With the NBA Draft coming up soon, I’ve decided to do a full mock draft of the first round with my good friend and basketball guru Mike Edwards. Mike has completed the first 15 picks, while I’ve done the rest.
1. New Orleans Hornets- Anthony Davis, PF/C, Kentucky
It’s been safe to say for a while now that Anthony Davis is undoubtedly the favorite to become this year’s number one overall pick, and with good reason. Barring his slender frame and lack of muscle, Davis is a game-changer and a step in the right direction for any team that he goes to. David West isn’t coming back after a successful season in Indiana, and the Hornets just recently traded away Emeka Okafor, their starting forward, in a multi-player deal with Washington, so it’s basically solidified that they will choose Davis as their main piece to rebuild around as the post-Chris Paul era continues.
While in high school and in college, Davis showed numerous signs of offensive brilliance, but was even more dominant at the defensive end, averaging 10 rebounds and almost five blocks per-game at Kentucky. While there are a couple of question marks surrounding Davis and how dominant he can be against the premier big men of the NBA, I believe it’s a risk worth taking. If New Orleans manages to re-sign Eric Gordon, the Hornets will be an interesting team to watch during the next couple of years.
2. Charlotte Bobcats- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PF/SF, Kentucky
As devastating as it must’ve sounded for the Bobcats to not land the first pick after the record-setting abomination of a season that they just had, I still don’t think that they’re in trouble by any means. Many players are worthy of being taken with this pick, considering the number of holes that Charlotte has on their roster, and also the amount of game-changing talent that is included in this year’s draft.
That being said, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is probably the best pick for this needy franchise, and Michael Jordan would look even more foolish as an owner for passing on Gilchrist, especially if he turns out to be a superstar like many predict. This guy is all about winning, and he displayed that throughout his high school and collegiate career. Not only did he serve as an offensive and defensive presence on a loaded Kentucky championship team this past season, but he also displayed a burning passion and a desire to succeed, something that not many players possess.
Expect Gilchrist to be paired with the likes of Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo next season, forming an exciting young trio in the state of North Carolina.
3. Washington Wizards- Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
This is probably the hardest pick to determine out of the whole draft (for me at least). The Wizards could go several ways here, considering Davis and Gilchrist are probably off the board at this point. The way I see it, they could draft a potential scoring machine in Bradley Beal, or could go with an athletic wing player in Harrison Barnes. However, I don’t see either of these happening, considering the fact that Jordan Crawford is still a young work in progress and the newly acquired Trevor Ariza will share time with second-year player Chris Singleton at the three.
That being said, I feel that the best way for Washington to go is to draft the best player available, and that would be a man by the name of Thomas Robinson.
I mean, what’s not to like about this guy? Physically, the guy is built like a healthy Amar’e Stoudemire. Statistically, he’s a double-double threat each and every night, averaging 11 boards and just under 18 points per-game this past season at Kansas. Mentally, this guy is probably the toughest out of all the 2012 prospects, considering all that he went through during his life thus far. He’s also a native of D.C., and has the heart of a champion and the attitude of a leader.
With John Wall and Thomas Robinson as their franchise pieces, along with a supporting cast of Singleton, Crawford, Nenê, and Kevin Seraphin, I could definitely see Washington being a playoff contender for years to come.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers- Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
It just seems as if Cleveland has struck gold once again. Kyrie Irving definitely helped ease the lingering effect that was left by LeBron James and his departure to South Beach. All of a sudden, Cleveland seems poised to make it back to the playoffs with Irving as their centerpiece, and they have the right athletes to do it. Tristan Thompson and Alonzo Gee are examples of young, upcoming talent, and adding Bradley Beal would only help.
Beal is basically like a healthy Eric Gordon, or a less trigger-happy Monta Ellis. This past year, he and Patrick Young led a very good Florida team to an Elite 8 appearance.
If the Cavs take Beal, they would essentially have one of the best young backcourts in the NBA, and that’s hard to pass up.
5. Sacramento Kings- Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
If this were a year ago, we would probably be talking about Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger challenging Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams for the top two spots in the draft. However, the first two chose to stay a year, so here we are.
Barnes’ numbers rose in most categories, with his athleticism and jump shooting being his most deadly assets. However, as good as a player that he is capable of being, the one thing that’s really holding him back is his lack on defense. If he can improve in that department, then I see Barnes becoming a special player in the NBA.
With the Kings looking to shop Tyreke Evans, Barnes would slide right into his spot, and a core of him, Demarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, and Marcus Thornton, all that Sacramento needs is time and chemistry in order to take the next step as a team.
6. Portland Trail Blazers- Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden and Brandon Roy. All of these players were drafted by Portland with hopes of being the part of the team’s long-term future. All fell to injuries.
Walton helped the team win a championship and eventually became a Hall of Famer, but foot injuries severely hampered his long-term value. Bowie never lived up to expectations as the guy to help Clyde Drexler, and was limited to 139 games out of a possible 328 in four seasons with Portland. Roy and Oden were drafted in back-to-back years, with Oden playing in 82 games over five seasons due to knee problems. While Roy managed to become a potential superstar in the league, his career has also been plagued by knee injuries, leading to an unexpected retirement this past season (he’s currently trying to make a comeback).
With all of this being said, Portland has its go-to guy now in LaMarcus Aldridge. All they need is a center to compliment the power forward. Adding Drummond could potentially set up a dominant frontcourt that not many teams could match up with. That is only if Drummond develops into the player that he’s capable of being, and nobody is completely sure if that will happen.
7. Golden State Warriors- Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
I see Golden State taking a chance with Lamb at number seven. Originally, I saw them taking a big man such as Jared Sullinger or John Henson with this pick, but I don’t see that happening with David Lee and Jeremy Tyler currently present at the power forward spot.
I also like the combination of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jeremy Lamb at the guard spots. Lamb can eventually help step in where Monta Ellis left off before the Andrew Bogut trade, and he could even split time with Dorell Wright at the three if needed. He definitely needs to work on his strength and defensive skills, but then again, I like him more than Wright, especially offensively.
8. Toronto Raptors- John Henson PF/C, North Carolina
There’s been talk of Harrison Barnes potentially falling this far in the draft, or even Jeremy Lamb being scooped up with this pick should Golden State pass on him.
Let’s all be real here for a second. The Raptors are not in need of guards at all. Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless are holding down the point position, while DeMar DeRozan sits comfortably at the two. To me, the Raptors most significant need is a versatile big man who’s capable of doing the dirty work as well.
Ever since Chris Bosh left for Miami, Toronto has been missing a power forward that is consistently capable of holding his own in the paint. Andrea Bargnani is an intriguing player to have at center, but he’s more of a shooter and doesn’t play like a typical big man would.
Therefore, I would think that the Raptors would take someone like Henson at eight, because he’s known for his excellent defense while managing to put some points on the board. At 6’11, 220 pounds and a 7’6 wingspan, this young man has the chance to become the consistent piece that Toronto is lacking. Ed Davis and Amir Johnson are not getting it done, and adding Henson’s versatility on both ends would definitely serve as an upgrade.
9. Detroit Pistons- Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Detroit has found its building blocks for the future with Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. All that is lacking is a strong young supporting cast. Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince are good but nowhere near at the level that they used to be at. Jason Maxiell is not necessarily a double-double threat. Ben Wallace is expected to retire and stay retired.
With all of this going on, the Pistons should look to address the need of a running mate for Monroe, and Meyers Leonard could be the guy to do it. Originally, I thought that scooping up Jared Sullinger here would be wise, but his back problems remain an issue. Leonard is big and durable, and also a good defender. He has a limited offensive skillset but that should come along with his development. He won’t be called on to score out of isolation sets, as those plays will be drawn up for Monroe most of the time.
Overall, if the Pistons pass on Sullinger, Leonard could provide as the right fit here.
10. New Orleans Hornets- Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
With Anthony Davis already added by this point, I would expect New Orleans to add another guard. Damian Lillard is by far the best point guard in this year’s draft. The Weber State Wildcat filled up the scorer’s sheet this past season, pouring in a remarkale 24.5 points per-game while throwing in 5 assists per-game.
The way I see it, he could split time with Jarrett Jack and eventually become his replacement. Lillard could even spend some time at shooting guard, whether Eric Gordon chooses to stay or not.
As this New Orleans franchise continues without Chris Paul, I would not count them out of the playoffs for very long.
11. Portland Trail Blazers- Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
I think it’s safe to assume that Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford are both as good as gone in Portland after a disappointing season for both players. Brandon Roy isn’t coming back to Portland anytime soon, and I doubt that the franchise would want to take another chance with him. Jonny Flynn is still young but I’m not sure if he’s capable enough of fully running the show at the guard position.
That is why I like Austin Rivers and Wesley Matthews as part of the future for the Blazers. Rivers is a natural scorer who is also capable of running the show at point, and that is exactly what Portland is missing. His defense and playmaking ability will come with further development of his game, and all of that together should be enough for him to be sold at this pick. Expect Portland to go with Kendall Marshall if they don’t select Rivers, but I doubt that’ll happen.
12. Milwaukee Bucks- Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
I’m a fan of Ersan Ilyasova and Ekpe Udoh at the forward spots, so I expect the Bucks to hold onto both young talents, especially Ilyasova when he hits free agency this summer.
What Milwaukee needs is a young and versatile center, and Tyler Zeller is the best available at this point. Drew Gooden was solid last year, but after him lies Larry Sanders and Kwame Brown. That should be enough for the Bucks to pull the trigger on Zeller, who can eventually serve as a good all-around center if he reaches his potential. If Zeller is not taken, expect the franchise to go with with Perry Jones III or Jared Sullinger.
13. Phoenix Suns- Deion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
The Suns will undoubtedly face one of the major obstacles in recent franchise history this offseason when Steve Nash becomes a free agent. Everybody knows that Nash is going to leave in order to play with a contending team, and that is something that the Suns are far from. Nash’s replacements, Aaron Brooks is still in China, Goran Dragic is happily in Houston, and I dare anybody to say with a straight face that Ronnie Price and Sebastian Telfair are the long-term answers at point guard for Phoenix.
It would make no sense to draft a wing player or big man, as they already have plenty at both positions. The Suns will essentially have no choice but to draft potential star Deion Waiters, but then again, the key word is POTENTIAL. Waiters isn’t the best athlete and his decision sometimes paves the way for questions surrounding his game, but Damian Lillard will be long gone by pick number 13 and it’s still too early to take Kendall Marshall.
Waiters is the best option for Phoenix at this point, and he could turn out to be a great one if he manages to put it all together at the next level of his career.
14. Houston Rockets- Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State
Moultrie could potentially end up being one of the steals of the draft, based on the lone fact that he played for Mississippi State, a school not necessarily known for its basketball program. His ability to use his talents and full skill-set is questioned fairly often, but that is a risk that Houston could end up taking.
Luis Scola’s name is always dangled around in trade possibilities, and Marcus Camby is approaching what is probably the final year or so of his long career. Samuel Dalembert is definitely not the long-term answer for the Rockets at center, so drafting a work in progress such as Moultrie would make sense.
Averaging 15.8 points per-game and 10.6 rebounds per-game this past season, Moultrie would be joining a roster full of young talent, ranging from Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic all the way to Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson. If he adds a few pounds and works on his strength, then Moultrie could become something worthwhile in the NBA. The talent is there, but he just needs to nurture and utilize it better.
15. Philadelphia 76ers- Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
Harkless is definitely a work in progress coming out of college, but could really flourish playing under a coach such as Doug Collins. We’ve seen Andre Iguodala develop into more of a franchise player, All-Star, and playmaker ever since Collins took the job two years ago. We’ve also seen young players such as Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young equally share the workload in order for their team to win games.
Harkless would be a good fit for Philadelphia, as he is a very good athlete, defender, and showed his ability to score and rebound at any time while playing for the Red Storm. Expect the Sixers to decide between Harkless and someone like Terrence Jones, but ultimately I think that Harkless would do this franchise good.
16. Houston Rockets- Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor
This pick could become a potential steal for the Rockets if it works out long-term. Houston has desperately needed a big man for quite some time. They’ve overpaid for a few of them during free agency, but none have produced. If you can’t buy one, develop your own.
Jones is quite the rare prospect for his size. He’s got a lot of raw talent and can literally do anything on the floor from grabbing rebounds to shooting threes. What was most effective for him during college was his isolation game from mid-range. Using his long legs, Jones would get a quick first step to stagger the defender, then attack the rim.
The one problem with Jones is his motor. He’s publicly stated that he’ll continue to work on being consistent throughout each game. Not only is the motor a concern, but his attitude and work ethic as well.
If he’s able to perfect his flaws, Houston gets the player they’ve needed to push them over the playoff hump; a big man who can not only dominate down low, but spread out the floor with freakish athletic ability.
17. Dallas Mavericks- Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
The Mavericks are getting a steal in this position. Dallas is currently dealing with some shooting guard issues. Jason Terry is aging and will likely be gone, while Dominique Jones doesn’t seem to be fit enough to pass the torch.
What better way to replace Terry than with a physical specimen in Ross. Ross ranked second in almost every offensive category for the Huskies this previous season. Part of the reason his numbers jumped from freshman year is more playing time and aggressively driving to the hoop. At 6’7, he possess great size and athleticism for the position. Another attribute to his jump is his ability to shoot off the screen.
While Ross can be good at attacking the rim, he has a tendency to fall in love with his speed. He’s been reliant on this, as well as spin moves, to separate himself from the defender. Playing in the NBA should improve his basketball IQ, while being at the two can give him size advantages.
This pick can also depend on the situation involving Jason Kidd. If he indeed does stay with Dallas, Ross seems like a lock to me. If not, expect the Mavericks to possibly look for a point guard. Either way, Ross is a great fit for this team.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves- Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Miller is the type of player that Ricky Rubio would have good chemistry with; lengthy, can shoot the lights out, and space the floor. At only 19, he possesses raw talent and a high ceiling.
He reminds me of a poor man’s Kevin Durant. Miller’s height is 6’9 while reportedly having a wingspan of 7’4. Not only does he have Durant’s size, but can score a lot as well. Miller can also make his own plays off the dribble while running a full-court offense. He is also not as structurally built as most small forwards in the NBA.
While Miller has the chance to flourish in the league, his inconsistency should be addressed. Miller has gone from scoring not once in one game to 29 the next. What could’ve been the cause of the problem might’ve been the ACL he tore his senior year in high school. Freshman year could’ve been the time to run out the rust from rehabbing so long because of the injury.
Along with his inconsistent scoring, his build does catch a few eyes. He might be able to get away with his small structure like Durant has since he’s so lengthy and is able to make his own play.
If he lives up to his potential, a lineup of Rubio, Miller, Derrick Williams, and Kevin Love can be a potential championship threat for a while. Royce White would also make sense at this spot too. The Timberwolves would be making a smart choice with either player.
19. Orlando Magic- Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
With the Magic firing general manager Otis Smith and head coach Stan Van Gundy, it seems as though Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson will eventually pack their bags. By refreshing their roster and management, it’d be smart to draft and build around Marshall for the future.
Marshall possesses the ability to see the floor and make excellent passes. He’s also a pass-first guard, only averaging six shots compared to 10 assists per game this previous season. Marshall also has quick hands and gets rid of the ball at the correct times, avoiding steal attempts.
His greatest strength also causes his weaknesses. While it’s good for a point guard to be pass-happy, he should want to shoot as well. Only averaging six shots a game, Marshall seems like he’s uninterested in even shooting. With his consistent passing comes a lot of turnovers and questionable plays. If he’s able to even out his passing and shooting totals, Marshall will become a future solid floor general.
20. Denver Nuggets- Terrence Jones, PF/SF, Kentucky
This is another perfect fit. The Nuggets love versatility, and Jones is one of the most versatile players in the draft. Standing in at 6’10, he’s capable of playing both forward spots with length.
Last season for Jones at Kentucky was an interesting one. His numbers at the start of the season had scouts saying he was top 10 material. But head coach John Calipari claimed he was too selfish, and then his numbers declined. He didn’t need to be as productive since Kentucky still managed to win the title.
What does this say about the forward? He’s not exactly selfish, but rather took advantage of his size and speed to drive to the rim and develop his own shots. A reason why his shots didn’t fall at the end of the season was just bad luck. Jones was getting a good amount of open looks, but couldn’t sink them.
Combining a player with this much upside with a legendary coach in George Karl screams production. Players like JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried excelled from this fast-paced offense. There should be no reason why Jones can’t fit in.
21/22. Boston Celtics- Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State, Royce White, PF/SF, Iowa State
Since the Celtics have two consecutive picks, I’ve decided to just explain both in one segment. No matter the order of the player, they’ll still be wearing Celtic green together once it’s all said and done.
I’ll start off with former Buckeye Jared Sullinger. It was almost as early as last year that Sully was announced to be a top five pick. But with the lockout looming and a post game to develop, he took the risk of staying at his school for one more year and attempted to win a NCAA championship.
Although the Buckeyes lost to Kansas in the Final Four, Sullinger made a lot of improvement this season. He made most of his shots with his back against the basket, using force and footwork to cling off the defender. Instead of using only his brute force inside, Sullinger combines his finesse moves as well, unlike big men Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond. He was even recognized as one of the best defenders in the NCAA.
The reason Sullinger dropped so much in many mock drafts is because of his physical physique. Since he can play both the center and power forward positions, he’s right in the middle. Sully’s undersized for an average center, but not as agile as a power forward. Plus, his recent red flag doesn’t help as well.
The bottom-line is Boston needs big men now that Kevin Garnett could be leaving, and Sullinger’s defensive advantage fits Doc Rivers’ system well.
With Boston’s lack of big men, I have them picking sophomore Royce White as well. White is possibly the most versatile forward in the draft behind Terrence Jones. He led Iowa State in five statistical categories this past season, and was the majority reason why the Cyclones started off the year 16-6.
White is lower than the average height of a power forward, but his build makes up for it. Even with this build, he’s still able to move around and show fluidity on the court. His offensive arsenal is very diverse. White can either stop and make a mid-range jumper, or aggressively drive to the rim with ease.
It sounds like he should be in the lottery aspect of the draft, but a few problems have him down here. His first issue is the turnovers. White ran the point guard numerous times this season creating mismatches all around. But his decision-making and passes were very wild. He also has a tendency to rack up a lot of offensive fouls each game. The main problem is his stated anxiety. His anxiety causes him to feel less confident in himself or nauseated and wake up numerous times through his sleep.
Behind those issues, White is a top five talent that fits well in the Celtic’s system just like Sullinger. Boston is getting two big men that can work with Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Avery Bradley as well as Garnett has.
23. Atlanta Hawks- Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
With Josh Smith wanting out of Atlanta, Atlanta could go a few ways here. They can go with another power forward, or draft a center and move their current center Al Horford to his natural spot at the four. I’m gonna say they’ll go with the second option.
Ezeli can be the center to get this Hawks team over the hump. Standing in at nearly seven feet and 255 pounds, he’s clearly got the built of the average NBA center. This past season, he’s used that built to increase his rebounding in the paint. The same can be said for his offensive game, as he used his size to his advantage.
The problem is that he’s a very raw talent with questionable post moves. During his matchup against Kentucky, Ezeli struggled trying to defend Anthony Davis. If he’s having problems guarding Davis, how will he be able to dominate other NBA centers? He also has a tough time boxing out defenders for rebounds.
He’s got a lot of room to grow, and something the Hawks have been lacking for quite some time. If they’re able to land him and trade Smith to move Horford at the four, this team can possibly get over the hump as early as next year.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers- Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
If Nicholson is available here, there should be no reason why the Cavs don’t draft him. The Bonnie has the traits to fit well with Kyrie Irving and could become one of the team’s top scorers.
Standing in at 6’9, Nicholson has great length and a post game that he’s used to his advantage his whole career. The post is where he’s scored most of his points. As recent as last year, he started to drop back more and take jumpers to develop his game to a new level.
While he’s developing more of his offensive game, Nicholson isn’t a finished product. What he needs to do to improve is cut down the turnovers. Nicholson is a passer, but his decision-making and passes are very streaky. He can have five consecutive great passes, followed by three turnovers. Let’s not forget he’s still developing a jump shot.
With Byron Scott in Cleveland, Nicholson would be a good fit. The fact that the Cavs have so many draft picks this year is a plus since he’ll build chemistry with his young teammates. Watch out for Cleveland in a few years.
25. Memphis Grizzlies- Tony Wroten, PG/SG, Washington
The Grizzlies have one of the best starting fives in the league. While they have talent at the starting positions, Memphis lacks depth behind them. Wroten would be an ideal fit to be a bench player, but could develop into a solid starter in a few years.
Ever since eighth grade, Wroten has been called one of the best talents of his class. In his only season at Washington, he showed why. Wroten showed that he gets to the rim very easy, a trait not many guards have. Standing in at 6’5, he shows great size for his position and can play the point, increasing his versatility. He’s shown that he has a great vision of the floor and can pass out of double teams, as well as develop a play on the run.
A few problems stand out when I first think of Wroten. He’s got issues with his dribble, most notably his right hand. Being a point guard as well as the two, Wroten should develop this in the NBA. With his dribbling issues come his defensive problems. Wroten has a lot of offensive skills, but he’s a one-sided player. He hasn’t used his size to his advantage defensively, as many guards he faced last year were making consistent jumpers over him.
Only 19, it’ll take a few years to develop his raw talent. The upside is there, but if the Grizzlies can be patient and groom his maturity, he’ll be a good sixth man.
26. Indiana Pacers- John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
The Pacers were one of the surprise teams of the NBA this season, finishing third in the Eastern Conference. With that, there aren’t many holes on this team. One that could open up is Leandro Barbosa, who might become a free agent. With Barbosa possibly on the move, Indiana can draft another shooter off the bench in John Jenkins.
Jenkins is literally just a scorer. He only averaged 1.1 assists his previous season at Vanderbilt, but his ability to create and finish his plays have scouts optimistic he’ll transition in the NBA just fine. Jenkins works well off screens and has a consistent jumper that never seems to disappoint.
If he gets drafted by the Pacers, he won’t have to worry about his only issues in lack of passing. It’s something he should consider if he wants to become a future starter. Another issue with Jenkins is he’s slower than your average two guard. His lack of speed could trouble him in getting past a quicker defender.
As a one-dimensional player at the moment, he’ll still make his presence felt at Indiana. Having shooters off the bench are always a necessity, and he’s just a younger Barbosa if you think about it.
27. Miami Heat- Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
While the Heat have made consecutive NBA Finals and consistently stay at the top of the Eastern Conference, they lack size. They get away with it by playing good defense led by superstars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, but it’s a bullet they can’t keep on dodging.
Melo is the type of player that can bring the Heat to a whole new level. In his sophomore season, he lost a lot of weight and helped Syracuse and their famous zone defense to the top of the country. His conditioning that many scouts questioned last year has developed drastically. Thanks to his conditioning, Melo was able to block more shots and play better defense.
Miami has to father the former Orange, as he does come along with maturity issues. He didn’t compete in the tournament this year due to low grades and won’t take responsibility for his actions. He also has issues on the offensive side of the floor, and possesses poor decision-making abilities.
Why he fits the Heat is that he won’t have to score in this system. Playing with Miami’s big three will ease the offensive workload on Melo and help him play his style of basketball. The Heat should also be able to mature him, especially if they’re a consistent winner.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder- Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
With Eric Maynor coming off a season-ending injury and Derek Fisher possibly on his way out, the Thunder lack guards off the bench. Not only do they lack the depth, but scoring off the bench too. Lamb can fill both of these voids for Oklahoma City.
Lamb really flourished as a sophomore with Kentucky this past season. Part of the reason why he’s developed into a solid shooting guard is his build. Standing in at 6’5 and with a wingspan of 6’7, he’s also pretty long. He’s a great perimeter shooter, but can also facilitate if needed.
There aren’t many concerns with Lamb if he’s drafted in this situation, but he does lack court vision. Against quicker defenders, he struggles to get past them or make a play himself. Lamb really wouldn’t be a NBA point guard since he lacks the vision. It doesn’t matter since the Thunder have one of the greatest point guards in the league behind Russell Westbrook.
In this situation, Lamb is the perfect fit. A player who can play both guards off the bench and pass with a good jumpshot is something the Thunder need and will get.
29. Chicago Bulls- Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State
I can see the Bulls going big, especially if Omer Asik gets traded to the Celtics before the draft. Chicago lacks scoring and loves big men with defensive upside and a positive basketball IQ, which is why I love Green here.
Standing in at 6’7 and 230 pounds, Green is undersized for your average power forward, but very long and athletic. His jump shot is the only thing NBA-ready, which is a big reason why he averaged 16 points per-game last season. Green is also a very good passer for a man in his position and can rebound.
Green still has a long way to develop. It doesn’t help that he isn’t explosive since he’s undersized for the four. His inability to be explosive causes him to lack a finishing move. He also wasn’t a good defender during his tenure with the Spartans.
These issues are things the Bulls are good at working with. Chicago is one of the best defensive teams in the league, and putting Green in this system will help him become a good defender. He’s a good player off the bench for the Bulls.
30. Golden City Warriors- Evan Fournier, SG, France
While my friend Mike has the Warriors taking Jeremy Lamb with the seventh pick, I can see them going with Fournier for depth reasons.
Only 19 years of age, Fournier led his team with 14 points per-game in 26 minutes. His team, Poitiers, might be at the bottom of the Pro A division, but he’s been one of their few bright spots. Fournier developed in every aspect of the game, from shooting to defensive stature. His 6’7 body is the perfect fit to play in the NBA and he continues to progress into a polished player.
While he’s developing his offense, it’s still a concern to me. His jumper can be either spot on or off by miles, which reminds me of J.R. Smith. Fournier’s shot selection also is a concern. He has issues staying balanced during his shot since he’s always forcing it, but it’s something the Warriors can work on.
Overall, Fournier’s a good player off the bench at this point. If he’s able to develop a consistent shot, he could become a solid NBA player. Not many international players succeed in the league, but he’s set to excel.