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NBA Lottery Mock Draft

By Joey Schneider and Joe Ewell

Joey Schneider and Joe Ewell, who both pride themselves on analyzing all players and teams in NBA draft process have come together and joined forces to put out a consensus pre-lottery mock draft.

Joe Ewell put together a comprehensive Believeland Media Big Board that we used. We looked at best players available, but also what team needs were along with what fit make sense not just for the team, but also what a good fit the player would make with the coaching staff to maximize their potential.

1. Houston Rockets- Paolo Banchero - PF - Duke

Big Board rank- 1

Position rank-1

Banchero had great running mates at Duke in Coach K's finally year, yet he still managed to not only stand out, but be a force. He has a NBA ready body at 6'10 and 250 lbs. He may not have the highest ceiling in the draft, but he can score at all three levels and has a high basketball IQ. Having Christian Wood at center allows Banchero to spread the floor if needed, but gives the Rockets two towers down low to wreck havoc on both sides of the ball.

2. Orlando Magic- Jabari Smith - PF - Auburn

Big Board rank- 2

Position rank- 2

Smith was a truly elite shooter in college hitting 42% of his 3 point attempts. At 6'10 he is unique in that he can guard 1-5 on the floor. He is quick and will be put to the test at the next level to see if he can truly guard any position. He does need to put on some weight as he has a sleight frame at only 220 lbs. Having Mo Bamba, who took a major leap last year behind him to protect the rim, will allow Smith to focus on defending the 3 or 4 and spread the floor on offense.

3. Detroit Pistons- Chet Holmgren - C - Gonzaga

Big Board rank- 5

Position rank- 1

Joe and Myself both view Holmgren as the biggest boom or bust prospect in the draft. His upsides are off the chart. He's 7'0 tall. Shot almost 40% from 3 and averaged a double double on the season, along with playing some elite defense. Great numbers for college. However he is only 195 lbs and will be pushed around a lot in the NBA. He needs to put of a lot of weight to be able to fight for rebounds at the next level. The good news is that the Pistons are a good fit for him. After added Cade Cunningham last year, retaining Jeremi Grant, and the emergence of Saddiq Bey, Holmgren could develop nicely into a unique center who can play off the ball if needed.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder- Johnny Davis - SG - Wisconsin

Big Board rank- 3

Position rank- 1

Some might view this as a reach at pick 4, but with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerging as a all star point guard and the surprise of last years first round pick Josh Giddey playing well until his injury, the Thunder needs firepower. Davis averaged 19.7 ppg and 8.2 rpg this year with Wisconsin. He only shot 30% from 3, but knows how to get the rim and score. He has energy that you can't teach and would fit in perfectly with Shai at point, Davis at SG, and Giddey at SF.

5. Indiana Pacers- Keegan Murray - PF - Iowa

Big Board rank- 7

Position rank- 3

Murray is one of a few prospects this season that stayed multiple years in college, and in his case all 4. He will be 22 when the NBA season begins. Most teams prefer younger players but Murray's numbers do not lie. He averaged 23.5 ppg and 8.7 rpg with Iowa. He has a very fluid defensive game and can guard multiple positions, while also having one of the best offensive games in the draft. He can score from anywhere. He shot just shy of 40% from beyond the arc. He is a great fit with Haliburton and Myles Turner. After trading Domantas Sabonis last season, Murray could develop into an even greater player and give the Pacers an incredible young core to take them back to the playoffs.

6. Portland Trailblazers- Shaedon Sharpe - SG - Kentucky

Big Board rank- 8

Position rank- 2

After trading away CJ McCollum, Norman Powell, and Robert Covington, the Blazers need a running mate for Dame Lillard. While Sharpe enrolled at Kentucky, he didn't suit up. He was the 3rd ranked prospect in the 2021 class, but you have to go back to watch his highlights from high school to see his talent. He is extremely explosive getting to the rim and has a great mid range jumper. He can create his own shot off the dribble, but the jury is still out on his 3 point range. At 6'6 he can play both the SG and SF positions. The Blazers still have Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic who if both are healthy could use a play maker to take some pressure off of them and potentially make a small splash in the west.

7. Sacramento Kings- Jalen Duran - C - Memphis

Big Board rank- 10

Position rank- 2

Duran is a defensive monster. 6'11 250 lbs with a NBA ready body and high defensive IQ, he fits nicely with what the Kings are building. With D'Aaron Fox, Davion Mitchell, and Domantas Sabonis providing the offense, Duran could anchor the defense around the rim. He needs help in developing his offensive game. He will be good in pick and rolls and high percentage shots, but will need to work on anything from 10 feet and beyond.

8. New Orleans Pelicans- PG - Jaden Ivey - Purdue

Big Board rank- 6

Position rank- 1

We have Jaden Ivey falling a bit here in the lottery based on two factors, team needs and the fact that like Chet Holmgren we believe Ivey has the boom or bust factor. He has a plethora of moves to get to the rim and may be the fastest and most athletic prospect in the draft. his offensive game is nearly a complete one although he can improve his 3 point shot a bit as it was 35% this year at Purdue. Not bad however by any stretch. His defensive game need improvement. While he can seem to score with ease, any team that takes him will need to work fiercely on his defense.

9. San Antonio Spurs- Ochai Agbaji - SF - Kansas

Big Board rank- 4

Position rank- 1

Another 22 year old, 4 year college athlete. Agbaji improved year after year at Kansas developing into a complete player. He finished his senior season with 18.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, while also shooting 41% from 3. He plays fantastic defense usually guarding the best shooter on opposing teams. He also has a terrific work ethic. He may not be explosive, but has maybe one of the most complete games in the draft. He fits like a glove into San Antonio with both Dejonte Murray at point guard, but maybe more importantly Greg Popovich as his coach. Pop will get the very best out of Agbaji.

10. Washington Wizards- Benedict Mathurin - SG - Arizona

Big Board rank- 11

Position rank- 3

Mathurin had a great year at Arizona putting up 17.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 apg, and shooting 37% from 3. He is long and athletic and seems like he plays bigger than his 6'6 height. He needs work on his defensive game, but has a high ceiling and could become a star two way player in the NBA. With Bradley Beal coming back from injury and Kyle Kuzma taking his game to the next level last season and the mid season addition of Kristaps Porzingis, Mathurin would slide nicely into the SG/SF role.

11. New York Knicks- TyTy Washington - PG - Kentucky

Big Board rank- 15

Position rank- 3

With the Knicks in need a point guard why not take the best available with a fairly high ceiling? TyTy is somewhat of an enigma. He is a terrific defender who can guard the PG or SG positions, but many have questions about his height at 6'3. His numbers were solid at 12 ppg, 4 rpg, and 4 apg. Not to mention he has a decent 3 point percentage at 35%. He reminds me of a slightly shorter Marcus Smart. He can do everything. He may not be a mega star, but he can be a driving force in getting a team into the playoffs. With RJ Barrett somewhat emerging last season, if Julius Randle can get back on track, TyTy would be a great fit on the Knicks.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder- Jeremy Sochan - PF - Baylor

Big Board rank- 13

Position rank- 4

The Thunder have a massive war chest of picks over the next 3-4 years and they will acquire as much young talent as they can. We have Baylor PF Jeremy Sochan penciled in here. He is 6'9 and very light on his feet. he doesn't have great 3 point range, but has a extremely fluid mid range shot, which will still allow him the stretch the floor. He is also a great defender who excels at guarding other power forwards, but his biggest attribute might be his ability to shut down wings with his quickness.

13. Charlotte Hornets- Mark Williams - C - Duke

Big Board rank- 17

Position rank- 3

Charlotte looks set on the floor from positions 1-3 with Ball, Rozier, and Hayward if he can stay healthy. They need an upgrade from PJ Washington and would find it in Duke product Mark Williams. He's 7'0 242 lbs and was a elite rim defender at Duke. He doesn't have a great shot and you won't be seeing him stretching the floor, but his made field goal percentage at Duke was 72.3%. When he does shoot he makes sure that it is a very high percentage. Charlotte needs to be able to block shots, grab second chance rebounds, and give themselves more opportunity score because they have the offense to put up high scoring outputs. Williams gives then the defense they need and could also benefit from the pick and roll with both Ball and Rozier on the floor.

14. Cleveland Cavaliers- AJ Griffin - SF - Duke

Big Board rank- 9

Position rank- 2

AJ Griffin falls to the Cavs here. Griffin is perhaps the best 3 point shooter in the draft making over 45% of his 3's with Duke last season. He is 6'6 with a massive 7'0 wingspan. He had some defensive issues last season and seems to have had a little trouble getting off good defense. Griffin is unique in that he has both a high floor and high ceiling. At worst he could be a good 3 point shooter and 6th man off the bench. At best, if he can fix some of his deficiencies, like becoming more explosive to drive past defenders which he had flashes of at duke. As well as defending, which with his size and wingspan he could develop into a top tier defender, Griffin could become a two way force and the steal of the draft. The Cavs are a perfect fit for Griffin as the Cavs are in need of a wing, but could also give Griffin time to develop along side their other young core pieces.

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