It’s that time of the year again, draft night. I remember my first mock draft. With the NBA draft coming up in the next few weeks, fellow Fansided writers Ben Beecken, Grant Mailhes and I sat down for a roundtable discussion to bring you our roundtable mock draft. We broke down all 30 picks in the first round and explained why we think that player fits best for that team. Whether you agree or disagree we hope you enjoy.
BB – Ben Beecken
GM – Grant Mailhes
JS – Joshua Santos
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Ben Beecken: Cleveland won’t be able to pass on the best talent in the draft, torn ACL or not. Unless their desire to squeak into the playoffs in 2013-14 gets in the way, Noel is the obvious pick. Anderson Varajeo is an expiring contract this year and can be traded near the deadline, once Noel is healthy. A Noel-Tristan Thompson frontcourt with Kyrie Irving running the point is a fantastic nucleus, and the Cavs should not pass up the opportunity.
There are rumors that Cleveland is already aggressively shopping the pick. This would be the most-Clevelandy thing ever, unless they can land a legitimate complementary star to pair with Irving in return (they won’t). If they trade down for a bag of balls (borderline rotation players) and nab an iffy-talent elsewhere in the lottery, it will be a serious mistake.
2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Grant Mailhes: Although some will consider this a reach, Burke has absolutely proven he deserves to be a Top 5 pick. Orlando desperately needs a fresh start at the point guard position and Burke can be that guy. Sources said Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan was targeting Oklahoma State PG Marcus Smart before he decided to stay in school so it’s obvious they are looking to upgrade that position.
Burke doesn’t jump out at scouts with his athleticism, but he’s a winner and very competitive. He showed he’s a leader and when counted on, could hit big shots.
Will he be the next Chris Paul? Probably not. But he can be a very good point guard for many years. I believe he would fit well with the young pieces they already have.
3. Washington Wizards: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Joshua Santos: Anthony Bennett will be picked fourth in the draft. Now I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re probably thinking i’m being to generous to the guy because he’s Canadian. I admit, I did cut him some slack because of that but in my defense, Bennett is unmatched and is a perfect fit for the Washington Wizards. They can’t pass him up. Here me out here before you criticize me.
Although he injured his shoulder, Bennett has the capabilities to shoot inside and out and has a higher upside than Otto Porter. The Wizards need a big guy who can stretch the floor and score. Who else better than Bennett? Offensively, he’s a machine. He’s explosive in the paint and has an array of post skills. When isolated, he’s nearly unstoppable. His turn-around and pull-up jump shots are subpar and he’s almost perfected, developing the jab-step to cause separation.
He’s excelled at finishing at the rim, improving on glass and on the pick and rolls. Not a butter fingers at all, he has good hands and can handle most passes (I say most because not every player has hands like glue). If you watch his tapes from his UNLV days, the guards didn’t have the best clean passes, but Bennett was still able to catch and shot.
Aside from having an incredible post game, he’s good around the perimeter. At UNLV he shot 33 percent from the floor. One can however argue that it was mostly based on his shot selection rather than his stroke. Overall, he has good mechanics, has a good pull-up jumper and fantastic shot fakes. Offensively he’s almost flawless.
Yes I know he’s a liability on the defensive end, but with the right development, coaching and patience (they’re going to need a lot of this), his defensive game can step up.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
BB: If McLemore is still on the board, this is almost a no-brainer. I think there’s a solid chance that the Bobcats trade this pick somewhere, potentially to move up. Think about it: the top three players on the board right now are McLemore, Otto Porter, and Victor Oladipo. All wings, are all somewhat similar to last year’s top pick, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
This is an unfortunate turn of events for Charlotte, which feeds into me thinking this pick will be moved. There has been mention of the Wolves potentially offering the #9 pick and Derrick Williams for the #4, in order to snag one of the aforementioned wings. This makes sense for Charlotte, as there is no clear “star” prospect on the board here, anyways. Better to get someone with lottery potential in Williams and a comparable lottery pick at #9. Woe is the Bobcats. But at least they’ll be terrible again and have a jump on the 2014 Andrew Wiggins lottery….
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
GM: In my opinion, Victor Oladipo is going to be a stud and may be the best player in this class when it is all said and done. Phoenix should be elated if he falls to No. 5, which I see happening.
Oladipo is already an NBA-ready defender. He’s long and very athletic. You combine those qualities with the motor he has…watch out.
He can defend point guards, shooting guards and even small forwards. He has improved offensively each year during his tenure at Indiana and I don’t see why he can’t become a threat on that side of the ball.
In transition…. forget about it. He’s elite when he is in the open floor and can make your jaw drop with his dunks and athleticism.
He has all the intangibles to become a great player, which can’t be overlooked in this process.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, C, Maryland.
JS: Preferably, the Pelicans would want to draft Trey Burke, since they’re in dire need of a point guard as Austin Rivers has the whole broken hand injury. However, with Burke not on the board anymore, they’ll have to go with their second option, Alex Len.
Despite the ankle injury, Len could be one of the best players in this class. In the NBA no position matters the most than the center position. At 7’1″ and 250 pounds, Len is able to match against other top centers such as Marc Gasol (7’1″ 265 pounds), Roy Hibbert (7’2′ 280 pounds), Joakim Noah (6’11″ 232 pounds) and Dwight Howard (6’11″ 265 pounds). Top pick in the draft Nerlens Noels however will be unmatched as he’s 6’10 230 pounds making him one of the smallest at the 5 spot.
Len has the combination of skill and athleticism. He’s able to run the floor well and elevate. He’s able to finish at the rim and won’t need to work too hard in the post because of his size. He however was more of a finisher rather than working in the post when he did play at Maryland.
He has good basketball IQ, and mechanics as he hes able to score with either hand in the paint. He’s more of a rim protector and won’t have to move much because of his 7’3″ wingspan so he’ll be able to reject shots easily.
The Pelicans should get him. Davis, at 6’11″ 220 pounds, usually played the power forward position since the team already has Robin Lopez who is taller at 7’0″ and weighs more at 255 pounds at the five. Len could be an excellent backup and perhaps starter for the Pelicans. Another big man on the squad won’t hurt however, that ankle injury raises concern. Easily comparable to Jonas Valancuinas of the Toronto Raptors, Len could be better than Noel in the long run or he could end up as a huge bust.
Worst-case scenario, Len turns into another Darko Milicic. Darko 2.0. Best-case scenario, he could be a European Tim Duncan.
7. Sacramento Kings – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
BB: Wow, what a dream scenario this would be for the Kings if Porter somehow fell this far. I would expect we’d see a number of teams tripping over themselves to try and trade into this slot if he was still on the board. At the same time, the Kings need, well, everything, and Porter certainly fits into that category.
Porter is 6′ 8″ and is still just 19 years old, and if he improves his defensive consistency and spot-up shooting, he absolutely has the potential to be a starter on a playoff team. I could easily see another team trading up to this slot and fooling the ever-foolish Kings into a trade. It wouldn’t be the first time.
But for the sake of the good folks of Sacramento, here’s hoping that the Kings draft and keep Porter if he remains on the board at this spot. That would start the process of turning the ship around; or at the very least, getting the Kings back to respectability.
8. Detroit Pistons- Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
GM: Before last season, Shabazz Muhammad was considered a lock to be a top 5 pick. Unfortunately for him, his stock dropped some but Detroit could be a great situation for him.
What Muhammad does really well is score the basketball. He could help take pressure off Greg Monroe and could help the Pistons become a threat inside and out.
Shabazz needs to work on his game though. When he goes right, he usually can’t finish which makes him vulnerable in the half-court. His post game could be better as well, which could benefit him tremendously. All in all, he is a fierce competitor and believes he’s the best player on the court no matter whom he is facing.
I think this is a good match for both sides.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
JS: Don’t tell Bulls fans this but I actually like the Timberwolves. If I had to pick a second favourite team, it would be them no question about it. I actually think they have a good roster as is, and would’ve made the playoffs, but the injury bug that was hitting every team in the league made it’s way to Minnesota.
Looking into the draft, the T-Wolves would want to pick Shabazz Muhammed but it looks like Detroit picked him before they could have a chance. So, the Wolves should go on to pick C.J. McCollum.
The Timberwolves continued to struggle shooting from around the perimeter and hired Brandon Roy to fill that void (look how that worked). With Roy not on the roster anymore, the Wolves should target McCollum who has fresh legs and isn’t injury prone.
McCollum is a fantastic shooter. McCollum, who has a 6’6″ wingspan, is a versatile combo guard with a shoot first mentality. During his three and a half seasons at Leigh, McCollum carried the team countless times. One of which was a victory over the Duke Bluedevils, when he scored an incredible 30 points, six rebounds and six assists. The 6’3″ McCollum strives in his jump shots. An unsurprisingly 60 percent of his shots came from the perimeter. This season he raised his jumper, bringing it to 50 per cent from a previous 36 per cent. He’s able to create his own shots and is great scorer in transition.
Some may consider his height as a factor when it comes to defending, however his wingspan won’t make it an issue. He has strong defensive fundamentals.
There are always areas to improve and one of them would be floor spacing. That won’t be a problem however as he gets use to the speed and pace of the NBA.
The Wolves would greatly benefit from selecting him. Throughout the season, they were stuck with resorting to Luke Ridnour playing as a two guard who struggled at times. The Wolves, currently ranked 28th in three-point shooting so they could use a good wing guard. An easy comparison for McCollum would be Damian Lillard.
10. Portland Trailblazers – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
BB: As a Wolves fan, Josh, I like the McCollum pick. Personally, I have a slight preference towards Caldwell-Pope, and there are rumors that new boss Flip Saunders isn’t in love with McCollum. But if the Georgia swingman remains on the board at #10, he’ll be a great fit for the Blazers.
Caldwell-Pope is a 6′ 6″ shooting guard that would slot in nicely at the 2-spot between Damian Lillard and Nic Batum. He is an excellent rebounder for his position (the Blazers were horrible in 2012-13), and improved his spot-up jump shooting significantly in his sophomore season. He also has the size and athletic ability to improve immensely on the defensive end of the court, which is an area in which the Blazers definitely need assistance.
According to Draft Express, Caldwell-Pope was the fifth-best pull-up jump shooter at the college level. Along with his ability to get to the basket and convert from the charity stripe, Caldwell-Pope has the necessary tools to play next to Lillard on the fast break and would be a very solid pick for Portland at number ten overall