With the NBA Draft just over a week away, rumors are heating up, draft promises are being revealed, and the stage has been set for one of the most exciting NBA Drafts in recent years. This is the first draft in a long time that there is no clear cut number one pick. Teams will have to trust their scouts and personal immensely to find a diamond in the rough.
The Detroit Pistons will have a lot of decisions to make come draft night. Do they address the point guard position in the first round or second? Do they go with a scorer like Shabazz Muhammad or C.J. McCollum or with a post player like Cody Zeller?
Lots of questions need and will be answered by draft night and here are my predictions for what should be an exciting and hectic night for the NBA.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Alex Len: C
– With no clear dominant player in this draft, it will be interesting to see what direction the Cavaliers go with the first pick. With recent reports saying that Len is the “likely” choice as the pick, Noel may slide down most mock drafts. Len is a seven footer from the Ukraine who played excellent in his sophomore season, while still trying to adjust to the culture in the United States.
2. Orlando Magic – Ben McLemore: SG
- The Magic have sent out smokescreen after smokescreen after smokescreen about their plans with the second pick in the draft. There have been rumors swirling that they might trade the pick to try and move down. But, if they stay here, I see them taking the best prospect in the draft with the most upside in Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore. McLemore is freakishly athletic and a lights out shooter that has teams foaming at the mouth if he slides out of the top three.
3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter: SF
– Noel continues to slip in this mock draft because of how well Georgetown small forward Otto Porter will fit in Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman’s system. Porter would be the starter at small forward and help form a great core of young players in John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Porter. He has been compared to Tayshaun Prince, and his long athletic build will help keep his draft stock high.
4. Charlotte Bobcats – Nerlens Noel: PF/C
- The Bobcats at number four snag the top power forward prospect in the draft as Noel’s draft stock continues to slip heading into the draft. Michael Jordan needs to bring in somebody that can excite the fanbase, and bring more than 21 wins in a season. Ever since the Bobcats lone playoff season in 2010, it has been downhill ever since, and Noel’s shot blocking and rebounding abilities can help get the fan base excited yet again.
5. Phoenix Suns – Anthony Bennett: SF/PF
– Bennett may be the most talented player in this year’s NBA Draft, but has slipped so far because of his lack of a true position. He played primarily the power forward position at UNLV, but is too small to play that in the NBA. At 6’7″ Bennett would struggle immensely against the likes of Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, or Kevin Garnett. Bennett’s player comparison is of Utah Jazz big man Paul Milsap, and if he could reach that as a player, the Suns would be getting a steal at number five.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – Trey Burke: PG
– Even with Grevis Vasquez playing the point guard spot in New Orleans, the Pelican’s staff isn’t sold on him, and they may go with Michigan point guard Trey Burke with their lottery pick. Burke is a leader, and a great ball handler that can grow with the Pelicans young group of guys. Burke and last years number one pick Anthony Davis, could combine for a formidable pick and roll combo for years to come.
7. Sacramento Kings – Victor Oladipo: SG
– With new ownership in Sacramento, the Kings have yet another chance to build around franchise big man DeMarcus Cousins. After selecting Thomas Robinson in last years draft, he was shipped out of California in a head-scratching trade with the Houston Rockets at last years trade deadline. By selecting Oladipo, the Kings will not have to worry about his attitude or motor. Oladipo is one of if not the most athletic player in the draft and would fit in nicely next to second year point guard Isaiah Thomas.
8. Detroit Pistons – Michael Carter-Williams: PG
– The Detroit Pistons are in an odd position with their latest lottery selection because of the many directions they could go in. They may look to take a scorer in Shabazz Muhammad or another big man to add to the duo of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. With Brandon Knight’s midseason shift to the two guard spot, the Pistons may be looking at addressing the point guard spot with the eight pick.
Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams, would be a fantastic fit next to Brandon Knight in the backcourt. Carter-Williams is a 6’6″ point guard that has excellent floor vision and passing ability. He also would help not make Brandon Knight a liability on the defensive end while playing the shooting guard position. Carter-Williams, with his 6’6″ frame, could guard the taller, stronger shooting guards, while Brandon Knight guards the smaller point guards. Carter-Williams does lack a jump shot, but that will come with time. Derrick Rose also did not have a jump shot coming onto the NBA but worked at it, and improved it drastically. Under new Head Coach Mo Cheeks, Carter-Williams would be learning from an all-star caliber point guard and can grow with the Pistons young foundation moving forward.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – C.J. McCollum: SG/PG
- The Timberwolves are set in the frontcourt with double-double machine Kevin Love, and big man Nikola Pekovic. The Wolves will most likely be looking for a scorer in the upcoming draft and McCollum was the best scorer in college basketball last year averaging 23.4 points per game. McCollum would fit nicely in the backcourt next to European sensation Ricky Rubio.
10. Portland Trailblazers – Shabazz Muhammad: SG/SF
– With the selection of Meyers Leonard in last years draft and LaMarcus Aldridge occupying the power forward position, I see the Blazers going with a scorer to help take the pressure off of Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and straight shooter Wesley Matthews. Muhammad was in the debate for the number one overall pick before the season started and could fill his potential as a member of the Blazers. Muhammad is a better shooter than expected and plays well in the mid-post against smaller defenders.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Cody Zeller: C/PF
– The 76ers head into the draft with a dark cloud above their heads. They traded for franchise center Andrew Bynum during last years offseason, but did not play a single minute for the Sixers the entire season. Philly most likely will not re-sign the big man and can instead draft a seven footer that can take his place next year. Cody Zeller was the favorite as the number one pick to start the year, but was out performed by his Indiana teammate Victor Oladipo. Zeller averaged over 16 points per game and grabbed almost 10 rebounds a game. He can help Jrue Holiday by creating a solid pick and roll partner for years to come.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Steven Adams: C
– With the success that the Thunder have had over the last three years, they do not need to draft anybody that is already NBA ready. They can draft a solid prospect and bring him along slowly. Steven Adams is a seven footer that has the potential to be a starter in the NBA if he is brought up correctly, and he will have the opportunity to do so in Oklahoma City.
13. Dallas Mavericks – Giannis Adetokoubo: SF/PG
– Mark Cuban and the Mavericks are trying to make a major splash in free agency and that means saving every last penny. By selecting the Greek star, they can keep him over seas for at least a year so that he does not count on their pay roll, giving them even more money to play with this offseason. A trade is also a big possibility here as the Mavericks have been rumored of trying to package small forward Shawn Marion with the lottery pick as well.
14. Utah Jazz – Dennis Schroeder: PG
– The Jazz are in need of a solid point guard to build with going into the future. Mo Williams played the starting role last year for the Jazz, but with yet another season passing, the Jazz’s need of point guard becomes even stronger. The German point guard has been compared to Boston guard Rajon Rondo because of his playing style. He is an above average passer and sees the floor very well. The one downfall to his game is the lack of a jump shot.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Shane Larkin: PG
– General Manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, John Hammond, needs to decide now if he wants to try to keep point guard Brandon Jennings. Jennings has been rumored to want out of Milwaukee so he can move on to a bigger market team. With the selection of Shane Larkin, the Bucks would be getting an extremely athletic point guard with a sweet stroke. With the possible absence of Monta Ellis next year, the Bucks could also play Larkin and Jennings in the backcourt together.
16. Boston Celtics – Kelly Olynick: C
– The Boston Celtics have been known for snatching up players that have slipped on draft night, like Jared Sullinger last year. With all of the rumors swirling about the possible rebuild of the Celtics and trading of Kevin Garnett, the Celtics could look to add another big man this year. Olynick played extremely well in his Junior season at Gonzaga and would fit nicely as a post player in a Doc Rivers orchestrated offense.
17. Atlanta Hawks – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: SG
– Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been shooting up draft boards lately because of his defensive abilities and his NBA range. With the Hawks in need of a shooting guard, Caldwell-pope would complement point guard Jeff Teague very well. He would space the floor for Teague, creating a less crowded paint and a second option when the lane crowds up. The Hawks would not just be filling a need with this pick, but they would also begetting the best player on the board as well.
18. Atlanta Hawks – Rudy Golbert: C
– With the hawks addressing the backcourt with their last pick, they may want to help bolster their frontcourt with the possible absence of Josh Smith next year. Golbert is very raw, but is a seven footer with rebounding ability. The big man from French could be a steal down the road for the Hawks if they string him along slowly.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Sergey Karasev: SF
– The Cavaliers went big with their first pick by selection Maryland center Alex Len, but they may go foreign yet again with the selection of sharp shooting forward Sergey Karasev. At the young age of 19, the Russian swing man has an extremely smooth stroke and is 6’8″ tall. Even with his height, he would still have some difficulties playing defense as he weighs in at 165 pounds.
20. Chicago Bulls – Gorgui Dieng: C/PF
– Gorgui Dieng: C- Another big man comes off the board here with NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion Louisville Cardinals center Gorgui Dieng, Coming into the year Dieng was a very raw offensive player but began to come into his own when it counted, during their Championship run in the NCAA tournament. Dieng averaged 2.5 blocks a contest and shot over 53 percent from the field. Dieng would come in and fit nicely next to Joakim Noah and make a paint protecting 1-2 punch in Chicago.
21. Utah Jazz – Tony Mitchell: PF/C
– The Jazz selected their point guard of the future with their first pick of the first round and will look to go big this time around. With the possible departure of Paul Milsap and Al Jefferson, the Jazz might want to add another young big man to the Kanter-Favors duo. Tony is a scoring forward on the block, he averaged 13 points per game and grabbed nearly 9 rebounds a contest. He also is an above average rim protector averaging 2.7 blocks a game.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Mason Plumlee: C
– As the Nets’ season got underway they have had a problem filling the hole at the power forward position. The first half of the year, Kris Humphries started at the four spot, but eventually fell out of favor in interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo’s rotation. Reggie Evans started the second half of the year at the forward spot, as well as in the playoffs. Evans is a monster on the glass, posting multiple 20 rebound games since being inserted in the staring lineup, but has failed to provide any offensive help for Brooklyn, Plumlee can be more effective at the offensive end and will provide Deron Williams with an athletic big man to throw lobs to.
23. Indiana Pacers – Jamaal Franklin: SG
– San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin, has dropped drastically over the last few weeks because of his struggles at the NBA Draft Combine held in May. The Pacers already have their two swingmen set with Paul George and Danny Granger, but Franklin can come in and help provide scoring off the bench. Franklin has NBA range that can help spread the floor for second unit point guard D.J. Augustin.
24. New York Knicks – Allen Crabbe: SG
– Crabbe is also a shooting guard that has seen his stock fall due to the NBA Draft Combine. The Knicks come into the draft needing to address the shooting guard position because of J.R. Smith opting out of his contract and becoming an unrestricted free agent, and they may not be able to bring him back. Crabbe also is a shooting guard with NBA range that played extremely well for the University of California in the NCAA tournament.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Rickey Ledo: SG
– It has been rumored that the Los Angeles Clippers are shopping their late first round pick to keep from taking a hit to their cap flexibility. The Celtics were also rumored to be trying to acquire this pick and they have really like Ledo heading into the draft. Ledo was recruited heavily headed into last year, but was unable to play because he was academically ineligible. This leaved Ledo as one of the biggest mysteries of the 2013 NBA Draft.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Reggie Bullock: SF
– The Timberwolves again, address their problems on the wing with North Carolina swingman Reggie Bullock. The main need for Minnesota is the shooting guard spot even after addressing it with their first selection of the draft. Bullock comes from a great program at North Carolina under head coach Roy Williams. Bullock is a good outside shooter that would make a good fit next to Rubio.
27. Denver Nuggets – Glen Rice Jr.: SF
– Rice is one of the best athletes in this year’s draft and would be a nice fit to what is already an extremely athletic team. Rice played last year for the NBA Development League team the Rio Grand Valley Vipers. He help lead them- along with Andrew Goudeluck-to a league championship.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Archie Goodwin: SG
– Kentucky shooting guard Archie Goodwin would be a nice insertion of young talent on the wing for the Spurs. Goodwin played well for the Wildcats, playing in the shadow of projected top three pick Nerlens Noel. Goodwin averaged just over 14 points per game and almost five rebounds per game. Goodwin is a slasher that gets most of his baskets attacking the rim, he needs to develop his jump shot more if he wants to succeed at the next level.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Tony Snell: SG/SF
– Tony Snell of New Mexico, has shot up draft boards because of his excellent perimeter shooting and his athletic 6’7″ frame. The Thunder can add another young shooter to their team, and continue to grab steals late in the draft by selecting Snell.
30. Phoenix Suns – Jeff Withey: C/PF
– The Phoenix Suns finish off the first round of the draft by selecting stretch big man Jeff Withey from the University of Kansas. The Big man played well early on for the Jayhawks but was lost in the shadows of top five pick Ben McLemore. The Suns love to space the floor with shooters and Withey has shown that he has the ability to get dirty down low, but can slide outside for a 15-20 foot jump shot.
37. Detroit Pistons – Colton Iverson: C
– The Detroit Pistons addressed their backcourt problems by selecting Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams with the eight pick, and they go big here at number 37 with little known big man out of Colorado State, Colton Iverson. Iverson is a solid scorer and rebounder in the paint, averaging almost 15 and 10 last year. He is not a shot blocking big man, but can affect a game with his scoring and rebounding ability. The Pistons are looking to add another young big man to add to the duo of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, and Iverson would be a nice fit coming off the bench. He is not a dirty player down low, but has a solid post game coming off the bench.
56. Detroit Pistons – Alex Abrines: SG
– This late in the draft, and already full of young talent, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Pistons try to package this as well as their other second round pick to move into the late second round. They also might be open to just trading this pick for cash too. But, if they do decide to keep the pick, Detroit will most likely decide to draft an international player that will play overseas for a few years to keep a roster spot open. I like Alex Abrines because he is an attacker, he likes to get his points close to the basket and scores well in bunches. In just 11.3 minutes a game overseas, he averaged just over 5 points per game and shooting 65 percent from the field. So if the Pistons do decide to keep the pick, expect them to go foreign and keep a player overseas for a few years while they prepare and improve their game for the next level.