NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is nowhere near the betting event that the NFL Draft has become. This draft tends to become extremely random the deeper it gets. 

There is a massive amount of foreign prospects that bettors are not familiar with. In the NFL, the players you watched all fall on Saturdays are selected to play on Sundays. In the NBA, bettors must scour YouTube highlights or subscribe to services like Kayo Sports to check out other leagues.


Drafting philosophy in the NBA differs greatly from NFL draft philosophy as well, making it much harder to predict. Players are generally much younger, meaning teams are willing to draft on potential and upside, as opposed to best fit. In the NFL, if I need an offensive lineman I am drafting an offensive lineman.

Still, there are ways to attack the NBA Draft from a betting perspective. Below is my mock draft with a betting twist. Each pick will be tied to betting market currently available. For now, we will only include the lottery. Next week, we can expand as the markets do.

NBA Mock Draft (Odds via DraftKings)

1. Atlanta Hawks

Donovan Clingan (C, UConn)

Perhaps this is my attempt at speaking it into existence, but there is so much intel linking Atlanta to Clingan. The only issue that appears is whether the team wants to use the first overall pick on him. In a draft like this one could argue there is no wrong move. The Hawks could try to move back and still select Clingan, but recent reports have tied the Rockets to the Connecticut center. If Atlanta moves beyond the third pick will it really still be able to get its guy? The odds have moved significantly, but this is my pick for now.

Bet: Donovan Clingan First Overall Pick (+200)

2. Washington Wizards

Alex Sarr (PF/C, Perth)

Sarr reportedly worked out for Washington last week, and by all accounts the Wizards have done their due diligence on him. Washington desperately needs help at the center position, as it has been a blackhole for a long time. Their current depth chart is Marvin Bagley, Tristan Vukcevic and Richaun Holmes among others. Sarr has yet to workout with the Hawks and by all accounts seems to be out of the discussion for first overall. If that is true this is a natural landing spot, and the betting market sees it that way too.

Bet: Alex Sarr Second Overall Pick (-140)

3. Houston Rockets

Reed Sheppard (G, Kentucky)

Houston is a wild card at third overall. There are multiple reports that have the Rockets’ sights set squarely on moving off this selection. Should Clingan be on the board, a team like the Grizzlies could leap up to grab him. For now, I won’t predict a trade. Assuming Houston makes this pick, Sheppard is the natural selection. The Rockets need depth at guard and Sheppard could marinate behind Fred VanVleet who is under contract for just two more seasons. Sheppard is a great shooter and solid defender as well. He fits extremely well with Houston’s burgeoning young core. 

Bet: Reed Sheppard Third Overall Pick (+105)

4. San Antonio Spurs

Zaccharie Risacher (SF, Bourg)

Maybe another example of speaking a bet I have made into existence. A few days ago I added Risacher to go here at +1500 and he has since dipped to +700 at multiple shops. If Clingan goes first overall we could see Risacher slip here, and if that happens the Spurs will reportedly run to the podium. Risacher is a typical 3-and-D wing that fits with Victor Wembanyama on the court and off the court, as they played together in the past. At 6-foot-9 he gives San Antonio a massive frontcourt and can provide the spacing Wembanyama needs. It is odd that the desires of such a tight-lipped franchise like the Spurs are out there so this could be bait, but I’ll take it.

Bet: Zaccharie Risacher Fourth Overall Pick (+700)

5. Detroit Pistons

Matas Buzelis (F, G League Ignite)

Much like Clingan and Atlanta, there is a lot of intel tying Buzelis to Detroit. Some of it is based on the hiring of Trajan Langdon, the new President of Basketball Operations who comes from New Orleans. Buzelis fits the archetype of player that Langdon coveted in his time with the Pelicans, and multiple reports the love for Buzelis was strong before Langdon was hired. It’s hard to get intel even this deep into the draft, so let’s roll with a bet I have made myself.

Bet: Matas Buzelis Fifth Overall Pick (+250)

6. Charlotte Hornets

Stephon Castle (G, UConn)

We’re only at the sixth overall pick, but this is where the randomness begins. There are quite a few reputable mocks with Castle as the selection here and I cannot help but love it. Castle is an awesome on-ball defender that a team like the Hornets – which finished 28th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency – could use. Castle can play off the ball on offense next to LaMelo Ball, and he is a good enough passer and connector to help with Charlotte’s ball movement. This seems like a perfect fit from vantage point.

Bet: Stephon Castle Sixth Overall Pick (+350)

7. Portland Trail Blazers

Dalton Knecht (SF, Tennessee)

Multiple reports have this being the range for Knecht, and I believe Portland is the perfect spot to mock him to. The Trail Blazers have worked him out, so there is a connection. He also fills a need. The forward position is extremely thin for Portland. Knecht is a scoring machine who can space the floor for a team that finished last in 3-point shooting (35.0%). Jerami Grant remains in front of him on the depth chart if he’s drafted, but the Trail Blazers need all the help they can get.

Bet: Dalton Knecht Seventh Overall Pick (+700)

8. San Antonio Spurs

Rob Dillingham (PG, Kentucky)

Dillingham has been reportedly dealing with an ankle injury in the draft workout process, so perhaps that muddies the waters for his potential landing spot. However, according to the media he worked out with the Spurs on Wednesday, and they are in need of a point guard of the future. Dillingham is a good scorer, but also finished fourth in SEC play in individual assist rate (26.9%). There are questions about his ability to defend as a small guard, but considering who would be playing behind him defensively, San Antonio can manage that just fine.

Bet: Rob Dillingham Eighth Overall Pick (+800)

9. Memphis Grizzlies

Cody Williams (SG, Colorado)

Memphis wants to move up in this draft according to reports, so there is a chance they are not picking here. If they do, Williams would be an awesome fit for a team that needs some help on the wing. Williams is an extremely well-balanced player who was in the mix early in the college basketball season for the first overall pick. He can shoot, pass, defend, run in transition and play off Ja Morant. I don’t know if there is a mocked selection I like more than the Grizzlies landing Williams in this draft.

Bet: Cody Williams Ninth Overall Pick (+1400)

10. Utah Jazz

Nikola Topic (PG, Mega MIS)

It was revealed at the NBA draft combine that Topic had suffered a partially torn ACL. That sent the point guard’s projected landing spot into a tizzy, but most still have him mocked at about this spot. Utah needs a point guard of the future, and they are a team suited to draft Topic and let him mend next season. There are worse fates than landing a projected top-five talent at the 10th overall selection.

Bet: Nikola Topic 10th Overall Pick (+600)

11. Chicago Bulls

Ron Holland (SF, G League Ignite)

Chicago needs an upgrade at the wing position and Holland could provide that. Patrick Williams is not who he was expected to be at forward, but Holland can come in and provide a dynamic scoring spark at the position. The one-time Texas commit averaged 19.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the Ignite this season. With the addition of Josh Giddey via trade the Bulls figure to have their on-ball facilitator of the future. The selection of Holland gives them a dynamic wing player to place alongside him.

Bet: Ron Holland 11th Overall Pick (+550)

12. Oklahoma City Thunder

Tidjane Salaun (PF, Cholet)

Salaun is a great fit for an Oklahoma City team that needs to add size up front. The French forward stands 6-foot-8 with an extremely sturdy frame, and his versatility on defense fits perfectly with the Thunder. Oklahoma City has a vast collection of draft picks and a championship caliber team. That means the Thunder could do whatever they want here, but Salaun fits a need and he has plenty of time to develop on a team competing for a title.

Bet: Tidjane Salaun 12th Overall Pick (+1000)

13. Sacramento Kings

Tristan Da Silva (F, Colorado)

Sacramento just re-signed Malik Monk to a $78 million deal, so there is no need to look at the plethora of guards available to them here. Instead, Da Silva is a pick that could fit nicely. He is older, so he could be an immediate contributor to a team that has playoff aspirations. Da Silva is versatile on defense and can space the floor with his shooting. He could immediately make an impact at forward for a team that needs some depth at the position.

Bet: Tristan da Silva 13th Overall Pick (+1400)

14. Portland Trail Blazers

Ja’Kobe Walter (G, Baylor)

Portland has plenty of guards, but they need all the talent they can get. Walter could develop into a nice 3-and-D prospect, and those are coveted in today’s NBA. There is no real intel connecting Walter to the Trail Blazers here, but at this point of the draft teams take the best player available and Walter is likely going to be just that if the board breaks this way.

Bet: Ja’Kobe Walter 14th Overall Pick (+1400)