1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Len, Maryland – C
The Cavaliers might opt for the safe pick and it looks like he is the new consensus #1 pick on many mock drafts. The man is 7’1″ and can not only block shots, but has a rising offensive game, something that Nerlens Noel doesn’t have. Noel also has a lot of red flags due to injuries and with the Cavaliers looking to make a jump into the playoffs, Noel’s lack of offense and injury concerns just don’t bode well for the Cavaliers
2. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky – C
With talks of Eric Bledsoe being traded to the Magic, there’s no need for the Magic to go after Trey Burke, my initial second pick. While the Cavaliers passed up Noel due to his lack of offense and injury concerns, there’s no defensive force in this draft greater than Noel. Drafting Noel can give the Magic a defensive big man, something the team doesn’t have. The amount of rebounds the pair of Noel and Nikola Vuvecic can pull down next year is a scary thought and the two can give the Magic the frontcourt of the future. Glen Davis, who is relatively undersized, also becomes expendable and can help the Magic with their efforts to acquire Eric Bledsoe, or any other veteran.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown – SF
Nothing changes with this pick and my explanation for this pick won’t change either because of that. Let’s assume the Wizards keep this pick instead of cashing it in for Luol Deng. Porter has the size at the wing position the Wizards so desperately need, something McLemore doesn’t have. McLemore’s poor shoting at the combine also draws red flags for the Wizards. Standing at 6’9″ and with a wingspan measuring 7’1″, Porter will be able to dominate players defensively at his position. He’s also a very versatile player as he can drive to the hoop, drain the outside shot, pass the ball and pull down boards.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas – SG
There’s no way the Bobcats are going to let a talented player like McLemore slip all the way down to the forth pick. Despite his poor disappointing workouts, the marriage between McLemore and the Bobcats is inevitable. McLemore can get buckets and has some mad range. He will take the scoring load off of Kemba Walker and give him a go-to-guy to dish the ball off to.
5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, Indiana – SG
It’s safe to say Wesley Johnson isn’t going to pan out as a starter in the NBA and Oladipo is the perfect player to take the court right away and make an impact. He may lack size, but he doesn’t lack drive as his competitive motor can motivate his teammates (the Suns frankly don’t have a true leader). Oladipo is also a very athletic scorer and while his assist-to-turnover ratio may not be pretty, it sure as heck beats Michael Beasley’s assist-to-turnover ratio. Oladipo also provide a more than serviceable defender by combining his hustle, athleticism and defensive awareness.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Bennett, UNLV – PF
There’s no need to pick Trey Burke here. I might be the only person that has confidence in Grevis Vasquez as a floor general and the stats can’t be ignored. The man averaged 13.9 points and nine assists last year and as a floor general, the goal is to make plays and the assists number speaks for itself. Case closed. Now the Pelicans are looking to find a player that can pair with Anthony Davis in the frontcourt since Ryan Anderson is more serviceable off the bench. Bennett is perfect for the Pelicans. He has a knack for scoring that Davis doesn’t really have, not to mention an outside shot. Bennett is more than capable than crashing the glass and his athleticism can’t be ignored.
7. Sacramento Kings: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG/SG
The Kings don’t really have a prime scoring guard and while Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Willams may be options for Sacramento, the Kings can’t ignore McCollum and his scoring knack. He would be an immediate upgrade over Marcus Thorton, who may be a better option off the bench anyways. It also doesn’t look like Tyreke Evans can be trusted with the scoring load and he may benefit with McCollum focusing on getting the ball inside the basket. Isaiah Thomas has done well for the Kings and it doesn’t hurt to trust him for another season.
8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, Michigan – PG
Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight are nowhere close to being floor generals and the Pistons need a guy that can run the offense. Trey Burke and the Pistons are a match made in heaven. Burke is the textbook point guard as he picks and chooses his shots, stretches defenses with a three point touch and focuses on setting up his teammates. Drafting Burke can shift Knight to shooting guard, a position that suits him much better. He can also provide Detroit with a leader, something this team lacks. I also should mention that Burke played in Michigan and the Pistons aren’t about to pass on in-state talent.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Georgia, SG
I like Alexey Shved, but I think he’s better served off the bench. It also doesn’t look like Brandon Roy is ever going to be the same player (or even an NBA player at all) he was back in Portland. Caldwell-Pope’s stock has been rising and the T’Wolves should take it. The man has got some range and will give the T’Wolves another long range option, which is something they didn’t have at the guard position. Not only does Caldwell-Pope serve as a threat offensively, but defensively as well. He averaged two steals a game in college and will finally give the T’Wolves a solid perimeter defender in the backcourt.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh – C
This pick isn’t going to change frankly because the Trail Blazers absolutely need a defensive precense, something that not only Meyers Leonard doesn’t have, but Cody Zeller also lacks. This guy averaged two blocks a game in college and can defend the paint better than LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J Hickson, who is probably on his way out of Portland.
11. Philadelphia 76ers : Shabazz Muhammad – UCLA, SG
Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young just aren’t that threatening as scorers. Muhammad would be an upgrade over Nick Young and Jason Richardson in not only scoring, but upside. He can provide the 76ers with a top scoring option and a go-to-guy for Jrue Holliday. I don’t think the 76ers completely withdraw from the Andrew Bynum project and if he doesn’t play, they stick with Spencer Hawes for one more year, who had a solid season last year for Philly.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cody Zeller – Indiana, C
What Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins lack, Cody Zeller has. Zeller is an incredibly refined offensive player. Pair that with his size and the Thunder finally have a low post presence they didn’t have in Kendrick Perkins. He is also serviceable as a textbook big man as he can swat shots and pull down boards as well. With Kendrick Perkins an overpaid space waster, it’s time for the Thunder to move on from him.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams – Syracuse, PG
While the Mavericks can oggle over an elite guard like Chris Paul or Deron Williams, the chances are slim they get one. With Darren Collison basically packing his bags as I type, Carter-Williams is an appealing option for Dallas. He has size no Maverick point guard has ever had along with a knack for finding the open man. Combine his size with his consistent defense and the Mavericks have a deadly perimeter defender. There just aren’t point guards as big as him. The Mavericks have had success with a traditional floor general manning the point and Carter-Williams is a good fit.
14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin – Miami, PG
This guy’s draft stock has skyrocketed and there’s not a chance the Jazz risk taking him seven picks later. Larkin is an absolute monster athlete and a good floor general.The Jazz, with all their low post monsters, should pick Larkin due to his shooting range. It can help create opportunites for the rotation of big men they have. Larkin can also provide solid perimeter defense for the Jazz. It’s time for the Jazz to move on from Mo Williams and look ahead to the future.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dennis Schroeder – Germany, PG
Out of the trio of Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and J.J Reddick, someone is going to leave. With that in mind, whoever decides to stay should be provided with some support. Schroeder is more of a pure point guard than Brandon Jennings and if he returns, he can turn into a shooting guard, a position that fits him more aptly. Schroeder also provides the Bucks with some solid perimeter defense with a knack of swiping the ball.
16. Boston Celtics: Rudy Gobert – France, C
Gobert looks like the center of the future for the Celtics. With Kevin Garnett not getting any younger, the Celtics can take time to develop Gobert into the defensive behemoth he is slated to become. Garnett can mentor Gobert to be a solid defensive player. He is a solid inside scorer and can defend the paint well due to his size (he is seven feet tall). While he can’t stretch out defenses, he won’t have to thanks to the surplus of shooters the Celtics possess.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric – Croatia, SF/PF
The Hawks have a gaping hole at the small forward position and Saric can fill that role quite well. He is a smart player who can pick his spots on offense and provide a scoring boost when needed or put himself in position to pull down boards, which are two things Saric is capable of doing. He can help set up his teammate as he is a reliable passer and can play both forward positions, which is convenient for the Hawks with their massive amounts of salary cap and a desire to sign a big free agent.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Kelly Olynyk – Gonzaga, C
While Al Horford can be the rim protector, Olynyk would fit in well as scoring big man. He can shoot the ball from anywhere on the court, even the three point line. He will be able to stretch out the defense with the range he has and With the Hawks pursuing Dwight Howard, Olynyk could be a good spark plug off the bench if the Hawks end up signing Howard.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jamaal Franklin – SDSU, SG/SF
Alonzo Gee shouldn’t be in any starting lineup, so it’s safe to say the Cavs are going after a small forward with this pick. With a serious knack for scoring, Franklin would be a great pick for Cleveland. Pairing him and Dion Waiters will give Cleveland some serious scoring threats at the wing positions. He is also no defensive liability as he averaged 1.6 steals per game in college. I didn’t even mention how he averaged over nine boards a game, but now that I did, it’s basically a no-brainer the Cavaliers take this guy if he falls into their lap.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tim Hardaway Jr. – Michigan, SG
With the failed Rip Hamilton experiment, the Bulls are, again, searching for the two guard that can shoot the long ball. Hardaway Jr. is the perfect fit for this Bulls team. Hardaway Jr. isn’t only a great shooter, but a solid passer as well. He can take pressure off of Derrick Rose to handle the ball all the time. As the Bulls try to assemble a championship squad, a competitor like Hardaway Jr. is key as he helped lead Michigan to a National Championship appearance.
21. Utah Jazz: Ricky Ledo – Providence, SG
I still don’t believe Alec Burks is going to pan out as a player. He can team up with Shane Larkin and create a backcourt with some serious range. If they still believe in Burks, it doesn’t hurt to give to give him some competition for the starting shooting guard spot. What Ledo has over Burks is serious upside and he can turn out to be the steal of the draft.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Gorgui Dieng – Louisville, C
The Nets need another big man to join forces with Brook Lopez and Dieng is the guy the Nets are looking for. He is a force in the paint as a shot blocker and rebounder. Dieng also isn’t limited to the low post as he has a solid mid range jumper. Dieng is a good passer for a big man and can shift Brook Lopez to the power forward position. The combo of Dieng and Lopez will make the paint a danger zone for opponents.
23. Indiana Pacers: Mason Plumlee – Duke, PF
David West is scheduled to come off the books this summer. Whether he resigns with the Pacers or not, Plumlee is the right pick for the Pacers. He is another force in the paint as a rebounder and a shot blocker. Plumlee has a solid mid range game who can move around the court and handle the ball. If West decides to stay, he can be a valuable asset off the bench. If West decides to pack his bags, Plumlee can start and learn on the job, as seen with his praise for being a hard worker.
24. New York Knicks: Allen Crabbe – California, SG
With J.R. Smith set to seek out a bigger contract, Crabbe is a good fit in the blue and orange. Like Smith, Crabbe can score from anywhere on the court whether it’s slashing to the hoop or popping the corner pocket three. He is also another guard who can rebound for his position after averaging 6.1 rebounds last year.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock – North Carolina, SG
With Chauncey Billups looking elsewhere, the Pacers will need to find a replacement and Bullock fits the bill. He is a sharpshooter from the three point line and can crash the glass well for his size. He is a very underrated defender and a solid athlete for his size. The Clippers can start him right away and he will be able to produce, while keeping Jamal Crawford in his more useful sixth man role.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sergey Karasev – Russia, SF
Andre Kirelinko isn’t getting any younger, so why not pass the torch to another Russian small forward? Karasev has got mad range and a quick lefty release. He is also a solid passer and a very intelligent player. While Kirelinko is still with the Timberwolves, Karasav can serve as a shooter off the bench. Given the Timberwolves injury history, there’s no doubt Karasev is going to get minutes with the Timberwolves.
27. Denver Nuggets: Lucas Nogueira – Brazil, C
Noguiera is a project and he is likely to be kept overseas for a couple seasons, but the Nuggets will make this pick since they have time. The team is loaded with talent and Nogueira plays the team’s weakest position: center. While Javale McGee and Kosta Kofous will do a decent job holding down the fort in the United States, Noguiera is a big man who has a solid inside game. He can team up with Kenneth Faried in the future to provide a low post presence that pairs well with all of Denver’s shooters. Noguiera is developing other aspects of his game, but given his size and potential, he can be one of the biggest steals in the draft.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Giannis Antetokoumpo - Greece, SG/SF
The Spurs search for the next Manu Ginobili begins and ends with Antetokoumpo. He is a great athlete and playmaker who can score inside the paint well. Antetokoumpo, like Ginobili, will take a couple years before he will be able to come into the NBA. Given time, he will pair well with Kahwi Leonard as athletic wing players for the Spurs.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tony Snell – New Mexico, SG
The search for the next Thunder sixth man begins with Kevin Martin expected to search for a bigger contract elsewhere and while Jeremy Lamb seems like the next sixth man, he has a lot of development to do before he takes on that responsibility. Snell, like Martin and former Thunder sixth man James Harden, is a sharpshooter who can get to the basket when needed. Along with his scoring ability, Snell is a solid defender and can provide enough defensive relief when Thabo Sefalosha is on the bench.
30. Phoenix Suns: Tony Mitchell – North Texas, SF/PF
Whether the Suns are sick of Michael Beasley, Luis Scola or the Morris brothers, Mitchell is a prime pick for the last pick in the first round. This guy can provide the Suns for a serious shot blocking threat for his size. He can also pull down boards and provide the Suns with a solid slasher on the wing or frontcourt. Whoever the Suns are trying to replace, choosing Tony Mitchell to do so is the best idea for this club.
About the Author
Written by Mark Kim
A student at the University of Missouri-Columbia looking to major in Sports Journalism.