Mock Drafts have to be the most common of NBA blogs, agreed? Every basketball site worth its salt will have one…if not several mock drafts right upto the night of the actual draft. Why? Because its fun. It’s fun to play GM for a while, it feels good to have the decision making firmly in your hands. Unless you’re David Kahn. I’ve had a look around various sites and read up on numerous scouting articles on the prospects coming into our league, and being honest I’m none the wiser. For example, let’s take the case of the Washington Wizards. People have them taking a bruising big (Markieff Morris, Biyombo) while others have them going for a wing (Leonard, Vesely) or even a scorer (Burks). It’s all down to interpretation, a matter of opinion. You can have every single GM in the lottery tell you who they’re taking with their pick, but if the team in front of them takes their guy, your inside info is worth nothing. That’s why the Draft is such a highly anticipated event, you just never know. Like in 2009, imagine the look on Golden State’s faces when they saw Minnesota take Rubio…and then Flynn straight after, leaving Curry fall into their lap. It’s a funny ol night, but we all love it. So today I’m giving you a team-by-team guide for the lottery, and telling you who each team should have as option one and two. If I get 5 out of the 14 picks right, Brendan has promised me a promotion. And a European scouting budget. Here goes…
Needs: Small Forward, Center, Shooting Guard
Who they’ll take: Kyrie Irving. He’s too good a prospect to turn down, plus the other guards on our roster can play the two, so it makes sense. Instant game changer and will be NBA ready from the tip. He’s a double of Chris Paul; he’s quick, can finish in the lane and is incredibly dangerous when driving to the basket with shooters spotting up. The defense collapses, you’re looking at an open shot somewhere. I’m way too excited about this guy. He may actually be the reason I finally come to Cleveland to see a game.
Who they should have in mind: Nobody. At all.
Needs: Point Guard, Depth at the Four and Five
Who they’ll take: Derrick Williams. Too appealing to turn down, though for some reason I think they’ll take a good long look at Kanter. Williams along with Love, Beasley and Randolph makes for a talented future. It would make them extremely young, but I can deal with that. If they can somehow get Rubio over to play with Wesley Johnson in the backcourt, Minnesota will be ok for some time to come.
Who they should have in mind: Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Jonas Valanciunas
Needs: Small Forward, Shooting Guard
Who they’ll take: Classic case of taking talent over need here when they select Enes Kanter. I’d rather them take Knight and shop Harris for a small forward somewhere, but I’m not the Utah Jazz. That organisation is a pretty good run club; they’ll make the right call.
Who they should have in mind: Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely
Needs: Small Forward, Center
Who they’ll take: If Kanter falls to four; we’ll gobble him up. If not, look for us to take serious looks at Vesely, Valanciunas and maybe even Leonard. Two mocks I’ve seen have us taking Alec Burks or Brandon Knight. Of the two, I’d leaning towards Burks but Knight is very intriguing on so many levels.
Who they should have in mind: Jan Vesely, Kawhi Leonard or best available talent
Needs: Small Forward, Point Guard
Who they’ll take: I can see Knight falling here you know, at which point they should take him. If not, they might even go for a big body like Motiejunas or Valanciunas to go with Bargnani inside. Brandon Knight and Ed Davis would be a nice big/small duo to build upon. Until they leave in free agency for South Beach.
Who they should have in mind: Jan Vesely
Needs: Frontcourt Depth
Who they’ll take: Jan Vesely should be their number on option due to him being able to play the three and four, Kawhi Leonard could fall here. They might have an interest in Alec Burks to partner with John Wall.
Who they should have in mind: Vesely, Leonard, Burks, Motiejunas
Needs: Shooting Guard, Frontcourt
Who they’ll take: If Cousins is their center of the future, then they’ll look for a power forward, and Motiejunas could be the man. Biyombo might get a look, as might Leonard if he’s around, tough to gauge what way they’ll go with this pick.
Who they should have in mind: Any sort of frontcourt help really…
Needs: Power Forward
Who they’ll take: Greg Monroe is the future of Detroit basketball, we know this. Get him some help inside, and since the Pistons figure to be a non-contender for a while longer, let’s go with Biyombo. Let him crash the boards and block shots for fun next to the gifted Monroe.
Who they should have in mind: Marcus Morris, Tristan Thompson
Needs: Small Forward, Center
Who they’ll take: For me, Kawhi Leonard and the Bobcats are a match made in NBA heaven. He fits them like a glove, but if he’s not around look for them to keep an eye on a project big, or even Kemba Walker. You just never know with Michael Jordan.
Who they should look at: Motiejunas might fall here depending on other picks
Needs: Small Forward, Guard
Who they’ll take: Here we have a team that are pretty set, just had a bad year (which I forecasted by the way). Maybe a combo guard to play behind Jennings and Salmons, or a versatile wing like a Jordan Hamilton? I can’t see that much of a need anywhere on the floor, but maybe backcourt help is the best option.
Who they should have in mind: Best player available makes sense
Golden State Warriors
Needs: Small Forward, Power Forward
Who they’ll take: To keep up their run-and-gun style, Jordan Hamilton. To keep competitive inside, Morris or Thompson makes sense. The trio of Jordan Hamilton-Monta Ellis-Steph Curry would have the highest usage rate of any NBA trio. I’d nearly bet my house on it. Nearly.
Who they should have in mind: Marcus Morris, Tristan Thompson, Chris Singleton
Needs: Depends on their first pick
Who they’ll take: See above, but best player available will come in here. That, or a project guy like maybe Tobias Harris, or the popular consensus, Jimmer Fredette. But having two white perimeter guys on your team who were college darlings might not be the best plan going forward.
Who they should keep in mind: Klay Thompson, Tyler Honeycutt
Needs: The Fountain Of Youth
Who they’ll take: I’d like them to take a defensive minded guy here, seeing as they have only Gortat on their team that gives a crap about defense. Oh, and Pietrus too. I’d go with a Kenneth Faried or Markieff Morris here, they need rebounding and toughness.
Who they should keep in mind: Maybe a project like Lucas Nogueira or Jordan Williams
Needs: Read below (and a new head coach by the way)
Who they’ll take: This is as strong a lottery team as you’ll find. The core four of Dragic-Martin-Budinger-Scola along with role players Patrick Patterson, Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams is strong. They just need another big, maybe they get lucky and Markieff Morris falls here, or they go European with Nikola Mirotic.
Who they should keep in mind: Somebody who can bang down low would be nice
I owe you an apology. Some years back when I was blogging over at HOOPSWORLD I was asked to assess the 2009 NBA Draft. I was asked to do an article on the top five sleepers, top five sure things and top five guys not to waste a high pick on. You were on my list for the latter. I pleaded with team not to use a top ten pick on you. Here’s actually what I wrote;
James Harden, Arizona State. Before you call me insane, hear me out. I’m not denying he is one of the best talents in this draft, but after all, it is this draft. I just don’t understand how a guy who was non-existent in the NCAA tournament will suddenly set the pro game alight. I mean, he averaged almost four turnovers a game, while handing out just over four assists. I’m just not excited about a shooting guard who shoots 27% on shots coming off the dribble.
Remember the doubts we had over that draft at the time? Remember how Harden looked disinterested trying to lead Arizona State in the tournament? Remember how he looked a below average athlete, how he couldn’t create for others and took bad shot after bad shot? I take everything back. I really and truly do. He has changed my opinion completely. He looks the part, he’s playing like it and if it wasn’t for his huge role this postseason, the Thunder wouldn’t be where they are. He’s obviously not the main reason for their success, but he’s a huge part of it. James Harden, I apologise to you for doubting the talents you so clearly possess.
I bet you Danny Ainge is pretty pissed he couldn’t get him from Oklahoma in the Jeff Green deal right about now.
Five Things On My Mind
Credit to Scotty Brooks for sticking to what works. He had the courage to stick with his reserves in Game Two, a game that if they lost would have meant curtains. He kept Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins (arguably two top five guys at their positions in the NBA) on the bench for the most important quarter of his and this Thunder’s season. I respect that, I admire that and I think everyone else should too.
Now to Westbrook. I wanna see how you’re built; I wanna see what you’re made of. Are you mature enough – at just 22 years old – to accept it was the right call? If it happens the next game, will you still be so polite in your post match press conference? Also, I wanna see the old Russ back. They guy with the swagger, the guy who can’t nobody stay in front of when he’s in the zone and got it going. I want you to take no more than 12 shots – and I want you to grab me 9 rebounds and hand out 13 dimes. You’re that good – but you need to let it come to you, don’t force it, and don’t take shots from Kevin. Do this, and you’ll be the starting point guard on an NBA Finals team.
Game Two of both Conference Finals had one recurring them for me – adaptation. Miami did to the Bulls what the Bulls did to Miami in game one, and Oklahoma just played better on certain defensive and offensive possessions. I like this and I like the way both series are heading, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both series were tied at 2-2 heading to their respective game fives.
Kyrie Irving stayed away from the Draft combine. Good. Dan Gilbert should pay somebody to wrap him in cotton wool for the summer. We gotta protect our future.
And finally, Jerry West is set to join the Golden State Warriors front office. If they find the right coach, with the talent they have, that franchise could be in line for a turn around in the right direction. Great move here, now go get decent coach and watch the rewards.
If I'm the Cavs front office, I know my top three guys. Irving, Williams and whomever. If my third guy on my list is there at #4, I take him. If not, I don't take the risk on someone I'm not sure on, unless they fancy the calculated risk. There will def be a team out there who'll want that #4 pick because you could see some tasty players (albeit project players) fall there..I'm only throwing this out there, but Dwight Howard to Cleveland for Ryan Hollins and the #4 pick..
Now, that would be something that would tick Greg Poppovich and the rest of North America right off..but being realistic, that fourth pick is equally as important as the the #1, flexibility is a great thing to have..
Promoted. No need to see how the draft shakes out my man. Multiply your European scouting budget by 10x next season.
And it really will be interesting as you mentioned to see who falls to the Cavs at 4. There's going to be some options there.
I am against the idea I've been hearing about lately of "trading up" in this years draft, however, as mentioned, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Cavs dealing that pick in some other way.