Lottery Mock Draft Machine | Race for the No. 1 pick
Opponents scout D'Angelo Russell | Film session: Russell
During the past several seasons, there's been an intense debate among NBA scouts, general managers and fans about who will be the No. 1 pick. This season, so far at least, consensus has replaced debate.
Duke center Jahlil Okafor has been the best player in college basketball and has sat atop our Top 100 since it was first released in July. Back then, his hold on the No. 1 spot was solid. During the past few months, he's tightened his grip considerably.
With the debut of our annual Lottery Mock Draft Machine, Insider spoke to scouts or executives from almost every team projected to be in the draft lottery in an effort to determine their individual draft order for the lottery generator.
As of today, every team I spoke with has Okafor as the No. 1 pick. When there is no clear No. 1 pick, teams tend to focus on team needs instead of overall talent. However, when there's a clear-cut No. 1, needs tend to go out the window.
Both Kevin Pelton and I and Fran Fraschilla have detailed why Okafor remains the odds-on favorite to go No. 1. To put it succinctly, he's the most offensively polished freshman we've seen come along in a decade. While his lack of explosive athleticism and defensive prowess doesn't put him in the same elite company as Anthony Davis or LeBron James as far as draft prospects go, he's a very good No. 1 pick.
The other four players in contention: Emmanuel Mudiay (who dropped a commitment to SMU to play pro ball in China), Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns (see our Ford-Pelton on Towns here), Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell (a Ford-Pelton on Russell is coming Friday) and Latvia's Kristaps Porzingis. All have a case for the No. 1 pick, but none of them have made a case as convincingly as Okafor has so far.
We still have a couple of months of college basketball left to play, and that will be followed by the NBA draft combine and individual workouts, so there's plenty of time for Okafor to lose the spot.
Until then, here's a look at how Okafor would fit on every team in the lottery and which other top prospect is a potential match for each club, along with updated chances of the team winning the lottery: