Mock drafts suck, so this one is backwards:
1. Golden State Warriors: Brandon Ingram, F, Duke
The Warriors don’t need Ben Simmons. Stephen Curry is their franchise player and assuming everybody stays healthy they won’t need a new one for quite some time. After Harrison Barnes pooped all over the city of Oakland’s collective beds in the NBA Finals, what they could use is another three-and-D maestro to play forward and defend the opponent’s best wing. That’s what Ingram is going to do. So the Warriors eschew talent and go for fit at No. 1.
2. San Antonio Spurs: Ben Simmons, F, LSU
The Spurs would be thrilled with either Simmons or Ingram, but considering how their offense sputtered against Oklahoma City, adding a playmaker like Simmons seems like the most appealing option. Imagine how much fun Gregg Popovich could have devising plays for Simmons. It would be like Bran Stark warging into Godzilla.
3. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender, F, Croatia
The rare case of a backwards mock pick and a forward mock pick aligning, but the Suns just happen to have selections at both ends of the first round. Bender fills their need for a long-term stretch-4 to play next to Alex Len in the front court.
4. Toronto Raptors: Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma
Marquese Chriss fills a bigger need, but Toronto wants to win now and Chriss is just too raw. Hield gives Toronto so much more flexibility in playing small, they could move DeMar DeRozan to small forward and DeMarre Carroll to shooting guard and just switch everything defensively. Hield’s shooting is a nice counterbalance to Toronto’s iso-ball, and it’s high time we as a nation sent Canada a worthwhile export for once.
5. Philadelphia 76ers: Jamal Murray, G, Kentucky
The Sixers have had better linebackers than guards over the past three years, and that doesn’t even make sense. They need someone who knows how to dribble and shoot and be shorter than 6’10”. That’s Murray.
6. Los Angeles Clippers: Marquese Chriss, F, Washington
Chriss is extremely raw, but the Clippers have tried so many different stretchy forwards as the fifth player in their closing lineups that the actual number can no longer be quantified in writing. The closest I could come would just be a picture of two ocelots standing over Pablo Sandoval’s fresh corpse. Chriss is the only option that really fits that bill unless they want to reach significantly talent-wise.
7. Philadelphia 76ers: DeJounte Murry, G, Washington
Philly might just use this slot to pick the word “guard” out of the dictionary. It’s that desperate. Kris Dunn is better, but the Sixers already went through the non-shooting point guard experiment with Michael Carter-Williams and don’t seem too eager to repeat it.
8. Boston Celtics: Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah
I, for one, am excited for Boston’s all-white center rotation. The Necronomicon states that if Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, Tyler Hansbrough and Poeltl all grasp each other’s hands with the burning passions of a neutron star and speak the magic words, they’ll morph into Brad Miller on a rookie-scale contract, so the Celtics would be three-quarters of the way there.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Domantas Sabonin Sabonis, F, Gonzaga
Speaking of all-white front-courts…
10. Atlanta Hawks: Jaylen Brown, F, Cal
The Hawks taught Kent Bazemore how to shoot. They turned Tim Hardaway Jr. into a passable defensive player. One of these days they’re just gonna cut the foreplay and start Hodor at power forward. They can teach anyone to play actual basketball, so just imagine what they could do with an actual athlete like Brown.
11. Indiana Pacers: Skal Labissierre, F, Kentucky
The entire Pacers’ team was built on drafting long dudes who can shoot and figuring the rest out later. Paul George didn’t know how to play basketball in college, he just picked up it after a year or two on Indiana’s bench. So sure, grab another one, if you get it right between Skal, George and Myles Turner Kyle Lowry might literally drown in a sea of arms.
12. Denver Nuggets: Henry Ellenson, F, Marquette
Cool, it’s always nice to have one of those bizarre inside-out teams where all of the shooting comes from the front-court. Sticking Ellenson and Nikola Jokic with Emmanuel Mudiay is strangely a great way to take advantage of his unique talents and minimize his deficiencies.
13. Detroit Pistons: Kris Dunn, G, Providence
Hey, it’s the first break Detroit’s gotten since… well since it became Detroit. It was really all down here from there. Should’ve stuck with unincorporated land mass in Eastern Michigan.
14. Memphis Grizzlies: Malachi Richardson, G, Syracuse
Hey, maybe he and Tony Allen could Voltron themselves into a superstar shooting guard. All Richardson does is score, but the Grizzlies sort of need points because at this rate, their leading scorer next year could actually be DaJuan Wagner.
15. Boston Celtics: Thon Maker, F, Australia
Yes! Let Brad Stevens get his hands on Maker! Let the revolution begin! One day, when the long-armed giraffe men of Earth-Prime are recording the history of their empire, it will all begin with this moment.
16. Denver Nuggets: Denzel Valentine, G/F, Michigan State
Valentine is probably too short to play small forward long-term, but Denver might as well take a shot. Worst case scenario you can’t have too many smart Michigan State guys on your roster.
17. Chicago Bulls: Diamond Stone, C, Maryland
Joakim Noah isn’t just burning bridges on his way out of Chicago. He’s hiring ninjas to kill every engineer in the greater Illinois area to make sure they can’t be rebuilt.
18. Phoenix Suns: Deyonta Davis, F, Michigan State
Best player available, that’s what you do when Jon Leuer just started 27 games for your NBA team.
19. Utah Jazz: Tyler Ulis, G, Kentucky
Utah lifted their playbook from cave paintings somewhere on the Eurasian continent. Someone needs to shoot three’s on this team besides Gordon Hayward. Who cares if Ulis is short, everyone else on the team is big enough to compensate.
20. Orlando Magic: Demetrius Jackson, G, Notre Dame
The Magic need at least the option of a point guard who can shoot. Jackson is a nice change-of-pace from Elfrid Payton, who only recently learned that you’re allowed to shoot from the non-painted parts of the floor.
21. Milwaukee Bucks: Cheick Diallo, F, Kansas
Milwaukee definitely has needs, but none that can be solved with the No. 21 pick. So they’re just gonna take someone with long arms and tons of potential to throw on the pile.
22. Toronto Raptors: Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
The Raptors aren’t carrying two rookies on their roster. They’re trying to win a championship and legally speaking each of Bruno Caboclo’s arms occupy their own roster spot. This is a draft-and-stash pick.
23. Sacramento Kings: Patrick McCaw, G, UNLV
It’s unfair of me to try to predict what the Kings are going to do before hearing what the wood nymph that advises Vlade Divac has to say.
24. Denver Nuggets: Timothe Luwawu, G, France
Another draft-and-slash slot, though all things considered the Nuggets probably could find three roster spots for rookies.
25. New Orleans Pelicans: Brice Johnson, F, North Carolina
Forget about making the team better, the Pellies could barely field an NBA team after all of their injuries last season. Johnson is at least going to be a competent player. They’ll need that next January when they’re down to one-and-a-quarter healthy starters again.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Taurean Prince, F, Baylor
Sure, give Tom Thibodeau ANOTHER forward who can guard multiple positions, that’ll go over well for everyone. And this one can actually shoot!
27. Phoenix Suns: Ante Zizic, C, Croatia
We’re at the point of the draft where I honestly couldn’t tell you if these were the names of basketball players or hipster food dishes. Sure, I’ve had the Ante Zizic at that new Croatian place in Red Hook, it’s just a bit spicy for me.
28. Boston Celtics: Wade Baldwin, G, Vanderbilt
Wade Baldwin is going to be good at defense. Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder are already good at defense. That’s not going to be fun for other teams.
29. Los Angeles Lakers: Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt
Wait, Vanderbilt’s going to have two first-rounders?
30. Philadelphia 76ers: Caris LeVert, G, Michigan
Another guard who can shoot. The Sixers are going to take all of them.