December’s NBA Mock Draft

We did an NBA Mock Draft in December with a couple of the writers and it was a huge success. We will have another mock draft out shortly but we wanted to offer our previous mock draft for free on the main site. The information and stats are from early December. If you would like to see our most recent mock draft with new writers join our forum!

 

 

  1. Philadelphia 76ers- Ben Simmons

6’9” SF, Louisiana State University

This was a slam dunk for the Philadelphia 76ers. They have been loading up on bigs for a while now and Simmons is the guy to help the team finally turn the corner. Simmons is a point forward who can distribute to those bigs while playing the 3. Skal Labisserie is slightly considered but with Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor, and Joel Embiid in the mix the 76ers have an easy choice with Simmons. Also, there are no guards worthy of the number one pick for them even to consider. -Brad Kreppel

 

2. Los Angeles Lakers- Skal Labissiere

6’11” C, University of Kentucky

Although Skal is struggling a bit in the college game, his potential is just eye-boggling. He could very well be the next in a long line of recent Kentucky big men (Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, etc.). Labissiere’s struggles thus-far means that his development may take longer than that of Cousins, Davis, and Towns to reach hi Labissiere has elite athleticism for a guy his size, and coming from Haiti still hasn’t been playing the game all that long. As he puts it all together, he can become a scary two way player for the long term and a center that the Lakers can finally build around. His defensive potential is particularly intriguing for me. -Zach Beeler

 

3. New Orleans Pelicans- Brandon Ingram

6’9” SF, Duke University

 

Many of us have been waiting for Ingram to show his true stripes after getting off to a weak start at Duke, but that time has finally come as Ingram has dominated opponents as of recent. Ingram can score from nearly everywhere on the floor and has exceptional IQ on the court. He also possesses an enormous wingspan at 7’3”. New Orleans desperately needs to find a way to surround Anthony Davis with talent. This would be an enormous get for New Orleans, and can quickly put the Pelicans in position to begin contention. -Adam Gross

 

4. Boston Celtics- Cheick Diallo

6’11” PF, University of Kansas

 

The Boston Celtics need a power forward that they can build around and develop. Diallo is extremely raw but his floor is very high. He can come in and provide great defense and rebounding while his scoring game develops. He has shown flashes of his amazing athleticism thus-far and we will learn more and more about Diallo as he get acclimated to the Kansas Jayhawks and college basketball. He can play alongside Kelly Olynyk to make a very formidable pair. Olynyk can shoot and Diallo can bang inside and get the rebounds. Watch out for the Celtics over the next few years! -Brad Kreppel

 

5. Denver Nuggets- Jaylen Brown

6’7” SF, Cal-Berkeley

The Nuggets desperately need some talent, as they really seem to be in a rut over the past few years. Look no further than dynamic SF Jaylen Brown out of Cal-Berkeley. Brown has the ability to get to the rim at will, and dominates athletically at the college level. He is a tough-minded player, and is not afraid to mix it up with anyone on either side of the ball. He will need to develop a jump shot to succeed in the NBA, but he has all the potential you could ask for. -Zach Beeler

 

6. Milwaukee Bucks- Jamal Murray

6’4” PG, University of Kentucky

Brandon Knight is lighting it up in Phoenix, and Michael Carter-Williams cannot seem to find any rhythm. Enter Jamaal Murray, the best pure scoring guard in the draft. Milwaukee is currently sitting at 29th in PPG (99.5). They desperately need a consistent threat at the guard position, and Murray would be exactly that. He is putting up 15.5 PPG in a crowded Kentucky backcourt. Whether he runs the point or not in the NBA is still up for debate, but regardless of his true position this is an excellent value and need pick for the Bucks. -Adam Gross

7. Sacramento Kings- Dragen Bender

7’ C, International

 

Kristaps Porzingis has had a lot of success in his rookie year for the Knicks. Bender is of the similar mold as a big who can shoot but hasn’t quite filled out his body yet. He will be a trendy pick due to the success of Kristaps. He is also a perfect fit for Sacramento to pair next to Demarcus Cousins. Cousins can post up and isolate while Bender can be a lethal catch and shoot guy in the corner while playing center. -Brad Kreppel

 

8. Portland Trailblazers- Domantas Sabonis

6’10” PF, Gonzaga University

Sabonis is the son of former NBA player Arvdyas Sabonis, and certainly shows that bloodline in his game. Sabonis is silky smooth down low, with his forte being fundamentals. He won’t blow you out of the gym with his vertical jump by any means, but that isn’t how he succeeds. He succeeds by focusing on what he does well and what he can control. His natural rebounding ability is outstanding, and Sabonis has the potential to fill the PF role for the Blazers, especially if he can continue to work on his jump shot to stretch the defense. -Zach Beeler

 

9. Houston Rockets- Kris Dunn 

6’3” PG, Providence College

The Houston Rockets undoubtedly have flaws, but one of the most prominent is the lack of a true point guard to help James Harden and Co. spread the floor. Ty Lawson was a failed experiment, and Patrick Beverley isn’t exactly a great floor general. Kris Dunn could perfectly slot in as the talented, true point guard they desperately need. The 6’3” point guard has single-handedly carried Providence to a top 25 AP Poll ranking, including an upset over then-#11 Arizona. He’s great in nearly every facet of the game, and his age (Will be 22 come the draft) could work to his advantage as a leader on the court. He needs to work on his outside shot (23% from outside), but has the overall scoring ability to not find this too worrisome. Don’t be surprised if he sneaks into the top 5. -Adam Gross

 

10. Washington Wizards- Jacob Poeltl

7’ C, Utah

 

Washington has struggled this season with some unreliable play beyond John Wall and Bradley Beal. While Wall is a great point guard, he is not a natural jump shooter and is better distributing. Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre are still developing at the 3. Nene is providing quality play at the 4 leaving the clear need at center. Even though Marcin Gortat just received a contract extension his play is diminishing. Jacob Poeltl is a very talented center who can provide quality minutes as a rookie while developing into a high quality player. I have a hard time seeing him as an All-Star but rather as a consistent starter for many years like a Marcin Gortat. -Brad Kreppel

 

11. New York Knicks- Dwayne Bacon

6’6” SG, Florida State

Bacon has so much upside it really made me overlook the flaws his game currently has. His athleticism and length is exactly what scouts look for, and he is explosive when attacking the basket. However, he is still really working to refine his game. His outside shot can be spotty at times, and he can seem to be complacent through periods of the game. With all the physical tools being in place, these flaws can be looked past and the Knicks can get a home run pick. -Zach Beeler

 

12. Minnesota Timberwolves- Furkan Korkmaz

6’6” SG, International 

 

International prospects are always hard to decipher, but success stories like Kristaps Porzingis force teams to take the gamble. Minnesota is the type of team willing to take this type of risk, as their last few first-round picks seem to be progressing nicely. Korkmaz is natural-born scorer. He has a knack for getting the ball in the basket, whether that be his beautiful shot, or aggressiveness to the basket. His defense isn’t perfect, but he has the necessary tools to change that. Limited playing time and his size are legitimate concerns, but his potential may be too difficult for Minnesota’s front office to pass up. -Adam Gross

 

13. Phoenix Suns- Caris LaVert

6’7” SG/SF, University of Michigan 

 

When I looked at Phoenix’s roster there were two real needs: backup big and small forward. TJ Warren has provided some scoring and quality minutes but Caris LaVert is a much better player. LaVert can contribute in so many ways with his passing, rebounding, and defensive abilities. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are very talented guards but both focus on scoring when they touch the ball. Adding LaVert to the rotation could help distribute to everyone creating a better flow. If Jacob Poeltl was on the board here he would be the pick to backup Alex Len. Henry Ellenson and Ivan Rabb both crossed my mind but I felt it would be a reach for both of those players. -Brad Kreppel

 

14. Utah Jazz- Demetrius Jackson

6’1” PG, Notre Dame

The Jazz desperately need someone with an explosive scoring punch, and Jackson is about as explosive as they come. He is lightning quick, and attacks the rim with toughness and aggression. Along with that, he is a pretty good shooter who can stretch the defense. He is a pest and a ball hawk on the defensive end, and will always make it tough for the opposing point guard to operate. Although the Jazz have Dante Exum in the ranks, he is no sure thing with injury and Jackson for me seems to good to pass on. Although his height may be a bit of a problem, he has the toughness and athleticism to make up for it. -Zach Beeler

 

15. Detroit Pistons- Henry Ellenson

6’10” PF, Marquette University 

 

Andre Drummond has become the centerpiece of the Pistons, now they need to find pieces to compliment him. Nothing pairs better than a true center and a stretch-four, and that is exactly what Henry Ellenson is. He’s an exceptional athlete with fantastic handles. His defense is questionable, but Drummond’s ability to lock down the paint should lessen those worries. This would be the best need/value pickup of the draft. -Adam Gross

16. Boston Celtics- Isaiah Briscoe 

6’3” PG, University of Kentucky

Boston has an assortment of players and picks that they need to comb through carefully to build this team right. Using this pick on Isaiah Briscoe after already adding Cheick Diallo makes this draft a win for them. Briscoe is a thoroughbred with the ball but gets lost in the Kentucky show with Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, and others. Briscoe can flat out score. In terms of fitting into the lineup I like Isiah Thomas on the bench providing that scoring punch like a Jamal Crawford type. I think Marcus Smart is a very tough hard-nosed player but in terms of leading a team and distributing he is not your franchise player. Briscoe’s ceiling is that of John Wall’s in my mind. I also thought about taking Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk with this pick because of the need for shooting on the Celtics but Briscoe was too hard to pass up. -Brad Kreppel

 

17. Los Angeles Clippers- Nigel Hayes

6’7” SF, Wisconsin University

After being somewhat overshadowed by Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky last year, it is now Hayes’ time to shine. He is a dynamic and athletic forward who can shoot and play defense as well. Hayes has improved so rapidly with the Badgers it is hard not to get excited when thinking about what he can when he starts playing for a living. He will need to learn how to play the SF position a little more since he won’t be able to play the PF in the NBA, but Hayes to the Clippers seems like a win for both sides since Hayes gets to play next to one of the best PFs in the game while the Clippers need that wing presence. -Zach Beeler

18. Orlando Magic- Melo Trimble

6’3” PG, University of Maryland 

Orlando isn’t particularly weak in any one position, but they could definitely use a dependent scorer on the wing. There is no doubt that this is a risky pick, but Melo Trimble is one of the best scorers in CBB. Elfrid Payton has looked great thus far, but nobody doubts the fact that he isn’t a particularly good shooter. Melo would offer a great rotational piece for Orlando to do what he does best- score. Trimble has been lethal from outside this year, hitting his shots from downtown at a 40.5% clip. Though he’s averaging 5.3 APG, he’s not a great distributor, which is why I expect him to be a great 6th man, similar to Victor Oladipo’s current role. If Trimble can continue to prove himself as a great shooter and solid defenseman, this could be a great pickup for Orlando. -Adam Gross

 

19. Charlotte Hornets- Wayne Selden Jr. 

6’5” SG, University of Kansas

 

Charlotte has always had a need for that secondary scorer up top next to John Wall. The PJ Hairston pick has not worked out as well as expected and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is still developing his jump shot. Wayne Selden is a great fit for the Hornets who could use shooting and natural scorer at the 2. He is shooting 57% from beyond the arc so far this year and has looked focused and improved on both ends of the floor. Wayne Selden Jr. will be ready to contribute or even start right away for the Hornets in an attempt to put them over the hump into the upper-echelon of the eastern conference. -Brad Kreppel

 

20. Toronto Raptors- Ivan Rabb

6’9” PF, Cal-Berkeley

Rabb is a guy who has been falling on some draft boards, but I believe he can be a steal here for the Raptors. Toronto needs a PF next to Jonas Valanciunas, and Rabb can be that guy. He has great athleticism and is a very smart player whose court awareness is one of his biggest attributes. He is still working on his jump shot and needs to fill out to make it in the NBA, but he has all the tools in place to become a staple at the PF slot for any team who drafts him and is willing to work with him. -Zach Beeler

 

21. Boston Celtics (From Dallas Mavericks)- Denzel Valentine 

6’5” SG, Michigan State University

 

Valentine leads CBB in improved draft stock so far this year. He’s as versatile as they come, leading CBB in triple doubles, while playing very solid defense. Boston certainly has some needs, but the value here is too great to pass up on.  His biggest knock is his age, as being a 22-year-old senior certainly limits his potential. Valentine is one of the safest picks in the draft, and Boston certainly can’t pass up on a experienced weapon. -Adam Gross

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

6’8” SG, University of Kansas

It has been a mini Kansas Jayhawks love fest for me selecting 3 of their players with the teams I have represented but the fits have all be right. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has not reached his potential in college but has shown glimpses of what he is capable of. The 6’8” shooting guard can shoot it from anywhere and opponents have a hard time contesting his shots with his long arms. It may take a fews years for Mykhailiuk to develop but he could be the steal of the draft when all is said and done. Courtney Lee and Tony Allen are both reaching the end of their primes and it will be a seamless transition to Sviatoslav at the 2 or 3 spot. I did think about going with someone more NBA ready given the ages of Mike Conley, Mark Gasol, and especially Zach Randolph. It eventually became a toss up between Mykhailiuk and Buddy Hield from Oklahoma but I went with Mykhailiuk because I believe his floor is a lethal catch and shoot guy right away in the NBA but his ceiling is much higher than that of Hield’s. -Brad Kreppel

 

23. Philadelphia 76ers (From Oklahoma City Thunder)- Buddy Hield

6’4” PG, Oklahoma University

Hield is a very polished player coming into the NBA, and teams should know exactly what they are getting with him. This makes a lot of sense for the 76ers, who desperately need some established guard play after taking big men for the past three years. Hield is a dead-eye three point shooter, hitting at a 50% rate so far this year. Hield projects as a combo guard in the NBA, and will present problems for defenses as he stretches the floor with his three point shooting ability. Athletically speaking Hield is on par with the rest of the league and it shouldn’t present too much for him. He will need to learn to attack the rim or risk being predictable when he has the ball, but for the 76ers this seems like a no brainer after taking potential star Ben Simmons at number one. -Zach Beeler

 

24. Atlanta Hawks- Taurean Prince 

6’7” SF, Baylor University 

Atlanta is about as well-balanced as a team could be, so adding a guy like Taurean Prince would be beneficial to their style of play. He has great size at 6’7” (6’11” wingspan), which translates very well on defense. Many project him as a 3-and-D type player off the bench, but he will need to improve his shot for that to come to fruition. He does a very good job at using his size to strike to the basket. If Prince can improve his consistency from long-range and his ball-handling, he can serve as a very important role player off the bench. -Adam Gross

 

25. Chicago Bulls- Monte Morris

6’2” PG, Iowa State University

This pick was a slam dunk for me. Fred Hoiberg coached Monte Morris for 3 years at Iowa State before moving to Chicago. Now the Bulls are in need of an insurance policy for Derek Rose. Morris is a fantastic point guard who can slice and dice teams with his vision and speed. He does have a nice knack for scoring as well and shoots around 40% from beyond the arc in college. Morris can be the point guard of the future and with Rose’s injury history it might be time to part ways and give Morris the keys to the car. As a rookie, Morris can slide into a bench role for the Bulls instead of Kirk Hinrich, but he is also capable of being the starter right away should another injury to Derek Rose occur. Absolute win for everyone. -Brad Kreppel

 

26. Philadelphia 76ers (From Miami Heat)- Guerschon Yabusele

6’8” PF, France

It seems like every year there is one international guy that really climbs up the boards close to draft day, and I think that Yabusele can be that guy. Coming from France, he isn’t known too well but he is high-potential guy who is worth taking a risk on. He can shoot well out past the three point line, and athletically dominates in his league overseas. In fact, he plays so aggressive that often foul trouble is an issue for him so he will need to work on that. However, the 76ers can afford to take a chance on a project player with their “rebuilding” project and having three first round picks. That makes Yabusele to Philly a great fit. -Zach Beeler

 

27. Indiana Pacers- Marcus Lee

6’9” PF, University of Kentucky

 

Indiana’s frontcourt is a work in progress with Myles Turner still adjusting to the NBA. Their recent success gives them the ability to find a project, and Marcus Lee may be the biggest project of them all. Lee is as raw as them come, but if he can use his dominant athleticism to refine his game, he could very well be the steal of the draft. This pick is entirely boom-or-bust, but if Lee can find his game, Indiana will have one of the best frontcourts in the NBA. -Adam Gross

 

28. Cleveland Cavaliers- Ron Baker

6’4” SG, Wichita State

 

This was probably my hardest decision of the “draft night”. I knew Cleveland would want a perimeter player with Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, and Anderson Varejao down low for the near future. They would also look for a more developed player to give Lebron another piece as he tries to win a title in the twilights of his career. All of the trendy upperclassman picks of Hield, Valentine, and Caris LaVert were already taken so I went with Ron Baker. Baker is a 3 and D guy at the NBA level who can come in and shoot the ball and play very clean basketball. He will not make any stupid mistakes or crazy shots (Sorry, JR Smith) and he is a more polished shooter than Iman Shumpert in my mind. Although this may seem like a reach, it fills a need for the Cavs right away and the likelihood that Baker is a flop is very slim after seeing him at Wichita State for 4 years. -Brad Kreppel

 

29. San Antonio Spurs- Kyle Wiltjer

6’10” PF, Gonzaga University

Wiltjer seems like such a Spurs player, and although his ceiling isn’t high he would be a great fit in San Antonio. He is a polished player, and can shoot well. He will stretch defenses in the NBA and can also mix it up down low with a decent post game. He lacks elite athleticism, but with the way he plays it shouldn’t bother him too much. The biggest worry is defense, where there is fear Wiltjer could be exposed every possession. However, with Gregg Popovich at the helm there is no reason to think he can’t improve and become at least a serviceable defender and a solid NBA forward. -Zach Beeler

 

30. Golden State Warriors- Diamond Stone

6’10” C, University of Maryland

 

The Warriors are known for their success with small-ball, but many underestimate just how important Andrew Bogut is to the team. Unfortunately, Bogut’s contract expires after the 2016 season, so Golden State may need to draft with his departure in mind. Diamond Stone is a very skilled offensive player, with a strong post game. He is also a very capable rebounder with a 7’3.5” wingspan. He will need to improve his defense to become an everyday starter in the NBA, but playing behind Bogut for a year can certainly help that. -Adam Gross

 

Brad’s Wrapup:

 

  • My favorite pick was the Monte Morris pick to the Bulls. Just a perfect match with a history between Hoiberg and Morris.

  • I think Isaiah Briscoe and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk are both the biggest steals of the draft with Mykhailiuk being based more on projection and potential.

  • I loved Adam’s pick of Kris Dunn to the rockets. Dunn could help James Harden with the ball handling duties while distributing to others and helping Harden get open looks. I think Ty Lawson will be traded before the end of the season and Dunn would be an upgrade over Patrick Beverley on both end of the floor.

  • The Melo Trimble to the Orlando Magic pick seemed like a small reach but I loved the fit. Trimble is a point guard who can knock down an outside shot. Both Elfrid Peyton and Victor Oladipo have struggled to hit shots from the outside so Trimble could give them some balance whether he starts or comes off the bench.

  • Zach had a home run pick with Skal Labisserie to the Lakers pick. He will fit in great next to Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell for the future. Those three can develop together.

  • I did not like the selection of Hammons to the Warriors as I feel Golden State would prefer to play at a quicker pace and with a smaller lineup. I might have looked to a Malik Pope or Troy Williams if I was making that pick.

  • Malik Newman and Stephen Zimmerman were guys that we slated to go back to school for another season. Diamond Stone has shown us nothing since being on campus at Maryland to warrant a first round pick but he could creep up the draft boards as the season goes on.

 

Zach’s Wrap Up

  • My favorite pick was Demetrius Jackson to the Jazz. He is such an electrifying player for Notre Dame and I feel that his size will make him overlooked at the NBA level.

  • I had originally considered a more established player for pick number 26 of the Sixers, but with three first round picks and with them being in no hurry to get better a project seems like a great fit for them.

  • Personally I would’ve taken Hield before Morris for the Bulls, but I can understand why they could take Morris with Fred Hoiberg being familiar with him.

  • Although Rabb is sliding down some boards, I think he has the potential to be a steal with his potential. He may take a while to come along, but he can definitely be a solid NBA big man.

  • I think Bacon may have been a bit of a reach, but I also think that he’ll be a guy that will rise on boards as the draft gets closer. He is such a talented scorer that he can be a great fit in New York.

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