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 his first-ever mock draft.
I’ve spent the past two springs and summers compiling the ‘Draft Dreams‘ series, looking at potential Pistons targets in the draft. Although I like reading about prospects and know enough about the game to understand what makes someone a first round prospect vs. a second round prospect, I’ve avoided doing mock drafts simply because every Tom, Dick and Disco Stu feels qualified to compile one. But Dan Feldman asked me to reconsider my no mock drafts policy and actually put the piles of Draft Dreams sitting on shelves around here to use, and no one says ‘no’ to Dan Feldman.
This will be the first of two mocks that I’ll do. This one will basically be own personal beliefs — if I were running every front office in the league, who would I take? Next week, prior to the draft, I’ll have a revised one where I’ll make more of an effort to actually, you know, use reason and sources to make better predictions of who will end up where.
Feel free to post your own versions in the comments.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving
This pick essentially boils down to Irving or Derrick Williams. Both could end up being good, dynamic players. But my reasoning for Irving over Williams is simple: if you hit on an elite PG in the draft, you have a franchise cornerstone at a position that is both vital and one of the hardest to fill in the league. If you hit on an elite wing, you could end up with a very good player who isn’t even a lock to be an All-Star (think Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, etc.). There’s a chance Williams could end up being the better player, but the potential reward of getting an all-world PG is too much to pass up.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams
Yes, I think there is a chance that David Kahn passes on legitimately the second best prospect in the draft here, probably using the reasoning that the T-Wolves already have Michael Beasley (even though Williams is going to be a better player than Beasley). But remember, this mock is all about what I would do. If Minnesota decides it doesn’t want Williams, I hope they at least trade the pick, because there are probably a dozen or so teams that would love to be in a position to draft him.
3. Utah Jazz – Jonas Valuncianas
Most mocks have the Jazz taking Brandon Knight here. I have no problems with Knight. But the Jazz have two lottery picks, third and 12th. If they take Knight early, they lose out on their choice of the top bigs in the draft, then have to pick from one of the more limited bigs (Tristan Thompson, Morris twins) at the bottom of the lottery. They could take Valuncianas third, get a promising big, and then look at a guard like Alec Burks lower in the lottery. The team might not view Devin Harris as a long-term solution at PG, but he’s under contract for another season and there is better value at other positions in the lottery.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter
There have been some questions arise about Kanter’s lack of athleticism and lack of experience that may have him slipping some in the draft. The Cavs would probably prefer Valuncianas, but they also have active, athletic bigs in J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao. Getting a prospect like Kanter, who is strong and could develop into a good presence offensively in the paint, could be a nice compliment to their other frontcourt pieces.
5. Toronto Raptors – Brandon Knight
The Raptors reportedly really like Kemba Walker. I assume that is because most are predicting Knight will be off the board. I think Walker is an exciting player who can potentially be really good if he can go from alpha-dog, ball-dominating college scorer to NBA distributor. For the Raptors’ purposes, I like Knight next to DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt much more than I like a Walker-DeRozan backcourt.
6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard
The Wizards, even if they don’t win much, have the makings of one of the more entertaining teams in the league. John Wall is a legitimate star in the making, Jordan Crawford showed towards the end of last season that he can be a lights out scorer and active bigs like JaVale McGee and Kevin Seraphin are capable of running with the Wizards fast guards. Throw in an athletic small forward like Leonard, who can run the floor and finish, and the Wiz might have one of the best fast breaks in the league next season.
7. Sacramento Kings – Jimmer Fredette
If I learned anything watching college basketball this season, it’s don’t ever try and bring logic to a Jimmer Fredette discussion. These are the facts: he has poor shot selection, played in a weak conference and might not defend well at the NBA level. But he’s also an extremely hard worker, charismatic, exciting and, though with Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton, among others, in fold, the Kings certainly don’t need a scoring punch, they could use the interest drafting Jimmer would surely bring to the franchise. I think he’ll be a solid NBA player. I don’t know how much he’ll help a bad team like the Kings, but I think they’re probably going to draft him.
8. Detroit Pistons – Kemba Walker
Do I love this pick? No I don’t. But under my scenario above, all of the desirable big men are off the board and Walker has slipped past a few teams. So the Pistons could take Bismack Biyombo (more on why I hope they don’t below), they could take a similar big prospect with limited upside (Tristan Thompson or a Morris twin), they could take a projected wing player in Jan Vesely, or they could take Walker, a dynamic play-making guard who Joe Dumars is reportedly intrigued by. Why Walker? I don’t think he’s necessarily the answer at point guard. But drafting him would signify that the team doesn’t believe Rodney Stuckey is the long-term answer either, and as much as I think Stuckey can be a useful NBA player, I think it’s time he and the Pistons prepare to go in different directions, particularly since Stuckey could be on the verge of getting a lot more expensive.
There’s one other reason I’d be OK with this pick: expectations. There is going to be incredible (some would say unrealistic) pressure for whoever is picked in this spot to contribute good minutes to the Pistons as a rookie. The fact is, there are very few guys in this range in the draft who it’s fair to expect that out of. Walker, even if he has some questions about how his game will translate to the NBA, will not be phased by having the expectations of a fanbase that is desperate for its team to be good again thrust on him.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Kenneth Faried
This is a bit of a reach for Faried, but I like him here for one reason: the Bobcats just hired Rich Cho as GM. Cho, if you remember, is the statistically inclined former GM of the Portland Trailblazers. Rebounding success at the college level projects incredibly well to the NBA level and Faried was the best rebounder in college basketball. Many in the stats community think that means good things are ahead for Faried despite the fact that he played at a small college. Just ask Ben Gulker, president of the Kenneth Faried fanclub, if you don’t believe me.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Bismack Biyombo
I’m fully prepared to get killed in the comments for not making Biyombo a Piston in my fake draft here, but I have a very basic problem with Bismack, articulated by Ben Gulker the other day:
"I’m sorry, but if Biyombo can’t make 50% of his shots from 10 feet away while unguarded (or by someone playing token defense at best), that is a HUGE concern"
I get that Biyombo’s specialty is defense. But, I would wager, even a below average offensive player like Ben Wallace would show better skills offensively than Biyombo did in that workout. By all accounts, Biyombo works hard, and he certainly was a beast at the Nike Hoops Summit. But I’m not yet sold that he’ll be a rotation player in the NBA. International players like Johan Petro and Mouhamed Sene once upon a time impressed scouts with their size/athletic potential and never remotely developed enough to justify their draft positions.
The Pistons need immediate help up front and that’s not a position I want to see Biyombo be put in as a pro. A team like Milwaukee can play him behind a really good defensive center in Andrew Bogut and allow him more time to develop.
11. Golden State Warriors – Marcus Morris
With David Lee signed long-term and Ekpe Udoh showing some flashes as a rookie of being a competent, rotation-caliber big man, the Warriors could use another player up front to ensure that the team never, ever has to give minutes to Andris Biedrins again. Marcus Morris is a little more polished offensively than his brother, Markieff. He’s not as athletic as another available big, Tristan Thompson, but he’s much more ready to contribute right away than Thompson is.
12. Utah Jazz – Alec Burks
OK, so the Jazz don’t come away with a point guard in this draft since I passed on Knight for them at No. 3. But getting Burks, a bouncy, big shooting guard, would be a nice addition for a team that seemingly has had a hole at the SG spot since Jeff Hornaceck retired. Adding Burks and Valuncianas would solidify two positions for Utah, and perhaps they can spin Devin Harris into an additional pick in next year’s draft, when the point guard position should be deeper.
13. Phoenix Suns – Jan Vesely
Vesely serves as my unjustified free-faller in this mock. Most scouts don’t have him lasting past Detroit at No. 8, but a run on big men and point guards pushes Vesely, who is tall but more of a perimeter player skillset-wise, down some. That will be to the benefit of the Suns, who, despite a glut of perimeter players, certainly wouldn’t mind a tall, sharp-shooting, skilled young player to throw on the court with Steve Nash.
14. Houston Rockets – Chris Singleton
The Rockets have an interesting roster full of complimentary players with upside. They have depth at most positions, but no one who is a clear-cut franchise cornerstone.
I assume new coach Kevin McHale will want to establish a defensive identity, and the Rockets have some players in place to do that. Drafting Singleton, arguably the best perimeter defender in this draft, would further that cause.
15. Indiana Pacers – Klay Thompson
Thompson is a virtual lock for the top half of the draft now, and that says a lot about what Thompson has done in indivdual workouts. When I profiled him for Draft Dreams, most projected him as late first/early second round talent, which was weird considering his fantastic size for a shooting guard and his ability to shoot the ball. The Pacers could lose Mike Dunleavy to free agency and have been pretty weak at the shooting guard spot for a while now. Adding Thompson to the mix would give them a lot of length on the perimeter with Paul George and Danny Granger also occupying rotation spots. Adding another shooter to free up driving lanes for Darren Collison and room in the post for Roy Hibbert wouldn’t be a bad thing either.
16. Philadelphia 76ers – Tristan Thompson
Thompson has lottery-level athleticism, but is just not a polished player yet. I think there’s a chance he could fall out of the top 14, but if he does, he won’t last long. A team like Philly would be a perfect spot for him. They don’t need him to come in and play a lot of minutes right away, he can learn from a good coach and experienced vets and, best case scenario, he steals some minutes from Spencer Hawes.
17. New York Knicks – Markieff Morris
It’s kind of unbelievable that the Knicks actually have a draft pick. Even more unbelievable is they are in a position to draft a player who can actually help them.
Anyone who watched New York at the end of the season knows the team’s weaknesses: defense and rebounding. Their frontcourt is thin, evey by Mike D’Antoni standards, and Morris is the type of strong, smart player who would give them productive minutes immediately.
18. Washington Wizards – Nikola Vucevic
When I wrote about him, I couldn’t believe Vucevic was viewed as a second rounder. Turns out, he isn’t. Now most scouts have Vucevic firmly in the early 20s. He’s a polished big man who played three years of college basketball, can score in the post and should be an all-around solid, fundamentally sound addition to a Wizards frontcourt that could … uh … use a does of fundamentals.
19. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton
The Bobcats took one of the more underrated defensive players in the draft in Faried with their lottery pick. Now, they’ll get one of the draft’s most underrated offensive players.
The team last season was pretty reliant on Stephen Jackson being a volume scorer, so hopefully Hamilton can provide some offense right away and east that burden off of Captain Jack a little bit.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Donatas Motiejunas
Just a year ago, had he stayed in the draft, Motiejunas was a sure top 10 pick. Now, he’s probably the biggest free faller in this year’s crop. He’s only a year older and had a decent season overseason, but he hasn’t had great workouts and there are some scouts who question whether or not the bulk he added in the offseason, something most said he needed to add last year, has actually been a good thing. Still though, David Kahn is unafraid to take chances on foreign players with questions about their game, and the fact that Motiejunas was so well-regarded just a year ago makes him a pretty low risk this late in the first round.
21. Portland Trail Blazers – Iman Shumpert
I’ve seen some mocks pegging Darius Morris here. I like Morris, and I get why Portland makes sense: Morris is often compared to Andre Miller. But although I think the Blazers are contemplating life after the aging Miller, I think they’ll go in another direction. Shumpert is a freakish athlete and good defender who needs to work on refining his point guard skills. He’s big and fast and can potentially give Portland quality minutes right away, particularly spelling Miller defensively for stretches.
22. Denver Nuggets – Justin Harper
The Nuggets are another tough team to gauge simply because they are at least two deep with really solid players at virtually every position. They could use help up front with pending free agent Kenyon Martin and possibly Nene. They also might lose sixth man J.R. Smith to free agency. Harper is more of a stretch four, which they already have in Al Harrington, but there just aren’t many great big prospects left in the first round, and Harper’s ability to shoot should fit nicely in Denver’s fast-paced attack.
23. Houston Rockets – Kyle Singler
They took a defensive-minded forward in Chris Singleton earlier in my mock. Now, they’ll get a tough, smart, dive-on-the-floor intangibles guy in Singler.
Singler is going to hang around in a NBA rotation for a long time even if he never puts up significant stats, similar to a Chuck Hayes or Brian Cardinal type of player. The Rockets have a lot of finesse on their team right now. Adding Singleton and Singler to Hayes should help them get tougher.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jeremy Tyler
Tyler was a longshot to get drafted just a few months ago, now his name has climbed to the top of the second round. I don’t think just any team will draft him in the first round, but Oklahoma City is the perfect place for him. The Thunder use their D-League affiliate as well as any team in the league and have been stashing projects there for years — think B.J. Mullens, Cole Aldrich, D.J. White and Latavious Williams. The Thunder could draft Tyler, have zero expectation that he’ll contribute to the team next year, let him hopefully develop in Tulsa and, if all goes well, have a young, huge center who will get beat up on by Kendrick Perkins every day until he’s ready to be a rotation player.
25. Boston Celtics – Tyler Honeycutt
The Celtics could use some youth and athleticism on the perimeter. Honeycutt isn’t a player who particularly excels in any one area, but he’ll score a little, rebound a little and he’s a decent passer for a perimeter player. He could give Boston some quality minutes and hopefully prevent Paul Pierce and Ray Allen from wearing down too much.
26. Dallas Mavericks – Darius Morris
It was amazing watching several players on Dallas finally get championships after long struggles their entire careers. But the flip side? They’re old, particularly at point guard, even if Jason Kidd defended during the playoffs like a much younger player.
Replacing Kidd should be on the agenda over the next couple seasons, and with his size and court vision, the Mavs could take a player like Morris and let him learn the finer points of PG play from one of the best of all time.
The Nets have a polished interior scorer in Brook Lopez (even if he’s not such a good rebounder). Getting a young prospect like Harris this late in the first round would be a nice find for the Nets and a nice compliment to Lopez. Harris, a combo forward, could become a nice compliment to Lopez down the road because of the diverse skillset he possesses offensively. He won’t get in Lopez’s way in the post and his ability to hit jumpers should give Lopez more space to operate inside.
It’s no secret where the Bulls biggest weakness was last year. They got very little offense out of starting shooting guard Keith Bogans or backup Ronnie Brewer. They got very little defense out of their other option, Kyle Korver.
Marshon Brooks is one of the most dynamic scorers in the draft and at 6-5, he’s big enough and athletic enough to eventually become a solid two-way player in Tom Thibodeau’s system. Brooks is long-armed and is a great rebounder and even shot blocker (he averaged more than one per game) for a guard.
The Spurs finding international talent early and waiting for it to develop is nothing new. Mirotic has had a great season for a really good team in Europe after barely playing last year. There’s a good chance his stock would continue to rise if he weren’t in this draft. The Spurs could get him early, allow him to continue playing overseas and then in a couple years, bring him over and have another young, seasoned piece to add to the frontcourt.
30. Chicago Bulls – JaJuan Johnson
The Bulls already have a solid frontcourt rotation with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer. But Kurt Thomas isn’t getting any younger and Johnson was a solid college player who should, at the very least, block shots and hit open jumpers at the NBA level. There are real questions about his strength as he didn’t add much bulk in four years at Purdue, but playing a frontcourt like Chicago’s, where he wouldn’t be counted on to do too much, might be a good spot for him to develop.
31. Miami Heat – Reggie Jackson
An injury prevented Jackson from participating in the combine in Chicago and has limited his ability to work out for teams. Had he not been injured, I’m convinced he would be a first round pick.
I’ve sung his praises plenty on this site, but he’s a big guard, he takes care of the ball and his shooting numbers were beyond impressive. I’m convinced that not only would he help the Heat, he’d step onto their roster as a second round pick and already be better than Mario Chalmers or Mike Bibby.
32. Cleveland Cavaliers – Travis Leslie
With Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter in tow, the Cavs will be significantly improved coming out of this draft. Adding Leslie, a flawed but incredibly athletic guard, would make them really fun to watch. Leslie’s ticket to minutes in the league will be defense. With Varejao healthy and Hickson continuing to improve, the Cavs have a team of guys with the physical tools to make them pretty solid defensively and Leslie would further that cause.
33. Detroit Pistons – Keith Benson
I’m an Oakland alum, so I admittedly look at Benson through rose colored glasses, but I also watched a lot of Oakland games up close during his career. Benson, to put it mildly, was a mess as a player when he stepped onto campus. He was uncoordinated, weak and couldn’t do much other than block shots. By the time he was a senior, he was the best mid-major player in the country and the best player in Oakland history. That’s a testament to him having a tremendous work ethic. No one in recruiting circles predicted Benson would have near this kind of success. He’s earned it all, and athletes who work that hard are the ones who are worth investing in. The Pistons, no doubt, have seen Benson’s progress up close and hopefully Arnie Kander can get him in the weight room and show him how to add more bulk to his frame.
34. Washington Wizards – Shelvin Mack
Someone’s gotta play defense, right? The Wizards have a team full of athletic, intriguing scorers. Mack might not ever be a great NBA player, but he will bring toughness to the perimeter and the ability to give some minutes at both guard spots. They already have a high-motor player in Trevor Booker, hopefully Mack would bring that same type of effort and energy to their backcourt.
Jenkins is one of the more underrated players in this draft because he went to Hofstra, but he also could climb into the first round. He scored a lot of points in college, but he also proved to be an intelligent playmaker. The Kings are still trying to figure out if Tyreke Evans is better suited to the one or two. Drafting Jenkins would give them more flexiblity to move Evans off the ball if it eventually came to that.
I hate to give the Nets another undersized power forward, but like their earlier pick, Tobias Harris, Butler represents good value at this spot and his versatility should mesh well with the current roster, which has a handful of players with skillsets that aren’t exactly definable within the bounds of traditional positions. Butler is tough and smart. The team also could lose Kris Humphries to free agency and Butler, though undersized, was a solid rebounder at Marquette with a great motor.
37. Los Angeles Clippers – Jon Leuer
Few teams can boast the promising young core that the Clippers have with Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe on the roster. The Clips could use some size up front and Leuer is big, rebounds well and would be a nice option to have in the frontcourt rotation because of his range. Current bigs Griffin, Chris Kaman and DeAndre Jordan all pretty much operate around the basket. Leuer would give LA a nice floor-spacing option.
38. Houston Rockets – Jordan Williams
As I alluded to earlier, it’s hard to project exactly what the Rockets will do in the draft because they have an abundance of semi-decent players or prospects at most positions. Williams would give them another intriguing big man with question marks to go along with their collection of them — Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet. Williams is big and a legitimate threat in the post. He also needs to get into better shape if he’s going to get off a NBA bench.
39. Charlotte Bobcats – Josh Selby
Selby has a first round ceiling and has reportedly had good workouts this summer after having a disappointing freshman season at Kansas.
If he can develop into a point guard, he has a lot more value to NBA teams than if he’s going to be solely a shooting guard. In Charlotte, a team that doesn’t have much behind D.J. Augustin, perhaps Selby can get minutes at both guard spots.
40. Milwaukee Bucks – Norris Cole
Cole, another productive mid-major player, is a favorite name for point guard needy teams. A year ago, considering the Bucks a PG-needy team would’ve seemed foolish, but that’s how quickly the stock of Brandon Jennings has fallen off. He still has a ton of upside, but with rumors the Bucks are shopping him, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they looked at a player like Cole.
Let’s be realistic here: there’s probably no one in the second round who has much of a chance of making the Lakers’ roster this year. Last year’s second round picks, Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks, are better than anyone available in this year’s second round and they could barely get off the inactive list last year.
It makes more sense for the Lakers to take an international player like Bogdanovic. Then he can stay overseas, get better and maybe in a year or two they can trade him to Memphis for Marc Gasol or something.
DraftExpress compares Parsons to Jon Leuer, a tall player not afraid to mix get on the boards with range out past the 3-point line.
The Pacers were a surprise playoff team a year ago. They could use more help inside, but so could everyone in this draft. Instead, they’ll take a player like Parsons, a guy who has enough skills and a good enough work ethic to hang out on a NBA bench as a useful reserve for a while.
43. Chicago Bulls – E’Twaun Moore
Their earlier pick, Marshon Brooks, has the tools to be a starting caliber SG in the league down the road. Moore’s ceiling isn’t that high, but he’s an intelligent and hard-working player and a good shooter. He or anyone picked by the Bulls in this spot will have a hard time making that roster, but if anyone can do it, Moore can.
Plus, it would be a shame to break up the Moore-JaJuan Johnson Purdue connection, since I have Johnson going to the Bulls at No. 30.
Thompkins has some questions about his conditioning that he must answer, but his strengths are offensively. With Lee, Udoh and Biedrins, the Warriors have a collection of bigs who are limited offensively, so perhaps Thompkins could find his niche in a situation like that.
45. New Orleans Hornets – Nolan Smith
Smith is one of my favorite players in this draft. I have no idea how I let myself let him fall so far into the second round.
The Hornets could use some shooting guard depth and while Smith has some limits, his defense should get him into a NBA rotation relatively soon. He can defend both guard spots and he shoots well enough that other teams will have to account for him on offense, even if his ball-handling does need some work. Still though, he showed improvements throughout his Duke career and his basketball IQ makes him a safe bet to make a NBA roster.
46. Los Angeles Lakers – Demetri McCamey
As I said above, I don’t know that the Lakers have much roster space to accommodate the four second round picks they have this year. But something to keep in mind: Mike Brown won’t be using the triangle offense, so, with apologies to Steve Blake and Derek Fisher, perhaps Brown will want to bring in a more traditional point guard. McCamey has limits — he’s not particularly good at creating his own shot or exploding to the basket inside. But that’s probably OK for any Lakers point guard, since Kobe Bryant will continue to be their primary shot creator. McCamey’s shooting (45 percent from three) and size, however, make him a potentially interesting prospect if he could manage to make the team.
47. Los Angeles Clippers – Ben Hansbrough
Hansbrough has limitations, but he’s a fantastic shooter and has decent size for a point guard.
The Clippers already have a young starter in Eric Bledsoe at the position that they are developing and they have a veteran serviceable short-term backup in Mo Williams. Grabbing a player like Hansbrough, who could become a very solid backup PG off the bench while also providing a perimeter threat to create space for Blake Griffin inside wouldn’t be a terrible idea.
48. Atlanta Hawks – Isaiah Thomas
It’s not that the Hawks need a lot of perimeter help, but they could lose Jamal Crawford as a free agent. They also traded last year’s first round pick, Jordan Crawford, to Washington as part of the Kirk Hinrich trade.
Thomas will have to play his minutes as a point guard, but he’s a relentless offensive threat who could possibly pick up some of the scoring slack off the bench should they lose Crawford to free agency.
Although the Grizzlies were the surprise of the playoffs this season, they weren’t without issues during the season. They very nearly traded O.J. Mayo during the season, and although they seemed to mend fences with him some, his long-term future remains unclear. There have been rumors Memphis has shopped Rudy Gay a bit. Shane Battier will be a free agent and Sam Young could be a restricted free agent.
Lee, out of UCLA, is a big guard who played both guard spots in college. He’s athletic and strong, but he only shot 30 percent from 3-point range, although scouts have said he worked on and improved his shooting motion during workouts this summer.
There are a lot of interesting point guard prospects in the second round from schools that haven’t been known for basketball in recent years. Garrett, who put up good scoring numbers for a not very good Iowa State team, has good size for a PG, he’s athletic and, if he improves his shot selection and cuts down on turnovers, he could find a niche with a team like Philly.
In the rumored Monta Ellis deal, Golden State reportedly wanted Lou Williams along with Andre Iguodala in the trade. The Sixers, understandably, didn’t bite, but getting a player like Garrett, who is big enough to give minutes at both guard spots, might provide some insurance should the Sixers try and shed some salary by dealing their pricey guards.
51. Portland Trail Blazers – DeAndre Liggins
Liggins is possibly going to have to go the rookie free agent route, but he’s an extremely good defensive player. He was overshadowed a bit at Kentucky by the large number of big name recruits that made brief stops in Lexington during his career, but I really believe Liggins, if nothing else, will be a useful and versatile defender on a good team’s bench. In the West, you can never have enough defensive-minded wings. I’m not sure he’d play right away in Portland, but I think they’d find a use for him down the road.
Smith probably could’ve improved his stock by staying in school, but he’s big and he’s here, so why draft him? Hands. I’m a sucker for the huge C-Webb hands. Check out this description of Smith from a workout:
"Perhaps the most ridiculous spectacle we saw all week came in Smith’s post drills. Dwarfing most of the players here with his size, Smith also has exceptionally large hands, and on a number of occasions, simply snatched the entry passes directed his way out of midair, palming the ball away from his body as if it were a grapefruit."
Smith has rough edges and issues with his conditioning that need to be worked out, but the size and physical tools are tough to ignore this late in the draft.
53. Orlando Magic – Jamie Skeen
As I said in the Skeen DD post, he’s on the bubble to get drafted. But a four-year player known for his intelligence and work ethic is exactly the type of player I’d take late in the second round.
Skeen is a bit undersized to be a NBA four, but he shoots the three well enough to win some minutes and he understands how to position is body to rebound. Orlando would be the right place for a player like Skeen, since Stan Van Gundy values shooters.
54. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kalin Lucas
Will it happen? Of course not. But remember, this is my totally make believe, living in my own head mock draft.
Dan Gilbert is a MSU guy, Kalin Lucas is a MSU guy, why not?
The Celtics have lost Rasheed Wallace and Shaquille O’Neal to retirement in back-to-back offseasons and have Glen Davis set to become a free agent. Dunigan probably isn’t ready to help them just yet, but the former Oregon player, who left school and played professionally briefly in Israel, is strong and able to establish deep post position. The Celtics need to revamp their frontcourt, but grabbing a project big man to stash in the D-League or on the end of the bench for a season to see if he develops isn’t a bad strategy.
There’s just no way the Lakers have roster spots for all these second rounders. Zubcic is an international player who can perhaps be convinced to stay overseas while the Lakers maintain his rights.
Zubcic is 6-foot-11 and, according to Chad Ford, handles the ball like a point guard. We all know Kobe Bryant isn’t getting any younger, so the Lakers would be wise to stockpile as many assets overseas as they can on the chance that one of them develops into a player capable of helping them offensively in the near future.
Hopson, who played three seasons at Tennessee, is a lanky, athletic wing player. The Mavs have free agents at SG in Caron Butler and Peja Stojakovic, plus Jason Terry and Shawn Marion aren’t getting younger. They have a young guard in Dominique Jones, last season’s first round pick, who didn’t get many minutes this season, but giving a player like Hopson a shot in camp could pay off. He’s also a decent 3-point shooter.
Well … if it’s not broke. Hanga, another international prospect, had some impressive moments at EuroCamp according to Chad Ford. Hanga is 22, so he’s not the youngest international prospect out there, but if the Lakers use these picks as I think they will (unless they package them in a trade, another good possibility), they’ll have at least three players overseas. That’ll give them a better chance for at least one to develop into a useful player down the road.
Wow … the Lakers snapped up all the international prospects before the Spurs even had a chance to get at them? That’s usually San Antonio’s hustle. Instead, the Spurs will go the George Hill route — take a chance on a talented small school player.
Goudelock is one of the best shooters in the country — he has “Jimmer-like range” according to Chad Ford. He might not be quick or athletic enough to play in Gregg Popovich’s system, but a little more outside shooting couldn’t hurt in San Antonio.
Kawhi Leonard was the best prospect on this year’s surprising San Diego State team, but Thomas’s energy and activity were a big factor for SDSU too.
Thomas might be a bit small for power forward and probably doesn’t shoot well enough to play small forward, but the Kings could use a few players who play hard and are active. Thomas would have a chance to make the team at a couple different positions if he can do those things in camp.