NBA Mock Draft 6.0: Is anyone’s ceiling higher than Anthony Edwards?

Anthony Edwards, #5, Georgia Bulldogs, (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards, #5, Georgia Bulldogs, (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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The NBA has a plan and a schedule for the draft and out latest NBA Mock Draft looks at player fits and potential stars like Anthony Edwards.

A dearth of professional basketball means plenty of time to watch tape of prospects, mull over hypothetical player combinations and mash the “Sim Lottery” button at Tankathon. This week’s simulated lottery was a wild one, putting the Detroit Pistons in pole position and letting two other teams jump up and join them in the top three. Armed with insights from a new Step Back Big Board, I did my best to make everyone happy and keep it interesting.

Who is rising and falling in our latest NBA Mock Draft?

The analysis of each individual player here relies heavily on the insights of our own draft experts, Trevor Magnotti, Ben Pfiefer and Jackson Frank. Each pick is not necessarily a guess at who each team will or even should take, just a hopefully insightful match between prospect skill and upside and each team’s need.

And if you’re looking at any of these picks wondering what the heck I was thinking, just remember that mock drafts are made to be mocked.

18. . Big. Boston Celtics. Zeke Nnaji. 30. player

Nnaji wins with motor and mobility, although he’s not much of a rim protector. His switchability and floor-spacing potential might make him worth a roll of the dice for the Celtics.

. Guard. Los Angeles Lakers. Malachi Flynn. 29. player. 20

The Lakers’ focus is on the present and there aren’t a ton of plug-and-play options here for them. They might prefer a 3-and-D option, but Flynn’s playmaking and aggressive defense at the point will certainly endear him to LeBron James.

81. . Guard. Toronto Raptors. Nico Mannion. 28. player

Fred VanVleet is an unrestricted free agent and if he’s not back, Mannion could be an interesting option for growing someone else into that role. He doesn’t have the elite quickness to really be viable as a primary creator, but he’s a skilled passer whose shooting and pick-and-roll play will look much better against opposing second units.

27. player. 27. . Big. New York Knicks. Jalen Smith

The Knicks have the luxury of taking flyers on young players with potential. Smith’s shooting and rim protection are intriguing, even if there are questions about his ability to bang and finish inside.

Boston Celtics. Aaron Nesmith. 26. player. 18. . Wing

Nesmith is one of the better shooting prospects in this class but that might be all he’s able to offer at the next level. If his defensive potential materializes, he’s a useful role player. If not, he might be a fringe player who is trying to stick on his floor-spacing alone.

. Big. Oklahoma City Thunder. Killian Tillie. 25. player. 149

Tillie is probably never going to be a positive on defense but he’s a mobile 4 with excellent shooting touch and potentially some playmaking ability. The Thunder might be a very different team next year as veterans are shuffled for younger players, but there is always room for frontcourt shooters.

118. . Guard. Utah Jazz. Grant Riller. 24. player

Riller may be limited athletically but he’s a skilled and crafty three-level scorer and creator. He could be valuable for Utah as a bench piece, backing up Mike Conley and filling a variety of offensive roles depending on the matchup.

Miami Heat. Paul Reed. 23. player. 110. . Forward

Reed is a bouncy, disruptive forward with potential as a shooter and pick-and-roll finisher. He has a tendency to make things more complicated than it needs to be, but with some refinement, he could be a valuable and versatile contributor.

Learn more about Paul Reed with our full scouting report.

Tyrell Terry. 22. player. 93. . Guard. Philadelphia 76ers

Terry’s lack of strength limits his potential as a defender and finisher and might cap his ceiling somewhere below “starting point guard.” Luckily the 76ers already have that spot filled and mostly need shooting. Terry is one of the best shooting prospects in this class, able to hit on spot-ups, off movement or off the dribble.

Learn more about Tyrell Terry with our full scouting report.

73. . Guard. Denver Nuggets. Isaiah Joe. 21. player

Joe is an elite shooting prospect with the potential to be a movement threat and maybe even a secondary creator. He’ll need to get a lot stronger to hold up on defense though and realize any on-ball potential.

20. player. 147. . Forward. Brooklyn Nets. Saddiq Bey

Bey’s ceiling is probably as a high-level role-player, but he has a 3-and-D skill profile and his size and strength mean he could have the versatility defend up a position. The Nets will need depth around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and Bey could absolutely grow into being a useful piece.

89. . Big. Milwaukee Bucks. Xavier Tillman. 19. player

There may not be an immediate place for Tillman in the Bucks’ rotation but at some point, their role players will need to be turned over. Tillman looks like a fantastic team defender who should be extremely successful in Milwaukee’s drop coverage scheme. He’s also a very good passer who would be a useful offensive cog in a few different ways.

Dallas Mavericks. Josh Green. 18. player. 79. . Wing

The Mavericks need as many shooters and wing defenders as they can put around Luka Doncic and Green checks both boxes. The “3” part of his 3-and-D profile is still a bit of a question but he’s one of the stronger on-ball wing defenders in the class.

. Center. Boston Celtics. Aleksej Pokusevski. 17. player. 18

Pokusevski is an extremely young and extremely raw big-man prospect, but has tantalizing athletic potential and has shown flashes as a shooter. He’s likely a draft-and-stash but his upside is worth waiting on for the Celtics.

86. . Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. James Wiseman. 16. player

The Timberwolves have KAT manning the middle but Wiseman’s potential is too good to pass up at this point. Even if his poor effort and decision-making lower his ceiling, his size and athletic tools make him worth taking a chance on outside the lottery.

Learn more about James Wiseman with our full scouting report.

15. player. 38. . Wing. Orlando Magic. R.J. Hampton

The Magic could use help in several different places but with Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac blossoming, they can afford to wait on a young player like Hampton who has special tools as a slasher but needs plenty of development time to reach his ceiling.

Learn more about R.J. Hampton with our full scouting report.