This article is part of our NBA Mock Draft series.
We're only two weeks away from the NBA Draft, as individual workouts and interviews continue to progress in earnest. Below is a look at my second mock draft, which includes some notable changes in the lottery and beyond.
The rise of Washington forward Marquese Chriss, a late-lottery pick in my initial mock, has added some uncertainty to the lottery, with the possibility that he could go as high as third to Boston -- assuming the Celtics keep their pick, that is.
Buddy Hield, Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender and Jaylen Brown continue to jockey for position in the top-8, while a foursome of frontcourt players lurk just beyond that group.
Alright, let's get to it:
1. PHILADELPHIA 76ERSBen Simmons, F, LSU
No change at the top. While Brandon Ingram gradually closed the gap between he and Simmons throughout the college season, it's becoming increasingly clear that Philadelphia has its eye on the LSU freshman. Simmons is the type of versatile star the Sixers have been in search of since the start of this entire Process, and he'll enter a situation in which he'll be The Man from Day One.
2. LOS ANGELES LAKERSBrandon Ingram, F, Duke
If Ingram is the consolation prize in this draft, the Lakers will be glad to have him. Simmons may have more immediate star potential, but Ingram's blend of athleticism, length and shooting touch make him arguably the more intriguing prospect long-term. The question is whether Ingram can develop his body enough to handle the rigors of the NBA.
3. BOSTON CELTICS (via Brooklyn)Dragan Bender, F, Israel
I still believe Boston will find a way to trade out of this spot, either using the pick -- and perhaps its other two firsts -- as bait to land an established player, or trading back and ultimately making the No. 3 selection for someone else. So that makes it difficult to predict, but in the event Danny Ainge is forced to make the pick for himself, I think Boston goes with the highest-upside player available, and that's Bender. As currently constructed, the Celtics enough talent to allow Bender to develop at his own pace.
4. PHOENIX SUNSMarquese Chriss, F, Washington
Previous: Buddy Hield
For better or for worse, Chriss' stock has skyrocketed enough over the last month that the top five is now a very realistic possibility. He's a jaw-dropper, athletically, but there's little evidence to suggest the 18-year-old will be ready to handle the NBA game right away. Chriss fouled out of nearly half of Washington's games last season -- including six straight at one point during Pac 12 play -- and struggled on the glass despite his superior leaping ability. The Suns aren't as far from playoff contention as their 2015-16 record would suggest, so they may be hesitant to gamble on Chriss, but his potential is appealing enough that Phoenix will no-doubt give him serious consideration.
5. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVESJamal Murray, G, Kentucky
The Murray-Dunn-Hield-Brown foursome could really fall in just about any order and it wouldn't be overly surprising. But I'll stick with Murray here, as he's the best immediate fit for a Timberwolves team that desperately lacks outside shooting. Murray can play both guard spots, giving Tom Thibodeau a versatile third piece to add to the Ricky Rubio-Zach LaVine pairing. Dunn could also be in play here, but that would likely have to be preceded by a Ricky Rubio trade, which seems rather unlikely.
6. NEW ORLEANS PELICANSKris Dunn, G, Providence
Dunn could go as high as No. 3 to Boston, but New Orleans may be the best fit. Jrue Holiday still has a year left on his deal, but injuries have diminished his effectiveness, and it's difficult to see him as the Pelicans' long-term point guard. Dunn has his issues as a shooter, but he has excellent size and defends at a high level, providing immediate help to the league's 27th-ranked defense last season.
7. DENVER NUGGETSBuddy Hield, G, Oklahoma
Previous: Jaylen Brown
The Nuggets will be thrilled if Hield is on the board here. Gary Harris and Will Barton are both nice pieces, but Hield is a game-changing shooter who's as NBA-ready as any prospect in the lottery. With Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler set to return from injury, Denver could be a darkhorse playoff team next season. Hield provides the outside shooting that was a weak point for the Nuggets' offense in 2015-16.
8. SACRAMENTO KINGSJaylen Brown, G, California
Previous: Denzel Valentine
Brown's stock is as difficult as any to get a read on, but it's hard to imagine him falling beyond the top eight. Despite an up-and-down year at Cal, Brown remains a highly intriguing prospect given his ability to play, and defend, up to three positions. On paper, he's not a perfect fit for a Sacramento team that's had a revolving door at shooting guard for the last decade, but that's never stopped the Kings before.
9. TORONTO RAPTORS (via New York)Deyonta Davis, F, Michigan State
Previous: Henry Ellenson
This is a huge offseason for Toronto, as Masai Ujiri sets the direction for the future of the franchise. Whether or not DeMar DeRozan is back, the Raptors will need to re-tool a roster that's fairly shallow overall, especially up front. Davis may not be ready to be a major contributor right away, but he helps Toronto get younger and more athletic at power forward, the Raptors' weakest position last season.
10. MILWAUKEE BUCKSTimothe Luwawu, F, France
Previous: Marquese Chriss
The Bucks have an affinity for long, athletic prospects and Luwawu certainly fits that mold. How his game will translate to the NBA remains a bit of a mystery, though, and the Bucks, who expected to be a playoff team last season, aren't in a position to be overly patient. That said, Milwaukee is looking for one more piece to add to its intriguing young core, and Luwawu is versatlile enough to pair with Khris Middleton as virtually interchangeable options at the 2 and 3.
11. ORLANDO MAGICJakob Poeltl, F/C, Utah
Poeltl may be the most difficult top-15 prospect to project. Virtually everyone agrees that he's a lottery pick, and his game doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. But he's not great in any one area, leaving his perceived upside relatively low compared to players like Davis, Chriss, and even Henry Ellenson. Still, Poeltl will be ready to contribute right away, and he would step in as Orlando's third big with the team likely parting ways with Ersan Ilyasova, Dewayne Dedmon and Jason Smith this summer.
12. UTAH JAZZSkal Labissiere, F/C, Kentucky
No change for Labissiere, though he remains one of the draft's most polarizing prospects. The smooth shooting touch and athletic ability are intriguing, but how much might a massively disappointing season at Kentucky scare some teams away?
13. PHOENIX SUNS (via Washington)Wade Baldwin, G, Vanderbilt
Previous: Timothe Luwawu
Much like Denver and Utah, Phoenix already has capable players at most positions, but point guard remains an area of concern, mostly because Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe haven't been able to stay healthy. Even if that changes next season, the Suns need backcourt depth, and Baldwin would be an immediate upgrade over the likes of Archie Goodwin and Ronnie Price. Phoenix is probably still a year or two away from playoff contention, but a potential core of Bledsoe, Knight, Baldwin, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Alex Len, and Chriss (according to this mock) could be something special.
14. CHICAGO BULLSHenry Ellenson, F, Marquette
Previous: Deyonta Davis
Ellenson could go a few spots higher, but the rise of Chriss seems to have bumped his stock down just a bit. While the Bulls took another promising forward, Bobby Portis, in the first round last year, Ellenson is a different type of player who's more comfortable on the perimeter than he is inside. Chicago is heading toward a major franchise turning point, and Ellenson would help bridge the gap between present and future as the Rose-Gibson-Noah era nears its inevitable close.
15. DENVER NUGGETS (via Houston)Furkan Korkmaz, G, Turkey
Previous: Malik Beasley
After grabbing Hield at No. 7, Denver doubles down on shooting and adds the 18-year-old from Turkey. Korkmaz may require a year or two of seasoning before he's ready for more than a minor bench role, and the Nuggets have plenty of depth ahead of him to allow for gradual development.
16. BOSTON CELTICS (via Dallas)Denzel Valentine, G, Michigan State
Previous: Furkan Korkmaz
This has been a trendy projection of late, but it's not without good reason. While Valentine may be one of the two or three most accomplished players in the draft, he's not an overwhelming athlete and could struggle to transition from do-it-all college star to NBA role player. However, the Celtics are essentially an entire team of pretty-to-very-good role players, which could ease the transition. At No. 16, Danny Ainge isn't going to find a more complete player.
17. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIESTaurean Prince, F, Baylor
Previous: Demetrius Jackson
Memphis needs help at point guard, especially if Mike Conley leaves, but that could be addressed in free agency, and it's not clear how highly the Grizzlies regard Demetrius Jackson. Prince is perhaps the safest option still on the board, a strong, rangy wing who could be the second coming of DeMarre Carroll in Memphis.
18. DETROIT PISTONSDemetrius Jackson, G Notre Dame
Previous: Wade Baldwin
Detroit could certainly use an upgrade at backup point guard, and Jackson is a major step up from Steve Blake. Despite his small stature, Jackson is an elite athlete with the type of strong build and defensive tenacity Stan Van Gundy covets.
19. DENVER NUGGETS (via Portland)Domantas Sabonis, F, Gonzaga
Previous: Taurean Prince
Having already grabbed a pair of shooters, Denver takes a versatile forward with a developing mid-to-long-range game. The Nuggets are already loaded with capable big men, but Sabonis' ability to play both center and power forward could make him an immediate bench contributor.
20. INDIANA PACERSMalik Beasley, G, Florida State
Recent surgery on Beasley's foot will limit his ability to work out for teams, but the procedure looks to be only minor and shouldn't significantly impact his draft stock. Beasley was spotted going through drills at ASM Sports' Pro Day earlier in the week, which should mitigate any concerns.
21. ATLANTA HAWKSDeAndre' Bembry, G/F, Saint Joseph's
Previous: Cheick Diallo
Atlanta has netted only one productive player in the last six drafts -- okay maybe two depending on how much you like Mike Scott -- despite ranking third in the Eastern Conference in wins over that span. Routinely selecting in the mid-to-late portion of the first round is part of the reason for that, but the Hawks have also whiffed on a few picks, while unwisely trading away a few more. Atlanta is going to need frontcourt help if Al Horford walks, but the Hawks aren't going to find Horford's replacement this late in the draft. Instead, they could grab a potential replacement for another unrestricted free agent, Kent Bazemore, and go with Bembry, who does virtually everything well and should be ready to contribute right away.
22. CHARLOTTE HORNETSMalcolm Brogdon, G, Virginia
Nothing new here. This still may be a little bit high for Brogdon, but Charlotte loves the reigning ACC Player of the Year's game and maturity. If the Hornets ultimately pass on Brogdon here, they could trade up to grab him later in the first or early in the second round.
23. BOSTON CELTICSJuan Hernangomez, F, Spain
With their third first-round pick, Boston goes with a project player who could end up serving as a trade asset when all is said and done.
24. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (via Miami)Tyler Ulis, G, Kentucky
Previous: DeAndre' Bembry
Judging strictly off of production, Ulis is probably a lottery pick. But size is a major concern after the SEC Player of the Year weighed in at just 149 pounds at the Combine last month. While Ulis has the court vision and poise to be a productive NBA player, the question is whether he'll be able to hold up on the defensive end, despite forging a reputation as a strong defender at the college level. Philadelphia is still a few years away from playoff contention and would offer Ulis the chance to develop at his own pace, while seeing more minutes than he would in most other situations.
25. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERSDamian Jones C, Vanderbilt
Previous: Brice Johnson
The Clippers might shake things up this offseason, but at this point it looks as though they'll likely go forth with the same core that's carried them to four straight 50-win seasons. Certainly, Jones isn't going to be the piece that bumps LA over the top, though he's athletic enough to potentially serve as a backup to DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin in the long-term.
26. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (via Oklahoma City)Cheick Diallo, F/C, Kansas
Previous: Dejounte Murray
Do the Sixers need another center? They sure don't. But that's never stopped them before. While Diallo is a big-time talent, he's still raw enough that the Sixers can place him on a longer-term development plan to avoid muddying up an already-muddy big man rotation.
27. TORONTO RAPTORSDiamond Stone, F/C, Maryland
Even if Bismack Biyombo is back in Toronto next season, the Raptors are in need of depth all over the frontcourt. Stone won't be ready to be a key contributor right away but has enough upside to warrant a chance late in the first round.
28. PHOENIX SUNS (via Cleveland)Ben Bentil, F, Providence
Previous: Tyler Ulis
Grabbing Bentil here would complete an exceptional first-round haul for the Suns. Bentil was a late riser after an explosive season alongside Kris Dunn at Providence, and he has the versatility to play and defend up to three positions at the NBA level -- think Harrison Barnes crossed with Terrence Jones.
29. SAN ANTONIO SPURSBrice Johnson, F, North Carolina
Previous: Joel Bolomboy
We now arrive at the Spurs' annual 25th-or-later selection. San Antonio has re-tooled around its aging core but still needs to get younger up front with David West and Boris Diaw, not to mention Tim Duncan, all on the downslopes of their respective careers.
30. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORSDejounte Murray, G, Washington
Previous: Ben Bentil
No one is quite sure how Murray will translate to the NBA after one uneven season at Washington, but there might not be a better place right now for the athletic point guard to develop. If any organization has the luxury of gambling on a high-risk/high-reward player, it's Golden State.