The NBA draft is just one month away. That means first-round prospects will begin making their way through the workout circuit within the next week or two. It means that we’re about to be inundated with 30 days of wild, mostly unfounded rumors. It means that all the YouTube scouting that was pathetic in February is now at least a little bit less pathetic. And most importantly, four weeks until draft night means that we are officially in the throes of mock draft season.
The order is set as of last week’s lottery. The combine is behind us. The playoffs have been boring enough to make the draft look twice as interesting. It’s time to dive in. But a few notes before we start:
• The most interesting segment of this draft comes from 2-10. Fultz is in his own category at the top, but beyond that, there’s very little separation between some of the biggest names on the board. Everyone comes with questions, but there’s also All-Star upside all over the lottery. Between now and June there will be plenty of talk about the how good this draft is, and I think the second half of the top ten is where the hype is validated. The third pick this year is about as talented as the third pick in most years. The eighth pick (Knicks!) could be much better.
• Given the note above, we’ll go heavy on the top 10 or 11, and then keep descriptions briefer thereafter.
• Four players not in this first round who could definitely end up there in June: Tony Bradley from UNC, Tyler Lydon from Syracuse, Jordan Bell from Oregon, and AnzejsPasecniks from Latvia.
• Four second rounders I really like: Cam Oliver from Nevada, Wesley Iwundu from Kansas State, Josh Hart from Villanova, and Tyler Dorsey from Oregon.
• We have a trade! In this version of the mock, the Sixers trade the No. 3 pick to Sacramento for No. 5 and No. 10. I’m not sure how I feel about trying to project trades in these mocks going forward, but for now, we’ll mix it up. Life is too short to project the exact same order every week until the draft.