A lot has happened since we unveiled our first mock draft, Mock Draft 1.0, two weeks ago, and since our second mock draft, Mock Draft 2.0, last week. As teams conduct private workouts and interviews, comb through data, game tape and medical records, we’re hearing names moving up and down boards. Here’s the latest, Mock Draft 1.0 Backslash 2 (picks 1-7).
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas: I’ve got sources in Cavs camp telling me that the organization favors Embiid, Duke forward Jabari Parker, and Kansas shooting guard Andrew Wiggins, our original pick in this slot, in equal measure. The important takeaway for you from this should be this: Sources. We’ve got ‘em. So if you were sittin’ at home thinkin’, “Does Ballerball have sources??” well then, my friend, the answer is yes. They are telling us nothing useful, but they are out there. Huzzah!
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker, SF, Duke: Bucks GM John Hammond is notoriously secretive when it comes to personnel decisions (he hates paper trails so he never writes anything down, but also this means he is prone to forgetting things, like that Larry Sanders had NOT done enough to merit a massive contract extension). As such, people in the organization rely on more subtle hints for clues as to know where Hammond is leaning. One person I spoke with (I talk to people!) said that Hammond recently described Parker’s jumper as “silky,” an adjective he has, in the past, associated with the likes of Brandon Knight and OJ Mayo. So, Parker seems to be the pick.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Andrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas: Wiggins has been at the top of the Sixers’ draft board all year, so if the first round plays out like this, and Wiggins falls to #3, it would seem too good to be true. The problem is, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie firmly believes in the notion of things being too good to be true. Apparently, he’s often told his staff, “if something seems too good to be true, trade it.” I’m told, that’s why when Jrue Holiday surprisingly blossomed from a mid-first rounder into an All-Star, they shipped him to New Orleans for the rights to a raw, knee-injured 19 year old. So, my guess is this pick gets moved. If not, look for Wiggins here.
4. Orlando Magic – Zach LaVine, PG, UCLA: Surprised? I sure was when I heard LaVine was in play at pick #4. I told my anonymous source, listen anonymous source, all the other anonymous sources I’m talking to – and I’m talking to literally EVERY source who is down to source anonymously – tells me that they’ve got LaVine anonymously but 100% certainly pegged for the mid-first round, but you’re telling me you guys are snatching him at 4!?!?, and he was like, listen I know what all the other anonymous sources are anonymously sourcing and I get it, but I’m telling you (but shhh…not telling you this is off the record) that we LOVE this guy, we think he’s the next Russell Westbrook, and that we’re taking him at 4. So, there you have it.
5. Utah Jazz – Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton: If Jabari is not left on the board, and Gordon Hayward is at risk of leaving, then this one was just sealed in fate. Doug + Utah is just a marriage made in Ruby Tuesday’s heaven.
6. Boston Celtics – Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona: Word on the street is Boston was originally 100% intent on going big with this first pick. But apparently, then they were like, naw, let’s go small, so then they were going to go small. But then they talked more and were like, why are we clowning!? We gotta go big!, so they decided to stop clowning and go big. I think they mostly just want Kevin Love.
7. L.A. Lakers – Dante Exum, PG, Australia: I’m hearing that whoever ends up the Lakers next head coach, the organization want to adopt a philosophy that leads to better passing, shooting, rebounding, defense, leadership, and less Swaggy P. Australia’s Exum, a YouTube phenomenon, checks all those boxes. If he falls this far, he’s the no-brainer pick. (Well, unless they pick someone else. My sources tell me anything could happen. Have I mentioned I’ve got sources?)
Check back for Mock Draft 2.0 Backslash 2 and Mock Draft 1.0 Hyphen 3 next week.