While this article isn’t solely meaningful to Chicago sports, the importance of it still remains. The NBA Draft not only is one of the most celebrated events of the summer, but it is one of the most celebrated of the year. Kids’ future’s are decided, teams’ rosters are changed, and fans are given a new player to cheer on. For Chicago, the draft has really changed the path of the Bulls, however for some teams, the draft hasn’t helped them in years. I encourage everyone to please take a few minutes out of their lives and read this, my longest and most important article. You won’t regret it.
Hear me out on this one. Even though basically EVERY mock draft you look at has Okafor at the #2 spot behind Karl-Anthony Towns, a very good argument can be made for Okafor to grab that first spot. To start, Towns essentially comes from an NBA team with the Kentucky Wildcats. He split time with another top 10 pick, Willie Cauley-Stein, meaning that Towns had the go ahead to be as aggressive as he wanted. On the contrary, Okafor didn’t have the most stellar of a replacement (sure Plumlee was good, but he was no Willie Cauley-Stein). While Okafor had no replacement, he still put up some solid numbers. During his freshman year at Duke, Okafor averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. All this while shooting 64% from the floor.
The Lakers are in DESPERATE need of a center. If they can’t land Jahlil Okafor, a very reasonable backup option for them would be Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns isn’t attractive because of his stats (10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks), rather his pure potential. Towns possesses an insane 7¾ foot wingspan, and a 250 pound frame. He is super explosive and freakishly quick for a player his size. Towns has what it takes to make an instant impact on the Lakers; this pick is a no brainer for them.
After losing points leader Michael Carter-Williams, the 76ers need a point guard. With the third overall pick, not only can they snag a point guard, but they can get the best one in the draft. Averaging 19.7 points per game, Russell ended his freshman year as the second leading scorer in the Big Ten. He also led point guards averaging 5 assists and 5.7 rebounds. He would be a perfect fit in Philly.
Most people know very little about Mudiay, however what they’re overlooking is pure, untapped talent. Mudiay just DOMINATED in China, averaging 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. Unfortunately for the Knicks, their number one choice (D’Angelo Russell) will have already been taken, but Mudiay very possibly will be as good, if not better than Russell.
I want to put Willie Cauley-Stein here, but the Magic have Nikola Vucevic, meaning that drafting a center would be a wasted pick. However, their roster is full of small forwards that haven’t panned out (I know, Tobias Harris is decent). That being said, they someone to fill that 3 spot. Justise Winslow, while overshadowed by teammate Jahlil Okafor, threw up some very solid stats. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.5 rebounds on a gamely basis. Very, very good pick at the number five spot.
Cauley-Stein is easily the fan favorite of possible picks for the Kings. After taking an unsuccessful risk last year with Michigan guard Nik Stauskas, look for them to listen to the fans. Cauley-Stein is yet another freakishly athletic Kentucky forward, putting up 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. All this while only getting around 24 minutes of playing time per game. Pairing him with Demarcus Cousins would be such a dynamic duo, wouldn’t it?!
This kid is one of the top international prospects, and the best shooting guard in the draft. The Nuggets have expressed interest in pursuing an international player, and Hezonja just may be their guy. He has an absurd amount of potential, one that could very quickly pull the Nuggets out of a rebuilding era. However an important note is that this kid’s numbers have been average at best (5.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game).
Its unlikely the Pistons are able to keep forward Greg Monroe this offseason, so they need a quick replacement for the big man. Kaminsky was last years NCAA player of the year, putting up 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. He led Wisconsin to two consecutive Final Four berths. He has the ability to have an instant impact for the Pistons.
Johnson would instantly challenge Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the starting spot on the hornets. This defensive minded forward is the best player in the draft currently available, and an obvious choice for the Hornets. He averaged 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. He led Arizona to an Elite Eight finish last season.
The big boy from Texas will instantly compliment Chris Bosh. He averaged 10.1 points, and 6.5 rebounds in his freshman year. Turner won’t come in and start immediately, however he will make a big impact coming off the bench.
The Pacers need someone to compliment Paul George, and George Hill just isn’t their guy. Look for them to draft the best available point guard, which at the time will be Cameron Payne. Payne put up 20.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game in his sophomore year at Murray State.
A rising player in this years draft, Porzingis can make instant impact. He averaged 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in his time in Europe.
Oubre averaged 9.3 points, and 5.0 rebounds per game in his time at Kansas. He is a defensive minded player. The Suns are in need of defense after a shaky last season.
Coming into pick 14, Booker is the best available pick. I have him sliding from where most put him (picks 9-12) solely because of the lack of minutes he played at Kentucky (he played 19.7/40 minutes). Booker averaged around 10 points per contest in college.
Portis is the clear favorite for a team that really needs some energy. Portis averaged 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game last season.
Once again, Lyles is picked here because he is the best available. The celtics need everything they can get right now, and Lyles is one of the few available that can make instant impact. (Note that Lyles played just over 20 minutes per game in college).
I never thought I would say this, but the Bucks are an up and coming team. Looney paired with MCW, Jabari, and the Greek Freak would lead to big things. Looney averaged 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game at UCLA.
There are a lot of very respectable point guards in today’s NBA, however the Rockets lack one. Jerian Grant is the best guard currently available, and he has the chance to instantly start. Grant averaged 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game.
Let me be the first to say, John Wall’s injury issues will only get worse before they improve. That being said, the Wiz need a guard. Tyus Jones averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 assists per game at Duke.
Dekker is kind of a wildcard in this years draft. Most drafts have him landing between picks 12-20, however I have him landing on the later end. Dekker averaged 13.9 points, and 5.6 rebounds per game in college.
Hunter looked super impressive at Georgia State, however many say his competition was average at best. He averaged 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game.
Delon Wright is the most NBA ready point guard in this years draft. Finishing his senior season with Utah scoring 14.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, this kid can really do it all. The Bulls lack guard depth, and drafting Wright would give them instant boost at the position, therefore making this pick a no brainer. Wright will make an instant impact for our hometown Bulls. This pick is especially important with the increase of player injuries on the Bulls over the last few seasons.
Montrezl was supposed to be an absolute BEAST at Louisville. While he ended up very solid, the promise never panned out. Harrell still will put up good numbers in the NBA. In college he averaged 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, in only 25 minutes per game.
Many people have the Arizona product going sooner in the draft, however the broad selections of forwards in this years draft really holds him back. The Cavs land him because… well… they need the best player they can get after losing this years NBA Finals. Rondae averaged 11.2 points, and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Anderson is a defensive minded small forward, and a perfect fit for the defensive minded Griz. Anderson scored around 12 points and snatched 4 rebounds per game last season.
This kid is a complete freak of nature. Standing at 6-5, the Brazilian product has a 7 foot wingspan. Many comparisons to Kawhi Leonard have been made. He would be a great pick for the aging Spurs.
Its obvious the Lakers need big men, and many fans would consider the draft successful if they land both Towns and McCullough. The Syracuse kid only played in 16 games in his college career after suffering a torn ACL. He averaged 9.3 points, and 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Net’s expressed interest in Wood earlier, however its the Celtics that will take him only one short pick before Brooklyn. Wood was an absolute beast at UNLV, averaging 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Rozier was an unquestioned leader on Louisville. He will make a great impact on the struggling Nets. Rozier averaged 17.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Vaughn is a perfect pick to end the first round. He averaged 18.3 points, and 4.6 rebounds per game at UNLV.
-Proudly written by Sammy Field
-Proudly written by Sammy Field