PistonPowered Mock Draft: Will the Pistons make a good gamble two years in a row?

Patrick Hayes is not an accredited NBA Draft expert, nor does he have an advanced degree in scouting. He’s simply an enthusiastic young man with a sixth grade education and an abiding love for all NBA Draft prospects … join him for the annual PistonPowered mock draft.

I’ve done mock drafts the last couple of years, and this year’s top 15 or so picks are about the easiest. I know there is lots of chatter about teams not knowing what they are going to do at certain spots, but seriously … stop overthinking this everyone.

Feel free to post your own versions in the comments.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel

Don’t screw this up, Cleveland. Or do, preferably. Noel is the only player in this draft worth t

aking No. 1 overall. The Cavs would be crazy to pass on him. Take him, pair him with the solid Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao, solidify your frontcourt and go shopping for a small forward. This is easy guys.

2. Orlando Magic – Victor Oladipo

Another no-brainer (see, I told you this draft was easy!). Make the rumored trade with the Clippers that will bring Eric Bledsoe to the Magic, draft Oladipo and GET ALL THE STEALS with an insanely fun, defensive-minded backcourt.

3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter

Washington, like Cleveland, makes itself a potential up-and-coming playoff contender with this pick. Adding the versatile Porter to a perimeter attack that includes John Wall and Brad Beal with Nene in the middle and Washington is in business (yes, I know that logo is the old Wizards logo … I’m too lazy to upload the new one though).

4. Charlotte Bobcats – Ben McLemore

I want to believe that Rich Cho is too smart to do something like take Alex Len or Cody Zeller here, as rumors have suggested he might. The Bobcats are still light years away from being competitive. McLemore and his nice jumper make him a good complement to last year’s perimeter pick, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. A Kemba Walker-McLemore-MKG perimeter trio is not a bad start, especially if the Bobcats can add anything at all to their frontcourt.

5. Phoenix Suns – Anthony Bennett

Another team that could do just about anything, including crazy things like draft any of the three top point guard prospects, none of whom are likely as good as the one they have in Goran Dragic. They should take Bennett, a raw but intriguing forward who would allow them to move Luis Scola and/or Marcin Gortat for young players and picks and actually do a rebuild the right way.

6. New Orleans Pelicans – Trey Burke

I would love for Burke to fall to the Pistons, but I just can’t envision it happening. New Orleans is too needy at point guard, although Greivis Vasquez did have a good season for them, and Burke is a perfect fit. They’ll do the right thing, take Burke, let him work with Vasquez and Eric Gordon (if they don’t trade him) in a versatile backcourt and never let Austin Rivers onto a basketball court again.


7. Sacramento Kings – C.J. McCollum

I don’t want to live in a world where the Kings don’t draft a combo guard. I know they have new ownership and a new front office, so it might not happen this year, but adding McCollum to a list of not really point guard not really shooting guard guards that includes Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette and (if he’s re-signed) Tyreke Evans would be amazing. The best part is, even if the Kings and their new leadership are smarter and don’t want to draft another combo guard, how great is it that they could be in a position where the best player available — McCollum — is exactly what they don’t want?

8. Detroit Pistons – Shabazz Muhammad

In 2011, the Pistons took a college player with a great pedigree but so-so production in Brandon Knight. The jury’s still out on that one. Last year, they took a college player with a great pedigree but so-so production in Andre Drummond. He looks like a potential star. Joe Dumars has shown a willingness to value potential over all else when picking late in the lottery, and the player still on the board with the most potential is Muhammad. I’ll be rooting for Burke to fall to Detroit, but if he doesn’t, based on Dumars’ own draft strategy the last two years, Muhammad most closely resembles the type of player he is willing to gamble on. If it pays off with Muhammad, the Pistons will have another star.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves – Cody Zeller

Nikola Pekovic is a free agent and Kevin Love is about to become the superstar most talked about in trade rumors/’will he leave in free agency?’ rumors. Zeller will likely give quality minutes right away as a pro. He also reportedly had a good workout in Minnesota. If the T-Wolves are convinced they can re-sign Pekovic, they might look at guards, but unless someone falls here, Zeller is probably the best player available.

10. Portland Trail Blazers – Steven Adams

The Blazers have several needs, but the most pressing might be up front since LaMarcus Aldridge is reportedly hoping to be moved elsewhere. An Adams-Meyers Leonard frontcourt may not be good, but both have potential and, if the Blazers get picks and prospects if they decide to move Aldridge, giving those young bigs plenty of minutes to see if one or the other develop wouldn’t be the worst idea if they do try to rebuild without Aldridge.

11. Philadelphia 76ers – Alex Len

I don’t think Len is going to be good, and I’m certainly not buying him as a potential No. 1 pick. But the Sixers are thin up front and relatively set on the perimeter with Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. Len is the biggest name left here and gives them some insurance in the likely event Andrew Bynum doesn’t re-sign.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kevin Martin insurance! The Thunder reportedly want to move up, but if they can’t, they’d be extremely lucky to get KCP here, making it less of a concern if they’re not able to re-sign Martin in free agency. Caldwell-Pope and Jeremy Lamb, a first round pick last year acquired in the James Harden trade, could then battle it out for Martin’s role.

13. Dallas Mavericks – Dennis Schroeder

The Mavs reportedly have tried to move this pick, so don’t be shocked if that happens. They’d reportedly prefer to not pay a first round pick and instead use the money to pursue free agents. If they don’t move the pick, they could draft an international player and try to keep him overseas for a year or two.

14. Utah Jazz  – Michael Carter-Williams

The Jazz have been looking for a young point guard since they traded Deron Williams, and Carter-Williams still being around here would be tough for them to pass up. He could go as high as the top 10, and his passing ability would make him a good fit feeding the ball into Utah’s young bigs.

15. Milwaukee Bucks – Reggie Bullock

With Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick both good bets to leave, the Bucks add a knock-down three-point shooter who also has good size to pair next to Brandon Jennings (assuming the Bucks match any offer he signs as a restricted free agent).

16. Boston Celtics – Sergey Karasev

With Boston allegedly looking to gut its core and move Paul Pierce this offseason, the team can draft a potential replacement with Karasev, a 19-year-old Russian player.


17. and 18. Atlanta Hawks – Lucas Nogueira and Giannis Adetokunbo

The Hawks are another team with the cap space to be active in free agency. Drafting international players gives them the option to try to convince their prospects to stay overseas for a year and conserve those salaries. But if they do decide to come over, they get frontcourt help, athleticism and, in Nogueira’s case, shot-blocking, in case Josh Smith leaves as a free agent.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kelly Olynyk

I probably have him falling too far, but the Cavs would be thrilled to get him here. Olynyk with his shooting range and offensive ability would add nice versatility to a strong, young Cavs frontcourt that also includes Noel, Thompson, Varejao and Tyler Zeller.

20. Chicago Bulls – Tim Hardaway Jr.

Aside from the fact that his dad was a Chicago prep scene legend, Hardaway Jr.’s shooting makes and position make him an instant fit for a Bulls team that needs help at the shooting guard spot. Marco Belinelli is a free agent and Richard Hamilton has perennially been both injured and a trade candidate since he arrived in Chicago. Hardaway Jr. might not be an immediate starter, but he could definitely give spot minutes at that spot as the Bulls seek a replacement.

21. Utah Jazz – Jeff Withey

Utah could lose Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to free agency. Withey probably isn’t going to develop into a NBA starter, but he could be a sturdy rotation player. The Jazz don’t need a starter anyway, if Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter continue to develop into a productive duo who handle the bulk of the frontcourt minutes.

22. Brooklyn Nets – Shane Larkin

The Nets could use depth in the frontcourt and backcourt, as well as a long-term replacement for the declining Gerald Wallace. But with Larkin still hanging around here, getting a promising backup for Deron Williams in case of injury and as a way to get him more rest during the season would be a good find for them in the draft.




23. Indiana Pacers – Isaiah Canaan

Another team that could use some point guard depth behind its starter (apologies, D.J. Augustin), the Pacers could grab Canaan here, a productive player from one of the top Mid-Major programs in the country. I was really tempted to give them the other Plumlee brother though. All dopey brother duos should be united on teams forever. Get Robin Lopez to Brooklyn while we’re at it.


24. New York Knicks – Rudy Gobert

The Knicks are really old, particularly up front, and Gobert gives them some youth to infuse with Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire and whatever 1,000-year-old vets minimum guy Mike Woodson decides to add too the rotation next season. Their great find from last season, Chris Copeland, is also a free agent who might be hard for them to re-sign.


25. Los Angeles Clippers – Pierre Jackson

This might be a tad of a reach for Jackson, but if the Clippers trade Eric Bledsoe for Arron Afflalo, they’ll need a backup point guard. Jackson, a lighting-fast guard from Baylor, would potentially spell Chris Paul and still be a good fit pushing the pace and throwing lobs to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Allen Crabbe

The T-Wolves passed on guard help early on, so they’ll take a pretty decent backcourt prospect here. Adding a shooter will help both Ricky Rubio and give Pekovic (if he’s re-signed) more freedom to operate inside.

27. Denver Nuggets – Jamaal Franklin

The Nuggets might have to replace free agent Andre Iguodala. Franklin is nowhere near as good as Iguodala, but he’ll give them a strong, athletic presence on the wing with the tools to develop into a competent defensive player.

28. San Antonio Spurs – Ricky Ledo

Ledo has lottery talent, but never touched the court in college for a variety of reasons. Few teams have the structure the Spurs can offer to help him eliminate distractions and realize his vast potential.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gorgui Dieng

Dieng isn’t the most highly skilled big out there, but he’s a great shot-blocker, and if the Thunder find a taker for Kendrick Perkins, perhaps between Dieng and Hasheem Thabeet, they can put an awkward rim-protector on the floor to occupy some of those minutes.

30. Phoenix Suns – Tony Snell

I had the Suns adding Bennett earlier, and they get even more athletic in the frontcourt with the addition of Snell. The Suns are trying to reinvent their days of exciting offense, and surrounding Dragic with athletes who can run and finish is a start.

I’ll tackle the second round after the jump.

31. Cleveland Cavaliers – C.J. Leslie: Cavs add another athletic wing to the mix with Dion Waiters

32. Oklahoma City Thunder – Glen Rice Jr.: The Thunder use their D-League affiliate well, so I’m sure they’re familiar with Rice’s exploits last season.

33. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nate Wolters: Seriously? Another pick? Wolters gives the Cavs some depth behind Kyrie Irving, some 3-point shooting and at his size, he could play minutes off the ball as well.

34. Houston Rockets – Alex Abrines: The Rockets have big offseason aspirations and a roster that is pretty full. Taking an international player they can possibly stash makes some sense.

35. Philadelphia 76ers – Mike Muscala: The Sixers went big with their earlier pick, but Muscala is a steal here and bolsters their frontcourt even more.

36. Sacramento Kings – Tony Mitchell: A possible first round pick last season, Mitchell struggled this year, but he’s intriguing this far down in the draft.

37. Detroit Pistons – Ray McCallum: They missed out on a home-state point guard in the lottery, but McCallum, one of my favorite sleepers in this draft, is a nice consolation price.

38. Washington Wizards – Archie Godwin: Godwin can serve as John Wall insurance and potentially develop into more, considering he was an elite high school prospect before his disappointing college season.

39. and 40. Portland Trail Blazers – Phil Pressey and Livio Jean-Charles: The Blazers have 1,000 second round picks, so we’ll give them one intriguing guard who could possibly push for minutes now in Pressey and an international player they can perhaps stash for a season or so.

41. Memphis Grizzlies – Erick Green: Tony Allen is a free agent and Mike Conley plays a ton of minutes, so Memphis adds a guard versatile enough to play both backcourt positions.

42. Philadelphia 76ers – Lorenzo Brown: After going big twice earlier, the Sixers add a guard to back up Jrue Holiday.

43. Milwaukee Bucks – Deshaun Thomas: Milwaukee adds another perimeter shooting threat to help make up for the potential losses of Redick and Mike Dunleavy.

44. Dallas Mavericks – Grant Jerrett: Dallas gets a raw power forward who can shoot the three. He probably won’t play right away, but they don’t need him too … he can learn from a pretty good shooting big man in front of him.

45. Portland Trail Blazers – Nemanja Nedovic: Once again, Portland has too many picks and probably not enough roster spots to accommodate them all. Thinking international is probably a good strategy.

46. Utah Jazz – Jackie Carmichael: The Jazz love tough-as-nails forwards, and Carmichael fits that description.

47. Atlanta Hawks – Erik Murphy: The Hawks add a frontcourt player who can shoot the three. He could be a nice complement to the Al Horford/ZaZa Pachulia/Ivan Johnson trio.

48. Los Angeles Lakers – Trevor Mbakwe: He’s a decent shot blocker who I think will be more productive than where he’s pegged to go in the draft. Unfortunately, the Lakers need Dwight Howard insurance, and the second round is probably not an ideal spot to find it.

49. Chicago Bulls – Colton Iverson: Joakim Noah (and any starter who plays for Tom Thibodeau) could use fewer minutes. Iverson was once a highly regarded prospect who could perhaps develop into more.

50. Atlanta Hawks – Andre Roberson: He’s mostly considered a second round talent, but the advanced stats like him quite a bit. He’d be a steal here for the Hawks.

51. Orlando Magic - Derrick Nix: Will Nix get drafted? No way. But Magic GM Rob Hennigan has pretty low standards for what he’s looking for — “We’re just looking for a human being to take.” Hey, Nix is a fantastic human being! Perfect fit.

52. Minnesota Timberwolves – Bojan Dubljevic: The T-Wolves are another team with a large number of picks who may want to look international as a way to save roster spots next season.

53. Indiana Pacers – James Southerland: A productive scorer who can shoot the three and played in arguably the toughest conference in basketball? What’s not to like?

54. Washington Wizards – Ryan Kelly: He’s a seven-footer who can shoot the three. There’s always a spot for guys who fit that description, and having additional shooters on the floor would be a good thing for the Wizards.

55. Memphis Grizzlies – Elias Harris: Draftexpress calls him, at best, a more athletic Matt Barnes. That’s pretty good this late in the draft.

56. Detroit Pistons – Raul Neto: I could see the Pistons stashing a player, and Neto, an improving Brazilian point guard, is an interesting prospect for them.

57. Phoenix Suns – Myck Kabongo: A former over-hyped prospect whose free-fall hasn’t stopped, maybe the Suns can get Kabongo committed, in shape and on a better path to realizing his potential.

58. San Antonio Spurs – Richard Howell: The Spurs might lose bench player DeJuan Blair, but they can replace him with another tough, burly power forward.

59. Minnesota Timberwolves – Solomon Hill: The T-Wolves could lose Andrei Kirilenko if he opts out, and Hill has some athleticism and leadership qualities that make him worth a look.

60. Memphis Grizzlies – Alexandre Paranhos: He’s athletic and can shoot, both things the Grizzlies could use on the perimeter.

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