16. Orlando: SG Romeo Langford, Indiana
The middle of the first round projects to be dominated by shooting guards and wings, and there doesn't appear to be much that separates them. Langford played much of this past season with a torn ligament in his right thumb, and the resulting surgery has sidelined him for pre-draft workouts. At 6-foot-6 he has good size for an off guard, and can also be used as a playmaker at times. With Terrence Ross set to be a free agent at the end of the month, Langford can help fill a potential hole in the perimeter rotation if he’s the Magic’s choice here.
17. Brooklyn: C Bol Bol, Oregon
At 7-feet-2 Bol is one of the tallest prospects in this draft class, and one of its most skilled as well. He can score on all three levels, getting shots either off the dribble or in catch-and-shoot situations, and he was also a productive shot blocker during his nine-game run at Oregon. The questions will surround his medical reports, as a foot injury ended his season in December, and his physical strength. Bol’s still maturing physically, so at the start of his NBA career it would likely serve him best to not have to be a team’s interior focal point (and thus take the physical play that can be associated with this). It would come as no surprise if he were to wind up in the lottery given the skill set, but the questions could make some teams in that part of the draft hesitant to roll the dice. Outside of the lottery, Bol Bol could wind up being a steal.
18. Indiana: SG Tyler Herro, Kentucky
Indiana’s going to have a lot of room to make additions to the roster during free agency, especially on the perimeter, as seven players will be unrestricted free agents (five being guards/small forwards). Add in the fact that Victor Oladipo is recovering from the ruptured quadriceps tendon that ended his season prematurely, and getting some perimeter help via the draft wouldn’t be a bad course of action to take. In Tyler Herro the Pacers would be getting a guard who can definitely knock down shots, but he’s shouldn’t be placed in the box of being nothing more than a shooter. He can get his own off the dribble, and the freshman was also a solid perimeter defender.
19. San Antonio: SF Cameron Johnson, North Carolina
The Spurs could use another capable perimeter shooter given their reliance on LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, two scorers who avoid the three-pointer at all costs, and Johnson would fit that mold. In addition to his ability as a three-point shooter, Johnson also has the combination of size and athleticism needed to defend both wing positions. He’d be a good 3-and-D option for San Antonio, which did a good job of getting perimeter looks for the players most capable of hitting those shots this season (30th in three-point attempts, but first in three-point percentage during the regular season).
20. Boston (via LA Clippers): C Goga Bitadze, Buducnost (Montenegro)
Bitadze has some strides to make as an interior defender, but his ability to score in the post makes him an enticing option for the Celtics. In addition to guards Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier both set to be free agents, power forward Marcus Morris Sr. will be as well and Al Horford and Aron Baynes both have player options. The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Bitadze would at the very least give the Celtics another option in the post, and if paired with Horford would have some cover defensively as Horford is one of the NBA’s best front court defenders.
21. Oklahoma City: SG Matisse Thybulle, Washington
Oklahoma City is in an interesting spot here, thanks to the team’s current payroll. The Thunder are projected to have $147.6 million in salaries on their books for next season, well above the luxury tax threshold and nearly $5 million more than what they paid out this season. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported this week that the Thunder could look to move the pick in exchange for salary cap relief, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they went the “draft and stash” route either as this is the team’s lone draft pick. The projection here is Thybulle, a long-armed defensive savant who fits the mold of young wings that Sam Presti has drafted in the past. But it could be a pick for someone else if the aforementioned report comes to fruition.
22. Boston: SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Virginia Tech
As noted above the Celtics could potentially have some holes to fill on the perimeter, with both Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier being free agents. That’s one reason why Alexander-Walker, who played on the ball more when Justin Robinson went down with a foot injury in January, would be a good fit for Boston. The former Virginia Tech guard has good size at 6-foot, 5 1/2 inches tall in shoes, and he also shot just over 38% from three during his two seasons in college. Under Brad Stevens the Celtics have used guards who can play either on or off the ball, and Alexander-Walker fits that mold.
23. Utah: PF Mfiondu Kabengele, Florida State
Kabengele has good size and athleticism for a power forward, and after excelling in the sixth man role at Florida State there wouldn’t be much of a mental adjustment to having a similar role at the NBA level. Last season he shot 50.2% from the field and 76.1% from the foul line, and he also shot 36.9% from beyond the arc on an average of 1.8 three-point attempts per game. That wasn’t a major part of his game at the college level, but the numbers suggest that with some work Kabengele is capable of extending the range on his jump shot.
24. Philadelphia: SG Keldon Johnson, Kentucky
It’s possible that Johnson goes a little higher than this come draft night, with there likely to be a run on shooting guards/wings in the middle of the first round. He’s a competitor on both ends of the floor, as he did well in individual matchups defensively while also showing off the ability to hit perimeter shots. Johnson isn’t the best at creating for himself off the dribble, but in Philadelphia that shouldn’t be a major issue with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid being the priorities on offense. With regards to the 76ers free agency will have a major impact on the makeup of this team next season, as Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick will all hit the market on June 30.
25. Portland: PF Grant Williams, Tennessee
Moving Williams a couple spots up in this mock after having him headed to the Spurs at No. 29 in the second edition. He’s a bit undersized for a power forward at the NBA level, but that didn’t prevent Williams from winning SEC Player of the Year two seasons in a row. While he converts at a solid percentage around the basket, making 72.3% of those attempts last season, Williams did occasionally struggle against lengthy defenders. The measurements don’t jump off the page, but simply put Grant Williams is a winner. Going to a team like Portland that’s experienced success in the form of a deep playoff run would be a good situation for him, as he’s the kind of player that teams won’t have to worry about from a maturity standpoint.
26: Cleveland (via Houston): SF KZ Okpala, Stanford
Okpala is one of the more intriguing players in this draft, because while the physical measurements are what tend to make scouts salivate he wasn’t always the most consistent player from a production standpoint. His perimeter shot needs a lot of work, but there aren’t many coaches better when it comes to polishing offensive skill sets than John Beilein. The Cavaliers aren’t going to be a “quick fix” kind of rebuild, and taking a chance on a player like Okpala wouldn’t be a bad idea. With the right coaching from a skill development standpoint, Okpala’s upside as a pro can be turned into production at a level that could ultimately make him one of the steals of this draft.
27. Brooklyn (via Denver): PF Luka Samanic, Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia)
No change here as Samanic hasn’t done much to hurt his prospects after playing well at last month’s NBA Draft Combine. The 6-foot-11 native of Croatia has improved his physical build over the last year or so, which he had to do in order to hold his own at Olimpija Ljubljana. There’s still work to be done when it comes to handling the physicality of the NBA game, and while he’s shown the ability to stretch the floor, the perimeter shot is still a work in progress from a consistency standpoint.
28. Golden State: SG Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State
Horton-Tucker’s physical measurements raised eyebrows at last month’s combine, as the 6-foot-4 guard boasts a wingspan of 7 feet, 1 1/4 inches in length. He was able to play multiple positions defensively during his lone season at Iowa State, and while he struggled with his perimeter shot that’s an area in which he can get better in time. Golden State will need some cost effective options to bolster the bench given how much the team stands to pay in player salaries (and the luxury tax), and a productive first-round pick in this spot would likely cost the team less than it would to bring in a veteran via free agency. Horton-Tucker is one of the players the Warriors should consider, and if it isn’t him Purdue’s Carsen Edwards would be another guard worth looking at.
29. San Antonio (via Toronto): SG Luguentz Dort, Arizona State
Dort is one of the stronger guards in this draft class, and he’s also capable of defending both guard positions at the next level. The issues at this point in his career are the decision-making, which can be a bit spotty at times, and the inconsistency as a perimeter shooter. If Dort can become a consistent shooter he can be a valuable asset to whichever team selects him. In this mock San Antonio used its first pick on Cameron Johnson, one of the best shooters in the draft, so the Spurs can afford to take a player like Dort who has some work to do on his perimeter shot with the 29th pick.
30. Milwaukee: PG Ty Jerome, Virginia
Jerome is coming off of a junior season in which he helped lead Virginia to the program’s first national title, performing well as a distributor and perimeter shooter. His physical measurements weren’t the best due to the wingspan, but at 6 feet, 5 1/2 inches tall he’ll be a bit taller than most of the point guards he’ll go up against at the next level. Given where the Bucks franchise is at this stage, coming off of a run to the Eastern Conference Finals, the team could go with a more established option like Jerome instead of picking a younger talent that is perceived to have more in the way of upside.
31. Brooklyn (via New York): SF Louis King, Oregon
32. Phoenix: PG Carsen Edwards, Purdue
33. Philadelphia (via Cleveland): SF Eric Paschall, Villanova
34. Philadelphia (via Chicago): C Bruno Fernando, Maryland
35. Atlanta: SF Admiral Schofield, Tennessee
36. Charlotte (via Washington): C Daniel Gafford, Arkansas
37. Dallas: SF Dylan Windler, Winthrop
38. Chicago: SF Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State
39. New Orleans: SG Terence Davis, Ole Miss
40. Sacramento (via Minnesota): PF Isaiah Roby, Nebraska
41. Atlanta (via LA Lakers): PF Ignas Brazdeikis, Michigan
42. Philadelphia (via Sacramento): SF Deividas Sirvydis, Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)
43. Minnesota (via Miami): C Nicolas Claxton, Georgia
44. Atlanta (via Charlotte): PF Chuma Okeke, Auburn
45. Detroit: PF Dedric Lawson, Kansas
46. Orlando (via Brooklyn): PF Darius Bazley, Princeton HS (Cincinnati, OH)
47. Sacramento (via Orlando): SF Miye Oni, Yale
48. LA Clippers: SG/PG Jalen Lecque, Brewster Academy
49. San Antonio: SG Jordan Bone, Tennessee
50. Indiana: PF Zylan Cheatham, Arizona State
51. Boston: PG Tremont Waters, LSU
52. Charlotte (via Oklahoma City): C Jontay Porter, Missouri
53. Utah: SG Jaylen Nowell, Washington
54. Philadelphia: SG DaQuan Jeffries, Tulsa
55. New York (via Houston): PG Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s
56. LA Clippers (via Portland): PF Jaylen Hoard, Wake Forest
57. New Orleans (via Denver): SG Kris Wilkes, UCLA
58. Golden State: SG Terance Mann, Florida State
59. Toronto: PG Justin Wright-Foreman, Hofstra
60. Sacramento (via Milwaukee): SF Cody Martin, Nevada