The NBA Draft is tonight. What’s going to happen?
Andy G and I look into Punch-Drunk Wolves’ crystal ball (an old fishbowl with a goldfish floating belly up) and weigh in on the prospects. Let us know which ones we’re wrong on in the comments.
1. Hornets – Anthony Davis
2. Bobcats – Thomas Robinson
3. Wizards – Bradley Beal
4. Cavs – Harrison Barnes
5. Kings – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Analysis: Obviously Davis goes Number One – end of story, there. The Cats are in a tough spot holding that second pick. Who is the best guy to quote, end quote, “build around?” Maybe Harrison Barnes? I really don’t know — by MJ’s own doing, that franchise has very little by way of NBA-caliber players (unless Ben Gordon has a resurrection of sorts, but I won’t hold my breath.) Andy Katz broke a story today that Sam Presti is enamored with Beal and is thinking about trading what would have to be James Harden to move up. If I’m Charlotte, I do that 11 times out of 10. James Harden is and will be better than anybody the Cats can get with their pick. The only reason Presti would do this is to buy an additional three years of managed salary cap. Thomas Robinson, whom the Cats are reportedly going to take if they keep their pick, is not a guy you start from scratch with. He’s fine and he’ll do okay there, but he and Biyombo will be the most easily defended front line in NBA history. MKG, to wrap this up, is the type of player that Sacramento needs–particularly if it can move Tyreke Evans, whose shooting woes would make a rough pairing with Kidd-Gilchrist. But if they can get something like Isiah Thomas/Jimmer & Thornton as the backcourt, with DeMarcus up front and MKG as the glue? I like it.
6. Trailblazers – Damien Lillard
7. Golden State – Meyers Leonard
8. Toronto – Dion Waiters
9. Detroit – Austin Rivers
10. New Orleans – Terrance RossAnalysis: This is the second tier. The Trailblazers need a point guard, and it isn’t Kendall Marshall, so Lillard is the right pick for them. Meyers Leonard’s upside is higher than Tyler Zeller’s, and Golden State needs a guy like him to spot Biedrins at the 5. Toronto’s pick, number 8, is where it gets tough: Dion Waiters is a decent pick–if they’re ready to give up on DeMarcus DeRozen. Should they give up on DeRozen? I’m not sure. DeRozen has shown signs of progress the last couple of years. Dion Waiters is another question altogether. I get that he’s being compared to lots of great combos–including D-Wade–but the fact of the matter is, it’s hard for a Wolves fan to like a ‘Cuse player recently other than Carmelo Anthony–whom we’ve never had the pleasure of calling a Wolf. I consider Waiters a high risk in the lottery. Austin Rivers could replace Ben Gordon in Detroit–sort of. He’ll be behind Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey almost surely. Would he eventually crack the starting five? Maybe. But it isn’t a sure thing. It’s hard to get excited about a pick like Rivers here when there are as many question marks as there are. Terrance Ross to New Orleans? We’re assuming here that NO loses Eric Gordon. That seems like a safe assumption. Can Ross fill Gordon’s shoes? Doubtful, unless Gordon’s injury issues persist.
11. Blazers – Andre Drummond
12. Rockets (via Bucks) – John Henson
13. Suns – Jeremy Lamb
14. Bucks (via Rockets) – Perry Jones III
15. Sixers – Tyler Zeller
Analysis: No way Drummond falls this far. In fact, Portland might take him at 6, instead of 11. I just watched TOM PENN! explain on ESPN that he’d take Drummond over Thomas Robinson. So there you go. Rockets take Henson as an upside pick of sorts who could play next to either Patterson or Scola (or Dwight Howard, even!) Suns are in desperate need for youth and potential; Lamb provides both. The Bucks roll the dice on PJ3. Either Scotty Skiles makes him or breaks him. Answer this: with all of the (justified) hype surrounding The Unibrow and what he’ll do to modern NBA defense, why can’t Perry Jones be something of a poor man’s version of that? The guy measured over 6’10” without shoes and jumps almost 40”. He’s a freak of nature — you’re telling me Scott Skiles couldn’t beat him (possibly with a bat, or other weapon) into being the baddest pick-and-roll defender in the Midwest? (Admittedly, unless we’re counting Chicago this might not be the most impressive honor in sports.) I like the idea of PJIII being groomed as a defensive specialist–defending 4’s in theory, but roaming all over the place in practice. Sixers take Zeller because they don’t have a glaring need and he’s the best player on the board.
16. Houston – Arnett Moultrie
17. Dallas – Moe Harkless
18. Houston – Jared Sullinger
19. Orlando – Marquis Teague
20. Denver – Terrance Jones
Analysis: Houston needs talent. Moultrie and Sullinger both play the same position. And they play the same position as Luis Scola. All that doesn’t matter. I sort of think that Daryl Morey will draft based on BPA, and these guys are it. Orlando needs a better point guard, or at least a substitute for Jameer Nelson. I think Teague is being way underrated in this draft. He has the size and skills to be a top prospect, which he would’ve been if he’d have stayed in school another year. I don’t expect Jones to do much of anything in the NBA.
21. Celtics – Royce White
22. Celtics (via Clippers) – Tony Wroten Jr.
23. Hawks – Andrew Nicholson
24. Cavs (via Lakers) – Will Barton
25. Grizzlies – Draymond Green
Analysis: It’ll piss me off to see Boston get another Minnesota star, especially one that’s home grown like Royce. I don’t know that he’ll be a good, or even decent pro. But I’m really excited to find out. He’s got some weird combination of Anthony Mason, Scottie Pippen, Boris Diaw and every other point forward I’m not thinking of who dominates games with size and passing. When asked whether he prefers playing the 3 or 4, he answers that he prefers to play the 1. A lot has been written about his anxiety disorder, but he seems to manage it and I don’t think it’ll be an issue. His history of criminal behavior is a red flag, but he went incident-free at Iowa State and seems to be on the right track. White could end up being the second-best player in this draft. Or a sub-mediocre one, if his shooting woes plague his offense. As for the rest of these picks? Wroten doesn’t make sense for Boston, except that he totally does. You say Doc Rivers can’t play 3 guards who can’t shoot? He says he can. And he will. And it will probably work. Wroten got huge praise from Jay Bilas today, who thinks he could be a beast in the NBA. None of us (I don’t think?) will be surprised when Rajon Rondo finally wears out his welcome with the Celtics brass. When that time comes, they’ll be happy to have another of his type ready to roll. Don’t know much about Nicholson, purely relying on Chad Ford there. Barton gets major props at Canis Hoopus, leading me to believe he shows up well in statistical measures. Bilas also had good things to say about him. Draymond Green on the Grizzlies. Not sure I can imagine one player in the draft fitting in better with a specific pro team. When the annual Grizzlies Major Injury occurs, Green and his Spartan-tested physicality will make the transition a seamless one.
26. Pacers – Quincy Miller
27. Heat – Fab Melo
28. Thunder – Scott Machado
29. Bulls – Evan Fournier
30. Warriors (via Spurs) – Jae Crowder
Analysis: Quincy Miller seems like a Pritchard kind of guy: high upside, bad knees. Maybe he’ll pan out for a season or two, and allow Pritch to move Danny Granger or Paul George to a team like Minnesota. Fab Melo would be a solid pick for Miami at 27, and they could use some size up front. I’ll be completely honest and admit to never having seen Scott Machado or EVAN FOURNIER play. But I read good things about both and feel like each is a potentially high upside pick at a position of need for the Thunder and Bulls, respectively. Don’t sleep on Scott Machado. Jae Crowder is currently projected by ESPN to go at #56 to Toronto, but I could imagine the Warriors taking him just so he could occasionally score lots of points alongside Stephen Curry–which, of course, would have hordes of Wolves fans waking up in cold sweats.