The difference in writing an NBA mock draft and an NFL draft is that most of the picks will be traded on draft night. I had thought about predicting trades, but that would have been too hard to do. The draft order is accurate to around 24 hours before the draft starts.
This will be horribly wrong shortly after I send it to Adam. If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how wrong it turned out to be.
1) New Orleans – Anthony Davis, F, Kentucky
Would the Unibrow have benefited from another year in college? I’ve been pro-age limit for a long time now. But it seems like the only ones benefiting from it would be the NCAA.
2) Charlotte – Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas
It would seem ironic that MJ is a terrible GM, considering how good of a player he was. But Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird, and numerous other players turned GMs would suggest it isn’t. I don’t believe in karma, but I am very glad that the Bobcats didn’t get the #1 pick. They have to be the worst team in many years. At least the Jordanless Bulls had an excuse.
3) Washington – Bradley Beal, G, Florida
The Wizards are locked into Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza’s contracts after stupidly trading for them. And they’re capped out now.
4) Cleveland – Harrison Barnes, F, North Carolina
I don’t get how so many teams can look at Barnes’ athletic ability and ignore all the evidence against him. He’s been the most over-hyped player in the NCAA in years. And yet he’s a top 5 pick?
5) Sacramento – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G, Kentucky
How MKG falls to the Kings I don’t know. He won’t be a star, but he’s going to be a valuable part of a contender for many years. And though the Kings could really use some chemistry improvements with DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans already there, their winning days will likely come in Anaheim. (Seriously.)
6) Portland (from Brooklyn) – Damien Lillard, G, Weber State
It’s odd to type “Brooklyn” for the Nets. It’s even odder for them to trade away a lottery pick for three months of Gerald Wallace.
7) Golden State – Terrence Ross, G, Washington
The Warriors usually have a player they like and will take over any other. Ike Diogu, Patrick O’Bryant, and Klay Thompson come to mind.
8) Toronto – Dion Walters, G, Syracuse
Walters has a promise from a lottery team. The only one he’s worked out for is the Raptors. Connect the dots.
9) Detroit – Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
Drummond’s far more likely to be Kwame Brown than Dwight Howard. But his size would allow the Pistons to move Greg Monroe out.
10) New Orleans (from Minnesota through LA Clippers) – Austin Rivers, G, Duke
The next Monta Ellis? With the Hornets he’d be in the situation to score 20 a game.
11) Portland – Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
It’s interesting how the Blazers whiffed on both MJ and Durant, for virtually the same reasons. Though everyone ripping them for the Greg Oden pick has to remember that Oden was actually a very good college player.
12) Houston (from Milwaukee) – John Henson, F, North Carolina
This trade happened as I was finishing up the article, and I almost decided to just ignore it. But I doubt that the Rockets actually use any of these picks in the end. I will still predict them though.
They’re trying to move up and get a few top 10 picks. Said picks, and a few players (Kyle Lowry?), would be going to Orlando for Dwight Howard. And why not? They have to make a splash. The worst thing to be in the NBA is in the middle for years with no future.
13) Phoenix – Jeremy Lamb, G, Connecticut
14) Milwaukee (from Houston) – Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
15) Philadelphia – Arnett Moultrie, F, Mississippi State
16) Houston (from New York) – Moe Harkless, F, St. John’s
17) Dallas – Kendall Marshall, G, North Carolina
18) Houston (from Utah through Minnesota) – Marquis Teague, G, Kentucky
19) Orlando – Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
20) Denver – Perry Jones, F, Baylor
Quickly: Lamb, who Adam interviewed last week, has been linked with the Suns through workouts. Zeller, whom Adam interviewed in April, fills a need for the Bucks with Bogut gone. Moultrie would look good next to Spencer Hawes in a 76ers uni. Harkless should be fine anywhere he plays, which will likely not be for the Rockets.
The Mavericks need a PG, and of course they want D-Will. And they’ll probably get him, leaving the Nets with Brook Lopez and MarShon Brooks to open the Barclays.
Considering Orlando probably will have Houston’s pick, it makes sense for them to take Teague and put him behind Jameer Nelson for a few years. And his teammate ain’t bad either. If only Otis Smith hadn’t capped the team out with contracts that somehow do not include a long-term Dwight Howard deal.
As for the Nuggets, at this point in round 1 it’s unlikely a team will get a good player. Why not roll the dice on Jones if he drops this far?
21) Boston – Royce White, G, Iowa State
22) Boston (from LA Clippers through Oklahoma City) – Andrew Nicholson, F, St. Bonaventure
Back-to-back picks for the Celtics. White has a promise and it’s supposed to be from them. All he needs is to do is remember that statistically he’s more likely to die driving to games than flying. Nicholson’s been rising and may not be around at 22, but it seems like he’s been projected to Boston for months now. I wrote about him when I was live-blogging the NCAA tournament.
23) Atlanta – Tony Wroten, G, Washington
Ever since the Hawks passed up Chris Paul to take Marvin Williams they’ve needed a PG. That, by the way, would be the worst decision of the 2005 draft, if the Clippers hadn’t passed up a falling Danny Granger to take Yaroslav Korolev. Who? Exactly.
24) Cleveland (from LA Lakers) – Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State
Every draft has a player that inexplicably slides, and this year’s appears to be Sully, whose back has scared off enough teams.
If he wants to make money he should hope that he falls out of round 1 entirely. Then he can get taken early in round 2 and (maybe) play well enough to get a big contract in year 3. Just like Steve Novak. Yes, the money isn’t guaranteed, but Sullinger’s a good enough player that he should be able to overcome that.
25) Memphis – Doron Lamb, G, Kentucky
Kentucky has five freshmen that will likely go in round 1. Lamb is the one that might fall out. But I’d be surprised if teams let a national champion frosh drop very far, and the Grizzlies need more guards.
26) Indiana – Draymond Green, F, Michigan State
27) Miami – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
The Pacers were a surprise last season and nearly took out the team behind them. One of their few needs is at wing.
The Heat need a center badly. Joel Anthony and the RuPaul of big men can’t cut it. (Yes, I’m bitter that LeBron has a title now.)
28) Oklahoma City – Evan Fornier, G, France
The lone foreigner in this year’s first round. And if the Thunder decide to take a college guy instead this will be the first year in almost 20 years without a foreign player in round 1. It’s a far cry from the early 2000s.
(Yes, I know that Melo is actually Brazilian, but he played college basketball. And using the strict definition of “foreign” as “any man not born in the United States” makes both Tim Duncan and Patrick Ewing foreigners.)
29) Chicago – Tyshawn Taylor, G, Kansas
Insurance for Derrick Rose. I know Taylor probably won’t go until the middle of round 2. But he’ll be much better than many of the guys taken before him. I hope some team realizes that.
30) Golden State (from San Antonio) – Quincy Miller, F, Baylor
Miller should go a lot earlier than this, but a torn ACL drops him to the end of round 1.
The Knicks have a mid-second round pick, and my guess would be yet another center. Maybe Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt) if he drops, or Bernard James (Florida State).
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