For the fourth straight year, the Globe corralled NBA writers from across the league to participate in a live mock draft Tuesday.
After last year’s mock draft saw five guards come off the board in the top eight picks, just three guards went in the top 10 this year. The Arizona Republic’s Scott Bordow, picking for the Suns, nabbed Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the top pick, and Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee used the second pick on Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. for the Kings.
The Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach picked for the Celtics, who have just one selection in this year’s draft, and opted to take guard Kevin Huerter out of Maryland at No. 27.
Here is how the mock draft went:
1. Phoenix: Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona
The Suns believe Ayton fits as a modern-day center.
2. Sacramento: Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
The Kings could go several ways, and Porter’s upside intrigues them.
3. Atlanta: Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Michigan State
The youngest top prospect has 3-and-D potential.
4. Memphis: Luka Doncic, G/F, Real Madrid (Spain)
Doncic is, in my opinion, the top prospect in this draft. Getting him here is an absolute steal for Memphis, and he gives the Grizzlies the ready-to-play wing player they’ve been trying to find for years now.
5. Dallas: Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke
No way the Mavericks expected him to be here, but when the fighting Bontemps broke their heart by taking Doncic at No. 4, the Mavs are OK with the consolation prize.
6. Orlando: Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
The greatest chicken-or-egg problem in the NBA today is deciding whether to rebuild around size and length or shooting and scoring. The league is trending toward scoring, so I think the Magic go with Trae Young, believing they can find rim protection elsewhere and using Jonathan Isaac and a (re-signed) Aaron Gordon to bolster the defense around him.
7. Chicago: Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
The Bulls aren’t expecting this scenario and Wendell Carter Jr. represents a more traditional pick to complement and aid Lauri Markkanen. But Bamba’s length, defensive force potential, and upside would be too good to pass up here.
8. Cleveland: Collin Sexton, G, Alabama
High energy, defender, position of need, possible trade bait for the Hornets and Kemba Walker. Dan Gilbert loves him.
9. New York: Wendell Carter Jr., PF, Duke
While Mikal Bridges or Kevin Knox may have made sense, the Knicks can’t pass on the raw talent.
10. Philadelphia: Mikal Bridges, G, Villanova
A good two-way player, he can defend and is a good shooter. That will spread the floor for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to operate. The added bonus is that he doesn’t need the ball to be effective.
11. Charlotte: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky
With Kemba Walker really being one of the only ways to move off of bad contracts, Charlotte needs a replacement at PG. His size compares well with Charlotte’s smaller lottery pick last year in Malik Monk.
12. LA Clippers: Lonnie Walker, G, Miami
A clutch shooter in college who can score in the lane.
13. LA Clippers: Miles Bridges, G/F, Michigan State
A player able to play multiple positions is what the Clippers need.
14. Denver: Kevin Knox, F, Kentucky
The Nuggets have uncertainty both on the wing and in the backcourt, with Wilson Chandler still deciding whether to pick up his player option and Will Barton entering unrestricted free agency. Knox, a recent riser on draft boards because of his youth and potential, helps fill the first need if he slips to Denver.
15. Washington: Zhaire Smith, G, Texas Tech
Smith is raw and athletic and still needs development. But the Wizards need a player like him. Plus, the kid may have the best upside in the draft.
16. Phoenix: Aaron Holiday, G, UCLA
The Suns will try to trade up, but if they can’t, they go for Holiday, who was in twice for workouts. Undersized but can shoot and defend.
17. Milwaukee: Elie Okobo, G, Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France)
The Bucks have a task that is easy to describe and difficult to execute: fully leverage the incomparable talent of Giannis Antetokounmpo. To do so, Milwaukee needs to ensure that he is surrounded by shooters as often as possible. Okobo presents the most dynamic option available, and he should be able to join Mike Budenholzer’s guard rotation this season.
18. San Antonio: Melvin Frazier, G/F, Tulane
Some scouts consider Frazier the most athletic wing in this year’s draft class. If the Spurs are in search of adding more athletic wings, Frazier, who is praised for his defense, can be developed and help the team in a few years.
19. Atlanta: Jacob Evans, G/F, Cincinnati
The Hawks would have liked Holiday here. They settle for a great defensive prospect on the wing with playmaking ability.
20. Minnesota: Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova
Could trade this pick, but they need toughness, shooting, and defenders (particularly on the wing), and the Big Ragu could help supply some of all three.
21. Utah: Troy Brown Jr., G/F, Oregon
With the Jazz roster stocked, they can afford to swing for the fence with Brown, the second-youngest player in the draft. He’s big, athletic, versatile, and has the chance to be a good two-way wing in time.
22. Chicago: Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College
Robert Williams surprisingly being on the board could give the Bulls pause. But with a now-crowded frontcourt, they address their biggest need: a D-and-3 wing.
23. Indiana: Chandler Hutchison, G, Boise State
The Pacers lack size in the backcourt, which is why they limit switching, and athleticism on the wings (which allowed the Cavs to load to Victor Oladipo without paying a price). They don’t just need a shooter but an athlete who can create his own, be a good stretch shooter, and get to the rim, which opens the floor for Oladipo.
24. Portland: Khyri Thomas, G, Creighton
I think the Blazers should — and will — actively shop the pick in pursuit of a veteran to help now. But trades are off the table in this mock. And while Anfernee Simons intrigues the Blazers, I’m going with Thomas, an excellent defender and shooter who would add depth on the wing.
25. LA Lakers: Robert Williams, F, Texas A&M
Given how this draft has played out, the fact the Lakers can still get a guy who was a projected lottery talent at No. 25 in Williams — particularly the kind of athletic big with the potential to play in today’s NBA — is a no-brainer, despite some of the oddities that have cropped up over the past couple months since his career at Texas A&M came to an end.
This young native of Bosnia will remain overseas for at least another season in a draft-and-stash situation. That allows the Sixers to create more cap space to go after an A-list free agent and allow Musa to develop more. But he has a great upside.
27. Boston: Kevin Huerter, G, Maryland
He’s fallen here because of a hand injury, but the Celtics gladly scoop up one of the draft’s best shooters.
— Adam Himmelsbach, Boston Globe
28. Golden State: MiKyle McIntosh, F, Oregon
Averaged 11.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in his one season with the Ducks, can rebound well and guard multiple positions.
29. Brooklyn: Josh Okogie, G, Georgia Tech
The Nets liked Keita Bates-Diop and were on Chandler Hutchison before most; but a 19-year-old 3-and-D wing with a 7-foot wingspan could help their leaky defense too much to pass up.
30. Atlanta: De’Anthony Melton, G, USC
Melton is a good defender, rebounder, slasher, and playmaker. He’s not a good shooter but the Hawks will work with him on that.