As the draft quickly approaches — we're so close, you guys — it's time to mock for a second-to-last time. After some recent developments shuffled everyone's board quite a bit, here's what I've now got pegged as THE definitive draft prediction, I think.
1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis
The surest thing since sure things became a thing.
2. Charlotte Bobcats - Thomas Robinson
The Bobcats need everything, but I think they'll go with a solid post presence over an undersized gunner at the guard position. They already have one of those.
3. Washington Wizards - Brad Beal
The perfect fit, especially after the recent trade. John Wall with a perimeter shooting threat > John Wall without a perimeter shooting threat >>> John Wall with Jordan Crawford.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Between Kyrie Irving, MKG and Tristan Thompson, this is going to be a tough-as-nails team for years to come. I love the fit, and while I think Harrison Barnes fits here as well, MKG can do much more in the all-around game. Cleveland could use a versatile wing to pair with its do-it-all point guard.
5. Sacramento Kings - Harrison Barnes
I could watch Harrison Barnes shoot pull-up jumpers all day long. His combine tests put to rest any concerns over his athleticism, and I think he gives a Kings team some much-needed size on the perimeter to go with undersized guys like Jimmer Fredette and Marcus Thornton.
6. Portland Trail Blazers - Damian Lillard
For some reason, I think the Blazers think they can land a center with their eleventh pick, and I think they're going to try their hardest to land Damian Lillard before anyone else can snag him. Andre Drummond is worth the sixth pick, but the overall C/PG combo package that the Blazers are pursuing could look much better with Lillard attached.
7. Golden State Warriors - Andre Drummond
The Warriors did trade for Andrew Bogut, but I think the lure of adding Drummond could be too much to pass on. He'll get to sit for a year or two and develop behind Bogut and Lee, and if the Warriors think he is ready before or after that time frame, they can make some more moves if necessary.
8. Toronto Raptors - Jeremy Lamb
It came down to Lamb and Waiters. I went with Lamb simply because he's got a chance to be a better defender because of his length and quickness, and if anyone likes defense, it's the Dwayne Casey-led Raptors.
9. Detroit Pistons - John Henson
I think everyone can agree that this will unequivocally be the Detroit Pistons' pick. It just makes too much sense.
10. New Orleans Hornets - Dion Waiters
Yes, the Hornets do have Eric Gordon, but there are no guarantees that he will stick around. If he does, however, Waiters gives the Hornets a tough, slashing perimeter player who can also slide over to the point if necessary.
11. Portland Trail Blazers - Meyers Leonard
This came down to Zeller and Leonard, but I think new GM Neil Olshey could go for the sexier pick. Zeller is a solid all-around player, but Leonard could easily develop into a better player in a few years.
12. Milwaukee Bucks - Tyler Zeller
Welp, that solves the Andrew Bogut problem.
13. Phoenix Suns - Austin Rivers
Shooting guard seems to be the consensus pick here, so I have them taking the best available. I think Rivers lands either in Toronto or Phoenix, and if Waiters and Lamb are off the board, he won't slide past thirteen.
14. Houston Rockets - Perry Jones III
I think this is a fantastic pick for the Rockets, one with enough ballsiness to get the fans excited again. Jones' highlight reel is fantastic. His lowlight reel is, well, just awful. But in looking more at the tape, I think Jones fits as a small forward more than a power forward, and most of his highlights came when he was out of the post and on the outside. I really couldn't tell you what type of player Jones will become, and that's what makes this pick a no-brainer.
15. Philadelphia 76ers - Jared Sullinger
The Sullinger Slide ends in Philadelphia, a team in desperate need of a post presence. The Sixers are far too reliant on their perimeter game to get points, and while Sullinger's back troubles may limit his longevity, the Sixers appear to want to win now.
16. Houston Rockets - Kendall Marshall
I'd like the Rockets to grab a dynamic shooting guard, but outside of the top three on the board, I don't see anyone worth taking over Marshall. Terrence Ross has some question marks about what his true go-to strengths are, where Marshall does not. With Marshall, you know, at the very least, that you're getting the best pure passer to come out of the college game in the past few years.
17. Dallas Mavericks - Terrence Jones
While the Mavs look for a replacement star, Jones gives them a versatile piece that could adjust to many different roster changes.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Terrence Ross
They need a shooting guard, and for once, I think Kahn will make the right call. Gulp.
19. Orlando Magic - Arnett Moultrie
I'm not as sold on Moultrie as others, but he's got some game and the Magic could use things like game.
20. Denver Nuggets - Quincy Miller
A boom-or-bust pick for a team that could boom or bust itself. Why not add more to the chaos?
21. Boston Celtics - Royce White
If anyone can come in and provide stability as a rookie to a team likely about to fall off the ledge, it's Mr. Everything, Royce White.
22. Boston Celtics - Fab Melo
The Celtics are very small. Melo is very tall. This works for all.
23. Atlanta Hawks - Moe Harkless
Without any glaring roster holes, the Hawks go with the BPA. Harkless has some real talent and could use some first-hand coaching on how best to avoid becoming Marvin Williams.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers - Will Barton
The best shooting guard available, and perhaps the biggest sleeper on the board.
25. Memphis Grizzlies - Marquis Teague
The Eric Maynor of the Grizzlies.
26. Indiana Pacers - Tyshawn Taylor
Darren Collison hasn't worked out as planned, and George Hill is better off as a two-guard. Bring in Tyshawn, the turnover machine with some elite skills.
27. Miami Heat - Draymond Green
ESPN will have a field day with the "storylines"
28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jeff Taylor
More under-appreciated players for the Thunder. Sounds about right.
29. Chicago Bulls - Evan Fournier
He can go hang out with Nikola Mirotic before they both come over and keep the Bulls in the running for a 'ship each year.
30. Golden State Warriors - Andrew Nicholson
BPA. That's all there is to say.