Editor's note: The mock was updated at 7:00 PM ET
It's draft day, baby!
After 364 days of scouting, physicals, interviews, workouts, thousands of hours of watching tape and endless debates on the pros and cons of certain players in the draft ... we are finally here.
Now, I only wish NBA front offices were. Believe it or not, teams are still firming up their draft boards, still arguing and, of course, still fielding trade calls. Some teams won't make up their minds until the night of the draft.
I've spent dozens of hours on the phone the past few days trying to sift through the flak to get an accurate read of what's happening. Here's my best stab on how the draft might play out tonight. (I will continue to update this mock throughout the day as we receive new info.)
Remember: this is not a ranking of the top players -- that's my Big Board. It's a reporting tool to convey our latest intel from NBA scouts and general managers on what each team might do in the draft.
Here we go:
Update: This pick has shifted numerous times in the mock. On Wednesday, Jeff Goodman and I reported that the Cavs' front office is leaning strongly toward Jabari Parker and owner Dan Gilbert was blown away with the Wiggins workout in Cleveland and was leaning in that direction. Gilbert has denied there is a rift between him and his front office, and the signals, frankly, are pointing in both directions.
The question, however, is whether they keep the pick. Multiple teams, including the Sixers, Magic, Jazz and Celtics, are trying to get up to No. 1. The Magic traded Aaron Afflalo to the Nuggets on Thursday morning, effectively ending their bid for the No. 1 pick. The Cavs are asking for picks No. 3, 10 and 32 from the Sixers for No. 1. That might be too steep a price to pay. The Celtics are also considered to be in the mix for this pick.
If the offer gets good enough, look for the Cavs to take it, move down a few spots, take Joel Embiid and walk away with several other assets as they make their move to lure LeBron James back to Cleveland this summer.
The Bucks always have had a slight preference for Parker. They need the scoring and the maturity in the locker room, and, frankly, they just need to get this pick right, and Parker is the surest thing in the draft. If Parker falls to them here, they will be thrilled. I can't imagine they'll pass on him. He wants to be in Milwaukee, and the Bucks want him there. They haven't been as high on Wiggins. However, Wiggins' strong workouts in Santa Barbara last week and in Milwaukee this week have cemented their resolve to take Wiggins if the Cavs take Parker.
The Bucks also have a strong affinity for Dante Exum, and he's still in the picture at No. 2. Exum really wants to be in Milwaukee, and that means a lot to the Bucks. But the chances of Exum going No. 2 seem to have decreased quite a bit. The Bucks believe in him, but they think Wiggins has an even higher ceiling.
The Bucks also are getting their fair share of trade offers. The Sixers, Magic and Jazz all called them, as well, offering similar packages. But it looks unlikely the Bucks are going to trade this pick. They need a franchise player and don't believe they'll get one later in the draft. Look for the Bucks to be very active, however, in acquiring a second first-round pick -- preferably a lottery pick.
Update 6:30 PM ET: ahere continue to be loud rumblings that the Sixers are seriously considering drafting Embiid there. It may be a smoke screen to entice the Cavs to deal with them. Everyone believes that if the Cavs move down in the draft, it will be to land Embiid. But it may be real. The Sixers have not been afraid to draft injured players before (see Nerlens Noel last year) and it sounds he's gaining momentum at No. 3
It sounds as if Exum is now the heavy favorite there if the Sixers donā??t select Exum. He obviously plays the same position as rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams. However, the Sixers believe the two can play together, and they continue to explore Carter-Williams trades that would land them a third pick in the top 10. The Lakers have strong interest in a package of Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young for the No. 7 pick and Steve Nash. The Kings also have interest in a Carter-Williams deal.
Noah Vonleh is a dark horse here. Philadelphia needs a big who spreads the floor and helps Nerlens Noel on the defensive end. Vonleh is especially appealing, as there aren't great bigs available to the Sixers at the No. 10 pick. If they can't get another pick in the Nos. 5-8 range, they could decide to go ahead and take Vonleh here.