11. Philadelphia 76ers – Steven Adams C Pittsburgh
I bumped Adams up (again) and he’s been all over the place in my mocks thus far. I had Rudy Gobert here last time, but his stock appears to be falling. Andrew Bynum didn’t exactly work out and Spencer Hawes, despite some very nice runs this season, still may not be the long-term answer at center. Adams is going to be a bit of a project, but he’s 7’0” tall, athletic for his size and should thrive at running the floor. He’ll need to work hard to develop an inside game worthy of the NBA, but has enough upside that someone will likely grab him in the lottery.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto) – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG Georgia
The Thunder could use an eventual replacement for Kendrick Perkins so I had Kelly Olynyk going here in the last one. But his stock is falling and I don’t see the Thunder reaching for Mason Plumlee here. Therefore, I’m going with the Georgia product and SEC Player of the Year. Caldwell-Pope averaged 18.5 points and should be a very good 3-point shooter in the NBA, which sounds like a good replacement for James Harden, once Kevin Martin eventually fades into obscurity. He’s also a solid defensive player, and really looks like a nice fit for the Thunder. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see them take a big man with the No. 12 pick, but they’ll look at a smaller player if they’re goal is to get the best one available.
13. Dallas Mavericks – Shane Larkin PG Miami
Rick Carlisle apparently can’t stand Darren Collison, so much so that he decided to roll with Mike James in a lottery campaign. I had them taking Carter-Williams here in the last version, but it’s starting to look like he’ll be gone. They desperately need a center, and I could see them taking a big man here, but I get the sense Carlisle really wants a point guard. Therefore, we’re going to run Larkin up the board, as he made the biggest move from Version 3 to Version 4 (along with Carter-Williams). Larkin is very quick and will probably be the best option on the board when the Mavs pick. He’s only 5’11”, but did a great job of running Miami’s offense last season.
14. Utah Jazz – Dennis Schroeder PG Germany
Mo Williams and Jamaal Tinsley are in the final stages of their careers, and Earl Watson is nothing more than a backup. The Jazz need a point guard and can easily grab Schroeder at this point in the draft. Schroeder is a nicely sized 6’2” PG that should immediately make an impression on Ty Corbin and his teammates with his speed and ability to get to the rack. He made a big jump up my draft board for this version, and makes a lot of sense for Utah.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Shabazz Muhammad G/F UCLA
The Bucks look set with young big men like Larry Sanders and John Henson, and still have Ersan Ilyasova to start at power forward. But they could use an upgrade over Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and whomever else they plan on plugging in at small forward. I had them taking Jamaal Franklin here in the last one, but it now looks like Muhammad may fall. And if he does the Bucks may get a bit of a steal, although the same can be said about Franklin. Muhammad is strong and could provide a solid answer at small forward in Milwaukee, although there are concerns about his basketball IQ and inability to dish the rock. I would also not be surprised if they take Franklin instead.
16. Boston Celtics – Gorgui Dieng C Louisville
The Celtics need a center, as evidenced by the fact Kevin Garnett spent most of his time in the middle this season. Dieng’s stock rose during the NCAA Tournament and he should be a very good NBA defender, which will make him a hit with Doc Rivers and the Celtics faithful. His offensive skills have potential given his ability to knock down the mid-range jumper, and he looks like a nice fit in Boston.
17. Atlanta Hawks – Jamaal Franklin SF San Diego State
The Hawks have needed a solid big man, well, pretty much forever. They also need a shooting guard, but finding a true center should also be a top priority. The Hawks have the luxury of back-to-back picks, and they’ve both changed since the last version. I had them taking Steven Adams and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope then, but it appears both may be off the board this late. I’ve got them taking Franklin with the first of their two picks, which would provide some relief at shooting guard, as Atlanta didn’t view Lou Williams as a starter last season, even when he was healthy. Franklin is a freakish athlete and led his college team in scoring, rebounds, assists and steals. And he can even play defense and created more shots for himself last season. Franklin might be the most underrated player in this draft.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston) – Rudy Gobert C France
The Hawks have needed a center since Dikembe Mutombo patrolled the paint for them back in Mookie Blaylock’s heyday. Gobert looks like an impressive big man. He has a massive 7’9” wingspan and moves very well for a guy standing 7’2”. He should be able to clean the glass and play well enough offensively to make an immediate impact in the league. And if he has a good camp, it’s possible he could be thrown into the fire sooner than later for new Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer. However, that doesn’t mean I’d take him in a fantasy draft this fall. I had Gobert in the lottery in the last version, but his stock appears to be falling a bit.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers) – Sergey Karasev SF Moscow
The Cavs may be looking for a small forward here if they take Noel (or trade the No. 1 pick), as that is easily their biggest need, and Karasev would likely be one of the best small forwards left on the board at this stage. He’s only 19 and has plenty of upside, along with a competent offensive game and high basketball IQ. Defense and a lack of athleticism are the biggest concerns with Karasev, but not enough that he won’t be taken in the first round.
20. Chicago Bulls – Giannis Adetokunbo SF Greece
The Bulls are pretty set across the board but Luol Deng isn’t getting any younger, while Jimmy Butler can play both wing positions. They’ll likely be looking for the best player available, and Adetokunbo could be taken at any point after the lottery come draft night. He needs to have the ball in his hands to be effective and will likely need some time to adapt to the NBA game, but he’s a great ball handler and a stellar athlete. The Bulls appear to be in a position to wait for him to develop.