If I was an NBA GM and had a top five pick…
1. Philadelphia Sixers
Contradicting my mock draft in January with the Sixers drafting Simmons, I believe that the pick that most benefits the Sixers now is Duke’s Brandon Ingram and here’s why. The Sixers last first rounder Jahlil Okafor is receiving a ton of criticism for finishing near the bottom of the league in player efficiency, but that is because the defense can easily collapse on him in the post and force him into bad shots. With Ingram’s range and scoring ability, it forces defenses to not be so quick to double down on the inside. Simmons doesn’t bring that outside scoring.
The pick: Brandon Ingram
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Personally I haven’t been the biggest fan of Simmons since the first time I saw him play as a junior at Monteverde Academy. I always wondered, how can people call someone who cannot shoot past 15 feet (that’s even a stretch) and isn’t seven feet tall, the player of the decade? But, he does fit the Lakers system very well because he will not have to create for himself on the offensive side of the ball. Simmons will absolutely shine as a Laker because he will use his unreal basketball IQ and intangibles to set up the other young superstars (D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle.) And, those same guys will set him up for easy buckets which he thrives on. Looks like Simmons could get to keep his purple and gold gear… Again.
The pick: Ben Simmons
3. Boston Celtics
The Beantown Ballers are in a very interesting situation here, because they are already a very good team with a lot of potential, yet they have a top 3 pick (from the horrendous Nets.) The Celtics really don’t need a certain position, yet they can improve at a certain position–inside. That being said, people say that Dragan Bender is the obvious pick, but I am very anti international players. Since there is no big worth the 3rd pick, the Celtics need to trade down. If I were the Celtics GM, I would trade down three spots with the Pelicans. It is a win-win for both teams…the Pelicans can get their Point Guard of the future in Kris Dunn and the Celtics can a take a very polished big, Henry Ellenson at 6. In my opinion, Ellenson is the best big in this draft and would make an instant impact in Boston.
The pick: Henry Ellenson
4. Phoenix Suns
The Suns are absolutely set at the guard position which rules out my next two favorite prospects in Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray. Most mocks have Phoenix taking Cal freshman Jaylen Brown, but if I am the Suns GM I want no part of Brown and here’s why. Every Cal game I watched this year Brown played with no passion on the floor, that’s number one. Number two, every time Brown was on the bench, whether it be with 15 minutes left in the first half or 15 seconds left in the 2nd half, Brown never stood up off the bench, he never clapped and never smiled. People might not think that is a big deal, but to me, that is a huge red flag. I believe your true character comes out when you think no one is observing you and I guarantee you, he thought no one was watching him on the bench. An example, in a late season game between Cal and Arizona, Cal had a late game lead, Brown fouled out with about a minute and a half left. Then Arizona started to make their run, everyone on the bench was jumping up and down encouraging the Cal defense to get a stop, except Brown. And when Cal got the go ahead bucket with about 20 seconds left, Brown didn’t even flinch. Anyways, enough about Brown, it is obvious that the Suns need a forward, so even though I’m not his biggest fan, I think Dragan Bender is the pick here. He has a ton of potential and that is exactly what the Suns need to go along with this young core of guards.
The pick: Dragan Bender
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
To me the pick is obvious, the Wolves need some scoring help to go along with KAT and Wiggins, LaVine is a good scorer but extremely inconsistent. They could also use a Point Guard, but with Dunn off the board, Buddy is a must. Hield is perfect for this young team, because not only can he score from anywhere (spaces out the floor for KAT in the post), he can put up a ton of points on a limited amount of shots, because at the moment there are not a ton of shots to go around in Minnesota. Hield’s talent and work ethic is an absolute steal at 5. A starting lineup of Rubio, LaVine, Hield, Wiggins and KAT is scary. Also, the way that Hield moves without the ball will allow him to be a better true shooting guard than Jamal Murray.
The pick: Buddy Hield
I’m not predicting this is how it will go, I’m just saying it should…or would if I was the GM here.