The aim of the post-March Madness mock draft was to give an overview and introduction to some of the first-round prospects in this summer's NBA Draft. With this latest mock draft, the goal is to start to really pin down which players would fit best on which teams and provide an NBA comparison for each prospect. You'll notice that there hasn't been much movement in the top 10. That's because the lottery, NBA combine and pre-draft workouts haven't happened yet. However, you will notice that a couple of new names have emerged toward the back half of the first round, and I even threw in a fake trade. The next mock draft will be after the lottery order is determined and could include another fake trade or two — especially if a team with a lot of assets gets a top three pick and could potentially trade for Anthony Davis.
NBA Comp: LeBron James in young Rodney Rogers' body
This one time, I'm going to focus on the few negative aspects of Zion's game. First, and most obvious, is his shot. Notice I didn't use the phrase "jump shot" because Zion doesn't really have a jumper. His three-point shot is a somewhat juvenile-looking set-shot. A lot of people have questioned his mechanics, but I don't think his shot is broken — he's a lefty, and almost all lefties' shots look a little robotic. The issue that could hinder him, however, is the fact that he can't shoot off the dribble well. Obviously, whichever team wins the lottery and drafts Zion won't want him shooting a lot of contested jumpers. But being able to create a shot off the dribble at the end of the shot clock is a skill that almost every elite player has in his bag. Second, Zion is going to get called for a ton of charges and player control fouls early in his career (thoughts and prayers to those players drawing the charges) because he's prone to telegraph his moves on drives, especially his spin move. My final concern is that he's so vertically athletic and plays so hard that he'll have to learn to pick his spots to avoid injuries. That's all I got.
NBA Comp: Lefty DeMar DeRozan
Barrett makes a lot more sense for the Cavs than Ja Morant. For one, he's a more natural fit than Morant next to Collin Sexton. Second, he's got a much higher floor as a player than Morant and less questions about which parts of his game will translate to the NBA. At worst, Barrett is going to be a Harrison Barnes-like player who can get isolation buckets and defend and rebound well for his position. There's a lot more that can go wrong with young point guards — Morant might not see the floor or understand how to get teammates involved, he might not hit enough jump shots to keep the defense honest and he might be a massive liability on defense with his slight frame. Barrett has all of the NBA tools, has the NBA body and has the work ethic to be a starter, at worst, and a star, at best. He's the right guy for the Cavs if they don't get Zion.
NBA Comp: Dennis Smith Jr. with a little more point guard savvy
This is the most obvious fit in the entire lottery. In fact, the Suns apparently prefer to end up with Morant (even over Zion Williamson!), according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. For Morant's sake, I sincerely hope the Suns do not end up with the No. 1 overall pick because if they were to take Morant over Williamson, Morant's every game would be viewed with a microscope and compared to Williamson's. That's not how it's supposed to be with young point guards — they're going to struggle to adjust to the speed of the NBA. You want them to fail and learn from those failures. You don't want people criticizing Morant's funky low release point every time he goes 4-of-14 next season. You don't want Morant changing his attacking mentality because he's getting crushed in the media for committing five or six turnovers every night. You don't want the analytics guys putting out stats comparing Morant's defense to Isaiah Thomas'. And most of all, you don't want the narrative out there that Phoenix could have had Luka Doncic and Williamson but instead chose Deandre Ayton and Ja Morant. Make the right move if you luck into the No. 1 pick again, Phoenix. If you don't, then go get Morant.
NBA Comp: Damian Lillard with less polish
It's time for Chicago to relegate Kris Dunn to a backup point guard role (which he should be decent at) and get itself a more modern floor general. Garland came into the year as the No. 1 point guard prospect in his class but missed most of the season with a torn meniscus. Assuming he'll return to full health, this kid has a game modeled after the likes of Trae Young and Damian Lillard. His pretty shot and unlimited range jump off the screen. Whether he's making a spot up shot or an off-the-dribble shot, Garland does a good job of gathering himself with a strong base, squaring his shoulders to the basket and shooting a repeatable shot every time — it's reminiscent of Lillard's shot mechanics. Garland clearly played some shooting guard growing up because he's also a good cutter without the ball. From a playmaking standpoint, he already has all of the dribble moves you could ask for and seems to see the court nicely. Like Young, he'll have to learn to avoid overdribbling and improve his defense, as his slight frame will have opponents licking their chops at the thought of running him through pick-and-rolls all night.
NBA Comp: Jae Crowder (Celtics version)
This is definitely a fit-over-talent selection for the Hawks here. If they want to prioritize talent over everything, they'll probably grab Jarrett Culver or even (gulp) Cam Reddish at No. 5. But if they view this draft as being as void of superstars, as most NBA Draft analysts do, they'll be looking for a versatile, high-end role player to complement Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and John Collins. De'Andre Hunter is that player — partly because of his shortcomings. In particular, he doesn't bring a lot to the table in terms of playmaking or athletic upside. Thus, the Hawks don't have to worry about getting Hunter pick-and-roll reps or isolations. He knows where his bread is buttered. He's got an NBA body (6-foot-8, 220-pounds, 7-foot-2 wingspan), and he has the three-and-D aspect to his game on lock (44 percent from three last year). Plug him in, and watch him develop into a dependable NBA starter.
NBA Comp: Pascal Siakam before he made The Leap
The Wizards are one of the more hopeless franchises in the NBA right now because of their John Wall situation. They'll have a replacement for Ernie Grunfeld, who will be tasked with orchestrating a rebuild over the next three or four years and will be in the business of selling hope. In the NBA Draft that often equates to selecting a high-risk, high-reward developmental project and crossing your fingers that he turns into a good player three or four years later. If the Wizards don't move into the top three of the draft, taking a high-upside prospect means taking Sekou Doumbouya, Bol Bol or Cam Reddish. With everyone witnessing how impactful Pascal Siakam is in these playoffs, the Wizards' new GM can sell Doumbouya as the "next Siakam" to his fans as an example of a tangible player who took three years to really start paying dividends. This strategy is often a total farce, but it's the type of move that gives a GM some breathing room to put his long-term strategy into place. Besides, if Doumbouya becomes even 75 percent of what Siakam is today, it'll be a great pick at No. 6 of this relatively weak draft class.
NBA Comp: Jeremy Lamb
Pelicans new GM David Griffin certainly understands the importance of having tough shot-makers on his roster, as his Cavs teams had the likes of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and JR Smith. Culver falls in that category even though his range doesn't quite extend to the three-point line just yet. The 6-foot-6 playmaking wing can elevate to get his jumper off in the toughest of spots on the court. The hope here would be that Culver can eventually hit those same tough jumpers, only three-pointers, at the end of the shot clock in the NBA. Ranked as high as No. 4 on many analysts draft boards, Culver would be a solid value here for the Pelicans at No. 7.
NBA Comp: Jamal Crawford
With a first-round pick vesting to the Celtics, the Grizzlies need to adopt a specific strategy to ensure that the traded pick doesn't cripple their future. It's top-eight protected this season; top-six protected next season and unprotected the following season. If Memphis keeps the pick, its strategy should be to tank like crazy next season and then hope by the following season that Jaren Jackson Jr. and Co. are ready to make a jump out of the basement of the league by that point so that the unprotected pick is in the late lottery. Thus, Memphis should be looking to trade back in the draft and collect future assets. One team that should be looking to trade up to grab a point guard is the Orlando Magic. They are a playoff team with young talent and a veteran point guard in DJ Augustin to help the highly skilled but overly frenetic White with his transition into the league. Let White develop his already advanced bucket-getting abilities coming off the bench his rookie year, then work on rounding out the rest of his game next summer.
NBA Comp: Thon Maker if he played more like his high school mixtape
If the Hawks end up with two top-10 picks, why not swing for the fences with one of them? Bol Bol is the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in this draft because of his unique skill and body combination. At 7-foot-2 but only 220 pounds, Bol Bol will enter the NBA as one of the skinniest players in league history (much like his late father, Manute Bol). Also like his father, Bol Bol's insane height and wingspan make him an elite rim-protector without much effort. But unlike his father, Bol Bol is an excellent offensive player who can score from three levels. That was on full display in his nine games with Oregon, where he averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds with scintillating 56-52-76 shooting splits. On raw talent alone, Bol deserves to be a top-five pick in this draft, but scouts have cooled on him as of late because of his foot injury. (Once 7-footers' feet start getting hurt, they tend to stay hurt.)
NBA Comp: Tyrus Thomas if he gave a crap
Get ready to see this pairing on a lot of mock drafts. The 6-foot-8 Clarke seems like a perfect fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns, as he can defend like a wing but protect the rim like a center.(He averaged over three blocks per game last season.) And while his jump shot was completely remade and doesn't extend to the three-point line yet, the Wolves can use Clarke as a pick-and-roll rim-runner and have Towns space the court on the perimeter because he's an elite three-point shooter. If the Wolves really like Clarke at No. 10, they should make him a promise early in the draft process and tell him to shut down all of his other workouts because he's going to wow scouts with his athleticism. Plus, if he shows signs of improvement on his jump shot from distance, he could go closer to No. 5.
NBA Comp: Jeff Green
Get ready to see this pairing a lot as well with the Klutch Sports connection between Reddish and the Lakers. While I remain skeptical of Reddish and his alarming inconsistency in college, he is everything you could ask for from the neck down in a modern-day NBA wing. Plus, he did have some big-time clutch moments at various points during his one season at Duke. Some players are just meant to play in the NBA, and it all clicks once they're exposed to NBA coaching, training and regimens instead of having to pretend to be students for six to eight months in college. If the Lakers keep this pick and Reddish is available, I would all but guarantee that he's the choice here. Hey, if LeBron got a star performance from Jeff Green in a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, who knows what he could get out of Reddish.
NBA Comp: Willie Cauley-Stein
I previously compared Hayes to his Texas brethren Jarrett Allen, but a better comparison is Cauley-Stein as Hayes, like Cauley-Stein, was a football player first until he hit a huge growth spurt and become too tall and athletic to not play basketball. While Cauley-Stein benefited immensely from staying in college for three years and developing different parts of his game (particularly his defense), Hayes certainly has the frame and athletic ability to eventually be a great rim-runner and defensive menace. It's about eff-ing time the Hornets start taking some swings on potentially transformative players and stop competing for the eight seed every year. Hayes could actually learn a lot playing behind a fundamentally sound but relatively athletic big man like Cody Zeller, only Hayes can do things Zeller could never dream of doing on the court.
NBA Comp: A less moody Marcus Morris
Hachimura has the skills, athleticism and pedigree to be a good NBA player. At a 6-foot-9 and a stout 235 pounds, Hachimura can bang with most bigs in the post, but he also has the ability to blow past them or knock down a face-up jumper if given too much space. Like any talented big man entering the NBA today, his offensive potential will likely hinge upon whether he can consistently knock down three-pointers and spread the floor for his teammates. Do not be surprised if Japan's first basketball prodigy winds up going in the top 10 on draft night. If he slips, a team like the Heat should be happy to swoop in and take him.
NBA Comp: Marvin Williams
Little makes a solid jump from last mock draft up to the last pick in the lottery here mostly because analysts are starting to push the "he's a late-bloomer who picked the wrong school" narrative. I still think he's another Marvin Williams (who is a "cousin" of Jeff Green on the Inconsistent Family Tree). However, the same could have been said about Jaylen Brown when the Celtics selected him third overall after a subpar year at Cal. If there's any organization and coach who could develop Little into the star we thought he'd become after his senior year in high school, it's the Boston Celtics and Brad Stevens.
NBA Comp: A poor-man's Peja Stojakovic
When Dwane Casey won Coach of the Year with the Raptors, it was spurred on by a spread-out, three-point heavy offense. After posting the No. 23 team three-point percentage this past season, Detroit could really use some three-and-D wings to space the court around Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Enter Cameron Johnson. The 6-foot-9, fifth-year senior wing is an elite shooter who posted 51-46-82 (FG-3FG-FT) shooting splits this past season at Chapel Hill. At 23 years old, he seems like an ideal plug-and-play, three-and-D wing for a playoff contender. You can teach a lot of things in basketball, but height and a sweet stroke aren't among them.
NBA Comp: Associate's degree version of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
The hope for Memphis here is that it trades back eight spots, acquires some draft capital and still gets an interesting point guard like Alexander-Walker at pick 16. You may notice that Alexander-Walker has a lot of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in his game — that's because the two are cousins! He's tall (6-feet-5), long (6-feet-9), ambidextrous and plays at his own pace. He's not a great athlete, but his feel for the game and high skill level make up for it. Though he'd need a year or two to develop into a legitimate playmaker in the league, the good news is that Memphis has all the time in the world to develop a point guard. The Grizzlies are on Jaren Jackson Jr.'s timeline now, and he hasn't even turned 20 yet.
NBA Comp: JR Smith
JR Smith-Nick Young-Jordan Crawford. That's the best-average-worst case scenarios for Porter in the NBA. All three of those guys were talented, athletic and inconsistent in their play and behavior. Smith's ceiling made him a worthy gamble if your team had the right infrastructure. Young's ceiling made him kind of worth the gamble. Crawford's ceiling was not worth the gamble. When you watch Porter's highlights and see him making athletic plays and tough shots off the dribble, he looks like a future star. By the same token, when you look at the inconsistent game logs and read about his maturity issues, it makes you wonder whether he's worth the headache. Fortunately, the Nets have proved that they do, indeed, have the right infrastructure to take on a high-risk, high-reward player like Porter.
NBA Comp: Kevin Huerter
This seems like a match made in heaven. The team that routinely wears Hickory High jerseys gets its own version of Jimmy Chitwood. Although he struggles to create his own shot at times, Herro will be a dynamic shooter in the NBA and is the type of player who could shoot up draft boards during his pre-draft workouts if he tests well and shows signs of improvement with his ball-handling. A number of scouts believe he has the ability to run some pick-and-rolls in the league, which would really raise his draft profile after the success of Kevin Huerter last season. The Pacers could sure use some scoring pop and shooting (as seen by their playoff performance against Boston), and Herro could be part of that solution.
NBA Comp: The Ante Zizic Celtics fans told you about
And here we have our first new addition to the mock draft: Goga Bitadze. Bitadze would be a lottery pick if he came up in the league 10 or maybe even five years ago with his skill set and power around the basket along with his nice touch from the outside and solid all-around game. His problem is going to be — you guessed it — his ability to play defense when he gets thrown into a bunch of pick-and-rolls and has to switch onto the James Hardens and Steph Currys of the league, as he is a little slow-footed at the moment. His ceiling has been described by some experts as Jusuf Nurkic. If any team can help an international talent reach his potential, it's the Spurs.
NBA Comp: Iman Shumpert
Shumpert is a solid comparison here because he provides a range of what Langford could become — on one end of the spectrum, there's the player who people thought Shumpert could become when he first arrived on the Knicks. and on the other end there's the garbage player who became unplayable his last two years in Cleveland. A team with a great reputation for developing prospects, such as Boston, might talk itself into Langford though because of his reputation as a scorer and his decent touch around the rim. Plus, he played through a thumb injury most of the year and just looks like he was born to play two-guard in the NBA. (Look at that wingspan!) At the same time, Langford doesn't really have any elite skills. His shooting mechanics are disjointed, he doesn't have great handles or much creativity on drives and he doesn't jump off the screen as a defender or playmaker.
NBA Comp: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Johnson is 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds of straight bulldog. His physical playing style combined with his tenacity and effort make him an ideal prospect for a playoff team looking to solidify its depth at wing with a kid who projects to be a high-level role player in the NBA. While his offensive abilities are a little behind his defensive abilities, he should be able to at least be able to attack closeouts with powerful drives to the rim and knock down open three-pointers. With a little discipline and the right coaching, Johnson could turn into an excellent wing defender in the league, much like KCP was early in his career for the Pistons.
NBA Comp: Taj Gibson
Instead of focusing on the things Washington can't do (like shoot free throws), NBA teams would be smart to notice all of the little things he does extremely well. For instance, this guy is always around the ball, whether he's getting offensive rebounds, tip-outs, blocked shots, loose balls, etc. That's an intangible trait that only good basketball players possess. He's also a gamer and always seemed to show up big in Kentucky's toughest games. (Check out his stats in the tournament during his career at Kentucky.) He won't be a star in the NBA, but he projects to be a great role player. If Boston trades for Anthony Davis, its roster will be a little depleted and Washington could contribute immediately.
NBA Comp: PJ Tucker with more offense and less defense
Williams' stock was at its apex heading into March Madness after being named SEC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Although he put up solid numbers and had a few big moments during the tournament, he took a backseat to Admiral Schofield and Tennessee's guards when it mattered the most. Thus, his stock probably dipped back into the late-teens, early-20s range. Williams definitely won't be a bust, but his ceiling as an impactful player will be tied to whether he knocks down threes and switches onto perimeter players on defense. He was never really asked to do that in college, but it'll be mandatory in the NBA. He'd be a nice player for Quin Snyder to groom into a replacement for Jae Crowder.
NBA Comp: Trevor Ariza
Okpala isn't your typical prospect out of Stanford. He's an athletic, raw wing with three-and-D upside in the league. He's 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and is pretty comparable to a young Trevor Ariza. Despite averaging 17 points and six assists per game, he struggled with consistency this season, especially against some of the more athletic PAC-12 and non-conference teams. Some also question whether his basketball IQ will catch up to his body. Assuming he stays in the draft, he'd be a nice wing for a team like the Sixers to draft and stash in the G-League until he's ready to make NBA contributions in a year or two.
NBA Comp: Current Jae Crowder
Schofield is a man with a name to match his game. Yes, he's a senior and yes he looks like he's a Big Mac away from being too heavy to play wing in the NBA. But man, this guy competes and brings it every night. Look no further than his second-half performance against Purdue in the NCAA Tournament. He can knock down threes at a consistent enough clip to play on the perimeter on offense and is strong enough to guard up a position in small-ball lineups on defense. I'd be shocked if he isn't a rotation player in the NBA for seven to eight years (which is tremendous value for this late in the first round). As always, the Blazers could use some help at wing next season. Schofield could get minutes as a three or small-ball four for the Blazers.
NBA Comp: Norm Powell
Dort is a "thicc" guard with a lot of two-way capability. One thing scouts have to like is that he seemed to play up to the competition any time Arizona State faced a tournament-level opponent. His shooting needs to come a long way, as he shot only 31 percent from three despite a large sample size. If he can steady his mechanics and develop at his own pace, he could easily be a playoff contender's version of Norm Powell in the pros. The Cavaliers need talent at every position, and Dort could at least provide a little more defense than the likes of Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson.
NBA Comp: Deonte Burton
What is it with super-"thicc" power guards playing at Iowa State? First it was Deonte Burton, and now it's Talen Horton-Tucker. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 240 pounds, but with a 7-foot wingspan, Horton-Tucker is unique from a physical standpoint for a guard in this draft. He's powerful and has broad shoulders, so once he gets a step on a defender, he's tough to slow down or block. As one might expect, he's comfortable around the basket and has a nice face-up game with an array of up-fakes and step-back moves in his arsenal. He can pass a little bit too. While his shot needs work, he's an intriguing talent who could be used in small-ball lineups in the NBA. Let's give him to Kenny Atkinson and see what he can get out of him.
NBA Comp: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Would prime Tony Allen have a place in today's NBA? If so then Matisse Thybulle could be a steal for a team drafting near the end of the first round, as he's the best wing defender to enter the NBA in years. Thybulle averaged an absurd 3.5 steals and 2.2 blocks this past season but only nine points and three rebounds. The odd thing is that his jump shot isn't broken, and there's some belief that he could eventually develop into a Danny Green-type player on offense. Hey, if you're getting that type of player at this point in the draft, you must be pretty pleased with the job your scouting department did. Assuming Kevin Durant departs, the Warriors will need to reinvent themselves a bit with their depth at wing. What better way to start than to take the best wing defender in the entire draft?
NBA Comp: Patty Mills
Edwards' Kemba Walker impersonation during March Madness certainly did his draft stock some favors. Instead of being viewed as a chucker, like he was for much of the Big Ten regular season, Edwards is now being seen as a player who can carry an average Purdue team to the cusp of a Final Four almost entirely on his own. The unlimited range and impressive shot-making ability he displayed this March were truly amazing and probably solidified his draft stock as a late-first-, early-second round pick. Every team could use a spark plug guard off the bench, and Edwards certainly fits that mold. He'd be an ideal long-term replacement for Patty Mills in San Antonio.
NBA Comp: Anthony Randolph with a pass-first mentality
Despite being somewhat of a surprise player to declare for the draft, Claxton certainly popped off the screen if you ever found yourself watching a Georgia game. It wasn't that he was dominant or had some elite skill, but it was more that he was 6-foot-11, lengthy as hell and possessed a guard's game. Yes, he can handle the ball and played some de facto point guard for Tom Crean last season at times. He can step out and hit some three-pointers as well. He's most impressive, however, when he grabs a rebound and pushes the ball up the court. Claxton has a modern game, but you just wonder if his skinny frame and rawness to the rest of his game will prevent him from ever getting the minutes to excel. He'd be a great low-risk, high-reward guy at the end of the first round for the Bucks.