Tuesday, June 25, 2013

MOCK What You Don't Understand v3.0

There will probably be a 3.1 on Draft Day Afternoon, but for now, here's another pass at it while reading all the tea leaves that are out there.

Sometimes you have to try to be clairvoyant: how much of the inside info is out there because a team wants it out there to move the market?  You game out who might want to inflate or deflate a prospect's value and marry that with a read of each team's needs.

So without further ado, here we go...

1. Cleveland: Alex Len, C, Maryland

ESPN's Chad Ford is adamant this will still be Nerlens Noel, but everyone else seems to be saying Len right now.  I'll be a lemming and go with the crowd.

2.  Orlando: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

There is a consensus out there that if the Cavs don't take Noel, the Magic will.  This will create an interesting situation with Nikola Vucevic.  Will Noel be a PF like his Kentucky predecessor, Anthony Davis, is in New Orleans?  Or is Vucevic now a trade chip?  We wait and see. Personally, I'd take Oladipo here.  But no one seems to think that's happening if Noel is there.

3.  Washington: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

This doesn't seem to change because it makes too much sense.  Porter is a solid prospect and a local product at a position of need.  SheridanHoops is convinced that the Wizards are going with Bennett here.  It's not ridiculous... but I'm not sold yet.  Let's monitor this one.

4.  Charlotte: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

Truth is, I really like Victor Oladipo more, but there's no denying McLemore's skill set and athletic package.  And the Bobcats/Hornets probably need a more prolific scorer between Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

5.  Phoenix:  Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

A nice program-builder for the Suns and a nicer complement to this blog's namesake in the backcourt.

6.  New Orleans:  Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Some reports say the Pelicans have given up on Austin Rivers.  Some reports say they see him as a shooting guard.  Some say they still believe in him as a point guard.  Myself, I think it's too early to write him off as a player, but I think he's probably a long term combo guard off the bench.  I never saw a top point guard there.  There seems to be a consensus building around C.J. McCollum as the top PG in the draft, although I am always wary of the 6'3" scoring lead guard. (See: Austin Rivers...)  So I'm sticking with Trey Burke here.  He's too complete a package.  If he were 3 inches taller, someone would trade up to #1 for him.

7.  Sacramento: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

There is just too much Bennett can do for you. He shouldn't be here this late.

8.  Detroit:  Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

Lots of people see McCollum here.  I just don't see him working with Brandon Knight in a backcourt of two 6'3" guards.  MCW has rare size, a pure PG approach, and you can work on a jump shot.  This just works.

9.  Minnesota: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

He seems to be moving up draft boards, and he's the best available player at Minnesota's greatest position of need.

10.  Portland:  Steven Adams, C, Pitt

The Kiwi has a lot going for him.  His offense is a work in progress, but he has the body, the motor, and should be able to defend and rebound from Day One.  With the jury still out on Meyers Leonard, this is too much value to pass up.

11.  Philadelphia:  Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

Zeller probably belongs higher, but there isn't quite the fit in the top ten. You can play him at center in small lineups, power forward in big lineups. An impressive combination of size, athleticism, and skill  His similarity to LaMarcus Aldridge is the only reason Portland doesn't take him at #10.

12.  Oklahoma City:  C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh

I've had McCollum going here all along.  He's a perfect fit: bench scoring, and you can play him with Russell Westbrook, or backing him up.

13.  Dallas:  Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

We're into the crapshoot stage of the draft.  Dallas needs everything as they rebuild. Larkin, while small, tested well athletically, is a pure point guard, and can score, too.

14.  Utah:  Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

Some conflicting reports on Schroeder's stock, but PG is Utah's biggest "need" position. I think they pull the trigger.

15.  Milwaukee:  Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia

Perhaps the best shooter in the draft, and the Bucks badly need shooting - and a small forward.

16.  Boston:  Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke

With Doc Rivers gone, they are officially rebuilding.  They're looking to move Garnett and Pierce. They may or may not keep Rondo.  They'll likely just take the best player available, and in my opinion that's Plumlee.  I'm bullish on his NBA outlook.  "Plus" size and athleticism - I think he's a good starting PF in the league.

17.  Atlanta:  Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA

The Hawks are re-tooling, and Muhammad - while most seem to think he lacks star potential at this point - is a fairly safe pick.  This sets up...

18.  Atlanta:  Giannis Adetokuonbo, SF, Greece

The Greek Freak is the consummate boom-or-bust selection.  Possessing rare length and athleticism, and some legitimate point guard skills at 6'9", he's also 18 and currently playing against competition that is one step above a pickup game at the JCC.  He could be Scottie Pippen 5 years from now.  He could also fail to ever make it to the league.

19.  Cleveland:  Glen Rice Jr., SG/SF, D-League

The Cavs would have loved for Karasev to fall here so they could fill the small forward position and stretch the floor for Kyrie Irving.  Rice, like his father, can shoot the 3, and he's more athletic than Dad. He's not much off the bounce, but that's not what the Cavs need anyway.  In one of the draft's oddest stories, the guy who got kicked off Georgia Tech's team and dominated the D-league ends up in a great situation in Cleveland.

20.  Chicago:  Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

I had been on Gorgui Dieng here for a long time, but after watching how Indiana and San Antonio attacked Miami, I am coming around to the idea that the Bulls need to stretch the floor to beat the Heat. You're not going to get that second shot-maker here, but you can get someone who can pull a potential double-team away from Rose.  Hardaway can shoot, and his intensity and professionalism that showed up in predraft workouts would seem to be a good fit with Tom Thibodeau's redline-all-the-time culture. And if anyone can find an adequate defender in Hardaway, it's Thibs.  If Hardaway works out, in the wake of Jimmy Butler's emergence, it gives the Bulls the flexibility to move on from Luol Deng at some point and get a little younger around Derrick Rose.

21.  Utah: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

This is an excellent value pick here.  Olynyk has a rare skill set for a 7-footer.

22.  Brooklyn:  Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

With Deron Williams and Joe Johnson more than happy to shoot, a do-everything, stat-sheet-stuffing wing is just what the doctor ordered for the Nets.

23.  Indiana:  Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil

The Pacers need a point guard.  There isn't one available here.  And they're not likely to get an immediate contributor here.  So they go for upside.  Nogueira is a potential Marcus Camby close:  long, rail thin, athletic, and a natural shot blocker.  He won't be in Indy right away, but he's a potential long term option for Roy Hibbert.

24.  New York:  Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State

Ray Felton oscillates between looking like an All-Star and a nonfactor.  The Knicks could use a little insurance here.

25.  L.A. Clippers:  Allen Crabbe, SG, Cal

Shooting guard is probably the Cavs' weakest position (now that they'd removed "Head Coach" from the list).  Chris Paul and Blake Griffin could use a floor-stretcher.

26.  Minnesota:  Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina

No real star power here, but Bullock can defend at small forward and shoot the 3.  Caldwell-Pope and Bullock upgrade the T-Wolves on the wings, and they should do so right away.  Both are fairly safe picks, and Minnesota has had too many busts over the years to take a lot of chances now.

27.  Denver:  Nate Wolters, PG/SG, South Dakota State

Wolters is creeping up draft boards, it seems.  Andre Miller has to stop at some point, Ty Lawson needs a backup, and in certain situations you may be able to play Lawson and Wolters together.

28.  San Antonio:  Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Louisville

Tim Duncan can't play forever, Tiago Splitter is limited, and Dieng can defend, pass out of the high post, and may at some point make the foul-line jumper a reliable weapon.

29.  Oklahoma City:  Alex Abrines, SG, Spain

Realistically, no one the Thunder would take here would ever see the floor in the short term.  Best to take the highest-upside Euro-stash they can find.

30.  Phoenix:  Tony Mitchell, SF/PF, North Texas

OK, so the Suns already have Kansas' Morris twins, but there's no indication yet that either is any good.  Keep taking shots... eventually one will fall.

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