With the May 19 NBA draft lottery postponed, the draft order won’t be determined until June at the earliest. Following last year’s smoothing of the lottery odds, the amount of shuffling after the ping-pong balls roll is considerable. League sources are hearing about a late August/early September draft. Some agents are being told there could …
With the May 19 NBA draft lottery postponed, the draft order won’t be determined until June at the earliest. Following last year’s smoothing of the lottery odds, the amount of shuffling after the ping-pong balls roll is considerable.
League sources are hearing about a late August/early September draft. Some agents are being told there could be a draft combine on a very small scale in August — with live interviews. That’s music to NBA executives’ ears as they try to decipher an already muddled draft that experts believe doesn’t contain one guaranteed star. Here’s The Post’s latest NBA Mock Draft:
1. Golden State Warriors — LaMelo Ball (PG, International)
Lonzo’s younger brother will own the Illawarra Hawks of Australia, but will he own the NBA? Ball probably has the draft’s most upside as a 6-foot-7 point guard who can create, drive, pass and fits Steve Kerr’s move-the-ball principles. His perimeter shot is shaky, but the Warriors already have the league’s most electric outside threats in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. A poor defender, Ball could be boom or bust.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers — James Wiseman (C, Memphis)
Even if Andre Drummond doesn’t opt out, the Cavaliers can add the draft’s best center — maybe the best athlete even as a 7-footer. This lottery is so equal Wiseman found himself dumped to No. 15 in one important mock. He’s the No. 1 pick in another era, but his 7-5 wingspan, ability to finish and run the floor is too good to pass up. Whether he will become a modern-day 3-point shooting big is the issue. Plus, he played just three games at Memphis.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves — Anthony Edwards (SG, Georgia)
Too many question marks to make him a clear No. 1 pick. He was up and down for a shaky Georgia team, with concerns about his basketball IQ and decision-making. Edwards, still 18, is as strong as an ox, athletic, has a nice pull-up jumper and may turn into the star of this draft. But his 3-point shooting (29.1 percent) is concerning.
4. Atlanta Hawks — Obi Toppin (PF, Dayton)
The 6-9 high-flyer from Brooklyn is an ancient 22 years old. He’s put down 190 dunks in two seasons and has 3-point range. His stock could have further soared with a magical NCAA Tournament run. But despite his small-conference background, NBA scouts have seen enough from the sophomore late-bloomer who won the Wooden Award. Lone pause is he’s limited defensively.
5. Detroit Pistons — Onyeka Okongwu (PF/C, USC)
The USC product seems to do lots of things well — solid offensive rebounder, versatile defender and the only player in the NCAA to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.0 blocks per 40 minutes. He’s more a traditional big as he doesn’t shoot the 3.
6. New York Knicks — Tyrese Haliburton (PG, Iowa State)
The Knicks will have a 9 percent chance of winning the lottery. At No. 6, the Knicks are looking at a scoring point guard, and Haliburton checks the most boxes with Ball off the board. He’s not even a one-and-done. The Iowa State sophomore has a high IQ, good feel for the game, is a playmaker and his career 3-point shooting percentage is 43 percent. He’s got a good feel in the pick-and-roll, nice touch on his floater and has good defensive instincts at 6-5 — with a 6-7 ¹/₂ wingpan. ESPN’s Seth Greenberg believes this should be the Knicks’ guy.
7. Chicago Bulls — Deni Avdija (PF, International)
The first Israeli lottery pick is considered a point forward — good play-making skills, good defender and has 3-point range.
8. Charlotte Hornets — Cole Anthony (PG, North Carolina)
Greg Anthony’s son stays in Carolina. Has lots of upside but could slide because it will take time to develop after unsteady UNC freshman year. But he might turn out as a volume scorer.
9. Washington Wizards — Tyrese Maxey (G, Kentucky)
The freshman is a hybrid guard, an instinctive scorer who might not be your point-guard-of-the-future but be a decent pro with toughness.
10. Phoenix Suns — R.J. Hampton (PG, International)
Maybe in this lottery it’s best to go with upside. The Dallas combo guard is super athletic — branded the next Victor Oladipo despite a so-so New Zealand stint.
11. Sacramento Kings — Killian Hayes (PG, International)
One scout believes he’s a little slow, but the American playing in Germany via a France upbringing may not break into the top 10 with lack of pre-draft access.
12. San Antonio Spurs — Isaac Okoro (SG/SF, Auburn)
Safe, savvy pick as a strong defender at Auburn, but is a weak perimeter shooter.
13. Portland Trail Blazers — Aaron Nesmith (SG/SF, Vanderbilt)
Sharpshooter should find a spot in 3-point happy league. Arguably top deep shooter in draft.
14. New Orleans Pelicans — Theo Maledon (PG, International)
The next Frank Ntilikina? The French point guard is said to have more speed than Hayes but is a project.
15. Orlando Magic — Precious Achiuwa (PF/C, Memphis)
The most versatile big-man defender in draft with his ability to switch and defend guards.
20. Nets — Jalen Smith (PF, Maryland)
6-10 sophomore forward averaged a double-double, and Kevin Durant’s win-now Nets could use immediate bench help — not a project.
27. Knicks — Devin Vassell (SG/SF, Florida State)
Leon Rose could be willing to trade up for this “3-and-D” type. The Knicks are desperate for more 3-point shooting, and the Florida State sophomore pumped in 41.5 percent of his 3s.