This is my first time making a fan post to bare with me.
We have arrived to the draft day. With Milwaukee Bucks making a deep playoff run this draft appears to have arrived a lot faster than usual. At the same time with Milwaukee Bucks trading their first round pick to Detroit last night and not having any second round picks (subject to change) this could be a very long, boring draft for the Bucks fans. Still, this is a special time of the year. Teams' fortunes have potential to change tonight, for better or worse. Lets not forget some of the past drafts.
In 2003 Cleveland Cavaliers were considered to be a joke of a franchise in NBA circles. Then the King arrived arrived. Fifteen years later Cavs have gone to NBA finals 5 times and have a championship to show for it. That same year Detroit Pistons were a franchise on the rise. They were looking for that 1 missing piece to push them over the top and would eventually find it in Rasheed Wallace. Pistons also had #2 pick in 2003 NBA draft which they acquired from the Grizzlies. Pistons could have secured their future by taking Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh with that pick. Instead they opted to take European 7 footer, Darko Milicic, and Pistons became irrelevant as a franchise 5 years later. Miami Heat took the advantage of Pistons' poor choice and selected Dwyane Wade with #5 pick. They have 3 championships to show for it.
In 2007 Portland Trailblazers had everything going for them. They had 2 young stars in Brandon Roy and Lemarcus Aldridge. Blazers also got lucky and won the draft lottery with 8th best odds of only 5.3%. At the top of the board were 2 prospects. One was a 7 foot big man, Greg Oden, who was touted as the generational talent. The other was a skinny 6ft9 forward, Kevin Durant, a natural scorer from anywhere on the floor. Portland picked Greg Oden who was mostly kept away from the floor with a multitude of injuries and setbacks. Brandon Roy soon followed in the same path and Blazers were forced into another rebuild. That same year Seattle Supersonics were a team in disarray. They were getting ready to move to OKC. Both Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen wanted out. Lewis would end up signing a big contract in Orlando while Ray Allen ended up getting traded to Boston. The 1 ray of hope Sonics had was #2 pick with which they chose Kevin Durant. A year later Seattle Supersonics became OKC Thunder. Kevin Durant became one of the best players in the league. Thunder paired him up with Russell Westbrook and James Harden and ended up making NBA finals in 2012. More importantly OKC Thunder remains a relevant franchise even today.
Milwaukee Bucks have had a fair share of hits and misses on the draft night that have contributed greatly to the struggles of the last 15 years as well as recent success. Who can forget Milwaukee Bucks taking Andrew Bogut #1 overall in 2005 over Chris Paul or taking Joe Alexander in 2008 over Brook Lopez. What would have happened if Bucks would have drafted Joel Emblid instead of Jabari Parker? We can only speculate. At the same time Milwaukee Bucks did have the biggest of all hits in 2013 when they drafted a tall, skinny, unknown to most casual fans, Greek kid. Six years later that kid has transformed himself into 1 of the best players in the NBA and has transformed Milwaukee Bucks franchise and downtown Milwaukee in the process. Bucks have also hit on an array of less flashy picks including Malcolm Brogdon, Ersan Illyasova and most recently DJ Wilson.
NBA drafts have an interesting way of panning out in the long run. Sometimes the top prospects dont pan out. Other times teams find gems burried deep down the draft board. This year will be no different. There is a very good chance that some team will find the next Tony Parker, Jimmy Butler or Rudy Gobert late in the first round. There is also a chance that some team might find the next Nikola Jokic, Draymond Green, Manu Ginobili or at the very least Malcolm Brogdon in the second round. There is a small chance that a superstar like Kawhi or Giannis could be hiding in the middle of the first round. This is what makes the draft night so much fun. Nobody really knows how things will shape up.
With that in mind this is my mock draft. This isn't how I rank draft prospects but more of me trying to get into the minds of NBA GMs and trying to guess whom they are going to draft.
1. Zion Williamson - NO Pelicans
2. Ja Morant - Memphis Grizzlies
3. RJ Barrett - New York Knicks
4. Coby White - Atlanta Hawks from NO Pelicans
5. Jarrett Culver - Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Darius Garland - Phoenix Suns
7. DeAndre Hunter - Chicago Bulls
8. Cameron Reddish - NO Pelicans from Atlanta Hawks
9. Rui Hachimura - Washington Wizards
10. Goga Bitadze - NO Pelicans from Atlanta Hawks
11. Jaxson Hayes - Boston Celtics from Minnesota Timberwolves
12. Nassir Little - Charlotte Hornets
13. Sekou Doumbouya - Miami Heat
14. Tyler Herro - Minnesota Timberwolves from Boston Celtics
15. Keldon Johnson - Detroit Pistons
16. Mifondu Kabengele - Orlando Magic
17. Brandon Clarke - Atlanta Hawks
18. PJ Washington - Indiana Pacers
19. Cameron Johnson - SA Spurs
20. Matisse Thybulle - Boston Celtics
21. Nickeil Alexander-Walker - OKC Thunder
22. Romeo Langford - Minnesota Timberwolves from Boston Celtics
23. Bruno Fernando - Memphis Grizzlies from Utah Jazz
24. Kevin Porter - Philadelphia 76ers
25. Dylan Windler - Portland Trailblazers
26. Chuma Okeke - Cleveland Cavaliers
27. Eric Paschall - Brooklyn Nets
28. KZ Okpala - Golden State Warriors
29. Adam Mokoka - San Antonio Spurs
30. Ty Jerome - Detroit Pistons from Milwaukee Bucks
33. Milwaukee Bucks - Carsen Edwards from Philadelphia 76ers