1st Annual Mock Draft, Part II

Celtics Life
In Part I, we covered the lottery portion of the first round of the upcoming NBA Draft.  Without further ado, here is the rest of my first round, with some selected commentary:

15. Philadelphia 76ers: Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut

Word is that he may well go significantly higher than this, but if he falls to Philly here, they'd be foolish not to take him.  His game looks like it will translate well at the next level, and he always seems a lot bigger than the 6'5" they list him at, probably because he has a huge wingspan and plus athleticism.  In a structured environment like the one that Doug Collins runs, he could be a real find.

16. Houston Rockets (via Knicks): Terrence Ross, SG, Washington

I haven't seen a lot of this guy, but scouts seem to think he's the real deal, and since I have Houston going big at #14, a wing would make sense here (since they'll be set at PG with either Lowry or Dragic, depending which way they decide to go).  This draft looks to be pretty stacked at the SG spot, which is nice to see because that seems to be the position where the NBA most lacks depth.  Most people would argue that center is the shallowest spot, but my thought on this is that most NBA bigs split time at 4 and 5 at this juncture in the league's history, and there is largely no difference between the two.  With that said, there are plenty of quality bigs in the league, so I stick by my story Sampson Simpson.

17. Dallas Mavericks: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

Another "what can't he do vs. what can he do" kind of player, and a perfect fit for Dallas.  With J-Kidd on his way to the golf course permanently, why not replace him with another pass-first PG who the veterans on that team will absolutely love to play with?  He's not the athlete Kidd was coming into the league (hence the disparity in draft positions), but I'm sure his shot will improve to a respectable level, and his outstanding court vision and passing ability will get him by until the rest of his game catches up.  Excellent pick if he falls this far.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Jazz): Austin Rivers, G, Duke

Hard to see him slipping past here, particularly with the gaping, festering hole that has been Minny's SG situation for the last several years.  He and Rubio together could develop into a scintillating backcourt if Rivers can work off the ball and not be a total asshole all the time.  His game seems better suited to the NBA style than it was in college, and it's entirely possible that this guy is a star by about his 3rd year if he keeps his head on straight. 

19. Orlando Magic: Terrence Jones, PF/SF, Kentucky

Best player left on the board.  This is a somewhat volatile situation for an unpredictable talent like Jones, as they don't have a coach or GM at present, and who knows how the D12 debacle will affect the motivation levels of the other players on the team (which at times has been a problem for Jones at Kentucky).  In any case, he provides a unique skill set that would be virtually impossible to pass up here, regardless of risk.  If he develops the lateral quickness to defend the athletic 3's in the Association, he will present some definite matchup problems, but nothing is guaranteed with this guy.

20. Denver Nuggets: Tony Wroten, Jr., PG, Washington

They'll likely need to replace Andre Miller at the backup PG spot, and they are realistically stocked at pretty much every other spot on the floor.  Gambling on Kenneth Faried paid off last year (even though your humble columnist was keen to the Manimal long before most), and maybe it could work again with Wroten.  He had the look of a guy who was at a different speed than everyone else on the floor when I saw him play in college, a trait that generally bodes well for a guy's chances in the NBA, even if he has pretty much no idea how to actually play basketball.  My gut is that he won't be a serviceable NBA player for at least 2-3 years (if ever), but it's not an abject disaster for Denver if he doesn't pan out here.

21. Boston Celtics: Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's

Boston will be looking to bring in young talent to immediately or eventually replace their aging stars, and this guy seems to fit the bill.  Not a complete player by any stretch, but someone who could develop in the right system. 

22. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Royce White, SF/PF, Iowa State

Hard to imagine that this guy will slip past Danny Ainge's watchful eye.  He's a top-10 talent that slips because of his well-publicized anxiety disorder (he's extremely fearful of flying), but the reward definitely outweighs the risk, especially when you're bringing a guy with some baggage into a well-run, tight-knit organization.  I could easily see White's career somewhat mirroring a similarly-talented headcase: Lamar Odom.  Both guys are big bodies that play like guards but can get it done inside.  In the right environment, this guy is a tremendous player with a well-rounded, NBA-ready game.

23. Atlanta Hawks: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

What could be better than having Marquis learn from and play with his older brother Jeff with the Hawks?  It makes as much sense as anyone else here, and maybe he eventually develops into something more than an adequate NBA player.  He showed a lot of development late in the year at Kentucky, even though he couldn't have been much worse than he was early in the year.  An upside pick to be sure.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor

Another upside pick.  Having taken a big earlier, they could go with Miller here to try to fill a hole at the wing.  This guy can definitely fill it up, so he could be a good fit next to Kyrie Irving. 

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Evan Fournier, SG/SF, France

There needs to be at least one Euro taken in every first round (I think that's a rule), so this looks like the spot.  Memphis could stash him for a year until OJ Mayo finally leaves town.  I know nothing of this guy, so let's move on.

26. Indiana Pacers: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

You can always use massive bodies that can defend the paint, and Indiana has the luxury of bringing Melo along slowly because of Roy Hibbert's emergence.  If he develops, then Indiana has a defensive force on the 2nd unit (a la Omer Asik in Chicago).  If not, you haven't invested too heavily to recover.

27. Miami Heat: Draymond Green, SF/PF, Michigan State

An NBA-ready player who can come in and help right away on the 2nd unit, and whose underwhelming athleticism can be masked somewhat by Miami's stars.  He's a gamer, an excellent passer and rebounder, and he's played in a ton of big games already.  Doesn't wow you, but I can't imagine he won't have a 10 year NBA career.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

OKC doesn't have any certifiable "needs," so they'll take the best player available, which at this point, is Nicholson.  He's a legit stretch 4 with a big, strong body, which is usually difficult to find at this stage of the draft.  This would be another steal for an organization that specializes in that sort of thing, and would provide some more good young talent to replace Nick Collison once he comes off the books.

29. Chicago Bulls: John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt

The search continues for a competent SG in Chicago.  This guy is a knock-down shooter with an ultra-quick release, so he could be the spark that they thought Kyle Korver was going to be.  Probably a role player in the league ultimately, but I like what I've seen of him and think he could carve out a nice niche in the league if he can guard bigger 2's. 

30. Golden State Warriors (via Spurs): Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon State

Golden State will be looking for an elite athlete to replace Monta Ellis at the 2, and this guy fits the bill.  He'll likely be a workout warrior that will make some teams look past his other deficiencies.  Since it's a total crapshoot at this point anyway, I don't necessarily have a problem with taking a high-upside athlete here, despite my desire to dump on the Warriors.

High second-rounders: Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt; Will Barton, SG, Memphis; Kyle O'Quinn, C, Norfolk State; Festus Ezeli, C Vanderbilt; Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky; Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas

Comments

  1. Good for you Pat, I have always enjoyed your analysis

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