Trying to determine the first-round picks for all 30 NBA teams is a daunting task. If we are grading without a curve, the whole thing can get messed up just by one surprise selection.
So consider this mock draft an exercise in probability instead of certainty. Here we go:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, 6-5 SG, Georgia: Comparisons to James Harden and backcourt fit with D’Angelo Russell are why he’s my top guy. Powerful frame, world-class athlete and aggressive mentality make him the draft’s best scorer.
2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, 7-1 C, Memphis: Freakish physical talent with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, 9-6 standing reach and impressive mobility for 250 pounds. Elite defensive potential could turn into super stardom if his jump shot develops.
3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, 6-7 PG, Illawarra Hawks: Arguably the best playmaker in the draft with his ability to find open teammates and create his own shot off the dribble. Defensive issues were exposed even in Australia pro league.
4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, 6-9 SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv: The best international prospect in the draft has similar all-around skills to a taller version of 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic. The 19-year-old Israel sensation can play multiple positions.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Onyeka Okongwu, 6-9 PF/C, USC: Some NBA personnel consider him a better shot blocking talent than Wiseman. Just scratching the surface of his offensive potential after one year in college.
6. Atlanta Hawks: Obi Toppin, 6-9 PF, Dayton: The NCAA player of the year last season, Toppin is a crowd pleaser with his highlight-reel dunks and high energy. Could the Wolves trade down to put him next to Towns?
7. Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton, 6-5 PG/SG, Iowa State: Elite passer with outside shooting stroke to play both guard positions. The Wisconsin native could go higher if another team sees him as a franchise point guard.
8. New York Knicks: Killian Hayes, 6-5 PG/SG, Ulm (France): Less heralded than big point guards like Ball and Haliburton. But he proved he could score and lead a team playing against tougher competition in Germany.
9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, 6-6 SF, Auburn: Best perimeter defender in the draft and it’s not close. Not a scorer in college, but he could be a huge steal if he’s a late bloomer offensively.
10. Phoenix Suns: Devin Vassell, 6-7 SG, Florida State: When the Suns traded for Chris Paul, they got much older in the backcourt and offensive-minded, but Vassell gives them a legit two-way threat on the perimeter.
11. San Antonio Spurs: Patrick Williams, 6-8 SF, Florida State: As much upside as any wing, but he’s also one of the most unproven since he didn’t even start in college. He was ACC Sixth Man of the Year.
12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey, 6-3 PG, Kentucky: Kentucky guards with his ability are usually top-five talents, but Maxey was inconsistent after a 26-point game vs. Michigan State in his NCAA debut.
13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, 6-6 SG, Vanderbilt: Best shooter in the draft? Possibly. He averaged 23 points and shot 52% from three-point range in 14 games before a foot injury sidelined him.
14. Boston Celtics: Kira Lewis Jr., 6-3 PG, Alabama: Deep point guard draft likely has him drop further than he should. A bit turnover-prone but he was more productive than Maxey in every way in the SEC.
15. Orlando Magic: RJ Hampton, 6-5 PG/SG, New Zealand Breakers: Five-star high school prospect from Texas wasn’t as impactful as Ball overseas after skipping college. But his athleticism and playmaking potential are hard to ignore.
16. Portland Trail Blazers (reportedly traded to Houston Rockets): Saddiq Bey, 6-8 SF, Villanova: Regarded as one of draft’s most ready to contribute players. Stellar two-way athlete with his three-point shooting, powerful frame and defensive prowess.
17. Minnesota Timberwolves: Precious Achiuwa, 6-9 PF, Memphis: Memphis coach and former NBA star Penny Hardaway’s best player when Wiseman was ruled ineligible. Averaged a double-double in scoring and rebounding.
18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, 6-6 SG, Arizona: Australia native took a back seat to fellow freshmen Nico Mannion and Minnesotan Zeke Nnaji in college, but he could blossom into a two-way star.
19. Brooklyn Nets: Tyrell Terry, 6-3 PG, Stanford: Putting on weight and displaying better athleticism in workouts filled weaknesses. The ex-DeLaSalle star: who could be the first of several former Minnesota high school standouts drafted Wednesday: created much draft buzz that his shooting could be Steph Curry-like.
20. Miami Heat: Jalen Smith, 6-10 PF, Maryland: Could be the first Big Ten player drafted after showing a much-improved three-point shot to go with prototypical length and athleticism for his position.
21. Philadelphia 76ers: Malachi Flynn, 6-1 PG, San Diego State: Another plug-and-play prospect with experience from four years in college, but is an older backup PG worthy of picking in the first round?
22. Denver Nuggets: Aleksej Pokusevski, 7-0 C, Serbia: Some scouts call him the European version of Chet Holmgren, the No. 1 prep senior and Minnesota big man with guard-like skills. He’s also just 18.
23. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, 6-5 PG, ASVEL: Frenchman was on track to be the best young guard in Europe, but he has still not lived up to the hype. Less pressure on a playoff team could help.
24. Milwaukee Bucks (reportedly traded to New Orleans): Isaiah Stewart, 6-9 C, Washington: Out of high school, Stewart was the No. 2 center behind Wiseman. He makes up for his lack of height with a 7-5 wingspan and brute strength inside.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jaden McDaniels, 6-10 F, Washington: Once projected a top-10 pick, the Seattle native’s rail-thin frame and raw offensive tools make him less of a gamble this late in the first round.
26. Boston Celtics: Leandro Bolmaro, 6-6 PG/SG, FC Barcelona: Only die-hard draft fans are familiar with this 20-year-old Argentine who has NBA-level vision and passing skills. But is he ready for the league yet?
27. New York Knicks: Cole Anthony, 6-3 PG, North Carolina: No prospect dropped as far as the former top point guard in high school last year. A knee injury and bad team hurt his stock as a freshman.
28. Los Angeles Lakers (reportedly traded to Oklahoma City): Desmond Bane, 6-6 SF, TCU: The second oldest first-round pick after Toppin. At 22, his ceiling could be limited but Bane’s already a solid shooter and rebounder.
29. Toronto Raptors: Zeke Nnaji, 6-11 PF/C, Arizona: The energy and effort the Hopkins product brings every night is contagious, but he is starting to add even more polish to his expanding game.
30. Boston Celtics: Daniel Oturu 6-10 PF/C Gophers: The former Cretin-Derham Hall star becomes the first Gopher drafted since Kris Humphries in 2004. He could have a long NBA career like Humphries as well.