A Combined Mock Draft With Simon Rath

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My good friend Simon Rath, known as @HawksDraftNerd on Twitter, approached me about doing a combined mock draft, which of course was an offer I could not refuse. We did a quick Tankathon simulation, with only the top 6 impacted.

The Rules:

I, MavsDraft, took the even picks, and did write-ups for my own picks. Simon took the odd numbered picks and did write-ups on his selections. We made the picks not as how we see it playing out, but how we would make the selections as if we were the GM of the team on the clock.

Draft Selections:

1. Atlanta Hawks: LaMelo Ball, G, USA This is probably the last chance the Hawks have a chance at the #1 pick in the draft for the next 5+ years so they should pick the best player and work on the fit after. Having LaMelo would allow Trae to play more off ball and I can see him being a solid defender with his size and basketball IQ.

2. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia
Warriors take the best player available that can either serve as an immediate backup scorer and potential trade piece, or as the heir to Steph Curry & Klay Thompson’s throne in Golden State. This is a win/win situation for the Warriors to build up long-term success.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
Minnesota could really use a defensive anchor on their team but you could argue Toppin will be the best player right away in this class and KAT doesn’t want to wait for another young player to develop. Toppin is also a great offensive fit next to KAT and DLo.

4. New York Knicks: Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
The Knicks and Cole Anthony are a match made in heaven. Anthony’s scoring ability at the guard is much-needed, and he gives the Knicks a boost to their current bottom-tier offense.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Cleveland doesn’t have many exciting prospects outside of Sexton, KPJ and Garland so going BPA is probably the best move. They have nothing on the wing or the 4 so Deni probably can start day 1 and be a solid role player. Something like a 15-18ppg scorer. 

6. Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes, G, France
The Pistons fill a need at point guard with yet another young draft pick with high upside. In addition to the French connection, Hayes likely helps establish a solid duo with Sekou Doumbouya.

7. Chicago Bulls: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
Haliburton as the main guy isn’t appealing at all to me, but being part of a 2 PG lineup with Coby White would be incredibly fun. He can cover for Whites lack of size in the backcourt and help make LaVine, Carter and Markkanen’s jobs easier. 

8. Charlotte Hornets: James Wiseman, C/PF, Memphis/USA
Center isn’t a primary need for Charlotte, but the swing is practical at 8. The #2 player on my board, Wiseman’s upside is too high to miss for a team in need of finding a star next to Devonte’ Graham.

9. Washington Wizards: Onyeka Okongwu, C/PF, Memphis
Washington needs all the help they can get on defense and Okongwu is the best defensive big man outside of Wiseman in this class. His ability to protect the paint and switch onto smaller players would go a long way on this team.

10. Phoenix Suns: Isaac Okoro, Wing, Auburn
The Suns need to continue adding immediate depth, while simultaneously giving long-term upside. Okoro adds to an already growing young wing core in Phoenix, and also brings versatility with creation offensively and elite upside defensively. Phoenix doesn’t have any glaring flaws currently, beyond long-term PG, so they go best player available here.

 11. San Antonio Spurs: RJ Hampton, G, USA
The Spurs need as many high upside prospects as they can get and having Hampton next to Murray in the backcourt would add some excitement. If they were willing to run more they could have a fun team with those two and Lonnie Walker at the 3.  

12. Sacramento Kings: Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky
This was hard for me- The Kings don’t need another PG like Maxey with Fox already at the helm, but like Phoenix, Maxey is the best player available. Maxey could be a serviceable backup PG for Sacramento right away, or potentially be a key trade piece if the Kings choose not to keep him.

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Aaron Nesmith, SG, Vanderbilt
With Zion as the focal point of the team you need as much spacing as possible and Nesmith is probably the best shooter in the draft. Lonzo and Ingram have improved leaps and bounds with their shot too, and adding Nesmith would just make their spacing even better. 

14. Portland Trail Blazers: Saddiq Bey, Wing, Villanova
Damian Lillard can never be surrounded by too many shooters, and Bey steps in right away as a rotation player that would help both offensively and defensively. One of the best two-way wings in the draft, Bey can be a spot up shooter off the bench offensively while locking down some of the opposing teams’ best players. Portland desperately needs depth with all the injuries sustained, and they get it here with Bey.

15. Orlando Magic: Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
Orlando already has a really good defense and adding Vassell’s team defense ability would make it even better. They could have really used some more shooting but Vassell is too talented to pass up.

16.  Minnesota Timberwolves: Aleksej Pokuševski, C, Serbia
With two first round selections, the Wolves can afford to swing for the fences with a chance at a unicorn center. At just 18, Pokuševski has the upside to do virtually everything on the basketball court. While it’s unlikely he comes over/contributes right away, his long-term upside is too intriguing to let him pass, especially with Minnesota being in a low risk situation at 16.

17. Boston Celtics: Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
Boston is set at the guard and wing spots with not much at the 4 and 5. Achiuwa won’t be asked to do much offensively early on and just be a floor runner who won’t slow down the offense.  

18. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Green, Wing, Arizona
Green is a high impact defender already, which is perfect for what the Mavericks need on the wing. As a great athlete with a growing jump shot, his upside is very high as well. The Mavericks can afford to take a swing on Green to provide a much-needed area of improvement: defense.

19. Milwaukee Bucks: Kira Lewis, PG, Alabama
Kira Lewis is still really young and the Bucks might look at a guy who can contribute more early on to make Giannis happy, but even if Kira isn’t used much early on he would still have enough trace value that they could use him to get a veteran talent.

20. Brooklyn Nets: Patrick Williams, F, Florida State
Patrick Williams is one of the draft’s late risers, and as one of the draft’s youngest players, he offers some of the most upside. The Nets are able to easily afford this swing with very little to lose considering the starpower expected to take the court next season in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

21. Denver Nuggets: Jalen Smith, PF, Maryland
An athletic 4 next to Jokic is probably the Nuggets best direction to go. They traded for Jerami Grant to be that, and after Milsaps leaves this offseason they can use Grant and Smith there interchangeably. 

22. Philadelphia 76ers: Jahmi’us Ramsey, Wing, Texas Tech
The Sixers desperately need bench scoring, and Ramsey provides that. His jumper should translate well too, which allows for them to improve upon their overall team shooting woes.

23. Miami Heat: Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona
I’m not the biggest Nico fan but he’s still got enough talent to warrant a first round pick. He won’t be asked to play much early on in Miami, and instead can take the slower path to develop. Bam and Jimmy can cover for his defensive faults like they do with Herro and Duncan Robinson.

24. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, France
Maledon is the best player available at this spot, and is a likely draft-and-stash with upside. He should come over pretty quickly, and when he does he should be able to impact his game with his vision, a likely improved shot, and his tools should be more developed to impact the game defensively.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jaden McDaniels, SF, Washington
OKC should go highest upside with every pick as they are potentially going to be in a small rebuild soon. Jaden didn’t do much on paper in Washington, but he still has high offensive upside on the wing. He just needs to gain a good bit of weight. 

26. Boston Celtics: Amar Sylla, PF, Senegal
The Celtics have 3 first round picks and are unlikely to draft 3 players that will be on their roster next season. Sylla is one of the most coveted international prospects in the draft, and at 26 he is a likely steal.

27. New York Knicks: Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas
New York severely lacks shooting and Isaiah Joe is a 6’5” guard who can shoot at a high level. 

28. Toronto Raptors: Tre Jones, PG, Duke
Kyle Lowry is 35, and while Fred VanVleet is an obvious heir to Lowry’s throne in Toronto, the Raptors still need to look at youth at point guard. Jones is a great defensive point guard with an improved shot as a sophomore. He’d fit the Raptors well and could earn an immediate spot in the rotation with his high NBA floor.

29. LA Lakers: Isaiah Stewart, PF, Washington
Isaiah Stewart is an extremely high motor big man who will always give 100% effort. The Lakers lack young talent and they might be more interested in a wing, but Stewart is worth a first round pick in my mind, and can offer great backup big minutes in LA.

30. Boston Celtics: Jordan Nwora, Wing, Louisville
As mentioned above, the Celtics don’t need much from the wing spot right now. However, no team can have too much shooting, especially on the wings. The Celtics benefit from the shooting Nwora provides, and they can spend extra time developing him into a 3&D wing to ultimately have him reach his ceiling.

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