I’ve been trying to finish this for the past couple of weeks, but other deadlines have kept me from doing so. Watching a lot of the "bold predictions" I thought this mock would make come to fruition in real life,(Noel’s stock falling, Oladipo’s stock continuing to rise) I figured might as well put this out there now.
This draft is not based on my preferences (you can check my sig for that), but is intended to consider how it truly all could go. It’s impossible to accurately pin down what will happen, of course, particularly with trades that could monkey with the works, but completing it seems to illustrate how causality plays a large part in the process. There are many surprises even for myself as to who ends up available once the pick rolls around.
1. Cleveland – Otto Porter
Too much noise about issues with Noel could be a strategy by the Cavs to entice other GMs to make an offer for the #1 pick, but ultimately, Porter makes too much sense to a team that wants to return to the playoffs as soon as possible.
Porter gives them the do-it-all small forward to compliment Irving and Waiters and allows for Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller to develop without a third player needing time and experience.
2. Orlando – Victor Oladipo
This is where the hearts of BSOTS fans everywhere break. Oladipo has performed too well in interviews and dispelled too many question marks about his game to slide. In reports about his interviews and workouts, Oladipo has shined where his closest competitor Ben McLemore has faltered. Certainly, McLemore’s refusal to meet Oladipo head to head in workouts hasn’t help one bit.
With Vucevic, Harris and Harkless forming a very promising frontcourt, adding Oladipo and trading Afflalo, Davis and O’Quinn to LAC for Bledsoe and Butler’s expiring could make them THE team to watch in the next couple of years.
Could they pick Noel instead? Sure. Vujacic at C, Noel at PF and Harris at SF, they can further entice LAC with an Afflalo/Harkless package for Bledsoe.
3. Washington – Nerlens Noel
With Otto Porter gone, the logical next prospect would have clearly been Anthony Bennett, who has been praised for his performance in workouts here and satisfies John Wall’s requests for a stretch-4. However, Noel might be too good to pass up here. With Okafor expiring just about the time Noel is ready to take the court again, Noel could play the clean up defender next to Nene.
Again, the grim specter of long-term health issues for Noel might make them regret passing on Bennett, who they seem to truly want.
4. Charlotte – Alex Len
McLemore still has a good chance ending up here, but the argument remains that picking up McLemore and letting Gerald Henderson go is a wash and makes the team no better than the last season, instead of keeping Henderson and looking for help in a different position.
Anthony Bennett provides much-needed frontcourt help and offensive talent. But the Hornets might not be able to pass up on Alex Len, who might not be able to contribute right away, but could be the big-time center the team has never had.
5. Phoenix – Ben McLemore
Birds sing. Flowers bloom. Peace and love in The Middle East. Ben McLemore is a Sun!
The biggest knock on McLemore has been eloquently stated as "He wants to win, but he doesn’t hate to lose". McLemore might not be the Alpha Dog the Suns is looking for but would make an excellent second option once we lock in Julius Randle next year. (Yes, I’m calling it!)
Although I am firmly in the Oladipo camp, the need for a deadeye shooter from the perimeter would still have been a concern. McLemore alleviates a lot of those concerns and would likely make just an exciting backcourt partner to The Dragon. ( I googled for McLemore’s nicknames and the only ones I found were "McNasty" and "Babyface Assassin". Hmm. We can work with that.)
6. New Orleans – Anthony Bennett
Although New Orleans might reportedly be looking for a point guard here, Greivis has done a respectable job as the floor general and the Pelicans can use some help at the starting small forward.
Bennett’s offensive skills will be useful here and he could partner up with Anderson or Davis in a smaller frontcourt, if need be.
7. Sacramento – Shabazz Muhammad
Somehow, it makes a ton of sense, doesn’t it. The third most enigmatic prospect in the draft (after Adetokunbo and Ledo) put into what has recently been referred to as "the most poisonous locker room in the League."
Sacramento has a long standing need for a small forward. Although Shabazz projects more as a 2 in the NBA. The superstar-in-waiting and future coach killer can provide instant offense at the 3 and refuse to pass the ball to DeMarcus Cousins. (If they somehow trade for Austin Rivers, as well, forget it, I’m going to watch every game of theirs for the comedy value.)
Recent reports indicate that Sacramento is "in love" with both Tony Snell and Tim Hardaway, Jr. so don’t be surprised if they trade down from here. (I wish the Suns still had the #34, because Snell and Hardaway should be available at #30 and #34)
8. Detroit – Michael Carter-Williams
MCW or Trey Burke? Detroit’s love affair with combo guards will necessitate a point guard with true point skills. MCW not only has the skills but the size to help guard longer twos if they need to switch on defense. Rodney Stuckey might be on his way out and Brandon Knight might need someone to spell him from running the team.
In the long run, I believe Detroit (and Sacramento, for that matter) will regret passing on Burke.
9. Minnesota – C.J. McCollum
The best perimeter offensive player on the board with the added bonus of having a secondary ballhandler on the floor with Rubio.
KCP might be good here too and, until a few weeks ago, and I still would not be shocked if Minnesota took Sergey Karasev here, in the first reach of the draft.
10. Portland – Cody Zeller
Remember all of the Cody Zeller / Lamarcus Aldridge comparisons? Now we’ll get to see it here first hand.
Of course, Olshey has said that they are dangling this pick for veteran frontcourt help. He didn’t say so, but you can’t help but think that a European player, with "gazelle-like" qualities might be the most ideal. Do you guys know anyone that fits the bill?
11. Philadelphia – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
This is a BPA pick, particularly for a team with an aging SG and a second-round pick that can’t shoot as the other options.
Jrue Holiday, KCP and Thaddeus Young sounds like a good trio to build on.
12. Oklahoma City – Trey Burke
Somewhat a short slide for Trey Burke, but I don’t think he gets past the Thunder, who could use another ball handler to replace what they lost with losing Harden.
This is a boon finding Burke this low, but reports have been that he has been having less than stellar workouts and is sliding ever so slightly.
13. Dallas – Dennis Schroeder
It is almost guaranteed that Dallas will not have a first rounder playing on opening day. In the unlikely event that they cannot trade this pick, they will most likely draft a player they can stash in Europe for the time being. That would have been Saric if he stayed, but Schroeder should suffice.
Schroeder is a promising young prospect but is probably not ready for the NBA. One thing though, drafting Schroeder should keep the Maverick’s as Germany’s favorite NBA team for the foreseeable future.
14. Utah – Shane Larkin
Utah’s woes at the point guard have been an issue since losing Deron Williams a few years ago.
Shane Larkin is the best point guard on the board here in what is formerly know as the "Suns second lottery pick" and will add some excitement to the Utah backcourt.
15. Milwaukee – Kelly Olynyk
Best player available, period.
Olynyk is the most offensively efficient college player next to CJ McCollum. But his deficiencies elsewhere are pretty glaring. A good compliment to Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh and might make Ersan Ilyasova expendable.
16. Boston – Steven Adams
Boston is where the Suns were two years ago: at the crossroads between rebuilding and waiting for their old guard to retire / get traded to Los Angeles. Adams fills a much-needed…er, need at the center position and could take awhile before he’s ready.
17. Atlanta – Giannis Adetokunbo
18. Atlanta – Lucas Noguiera
The next two picks will be used for trades or on players that they don’t have to bring over this season so the Hawks can continue their pursuit of a Dwight Howard / Chris Paul led team.
Adetokunbo has the physical dimensions and skillset that scream future star. The danger is he still has not been proven on any high-level competition, which might just be the incentive for his people to have him be drafted before any questions arise about whether he can translate his game to the NBA. Regardless, needs some work on his weight, strength and his overall game before that should be a possibility.
I have long been very vocal about not liking Noguiera, who has made a name for himself as an arrogant, lazy, immature one-dimensional player, but recent reports have him showing a surprising amount of maturity the past year. I'll believe it when I see it. He has stated that he would like one-more year in Europe.
19. Cleveland – Rudy Gobert
I would have slotted Gobert two picks earlier, but unlike Noguiera, he has been adamant that he is no longer interested in playing in Europe and wants to be in the NBA as soon as possible.
Much has been said about Gobert’s inhuman physical attributes but he is at least a year away from being a contributor. Unfavorable comparisons to countryman Alexis Ajinca persist, even though both approach the game very differently.
20. Chicago – Ricardo Ledo
Ah, The Mystery Man.
The quick, offensive-minded combo guard (Ryan McDonough sees him as having great potential as a point guard) who did not play college ball after a colorful history where one coach called him "the single worst human being [he'd] ever been associated with on a basketball court" and a "program killer".
So, is he the next Kevin Durant or the next Bonzi Wells? A high-risk, high-reward pick.
21. Utah – Mason Plumlee
With the impending free agency of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, Utah might need to restock on bigs.
Mason Plumlee is a solid PF/C, who might or might not be as successful at the NBA level but should be a solid backup.
22. Brooklyn – Gorgui Dieng
With enormous contracts aplenty, the Nets should be looking for affordable draft talent to fill in some needs. Backup center is a big one and Gorgui Dieng falling this far to back up both the 4 and 5 spot should be a blessing.
23. Indiana – Allen Crabbe
Although, there is probably a greater need for a penetrating point guard for the Pacers, I doubt they can pass up on the sweet-shooting Allen Crabbe.
Having another offensive weapon on the perimeter, it should make the decision easier for the Pacers to see what they can get for deteriorating Danny Granger.
24. New York – Jamaal Franklin
The Knicks need new blood in their point guard corps (I think Shane Larkin would have been a dream pick for them) but are reportedly looking to augment their wing personnel, especially now that they have decided that Carmelo Anthony is their PF.
Reggie Bullock should also be a consideration here.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Mike Muscala
With uncertainty over Chris Paul’s desire to return making Bledsoe a must-keep at this point, the Clips have slowly been seen as open to trading their young big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Regardless of the way it all turns out, Muscala could come in as a 4/5 to back up both positions with his scoring and rebounding savvy.
26. Minnesota – Sergey Karasev
Minnesota can’t have too many shooters and Karasev should fill that role nicely.
Karasev is cementing a reputation as a promising shooter at the 3. However, he has said he might be inclined to play one more year for Triumph Lyubersky, where his father Vasily is head coach.
I’m sure he’d be ecstatic about joining fellow Russian national teamers Shved and Kirilenko in the NBA and vice versa.
27. Denver – Tony Mitchell
Denver has a lot of young players to groom but could use another option at the PF with phenomenal Kenneth Faried.
At the beginning of the season, Tony Mitchell was seen as a lottery pick and, at #27 could be another exciting addition to a young excting team. Dammit!
28. San Antonio – Livio Jean-Charles
You just know they’re gonna do it. LJC is an exciting prospect that the Spurs could leave in Europe for awhile, along with their other promising prospects Ryan Richards and Davis Bertrans.
LJC is a tweener that is a jumpshot away from being a solid full-time SF prospect.
The one comparison I can’t shake: NBAdraft.net compares him to a young Richard Dumas, which is enough for this old heartbroken Suns fan to see what he’s got.
29. Oklahoma City – Jeff Withey
OKC scores again with a solid big man that they can groom while waiting out the expiration of Kendrick Perkins’ oversized contract.
Withey will immediately fill in as a rim protector and might actually provide a little of what the aging Nick Collison used to provide.
Another great young prospect to add to Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and the still young dynamic duo of Durant and Westbrook.
30. Phoenix – Reggie Bullock
Ah, so now we pick from the spoils. Still on the board at this point projected at this range in other mock drafts are: Reggie Bullock, Glen Rice, Tony Snell, CJ Leslie, Tim Hardaway Jr, Archie Goodwin, Isaiah Canaan and Erick Green. Among the high-level second rounders are: my main man Jackie Carmichael and Nate Wolters.
Reggie Bullock and Glen Rice seem like a wash. Either could fill a role similar to Danny Green for the Spurs. Rice is the better iso player while Bullock is the better role-playing spot-up shooter. Rice also has had a history of maturity issues but is probably the more NBA ready.
Conceivably, the Suns could go with any of the names listed here but, for the sake of argument, let’s say they choose Bullock over Rice. I’d be happy with either. I have been championing Jackie Carmichael here as well, but it doesn’t seem likely unless the Morris Twins are sent packing.
It is also conceivable that, with several players on the list that the Suns have worked out, they could trade #30 back for multiple second rounders (Portland and Cleveland have two each in the first part of the second round) to select more than one of their desired prospects.
So there. i was going to go back and add pictures, but I’mma gonna leave that to my man, dudotski.
Thanks for reading, guys. See you on the comments board!