JOE COWLEY’S NBA MOCK DRAFT
1. Minnesota Timberwolves — Anthony Edwards, 6-5 SG, Georgia
Edwards is the perceived top player in the draft with an ability to be a high-volume scorer from almost anywhere on the floor. The guard didn’t shoot well from long range, but scouts aren’t concerned with his mechanics.
2. Golden State Warriors — James Wiseman, 7-1 C, Memphis
Could the Warriors use this pick as a trade asset to add more to the championship roster? Absolutely. But for mock’s sake, let’s say they stick with the athletic big man and figure out how to get his inconsistent motor running.
3. Charlotte Hornets — LaMelo Ball, 6-7 PG, Illawarra
Sure, MJ just plopped down a lot of money for Terry Rozier last offseason, but Ball can play either guard spot, and his positional size will be too good to pass up. This sleepy franchise needs a wake-up call, so the Ball family is coming!
4. BULLS — Deni Avdija, 6-9 SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas did well with international players in Denver, and with Otto Porter Jr. expected out the door after next season, meet the small forward of the future.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers — Obi Toppin, 6-9 PF, Dayton
Cleveland has spent the last few drafts building a young, up-and-coming backcourt, and now it’s time to address the frontcourt with the most explosive scoring forward in the class.
6. Atlanta Hawks — Onyeka Okongwu, 6-9 PF/C, USC
Yeah, they can score with most teams on a nightly basis, but the young Hawks have a serious problem — an allergic reaction to defense. Okongwu is a bouncy defender in the paint. Think a young Taj Gibson with even more vertical.
7. Detroit Pistons — Isaac Okoro, 6-6 SF, Auburn
Motown lacks some serious star power outside of Blake Griffin, and while Okoro doesn’t bring the flash on the offensive end, he may very well be the most elite perimeter defender the draft will spit out.
8. New York Knicks — Precious Achiuwa, 6-9 PF, Memphis
Tom Thibodeau in position to grab a versatile big man who can protect the rim as well as switch out to guards without losing a step? Check and check. Thibs’ kind of guy.
9. Washington Wizards — Tyrese Haliburton, 6-5 PG/SG, Iowa State
A versatile backcourt presence, he can play either guard spot, Haliburton’s versatility will be welcomed with open arms. Bradley Beal is still a trade chip, and John Wall has become too fragile.
10. Phoenix Suns — Killian Hayes, 6-5 PG/SG, Ratiopharm Ulm
The future Robin to Devin Booker’s Batman, Hayes can run the point as well as swing to the two guard when Booker’s arms are tired from putting up shots.
11. San Antonio Spurs — Devin Vassell, 6-7 SG/SF, FSU
A three-point shooter who also has a chance to be an elite perimeter defender? What’s more Spurs than that?
12. Sacramento Kings — Aaron Nesmith, 6-6 SF, Vanderbilt
One of the best three-point shooters in college can only stay on the board so long. The Kings add another three-point threat.
13. New Orleans Pelicans — Saddiq Bey, 6-8 SF, Villanova
Zion Williamson could use some more help getting guys out of the paint and on the perimeter, and that’s where Bey comes in, fresh off shooting 45 percent from three-point range last season.
14. Boston Celtics — RJ Hampton, 6-5 SG/PG, NZ Breakers
The bumps and bruises hit 30-year-old Kemba Walker this season, so why not look to grab his heir apparent?