by Matt Fischer
The Draft is this week so it’s time to mock it…that is project who goes where when. There aren’t a lot of potential stars in this draft as you can tell from our Top 30 NBA Draft Prospects list so gauging each team’s opinion of a player will be difficult this year. I’m going to do it anyway. Here we go:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Nerlens Noel (C – Kentucky) Seems the Cavs have him atop their board and need a center. They’re got a great young back court and if Anderson Varejao and Noel both come back strong from injuries they will have a great rebounding team also.
2. Orlando Magic – Ben McLemore (SG – Kansas) – Orlando needs help everywhere and there isn’t one player in this draft that’ll turn them around. They grab a guy with a ton of potential and can develop him over the next couple of years into a star.
3. Washington Wizards – Otto Porter Jr. (SF – Georgetown) – He stays in DC and joins one of the league’s best young backcourts in John Wall and Bradley Beal.
4. Charlotte Bobcats – Anthony Bennett (PF – UNLV) – The Bobcats would like a guard but I think go big here instead. They grab another athletic forward to pair with MKG.
5. Phoenix Suns – Victor Oladipo (SG – Indiana) – The Suns are trying to start over and Oladipo can be the center piece of their rebuild. He’s the best prospect in the draft.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – Alex Len (C – Maryland) The Pelicans get a C to match with Anthony Davis. If these two compliment each other, they could be a force.
7. Sacramento Kings – Michael Carter-Williams (PG – Syracuse) The Kings look to be busy on draft night as they could make a couple of deals making this pick very unpredictable. If DeMarcus Cousins is dealt, they probably go big here. If not, they’ll grab a guard.
8. Detroit Pistons – Trey Burke (PG – Michigan) – The Pistons need backcourt help and will be thrilled if Burke falls to him. He should reenergize the fan base.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves – C.J. McCollum (PG – Lehigh) – They need a guard who can shoot.
10. Portland Trail Blazers – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG – Georgia)They go after a running mate for Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard.
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Steven Adams (C – Pittsburgh) – After the Andrew Bynum fiasco of last year, the Sixers will look elsewhere for an anchor in the middle. Adams could be a force.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder – Gorgui Dieng (C – Louisville) – The Thunder reach for this one but I think they’re looking for someone who can rebound and play defense and that’s what Dieng is great at.
13. Dallas Mavericks – Cody Zeller (PF – Indiana) – The Zeller slide ends here. He’ll be great backing up Dirk for a couple of seasons and learning from one of the best big man shooters ever to play.
14. Utah Jazz – Shane Larkin (PG – Miami) – The Jazz need help at this position and get a great leader in Larkin.
15. Milwaukee Bucks – Allen Crabbe (SG – California) – Crabbe can shoot and the Bucks need offense. If they can keep Brandon Jennings, these two could be a good backcourt.
16. Boston Celtics – Dennis Schroeder (PG – Germany) – Rumors have the Celtics having already told him he’s their guy. However with the Doc Rivers situation still seemingly up in the air it’s hard to say where the Celtics go here. If Rivers is out, who’s the next coach and is Garnett done in Beantown too then?
17. Atlanta Hawks – Mason Plumlee (PF – Duke) – Hawks need depth and rebounding. Plumlee should help.
18. Atlanta Hawks – Kelly Olynyk (C – Gonzaga) – He’ll be a boost to the offense and provide depth down low.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jamaal Franklin (SF – San Diego State) – The Cavs could use depth on the wing and get it here. Franklin will make a great sixth man for them.
20. Chicago Bulls – Mike Muscala (PF – Bucknell) – This is the steal of the draft. The Bulls need low post scoring and grab a guy with lottery pick talent.
21. Utah Jazz – Shabazz Muhammad (SF – UCLA) – The Jazz grab a guy with talent but off the court questions. I think going to a smaller market will help him.
22. Brooklyn Nets – Jeff Withey (C – Kansas) – He can give them depth in the post and will be a boost defensively to any team who picks him.
23. Indiana Pacers – Pierre Jackson (PG – Baylor) – I think Jackson is a stretch in round 1 but the Pacers need someone at the point. Jackson can run a team and has the burst to be a guy they could look to for points with the second unit.
24. New York Knicks – Tony Mitchell (PF – North Texas) – The Knicks roll the dice here. Not a lot of great big men left in the draft at this point. Mitchell has talent but has a lot of off the court questions.
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Erick Green (SG – Virginia Tech) – He’s a combo guard who can come off the bench and score for the Clips.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves – Reggie Bullock (SG – North Carolina) – The Timberwolves will stock up on shooters in this draft to get out of last place from the perimeter.
27. Denver Nuggets – Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG – Michigan) – He adds depth to an already deep team. His intensity will be welcome in Denver.
28. San Antonio Spurs – Lucas Nogueira (C – Brazil) – The Spurs need depth and letting him come in and learn from Tim Duncan can’t hurt.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Trevor Mbakwe (PF – Minnesota) – The Thunder can take the risk here. He could be a perfect fit for them with his energy and rebounding. He can be a huge lift and make an impact right away.
30. Phoenix Suns – Dario Saric (SF – Croatia) – The Suns get a wing who can shoot. I think they’d like a big man here but take a shooter instead.
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