1. Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving
Overhyped guards usually don’t bust as much as overhyped bigs, but I think Kyrie Irving is not going to live up to those expectations. I’m not trying to be cool and different but he is a little too cocky for his own good and although we can’t deny his talent, he has played 11 games this season, and he is fat. Kyrie could very well end up being the best point guard out of this draft but he won’t reach that upper echelon of point guards that some scouts are predicting. I like Brandon Knight more than him.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams
Could Derrick Williams be the savior in Minnesota? Could the Timberwolves luck out the way the Sonics did when Portland drafted Oden? Will Derrick Williams have a nickname to differentiate him from Deron Williams? Derrick Williams will join the Wolves and add to their pretty solid pool of talent in Rubio, Flynn/Douglas, Johnson, Beasley, Love, and Randolph. They don’t seem to mesh well with each other but if Rubio is as good as prophesized, he could make it work.
3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight
My favorite player in this year’s draft class. We share the same hometown! Kind of. My early prediction is that Brandon Knight will at least be better than Kyrie Irving in this league. I kind of liked Kanter here but I think Brandon Knight makes more and more sense for the Jazz. They are a relatively talented team across the board and a franchise level point guard could do wonders for them. Knight might be a little too ball dominant but when your backcourt pal is Gordon Hayward who should blossom out to be the ultimate role player, that is a pretty good fit. Jazz can then pick up a wing with their next first round pick because Singleton and Thompson might be a bit of a reach at the 3. Jazz have a pretty good core and if they are able to get a good draft pick at 12 and keep Kirilenko, they could be a surprise playoff team.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jonas Valanciunas
I am convinced that Enes Kanter will be the best European out of this draft and watching highlights of Jona Valanciunas, there is nothing impressive about him at all. All I see is a younger Andris Biedrins… But this would be excellent for the Cavs. Jonas won’t be able to play next season and the Cavs don’t improve much outside of Irving, and get another mid to high lottery pick. Cavs can draft someone like Harrison Barnes and when Jonas is finally able to play in the NBA, the worst thing he can be is Andris Biedrins in 2007, who wasn’t half bad and could hold his own against a lot of NBA centers. Kind of like how Tyreke is a better player than James Harden but Harden is a much better fit for the Thunder.
5. Toronto Raptors – Enes Kanter
In no way a Raptors/Europeans joke. Enes is the best player available at this point and probably the BPA two spots up this mock draft. Kanter looks comfortable around the rim, measured out great, has good range on his jumpshot (which I hope he doesn’t rely too much on) and just seems like a great all around player. He’s no freak athlete but then again Javale McGee hasn’t been doing much in the NBA except for making highlight reel dunks.
Also worth noting, Kanter and Valanciunas will be the best center prospects until Andre Drummond declares for the draft which could be in 2013 or 2014… or even later. Some teams could be making serious plays for either Kanter or Valanciunas.
6. Washington Wizards – Chris Singleton
I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really like Chris Singleton for the Warriors. But I think he will be gone by the 11th pick. The Wizards are going to follow the so called “OKC Model.” They already have their star in John Wall so they just need to fill in the rest of the gaps. Blatche and McGee are fine at the 4/5 for now. I see Singleton as a guy that every team would want and should fill in nicely for Blatche’s defensive deficiencies. Singleton will be a good foundation for a strong defense. When there’s a player that is highly agreed upon as the best defender in the draft, it’s hard to pass him up, especially when you are a young rebuilding team.
7. Sacramento Kings – Jimmer Fredette
Kings are pretty good at drafting. Tyreke Evans was a reach at 4 at the time. Casspi is a steal at 23. Jon Brockman has had a better career than Hasheem Thabeet. Thompson was a reach who deserved that reach, and of course, Kevin Martin goes down as one of the greatest draft steals of all time. I hear the Kings are pretty much sold on Jimmer and I honestly would love to watch Jimmer Fredette play when I go to college in Davis. Jimmer is a baller and should really open things up for Evans and Cousins.
Also Jimmer has a hot girlfriend and I will do things to her that Jimmer isn’t allowed to dream of doing. Only kidding.
8. Detroit Pistons – Bismack Biyombo
With low post offense that rivals mine, Bismack Biyombo is one of the most interesting prospects in the draft. I was thinking either Bismack or Marcus Morris for Detroit. For the Pistons, Greg Monroe is clearly their most valuable player right now, and their second most valuable player… who knows who that is. Bismack would be the perfect complement to their franchise cornerstone and pairing someone who could be challenging Dwight for that DPoY with the most offensively skilled young big man sounds good for a struggling franchise. Pistons are in a situation where they need to take that risk in order to shake their fortunes up.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Kawhi Leonard
Representing us Asian-Americans in the NBA front offices, this will be the first draft pick that Rich Cho has a part of in Charlotte. Leonard can pretty much send Stephen Jackson packing. Henderson averaged 14 points a game after the All-Star break when he jumped into a starter role for the Bobcats. You always wonder about guys who play in weak conferences but Kawhi looks pretty good to me, and he should be a good first move for Rich Cho. He looks NBA-ready (whatever that term means) and should make an immediate impact for the Bobcats. Leonard can play some minutes at the 4 which is good because Diaw and Tyrus Thomas suck.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks
When your lead guard is the trigger happy Brandon Jennings, his backcourt buddy should be a more sober guard who plays efficiently. Alec Burks is the man you desire. His hype has died down a bit with other guys increasing their stock at the last minute, but Burks is a great fit for the Bucks. He’s the more logical version of the Salmons and Maggette acquisitions. What separates Burks from the other scorers is that he can run the point when needed to, and that is a pretty useful skillset. Jennings, Burks and Bogut should all work peacefully together and all 3 of them should become better players by playing off of each other.
11. Golden State Warriors – Klay Thompson
Pretty much every guy I want on the Warriors I put ahead. Chris Singleton is the guy I really want on this team. Klay Thompson, while a solid player, doesn’t really do anything for the Warriors. He is one of the best shooters in this draft and I don’t know why people think Warriors need even more shooting. Marcus Morris is another guy who works but… the only guy that really helps the Warriors is a player like Dwight Howard, but that is never going to happen unless we get lucky with Andre Drummond and Drummond doesn’t bust. I guess drafting someone like Klay Thompson who has a good chance at being a solid contributor is better than drafting Brandan Wright or Patrick O’Bryant or Ike Diogu. Klay Thompson gives the Warriors a little more flexibility if they were to deal Ellis.
12. Utah Jazz – Jan Vesely
I mentioned how resigning Kirilenko would be good for the Jazz. Vesely is one of those active, do-it-all players and he draws a lot of comparisons to Andrei. He would fit in nicely as a glue guy with the rest of the Jazz. If Utah don’t keep Kirilenko, then Vesely is the logical pick if he is available. As with most players coming out of Europe, give them a season or two to adjust to the NBA game, and if they’re good, they will prove themselves. If Jazz pick Brandon Knight, they are a team that is good enough to run without needing an immediate contributor at the 12th pick, so drafting one of those mystery high potential guys is pretty good at the 12th spot. I keep thinking how Sloan will make it work but then you realize that Jerry Sloan is no longer the Jazz coach. Weird.
13. Phoenix Suns – Marcus Morris
Anyway, the Suns are in a bit of a pickle. Marcus Morris is no Amar’e, but he could be what Phoenix needs to win Nash a championship. Just kidding on the championship part.
This time the Suns don’t draft the offensively challenged twin. Marcus is a versatile scorer and he is not exactly one of those new age power forwards that want to be as guard like as possible and then give up on toughness. The thing with Marcus Morris is that he is that power forward that most young power forwards want to be. He is a fluid scorer on the perimeter and in the low post, and he’s not the type of stretch 4 that needs to be completely open and have a couple of seconds to spot up before putting up a jump shot. Marcus will add some offense in the Phoenix front court and Nash’s playmaking abilities should help Morris out a lot.
14. Houston Rockets – Donatas Motiejunas
Let me just say that the Rockets are an excellent basketball organization and the only reason why they don’t have a championship is because of injuries. Put Daryl Morey in the Cleveland front office and LeBron James has a championship. There really isn’t any move that the Rockets organization would want to take back. The Rockets are also a pretty good drafting team and usually get a lot of value for their pick, and they really stay true to the BPA philosophy. Aaron Brooks was a pretty weird pick at the time and Patrick Patterson was drafted when the Rockets had Scola, Hayes, and Hill on the roster.
Rockets have never tried to replace Yao Ming through the draft because there was always this hope that he may return, but even the optimistic Yao Ming fan in me is calling it quits on the Yao Ming era in Houston. I think Motiejunas is someone that Kevin McHale would have a boner for. Donatas has the tools to succeed in the NBA and it’s up to him to become the next Dirk Nowitzki or the next Rafael Araujo (at least Darko is still in the league. Right?) Donatas will probably have trouble guarding the 4 let alone the 5 early in his career but the Rockets have Chuck Hayes for that.