Conference play has started in college basketball, so now is a good time to look at the players NBA teams will heavily scout over the next few months.
The Boston Celtics would have the best chance to win the draft lottery if the regular season ended Tuesday. The Celtics have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, but a previous trade has netted them (no pun intended) a 2017 first-round pick swap with the Brooklyn Nets. In fact, they also own Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick (in addition to last season’s first-rounder).
Boston can use this pick to add another talented young player to an already impressive roster, or it could try to trade the selection in a package for a superstar player who’ll take the franchise to a championship level.
The Philadelphia 76ers could have two lottery picks this season. If the Los Angeles Lakers’ pick falls outside the top three, which seems likely at this point, it’ll be sent to Philly as part of a prior trade.
Here’s our first NBA mock draft of the season (draft order based on standings as of Jan. 3).
1. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets): Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA
3. Phoenix Suns: Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke
4. Miami Heat: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
5. Dallas Mavericks: Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
7. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers if outside top three): Jonathan Isaac, PF, FSU
8. New Orleans Pelicans: Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State
9. Denver Nuggets: Harry Giles III, PF, Duke
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Ivan Rabb, PF, California
11. Sacramento Kings: OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana
12. Orlando Magic: Lauri Markkanen, C, Arizona
13. Detroit Pistons: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
14. New York Knicks: Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
15. Washington Wizards: Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Germany
16. Chicago Bulls: Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M
17. Indiana Pacers: Edrice Adebayo, C, Kentucky
18. Milwaukee Bucks: TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA
19. Atlanta Hawks: Jonathan Motley, PF, Baylor
20. Charlotte Hornets: Justin Paton, C, Creighton
21. Brooklyn Nets (from Boston Celtics): Hamidou Diallo, Prep School
22: Oklahoma City Thunder: Terrance Ferguson, SF, Australian League
23. Memphis Grizzlies: Marques Bolden, C, Duke
24. Los Angeles Clippers: Kostja Mushidi, SG, Germany
25. Utah Jazz: Alec Peters, PF, Valparaiso
26. Toronto Raptors: Omer Yurtseven, C, NC State
27. Houston Rockets: Jaron Blossomgame SF, Clemson
28. Cleveland Cavaliers: Josh Hart, SG, Villanova
29. San Antonio Spurs: Luke Kennard, SG, Duke
30. Golden State Warriors: Tyler Lydon, PF, Syracuse
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images