Thursday, June 6, 2013

MOCK What You Don't Understand - v2.1

In the wake of Dario Saric surprisingly pulling out of the draft despite appearing to be a mid-first rounder and rising, we need to re-work the first round now...

1. Cleveland:  Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky

Still no reason to think the potential defensive game-changer is not the pick here.

2. Orlando: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

McLemore may have the best upside, but some question his approach to the game.  Trey Burke was a fabulously productive player, but he's a hair under 6' tall.  That's tough to bank on with the #2 pick.  Oladipo is the surest best to contribute at the NBA level, but will his offensive game keep improving?  (I'm a HUGE Oladipo fan and would personally take him this high.)  But in the end, my gut says it's Bennett.  If he were 2 inches taller he would clearly be the top player in this draft. His ability to face up, stretch the floor, or go in the low post is too compelling, and will fit well with the prolific rebounding of Nikola Vucevic.

3. Washington:  Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

Still too perfect a fit.

4.  Charlotte:  Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

A gift that he falls to Hornets here.  Slotting him between the improving Kemba Walker and the developing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the foundation for getting something going at long last in Charlotte

5.  Phoenix:  Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

Still a perfect backcourt complement to Goran Dragic, and a high quality building block for the Suns.

6.  New Orleans:  Alex Len, C, Maryland

Per ESPN's Chad Ford, the Pelicans have not given up hope on Austin Rivers as a point guard, are comfortable with "The General" Greivis Vazquez in the interim, and view Anthony Davis as a PF.  Len might have gone #1 but not for his injury.

7. Sacramento:  Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

There seems to be a consensus out there on this pick right now.  The Kings don't have an answer at the point with Isaiah Thomas or Jimmer Fredette, and Tyreke Evans is probably best suited to a role as a combo guard off the bench.  A Kings team badly in need of some stability would love if a polished floor general like Burke slipped to them.  I would not, however, sleep on Cody Zeller in this spot...

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

Sticking with this one.  MCW is just too nice a fit with the more scoring-minded Brandon Knight in the backcourt.  He also adds top-end athleticism and a pure PG's orientation to a Pistons team badly in need of both.

9.  Minnesota:  Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana

With Kevin Love and the now-emerged Nikola Pekovic manning the frontcourt, and a major dearth of skill and athleticism at the 2 and 3, this would seem like a strange pick for Flip Saunders and the T'Wolves.  But Zeller is simply the best player available, opening eyes with his three-point shooting and athleticism in workouts, and I think the more one-on-one style of game in the NBA will suit Zeller's skill set better than the 5-foul, muddled interior of the college game.  Zeller should be able to play either frontcourt position and may ultimately give the T'Wolves the flexibility to move Love or Pekovic for better wing help than this draft can offer them.

10.  Portland:  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

A shooter who seems to be moving up draft boards.  He slots in nicely between Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum.

11. Philadelphia:  Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke

Some mocks have him slipping as far as #20 to Chicago.  As a Bulls fan, I would love to see that happen but I just can't imagine that someone with Plumlee's size, strength, ability to run the floor, and experience will slip that far.  The Sixers need frontcourt help in a big way in the wake of the disastrous Andrew Bynum deal.

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

Sticking with this one from 1.0.  McCollum is an explosive scoring guard who can both back up Russell Westbrook and play alongside him.  Don't sleep on Steven Adams here, but I think McCollum will be too enticing to pass up.

13.  Dallas: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

Lightning-quick playmaker joins his countryman, Dirk, in Dallas.

14.  Utah:  Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

Larkin has dazzled, athletically, in workouts and at the Chicago combine.  Utah's biggest need is at the point.

15.  Milwaukee:  Sergey Karasev, SG/SF, Russia

A sharpshooter with enough size and athleticism to play either the 2 or 3.  A surprising level of polish and experience for a 19 year-old.

16.  Boston: Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, UCLA

After coming into college with a ton of hype, now observers are fixated on the potential weaknesses in his game. But he's a polished scorer who is just too good a value for Boston to pass up here.

17.  Atlanta:  Giannis Adetokuompo, SF, Greece

Perhaps the best upside of any player in the draft. The "Greek Freak" likely will not play in the NBA for 2-3 years, but he has incredible length and athleticism for a small forward and actually plays point guard for his Greek league club.  If you want to take a shot at finding another Scottie Pippen at the same age, this is your chance.

18.  Atlanta:  Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

He led the Aztecs in PTS, REB, AST, STL, I think even HR and RBI....  a classic do-everything wing who could be a steal if he straightens out his jumper. 

19.  Cleveland:  Steven Adams, C, Pitt

They would have loved Muhammad or Karasev here, but Adams isn't a bad consolation prize.  A good athlete with true center size, and a top-shelf motor and work ethic. His offensive game is a work in progress, but he has a chance to develop into a top defensive center.

20.  Chicago: Gorgui Dieng, PF/C, Louisville

Another one steady since Mock 1.0.  Ready to give the Bulls solid bench minutes right away, and this is what they need.  It would, however, be very interesting if Karasev or Muhammad were to slip.

21.  Utah:  Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga

Olynyk is a wildcard who could go anywhere from the late lottery to the mid-20's.  A big man with an unconventional but impressive skill set, he was an outstanding college player who would be a solid get along with Larkin.

22.  Brooklyn:  Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, North Carolina

A high-floor, low-ceiling pick.  He's mostly just a shooter on offense, but he can guard two positions and should be a nice piece.  The Nets are in a "win-now" mode and need someone who can contribute quickly, even if he's a role player.

23.  Indiana:  Rudy Gobert, C, France

The Pacers suddenly have dreams of contention, and would have probably loved to see  Larkin slip this far so they could upgrade from George Hill at the point, or Karasev so they could add some much-needed perimeter shooting.  But absent someone who could give immediate help, Gobert has size and length you can't teach - a Roy Hibbert in training wheels.  Tim Hardaway Jr. is a possibility here.

24.  New York:  Tony Mitchell, F, North Texas

There seems to be a small consensus building around this pick.  He brings top-end athleticism, defense, and rebounding a very high overall upside.  He's a boom-or-bust pick, but absent anyone who is sure to crack the Knicks' rotation, there is no reason not to swing for the fences here.

25.  L.A. Clippers:  Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

The Clips need shooting, and Hardaway has earned high marks for his marksmanship, as well as his intensity and professionalism.  He has ideal size for the 2, but his defense and his game off the bounce are works in progress.  He's unlikely to be a star, but his floor is rising, which makes him a good bet to be a complementary contributor on a competitive team.

26.  Minnesota:  Glen Rice Jr., SG/SF, D-League

He has character issues in his past, but he dominated the D-League last season and brings the kind of athleticism and perimeter shooting the T'Wolves desperately need.

27. Denver: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil

Unlikely to find a player who will crack their rotation right away, this is another team that can shoot for upside.  The team that drafted Nene can now try their hand with "Bebe", a rail-thin athletic freak who could be a Marcus Camby type of defensive dominator in time.

28.  San Antonio:  Allen Crabbe, SG, California

Projected by most to go a bit higher, so this is a solid value pick.  Since Manu Ginobili and Matt Bonner can't play forever, new shooting has to come from somewhere.

29.  Oklahoma City:  Mouhammadou Jaiteh, C, France

A young, physically impressive big man who won't be here for a little while yet.  The Thunder can wait. A McCollum/Jaiteh draft for a team that is already a championship contender seems almost unfair.

30. Phoenix:  Tony Snell, SG/SF, New Mexico

A long, catch-and-shoot wing with some upside.

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