah Vonleh

    As the Spurs enter the Kawhi Leonard era, other teams will start looking for guys with huge mitts and expansive wingspans to build around. Why hello, Noah Vonleh. The 6’9″, 250 lb. Indiana freshman has the second-widest hands ever measured at the combine to go along with a 7’4” wingspan, meaning he’s got the hands and arms of a center on a power forward’s body. Maybe that makes him more Elton Brand than Kawhi Leonard, but hey, Elton was a No. 1 overall pick. And Vonleh’s probably got more range.

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  • 6. Boston Celtics - Julius Randle

    The Celtics actually land at a good spot at 6. Here, there are several intriguing options. A lot of it comes down to whether you are a “draft best player” or “draft for position” type. With a young team that needs to rebuild from the bottom up, the top option is to go for the best player available and that’s Julius Randle. He can be inserted into the lineup right now. There’s overlap at the power forward spot, but that’s only if you think that Jared Sullinger is the future. Take Randle and see if he can wrestle the spot away.

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  • 7. Los Angeles Lakers - Marcus Smart

    Smart famously came back to Oklahoma State for his sophomore year to show that he could shoot. It didn’t exactly work. He hit 30% of his threes this season, up from 29% in 2012-13. But Smart’s emphasis on shooting downplayed his most valuable skill on the court. At 6’4”, 227 lb., he’s a strong playmaker who can penetrate and create shots for others. That ought to be useful to a squad whose lead PG can’t take contact and whose franchise player will be back with the ratchet out.

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  • 8. Sacramento Kings - Dario Saric

    Dario Saric is a 20-year-old, 6’10” Croatian forward who’s spent the past year playing professionally in Europe. He can play both forward spots—although one suspects his long-term prospects are at the 4—and he’s a capable passer and shooter who should complement DeMarcus Cousins nicely. Maybe think of him as a tougher, more aggressive Toni Kukoc.

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  • 9. Charlotte Hornets - James Young

    James Young is one of those kinds of players that can make a GM look like a genius or a fool. The former Kentucky Wildcat shot only 41% percent from the field and he’s streaky, which certainly doesn’t give anyone cause to brag. That said, he shot 35% from the three and his measurables (6’7″, 213 lb.), passed the eye test. The Hornets should take the risk here. They need an upgrade at the 2 (bye-bye Gerald Henderson era) and better all-around scoring from the wing. I think his run in the NCAA Tournament seals the deal here.

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  • 10. Philadelphia 76ers - Nik Stauskas

    Definitely a chance the Sixers try to package this pick in a trade. Otherwise, the starting lineup next season could sport three first-year players (Noel missed all of his rookie year with injury) and that much youth isn’t conducive to winning. Ask the Sacramento Kings. However, if this is the pick, then it has to be Nik Stauskas. He shot 44% percent from 3 this year, plus he played a little point guard for Michigan and averaged 3 assists per game. At 6’6″ and 207 lb., he has great size for a SG and plays with just enough edge to keep opposing players uncomfortable. Imagine a MCW and Stauskas backcourt and this becomes damn near a no-brainer.

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  • 11. Denver Nuggets - Aaron Gordon

    Gordon had some questions to answer at the NBA Combine—was he a three or a four? Can he defend either spot at the pro level? What’s up with his J? Gordon’s measurements (he’s a legit 6’8” with a 39-inch vertical) helped validate concerns about whether he’d be outmatched as a pro even though he was a lynchpin of the college game’s top defense this year. Gordon won’t fall far in a draft that’s deep with 6’8″ forwards because his strength and energy should ensure that he can provide valuable minutes early.

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  • 12. Orlando Magic - Doug McDermott

    Like Kyle Korver before him, Doug McDermott spent four years at Creighton, where he shot over 40% from three every year. So why will he go in the lottery while Korver slipped to the 22nd pick of the second round? McDermott’s a more complete player, for one, with something of a post-up game (he’s 6’8″) to complement his outside shot. His defense might leave him as a man without a position, but his shot—which may actually be better than Korver’s—will ensure he gets minutes.

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  • 13. Minnesota Timberwolves - Zach LaVine

    It’ll be interesting to see what the Timberwolves do with their pick—are they looking for a pick that can give them that last push into a playoff spot (probably not this late) or are they accruing an asset that could help move Kevin Love? In either case, LaVine could help. He wasn’t even a starter at UCLA but the slim 6’5” combo guard is a bouncy, effortless player who’s good at a little bit of everything. He’ll grow stronger but he’s an intriguing pick for a team that can develop him.

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  • 14. Phoenix Suns - Jusuf Nurkic

    The Suns were a team that no one thought would make the playoffs, yet they weren’t eliminated until the second-to-last game of the season. They were victims of a particularly potent Western Conference, which is how a 48-win team wound up in the lottery. This provides them with the luxury of a high draft pick when they’ve already got a pretty solid squad. If they need help anywhere it’s inside, where last year’s No. 5 pick, Maryland’s Alex Len, has been a bit of a bust. Enter 6’11” Jusuf Nurkic, who has a 7’2″ wingspan. He might need a little time to develop, but he could also provide the Suns with a bit more nasty—which they need to compete in the West.

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  • 15. Atlanta Hawks - Adreian Payne

    Paul Milsap has one year left on his deal and with Al Horford’s injury last year, Atlanta learned a lesson –– always have extra bigs. Michigan State’s Adreian Payne has stretch 4 potential and paint ability, a rarity these days. He’s a solid defender and a good rebounder at 6’10″, plus he’s a heady player who has the requisite maturity to contribute from day one. People sleep on him because he has an old face and his name causes typo stress, but he’ll play in the league for 10 years, watch.

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