This year’s draft has average potential start power, but lots of depth and a number of question marks. Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell headline the draft as three of the best freshmen from last year’s NCAA season. Next, Kristaps Porzingis, Mario Hezonja, and Emmanuel Mudiay are international players with huge potential creeping into the top 5 and even possibly the top 3. After those top six, the draft opens up immensely. There are strong wings like Justice Winslow, Stanley Johnson, and Sam Dekker, sharpshooters like Devin Booker and Rashad Vaughn, and too many talented big men to count. In addition, the point guard crop has a very diverse set of strengths and weaknesses, as a lot of them look to be slotted for the back end of the first round. That will be an interesting dynamic to pay attention to, as we saw many playoff teams in need of point guard depth. Finally, we are already hearing a lot of rumors about potential trades and pick swapping at the top, so I am sure the next few days leading up to the draft will be almost as exciting as the draft itself.
|NO.||TEAM||PLAYER||POS||SCHOOL||YEAR||HT / WT|
|1.||Minnesota||Karl-Anthony Towns||C||Kentucky||Fr.||7-0 / 250|
Analysis: Minnesota seems to be intent on taking Karl-Anthony Towns. Despite the logjam in the frontcourt for Minnesota, KAT is the best prospect on the board and offers more versatility than Jahlil Okafor. He can score facing the basket, score with his back to the basket, and is great at moving within an offense. It would be a big surprise if Towns was not called first by Minnesota on draft day.
|2.||LA Lakers||Jahlil Okafor||C||Duke||Fr.||6-11 / 270|
Analysis: With Towns off the board, the Lakers receive a very solid consolation prize in Jahlil Okafor. Los Angeles has lacked a big man presence of a true big man since Andrew Bynum, and Okafor looks to be the answer. Despite the fact that the Lakers have been fairly ambiguous about this pick and worked out a number of other top prospects, Okafor should be a no-brainer.
|3.||Philadelphia||Kristaps Porzingis||PF||Latvia||Intl.||7-1 / 220|
Analysis: With how much Kristaps Porzingis’ stock has risen, the Latvian has to be glad he pulled his name out of the 2014 draft and waited one more year. Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkle has already shown interest in Porzingas, as Philadelphia was one of two teams that asked him to keep his name in the hat for last year’s draft. Furthermore, the 76ers need this type of game changer for their organization. After everything that has happened the last three years, Hinkle will swing for the fences on Porzingis and hope that Dario Saric, a 2014 first round pick who stayed in Europe last season, is ready to come over soon to create a formidable front court pairing.
|4.||New York||D’Angelo Russell||PG||Ohio State||Fr.||6-4 / 195|
Analysis: New York will be excited to see Russell fall into their lap. He is the kind of floor general that this team needs. While he is not an exceptional athlete, his game has no glaring weaknesses. Russell is an unselfish player who wants to get better and is someone the Knicks can immediately plug into their starting line up.
|5.||Orlando||Willie Cauley-Stein||C||Kentucky||Jr.||7-0 / 242|
Analysis: Willie Cauley-Stein is a dynamic defender who is capable of playing either the 4 or 5, especially when paired with a offensive-minded guy like Nikola Vucevic. Cauley-Stein makes sense here because the Magic need more of a frontcourt presence to support an already athletic backcourt. This addition might be the one that helps push Orlando over the hump in their transition from a team consistently in the lottery to one that is competing for a playoff spot.
|6.||Sacramento||Emmanuel Mudiay||PG||Congo||Intl.||6-5 / 190|
Analysis: Emmanuel Mudiay was once thought to be the top pick in this year’s draft but after spending the last year playing in China, he has fallen out of the top five. Mudiay is still capable of making a big difference for a team in need of a point guard. While Sacramento has serviceable point guards on its roster, none of the team’s other options can match his star power. Mudiay’s size, athleticism, and potential will make the Kings very happy he slipped to them at 6.
|7.||Denver||Mario Hezonja||SF||Croatia||Intl.||6-8 / 215|
Analysis: The Nuggets could go in a lot of directions at this point and there are safer wing players still on the board, but expect them to take this opportunity to draft a higher-upside player from overseas. Hezonja will bring them tremendous athleticism, size and poise. He will take some time to adjust to the NBA game as his decision-making and maturity are currently considered his greatest weaknesses, but Denver would be a good place for him to develop as the Nuggets are not in a hurry to return to Western conference contention. Hezonja could be a project that pays off in 2-3 years.
|8.||Detroit||Justise Winslow||SG/SF||Duke||Fr.||6-6 / 222|
Analysis: The Pistons will be pleased to see Justice Winslow fall to them at No. 8. Detroit lacks a superior defender on the wing to lock guys down and can also create on offense. With Caron Butler traded, the SF position is wide-open for a guy like Winslow to step in on day one. He is hard worker who made huge strides in one year at Duke.The transition to the pros will also be better for him under another high intensity coach like Stan Van Gundy.
|9.||Charlotte||Stanley Johnson||SG/SF||Arizona||Fr.||6-6 / 242|
Analysis: The Lance Stephenson experiment has come and gone, leaving Charlotte once again with a hole at the shooting guard position. Stanley Johnson is another great athlete and superior defender to plug in next to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and he’ll be able to play off Kemba Walker. At Arizona, Johnson was the kind of guy that filled the stat sheet, but also proved he can be a solid shooter. This pick not only covers a need for the Hornets, but also gives them great value.
|10.||Miami||Devin Booker||SG||Kentucky||Fr.||6-6 / 205|
Analysis: After losing LeBron James in free agency, the misfortune continued for the Miami Heat when the team was hit with a string of injuries. Chris Bosh should return to form and Hassan Whiteside burst onto the scene to strengthen their frontcourt. Unfortunately, contract talks with Dwayne Wade are not going well, so it may be time to draft a shooting guard or swing man to replace him. Devin Booker fits the bill, as he is a bigger guard who can help cure the Heat’s three-point shooting woes. Ideally, Booker will learn from one of the great shooting guards in the game in Wade, before eventually stepping in to replace him.
|11.||Indiana||Cameron Payne||PG||Murray St.||So.||6-2 / 185|
Analysis: Indiana suffered the unfortunate fate of losing its best player, Paul George, for the majority of last season. Hopefully, George will be fully recovered and back to form next year. This Pacers team still has the key pieces to contend now if they want to take another run at the title. But they will need to strengthen their backcourt if they want to truly be considered contenders, and with Winslow, Johnson and Booker coming off the board in the previous three picks, Murray State’s Cameron Payne will be the best player left who fits what the Pacers are looking for. This will work well, as Payne is a dynamic point guard who played at an exceptional level despite facing mid-major opponents most of the time. If he can adjust to the tougher level of competition, he’ll be a great fit for the Pacers.
|12.||Utah||Myles Turner||C||Texas||Fr.||6-11 / 240|
Analysis: Myles Turner has looked great in his pre-draft workouts, moving him up the draft board and bypassing a few similar prospects. Utah could use a big man with his upside to fill in as a back-up to Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. In his one year at Texas, Turner showed he was versatile playing inside-out, but he will still require some development from the mental aspect of the game. The Jazz liked what they saw in Turner during his workout and the former Longhorn could fill the hole left by Enes Kanter.
|13.||Phoenix||Frank Kaminsky||C||Wisconsin||Sr.||7-1 / 230|
Analysis: Frank Kaminsky is a player who can come in and contribute on the offense right away. This pick might seem odd, as the Suns already have a talented young center in Alex Len, but he’s been hampered at times with injuries. In addition, trading Miles Plumlee left the Suns shorthanded in the frontcourt. Kaminsky would be able to fill this void and his shooting ability makes him ideal for running pick and rolls with guards Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe.
|14.||Oklahoma City||Kelly Oubre||SG/SF||Kansas||Fr.||6-7 / 205|
Analysis: Kelly Oubre is one of the biggest mysteries in the lottery. He came on strong for Kansas last year in conference play and stepped up when teammates went down with injuries. Meanwhile, the Thunder have done very little to bolster their backcourt over the last few years. Hopefully, he won’t be thrust into a big role too quickly with, but a year playing on the same team as Kevin Durant will hopefully help his development and regardless of whether Durant decides to stay or go, Oubre can eventually step in and contribute.
|15.||Atlanta||Trey Lyles||PF||Kentucky||Fr.||6-10 / 240|
Analysis: Trey Lyles took one for the Kentucky team this year by stepping back and allowing others to be primary contributers. He was not able to showcase his full repetoire, but over the last few weeks of workouts, he sparked the interest of several teams who are now considering picking him. With Paul Millsap’s future in question and a lack of frontcourt depth, Lyles is the smart pick especially if he falls all the way to 15. It would not be surprising though to see a team trade up to get him.
|16.||Boston||Sam Dekker||SF||Wisconsin||Jr.||6-9 / 220|
Analysis: In Sam Dekker, Boston would be picking up a well-rounded swing man to bring together their squad. Jae Crowder and Evan Turner both stepped in admirably for the Celtics and helped lead them to the playoffs, but Dekker is a more polished and dynamic scoring threat than both of them, and could be the glue that ties together this team’s solid crop of guards and big men. Despite not having as high of a ceiling as some of the other swing men taken at this point, Dekker is an exceptionally hard worker who will thrive under Brad Stevens’ tutelage.
|17.||Milwaukee||Bobby Portis||PF||Arkansas||So.||6-11 / 245|
Analysis: Milwaukee can go a lot of different directions with this pick as they have a very solid core of young players to build around. Although shooting is one of their biggest weaknesses, bolstering their frontcourt is also high on the team’s offseason priority list. With only a handful of guards left with mid-first round grades, they will try to draft an offensive big man. They’ll go with Portis because he has greater size and a more polished game than many of the other big men available at this pick. So expect the Bucks to address this need if there are no sharpshooting swing men available.
|18.||Houston||Jerian Grant||PG||Notre Dame||Sr.||6-4 / 200|
Analysis: Houston desperately needed a point guard toward the end of last year. Although Harden can do it all in the backcourt, having a guy who can matchup well defensively, hit the open three, and be a floor general when Harden is on the bench, could help them push for the Western Conference championship again. Patrick Beverley’s future is uncertain, so Grant will help to shore up their point guard issues.
|19.||Washington||Kevon Looney||PF||UCLA||Fr.||6-9 / 222|
Analysis: Kevon Looney is another interesting first round prospect. While he had some huge games as a Bruin this past year, there were also times he looked lost in his first year at the college level and his team flew under the radar until March. Regardless, he has an immense amount of athleticism and has shown he’s a versatile stretch-4 type on the offensive side and a solid rebounder. While his decision-making still lags, this pick by Washington will strengthen its frontcourt as Nene and Marcin Gortat continue to age. Looney won’t be under pressure to contribute right away and instead will be allowed to develop and adjust to the NBA.
|20.||Toronto||Rondae Hollis-Jefferson||SF||Arizona||So.||6-7 / 210|
Analysis: Toronto found itself in many high-scoring games last season, finishing fourth in the league in scoring while in the bottom third in points allowed. The Raptors have some dynamic offensive players, but lack a true lock down guy on defense. In two years at Arizona, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson proved he can guard any position on the floor. At the NBA level, he can guard four different positions. His offensive game still has a ways to go, but with his work ethic and athleticism, that facet of his game should come around with time.
|21.||Dallas||Tyus Jones||PG||Duke||Fr.||6-1 / 185|
Analysis: The Dallas Mavericks are in desperate need of a point guard. The Mavericks tried addresing this issue by trading several of their bench contributers for Rajon Rondo but the result was not as positive as expected. Instead, a patchwork group of point guards put together a valiant effort, but this team was carried by Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Monta Ellis, and not much else. Tyus Jones will not be an immediate starter, but he can provide a spark from the bench from day one. He is a high intensity player that loves lowering his shoulder in the paint and making big jumpshots. Jones can definitely help re-invigorate the Mavericks backcourt before their championship window closes.
|22.||Chicago||Delon Wright||PG/SG||Utah||Sr.||6-5 / 180|
Analysis: In Delon Wright, Chicago will find a multi-guard asset who can play alongside Rose and step up as the point guard when the former MVP needs a breather. With Rose’s injury history, filling up the Bull’s backcourt is always a smart move, whether it’s just to let him rest or to fill in for a longer stretch games. Wright is one of the oldest players projected in the first round as he stayed at Utah for four years. In his senior campaign, he led Utah to a Sweet 16 berth before eventually losing to Duke. Wright can contribute in every aspect of the game as he led his team in almost all statistical categories.
|23.||Portland||Montrezl Harrell||PF||Louisville||Jr.||6-8 / 255|
Analysis: It seems like Montrezl Harrell could have come out each of the past two years and been a first round pick, but instead, he has twice gone back to college and improved his game. Louisville did not have its typical regular season success in it’s first season as part of the ACC, so a lot of what he did went unnoticed. But during the NCAA tournament, Harrell’s attitude and intensity were on display and it paid off with a trip to the Elite Eight. The Trail Blazers do not know what the future holds for current big man LaMarcus Aldridge, but adding a high motor guy like Harrell will help them immiediately on both ends of the floor.
|24.||Cleveland||Justin Anderson||SF||Virginia||Jr.||6-6 / 230|
Analysis: After drafting former Virginia Cavalier Joe Harris last year, it would not be surprising if the Cleveland Cavaliers took another this year in Justin Anderson. Most of the questions regarding Cleveland’s offseason will be directed at the Kevin Love situation, but also very important will be the situations with Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. If Anderson goes to the Cavaliers, one or both of those guys will be expendable. Anderson will be a younger, cheaper version of them, and with lots to prove. It helps that his three-and-D style of play is very conducive to playing alongside LeBron James.
|25.||Memphis||Rashad Vaughn||SG||UNLV||Fr.||6-5 / 200|
Analysis: The Memphis Grizzlies have been near the top of the West for several years now. They need reinforcements at the shooting guard and small forward positions assuming they are able to re-sign their top priority, Marc Gasol. Rashad Vaughn declared after a great freshmen year that was cut short by a knee injury. All signs are the knee is healed and had that injury not occured, he would have been selected even higher in the first round. Regardless, this could be a steal for the Grizzlies, as Vaughn was putting up numbers on par with some of the top freshmen in the country until his injury. More importantly, Vaughn is a pure scorer, which the Grizzlies will need if they want to continue to compete in the West.
|26.||San Antonio||Guillermo Hernangomez||PF/C||Spain||Intl.||6-11 / 250|
Analysis: When was the last time two international players were drafted in the same first round from the same international team? Hernangomez along with his teammate Kristaps Porzingis put together some great wins for CB Sevilla. Hernangomez is not as likely to come straight over to the league, despite being 21 already, but his post skills and defensive presence are already very well developed and he could eventually be a steal for the San Antonio Spurs, who are nearing a changing of the guard.
|27.||LA Lakers||RJ Hunter||SG||Georgia St.||Jr.||6-6 / 185|
Analysis: The Lakers acquired this second first round pick by taking on Jeremy Lin and his salary. They must be very happy they did after missing Kobe Bryant and their first round pick, Julius Randle, all season long. Now that both of those players are back and they have already selected high in the draft, expect them to take a safer pick later in the draft that can fill in as a role player. RJ Hunter’s name was not known by many until he hit his buzzer beater in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, but he has been a big time scorer for Georgia State the last three years. He also played point guard most of the time, so he has the ability to distribute the ball and lead an offense. Hunter would be a great value pick for the Lakers as the first round winds down.
|28.||Boston||Chris McCullough||PF||Syracuse||Fr.||6-9 / 200|
Analysis: McCollough was questioned by many when he decided to come out after a disappointing freshman year that saw him start slow before tearing his ACL. He has the talent to be future NBA player, but given his injury and lack of experience at the college level, it will take some time for him to unlock his potential. The Celtics have loaded up on young talent at the frontcourt positions, so this is an insurance pick that will hopefully pay dividends in the years to come.
|29.||Brooklyn||Christian Wood||PF||UNLV||So.||6-10 / 215|
Analysis: Christian Wood could be the second player from UNLV to be selected in the first round. Wood has a great face-up game and good rebounding skills. He needs to put on weight, but when he does, he could be a great rotational player for a team like the Nets. Brooklyn has a lot of question marks surrounding their frontcourt particularly with Brook Lopez about to hit free agency, but Wood could help steady any changeover that occurs with his elite height, wingspan, and jumping ability.
|30.||Golden St.||Terry Rozier||PG||Louisville||So.||6-2 / 190|
Analysis: Terry Rozier’s competitiveness is on a whole different level. Rozier wants to win and gives his all to achieve it day-in and day-out. Watch any game film of Louisville over the last two years, and he can be seen wreaking havoc with his quickness and grit. Sometimes his intensity leads to him playing out of control, but that can be worked on in the NBA. He would be a perfect fit for the Warriors run-and-gun playing style, looking to reload for another title run.
After being awarded the number 1 overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves have quite a decision on their hands. With two prized big men at the top of the draft, the Timberwolves will need to ultimately decide who they like more between Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor.
Born: November 15, 1995
From: Metuchen, NJ
Born: December 15, 1995
From: Chicago, IL [Read more…]
It finally happened! After years of being in the mix, the Wolves finally had the ping-pong balls bounce their way. I joined the fans at Target Center to witness the event with the Wolves and Wolves fans. What a night! The entire time, I had one question in mind. It wasn’t Okafor or Towns.
The real question of the night was would the curse of Joey Two-Step continue?
Because the Wolves seem somehow cursed (with the key exception being KG), I was secretly rooting for the #2 spot. Why? Well, #1 is great, but being #2 means you take the best you can and if you pull a Greg Oden, it’s not your fault.
Don’t be confused. #1 is great. #1 is a dream come true. But I was mentally ready for #2.
Instead, the NBA Lottery balls bounced perfectly.
To those who hate tankers, non-congrats to the Sixers who tanked the entire season and were NOT rewarded. Not only did their position not improve, but the other picks that could have gone their way (they could have received LA’s due to Steve Nash and Miami’s picks due to Thaddeus Young), did not. #Karma #DontLoseOnPurpose
To those who think the NBA is rigged and therefore New York or LA would win the lottery, a small-market team won. #SmallWins!
To those worried about the cursed Wolves, it ended! #CurseLifted?
Did the Mayo Center heal the Wolves’ wounds? If they can claim that, there should be a line outside the door for eternity. From now until June 25th, Wolves fans can revel in owning their destiny. No one can take their guy. They choose their own destiny.
PS For more about Joey and a great story about the man who’s been there since day 1, read on about Jeff Munneke and the curse here.
You probably missed the small article a couple Sundays ago. The headline was about who won the NHL lottery, but the third paragraph hit home: “At 20 percent, Buffalo had the best odds to win, followed by Arizona at 13.5” (Associated Press).
In the NHL, there’s no debate who will be taken number one which is not the same as the NBA where the debate is on between two boys who wore blue last season in college.
Why does this matter? Well, the Wolves ‘earned’ at 25% chance which is better than Buffalo, but Edmonton ‘won’ the lottery after having an 11.5 percent chance to ‘win’ the lottery. In the NFL, ‘Suck for Luck’ works, but we know that’s not true in the NBA or NHL.
Edmonton was 3rd to ‘win’ and if you’re wondering who that is this year…it’s the new-look Sixers. Will their tanking be rewarded? There was talk very early in the NBA season that the Sixers are looking at the next season (even before Christmas). Will they get a present? We shall see, but in hockey, the worst didn’t win. Will that trend continue? I know the Wolves are finally hoping to have their bad luck lately reversed.
The 2014 NBA draft is loaded with talent – arguably the most talented since the 2003 NBA Draft which we all remember very well. Because it is so talented and with NBA free agency and potential trades on the horizon, this draft was exceedingly difficult to predict. Teams at the top do not have to necessarily grab the best player, they can look at how they fit within the system because after the top two spots, it becomes a lot more wide-open. With the addition of LeBron James to the free agent market that already sports the likes of Carmelo Anthony (along with the Kevin Love trade rumors), there are a lot of possibilities. Many teams may attempt to trade back in the draft to save cap space, while others may try to trade up to grab a top-tier talent. Some teams will look to unload heavy contracts to free up cap space, while others might look to International talent to avoid up-front salary costs. In the top 10 alone, we should see 18-year olds as well as upperclassmen come off the board. It should be a wild ride as the draft approaches and through the rest of the off-season.
|NO.||TEAM||PLAYER||POS||SCHOOL||YEAR||HT / WT|
|1.||Cleveland||Andrew Wiggins||SF||Kansas||Fr.||6-8 / 225|
Analysis: Cleveland wanted Embiid despite being in more of a “win-now” mode than arguably all of the teams in the top 5 and that was a stretch with his given amount of necessary development. Now, he’s out of this spot, and they will turn Embiid’s teammate Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has long been heralded as the prospect with the most potential and while there are critics worried he will not live up to that potential, he will be an athletic freak that a the very minimum can stretch offenses and play exceptional defense. This is enough of a sure-thing that the Cavaliers can take him as a much lower risk than Anthony Bennet was last year. He also looks to be a better fit alongside Irving & Waiters. If this goes well for the Cavaliers, it will do a considerable amount to keep Kyrie in a Cavs uniform and maybe bring in another star (insert Lebron James comment here).
|2.||Milwaukee||Jabari Parker||SF/PF||Duke||Fr.||6-9 / 195|
Analysis: This leaves the Milwaukee Bucks with no choice but to take Jabari Parker, and they are absolutely fine with that. Though Parker is not as gifted athletically as Wiggins or some of the other top players, he makes up for it with his competitiveness and basketball IQ. Parker will be an immediate go-to scoring option that can be paired with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight. He can score within an offense as well as in isolation sets, which will make him very dangerous and hopefully make his teammates better as well. The concerns on defense are understanding, but with the length and size Milwaukee brings, there will be time for that to develop.
|3.||Philadelphia||Joel Embiid||C||Kansas||Fr.||7-0 / 205|
Analysis: Philadelphia was hoping for a Wiggins/Parker type when they came into the lottery with the 2nd best chances at the top spot. They still thought they would get one of them when Embiid owned the top spot from a player standpoint. Now that Embiid is hurt, it looks like they will have their chance to take the guy they did not necessarily want originally, but could end up really needing. The 76ers have little to no post presence other than Nerlens Noel who has yet to play a game. The 76ers are still a few years from making any noise in the league, so that fact Embiid will most likely be out for the 2014-2015 season is not going to affect them much.
|4.||Orlando||Dante Exum||PG/SG||Australia||Intl.||6-6 / 240|
Analysis: The Magic use their first pick in the draft to pick easily the most talented guard, Dante Exum. Though he has not had the toughest competition in his career thus far, the Magic have two first round picks so we can swing for the fences on this one. The Magic’s current roster has a good number of young guards on the team, but none have the tools or can distribute like Exum can. His size will help make up for their last draft pick, Oladipo, whose size has been questioned as a shooting guard but can still bring a lot to the table.
|5.||Utah||Aaron Gordon||PF||Arizona||Fr.||6-9 / 215|
Analysis: Aaron Gordon is on the top of the Jazz’s big board assuming the first four are all gone. The Jazz were the worst team defensively last year and a lot of that has to do with the offensive-mindedness of the players they have previously drafted. Aaron Gordon is an athletic freak who plays terrific defense and will learn to bring a lot to the table offensively. He has a great workout ethic and competitive drive that help him have a nose for the ball. He does not shy away from contact with his physical play – all of this leads to him sneaking into the top 5.
|6.||Boston||Marcus Smart||PG||Oklahoma State||So.||6-4 / 190|
Analysis: The Celtics are one of the teams trying to make moves for Kevin Love or put themselves in better position to get another heralded free-agent, but if they hold onto this pick, drafting Marcus Smart could greatly improve their team. Imagine a back-court comprised of Rondo & Smart, each player playing ferocious perimeter defense and slashing through the opposing defenses. Smart’s athleticism and poise make him a top prospect and months ago he was seen as a sure-thing top 5 pick. But with Exum’s rise and Smart’s trouble in his last year as a Cowboy, he fell out of that group. Still, his potential is not something the Celtics will pass-up if they are still in this spot on draft night.
|7.||LA Lakers||Julius Randle||PF||Kentucky||Fr.||6-9 / 190|
Analysis: Randle is another very NBA-ready prospect who proved himself as the go-to player in big-time situations for Kentucky last year. When the Wildcats needed a bucket, he would post-up and call for the ball, then finish strong in the paint with a basket, foul drawn, or three-point play the old-fashioned way. He has great intangibles and is consistently fighting for second and third chances under the basket. The Lakers are also in the hunt for some big free agent names and having a guy ready to help right now like Randle will only increase their chances at landing someone.
|8.||Sacramento||Elfrid Payton||PG||Louisiana-Lafayette||Jr.||6-3 / 240|
Analysis: Not a lot of stories or rumors have made their way out of the Kings front office, but one thing we do know is that they are very interested in the Ragin’ Cajun Elfrid Payton. Payton put up fantastic numbers in mid-major ball and has all of the physical tools to be a success in the NBA. Though this pick is a reach, Payton has shown that he is the next top PG prospect available in the draft. The Kings have a number of scorers on their team, but Payton is a guy who can slash through a defense and distribute, as well as hold his own at the other end of the court. This is definitely the type of player they should be targeting, it is just not known whether the 8th pick in the draft is worth it.
|9.||Charlotte||Doug McDermott||SF||Creighton||Sr.||6-8 / 205|
Analysis: Charlotte is very hot on Doug McDermott. They have players like Zeller and Kidd-Gilchrist who are still growing and finding their game. McDermott is a guy who can come in and help stretch defenses to free up some space for others to work. He can play multiple positions on the floor and score from almost anywhere. They need an NBA contributor now who can put up better scoring chances than the Hornet’s swingmen are doing now.
|10.||Philadelphia||Nik Stauskas||SG||Michigan||So.||6-6 / 230|
Analysis: The 76ers will see Stauskas as a guy that can play alongside of Michael Carter Williams right away. Together they can be a very solid, well-sized backcourt whose offensive styles complement one-another. Stauskas is one of the deadliest three point shooters in this draft and showed that at Michigan over the last two years. This year, however, Stauskas showed he was an even more complete player who can create his own shot as well as use that attention to create shots for others. He will be a great pick for the 76ers here.
|11.||Denver||Dario Saric||SF/PF||Croatia||Intl.||6-10 / 255|
Analysis: Dario Saric just re-signed with his international team, but I still do not think that will keep him from sliding too much. He knows that he can make it in the NBA, and there are plenty of teams still interested. He has all of the skills to be a great stretch-4. The Nuggets need better shooters, and with McDermott and Stauskas getting taken just ahead of them, they will wait a year or two for Saric. The Nuggets have a solid young core of players that they can keep around while they find more prospects to bring in.
|12.||Orlando||Noah Vonleh||PF||Indiana||Fr.||6-9 / 235|
Analysis: The Magic can make a huge splash here with Vonleh falling all the way to 12 – a guy some teams might have taken at 4. Vonleh has all the tools to be a great player, but through his year at Indiana, most spectators saw him not be assertive enough. Especially alongside Yogi Ferrell, one would thing that Vonleh would have thrived more. When he did step up and show his skills, the results were almost always positive. His size, range, and mobility are all great attributes for this power forward.
|13.||Minnesota||Gary Harris||SG||Michigan State||So.||6-4 / 185|
Analysis: Minnesota grabs the other polished guard from the Big Ten in Gary Harris. Harris has an incredible knowledge of the game and can do it all on the court. He had to step up and play multiple positions and roles as a Spartan when teammates Appling and Dawson missed time. He can knock down threes or take the ball to the basket. He can distribute and play defense. There is nothing jaw-dropping about Harris, except that he brings some of everything to the game. The only knock that warrants any discussion is that he is not as tall as most scouts would like for a 2-guard, but hopefully the dynamic of his skill set makes up for this.
|14.||Phoenix||Rodney Hood||SF||Duke||So.||6-7 / 170|
Analysis: The Suns barely have a small forward on their roster, so with multiple first round picks, there’s no reason not to take the talented Rodney Hood. Hood played on two major teams in college basketball and did great at both of them. He shows great range on the offensive end of the floor and can score inside as well. He has a knack for getting the ball in the hoop. The Suns need another scorer, especially one that can shoot the ball well.
|15.||Atlanta||Kyle Anderson||SF||UCLA||So.||6-9 / 225|
Analysis: The Atlanta Hawks came on strong in the playoffs and were so close to defeating the no. 1 seed and Eastern conference runner-up Indiana Pacers. The Hawks are showing how talented of players their team has especially when they play together. This team has undergone a lot of changes in the past few years, so it was exciting to watch them mold. Adding a guy with the versatility of Kyle Anderson should help this process even more. Anderson is a point guard trapped in a forward’s body. He does a lot with his size and even more with the ball in his hands. He was often UCLA’s primary ball-handler which was a matchup nightmare. He can help shoulder the ball-handling load with Jeff Teague and distribute the ball to the talented scorers on the Hawks.
|16.||Chicago||Clint Capela||PF/C||Switzerland||Intl.||6-9 / 170|
Analysis: There are a lot of questions swirling around the Bulls future right now. When Rose comes back next year, who will the Bulls bring in to play beside him and help alleviate the scoring load? They already have a lot of solid pieces in place, but lack another star. By drafting Clint Capela, a talented big-man out of Switzerland, they keep plenty under the salary cap to make a splash in free agency while stashing a very solid international player for a few years. They also have a lot interest in moving up in the draft to get a bigger name that can help right away. This is evident in the players that they have worked out having a higher pick grade than 17. A lot could change for them between now and their pick on Thursday night.
|17.||Boston||James Young||SG||Kentucky||Fr.||6-7 / 205|
Analysis: Like Chicago, Boston is a team that is looking to make some moves to re-vamp their franchise back to what it was a few years back (as mentioned in pick 6). If they stay here at 18, James Young would be a great value pick for them. He has very good size for a 2/3 and would complement the Celtics back-court as well as their current swing man Jeff Green who has been forced into both a scoring and facilitating role with the Celtics’ injuries. Young was another huge part of Kentucky’s scoring as he was often the perimeter player that had to create when no one else was. Coupled with his measurables, this is would be a great pick for Boston.
|18.||Phoenix||Jusuf Nurkic||C||Bosnia & Herzegovina||Intl.||6-11 / 190|
Analysis: Despite all of their roster turnover in the last few years, the Suns were able to put together a very successful 2013-2014 campaign in most people’s eyes. That’s why after taking a small forward, NBA ready player with their first pick, they can draft a project like Nurkic who can stay out in Europe for a few years. The Suns could use one more big man presence inside, so when Nurkic is ready he will be welcomed in Phoenix.
|19.||Chicago||Adreian Payne||PF||Michigan State||Sr.||6-10 / 200|
Analysis: The Bulls situation was already discussed in their pick above, so now many think that they might go for a backup point guard as an insurance for Rose, but for this pick, the guy that they are most hot on is Adrien Payne. He would give the Bulls another inside-out option and bring great intensity (like most of their players already do). He will fit in nicely to their system and play within their offense.
|20.||Toronto||Tyler Ennis||PG||Syracuse||Fr.||6-2 / 220|
Analysis: Toronto has some scorers and finally solid big men inside, but they still lack a true point guard. Lowry may not stick around and even if he does, he is not the best distributor. Ennis benefitted from playing in a high intensity program like Syracuse where there have been several PG studs that have preceded him. He showed tremendous poise in lots of big matchups, hitting big shots and protecting the ball. Ennis will help them stay relevant in the Eastern conference even if they lose a guy like Lowry.
|21.||Oklahoma City||Zach LaVine||PG/SG||UCLA||Fr.||6-5 / 240|
Analysis: For third consecutive year, OKC can sit back and watch players come off the board ahead of them and find the best player available. Many would like to see OKC find another big man presence inside, but with Reggie Jackson most likely commanding a heavy contract, another combo guard could be the answer. Zach LaVine has tremendous tools and size. His shooting and ball skills are among the top in the draft, but he is still not ready to contribute immediately. That is the reason he slips outside of the top 20. He is a great value pick for OKC who still have more time to put together a championship run.
|22.||Memphis||PJ Hairston||SG||USA||Jr.||6-5 / 200|
Analysis: Memphis was near the bottom of the league in nearly every shooting category, injecting the team with a solid-sized SG will help greatly. They have a point guard, multiple solid big men, defensive specialists, but since losing Gay and Mayo, they have needed an additional scoring presence. Hairston has taken a tumultuous journey to get to the draft, but after dominating at UNC and a year of putting up good numbers in the NBADL, he’s ready to take on the NBA too.
|23.||Utah||KJ McDaniels||SF||Clemson||Jr.||6-6 / 200|
Analysis: Utah can add another great defensive piece with the addition of KJ McDaniels. Given his position and size, it is amazing he can defend players bigger than him and rebound as well as he does. Utah needs more defensive role players like him and with Gordon having such a high ceiling as their top pick, they can afford to take a safe role player pick like KJ McDaniels to help lock down the solid wing players of the West.
|24.||Charlotte||Jordan Clarkson||PG/SG||Missouri||Jr.||6-5 / 235|
Analysis: How great a story it would be for the Hornets to grab Shabazz Napier with this pick after he did the same thing Kemba Walker did 3 years before? But that’s not going to happen. Instead, the Hornets need to target another ball handler, except one with better size, who they can flex as a 1 and 2. Clarkson played in two college basketball systems and really started to excel at Missouri when he was given primary ball-handling responsibilities. He can slash through defenses and distribute, as well as shoot when he needs to. He will do nothing but improve Charlotte and can do so fairly quickly.
|25.||Houston||Jordan Adams||SG||UCLA||So.||6-5 / 190|
Analysis: Adams is a really intriguing prospect, because nothing about his athleticism jumps off the charts, yet he always finds ways to score and make defensive plays. His competitiveness and size are also great attributes. He improved greatly his sophomore year and with experience at Oak Hill Academy for high school, he has played against some of the best competition for years. As James Harden’s understudy, he will continue to progress his game in the NBA, adding another option to the Rockets offense and making pesky plays on defense.
|26.||Miami||Shabazz Napier||PG||Connecticut||Sr.||6-0 / 230|
Analysis: Shabazz does not have quite the same luxury as Kemba did when he carried his team to the national championship. This draft class is far more talented, but that might help Shabazz out in the long run. In this scenario, he falls to the Miami Heat who are in need of more consistent PG play to help shore up holes in their offense. Whether the Heat break up this year or next or never, with his talent, he can be someone who makes a difference.
|27.||Phoenix||TJ Warren||SF||NC State||So.||6-8 / 197|
Analysis: TJ Warren’s college career ended on a low-note with the loss to Saint Louis University in the first round after carrying his team into the NCAA tournament. But the reigning ACC player of the year will take the next step in the NBA and be able to help right away. With Phoenix’s third pick in the first round, they lock another consistent offensive threat with great scoring abilities. The obvious knock on Warren is his lack of athleticism and measurables, but that hasn’t stopped him especially after playing in a conference like the ACC. He can give the Suns an instant injection of talent and conceivably play multiple positions.
|28.||LA Clippers||Jarnell Stokes||PF||Tennessee||Jr.||6-6 / 240|
Analysis: The Clippers are lacking front court depth, but they can add to it and put themselves in position to make another postseason run by drafting a blue collar big man. Stokes banged with plenty of big guys in the SEC on his way to averaging a double-double. He plays unselfish basketball by taking good shots and doing a lot of things that do not show up on the stat sheet. He is one of the more NBA ready forwards and can help fill in for Griffin and Jordan in LA.
|29.||Oklahoma City||Mitch McGary||C||Michigan||So.||6-10 / 180|
Analysis: With Oklahoma City’s second pick of the draft, they can take Mitch McGary out of Michigan. McGary had off-court issues that sent him to the league earlier than he may have intended, but he has been destined for the first round of the NBA draft since he was a freshmen and had he not struggled through injury and off-court issues, he could have easily been a higher first round pick. He is another big man presence, one that OKC really needs when Perkins leaves and if Adams does not improve. He has an NBA ready body, he’ll just need to work on his offensive game to become a bigger asset to the team that drafts him.
|30.||San Antonio||Spencer Dinwiddie||PG/SG||Colorado||Jr.||6-6 / 220|
Analysis: San Antonio always seems to find talent and hit home runs with players in question. Dinwiddie could have well been a mid-first round to lottery pick had he not torn his ACL, instead because of his injury he almost fell out of the first round. He has great basketball skill and can rack numbers in all statistical categories. He is versatile with the positions he can play that make him a valuable tool. The Spurs are still winning but are another year older without replacements for Parker and Duncan. Dinwiddie can help them right now with the possible departure of Patty Mills and also in the future as he still has room to develop his game.
Representing the Timberwolves at the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery was Kevin Love, carrying a Ricky Rubio #9 action figure as his lucky charm. However, the Wolves failed to beat the slim odds of moving up and officially own the 9th overall selection in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft. The news came as no shocker given that Minnesota only had about a 6% chance of moving up into the top 3, while having almost an 82% chance of staying put at their original position.
With new management taking over – led by former Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders – it will be imperative for the new boss to make his mark by erasing the infamous legacy of poor drafting left behind by David Kahn. While Saunders has discussed in the media that he is open to discussing trades for the 9th and 26th selections – whether to move up in the draft or to acquire a veteran – it remains to be seen what Minnesota’s course of action will be under the new regime.
Barring any serious injuries, the Timberwolves expect to have a fully healthy roster by the time training camp arrives. With the probable starting lineup of Rubio-Ridnour-Kirilenko-Love-Pekovic returning, the glaring need for a shooting guard will be the top priority to be addressed either through the draft or in free agency. [Read more…]
Here’s the Timberpups 2013 NBA Mock Draft 2.0. I’ve taken into consideration teams drafting based on what I believe to be there needs versus the top prospects on the board. Please feel free to leave your feedback; I would love to hear any agreements, or more importantly, disagreements. I will be updating this mock draft monthly, so don’t forget to check and see what the latest Timberpups draft looks like. Thanks!