What NBA Mock Draft Is The Most Accurate?

What NBA Mock Draft Is The Most Accurate (cover image)

An NBA Mock draft is a simulated draft projection hoping to predict how a particular draft will unfold, but many wonder what NBA mock draft is the most accurate. Understanding team needs and how certain players will fit into the direction a franchise is heading are critical. The coaching philosophy and future roster moves can play a part in the mindset of an NBA team personnel’s decision-making process. So, which NBA mock draft has the best history of being successful in predicting the final outcome? Let’s take a look.

What NBA Mock Draft is the Most Accurate?

Looking at the last three-year years, it’s difficult to argue the success of ESPN for consistent accuracy. Other mock drafts have done a reputable job predicting how the draft would unfold, but ESPN has scored highly each year for accuracy and consistency. Since they’re only predictions, what’s the point of mock drafts?

What is the Point of Mock Drafts?

Websites and sports projectionists love to predict outcomes. Since sportsbooks offer wager lines for various draft picks, sports bettors study mock drafts. The biggest point of mock drafts is to guide individual team personnel, helping the name they call on draft day to be the one that most improves the team.

One of the biggest events in the NFL and NBA is the league draft. Professional analysts and statistical gurus study trends and crunch numbers in an effort to pinpoint the order new players will come off the big board.

Building a mock draft for the NBA is slightly easier than constructing one for pro football because the NBA is limited to two rounds. There are more players in both the NFL and MLB’s drafts. However, the staff entrusted with building a draft strategy uses mock draft analysis to prepare for changing scenarios.

However, accurately projecting which team will have a jersey ready for which player requires insight and study. Players, who are projected to be exactly that, dominating, dominate the early picks in most drafts.

Subsequent rounds can be more challenging. By studying team needs, fans with an affinity for the analytical and team scouts whose jobs depend on it, fill sheets with mock draft projections. Mock drafts are important, especially for the teams. So, who has been the most accurate out of the outsiders who analyze the NBA draft?

The Most Accurate Mock Drafts over the Last Three Years

There is a lot of homework that goes into projecting the exact order of an NBA draft. As we mentioned, understanding team needs and coaching philosophy is critical. It’s simple enough to look at a player and appreciate their obvious talent.

However, teams must answer one significant question. Where does this skill set fit into the teams’ immediate and future needs? To entice readers to revisit their mock draft page every year, mock draft experts strive to predict each pick.

One trade, or surprise change in direction, can throw a mock draft off immediately. This is why the accuracy for mock drafts usually starts out strong, but can fall apart as the draft progresses farther down the draft board.

As one example, Lauri Markkanen came off the board three picks earlier than the consensus mock draft lists had him projected, but a number of mock drafts didn’t even target Markkanen in the top-10.

To show how close mock drafts can be to one another in accuracy, here’s the list of the top-11 eleven we used for comparison. We added weight to how accurate each mock draft was in pinpointing the lottery picks over the three-year span.

21 out 42 correct lottery picks

SPORTING NEWS – 18 out 42 correct lottery picks

THE RINGER – 17 out 42 correct lottery picks

DRAFTSITE – 17 out 42 correct lottery picks

NBADRAFT.NET – 16 out 42 correct lottery picks

NET SCOUTS – 15 out 42 correct lottery picks

CBS SPORTS – 15 out 42 correct lottery picks

SI.COM – 14 out 42 correct lottery picks

BLEACHER REPORT – 14 out 42 correct lottery picks

BASKETBALL INSIDER – 13 out 42 correct lottery picks

USA TODAY – 13 out 42 correct lottery picks

It’s clear how bunched together each of the mock drafts are in accuracy. Four lottery picks, spanning three seasons worth of drafts, separates second place from ninth. Only ESPN’s team of NBA experts topped the 20 mark.

Most years, the consensus between mock drafts stays extremely close for the first couple of picks. A dozen mock draft experts put Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball as first and second off the board in 2017.

On draft day in 2017, the consensus on who the third pick would be started the domino effect of draft in accuracy. Out of the graded mock drafts, only eight slotted Boston to take Jayson Tatum. These eight kept their run at perfection going.

Mock Drafts ahead of the 2018 draft felt the same assurance of the first pair of picks. The key mistake that cost many projections was how the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks move with the third and fifth picks would play out.

Atlanta chose Luka Doncic, as many experts projected. However, Dallas took Trae Young and then made the swap. Five projections missed that deal, thinking Dallas would select Mohamed Bamba.

Last year, the same early pick projections held strong. Ten mock drafts collectively hit on the first three picks, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. De’ Andre Hunter continued most mock draft’s accuracy, as the Lakers sent him to Atlanta.

The consensus was split on a pair of guards projected as the fourth and fifth picks to Cleveland and Phoenix. Those who envisioned the Cavaliers wanting a point guard over a shooting guard correctly slotted Darius Garland to Cleveland at number five.

Clearly, it doesn’t take but one early mistake to begin the drop in a mock draft’s accuracy. ESPN has stayed just ahead enough in correct lottery picks to earn top honors as the most accurate NBA mock.

The next 10 mock drafts almost too close to call. One good year can shift a mock draft up the leaderboard. So, for all the fanfare over who has the most accurate mock draft, do mock drafts really help? And if so, who do mock drafts benefit?

Do Mock Drafts Help?

For draft-day success, mock drafts are critical for draft strategy. Without a strong list of mock draft scenarios, a team could make a draft-day mistake that affects the team’s success for years. The right player could also change things in an instant.

Each individual team comprises their own series of mock drafts. Scouts and team personnel spend months analyzing player statistics, interviewing players, and coordinating a draft plan ahead of the actual process.

Mock drafts are fun for fans and prognosticators, but they are vital parts of NBA team draft strategy. Many NBA teams will use different formulas to make certain they’re prepared for unforeseen changes on the day the draft unfolds.

No team wants to be caught blindsided by the occasional trade or change in direction of a team who is drafting in spots ahead of them. By building a series of strong mock drafts, NBA team personnel can be ready on draft day to get the available best player for their needs.

Fans enjoy studying the various mock drafts to see how their team might improve, or what pro uniform their favorite college or foreign players may end up wearing. NBA teams take them far more seriously. How a draft unfolds can alter a team’s fortunes for years.

Without a solid mock draft strategy, teams wouldn’t be able to take advantage the next best player available. As subsequent seasons unfold, this could have NBA management scratching their heads as players drafted below them turned out to be valuable contributors.

Every player drafted does not necessarily have the talent to be a franchise player. However, the right player at the right time can improve a team dramatically. As fans, we can scour the mock drafts looking for tips on what might happen.

What NBA Mock Draft Is The Most Accurate? Mock drafts are super fodder for office conversation. They can be debated and argued from an array of different angles. As we head into the next NBA draft, the experts will be busy analyzing the data hoping to build the most accurate mock draft.


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