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NBA mock draft 2.0: Post-lottery edition

Auburn's Isaac Okoro celebrates after Auburn defeated Arkansas

Auburn's Isaac Okoro celebrates after Auburn defeated Arkansas 79-76 in overtime in an NCAA college basketball game on Feb. 4 in Fayetteville, Ark. Credit: AP/Michael Woods

With the NBA Draft Lottery done and the order set, the annual Knicks disappointment set in, it’s time for our Mock Draft, Version 2.

The Knicks will pick No. 8 and even now, much remains uncertain. With question marks surrounding even the highest-regarded prospects, the selections are a guessing game. And with no Zion Williamson atop the draft, teams seem more willing to move out of the lottery than into it.

But ahead of whatever sort of virtual Draft Combine the NBA can concoct, we venture in our picks for the top 10 spots now — with the disclaimer than anyone in this top 10 can end up anywhere on the page.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves, LaMelo Ball, Illawarra Hawks (Australia), 6-7, PG

For all of the flaws, he remains the outlier - a player with potential to be something more than a solid starter. At 6-foot-7 he is an outstanding passer, an athletic scorer and really, his father hasn’t turned out to be the distraction we thought he’d be.

2. Golden State Warriors, James Wiseman, Memphis, 7-1, C

He played three college games. That’s enough for the Warriors to take a shot on an athletic and skilled big man who could add another two-way threat as they attempt to make a quick return to championship contender status. 

3. Charlotte Hornets, Anthony Edwards, Georgia, 6-5, SG

He’s the top pick in plenty of mock drafts and with good reason. Athletic, strong with a game that reminds scouts of Dwyane Wade. But what he doesn’t have yet is a polished game, defensive instincts or the three-point shot expected of today’s wings (although he showed range - just inconsistent).

4. Chicago Bulls, Onyeka Okongwu, USC, 6-9 , PF

Want to find the next Mitchell Robinson? Try Okongwu, who shot 61.5 percent from the floor - and 80 percent from the line - showing an ability to dunk everything, to run the floor well and defend capably. The downsides: Hasn’t showed an ability to move away from the basket offensively and he turns the ball over at an alarming rate.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, Dayton, 6-9, PF 

While he went to college in Ohio, he is actually a Brooklyn product. Lightly-recruited out of high school, Toppin has emerged as this year’s daily highlight reel - dunking everything around the rim. Still raw in many ways but scouts believe he has the potential to be a solid defender and turn his limited outside shooting into a steady weapon.

6. Atlanta Hawks: Deni Avdija, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel), 6-9, SF/PF

He’s been on the radar of NBA teams, winning MVP honors at the FIBA U20 European Championship and also at the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders competition in 2019. Skilled ball handler and shooter (although oddly shot just 52 percent from the free throw line this season). 

7. Detroit Pistons: Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State, 6-5, PG

Like the Knicks, Detroit has a huge hole at point guard and he the best passing point guard in the draft - leading the nation with 6.5 per game and doing it with a flare that made many of them memorable. Shot 41.9 percent from beyond the arc and carried the team - playing in every minute of the game 10 times, including a 45-minute appearance in an overtime win over TCU in which he posted a triple double - before his season ended with a fractured left wrist.

8. Knicks:  Isaac Okoro, Auburn, 6-6, SF

If Haliburton is on the board he makes sense - and maybe they take a shot at Killian Hayes or Cole Anthony. But with so many needs, you take the off-the-charts talent. Strong and athletic, Okoro showed the ability to get to the rim and to shoot from the perimeter. For his size and strength showed playmaking ability this season as a freshman.

9. Washington Wizards: Devin Vassell, Florida State, 6-6, SG

Who knows what the Wizards backcourt will look like with trade rumors, but Vassell is a prototypical 3 and D guy, shooting 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.

10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany), 6-5, PG

The French-born 18-year-old doesn’t have crazy numbers, but displayed instinctive passing skills and has the size and athleticism to get to the rim and merits a top 10 spot.

New York Sports