NBA Mock Draft: A different take on this year's lottery mock

Jason Szenes

Getting tired of the mock drafts yet? Well, here's another one, but this ain't your grandmama's mock. This one has several picks playing out differently from how most of the mocks do. Does that mean I'm crazier than Birdman? Keep reading and find out:

1. Cleveland -- Nerlens Noel.

This pick is either Noel, Porter, or trade. I think Cleveland keeps the pick. No one is really in heat to move up anyway. I think they want a big and a defender to pair with their young guards, Irving and Waiters. Not too much to discuss here.

2. Orlando -- Trey Burke.

It's Mcelmore, Burke, or trade. The Magic have a very nice young SF-PF-C tandem in Harkless, Nicholson, and Vucevic. They need guards badly. They certainly could take McElmore but I think they want that replacement for Jameer. Burke has already shot up draft boards from the tournament and I expect him to also kill the workouts. They also have Afflalo under contract for at least 2 more years. While not spectacular, he's a solid player, and the need at PG is much greater.

3. Washington -- Otto Porter.

One of the easiest calls if he's still available. They are quite set at guard with Wall and Beal (did you see his 2nd half last year? Bigtime star potential). They have some veteran bigs that can hold down the fort for a little while: Okafor and Nene. They also have done their best to get rid of knuckleads like Andray Blatche and get quiet, high-character guys, like Nene. That continues with Porter. They need a SF and they want the unassuming glue guy. Easy call.

4. Charlotte -- Anthony Bennett.

This is one of the hugest wildcards. This pick is a major candidate for a trade. If they do stay, I have them having their pick of McElmore or Oladipo, but I do not think they will take them. The Bobcats are pretty well set at positions 1-3. They have Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They need to sign Henderson but the ball is in their court, and if they let him get away, they are beyond foolish. This guy has shown major potential. He may be better than Mcelmore anyway. Charlotte needs two things badly: bigs and offense. The Bobcats were 26th in offense last year. They can't stay in games because they can't score. While they have Biyombo and Diop to play the 5, they don't really have any PF, let alone one that can score. Bennett has huge boom potential and will add excitement to a fan base that sorely needs it. They are getting their Hornets moniker back and they need a star to bring the fans in. Oh and speaking of grandmamas, who better to take the next Larry Johnson than Charlotte?

5. Phoenix -- Victor Oladipo.

In my mock, both McElmore and Oladipo fall to the Suns. Both have their merits. Personally, I want to start with defense and a guy who is simply a winner. I've watched Oladipo quite a bit and I love to watch him play. This kid knows how to play the game. Guys like that always do well. He has improved every year he was in college, and it will continue in the NBA. I think the Tony Allen comparisons are selling this guy way short. There are two guys I'd like to compare him to: Paul George and Ron Artest. Now, George is much taller as is Artest. But what I mean with George is not too many people saw him coming but he has improved dramatically since has been in the league and is now a star. Also, he plays both ends of the court and is very effective at both (except when guarding Lebron in the last 2 seconds). George was picked much lower, but I still see Oladipo having a similar trajectory/effect. I say Ron Artest because of two things: defense and shooting. Ron Artest was always a good defender, but he wasn't always a great shooter. Now, he routinely drains 3s, especially when playing the Suns. Oladipo will improve the same way. Artest without the cray-cray.

6. New Orleans -- McElmore.

In this scenario, NO is beyond elated to get a guy that most people have at least in the top 3, if not number 1. Pelicans are most set at PG (Vasquez) and PF (Davis and Anderson). What they need most is either a SF (but Porter's gone) or a SG to replace Eric Gordon, who will not be there much longer. NO was 25th in offense last year. They need offense badly, especially if they lose Gordon. McElmore may be their #1 pick, and he falls to them at 6. Talk about living right.

7. Sacramento -- Gorgui Dieng.

Surprise! Sacramento is known to be unpredictable. Trading Thomas Robinson for peanuts? It's hard to tell what they will do. But what do they need more than anything? Paint defense. Even the Phoenix Suns lit them up in the paint last year. Sactown gave up 45.2 pts in the paint last year, good for 27th in the league (Phoenix was the team at 28). SAC needs to stop the parade to the bucket and Cousins isn't going to do that. Here we take a guy who, like Burke, shot up during the tournament and I expect to do well in workouts. If I'm the Kings here, this is my pick. Great fit alongside the more offensive-minded Cousins.

8. Detroit -- Cody Zeller.

Surprise again, sort of! Why don't I have Shabazz here? Do I think Magette or Jerebko are an answer at SF? No, I don't. Detroit does need a SF but I don't see them taking Bazz. Dumars has been vilified for numerous failed personnel decisions. He does not want to take a risk. He also doesn't want someone to come in who may be lazy. He wants a sure thing and a solid player. Zeller would be a very good fit upfront alongside Drummond. Drummond works inside and Zeller can step out a bit. Zeller performed very well in the athletic drills recently and getting him at 8 is very solid value for a franchise that needs it in the worst way.

9. Minnesota -- CJ McCollum.

This is a tough call, guys. They could go a number of ways. They are pretty set up front for now with Kirilenko, Love, and Pekovic. Pekovic is a RFA,so they could lose him. So a guy like Len may be in play. But I think they resign Pek. But Minnesota, who was 19th offensively last year, really needs a SG and one who can shoot. They made 5.5 out of 18 threes last year. So a guy like Shabazz doesn't really feel their need either and probably doesn't fit in Minnesota's white-bread world anyway. And a coach like Adelman doesn't want a Shabazz. CJ is the best fit left.

10. Phoenix (from Portland) -- Alex Len.

Now is the time to trade Gortat. We are rebuilding and his value is only going down. It's not as high as it once was, but it's still pretty high. I'll let you guys iron out the details in a different thread, but if PTL is willing to trade this pick for Gortat, we need to make it happen, especially with a guy like Len still on the board. But you're passing on Shabazz! Are you crazy?! Suns fans have wanted forever to hear "Shazam for Shabazz!" and this guy could be the next Harden! Well, pass. We do not need another Beasley on our team. Enough said. We also have like 67 small forwards, and I hope we keep Dudley and Tucker. We are low on bigs to begin with, and if we trade Gortat, we must get a replacement big. If Alex Len is still there, this deal is a no-brainer. I see him having a career similar to Brook Lopez. It will start kind of slow, have some inconsistency and injuries in the middle, but he'll also be an all-star.

11. Philadelphia -- Mason Plumlee.

What???? Now, I know you're on something! Still no Shabazz?! Well, Philly has some decent guys on the wing (Richardson, Evan Turner, Dorell Wright) but they have a gaping hole at PF. They also are unsure about Bynum's health. They need help in the paint. Plumlee is the kind of blue-collar worker that is respected in Philly. They'd rather have Zeller, but he's gone in this mock.

12. OKC -- Shabazz Muhammad.

Okay, surely you guys saw this coming. Bazz is going to fall, but this is his floor. Just like last year and Perry Jones, the Thunder swoop in and get the BPA (best player available) who fell like a brick. This guy could be the next Harden. So why not replace the old one? They could use a big, but at this spot, the good ones are gone (they don't have time for a project like Gobert) and they can't pass up on Bazzy.

13. Dallas -- Michael Carter-Williams.

Whoa! Who's happier, Monty Williams in NO or Mark Cuban in Dallas? Mavs need a PG badly and want Chris Paul but won't get him. In this mock, one of the top PGs, who is going 6-8 in most mocks, falls to them at 13! If he's available, this is a no-brainer. Seems like their kind of player and a perfect fit. More NBA ready than most here in the lottery, which is great with Dirk's advancing age.

14. Utah -- Kentavius Caldwell-Pope.

And now we know who the most disappointed team in the lottery is: Jazz. They need a PG as badly or more than Dallas or Orlando and a very good one who would be a very good fit in quiet, unassuming Mormon land falls one pick shy of them and then gets drafted. Ouch, would that hurt. The next best PG is Schroeder, but I don't see him being a fit here. I think Dario Saric is a good possibility here too, but Pope is BPA and seems like a good fit on the wing alongside Hayward.

And there you have it, folks! Have I totally lost my mind? Will some of these guys fall this far?

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