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The Tribune’s NBA Mock Draft



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Julius Randle, 6-9, 250, power forward, Kentucky

Strengths » His strength is his strength. Has one of the most NBA-ready frames in the draft. Left-hander who can score and rebound in traffic.

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History » Had a great workout with Utah a few weeks ago, and refuted reports on impending foot surgery. Led Kentucky to the NCAA title game as a college freshman.

6. Boston Celtics

Joel Embiid, 7-0, 240, center, Kansas

Strengths » Could be a franchise center — if healthy. Embiid is uncommonly athletic for his size, is a great defender and has a fast-developing offensive game.

History » Had surgery for a broken foot last week, shaking up the order of the draft. His slide stops here, as Danny Ainge takes on the huge gamble.

7. Los Angeles Lakers


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Elfrid Payton, 6-5, 185, point guard, Louisiana-Lafayette

Strengths » Reminds some of Gary Payton in that he’s athletic, a great defender and playmaker. Continues the recent trend of big point guards who can really get to the rim.

History » Is the biggest stock climber of the draft. Has had great workouts to go along with his size and length and athleticism.

8. Sacramento Kings

Marcus Smart, 6-3, 227, point guard, Oklahoma State

Strengths » This is a steal for the Kings, who get a great fit and a great leader for a talented but leaderless crew. Smart could be the best thing to happen to DeMarcus Cousins.

History » Smart famously declined to enter the 2013 draft, where he would’ve been a top-three pick. He’s a better player, but he slid down the board a bit.

9. Charlotte Hornets

Aaron Gordon, 6-9, 220, power forward, Arizona

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