The Vertical Mock Draft, Version 4.0

Jonathan Givony
The Vertical

1. Philadelphia (from Boston via Brooklyn): PG Markelle Fultz
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-4/195
Washington
Philadelphia cashed in on its stockpile of assets to fill an immediate need at point guard and acquire the player most teams consider to be the most talented prospect in the draft. The Maryland native will step into far different circumstances with the 76ers than he would have with the Celtics, joining the talented Joel Embiid and the touted but untested Ben Simmons to form one of the NBA’s most interesting young cores.

2. L.A. Lakers: PG Lonzo Ball
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-6/190
UCLA
The Lakers were lucky to keep this pick in the lottery and have been active, trading D’Angelo Russell in a cap-clearing move with an eye toward attracting the NBA’s biggest stars in 2018. In position to select the prospect many consider to be the second best in the draft and fill an immediate need at point guard, the Lakers rebuild is fully underway under president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka.

3. Boston (from Philadelphia): SF Jayson Tatum
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-8/204
Duke
Moving down in the draft and picking up a potentially high future draft selection in the process, president Danny Ainge repositioned the Celtics to acquire two high-level prospects at the expense of Fultz. But Tatum is perhaps the most gifted one-on-one scorer in the draft and would be an excellent consolation prize, although Josh Jackson could enter the conversation here as well.

Duke’s Jayson Tatum is an excellent scorer. (AP)

4. Phoenix: SF Josh Jackson
Freshman
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 6-8/203
Kansas
Devin Booker emerged as a building block for Phoenix in his second season. Pairing him on the wing with a dynamic, two-way athlete such as Jackson seems like an excellent fit for a franchise looking to re-establish its identity.

5. Sacramento: PG De’Aaron Fox
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-4/171
Kentucky
Fox has as much upside as almost any player in the draft and would also fill a position of need. Possessing great size and speed, he would be a great addition – on and off the floor – for a team hitting the reset button on the rebuilding process.

6. Orlando: SF/PF Jonathan Isaac
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-11/205
Florida State
The Magic, perhaps more than any team at the top of this draft, are looking for direction and long-term pieces. In what has clearly become a six-player top tier, Orlando will be happy to settle for whichever marquee name falls to it. One of the top defensive prospects in the draft, Isaac is an interesting complement to Aaron Gordon and could help provide some shooting for one the NBA’s least prolific perimeter offenses.

7. Minnesota: PF Lauri Markkanen
Freshman
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 7-0/225
Arizona
The Timberwolves are one of the youngest teams in the NBA and might not be all that interested in adding another inexperienced player. Barring a trade, however, Markkanen could be a good fit with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Markkanen’s versatile jump-shooting ability and the spacing that comes with it would be a welcome addition to a team that struggled from the perimeter last season.

8. New York: PG/SG Malik Monk
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-4/197
Kentucky
Regardless of whether Derrick Rose stays in New York, the Knicks could absolutely benefit from bolstering their backcourt. Arguably the most explosive scorer in the NCAA this past season, Monk may not be the long-term answer at point guard but could be an excellent fit in the triangle and bring some needed excitement to Madison Square Garden.

9. Dallas: PG Dennis Smith
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-3/197
North Carolina State
Even if they miss out on the top point-guard talent, the Mavs could benefit from the depth at the position. Smith could easily have been selected higher in a different year. He would be an ideal roll of the dice here for Dallas, which will also consider any of the consensus top-nine prospects who could potentially slide to them.

10. Sacramento: PF Zach Collins
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 7-0/230
Gonzaga
This pick is dependent on how things shake out at No. 5, but the Kings figure to take a swing at whomever they deem to be the top remaining prospect. Many scouts believe Collins is a clear-cut top-10 or top-11 pick. He was the best player for stretches of Gonzaga’s run to the NCAA national-title game. He should be a good fit with Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein because of his combination of perimeter shooting and shot-blocking.

11. Charlotte: SG Donovan Mitchell
Sophomore
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 6-3/ 210
Louisville
An undersized but freakishly long and athletic guard who could grow into a versatile asset on both ends, Mitchell seems like a strong candidate to provide valuable depth to a Hornets roster that could use some added punch at both guard spots.

12. Detroit: SG Luke Kennard
Sophomore
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 6-6/ 202
Duke
One of the best shooters in college basketball, Kennard is not just a spot-up shooter but also adept at making pull-up jumpers. He can play in the pick-and-roll and come off screens. He seems like a strong candidate to provide basketball smarts and unselfishness to a Pistons roster that struggled offensively for long stretches last season.

13. Denver: PF John Collins
Sophomore
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/ 225
Wake Forest
Denver found a gem in Nikola Jokic in the second round in 2014 and will now look to complement him and continue the youth movement in the frontcourt. Collins was one of the most prolific per-minute scorers and rebounders in college basketball this past season and has plenty of upside to grow into.

14. Miami: SF Justin Jackson
Junior
Age: 21
Ht./Wt.: 6-8/ 193
North Carolina
With the wing positions potentially in flux for the Heat, they could look to add some shooting and role-player potential. Jackson was one of the most improved jump shooters in college basketball and is an instinctive scorer off the bounce who could fit nicely alongside Justise Winslow, who will likely play some power forward.


15. Portland: PG Frank Ntilikina
International
Age: 18
Ht./Wt.: 6-5/170
Strasbourg (France)
Lacking depth at guard behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Portland likely would be ecstatic to have Ntilikina fall to them. He would be an intriguing option because of his defensive versatility, spot-up shooting and basketball IQ, and an ideal fit alongside their backcourt stars.

16. Chicago: C Jarrett Allen
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-11/224
Texas
The Bulls could use some quality depth up front, and in a draft flush with young big men, selecting the highest upside player on the board might be the right move. Allen has tremendous size and length, and could grow into a contributor down the road.

17. Milwaukee: C Justin Patton
Redshirt freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-11/215
Creighton
The Bucks don’t have a great deal of depth at center, and with Greg Monroe entering the final year of his contract, the team could look to add some size. Patton had a breakout year at Creighton, and though he needs to get stronger, he has an intriguing combination of size and athleticism that could pay dividends down the road.

18. Indiana: C Bam Adebayo
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/250
Kentucky
After striking gold with the selection of Myles Turner in 2015, Indiana could look to continue its youth movement up front with Adebayo, whose strength and athleticism would provide a good contrast to Turner’s skill set away from the rim.

19. Atlanta: C Ike Anigbogu
Freshman
Age: 18
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/252
UCLA
With Dwight Howard on his way to Charlotte, Atlanta could look to bolster its depth the center. With his outstanding size, length, frame and athleticism, Anigbogu’s potential as a finisher and rim protector seems like a good long-term fit for the Hawks.


20. Portland: SF OG Anunoby
Sophomore
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-8/ 215
Indiana
With three first-round picks, the Trail Blazers can afford to take a swing on Anunoby, who continues to rehab a season-ending knee injury. Anunoby’s length, defensive versatility and ability to hit spot-up jumpers make him an ideal fit in today’s NBA.

21. Oklahoma City: PF T.J. Leaf
Freshman
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/ 220
UCLA
Lacking spacing in their half-court offense, the Thunder could go a number of directions but would benefit from a player who can help unclog the lane for Russell Westbrook. Leaf was one of the most efficient offensive players in college last season and could add some value with his inside-outside scoring ability.

22. Brooklyn (from Boston): PF D.J. Wilson
Redshirt sophomore
Age: 21
Ht./Wt.: 6’10/ 240
Michigan
The Nets are clearly embracing the pace-and-space era. Wilson has a terrific physical profile with a strong frame and long arms to go along with a versatile offensive game and good defensive potential. He hasn’t put it all together to make an impact consistently yet, but could grow into a solid role player down the line.

23. Toronto (from L.A. Clippers): SF/PF Tyler Lydon
Sophomore
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/ 225
Syracuse
Lydon’s high basketball IQ, shooting stroke and ability to play multiple positions could be the right fit for a Toronto team that could use an insurance policy for free agent Patrick Patterson’s potential departure.

24. Utah: SF/PF Semi Ojeleye
Redshirt Junior
Age: 22
Ht./Wt.: 6-7/ 241
SMU
Utah’s core came into its own this season, but with free agent Gordon Hayward’s situation up in the air, the Jazz have plenty of options here. Lacking frontcourt depth, a player like Ojeleye – with his maturity, athleticism, and scoring ability – could make sense here.

25. Orlando (from L.A. Clippers): C Anzejs Pasecniks
International
Age: 21
Ht./Wt.: 7-2/ 229
Gran Canaria (EuroCup)
With two first-round picks and plenty of room for depth, the Magic could take a flyer on Pasecniks, who was perhaps the most improved young player in all of Europe this season. The Latvian big man’s size, skill level, potential as a shooter and rapid improvement this season could be a very smart gamble. He would be happy to stay in Europe for another year while the Magic figure out their long-term frontcourt rotation.

26. Portland (from Cleveland): PF Harry Giles
Freshman
Age: 18
Ht./Wt.: 6-11/ 222
Duke
With their third first-round pick, the Trail Blazers could look to take a chance on a young big man late, and adding a player such as Giles, who was once considered perhaps the top long-term prospect in this draft, could be a shrewd move. He’s in play as high as Portland’s pick at No. 15, but the glut of big men could cause his stock to drop somewhat on draft night.

27. L.A. Lakers (from Brooklyn via Washington): PG/SG Derrick White
Senior
Age: 23
Ht./Wt.: 6-5/ 200
Colorado
After trading Russell to Brooklyn in a deal for Brook Lopez and this pick, the Lakers could use some depth at the guard spots. White would be a nice fit because of his ability to score efficiently playing with or off the ball.

28. L.A. Lakers (via Houston): PF Kyle Kuzma
Age 21
Ht./Wt.: 6-9/ 221
Utah
The Lakers could go a number of directions at this point, but picking Kuzma – who can handle, pass and shoot from 3-point range – could be appealing as general manager Rob Pelinka looks to rebuild the bench. The Lakers have very little shooting in their frontcourt, which could make Kuzma appealing.

29. San Antonio: SG Terrance Ferguson
Age: 18
Ht./Wt.: 6-7/186
Adelaide, South Australia (National Basketball League)
The Spurs have always been opportunistic in the draft. After taking Dejounte Murray at No. 29 last year, San Antonio could once again add a high-upside piece to its winning culture. Ferguson is a promising shooter and defender who could blossom as a role player down the road after bypassing college to play in Australia. The Oklahoma native’s stock dropped precipitously after a poor predraft process, but at this stage there’s very little risk.


30. Utah (from Golden State): PF Ivan Rabb
Sophomore
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 6-10/215
California
One of the most fundamentally sound players in this draft, Rabb is an old-school big man who rebounds, has a high basketball IQ and likes to operate in the paint. A fairly polished player, he figures to provide immediate value in a hustle role once his body improves, and Utah could use some insurance at center heading into the summer.

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