Writers Note: As the NBA season nears its start, so does College & International play. My love for basketball knows no bounds, but I particularly have always enjoyed the scouting aspect. I have only been writing about the sport for a few months, but I have done mock drafts throughout the season every year for 10 years now. Those mocks have held homes on the r/nba_draft subreddit, RealGM forums & Hoopshype forums before that. I am excited to finally give those mocks a proper home on The All Around. I will be doing a mock once a month until March, each update providing profiles for more prospects. During March Madness, I will ramp up the draft coverage until Draft Night in late June. My goal is to make The All Around one of the best sites for mock drafts and scouting reports, to fill the void Jonathon Givony created when he took his expertise behind a paywall. I will utilize this area to discuss a narrative around the draft or draft class and below will follow an objective mock. The order of the mock is taken from Westgate Vegas Over/Under Win totals. Team needs are considered.
1. Atlanta – R.J. Barrett SF Duke 6’7”
The Canadian Wunderkind has been a top of most draft boards for the better part of the last 2 years. A multi-skilled wing, the left hander possesses an extremely high offensive IQ and love for the game. His jumper and ball handling leave something to be desired, but his creativity and ability to outrun and out jump his opponents gives Barrett a natural scoring ability. Barrett has the length to guard multiple positions in the NBA, but he must improve on his rotations in team defense situations. The Hawks have put together a roster of 9th men and high-risk high-reward young guys, they will take the best player available wherever they end up.
2. Boston via SAC– Zion Williamson PF Duke 6’7”
The viral god of this draft class, Zion has been dunking his way onto our timelines for the past 3 years. A unique frame of 6’7” and 285 lbs., Williamson looks like a supercharged Karl Malone. People often use the word ”bouncy” when describing athletic players, Williamson looks like he is playing SLAM Ball. He is underrated as a ball handler and a creative playmaker and finisher. His shot has shown improvement since arriving at Duke and a year under Coach K hopefully improves his defensive effort. The Celtics already embrace a position-less style, and no one seems to agree on what position he will play at the next level.
3. New York – Cam Reddish SF Duke 6’9”
Reddish has fell behind his Blue Devil teammates regarding hype due to him missing their Canada tour with an injury but do not be surprised if he turns out to be the best of the bunch. Reddish played PG in high school and AAU ball while defending the opposing teams’ best player, regardless of position. His 7’1” wingspan and good instincts gives him elite defensive potential. Like Barrett & Williamson, his shot needs improvement. He has displayed good shot mechanics, it will be interesting to see how the three of them mesh. Like the Hawks, the Knicks have a poorly constructed roster with only a few parts for the future that look promising. They will take best player available. FUN FACT: Since 2014, a Duke player has been taken in the Top 3 of the draft every year. They might take all three spots this season.
4. Phoenix – Sekou Doumbouya PF France 6’9”
The Frenchmen might be the most intriguing prospect in the class. Doumbouya highlights play like Giannis Antetokounmpo’s did in 2013, he just looks way bigger and more talented than his competition. Equipped with size & an amazing motor, he would be the #1 prospect if his basketball IQ was on par with the rest of the class. Born in December 2000, Doumbouya is only 17 at the time of writing. Put him in an NBA development system and give him a couple years, he could become the proto-typical two-way modern forward. Phoenix is loaded with youth at every position besides Point Guard, and after spending the last three seasons picking in the top 5 and the last ten(!!) in the lottery this could be the year they trade out. If there is an elite lead guard prospect that plays his way into the top of the lottery, Phoenix is a likely landing spot.
5. Chicago – Nassir Little SF UNC 6’6”
With an incredible 7’2” wingspan, Little has shown skills that lead you to believe he could be an All-Defensive player one day. A real gamer, a competitive spirit that is contagious amongst team mates. Upon arriving at Chapel Hill, immediately started talking trash about the Blue Devils down the road. Good shot mechanics will eventually develop into a consistent 3-point shot, which might be the one major hole in his game currently. One of those players that is good at nearly everything, but maybe not great at any of them. Perhaps the most talented wing to play for the Tar Heels since Michael Jordan. Speaking of Jordan, Charlotte might tank for Little if the season doesn’t go according to their high expectation. The Bulls signed Jabari Parker to play SF out of position, Little fits the timeline with the other young Bulls (Markkanen, Carter Jr.) better.
6. Cleveland – Romeo Langford SG Indiana 6’6”
7. Orlando – Quentin Grimes SG Kansas 6’5”
8. Brooklyn – Rui Hachimura PF Gonzaga 6’8”
9. Memphis – DeAndre Hunter SF Virginia 6’7”
10. Atlanta via DAL – Naz Reid PF LSU 6’10”
11. Charlotte – Tre Jones PG Duke 6’3”
12. LA Clippers – Daniel Gafford C Arkansas 6’11”
13. Minnesota – Bol Bol C Oregon 7’2”
14. Portland – Louis King SF Oregon 6’7”
Next 5 in: Jontay Porter, Keldon Johnson, Bruno Fernando, Killian Tillie, Jaylen Hoard