New Orleans really needs to knock this pick out of the park to get themselves out of the doldrums they’ve found themselves in. A scoring guard to start alongside Devonte’ Graham and handle the ball now and again, and Ivey would be a very athletic way to check that box.
Ivey made his name as an exceptionally quick rim-runner, but he has since developed into an elite shooter, making 45% of his 3-pointers this season. Ivey, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson would be a heck of a core for David Griffin and Willie Green to put pieces around.
A team with Damian Lillard won’t find themselves picking this high very often, so Portland needs to nail it here. If they value college production on both ends, the best pick for them would be a sophomore in Murray that is putting up video game numbers for his Hawkeyes.
Murray is leading the country with 23.7 points per game while chipping in 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.6 steals every night. A perfect power forward for the modern era that can start right away, Murray could contend for an All-Rookie selection as a tertiary scorer behind Lillard and CJ McCollum.
NBA Mock Draft: Keegan Murray makes sense for Portland.
The Thunder have a backcourt for the next few seasons in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, but Mark Daigneault needs to find a center with more long-term potential than Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Duren’s numbers are very impressive considering how many touches and shots Emoni Bates is taking away from him.
Oklahoma City would finally get a dominant interior presence with a few post moves committed to memory. His mobility and rim protection is a bonus that makes him the best low-post player in this class. The Thunder may not be a playoff team in 2022-23, but they’re building something very promising.