The NBA draft lottery is in the books and we have our official draft order, meaning it’s time for some mock drafts.
The easy Pac-12 find, Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, landed at the top of Sports Illustrated’s mock draft (as he likely will in many others as well), going to the Phoenix Suns at No. 1. But things got interesting in the teens with the same team.
SI’s Jeremy Woo has the Suns using their second first-round pick on UCLA’s do-it-all guard Aaron Holiday.
The former Bruins standout would arrive in Phoenix to immediately replace Eric Bledsoe, who requested and was granted a trade early this season. Holiday brings reliable ability in scoring off the dribble and shooting, though he isn’t seen as a future star.
More from SI’s Woo:
The Suns can help address their need for a lead ball-handler with Holiday, after going with Ayton at center. He’s viewed as a safe bet to become a quality contributor and could potentially outkick that prediction as an eventual starting-caliber player. His shooting ability, defensive toughness and overall moxie could make him a nice fit here with Elfrid Payton set to hit restricted free agency. Holiday doesn’t have star upside, but doesn’t have many holes in his game, either.
Ayton and Holiday weren’t the lone Pac-12 products to go in SI’s mock draft, though. As we descend into the 20s, we find Oregon’s Troy Brown, who’s projected to be selected by the Chicago Bulls at No. 22.
Woo on Brown:
The Bulls take the best available prospect in this scenario as their rebuild continues. Brown had a so-so season at Oregon, but has cut an interesting draft profile for the past couple years—his shooting has to improve, but his ability to handle the ball at his size and defend multiple positions makes him a first-round caliber talent. He may never become a big-time scorer, but he could give you a little of everything on the perimeter, and players like that have never been more valuable. Brown has the type of versatility worth experimenting with.
From there, we find two more Pac-12ers in the bottom of the first round: former USC guard De’Anthony Melton (who sat out the entire 2017-18 season due to the FBI bribery investigation) and Arizona guard Rawle Alkins. Melton was projected to land in the Bay Area with the Golden State Warriors — the rich getting richer — but the more intriguing selection is that of Alkins, mocked to Atlanta at No. 30.
Alkins made the best of a tough situation at Arizona after breaking his foot in the preseason, setting him back a bit over the course of the year. As he gets into peak shape, his strong frame, explosiveness and motor should prove advantageous over the course of the pre-draft process and help him improve defensively. Alkins needs to shoot the ball more consistently, but with a good showing at the combine and in workouts is a solid candidate to help his own stock. Atlanta is in position to take a chance on his potential here.
USC center Chimezie Metu was the lone Pac-12 player to be included in the second round of Woo’s mock draft.