Chad Ford Mock Draft 7.0
Elfrid Payton becomes a new name to watch; is Andrew Wiggins dropping?
We are down to the final stretch. Draft workouts are in full swing with just 16 days to go before the draft.
Believe it or not, draft boards are still far from set. Last year the Cleveland Cavaliers didn't finally decide to select UNLV forward Anthony Bennett until the afternoon of the draft. So whoever claims they know what's happening, take it with a grain of salt.
Most of the top players in the draft have just begun the workout process. None of the top four players in the draft -- Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker or Dante Exum -- have worked out for any team.
While workouts probably are overrated, they are part of the process, psychologically, for teams. Until those visits are done, we're still working on incomplete information. But for now, after talking to numerous NBA team sources, here's our best stab about how the draft might play out June 26.
Remember our Mock Draft is not a ranking of who we think the top players are. Instead, it's a reporting tool to convey our latest intel from NBA scouts and general managers on what each time might do in the draft. Here we go:
Wiggins, Parker and Embiid all are in the mix here. On lottery night, a Cavs source told me that they had Parker ranked highest on their board all year because of his ability to come in and make an immediate impact and believe Embiid has the most upside of anyone in the draft and fits a long-term need for them. However, the source felt that Wiggins in the end would be the compromise pick -- someone who has both elite upside as well as a player who can play (especially defensively) impactful minutes right out of the gate.
That said, if Embiid is cleared by the Cavs' doctors, and if general manager David Griffin can convince owner Dan Gilbert to be patient and wait on Embiid, I think he gets the nod here. The first question will begin to be answered on Tuesday. Embiid has finally arrived in Cleveland for a physical and workout. While Embiid certainly looked healthy enough during a workout in Santa Monica, Calif., a few weeks ago, until the Cavs' doctors green light him, we just don't know. And Gilbert is anxious for the Cavs to be a playoff team. Drafting the guy who's likely to have the least impact next season is going to be a tough sell. At the end of the day I think the Cavs would prefer to trade the pick, but unless they are getting someone like Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge in return, I don't think they pull the trigger.
The Bucks appear to be intrigued with all four players here: Embiid, Parker, Wiggins and Australian point guard Dante Exum.
If Embiid goes No. 1, I think Parker will likely get the nod here. While new ownership has made it clear that they are OK with GM John Hammond fully engaging the rebuilding process, the reality is that the team needs to draft a player who can help now. Parker is the most NBA ready of the group and gives them a go to scorer who likely would be slotted to play the 4 between Larry Sanders and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
If Parker isn't on the board, Embiid has intrigued the team for a while. Given his offensive prowess (and Sanders utter lack thereof) they feel he's a good fit. Of course, as the Bucks keep breaking down tape, they keep getting more excited about Wiggins. They fly to Santa Barbara, Calif., this week to watch Wiggins workout. It will be interesting to see if that sells the Bucks on him. Exum is the wild card. The team gets him in for a workout this weekend. They'd really like to upgrade the point and move Brandon Knight to the 2. If Exum wows in the workout, he could move to the top of their board. I think he fits their biggest need.