Here it is just in time! The only mock draft that you really need to scan before Thursday night’s NBA Draft. Joe Bartel, the Scrivening Sports Fan, Fantasy Football Guru, and tenacious perimeter defender joins me to go through one of the deepest drafts in years. Are we experts? No. But the “experts” make wrong calls on draftees all the time, so what good is listening to them, right? It’s a lot to read through, so hopefully this nice table and my bold highlights can help you find the things you really want to know. Enjoy! We had fun doing this, despite the time-consuming nature of it.
SGSG: Cleveland Cavaliers select: Joel Embiid. Cleveland’s best player isn’t actually that good and has an uncertain future with the team. Their second-best player is dissatisfied, untapped potential. They fired Mike Brown for the second time in five years, traded for what’s left of Luol Deng, and are still trotting out Anderson Varejao. There isn’t really a plan here. So I say take Embiid, who has a legitimate shot to be the best center in the NBA someday. Parker and Wiggins will be good, but Embiid could be all-time great. The injuries terrify me, but his blend of freakish physical traits and massive upside on defense and offense make him a player that could just haunt too much if passed on. Maybe I’m being stubborn since I picked him before the news of the foot injury, but there’s just so much potential here.
JBS: Cleveland Cavs — Jabari Parker. Obviously with the news surrounding Embiid, the choice for the Cavs becomes a little easier. I come from the Ted Thompson mold: take the best player available and figure everything else out later. Even if Embiid was healthy, I believe Parker should be the number one pick. I have been flip-flopping for months but I believe Parker can provide so much versatility to an NBA team. He could realistically play four positions and I truly believe he can become a star in the NBA. He has that look, the ones that the greats such as Kobe, Lebron and Durant have mastered. Side note: I would seriously consider dealing the first overall pick for Kevin Love. I think a team of Kyrie Irving, Waiters, Free Agent Forward X, Love and Varejo could compete in the East.
SGSG: Yes, I am terrified of Joel Embiid’s injuries. I am more terrified of looking back in ten years having passed on the second Hakeem Olajuwon. Embiid’s profile is almost too good to be true. I agree that if not Embiid then it’s Parker. But aren’t you just a tad scared of what you might lose out on if you pass on Embiid?
SGSG: Milwaukee Bucks select: Jabari Parker. He’s more of a sure thing than Wiggins, and I don’t like the idea of Wiggins and the Greek Freak both trying to develop into superstars at the same time. Parker won’t be a bust and could end up being the face of the franchise right away, allowing for Mayo, Knight, and Sanders to focus on becoming the best supporting players they can be and buying some more time for the Greek Freak to reach his potential.
JBS: Bucks — Trade pick to 76ers (who select Andrew Wiggins). I am a trading machine underneath this cool exterior, so if I were the Bucks I would try and flip the second pick plus OJ Mayo and Ersan Ilyasova for the third and 10th pick. In fact this makes too much sense. With the second overall pick I believe the Sixers would absolutely select Andrew Wiggins. A roster full of Carter-Williams, Wiggins, Thadeus Young, Nerlens Noel, Oj Mayo and Ilyasova would automatically qualify for the playoffs. Not to mention excite the 76ers fan base and instantly silence tanking critics….for at least another month.
SGSG: Sounds like the Sixers are looking to trade up to guarantee they get their guy. I would like to see some sort of blockbuster scenario like the one you drew up. I just don’t think Wiggins is meant to be a Sixer (unless he gets in the type of situation you mention). As they are now, the Sixers are a place for Wiggins to pick up bad habits. We agree that he’s not going to win ROY right?
JBS: Definitely won’t be ROY. In fact, I would go as far as saying he is the worst of the “Mini-Big 3”. I am just concerned about his offensive skill-set. Everyone praised the Warriors for the Iggy deal last year, but his offensive shortcomings really hurt them when Steph and Klay went cold in the playoffs. Defense is great, but you have to provide some offensive spark as well. Just ask Iman Shumpert.
SGSG: Philadelphia 76ers select: TRADE THE PICK (Someone else drafts Andrew Wiggins). Trade the pick and pass on a chance to draft Andrew Wiggins? Yes. No way it happens, because reports are they want him really badly, but I don’t think Philly is the place for a player with somewhat untapped potential to start off. He may end up just developing bad habits (see Carter-Williams, Michael) and never become more than a run and jump guy in Philly’s up-tempo system. He needs to go somewhere with more talent where he can be a veteran’s running mate and protege, and Philly can’t sit around forever hoping for all their young talents to develop. No matter what happens, Wiggins won’t be on the board after the third pick; I just think it would work out for everyone if someone shocks the world and makes a move for him.
JBS: Milwaukee Bucks (from Sixers) — Joel Embiid. Now with all that squared away, I think the Bucks can gamble and take Embiid here. As you pointed out his physical traits are ridiculous, but something you failed to mention was his shooting range, something crucial to an NBA team nowadays. At his workout with the Sixers he was allegedly draining shots from the three point range. And with the glut of capable big men residing in Milwaukee, Embiid could even “redshirt” this year (and they could then fall back into the lottery). Everyone wins!
SGSG: Obviously if Embiid’s left at 3 I’m taking him, and the scenario you create makes some sense as Embiid learns defense from one of the association’s best (Larry Sanders) and has time to develop an offensive game that is already amazingly advanced for being so new to the game.
JBS: And by Association’s best, you mean Association’s best at smoking the Broccoli Stalk right? Seriously though, I wouldn’t be sad if the Bucks dealt Sanders too. The undrafted Russian looked promising when he played last year, and I personally like John Henson’s defensive ability more so than Sanders. I just think Sanders is a bad influence, and those kind of players can only hinder a young developing team. That’s exactly why Brandon Jennings was jettisoned. Well, that and he wasn’t very good.
SGSG: Orlando Magic select: Dante Exum. I hate that I’m going along with the experts on this one. I’m just not getting the hype on this guy. Does he look good on his highlight tapes from FIBA? Yeah, he does, but his game doesn’t say can’t miss to me. I don’t like taking foreign players this high and I don’t like combo guards, especially ones that don’t shoot jumpshots particularly well. However, I kind of like the idea of Exum and Oladipo maturing together, learning from Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo as they figure out how to best use their skill sets in the NBA. If he can dump the combo guard nonsense and become a pure point guard, his potential with that size and craftiness is something I’d take with a fourth overall pick.
JBS: Magic –Dante Exum. For once we agree! However, I think you are underselling Exum. You know I have the Australian FIBA completely covered, so I guarantee Exum will be a success. OK, not really. But from what scouts say and from what we can watch, Exum seems like the real deal. With Oladipo, Afflalo, and Tobias Harris the Magic will have quietly rebounded nicely from the Dwightmare. And by the way, the combo guard makes him more valuable, so I think it’s something that he should continue to wok on it.
SGSG: Yes, we agree, but I’m still not sold. If the Magic are going to continue to develop their young core, they need a conventional point guard, and I don’t think that’s ever going to be Victor Oladipo, so Exum needs to focus on those skills. The prospect of having a backcourt without a knockdown shooter is a little less concerning to me if one of those guards has a command of the offense. Like I said, I’m taking Exum if I’m the Magic, but not without some reservations. Also I believed you at first when you said you had FIBA covered.
JBA: I mean, I don’t even know what FIBA stands for. Wait, I probably shouldn’t admit. Regardless, I’m not worried about a limited shooting back court. If you can attack the paint relentlessly, and spread the bigs out (with Nikola Vucevic and Harris this is possible) you can still get easy buckets.
SGSG: Utah Jazz select: Nik Stauskas. And, just like that, I lose my mind and veer away from all the experts. Let me explain: Stauskas has the potential to be a really good all-around player, with good size, underrated athleticism, and an ability to distribute the ball and create his own shot. At worst he will be a great shooter, which is something the Jazz need. He also gets to reunite with his former Michigan teammate, point guard Trey Burke, who looks to have a bright future. I don’t get the Jazz taking a frontcourt player when they’ve already got Favors and Kanter. The more I think about this pick, the more I like it.
JBS: Utah Jazz –Marcus Smart. Here is my problem with your Stauskas selection; they have the exact same player in Gordon Hayward. And they are preparing to offer him a 10 million dollar contract this offseason. Therefore I think Smart could be the choice here. The Jazz need a bit of attitude, and I think Smart has that. I’m not sure how he will pair with Burke, who I think will be a better point guard than Michael Carter-Williams. The Jazz could be prime to deal for Kevin Love too. Just depends if they are interested.
SGSG: It would be a huge mistake for the Jazz to sign Hayward, who doesn’t even shoot 3s well anymore. Stauskas really expanded his game this year, and he will be a more complete player than Hayward while still being a better shooter. As much as I love Smart, I don’t think he fills a need here with Trey Burke already established. The Jazz are just in a tough spot overall as a franchise.
JBS: I agree that the Jazz are in a tough spot. Let’s just say I gurantee someone is paying Hayward 10 million a year. That’s the NBA we live in today. (Cue the crying now).
SGSG: Boston Celtics select: Doug McDermott. Why stop the madness there? I can see Doug McDermott becoming a reliable, 15-20 ppg scorer. I can also seem him getting just handled by more athletic players. But, like Stauskas, at the very least he will be an outstanding shooter. Boston needs stability, and this should be a pretty safe pick. Rajon Rondo finding McDermott for open jumpshots sounds pretty good to me. Whatever else Boston does in this rebuild, drafting a low-risk, blue collar white guy is probably a good, stable move.
JBS: Boston Celtics — Aaron Gordon. I think Boston wants to make a splash with this pick and besides Rondo, the Celtics are surprisingly bare in star power. And considering they already have a less-athletic Julius Randle in Jared Sullinger, the next star to fall would be Gordon. I don’t care for his game too much, but I don’t think Boston can afford to grab a role player like McDermott or Stauskas.
SGSG: Gordon would be a pretty good pick here. He has a pretty high ceiling, but should at least be a Kenneth Faried type player if he doesn’t pan out as a star. It’s so difficult to predict with Boston because they have a lot of big contracts, a ton of picks, one star, and the ability to trade or sign good players. With all the variables at play here, I won’t be at all surprised to see Gordon get picked by Boston. I’d certainly consider it myself.
JBS: For the record, I don’t consider Rondo a star. At all. He’s a rocket without any firepower. Pretty to look at, but no bang whatsoever.
SGSG: Sacramento Kings select: Marcus Smart. I also love Marcus Smart. Do I have concerns about body language and emotions? Sure. Have we maybe built up his value and winning acumen a little too much over the last year? Possibly. However, Smart is a hyper-competitive player who hates to lose and has the physical tools and skills to be successful as a very balanced point guard. There’s a lot of questions in Sacramento, but one thing they have going for them is DeMarcus Cousins, who can destroy opposing teams on any given night. Smart could help to secure Sacramento’s greatest asset (Cousins) by passing on his will to win and making Sacramento relevant. He even fills a roster spot, as Isaiah Thomas is a free agent.
JBS: Sacramento — Nic Stauskas. He’s best when he doesn’t have to create his shot. I see him as a white Ray Allen. Which is perfect because Sacramento already has two ball hogs in Cousins and Rudy Gay. I agree that Smart would be nice, but I think the Kings could get something for Thomas in a sign and trade. That’s neither here nor now. Stauskas is a perfect role player for a team already filled with flash.
SGSG: If Smart is off the board and Stauskas is available then I totally agree. Gay’s future is in question and the Kings will need a perimeter threat in the near future. Really I think the Kings should do whatever they think will do the most to improve DeMarcus Cousins. Side note: I think Rudy Gay has a big part to play in the NBA drama yet. If he accepts his limitations he could become one heck of a third best player on a team somewhere.
JBS: My question though, and its a biggie: Do you really want to build around a guy who has so many egregious mental lapses? He’s like a more talented Javale McGahee, and that’s not a compliment. Personally, I think Gay is another “cancer” type player, and I don’t think he could succeed, even in the Spurs offense. I don’t believe in the guy, just like I don’t believe in the Kings. It’s a match made in heaven!
SGSG: Charlotte Hornets select: Gary Harris. The newly renamed Hornets need shooting and a backcourt partner for Kemba Walker. This one seems pretty obvious to me. He also plays pretty solid defense, something Charlotte hangs their hat on. They need more guys to get buckets, and Harris is more than capable of doing so.
JBS: Hornets — Doug McDermott. If Charlotte needs more buckets (and I agree) then why not draft McBuckets? His defense is a little shadowy, but something tells me Jordan won’t care. He could be a good addition for a playoff team. I like Harris too, but this provides too much value.
SGSG: This is very likely to happen, and could create a really entertaining offense-defense tag team at small forward with McBuckets and MKG. Bottomline is Charlotte needs efficient perimeter offense, whether that be McDermott, Stauskas, or Harris.
JBS: Couldn’t agree more. And as you said, we can’t over look MKG. Might be the best defensive forward in the game today besides Lebron Mode.
SGSG: Philadelphia 76ers select: Noah Vonleh. I like the potential for a frontcourt of the future consisting of Vonleh and Nerlens Noel. He has the potential to be a fine offensive player, and he will have time to develop that game as long as Thaddeus Young is still with the team. I especially like this pick if the 76ers were to do what I said and trade Wiggins for an established player, because Vonleh won’t add 10 wins this year, but he could really be a force if he and Noel play together in the future.
JBS: Bucks (from Sixers) — Noah Vonleh. I agree with you Vonleh is dynamic. I seriously believe that he could be the best player in the draft when it’s all said and done. I’m not sure what happens with the massive amount of Bigs for the Bucks, but Ted Thompsom would be proud of this draft.
SGSG: A number of mock drafts have Vonleh going higher than this, but I don’t feel like anywhere is really a right fit. However, by pick 10, regardless of who is drafting, Vonleh is a guy you can’t pass up. Are you still taking him if you’re the Sixers at this spot?
SGSG: Denver Nuggets select Aaron Gordon. The team with Kenneth Faried drafts the next Kenneth Faried (at worst). Seems like Faried is going to get dealt sometime, and Gordon would be a great player to run with Ty Lawson and help get Denver back on track. And there’s also no way that Gordon falls any further than this. He’s only this low on my mock draft because I don’t love any other fit for him.
JBS: Denver Nuggets select Dario Saric — Here is my problem. I don’t know what the Nuggets do here. Honestly, I think the rest of the draft hinges on the Nuggets. They are one of the few teams that has the “Bucks Curse” good players, good team, just not good enough to do anything. I think they could blow up this whole team and grab two, even three first round picks. Or they could gamble it all and go after someone like Kevin Love (and do not rule this out either). Since I can’t see into the future, I’m going with what I think the Nuggets should do; blow it up. That being said, Saric is the best candidate to draft and stash. A 6’10 power forward who has excellent ball handling capabilities/passing abilities always has a place in the Association, and those type of players can be valuable to a team like the Nuggets who are on the fence.
SGSG: This is one of those picks that we’ll probably be way off on because of the recent news that Saric may wait even longer to come over to the NBA than expected. Chances are my pick (Gordon) is gone by now and Saric is passed on for a few picks.
JBS: Here’s how I look at it. If we can get a quarter of these picks right on Thursday, we should be happy. The draft is so unpredictable, and we can’t factor in trades (however, I keep spewing out different ideas in the attempt that I can have one those iconic “I told you so!” moments). And after the 20th pick, everything is up in the air. Gut feeling; this pick will belong to someone else by the end of Thursday night.
SGSG: Orlando Magic select Dario Saric. I guess I have to trust the scouts on the Croatian forward. With a plethora of young players already (and this being their second pick of the first round) the Magic could benefit from a draft and stash international. You can only develop so many young players at once, so it wouldn’t hurt for the Magic to take a chance on someone who might pay off in a big way in a few years. It seems that everyone agrees Saric is the best of this year’s international class outside of Exum.
JBS: Orlando Magic select James Young — I tend to go the other way on my thoughts about the Magic. I think they need to excite the fan base, and I think they could use some players who provide that instant, right now impact. I understand that Young might be a little high here, but I believe that the plethora of guards that are available really don’t fit what the Magic need. I will be honest, I think you are higher on Young than I am. I think he can be a great shooter, but I’m not expecting that right away in the NBA. I thought most of points came from his tremendous athleticism, which can be minimized by a great game plan in the NBA. However, besides Tobias Harris, what forwards do the Magic really have?
SGSG: Yeah I could definitely see Young getting picked much higher than I have him. Glad we agree he could be pretty darn good.
JBS: You misunderstand my selection. I think you are higher on Young than I am. I just think he fits a need for the Magic. I really don’t think his game will translate in the NBA.
SGSG: Minnesota Timberwolves select Adreian Payne. Tough to project what the Timberwolves will look like next year with a Kevin Love trade imminent. If they have this pick, I say take Payne to bring in a guy who should be able to bring valuable rebounding and shooting skills to the NBA from day one. Who knows? If the T’Wolves play their cards right, they could be set up nicely for next season and the future post-Love trade, and Payne would be a steady contributor now and then.
JBS: Minnesota Timberwolves select Gary Harris — I fully expect the Timberwolves to have close to three first round picks in this draft. And I would argue it might be more important to grab those mid-to-late lottery picks when building a team. Those players tend to provide one valuable skill set. Just ask the Bucks. Gary Harris is just a good player. It’s interesting to note that CBS Sports compares him to Aaron Affalo, and I don’t think that’s too far off. Remember though, it took a little bit of time for Afflalo to figure it out in the NBA, and I think Harris will struggle initially as well. However, I think he could be a building piece for the Wolves post Love era.
SGSG: Yes Harris will be a good player. I just think Payne is a natural replacement for Love. That being said, I really hope a deal gets done by the end of the draft. I don’t want to deal with these trade talks through the season, although the T’Wolves might in order to try to get a Godfather offer as teams get desperate.
JBS: I think it makes the most sense to trade Love now. This draft is the deepest we have seen in years, and in my mind this presents the best possible chance at gaining young, attractive names with potential. As the Kings, 76ers and Cavs have taught us, having those young prospects can keep fans from completely rebelling during extended rebuilding years. But we are in total agreement that Payne will be a player down the road.
SGSG: Phoenix Suns select Zach LaVine. This Bruin has been all over the board this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised wherever he ends up. I take him here because the Suns are going to have to give Eric Bledsoe a max deal if they want to keep him, and I don’t think that’s a great move. They should replace Bledsoe by drafting LaVine, who could be a terrific scorer in a few years, and until then he can be a maniac running around on the court with Goran Dragic creating all sorts of general inconveniences for opposing defenses.
JBS: Phoenix Suns select Rodney Hood —- I’m more curious why you think Bledsoe isn’t a max player? If you are the Suns, and you have tons of money available and no one to spend it on, why wouldn’t you pay him? It’s not like the Suns will ever sign a Lebron/Melo kind of player. Besides that, I think Rodney Hood could be a talent in this league, and I think he could instantly start for the Suns. If the Suns play this draft right, they could and probably should have one of the best rosters in the West by the end of the night.
SGSG: So we both have Hood to the Suns (at different picks). As for Bledsoe, the NBA’s salary system works out so that some max deal players like LeBron and KD are drastically underpaid and others are just barely at that same max deal level. So much of the front office deals with getting the most out of guys when they have the least expensive contracts. Perhaps Bledsoe deserves a max contract, but the value he brings to a team, especially a rebuilding team like the Suns, doesn’t add up for me. Remember that the Suns aren’t actually that good. They just happened to play well last year with great effort, great coaching, and a breakout season from Goran Dragic…. And they still missed the playoffs. They can do more with Bledsoe’s money than sign one low-end max deal guy. I like Bledsoe, just not at the tune of 18 million dollars a year.
SGSG: Atlanta Hawks select Clint Capela. I don’t know what to do with the Hawks or with this pick. So I’m taking the young man from Switzerland who has a lot of upside and can do a lot of nice things on the basketball court. Best case scenario, he becomes a worthy partner in the paint with Al Horford. Worst case scenario? The Hawks keep making the playoffs every year.
JBS: Atlanta Hawks select Zach LaVine — When you don’t know what to do, you take the best player available. I am in love with the athletic point guards who are super tall. Back in the day, I thought Shaun Livingston was going to be a can’t miss stud. I was wrong there, so I am trying to temper my expectations for LaVine. But it’s tough not to like him. There have been a lot of good guards out of UCLA lately, and I think LaVine joins the ranks very quickly. I want to be careful when I say this, but I think he could be a special athlete, like Russel Westbrook. I don’t care if the Hawks have Jeff Teague, they could always use an athlete of this magnitude.
SGSG: Nothing that happens with LaVine will surprise me. I agree with your assessment. Also I dominate with Shaun Livingston in 2K.
JBS: Right! Shaun Livingston is an awesome 2K player. Maybe not anymore, but way back in the day he was. I just need to stop right now before I make myself sound old. [Editor’s Note: No, I dominate with him in the most recent edition of 2K, like only true ballers do. Just ask the editor at BTJMO]
SGSG: Chicago Bulls select James Young. Young is one of my most favorite players in this draft class. After Julius Randle, James Young is the player I really noticed in Kentucky’s run to the national championship game, and any questions I had left were obliterated by his dunk over Brimah in the championship game. He has a terrific blend of length, athleticism, scoring instincts, and a tremendous jumpshot. Despite his rather pedestrian shooting numbers in his one year at Kentucky, many feel he will be like Bradley Beal and fulfill the expectations he had as a shooter coming out of high school. I think the Bulls are a great place for him to land, as Thibodeau will be sure to make him realize his defensive potential while allowing him to have plenty of chances on offense. We all know the Bulls need some offense. However, the Bulls are another team with a lot of variability what with that Carmelo Anthony bloke, so I highly doubt this actually happens.
JBS: Chicago Bulls select Jusuf Nurkic — I see that you have fallen into one of the classic problems where the “mock draft maker” finds a way for his/her favorite players to find the best teams. It’s something I have done way too many times in my NFL draft coverage, and it only ends up hurting me. It would be great to see Chicago take some of these intriguing talents, but sadly I believe Chicago, if they actually keep their picks, will be forced to select international players in an effort to save money for the Melo sweepstakes (this is an entirely different article topic, but in short I don’t like Melo on the Bulls). Because of that I think Nurkic is one of the best remaining international players. He is big (6’11 and 280 pounds) and could be a potentially devastating defender. I really want to stress “potentially” though. Make so mistake, Nurkic is a reach here. This might be a better indicator of what could be left for another team who trades with the Bulls. Some super duper good guards available at this spot. Man, I just wish someone like the Bucks will act as a contract absorber and garner a first round pick for their effort.
SGSG: I actually think Chicago is easily the best place for Melo to end up. We’ll have to discuss this more later. Nurkic will be a god choice for someone, but I think the Bulls should take a guy that can help in the short term in case they don’t get Melo.
JBS: I am just operating under the principle the Bulls get their man, therefore they will not have their first round picks. I was reading an interesting article on ESPN that laid out what the Bulls would have to do in order to sign Melo. All I’m going to say is, I wouldn’t do it if I were them.
SGSG: Boston Celtics select Jusuf Nurkic. If the Celtics go safe with their first pick, then they should take a chance on an international player with a lot of potential who also fills a need on their current roster. Again, a lot of variability in Boston’s future.
JBS: Boston Celtics select Elfrid Payton — There is no way Payton makes it this far but I think the Rondo-look alike will be a great fit for a team that uses Rondo very well. You know what that means right? Bye bye Rajon. And I don’t think Boston should draft safe at all. This is a chance for them to win, and win big! And your right, I’m not a huge Payton guy either. You are so good at guessing these things!
SGSG: If the Celtics don’t have Rondo then they should take a point guard. Payton or Ennis.
JBS: Agreed. And I think he will be gone at some point this year. Maybe not Thursday, but sometime before the trade deadline is up.
SGSG: Phoenix Suns select Rodney Hood. The Suns have three first round picks this year, which makes them highly likely to do some trading. If they keep three picks, I’d wait until the third one to take a gamble. Hood could be a very fine player, and could be the Suns’ answer at small forward. Consider Dragic, LaVine, and Hood together. Intriguing, no?
JBS: Phoenix Suns select Adreian Payne — When I was deciding the Suns 14th pick, I really thought about selecting Payne. I just think that he provides some toughness to the team, and I seriously believe these last four picks could/will play out this way. The thing that too few talk about with Payne is that he can stretch the floor. Watching him play against the Badgers for four years, I always thought he could be a top ten pick. To me, this pick represents too much value. I don’t think the Suns should trade these picks away for a chance at one of the top picks. They need to build on their success from last year. Besides that, Payne and Hood could represent a new wave of Suns players, creating a new type of dynasty that would rival the Run and Gun Suns of old.
SGSG: Chicago Bulls select Elfrid Payton. I’m giving the Bulls another guy I really like. He can be a very fine backup for Derrick Rose, and if Rose is never the same, Payton could be the point guard of the future. Imagine the defensive capabilities of a team with Payton, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Joakim Noah. I also think people are selling Payton’s offensive game short. How many point guards are coming into the league today with knockdown jumpshots? Not many. Some are actually developing respectable shots after joining the league (Westbrook, Rose, John Wall, Tony Parker to some extent) contrary to the thought that players can’t develop jumpshots. Payton has skills attacking and distributing despite his passive nature. Thibs will get the most out of this guy. I’m guessing you’re not as high on him considering you don’t like Rajon Rondo, and this guy is basically Rajon Rondo with a big hairstyle.
JBS: Chicago Bulls select Clint Capela — Chicago faithful aren’t going to be happy about this, but once again I believe they pick an international player. I still believe they will have to deal one of these picks in order to create space for Melo but if they are still selecting at 19 Capela is the best international player available. There is no doubt that he is a raw talent. There is also no doubt that he could be a Serge Ibaka type player.
SGSG: Toronto Raptors select Tyler Ennis. It was a fun year for the Raptors as they had a surprisingly great season. However, their long-term future is very uncertain, with just about everyone coming off the books after this year. The Raptors should draft Ennis on the chance that Kyle Lowry bolts after this year (or gets traded before then). For now, Ennis can work on his game with Lowry still the clear starter. If the Raptors end up with a drastically different roster in a year, having a smart point guard with high intangibles working alongside DeMar DeRozan is a good place to start.
JBS: Toronto Raptors select T.J. Warren — I really like Warren myself, and I like to think of him like a Rudy Gay type player, minus the selfishness and general bad attitude. Everyone raves about his competitiveness and I think those types of players are just infectious. For a rising Raptors team, I believe Warren could truly be a difference maker for years to come. However, I like your thought process behind Tyler Ennis. To me, those two players could be interchangeable at this point.
SGSG: Memphis Grizzlies select DeAndre Daniels. Obviously Daniels was very impressive in UConn’s championship run. There are plenty of questions about his game, but a nice jumpshot and impressive physical traits will make him at least a solid backup at small forward on a team that needs more depth on the perimeter and another shooter.
JBS: Memphis Grizzlies select Tyler Ennis — At this point Ennis is a style. During the college season, Ennis was considered a top ten pick, but his size seems to be the reason for the drop. I don’t see it. Besides Mike Conley, the Griz don’t have much in the way of point guard, and I think Ennis could have an immediate impact in his first year. This draft is one of the deepest that I can ever remember, considering close to 20 rookies could have an immediate impact on their teams.
SGSG: Utah Jazz select Jerami Grant. The Jazz need help at small forward, and Grant has major upside. If he doesn’t turn in to a good player, at the very least he and Jeremy Evans can have insane dunk contests before the games. And hey, maybe they could make the Jazz exciting even if they’re not very good.
SGSG: Charlotte Hornets select Kyle Anderson. Slo-Mo! You don’t have to be athletic to be effective on offense, as Boris Diaw proved this year with the Spurs. Anderson is a great match for the Hornets, as his terrific passing ability at his size, along with an ability to score, makes him another option for a Charlotte team that struggles to score. He can also handle the point guard duties at times and allow Kemba Walker to play off the ball, a look that could prove effective. Charlotte’s great defense can afford trying to hide Anderson and his defensive shortcomings.
JBS: Charlotte Hornets select Shabazz Napier — Napier just has an attitude about him. I think he actually thinks he is the best player on the court at all times. He’s wrong, but you got to love that thought process. Doesn’t he just seem like a Michael Jordan mindset kind of guy? I’m sure Kemba would like to have a fellow alum in the backcourt with him. It’s not like Napier needs to start. In fact, all he has to provide is ten to fifteen minutes of energy and excitement and this pick will be a success.
SGSG: Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier have been college basketball’s two greatest gifts to sports since 2010. Good call here; he’d fit well with Charlotte.
JBS: Right? Why aren’t more people talking about this kind of pick? It would be perfect!
SGSG: Houston Rockets select K.J. McDaniels. Super athletic wing who could become a lockdown defender on a team that has James Harden and might end up losing Chandler Parsons. He may not become an offensive threat, but the Rockets could use his athleticism and defense on the perimeter. They don’t necessarily need more offense.
JBS: Houston Rockets select K.J McDaniels — this pick just makes too much sense. I think Chandler Parsons could be a goner after this year as well, making McDaniels a crucial choice. In fact, I feel like this pick is one of those rare match-made-in-heaven kind of picks. I think you undervalue McDaniels athleticism. To say that he is “super athletic” is like saying Wolverine is “badass.” Well, yeah, but come on, the guy has knives that come out of his hands and he says things like “Watch it Bub!” After this we should draft our favorite X-Men!
SGSG: I’ll package Colossus, a current first-rounder, a future first-rounder, and cash considerations for Wolverine and the draft rights to Nightcrawler. Deal?
JBS: There are rumors surrounding Nightcrawler that he may forgo his senior year with the X-Men in favor of joining the priesthood. While I believe that would be the wrong choice for his future prospects, he has to do what he thinks is best for himself. Colossus is enticing, but I would rather have Kitty Pryde because of her versatility. Well and the fact that she can phase through walls.
SGSG: Miami Heat select Mitch McGary. He doesn’t offer the type of rim-protection the Heat need, but at this place in the draft you’re not going to get a rim protector that isn’t a project or that doesn’t have major offensive deficiencies. McGary can be the big man the Heat need who will do a little of everything. He will work hard, set good screens, get easy buckets, play smart defense, and do whatever his older teammates need him to do. Once thought to be a lottery pick, McGary is a steal this far in the draft, and if he’s still available the Heat would be crazy to pass on him.
SGSG: Phoenix Suns select Thanasis Antetokounmpo. If the Suns have three first round picks, they have to gamble on one of them. No way the second Greek Freak is available the next time they pick at 50, so they might as well reach for him here. After seeing what his younger brother did and can do, someone is going to draft Thanasis, whose length, athleticism, and high work rate give him great potential defensively and as an offensive threat in transition and attacking the basket. It’s worth a shot.
JBS: Phoenix Suns select Jarnell Stokes — This would be the third forward I have selected for the Suns which shows my belief in Bledsoe. Stokes has kind of been climbing up the board in recent weeks mainly because he is good at many things but great at nothing. He certainly isn’t a flashy pick, but at this point in the draft you are trying to find one skill that a player can excel with. This is where you say, “Wait Joe, I thought you said he isn’t great at anything?” I did, but I believe Stokes COULD be great at a variety of things. He has the potential to be super great at something; he just isn’t there yet.
SGSG: Stokes could be one of those players that ends up having a very nice, consistent 10-15 year career. But come on, you’re taking a chance on Antentokounmpo aren’t you?
JBS: I don’t think I’m taking a chance on him until the second round. Just because he is related to The Greek Freak, doesn’t mean he has the same kind of mindset or athleticism. However Kostas Antetokounmpo, his younger player who is currently playing for Whitefish Bay Dominican High School, has a much better chance of making it to the pros. Shout-out to my buddy who thinks he can get an autograph from The Freak by stalking his younger brother at Dominican games. It’s never going to happen!
SGSG: Los Angeles Clippers select Kristaps Porzingis. No need for a young player right now. Draft on potential. Bring him over later.
SGSG: Oklahoma City Thunder select Walter Tavares. They’ll need a center sooner rather than later. Might as well take a shot on a guy with a lot of potential.
JBS: Oklahoma City Thunder select Jermai Grant — Some teams know what to do with the players they have. Other teams just draft players based on potential and hope their skills fit with their system. And then some teams just get it right regardless. For the longest time, the Thunder were one of those teams. Now they are reeling from the Harden deal and looking for a spark. Grant could provide that. I know he plays the same position as Durant, but I think that actually benefits Grant. He might be better served playing in the D-League for a couple of years and then finding a niche on a hopefully dangerous 2016 Thunder squad.
SGSG: San Antonio Spur select Shabazz Napier. At worst, the national champion becomes a replacement for Patty Mills as a sharpshooter to finish off possessions of beautiful ball movement. At best? He fills Tony Parker’s shoes in a few years.
SGSG: I think you are underselling yourself at least. You seem like one of those guys that has potential…to be the next Brian Scalabrine! I love watching his highlight films. I can’t help but laugh every time.
There were a few guys that I want to see get drafted that I don’t think will. Here are our thoughts on DeAndre Kane and Aaron Craft.
SGSG: DeAndre Kane, Iowa State. I’m shocked that Kane isn’t higher on draft boards. It sounds like his age (25) is what is hurting him the most. The thing is, Kane plays like his age, and I mean that in a good way. He was clearly the leader on a very good Iowa State team, leading them through a successful March campaign, running the offense and making big-time shots. He’s athletic, has improved as a shooter, and can lead. If Napier and Ennis are off the board by the time the Spurs get to pick, I’d seriously consider reaching for Kane. I was just really impressed by him.
JBS: I will be honest, I couldn’t even find him on ESPN’s scouting list, and I didn’t remember him much as a college player. I had to do a little more digging to figure out what kind of player he was. But I think you said it yourself, age plays a factor. Why would you gamble a late first round pick on a guy who won’t crack a starting rotation until he is 27 or 28. Financially, it just doesn’t make much sense. His peak will be long gone by the time he is allowed to make a difference on a team. I don’t even think he gets drafted. He might be better served making some money for a European team and making a name for himself that way.
SGSG: Aaron Craft, Ohio State. No, I don’t think Craft will ever be a solid NBA player. But he could be. Anytime you work really hard and play unselfishly, you have a place on the basketball court. He’s more athletic than people think. If he can develop any sort of jumpshot, and if his defense transfers to the NBA, he could hold on to a roster spot. I like him a lot as a human being, and I’d just like to see him get the opportunity to make it in the NBA.
JBS: I feel like he played for Ohio State for 10 years. I swear he was guarding Alando Tucker back in 2003. I like his leadership skills and his tenacity to win, but the announcers during a Wisconsin-Ohio State game have totally ruined him for me. They would act like Craft was some sort of godsend as he dribbled between his legs and wildly missed a layup. I don’t think he has a chance in the NBA.