The NBA draft lottery was set Tuesday night, and the first mock draft by ESPN’s Chad Ford reflecting the order of selection has Michigan State Denzel Valentine and Deyonta Davis as lottery picks.
Ford projects the Suns grabbing Valentine at No. 13 and the Bulls taking Davis at No. 14 (pay site).
Ford on Valentine, and the Suns’ No. 4 pick in the draft: “If the Suns grab (Dragan) Bender, then their needs move to the small-forward position. P.J. Tucker has a team option, and while T.J. Warren has been solid, Valentine is a better talent than both. He's a better passer and shooter and should be able to play right away.”
While Valentine leaves MSU as a senior, Davis declared for the draft after just one season with the Spartans.
“I've had (Tyler) Ulis here (No. 14) for the past few weeks, but the word out of the combine was that the Bulls were narrowing their choices to three big men: Davis, Ante Zizic and Ivica Zubac,” Ford says of the Bulls. “Joakim Noah is a free agent, and Pau Gasol is in the last year of his deal. Davis is the best athlete and shot-blocker available. He even has an emerging perimeter game. He's raw, but in the long run he might be the best option.”
Ford predicts that the Pistons will select Vanderbilt guard Wade Baldwin IV with the No. 18 pick to fill their need at backup point guard.
Baldwin (6-4, 200) averaged 14.1 points, 5.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 30.4 minutes as a sophomore last season for Vanderbilt.