Quick Disclaimer: The order of the Lottery was determined by Tankathon.com. Thankathon took all of the teams that could be in the Lottery, and then randomly orders the teams based on their current odds.
1. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
The Warrior’s situation is very similar to the situation the San Antonio Spurs had in 1997. A great team gets the top pick, and makes their team even better. The Warriors are already set in the backcourt with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and could take James Wiseman to bolster the frontcourt as other Mock Drafts are saying. However, if the Warriors net the top pick in the Draft, I believe they Draft Edwards because of his high upside. I think the Warriors could package Edwards and Andrew Wiggins in a blockbuster trade to land a Superstar. The Warrior’s Championship window is open for 3-5 more years, and the Warriors need a win-now player. Edwards gives the Warriors more flexibility in a future Trade. If not, Edwards would learn behind Steph and Klay for the future. Rookies usually never help a “win-now” team, so Drafting Wiseman would be pointless if the Warriors are serious about continuing the dynasty.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: LaMelo Ball, PG, NBL (Australia)
As of right now, Darius Garland and Collin Sexton don’t look like future Superstars, but LaMelo Ball certainly looks like the next big Superstar in Cleveland. Ball, at 6-7, isn’t a great Shooter, but Ball made his teammates in the NBL better than Sexton or Garland could’ve. Drafting Ball means either Sexton or Garland will have to the bench, and I think Garland will be that guy. Having Garland come off the Cavalier's Bench would make the Cavs Bench so much better. Ball has already proven in the NBL that he isn’t a distraction for his teammates, despite them when less than 10 games this season.
3. Washington Wizards: James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Most Mock Drafts I’ve seen have the Wizards taking a Guard, but if the Wizards land at 3, they can’t pass on Wiseman. We don’t know how John Wall is going to look when he’s healthy again, but that gamble is worth taking when Wiseman is still on the board. Wiseman left Memphis after 3 games because of an NCAA Rules Violation and then started to prepare for the Draft. Wiseman is a very skilled big man at 6-9, 240 lbs., along with a 7-6 Wingspan, which helped him tremendously in the Paint last season at Memphis.
4. New York Knicks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
The Knicks happily settle with the 2nd best PG falling to them at 4th overall. Although Haliburton wasn’t a High School Recruit, Haliburton quietly put up great numbers as a Cyclone. Haliburton averaged 16 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 6.1 APG in 37 MPG. Haliburton did all of this while Shooting 52% from the field and 41% from the 3-point line, showing us that Haliburton could work well with Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle in New York.
5. Atlanta Hawks: Isaac Okoro, PF, Auburn
Now, this pick assumes that the Hawks part ways with John Collins after the 2021 Season. The Hawks actions of trading for Clint Capela tell us that they don’t think Collins is their long-term Center. Collins was below-average defending at the center position, so him moving to PF makes sense. Well, Collins thinks he is worth a max extension next summer, similar to what Pascal Siakam got last summer. Collins plays off-ball to much, partly in fact because of Trae Young doing his thing from 3. Okoro would be a better fir in Atlanta than Collins ever was. Okoro averaged 13.3 PPG, and is easily the best Defensive Forward in this Draft. Okoro's must-needed Defensive presence will pay dividends for Atlanta, as they don't currently have a "lockdown Defender" in their Starting 5.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Obviously, the T-Wolves filled in their PG need with trading for D’Angelo Russell from the Warriors, but Maxey would complement Russell well in the Backcourt. Maxey is a Versatile Shooting Guard that has great size at 6-3, 198 lbs, and shoots the ball well. Maxey isn’t a great playmaker, but he won’t need to be with Russell at PG. Maxey is one of the better Defensive Prospects in this Draft Class, which will help with D-Lo’s suspect Defense.
7. Detroit Pistons: Deni Avidja, SF, Israel
The Pistons need most positions, and Deni is the best available. A big reason that Avidja would be so good for the Piston’s Rebuild is his Versatility. Avidja has good ball-handling and playmaking ability, and can play off the ball as well. Avidja's style of play in Israel and would pair well with Blake Griffin in the frontcourt. Avidja’s still needs to work on becoming a consistent Shooter as he only hit 32% from 3, but Avidja’s Defense and toughness make him a great pick for Detroit.
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8. Charlotte Hornets: Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
The Hornets might have more needs than you think, especially at the PG position with 2 undersized Guards in Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier, but the Hornets go with the best available prospect just like the Pistons did with Avidja. However, they still Draft Okongwu because Bismack Biyombo is hitting Free Agency, and drafting Okongwu gives the Hornets a chance to pair Okongwu with Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington in the frontcourt. Okongwu is the 2nd best Center in the Draft behind James Wiseman, and brings Rim-Protection and 20 PPG in College to Charlotte. Okongwu may not have size, but that won’t matter because of multiple teams going Small-Ball these days. Okongwu can defend EVERY position, which is ideal versatility for Centers. He doesn’t stretch the floor, which means he not clogging the paint with Bridges and Washington,
9. Chicago Bulls: Opi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Who knows the Bull’s front office will look like when the NBA Draft rolls around. There were reports of “Fire Garpax” (John Paxson) billboards being seen in Chicago. Bulls fans are not pleased with the direction the front office is going with, and a change will need to take place. There are also a ton of holes the new front office will need to fill. Last year’s Draft selection of Coby White, along with the rise of Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen should give Bulls fans much-needed hope about the team's future, but they still need a quality big man to pair with Markkanen. Toppin fits the bill perfectly. At 6-9, 220 lbs., Toppin is a quality Forward that thrives in the paint and behind the 3-point line. Topping hit a career-high 46.7% from the 3-point line, proving that he has the potential to become a great 3-and-D-wing in the NBA.
10. Sacramento Kings: Jaden McDaniels, PF, Washington
Although the Kings could get great value by drafting a guard here, McDaniels is too good to pass on. McDaniels is the 2nd best PF in this draft class, behind Opi Toppin. McDaniels is 6-10, and owns enough versatility to score off the dribble, in the mid-range, or at the 3-point line, where he is knocking down 37% of his attempts. McDaniels also has solid versatility on Defense, where that will help the shaky King’s Defense.
11. Phoenix Suns: R.J. Hampton, PG, NBL (Australia)
The Suns end up lucking out with this pick, because many teams picking ahead of the Suns Drafted a Forward or a Center, which gives the Suns their pick of three Point Guards who can immediately contribute for Phoenix. The Suns had their choice of Hampton, Cole Anthony, and Killian Hayes, but went went with Hampton because of his unique versatility on Offense and Defense. Hampton may be the worst playmaking PG out of the three, but he doesn’t need to be with Devin Booker already dropping 26.1 PPG each night.
12. New Orleans Pelicans: Isiah Stewart, C, Washington
Personally, if the Pels land the 12th pick, I think they should trade out of it. The Pelicans need a lot of help in the Frontcourt, and most of the talent is already off the board. Drafting a Guard shouldn’t even be considered for the Pelicans, as they have young Stars in Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday for years to come. With Derrick Favors probably leaving New Orleans in Free Agency, and the Pelicans not wanting to pay Brandon Ingram a super max deal this Offseason, so they go with Stewart. He doesn’t shoot the ball well, but won’t clog up the paint for Zion. Instead, he’ll be another distraction for opposing defenses to have to deal with when the Pels are on Offense.
13. San Antonio Spurs: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
Achiuwa may not be as polished as some of the other big men in the Draft, but Achiuwa is a great player Offensively and Defensively. Achiuwa can be a smothering Defender on Defense, and can also play in SF or PF because of his size. This pick could be a bigger scoring threat than Achiuwa, but I believe the Spurs will bring back Demar DeRozan in Free Agency.
14. Portland Trail Blazers: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
The Blazer's needs are obvious at this point, as their backcourt of Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum is locked down, so the Trail Blazers need great forward who can take some pressure off of Lillard and McCollum. Look no further than Nesmith, who has great size (6-6, 190 lbs.) who can be an effective 3-and-D wing for Portland. Nesmith is averaging 24 PPG, and almost shooting 50% from 3.