Welcome to the first annual NBA Mock Draft. I must admit that I probably follow and watch the NBA more closely than any sport. I have to warn you though, that doesn’t mean I’ll be any better at this mock draft. It’s still really just a guessing game. There are definitely some picks that seem to make more sense, but they are still far from a sure thing. Please don’t hesitate to comment and tell me just how wrong you think I am. Also, part of this mock draft is where I believe players should be drafted. So just because everyone else thinks a player is great and he will probably go in the lottery, I may drop him down.
Pick #1 Cleveland Cavaliers- Nerlens Noel C Kentucky
This one just makes sense to me. Cleveland could use some more big guys. They could also use some defensive help since Mike Brown is back to being the coach. I think Noel can step in right away (as soon as he’s healthy) and help on defense. He’ll be a bit of a liability on offense. He’s not as polished as Anthony Davis was coming out of Kentucky, and Davis wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire with his offense this year. Noel can be a great addition to Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Tristan Thompson, etc. I really like this pick for them.
Pick #2 Orlando Magic- Victor Oladipo SG Indiana
I think Oladipo is one of the safest picks in the draft. He’s a legit defender. He’s a freak athlete. And I think his offensive game will come around. He’s not as tall as Luol Deng, but he reminds me of Deng. Orlando needs help in the backcourt and I think Oladipo can be that help. They may look more at a PG, but I think Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams are going to end up being scarier picks when it comes down to it.
Pick #3 Washington Wizards- Alex Len C Maryland
I’m not a crazy big fan of Len. He certainly flashed some potential as a sophomore this year. And at 7’1″ he certainly has the size. I do worry that he’s not going to end up being a very explosive player in the NBA. That’s why I think Washington should take him. They have Wall and Beal in their backcourt. They really could use help at any of the front court positions. I could see Otto Porter being the pick here, but I like the idea of having a big center who can anchor your team on the defensive side. Len is still only 19 and should only continue to develop.
Pick #4 Charlotte Bobcats- Ben McLemore SG Kansas
Charlotte needs help all across the board. But what they need more than anything is someone who is electric and can score. McLemore averaged almost 16 points as a freshman and shot very well from downtown and from the charity stripe. He’s not a super big guy, but he’s not a bad rebounder for a guard. He grabbed over 5 rebounds last year. Some have McLemore as the number one player on their boards, so Charlotte would be getting good value as well.
Pick #5 Phoenix Suns- Trey Burke PG Michigan
Truth be told, Phoenix needs help at every position. I know they drafted Kendall Marshall last year, but he didn’t show much this year. Burke has range from anywhere in the gym. He can flat out score. I actually think he could end up playing some SG in the pros. He’s a decent assist guy, but I see him more as a scorer. Initially he could be a tremendous lift to an offense that scored the 3rd lowest points in the Western Conference.
Pick #6 New Orleans Pelicans- Cody Zeller C Indiana
Zeller is a much more polished scorer than Anthony Davis was coming out of school. He has shot nearly 60% for his college career and hits a good clip from the free throw line as well. He’s not going to be an elite defender in the NBA, but Davis can take care of that. I think he’s a good compliment to what Davis brings to the table. Zeller should be able to contribute right away on the offensive end. And while he develops on defense, they’ll have Davis to help cover for him.
Pick #7 Sacramento Kings- C.J. McCollum PG Lehigh
McCollum is the rare college senior in the Draft. Sacramento needs some guys who are ready to play right away and bring maturity to the table. McCollum should do both. This guy can absolutely shoot the ball. He shot over 50% from downtown last year. He will be able to score right away and he’s an above average rebounder for a PG. McCollum reminds me of Steph Curry. I’m not saying this kid will be as good, but he could definitely score 20+ per game while shooting 40%+ from three in his prime.
Pick #8 Detroit Pistons- Michael Carter-Williams PG Syracuse
Detroit needs help at the PG position. Jose Calderon is just a stop gap until they find their PG of the future. The look pretty well set at SG, PF and C with Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Carter-Williams is a pass first PG who should play great defense. He has a lot of length at the position being that he is 6’6″. He’s not a fantastic shooter right now, but he could certainly develop into more of an offensive threat. And he definitely appeared to be a pretty good leader, which is something the Pistons desperately need.
Pick #9 Minnesota Timberwolves- Otto Porter SF Georgetown
I know this is a lot lower than most people have Porter. I’m just not crazy about him. He has a lot of size and he’s a solid rebounder. He also shots the ball from distance pretty well for a guy with his size. He definitely made progress from his freshman year. Minnesota is close to be a playoff contender and they don’t have a ton of holes (if healthy). I think getting a guy like Porter could help put them over the edge, but he probably won’t drop this low.
Pick #10 Portland Trail Blazers- Tim Hardaway Jr SG Michigan
Assuming Portland keeps the pick, they could use help at the 2 position. Portland, like Minnesota, is close being able to contend. They need someone who is ready to play right away and I think Hardaway Jr. brings that. Hardaway has mental toughness after being a part of a very good Michigan team. He’s also been around the NBA all his life, thanks to his father. So the adjustment to NBA life should be a little easier for him.
Pick #11 Philadelphia 76ers- Anthony Bennett PF UNLV
I know I have Bennett MUCH lower than most. I’m just not sold on the guy. I’m not saying he couldn’t go higher than this. However, I believe this is where he belongs. The 76ers need a bit of everything other than PG. Bennett is listed as a PF, but I’m thinking he’ll have to play some 3 in the NBA due to the fact that he’s 6’8″. I’m just not crazy about this guy.
Pick #12 Oklahoma City Thunder- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG Georgia
I believe that OKC is still searching for a replacement for Harden. This guy probably won’t be the next James Harden, but he has a few similar traits. He can certainly shoot the ball and score with the best of them. He also has good size for a SG. He didn’t show much passing ability, but some of that was probably due to the fact that his teammates were so much worse than he was. I wouldn’t have passed either.
Pick #13 Dallas Mavericks- Shane Larkin PG Miami
Dallas needs a PG and have for quite some time. Larkin may not be completely ready to play yet, but he showed definite toughness last year leading a cinderella type Miami team. I would think Dallas would like to take someone who is more ready to play. However, there really isn’t a lot of that talent in this draft. So I think they’ll take someone who is close to ready and plays a position they really need.
Pick #14 Utah Jazz- Dennis Schroeder PG Germany
Schroeder is a 19 year old from Germany. He has good length and some have compared him to Rajon Rondo. I think that’s a BIG stretch. But, he’s certainly a guy with talent and upside. He may not be ready to play right away, but Utah is a young team and has a pretty bright future if they can develop players like Kanter and Favors.
Pick #15 Milwaukee Bucks- Shabazz Muhammad SG UCLA
I have Muhammad higher than most. I think someone will fall in love with his upside. Honestly, I think this guy has more upside than almost anyone in the draft. Jennings and Muhammad would be one of the best scoring back courts in the NBA. I think Muhammad could develop into a very good defensive player as well. He has decent size and he’s very athletic.
Pick #16 Boston Celtics- Sergey Karasev Russia
The Celtics are in a bit of a mess right now. They just lost their coach and Kevin Garnett and/or Paul Pierce could be next. I think the Celtics should go young. Karasev is considered one of the more NBA ready players and could form a good back court with Rondo and Avery Bradley. The Celtics could go big to try and replace KG. However, I think Karasev could play some 3 in the NBA since he’s 6’7″. And he’s a great shooter plus he plays solid D.
Pick #17 Atlanta Hawks- Tony Snell SF New Mexico
The Hawks have 2 picks in the first round. They need just about everything, assuming they don’t resign some of their current free agents. Snell is a guy who can play right now and he’s kind of the anti-Josh Smith. Like Smith, he’s long and athletic. Unlike Smith, he’s a plus shooter. I’m not saying he can replace Smith, but he’s a solid player who could be a role player on a good team
Pick #18 Atlanta Hawks- Giannis Antetokounmpo SF Greece
This guy is only 18 and probably won’t be playing much right at the start. The Spurs always took chances on international players and I see Ferry bringing that trait over with him. Antetokounmpo is risky. He could be awesome or he could be a total bust. He definitely has size being 6’9″. He should play solid defense, but I would guess he offensive game will be fairly raw at first. But he’s worth a shot in a weaker draft as a player with some upside. I know I have the Hawks taking 2 SF, but I really believe they need to take the best available players since they have so few guys under contract.
Pick #19 Cleveland Cavaliers- Rudy Gobert PF France
Gobert has serious size at 7’2″ and he should be a force defensively. This guy is similar to Noel in that he’s not elite on offense, but the Cavs really need to develop a defensive team. They have scorers in Kyrie and Waiters. They need to develop big men and get better at rebounding and defense. Gobert could also develop into a solid offensive player since he’s only 20 right now.
Pick #20 Chicago Bulls- Glen Rice Jr. SG D-League
Glen Rice is a player who absolutely tore up the D-League. He had some problems in college, but really made a name for himself after being kicked out of Georgia Tech. Rice has the talent to play in the NBA. He just has to mature and focus on improving his game and not worry about things not always going his way.
Pick #21 Utah Jazz- Reggie Bullock SG UNC
Bullock is an amazing shooter. The Jazz could use some shooting to put around their big men. Bullock may not translate completely to the NBA, but he should be able to shoot. He has great size at 6’7″ for a SG. Bullock is also an older player at 22 and he should be ready to play right away. He’s a solid rebounder as well for a guard.
Pick #22 Brooklyn Nets- Steven Adams C Pittsburgh
I definitely have this guy dropping down. Most project him to be taken in the lottery. I just don’t see it. He only averaged 7 points as a 7 foot player in college. How is that possible from a player who is supposed to be a lottery pick? He only grabbed 6.2 rebounds too. I must be missing something because I just don’t get it. With that being said, I think the Jazz will move Millsap and Jefferson and will want some more depth in the front court.
Pick #23 Indiana Pacers- Jamaal Franklin SG San Diego State
I think Franklin will remind some people of Kawhi Leonard. Not only did they go to the same school, but he is a fantastic rebounder and a great athlete. He averaged almost 10 rebounds per game as a 6’5″ SG. That’s impressive. He’s also a solid passer. At 21, he should be ready to play pretty much right away. That’s definitely something the Pacers want with them being so close to competing.
Pick #24 New York Knicks- Lucas Nogueira C Brazil
Nogueria is another player who most see going earlier. I simply don’t value size alone like most others do. I’ve seen too many guys who were simply tall and long not have any impact in the NBA. Nogueria does not have anything close to an NBA body yet. Sure he could put on weight, but he’s only 218 pounds right now. That’s smaller than most 2 guards. Noel is similar in size, but he’s a year younger and has already shown he can play elite defense. I don’t put a ton of faith in the Brazilian basketball league and wonder if this guy can translate to the NBA. With that said, the Knicks could afford to take a shot on him. They have a roster that includes Tyson Chandler and don’t need immediate help at the C position.
Pick #25 Los Angeles Clippers- Kelly Olynyk C Gonzaga
Another player with size who I’m not enamored with at all. Olynyk did show some ability to score. However, it was against inferior opponents for the most part. The Clippers need some more big men, especially with DeAndre Jordan being potentially shopped. Olynyk would be able to help right away and the Clippers want to win right now. His upside is fairly limited, but the Clippers are more concerted with immediate help than finding superstars this last in the draft.
Pick #26 Minnesota Timberwolves- Allan Crabbe SG Cal
Minnesota is a tough team for me to figure out. I think we’re all confident that they won’t take a PG. Past that, I’m really not sure. It doesn’t look like they need tons of help in the front court. However, there have been some rumors that they might trade Kevin Love. If they do plan on doing that, then who knows which direction they go in. Crabbe is another player who can really shoot. And Minnesota is another team in need of some shooting. So the team and the player seem to be a decent fit.
Pick #27 Denver Nuggets- Mason Plumlee C Duke
Denver is a team that needs some size. They have a lot of talent on the team, but do need some help up front. I’m not sure Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee are going to cut it. Brian Shaw is also going to be a more defensive minded coach than Karl was. I think Plumlee should certainly play solid defense right from the start. Plumlee is also a player who can play right away and the Nuggets are going to want to win right away.
Pick #28 San Antonio Spurs- Ricardo Ledo SG Providence
Ledo is an interesting guy. He’s had serious off-court issues which caused him to miss all of last year. The Spurs don’t often go after players with character issues. However, I think the Spurs could really help with his maturity and he certainly has the talent. The Spurs also need some help at the 2 guard with Manu being just about done. Danny Green showed he can certainly shoot, but he doesn’t do much off the dribble and Ledo could help with that.
Pick #29 Oklahoma City Thunder- Gorgui Dieng C Louisville
It almost seems unfair that the Thunder have 2 picks in the 1st round. The Thunder need some help in the front court with Kendrick Perkins not showing much in the playoffs. Dieng is a player who can contribute on defense right away. And the Thunder really don’t need someone who can score with Westbrook, Durant and Kevin Martin. Dieng would also give the Thunder a scary-good defense when paired with Ibaka.
Pick #30 Phoenix Suns- Jeff Withey C Kansas
Withey isn’t the youngest player in the draft. However, Phoenix needs some size and Withey should be able to contribute right away. The Suns need quite a bit really, so this pick could go several different ways. I like Withey as a player who doesn’t have a ton of upside, but should definitely be a solid NBA player who stays in the league for a while. That’s not a bad thing to get with the last pick of the draft.
Well, I hope you enjoyed that. This draft is super tough. There aren’t a ton of players with a lot of upside. And most of the ones who do have upside have a ton of risk. There are some players who seem to ready to contribute right away. However, even though they’re ready to contribute, it will probably be small contributions. I don’t see many guys who can step in and play more than 20 minutes for a team that wants to compete. Anyway, have a blast watching the draft tomorrow.
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