NBA Mock Draft 2.0 by Ben Henken

The second edition of my mock draft. Expansion on my thoughts are included for the lottery picks.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl-Anthony Towns, PF/C Kentucky

Towns is the best prospect on the board, fills a position of need, and fits perfectly into their offense. Towns can bang in the post as well as step outside to knock down jumpers. Down the line, Towns could develop into the Wolves’ anchor on both sides of the ball. Keeping up with a run-and-gun offense will be less challenging for him than any other forward in this draft.

2. Los Angeles Lakers – Jahlil Okafor, C Duke

A lot of scouts are now predicting that D’Angelo Russell could slide into the Lakers’ arms at #2. I still bank on the Lakers selecting Okafor on draft night. Even though both Okafor and Russell possess the raw talent to become superstars, Okafor’s offensive potential at center is too much for the Lakers to pass on. The Lakers will have a much easier time filling their void at point guard through free agency over the next few years, but they may not see a big man like Okafor fall to them in the next decade.

3. Philadelphia 76ers – D’Angelo Russell, PG/SG Ohio State

Russell is the best guard prospect in this draft and should be able to score close to 20 points per game on this roster during his rookie year. Kristaps Porzingis has been drawing a lot of interest at the top of the draft, specifically to the 76ers, but Russell provides the same superstar potential at a position the 76ers need even more and immediately.

4. New York Knicks – Kristaps Porzingis, PF Latvia 

Porzingis has been flying up draft boards in the past few weeks and I would not be surprised if he winds up going earlier than this pick. Porzingis has unparalleled quickness, athleticism and shooting ability for a 7’1” power forward, and the only reason that he is not considered a serious option for the #1 pick is that foreign players are considered riskier prospects. Don’t let the Andrea Bargnani’s and Nikoloz Tskitishvili’s of the past fool you. Whomever ends up drafting Porzingis will be glad he fell to them.

5. Orlando Magic – Justise Winslow, SG/SF Duke 

I do not think Winslow will be a superstar one day, but I really do like what he would bring to the Magic. Winslow, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton would play amazing perimeter defense for the Magic while Nikola Vucevic would control the paint. If the team cannot re-sign Tobias Harris, Winslow will need to score a lot in order for the Magic to remain competitive. In the East, though, selecting Winslow would make the Magic a gritty, defensive team inching closer toward playoff contention.

6. Sacramento Kings – Emmanuel Mudiay, PG Dallas, Texas

Mudiay has just as much superstar potential as any player in this draft, but his decision to forgo college to play overseas likely will cost him. Mudiay would instantly fit into the Kings’ starting lineup and would create ample space for Stauskas and McLemore to operate behind the three-point line.

7. Denver Nuggets – Mario Hezonja, SG/SF Croatia

I have a personal infatuation with Hezonja’s skill set and think that he could turn out to be one of the league’s best shooting guards. He’s silky smooth, plays above the rim, and his jumper extends way beyond the three-point line. Some scouts dislike Hezonja because they don’t believe he has the motor of an NBA star, but if a good coach can convince Hezonja to play his best every night, there’s not much preventing him from becoming a slightly smaller version of Rudy Gay.

8. Detroit Pistons – Stanley Johnson, SF Arizona

Johnson was one of the most highly acclaimed recruits of this year’s freshmen class. He has an NBA ready body, plays excellent defense, and should be a solid, although unspectacular, contributor on offense. He very well could be the spark plug this talented, under-performing Pistons’ team needs to become a playoff team in the East.

9. Charlotte Hornets – Devin Booker, SG Kentucky

Booker is one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. He only played limited minutes off the bench for a loaded Kentucky team last season, but proved that he can be a dominant, primary scoring option for a great team. Booker is a fantastic shooter and has shown burst when attacking the rim as well. It’s a great fit and great value here for the Hornets.

10. Miami Heat – Willie Cauley-Stein, PF/C Kentucky

The fit here for Cauley-Stein is a bit odd, as the Heat would have loved to see one of the elite wing players fall to them at #10. Still, Cauley-Stein is arguably a top 5 or 7 talent in this draft, and the Heat will nab him here to provide valuable frontcourt depth as Chris Bosh gets healthy.

11. Indiana Pacers – Myles Turner, PF/C Texasprofile_15616632_75sq_1398868574

I had Turner slated to go to Indiana in my last mock draft. I think that he provides great value at a position of need for the Pacers. Turner has the potential to turn into a valuable two-way player, as he blocked shots at an incredibly high rate and knocked down jumpers during his freshman year. He could eventually be the successor to Roy Hibbert and provide a lot of value to this team.

12. Utah Jazz – Frank Kaminsky, PF/C Wisconsin

The Jazz traded away Enes Kanter this past season and Kaminsky would make up for Kanter’s offense at the position, with Rudy Gobert protecting the rim. Kaminsky would complement Gobert and Derrick Favors nicely and provide instant offense off the bench. The Jazz may be interested in a guard here, but I still think that Dante Exum will be very good one day. Even if Exum never fully develops offensively, Kaminsky, Hayward, Burke, Gobert, and Favors are ready to carry the load for him.

13. Phoenix Suns – Bobby Portis, PF Arkansas

Bobby Portis isn’t getting as much attention as many other prospects, but he is a very skilled sophomore. At 6’11”, Porter would be a big, talented body to insert into the Suns’ frontcourt rotation, which has already been bolstered by the sophomore resurgence of Alex Len. Len and Portis could form a very solid front court for the future, especially if backed up by explosiveness from the backcourt in Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight (if re-signed).

14. Oklahoma City Thunder – Cameron Payne, PG Murray State

Payne fractured his finger during a workout with the Nuggets this week, but the Thunder need guard depth and Payne makes sense here. He is another mid-major passing and scoring point guard (Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard), but he will not be as good as those players. Regardless, taking Payne or another scorer like R.J. Hunter or Sam Dekker makes the most sense for the Thunder.

Here is the rest of the 1st round after the lottery picks:

15. Atlanta Hawks – Kelly Oubre, Jr. SG/SF Kansas
16. Boston Celtics – Sam Dekker, SF Wisconsin
17. Milwaukee Bucks – Kevon Looney, PF UCLA
18. Houston Rockets – Jerian Grant, PG Notre Dame
19. Washington Wizards – Tyus Jones, PG Duke
20. Toronto Raptors – Trey Lyles, PF Kentucky
21. Dallas Mavericks – R.J. Hunter, SG Georgia State
22. Chicago Bulls – Montrezl Harrell, SF/PF Louisville
23. Portland Trail Blazers – Christian Wood, PF UNLV
24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Delon Wright, PG Utah
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Justin Anderson, SG/SF Virginia
26. San Antonio Spurs – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF Arizona
27. Los Angeles Lakers – Andrew Harrison, PG Kentucky
28. Boston Celtics – Jordan Mickey, PF LSU
29. Brooklyn Nets – Rakeem Christmas, PF/C Syracuse
30. Golden State Warriors – Robert Upshaw, C Washington

Check back for the final Mock Draft featuring other SST writers as well on Thursday before the Draft begins.

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