Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 comments 2013 NBA Mock Draft

Every year I try to make an idiot of myself and do an NBA mock draft. I do this because I love watching college basketball and I love pretending my love of college basketball in some way translates into being good at guessing which NBA teams will be choosing which players in the NBA draft. Usually trades screw my draft all up, but that's the cost of doing a mock draft I guess. Last year I got five picks correct and got Arnett Moultrie to the 76ers, but just in the wrong spot in the first round. I'm not entirely sure if this is impressive or not. Probably not. Anyway, so here is my mock draft and feel free to mock me in the comments for how wrong it may end up being. I'm not sure I will even get one pick correct. You would think I could get #1 overall correct at least.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Nerlens Noel, C

Noel had an ACL injury, but he is a NBA-caliber center when he is healthy and having him and Ty Zeller as the Cavs center rotation isn't a bad situation to be in for the Cavs. I don't think Noel has very much of an offensive game and maybe that will come in time. I'm usually one to talk up a draft a little bit, but I'm not sure I can do that for this year's draft. There are a lot of good players, but I'm not sure how many stars there are. Noel can be a great defensive center, but he also has very little offensive game and is coming off a major knee injury. That makes me nervous. Still, he gives the Cavs options on defense knowing he is back there to block shots. The Cavs have some offensive playmakers and they need a guy who can hold down the middle defensively. Noel fits that bill perfectly and will greatly benefit from playing with Kyrie Irving (of course, who wouldn't?). Long-term I don't see Noel as an All-Star, but I see him as a taller Ben Wallace (how's that for a bad comparison?).

2. Orlando Magic- Ben McLemore, SG

I'm not going to be a sellout and compare McLemore to Ray Allen. Either way, unless the Magic go for Otto Porter then Ben McLemore makes a ton of sense here. Yes, they could probably use a center like Noel, but McLemore has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone-type player. He may never achieve being a franchise cornerstone, but the potential is there. He had some poor workouts, but he is exciting and can score and the Magic need an exciting player. Plus, the Magic can then move Affalo and help build the team around McLemore. If it all turns out badly, they still have room for Andrew Wiggins next year. I can see the Magic taking Victor Oladipo here, but I think McLemore should be the pick in this spot due to his scoring ability.

3. Washington Wizards- Otto Porter, SF

I love me some Anthony Bennett in theory. In practice, he has supposedly become overweight and has had injuries which is hurting his stock. So I want to mock him here, but Otto Porter can do everything on the court and he's the kind of player who will meld well with John Wall and Brad Beal. He doesn't require the basketball all the time and he's a smart player. I think of (lazy comparison alert) as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist v2.0. That's why I thought it hilarious that the Bobcats would trade MKG to draft Porter. That's such a Bobcats thing to do. They would trade a player only to draft a similar player. Porter will never be an All-Star in my opinion, but I think of him as smart player that every championship team needs. Not that the Wizards are close to a championship of course.

4. Charlotte Bobcats- Alex Len, C

Maryland had point guard problems last year and Mark Turgeon forgot about Len many times last year in the Terps offense, but I still am not excited about Len as a lottery prospect. His defenders say he played well against Mason Plumlee and Nerlens Noel last year, which is true, but with some caveats. Len put up 23 points and 12 rebound against Noel in his (Noel's) very first college game. And before Len put up 19 points and 9 rebounds on Mason Plumlee, yet he also put up 8 points and 10 rebounds in the first Maryland-Duke game and 10 points and 8 rebounds against Plumlee in the ACC Tournament. So it's not like Len lit up Plumlee even 2 of the 3 times they went against each other. Plumlee put up 19 points and 7 rebounds twice on Len, but did have a terrible game (4 points and 3 rebounds) that most people seem to remember best. So the idea that Len played well against Plumlee is true, but Plumlee also played well against Len twice. I can see some Big Z in Len and he does have a high ceiling. I hate drafting guys in the lottery based entirely on potential and what kind of player he COULD be. In fact, I would probably take Cody Zeller over Alex Len. I'm not that down on Len, it's just that while knowing Maryland has point guard and coaching issues (in my humble opinion) I feel like the idea of Alex Len is better than the production he provides on the court. 

5. Phoenix Suns- Victor Oladipo, SG

Oladipo seems like a Phoenix Suns-type pick. Or maybe he seems like the stereotypical Phoenix Suns pick. There's something about about Oladipo that doesn't please me. He is an excellent defender, but the comparisons to Dwyane Wade makes me laugh. I can see how the comparison arises with Oladipo's size and how he attacks the rim like Wade, but these minor similarities are the only similarities I can see. I don't hate Oladipo by any measure, but the Wade the comparison doesn't do it for me. Still, he can attack the basket and play great defense. He's worth a #5 overall pick.

6. New Orleans Pelicans- Trey Burke, PG

Anything needs to be done to keep Austin Rivers from playing point guard for the Pelicans. Drafting the best point guard (okay, I think second-best because I like C.J. McCollum slightly better) is a great step towards making sure Rivers never plays point guard ever again. Of course the way Rivers played last year it may be beneficial if he didn't see the court ever again. Anyway, the Pelicans are in pretty good shape at the forward spots and they don't necessarily need a shooting guard. So why not draft a scoring point guard and a guy who could run the pick-and-roll very well with Ryan Anderson? It's a great it won't happen.

7. Sacramento Kings- Anthony Bennett, SF/PF

I like Bennett a lot and I think in the right situation he could be the best player in this draft. The problem is that he is sort of a tweener. He can play power forward, but he's too small and he is getting a bit heavy for power forward. Still, he is a good shooter. I love what Anthony Bennett can do and when paired with DeMarcus Cousins I really like the frontline for the Kings. Bennett reminds me of no one. He can play in the post, though it may be more difficult in the NBA, but he can also spot-up from the outside. He has a skill-set that is very difficult to find. It's not hard to see I really, really like him. He can handle the ball pretty well also for a man his size. Having said all of that, something is off. I can't place my finger on it, but I'm not sure how his skills are going to translate to the NBA. Still, it wouldn't shock me if Bennett became an All-Star. He's another guy who I reluctantly would draft, while not being completely sure what I'm getting.

8. Detroit Pistons- Shabazz Muhammad, SF

The Pistons are dying for an athletic wing forward who can score. I love Kyle Singler, but he isn't a starter. Imagine a frontline of Andre Drummond (who I didn't like last year, full disclosure...see, I'm wrong every once in a while), Muhammad and Greg Monroe. Not bad. I very well could be the only one picking Muhammad in this spot (not really, but I am not finding many mock drafts who place him here). Muhammad can score like crazy. He won't pass and he's gotten a reputation as not being a team player, plus he is 20 years old and not 19 years old as he claimed, but he can score. He goes left when the defense knows he is going left and he still scores. When he develops the ability to go right, I don't see how he won't score 15-18 points per game easy. Of course, he doesn't pass and he really isn't a great defender, but let's talk more about his scoring ability.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG

This is kind of a sellout pick. I keep reading articles saying Caldwell-Pope will go to the Timberwolves and they definitely have a need at shooting guard, so it all works out. He can really shoot the ball and the T-Wolves need a shooter. I almost had a point guard who could shoot mocked here, but decided against that and went with a shooting guard.

10. Portland Trailblazers- Cody Zeller, C

It shouldn't take long for Zeller to start getting playing time over Meyers Leonard. Who knows, maybe when Zeller pans out everyone will forget the Trailblazers drafted Leonard last year. There's very little way I could have liked Leonard less. I do like Cody Zeller. I've heard he isn't physical enough and that the Syracuse zone gave him problems, neither argument really persuades me he can't be a productive big man in the NBA. I find him to be physical enough and it's not like NBA teams run a lot of zone defense. Will he be a 10-time All-Star? Probably not, but he's very talented and can rebound and score. He'll look great alongside LaMarcus Aldridge. This would be a great pick for the Trailblazers.

11. Philadelphia 76ers- Kelly Olynyk, C

I honestly don't know who the 76ers will pick. I almost think they would draft a shooting guard, but they clearly have a need in the middle with Bynum's status up in the air and Lavoy Allen being undersized for the center position. I had them taking Caldwell-Pope originally in this spot, but I don't think he will last that long. I don't really love Olynyk too much. He's a late bloomer and he definitely has offensive skills, but I feel like he is a liability on defense and isn't athletic enough to be a starter in the NBA. Basically, the 76ers have re-drafted Spencer Hawes, but I don't see that as a bad thing. I'm pretty "blah" on some of these players. I'm not blown away, but I'm also not morbidly depressed at where these guys will be drafted.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder- Rudy Gobert, C

When James Harden got traded last year the question became whether Durant and Westbrook could carry the team themselves, which they did. Then Westbrook got injured and the Thunder realized that Kevin Durant was on the court with Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Kevin Martin and various other guys who couldn't necessarily score. The point I'm getting to is I would shit my pants (literally, not figuratively) if Shabazz fell here. I can only imagine the drama that would occur when he didn't pass to Durant/Westbrook more than once a game. I don't think it will end up that way and the Thunder need another big man and there's nothing wrong with a French guy, right? Gobert is raw, but would work well in pick-and-roll situations, as well as have his current lack of strength inside compensated by having Ibaka at power forward. Gobert needs time and the Thunder have two first round picks so maybe they can give him a year or two.

13. Dallas Mavericks- C.J. McCollum, PG

The Mavericks aren't keeping this pick. If they did, this is how they would pick. In fact, if I would the Mavericks I would keep this pick to get McCollum...though I know they want to clear cap space and have enough room to make big free agents signings. We wouldn't want a potentially great draft pick to get in the way of the long-range plan. McCollum is a combo guard and he can shoot the ball very well when playing off-guard. He played for Lehigh, which is a school that may forever burn in Hell, but I can put my disgust aside to understand McCollum has talent. The Mavericks probably need a pure point guard, but I see them going with McCollum over Carter-Williams in this spot...assuming they make the pick in this spot, which I doubt they will. 

14. Utah Jazz- Dennis Schroeder, PG

I'm very, very tempted to put Carter-Williams or Larkin in this spot, but for some reason I see the Jazz going with Schroeder over these two players. I'm not egotistical enough to make it seem like I know all of these international players, but I keep reading that Schroeder is a Rondo-type point guard. I feel like the Jazz are going to want a point guard who is a distributor and less of a scorer. I have no inside information, obviously, but the Jazz are looking to build a young core and a young pass-first point guard. Supposedly Schroeder has a promise that he will be gone before the Top 20 picks are done. I don't think it is Boston who has made this promise, but the Jazz have made the promise. 

15. Milwaukee Bucks- Sergey Karasev, SF

It would be easy to see the Bucks going with a point guard in this spot, but Karsev seems to the perimeter shooter the Bucks will lack once Redick and Ellis don't come back. By all accounts and super-grainy video I have seen, Karasev is an absolute sharpshooter from three-point range and he's only 19. So while I can see the Bucks going with Larkin in this spot, I think they will lean towards a small forward. 

16. Boston Celtics- Gorgui Dieng, C

I'm happy with this pick as long as the Celtics don't re-draft Fab Melo. What a terrible pick that was. They can't draft a head coach can they? I'm reading all this stuff about how the Celtics need a backup point guard, but I see their lack of height in the middle as their biggest issue, especially if they trade Kevin Garnett like they seem hell-bent on doing. Dieng has about the same offensive game as Nerlens Noel, but he does provide shot-blocking ability and would benefit from Rondo's ability to penetrate on defense. The bottom line is if a team needs shot-blocking ability then Dieng can provide that. He will never be great and will forever provide a line of 8 ppg, 9 rpb, and 2.9 bpg, but that's not a terrible thing to get out of the center position. He's like Fab Melo, except he doesn't suck incredibly bad.

17. Atlanta Hawks- Michael Carter-Williams, PG

Yes, the Hawks currently have Jeff Teague holding down the point guard position (assuming they re-sign him), but Carter-Williams is a very tall point guard and don't we all love really tall point guards? He is turnover prone at times, but he also really developed between his freshman and sophomore year. So there is room for growth and Carter-Williams has shown he can improve. He may not be the star player the Hawks seem to desperately want, but he creates matchup problems against other point guards and can really rebound well for the position. Sure, he can't shoot, but that's why the Hawks have a shooting guard. If he falls this much then the Hawks have to take him.

18. Atlanta Hawks- Giannis Anteokoumpo, SF

I feel like most NBA teams that have multiple first round picks stash one of the players overseas or take a project player with the other pick. Here's the Hawks project pick. He is from Greece and quite frankly that's the only thing I know for sure about him. Plus, he will give Hawks beat writers a fit trying to spell his name if he ever does make it to the NBA. 

19. Cleveland Cavaliers- Jamaal Franklin, SG

The Cavs did draft Dion Waiters last year, but Jamaal Franklin is sort of a Kawhi Leonard-lite player. He's not quite as lengthy as Leonard but he does wear long sleeves under his jersey, which looks sort of dumb. I know the Cavs are supposed to be targeting a shooter in this spot, but Franklin can back up shooting guard and small forward, both positions of some need for the Cavs. After taking care of their inside need with the first pick the Cavs provide depth and athleticism to the roster. Not a terrible move, provided you can get by the long sleeve shirts that Franklin tends to wear. 

20. Chicago Bulls- Steven Adams, C

I personally hate Steven Adams as a prospect. The Bulls need scoring from the wing, but the playoffs showed they could also use one more big in the rotation and why not add a guy who has potential to be really good? He has looked clueless to me at times when he was on the court this past season. Maybe some of that relates to him being a freshmen and maybe some of that relates to the fact I think he is an untalented center who only looks like a good player. If Adams ever did succeed it would be with a guy like Joakim Noah in front of him where he could learn how to use his aggressiveness and energy to bring a positive effect on the team. It sounds like bullshit talk about Adams' aggressiveness and energy, and it may be, but I don't think Adams is talented enough to make it in the NBA. He seems to try really hard though. 

21. Utah Jazz- Mason Plumlee, PF/C

Plumlee is what he is and why wouldn't the Jazz take a white center? It seems like it is a tradition for them. Actually, I see Plumlee as more of a power forward and with Millsaps and Al Jefferson possibly on the way out the Jazz need more depth at the power forward position. Plumlee has very few offensive moves, but he is athletic and he can be an aggressive rebounder. He'll definitely be more productive than his brother Miles (how the hell did he get taken in the first round again?), but I think there is a definite ceiling to Mason Plumlee's production. He's going to be a role player and at #21 there isn't anything wrong with that.

22. Brooklyn Nets- Reggie Bullock, SG

The Nets could use some more scoring and if they are really serious about moving Gerald Wallace then Bullock will provide some nice size and shooting at the shooting guard or small forward position. Bullock isn't going to break down his defender, but he fits in well with the slash-and-kick NBA. He has nice size and he can shoot. He's limited, but he will provide outside shooting.

23. Indiana Pacers- Tony Mitchell, SF/PF

It was fairly evident in the playoffs that the Pacers could probably use another power forward if David West/Tyler Hansbrough don't come back. Tony Mitchell has a shit-ton of talent and he can play both forward positions. I can see him completely busting, but the Pacers have done a good job in the past taking players who could use some work (Hibbert, Stephenson, George) and turning them into quality players. So I have faith the Pacers can make it work if they draft him. Mitchell can block shots very well and he would provide the versatility required where the Pacers could have a tremendously long frontline by playing him at the small forward position. Mitchell did take a step back this year upon returning to North Texas for his sophomore year and seemed to pass less, shoot threes more often, and his field goal percentage went from 56.7% to 44.0%. He's got some bad habits that could quickly derail his NBA career.

24. New York Knicks- Shane Larkin, PG

This is a great scenario for the Knicks. Larkin isn't the tallest point guard, but he is fearless and doesn't mind taking big shots. Not that he would have to take big shots on a team with Carmelo Anthony, but still...he will take them. With Jason Kidd's retirement they need a point guard to replace him and I can see Larkin succeeding in New York. At worst, I think Larkin is a backup point guard who can provide points coming off the bench. At best, I can see him as a starter for a high-seeded playoff team. 

25. Los Angeles Clippers- Tim Hardaway Jr, SF

The Clippers could certainly use a small forward and Doc Rivers will like the versatility that Tim Hardaway Jr. provides. I think he should have stayed in school for one more year in terms of his talent-level, but I can't blame him for striking while the iron is hot. With Mitch McGary taking over the Michigan team next year (pure sarcasm is what that is, pure sarcasm) Hardaway's stock could go nothing but down.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves- Lucas Nogueira, C

He's another foreign player I haven't seen play other than in YouTube videos. The T-Wolves certainly could use some more height, especially if Kevin Love leaves town after this next season. He's not a very good offensive player (at least from the scouting reports I've read) and the T-Wolves have shown they are willing to be patient with international players. He'll need to gain some weight, but he's worth a flyer this late in the first round. 

27. Denver Nuggets- Alex Abrines, SG

The Nuggets need a wing player and Abrines seems to have a lot of potential. This is more of a guess at the pick than anything else. Allen Crabbe could possibly contribute more quickly and Ricky Ledo is another option, but I think the Nuggets will look to draft Abrines and bring him over to the United States in the next year or two. 

28. San Antonio Spurs- Archie Goodwin, SG

Goodwin never should have gone to the NBA, but that's life when you commit the University of Kentucky. You have one year to show you can play and then you get recruited over. That's not a criticism, but just a reality. Goodwin didn't show he could play in the NBA and he was already recruited over by the Harrison twins presence on the Wildcats roster next year. I could see a situation where if he came back to Kentucky and gotten consistent playing time he would have been a Top 15 pick, but that wasn't happening. The Spurs can afford to be patient with Goodwin, much like they are being patient with Cory Joseph, and it could very well pay off for them in 1-2 years when Ginobili decides to retire.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder- DeShaun Thomas, SF

Okay, I have to admit I'm just making this pick because I think it makes sense and not because I think this is who the Thunder will be drafting in this spot. I believe the Thunder need a scorer off the bench because, well, they do, and Thomas can score. Yes, he is an undersized power forward, but he has shown at Ohio State he can contribute when he isn't the main scorer and when he has to be the main scorer. He'll never be great, but he can provide offense off the bench, which is something the Thunder need.

30. Phoenix Suns- Livio Jean-Charles, SF

I think this is a nice pick the Suns could make at the end of the first round. Jean-Charles is only 19 years old, but the Suns aren't planning on winning an NBA title this upcoming season so they can wait a season or two on him. He blew up at the Nike Hoops Summit and every scouting report I have read states he is a hard-worker and team player. The Suns are sort-of-but-not-really-but sort-of rebuilding and that's the type of thing a team who wants to be on the rise needs.

I thought about mocking the second round, but decided against it. Here are some second-round picks I think will make an impact in the NBA next year.

Ray McCallum, PG- I love McCallum. He is a coach's son (which means nothing probably) and passed up the chance to play at bigger schools to play for his dad at Detroit. I think he will be a starter in the NBA.

Jeff Withey, C- He is very good at blocking shots. He'll be a very good backup for whoever drafts him.

Tony Snell, SG/SF- I have a weird Tony Snell fetish. I feel like he is going to be firing up 3's for a playoff team this year. I would probably rate him in my Top 15 favorite players in this draft.

Isaiah Canaan, PG- He could very well be a first round pick, but his height and the fact he isn't a "traditional" point guard I think will make him fall to the second round.

Anyway, I can't wait until tonight when all my picks will be wrong.


Snarf said...

Long-term I don't see Noel as an All-Star, but I see him as a taller Ben Wallace (how's that for a bad comparison?).

I've actually heard this one a lot. Or at least you're not the first.

DG said...

Everyone has Noel #1 but I just don't get it. I think he will be a good player, but he won't be the best in the draft. Quick thoughts why Cavs should look elsewhere:

1) Noel and Thompson don't seem like a good fit. They are both tall, which is good, but lean, which is a problem when facing frontcourts with stronger players like West, Booz, or hell even Bron and Melo.

2) Offensively-challenged bigs really mess up an offense, lowering their value on the other end. Look at Perkins in OKC or Indi when they had to sit Hibbert or West for Physco T or IM.

3) Speaking of defensive minded bigs, shot-blocking is only one of the many skills big men need. They definitely need to block, but having the girth to bump and bully down low is important to not only guard the other post players but to influence any player making cuts in the key. Awareness and strength are as important as blocking. Guys with big hips like Duncan, Hibbert, Gasol, and Noah make great team defenders because they leverage their width. That is part of the reason why I don't get the Ben Wallace comp; Wallace was probably the strongest non-Shaq player in the league, Noel will be weaker than most SF's.

Sorry for the ranting but I just don't get the Nerlens hype. I think he will definitely be valuable but I think the Cavs would be better off just taking who they feel is the best prospect, whether it is Mac, Bennett, or Len.

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, you have heard that? I didn't read anyone else say the Wallace comparison.

DG, I don't like Len, I don't like Oladipo should go there, so I would take Porter or McLemore. I'm lukewarm on a lot of the top picks. I'm one of the many who would love to trade back.

1. That's a good point. I really like Ty Zeller (who is also thin), so I can see where Thompson-Noel would be a liability. I am hoping Noel gains weight and takes some of that liability away.

2. I don't like Len that much because I don't think he is an offensively capable as he seems to be. Point taken though.

3. I probably shouldn't have put my lazy Wallace comp in there. I was basically trying to say Noel can rebound and block shots, but isn't worth much else at this point.

Well, it is hype. He is an excellent shotblocker and has cool hair. I think Dieng is a better overall shotblocker and also has the potential to be a better offensive player with good coaching.

I would take Bennett #1 overall if I had the balls. I don't have the balls but I think he or McLemore are probably the best players in this draft. Porter would fit the Cavs well, but I would take Bennett if I had the balls to do it.

Snarf said...

Just one such instance. There are more.

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, I don't know how I missed those references. In my lack of defense, I didn't read too many mock drafts before I did this.