JOE COW­LEY’S NBA MOCK DRAFT

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

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?

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