3Double Mock Draft: Version 1

With the NBA draft order being set, lets take a look at how the draft might go. This mock will only cover the 14 lottery picks, other versions of the mock draft will include all 30 picks.

 

  1. Phoenix Suns – Luka Doncic: The Suns have a tough choice to start the draft: do they go for DeAndre Ayton, the massive center with a unique set of skills and local ties, or do they take Doncic, the Slovenian sensation who has played for their new coach? Ultimately, I think they opt for Doncic because new head coach Igor Kokoskov coached Doncic to a championship for Slovenia in EuroBasket 2017. Doncic is an elite playmaker to pair with Devin Booker. Despite being about 6’8″, Doncic can be the Suns’ primary ballhandler and playmaker. Doncic.jpg
  2. Sacramento Kings – DeAndre Ayton: The Kings moved up five spots and now have the luxury of getting one of the best two players in the draft. Ayton is my number one prospect, and he fits the Kings’ existing roster. Drafting Ayton gives the Kings a chance to pair a lot of their solid young players (Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox) with a franchise player. Ayton
  3. Atlanta Hawks – Jaren Jackson Jr.: The Hawks moved up a spot in the lottery and are now in an interesting position. The Hawks could go in a lot of directions, but I’m mocking Jackson to them. The prospect out of Michigan State is the ideal modern big man: he can shoot, he can play tough inside, and he can play good defense and protect the rim. New head coach Lloyd Pierce said he wants to instill a defensive culture in Atlanta, and that’s why I gave Jackson the nod.
  4. Memphis Grizzlies – Marvin Bagley: The poor Grizzlies. After a season of awful injury luck, the Grizzlies fell two spots in the draft. On the brightside, Bagley is a good fit for the Grizzlies. Bagley is a springy power forward/center who has an opprotunity to be the team’s leading scorer. Pairing Bagley with veterans Mike Conley and Marc Gasol might make the Grizzlies a contender for a playoff spot.
  5. Dallas Mavericks – Mo Bamba: While the Suns resisted the temptation of grabbing a guy with local ties, the Mavericks are happy to select Mo Bamba out of the University of Texas. Bamba has the height and wingspan (7’0″ and 7’10” respectively) to make a huge impact on defense. Bamba projects to be an elite rim protector, and he is working on developing an outside shot. If Bamba puts it all together, he might wind up being the best player in the draft.
  6. Orlando Magic – Trae Young: Young is my third favorite prospect, and the Magic desperately need a point guard. It’s a match made in heaven. Young has the potential to be the next Steph Curry. He is undersized and his defense will never be great, but Young can shoot from anywhere on the floor and is a great fit for the Magic. Young
  7. Chicago Bulls – Michael Porter Jr.: The Bulls could go in a lot of different directions here, but Porter has the most upside of the players left. ESPN ranked Porter second in the 2017 high school class, citing his scoring ability as a primary factor. Porter missed most of the college season with a back injury, and his draft stock has taken a dive as a result. Despite a disappointing college career, Porter is still a high upside play who has potential to be a franchise player if he puts it all together.
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers – Collin Sexton: This is perhaps the biggest wildcard spot in the draft. The Cavaliers will not know if LeBron James will be returning by the time the draft rolls around, so their selection will certainly be interesting. It would not be surprising if the Cavaliers ultimately trade this pick for a veteran player to try to help LeBron. However, for now I have them selecting Sexton, an explosive point guard out of Alabama. Sexton isn’t my favorite prospect here, but the Cavaliers could use a point guard as George Hill is not in their future plans.
  9. New York Knicks – Mikal Bridges: Bridges’ draft stock has risen a lot this past college season. He’s 21 years old, and will be 22 before the start of the NBA season. It’s rare to see a junior be selected in the top 10 picks, but Bridges has proven shooting ability and is a good defender.
  10. Philadelphia 76ers – Wendell Carter Jr.: The 76ers would love to see Mikal Bridges fall to their pick, but with him off the board they select the best player available. Carter is often compared to Al Horford. He isn’t the most athletic guy, but he can shoot from outside pretty well and is a good rebounder.
  11. Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges: The Hornets could use help in all areas. It seems doubtful that Kemba Walker is on the team by the start of the season. It appears that it is time for the Hornets to blow it up and start fresh. Given that, they pick Bridges, who can be a small-ball power forward. Bridges played his sophomore season out of position at Michigan State. Being able to play his natural position along with better spacing should make Bridges the best prospect available at this point. I expect him to be a better NBA player than a college player.
  12. Los Angeles Clippers – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: The Clippers have back to back draft picks which puts them in good position to trade up. However, if the Clippers do make this pick, SGA should be their guy. SGA is a defensive minded guard who can play on or off ball. Milos Teodosic came over from Europe last year to play point, but he’s already 31 and could be traded.
  13. Los Angeles Clippers – Kevin Knox: With back to back picks, the Clippers select two Kentucky teammates. Knox was not efficient in college, he’s a raw scorer with a lot of potential. With SGA being a bit of a safe pick at 12, why not swing for the fences with Knox with the next pick?
  14. Denver Nuggets – Zhaire Smith: The Nuggets narrowly missed the playoffs this past season, but at least they have a lottery pick. Smith is uber athletic, but he is a project. It’s hard to imagine him getting much run with the Nuggets next season, but he could develop in the G-League. Smith is another “potential” guy, and if you watch his highlights you will see why he is an intriguing prospect.

 

Should the Suns Trade for Kyrie Irving?

There are reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be willing to trade disgruntled star Kyrie Irving to the Phoenix Suns for a package of Eric Bledsoe, rookie Josh Jackson, and first round pick. For the Cavs, they get a talented (but brittle) point guard to replace Irving, and Jackson and the pick give them some assets to build around. For the Suns, they get a star player to pair with Devin Booker and expedite the rebuilding process.

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Rumors of the Suns angling for a star have been around for years now. The Suns were in the mix during LaMarcus Aldridge’s free agency in 2015, and have been rumored to be targeting players such as Kevin Love and Paul Millsap recently. The franchise appears to be enamored with the idea of snagging a star. The Suns haven’t made the playoffs since the 2009-2010 season, wanting a star to make the team competitive again isn’t surprising. But is Irving the right star to target, and if so, is Cleveland’s asking price too high?

First, lets take a look at the Suns roster. The team has a lot of good young talent. Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender were drafted last year and showed some promise, and Booker is already a very good player. Plus, many have faith in Jackson, though his shooting woes in college make others wary. Bledsoe is a good player, but he doesn’t really fit the team’s timeline. The team is certainly not a playoff team this season, and it is hard to imagine they make the playoffs in the stacked Western Conference even with Irving.

However, a core of Irving and Booker would be dynamite offensively. If one of Chriss or Bender develop into a good rim protector, it would help mask some of the poor defensive skills of Irving and Booker. The Suns would be a difficult team to face, but probably not a playoff team. Irving can opt out of his contract in two years, and it is certainly possible he would leave the Suns if they are not competing for a playoff spot. That’s a pretty big risk.

The package that the Cavaliers are reportedly asking for is Bledsoe, Jackson, and a first rounder. As of now, the Suns have their own first rounder in 2018, as well as the Miami Heat’s first round pick. If the Suns could trade Miami’s first rounder, they still would have their own pick, likely to be in the lottery. Bledsoe is a good player, but he’s injured a lot and is 27. Plus, Irving would replace Bledsoe, so that isn’t an issue. The big question comes down to how the Suns view Jackson. The fourth pick in the 2017 draft, many consider Jackson to have star potential. Jackson’s biggest asset is his defense, but his offensive game seems solid besides his inconsistent shooting. If the Suns think Jackson is a star in the making, trading him away is silly. If that’s the case, just stay the course and let the young guys develop. This isn’t a team ready to compete, Irving or no Irving.

Ranking NBA Logos: 20-11

This is a continuation of the NBA logo ranking series. Rankings 30-21 can be found here

 

 

Magic

20. Orlando Magic – How would you represent magic in a basketball logo? That’s a tough task. That said, the current Magic logo is pretty good. The blue color is nice, and the flying ball is a good way to get the magic idea across. The font could be a little less deliberate, but overall the style is much better than the old jagged font.

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19. Phoenix Suns – I miss the purple. The switch from purple to black make the Suns looks like they’re representing Halloween everyday of the year. Still, the ball/sun hybrid is iconic. If the Suns ever go back to their classic purple, this logo will jump up the rankings.

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18. Cleveland Cavaliers – Another shield logo. Thankfully this is the last one. And you know what? The shield fits the Cavaliers name well. It is certainly fitting. The Cavaliers unveiled the new logo right before their NBA Finals appearance. The design is simple but modern. It is the second best of the reworked logos for the upcoming season.

Jazz

17. Utah Jazz – The Jazz ditched their mountain surroundings for the more retro jazz music note a few years ago. The results? A better logo. Like the Magic and Heat, the Jazz have a difficult name to personify. Especially in Utah, which is not exactly a hotbed for jazz music. While the mountains the Jazz left behind might be more Utah, the music note looks nice and has a retro feel to it. Plus, their jerseys have been majorly upgraded this past decade.

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16. Los Angeles Lakers – It’s classic, it’s iconic, it has a ton of history behind it but… It’s a little boring. Purple and gold is a really cool color scheme, but really, that’s all this logo has going for it that makes it cool. It’s just the team name over a basketball. The significance of this logo cannot be undersold, but in the end, it’s pretty plain.

 

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15. Houston Rockets – There’s a lot to like about this logo. The pointy end of the R resembles the nose cone of a rocket, and the rush of exhaust coming off at the bottom during a launch is a nice touch. Unlike most logos, the Rockets logo is just a simple red color. It’s a cool logo. Hopefully the Rockets can work on their jerseys though, they could use an upgrade.

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14. Indiana Pacers – Simple, but what suits one of the NBA’s smallest markets better? The Pacers logo has no flash or frills, but it’s still well done and easy on the eyes. The ball flying across the P is reminiscent of the speed found at the Indianapolis 500. The lines also remind me of the Pacers old pinstripe jerseys. Fun fact: the Pacers have the only logo in the NBA that does not feature the team’s city or state.

Kings

13. Sacramento Kings – Remember the Kings old logo? This monstrosity that looks a little like the Iron Throne from Game of Thrones. Man, what a mess that was. I would have ranked it last on this list. Like the Jazz, the Kings went back to their roots for their new logo. The gray and purple is a unique and really cool look, and the crown actually looks like a real crown this time. The Kings went from the worst logo in the league to top 15, that’s quite an improvement! Congratulations to the Kings.

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12. New Orleans Pelicans – This is one intimidating bird. New Orleans spanning just on top of the wings of the pelican has a font that is reminiscent of the city. The fleur-de-lis (which is also featured in the New Orleans Saints logo) at the top screams New Orleans. If you’re curious, a fleur-de-lis is a stylized lily that usually represents French royalty or saints. Pelicans aren’t the coolest of birds, but the Pelicans logo still manages to look fierce and aggressive.

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11. Toronto Raptors – The Raptors logo reminds me of Jurassic Park, which is pretty cool. The raptor claw doubling as the laces of the ball is awesome. But dang it, I miss that dribbling raptor. How much cooler does it get than a dinosaur dribbling a basketball? It may seem a little silly, but what a cool idea. As it stands, the Raptors have a good logo. It just isn’t the dribbling raptor.