RotoWire Partners

NBA Mock Draft: Full First-Round Mock

Nick Whalen

RotoWire's NBA Editor and award winning host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.

1. Boston Celtics


Markelle Fultz, G, Washington

Even as the Celtics insist they’re doing their due diligence on other top prospects, it’s hard to imagine Fultz not being the pick. Boston could use a playmaking wing like Jayson Tatum or Johnathan Isaac, but teams don’t draft for need at No. 1, and Fultz is too good of an all-around talent to pass up. Of course, adding a point guard would create an immediate conflict with Isaiah Thomas under contract through next season, but most franchises would love to have that problem.

2. Los Angeles Lakers


Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA

Attention will follow Ball wherever he begins his NBA career, and the Lakers appear more than ready -- if not eager -- to embrace the media circus. Lavar Ball’s profile has only grown in the months leading up to the draft, which has overshadowed the fact that his son is actually a really, really good basketball player. If the Lakers do, indeed, go with Ball, addressing the future of D’Angelo Russell will instantly become a priority.

3. Philadelphia 76ers


Josh Jackson, F, Kansas

Assuming Fultz and Ball are off the board, the Sixers could go in several directions at No. 3. Both Jackson and Jayson Tatum will be given serious consideration, as will De’Aaron Fox, despite the organization publicly hailing Ben Simmons as the primary point guard. In Jackson, Philadelphia gets one of the most versatile defenders in the draft and a player who would fit nicely next to the more offensive-minded Dario Saric on the wing.

4. Phoenix Suns


Jayson Tatum, F, Duke

Despite dropping a spot on lottery night, the Suns are still in great position to land an impact prospect. Phoenix will gladly take whichever elite wing prospect is left -- for the purposes of this mock, they’ll take Tatum -- but Fox could also be an option. In that case, the Suns would almost certainly look to move Eric Bledsoe, who has two guaranteed years remaining on a team-friendly contract.

5. Sacramento Kings


De’Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky

The Kings have a history of failing to develop guard prospects, but Fox would be easily their most-talented rookie since DeMarcus Cousins. Fox’s jumper is a concern, and he’ll need to add weight, but he has the size, length and quickness to be a big-time difference-maker on both ends in a few years.



6. Orlando Magic


Dennis Smith, G, North Carolina State

Orlando has (understandably) been hesitant to commit to Elfrid Payton as the long-term answer at point guard, and Smith would represent a much higher-upside option as one of the best pure athletes in the draft. That said, the Magic have needs all over the roster, so the more versatile Johnathan Isaac will get serious consideration here if he’s still available.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves


Johnathan Isaac, F, Florida State

The Timberwolves would be thrilled to land Isaac at No. 7, providing Tom Thibodeau with perhaps the most versatile player in the entire draft. At 6’11 with a nearly 7’2” wingspan, Isaac is a malleable defender who projects to be able to guard up to four positions in the NBA. While he’s a smooth ball-handler and shooter for his size, Isaac’s offensive game will still need polishing, but he’d be an excellent fit for a Wolves team that already has a pair of outstanding offensive players in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.

8. New York Knicks


Malik Monk, G, Kentucky

Monk is one of the most difficult lottery prospects to project. On one hand, he put together an outstanding freshman season, proving time and again on big stages that he’s capable of scoring 30 on any given night. On the other, he’s undersized for the position and has limited experience as a primary initiator. Monk’s elite athleticism partially mitigates the size concerns, but some scouts project him as an instant-offense hybrid guard, rather than a 30-minutes-a-night starter. He can still be plenty valuable in that role, but his lack of an obvious positional fit at the NBA level could cause him to slip. In New York, Monk would provide an immediate boost to a team that ranked 25th in bench scoring last season.

9. Dallas Mavericks


Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville

Mitchell has steadily climbed up draft boards, and a strong showing at the Combine -- 40.5” max vertical, 6’10” wingspan -- likely solidified his place in the lottery. While Yogi Ferrell was a nice surprise last season, Dallas still needs to upgrade its backcourt, and Mitchell’s ceiling is as high as just about any player’s left on the board. The sophomore projects to defend well right away, and if his three-point shot continues to improve -- 35.4% 3PT last season -- he could be a steal at No. 9.



10. Sacramento Kings (via New Orleans)


Lauri Markkanen, F/C, Arizona

Perhaps the most polarizing of the elite prospects, Markkanen is a knockdown three-point shooter, but how he’ll defend at the next level has raised serious question marks. While Markkanen has excellent size at 7’0”, he was inconsistent as a rebounder and averaged fewer than one assist per game in his lone season at Arizona. Even so, seven-footers who can shoot are always in demand, and Markkanen would give the Kings two legitimate frontcourt spacers following the mini-emergence of Skal Labissiere after the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

11. Charlotte Hornets


Zach Collins, F/C, Gonzaga

It’s an odd year, so all signs point to the Hornets taking a big, white guy in the first round to replace Spencer Hawes. While he played a limited role for a talented Gonzaga team, Collins’ might be the best interior defender in the draft, and he’s already an advanced shot-blocker with outstanding timing. On the other end, Collins has flashed an emerging long-range game (47.6% 3PT on 21 attempts), suggesting he could be used as a coveted stretch-five in the long-term.

12. Detroit Pistons


Frank Ntilikina, G, International

Ntilikina has been a mainstay in lottery projections for more than a year, but he remains a relative mystery having played only a limited role overseason. The 18-year-old has excellent measurables and athleticism, though it’s unclear just how NBA-ready he is at this point in his development. With the Pistons not-so-privately shopping the 12th pick in hopes of landing an established veteran, this one is especially tough to project. However, it isn’t difficult to imagine a team trading up to grab a high-upside prospect like Ntilikina if he’s still on the board.



13. Denver Nuggets


OG Anunoby, F, Indiana

The Nuggets could use an upgrade at point guard after a second straight disappointing season from Emmanuel Mudiay, but with the elite prospects off the board they’ll settle for the player some project as the best perimeter defender in the draft. A knee injury cut short Anunoby’s sophomore season at Indiana, but the 19-year-old flashed enough potential as a freshman that his draft stock hasn’t been drastically impacted. Offensively, Anunoby is a work in progress, but the Nuggets already have plenty of talent on the wing and can afford to bring Anunoby along gradually.

14. Miami Heat


John Collins, F, Wake Forest

The Heat could go in any number of directions on draft night, but Collins makes sense for a backcourt-heavy roster that was forced to rely heavily on smaller lineups last season. Collins is rather one-dimensional offensively and hasn’t demonstrated an ability to space the floor, but he’s an elite scorer in the paints who rebounds his position. While Collins’ wingspan (6’11.25”) isn’t anything special, he showed off a 37.5” max vertical at the Combine and is still considered to be somewhat early in his development as a late-blooming prospect.

15. Portland Trail Blazers


Justin Jackson, G/F, North Carolina

Jackson bet on himself and pulled out of the draft in 2016 to return to North Carolina. The bet paid off, as Jackson went from a fringe-first-rounder to a near-lock to hear his name called in the top-20. The first-team All-American has always been a good athlete and versatile defender, but a vastly improved jumpshot -- 37% 3PT last season, up from 29% in 2015-16 -- is what’s vaulted him into late-lottery contention. The Blazers, owners of three first-rounders between picks 15 and 26, don’t exactly need another shooter after signing Allen Crabbe to a lucrative extension last season, but Jackson is versatile enough that he’d likely be able to carve out a minor bench role as a rookie.

16. Chicago Bulls


Jarrett Allen, C, Texas

Prospects with Allen’s upside are rarely available this late in the draft, which speaks to the overall depth this class carries. While Texas was an afterthought on the national radar last season, Allen quietly put together an impressive freshman season, averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds while finishing 68 percent of his attempts at the rim. He’s still raw overall, but Allen has the makings of an excellent rim runner and pick-and-roll finisher, and he’s one of the better physical specimens-- 6’10.25” in shoes, 7’5.25” wingspan, 35.5” max vertical -- in the draft. At Texas, Allen wasn’t asked to extend beyond the paint or do much playmaking, and he’s the type of player who projects to fit better in an NBA-style offense after playing in a more traditional, three-out/two-in system last season.

17. Milwaukee Bucks


Justin Patton, C, Creighton

Whether or not Greg Monroe is back next season, the Bucks need to become a more versatile offensive team. The emergence of Thon Maker as a floor-spacing big man will help, but Milwaukee needs to surround Giannis Antetokounmpo with even more shooting, and Patton could bring just that. The redshirt freshman might be too raw to be more than an occasional contributor next season, but at 6’11” with a 7’3” wingspan, he has the height and length Milwaukee has clearly coveted in constructing its roster. While he’s by no means a knockdown shooter, Patton has a smooth stroke for his size and knocked down eight of his 15 three-point attempts last season. That’s a tiny sample, of course, but any team drafting Patton will do so with the understanding that he’s still very much a work in progress and carries serious bust potential -- neither of those factors stopped the Bucks from pulling the trigger on Antetokounmpo or Maker.



18. Indiana Pacers


Luke Kennard, G, Duke

Indiana enters this draft in the difficult position of not knowing whether it should aim for immediate improvement or long-term potential. The impending free agency of Paul George has all but handcuffed an organization desperate to surround its superstar with enough talent to convince him to stay put next summer. While Kennard isn’t the piece that will tip the scales, he’ll make an immediate impact for a team that’s struggled to find an answer at shooting guard for years.

19. Atlanta Hawks


Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA

The appeal with Anigbogu is all about long-term potential. As a freshman last season, the 18-year-old excelled as Lonzo Ball’s rim-running lob-catcher, but he wasn’t asked as to do much more than dunk, rebound and occasionally block shots. As a result, it’s difficult to assess his ultimate ceiling, but Anigbogu’s physical tools alone -- 252 lbs, 7’6.25” wingspan, 32.5” max vertical -- make him an intriguing enough prospect to warrant a first-round pick.

20. Portland Trail Blazers


Isaiah Hartenstein, F/C, International

With three first-round picks, Portland will virtually have to either trade one or select a potential draft-and-stash player like Hartenstein. The 18-year-old is still considerably raw, but he has excellent size and moves well for his 250-pound frame. Offensively, he’s still a work in progress, but he’s flashed the competitiveness and defensive instincts to inspire confidence in his long-term ceiling.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder


T.J. Leaf, F, UCLA

Much like Indiana, Oklahoma City is tasked with using limited resources to build around its singular superstar. Leaf might not be ready for a regular role right away, but he has reasonably high upside and can space the floor from the four spot, something the Thunder desperately need after ranking dead last in three-point efficiency last season.



22. Brooklyn Nets


Harry Giles, F, Duke

This time last year, Giles was probably the favorite to go first overall, but after his third knee procedure and a subsequently underwhelming freshman season at Duke, the former No. 1 overall recruit has gone from can’t-miss prospect to potential liability. The fact that Giles will still likely be a first-round pick speaks to his immense potential, but the Giles we saw at Duke was far from the player who looked like the second coming of Amar’e Stoudemire in high school. That said, Giles is exactly the type of risk Brooklyn should be taking, especially this late in the draft. Without a first-round pick until 2019, the Nets need to swing for the fences and hope another year of recovery will bring Giles closer to the prospect he was 12 months ago.

23. Toronto Raptors


Terrance Ferguson, G, International

Ferguson took the Brandon Jennings path out of high school, spurning a commitment to Arizona to play (and get paid) overseas. As was the case with Jennings in Italy, Ferguson played only a minor role for his Australian club team, but he remains a first-round prospect, due in large part to his raw athletic ability. Brooklyn will take a hard look at Ferguson at No. 22, but if the Nets pass, the Raptors could grab him as a potential replacement for Terrence Ross, who they gave up in the Serge Ibaka, down the road.



24. Utah Jazz


Tyler Lydon, F, Syracuse

With Gordon Hayward, George Hill and Joe Ingles all set to hit free agency, Utah’s roster could look much differently next season. If Hayward returns, Ingles seems especially likely to sign a more lucrative deal elsewhere, and Lydon could be groomed to slide into the hybrid forward role vacated by Ingles.

25. Orlando Magic


D.J. Wilson, F, Michigan

After telling reporters at the Combine that he’d only stay in the draft if he received a first-round guarantee, Wilson will very likely hear his name called somewhere in the final six or seven picks of Round 1. The Michigan product has an intriguing blend of size, athleticism and offensive versatility, and he has the physical tools to be a strong defender at the next level.

26. Portland Trail Blazers


Kyle Kuzma, F, Utah

Kuzma entered the draft process as a second-rounder, but a strong Combine showing has pushed him into first-round contention. The junior averaged 16.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season, and has the length -- 6’9”, 7’0.25” wingspan -- and shooting ability to swing between both forward spots. Kuzma wouldn’t be an immediate factor for Portland and would likely spend time in the D-League as a rookie, barring changes to the Blazers’ core this summer.



27. Brooklyn Nets


Jonathan Jeanne, C, International

After rolling the dice on Giles at No. 22, the Nets make another gamble with their second first-rounder. Jeanne is as raw as you’d expect, but his height (7’2”) and wingspan (7’6.5”) are difficult to ignore, especially after the success of fellow countryman Rudy Gobert. Jeanne will need to add strength before he’s ready for the NBA, but players with his skill set and frame are typically worth a gamble late in Round 1.

28. Los Angeles Lakers


Derrick White, G, Colorado

Like Kuzma, White helped himself with a strong showing at the Combine last month. An athletic two-guard, White put up strong all-around numbers as a senior, averaging 18.3 points, 4.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 40 percent from three. He excels in transition and has the length (6’7.5” wingspan) to profile as a solid NBA defender. The knock on the Colorado product is he’ll turn 23 shortly after the draft.

29. San Antonio Spurs


Ivan Rabb, F, California

Picking 25th or worse for the 18th time in 20 years, the Spurs go with a player who likely would have been a lottery pick had he stayed in last year’s draft. Returning to Cal for his sophomore season will cost Rabb, but he was misused, at times, over the last two years, and San Antonio would be an excellent landing spot. Rabb is NBA-ready right now, but he’ll need to improve defensively, as well as become a more consistent shooter.

30. Utah Jazz


Jawun Evans, G, Oklahoma State

Evans put together one of the more impressive individual seasons in college basketball as a sophomore, but concerns about his size (5’11.5”) has relegated him to borderline-first-round territory. Evans was the engine behind a high-powered Oklahoma State offense and is an elite operator out of the pick-and-roll, capable of snaking around screens into pull-up jumpers, as well as distributing to shooters on the perimeter. At his size, he’ll need to continue to improve as a three-point shooter, but his nearly 6’6” wingspan should help compensate on the other end of the floor.