OK – here is our 2nd mock draft, with us switching places and Dannie taking the 1st overall pick, Pete 2nd, and so on. Lots of changes since we’ve had the measurements and the workouts to look over since our last mock. To reiterate: This is not a prediction of how the draft WILL go, rather how the draft WOULD go if WE ran the teams.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (Dannie): Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma
Aside from being in LA this is the worst place for the best player in the draft to go. Not only a terrible team but a terrible franchise who very easily can waste all Griffin’s talent by mismanaging his development and jerking his playing time around with the glut of front court players they have. The good thing, Marcus Camby is there (for now) who is a great big to learn how to play high level NBA defense from.
2. Memphis Grizzlies (Pete): Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn
Ugh. First of all, If I am the GM of the Grizzlies, I am on the phone 24/7 trying to get as much as possible for this pick. I thought about simulating a trade here, but it got too complicated. Rubio’s camp has inferred they don’t want to be in Memphis and they already have Mayo and Conley anyway. Thabeet is big, sure, but it’s my personal opinion he’s soft and will never be more than a so-so pro. I actually think “a taller, slightly better Sam Dalembert” would describe his game and his attitude. Thabeet is the pick though, because they are so desperate for size and defense (and already have young talent at PG, SG and SF) and Thabeet will at least provide that.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (Dannie): James Harden, SG, Arizona State
Russell Westbrook is my point guard and Kevin Durant should be playing SF while he is on the floor. So James Harden is my guy. This works out great for a number of reasons. He has some point guard skills and a high basketball IQ so if they want to run Westbrook off the ball a bit they can. He also can be a good spot up shooter when Durant is getting double teams. Also I think his passive style is less of a concern on a team with a superstar already.
4. Sacramento Kings (Pete): Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain
Oh happy day! The Kings are in desperate need of a PG, and it just so happens the best one in the draft falls to 4. Rubio is a project, no doubt about that, but the Kings aren’t exactly expecting a playoff berth next year, and with a new coach and a young nucleus, they can ease Rubio in to the American game.
5. Washington Wizards (Dannie): Stephen Curry, G, Davidson
This is just a solid pick for Washington. They want to move this pick to shed cap and get a veteran player to go along with their other veteran players but I honestly am not sure they could get a player better than Curry in a deal. Furthermore Curry is ready to play now and provides two important things for the Wizards. Insurance in case Arenas has another set back. Curry, like Arenas is a combo guard who can score and really shoot the ball. And second Curry allows Arenas to play off the ball a bit more in a more traditional scorers role as well as provides the best spot up shooting option in the draft to create space for Jamison and Arenas to work. Not to mention properly place DeShawn Stevenson in a reserve defender role off the bench.
We will update this as we get to it, feel free to chime in as we move along (click-thru to see where we are)…
6. Minnesota Timberwolves (Pete): Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis
I wanted Rubio or Curry here, but neither dropped, so I’ll take Evans. Like Rubio and Curry, Evans isn’t a prototypical PG, but a backcourt of he and Randy Foye would give the Wolves an athletic duo that could create some match-up problems for opponents. Some mocks have Evans going as high as #2 and several teams see him as one of the elite prospects in the draft, so I’m fine with getting him here.
7. Golden State Warriors (Dannie): Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA
I can’t determine a glaring need here. I would be hoping Jamal Crawford opts out which would open up another guard spot. This team probably needs a #1 superstar and they won’t find one in this draft. They have players (two solid young players) locked up to relatively big and long contracts at every position except power forward and at that position they already have two first rounders from the last two drafts. Then you toss in the fact that Monte Ellis has apparently been telling the Warriors not to draft a point, that it’s his team to run you can see the dilemma. Ideally I’d love to pair Ellis with a big-time shooter but Curry is already gone. I just took best available player with idea that they already have a ton of guys that like to have the ball, like to shoot and need to upgrade their defense as well. Holiday fits the bill since he is more of a pass-first player and a proven defender with size to play either guard spot.
8. New York Knicks (Pete): Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse
Flynn is a sparkplug who won’t be intimidated by the bright lights of New York. He’s super quick, creative with the basketball and can score. He’d be very exciting to watch run Mark D’Antoni’s offense and would allow them to stop playing the completely horrible Nate Robinson. I’m sure they would also consider Jordan Hill here, but if I’m running the team, a middle-of-the-road PF doesn’t do much for me.
9. Toronto Raptors (Dannie): DeMar DeRozan, SG, USC
Toronto needs a versatile shooting guard and DeRozan is just that as well as the best available guard left on the board. Ideal fit. Especially since I would be pairing him next to a very good shooting point guard and a three-point shooting 3/4 man in Bargnani. So there should be plenty of driving lanes for DeRozan.
10. Milwaukee Bucks (Pete): Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona
I don’t particularly like Jordan Hill, but, like Thabeet and the Grizz, the need for size is just too big to pass up here. If Hill can be a solid rebounder and contribute some points, he and Andrew Bogut will at least make up an average front court to go with the above average backcourt of Redd, Jefferson and Sessions.
11. New Jersey Nets (Dannie): Tyler Hansbrough, PF, UNC
Bobby Simmons and Yi aren’t the answer at power forward and Ryan Anderson is a cup cake. Brook Lopez needs help on the boards and the team as a whole needs more toughness. Hansbrough is all of that. No one thinks he will be a good pro, I do. Especially after he measured taller, more athletic and with a solid wingspan than anyone thought. He has legit PF size and a great motor. And since NJ doesn’t need scoring at that position he fits nicely. Finally, give me the winner at a position of need – period.
12. Charlotte Bobcats (Pete): Gerald Henderson, G/F, Duke
The only players I really like at this spot are PG’s, and the Bobcats just drafted two (Augustin and Felton) so I’m looking to trade down if I am them. If not, I’m going for the best non-PG available, and in this scenario, that is Gerald Henderson. Henderson is a freak athlete who showed the ability to improve his game through his time at Duke. At this point in a weak draft, you are really just looking for guys who can can contribute and Henderson can do that at both ends.
13. Indiana Pacers (Dannie): Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy
I think the Pacers need long-term answers at the point and shooting guard. I don’t know if they will pick up the team option on Marquis Daniels but after having the best year of his career they might. I would not. $7.3M for him is too much. And their other rotational guard is a restricted free agent. Jennings fits well with the Pacers. While he isn’t the three point shooter O’Brien likes, he will thrive as a penetrating guard and passer to open shooters in that offense. Plus if Jack is gone you must have insurance for the often injured T.J. Ford who only had two years left (final year is a player option he won’t opt out of at $8.5M) on his deal anyway. A line-up of Jennings, Granger, Dunleavy, Murphy and Hibbert isn’t that bad.
14. Phoenix Suns (Pete): Earl Clark, F, Louisville
Clark is a do-it-all 6’10” small forward with a whole lot of upside. On ability, he’s a sure lottery pick, but he falls here because his game is a little soft and he wasn’t very assertive in college. But on a team with Nash, Barbosa, Richardson and Stoudemire (and Shaq, for now) all he’d really have to do is what he was good at in college, which is let the game come to him. Both Grant Hill and Matt Barnes are free agents, so Clark would be cheap bench help that could come in and take some of their minutes right away.
15. Detroit Pistons (Dannie): DeJuan Blair, PF, Pitt
Detroit will have a lot of cap space to bring in proven NBA players to fill their needs. They also already have three nice players in the starting line-up in Hamilton, Stuckey and Prince. They need starting front court help which I don’t think they can get at this spot in the draft and depth at all positions. So I just went with the best available big man because you just don’t know what will happen with Kwame (player option) and McDyess (old free agent). I will say I am REALLY torn between Blair and Mullens here. Detroit needs to true center, but Blair is more of a Piston type of player.
16. Chicago Bulls (Pete): Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest
I know they just drafted Derrick Rose, but there is no guarantee that Ben Gordon will be back, and if that is the case, the Bulls are going to need some more scoring in their backcourt. Teague isn’t really a true PG and could play in the backcourt with Rose. He is a streaky player, but long-term, I think he could be a Jason Terry-type off the bench.
17. Philadelphia 76ers (Dannie): Ty Lawson, PG, UNC
This is my guy, everyone knows it already. I just think he really knows how to play the game well, is a winner and a leader and I think this teams needs to start adding guys like that. In today’s NBA size matters, but not as much as in the past because you can’t man-handle perimeter players anymore. So smaller but quicker guys are thriving now. Also Lawson is very strong and is able to bounce off and take contact well on drives and at the basket.
One thing that is extremely important is his efficiency on offense. He doesn’t take bad shots and when he does shot he puts the ball in the whole or gets to the line. And he doesn’t turn the ball over (we don’t need more turnovers on this team!). When you see a young player improve drastically during his career it tells you the type of work he puts in to get better as a player. Ty took all the negative criticism about him over the years (too small, can’t shoot, injury-prone etc.) used it as motivation and just got better. All culminating in dominating NCAA tournament performance. For me he is the guy to the point that if he is there and we don’t draft him I will be furious even if we take Maynor who I also like. If we do grab him that very well might be enough for me to renew my partial season tickets.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (Pete): B.J. Mullens, PF, Ohio State
Got me some guard help at 6 with Tyreke, and now I’ll take a chance on a talented, but unproven big man in Mullens. Mullens came out of high school expecting to have a similar impact on Ohio State basketball as Greg Oden, but instead he pulled a Kosta Koufos. He’s needs a lot of teaching, and could use some toughening up, but the talent level is there. I don’t know any legit 7’1” guys who can dunk between the legs so fluidly. Might as well take a flier with 3 picks in the first.
19. Atlanta Hawks (Dannie): Eric Maynor, PG, VCU
Hawks have passed on points in the past they probably shouldn’t this time especially with Bibby’s game declining with age and uncertainty whether they can even afford to resign him and Marvin Williams and to a lesser degree Pachulia. They need depth at guard and in the front court. I went with Maynor because he will be a good floor general but also fill the combo guard role likely left by free agent Flip Murray.
20. Utah Jazz (Pete): Austin Daye, F, Gonzaga
The Jazz are devastated here as Hansbrough didn’t fall to them and Luke Harangody pulled his name from the draft. In all seriousness, Daye could be a good fit in Utah. He’s well suited to back-up Mehmet Okur and play the “I’m tall and can shoot, but super soft” role in the Utah offense. Like Mullens, he has loads of potential but needs to keep learning and for God’s sake, at 6’11” 195 lbs, dude needs to eat something.
21. New Orleans Hornets (Dannie): Terence Williams, SG/SF, Louisville
At this point in the draft it’s about best available player and Williams is that. He adds some much needed athleticism around Chris Paul, call play SG or SF and is a triple-double type talent. Also Williams will add some perimeter defense as well. And on talent along he could easily become the Hornet’s #3 next to Paul and West.
22. Dallas Mavericks (Pete): Patrick Mills, PG, St. Mary’s
If Jose Juan Barea is getting minutes for your team, it’s time to find a new back-up PG. Mills can fill the role of energy guy off the bench behind kid better than Barea, though that probably isn’t saying much.
23. Sacramento Kings (Dannie): James Johnson, F, Wake Forest
Pete drafted the Kings point guard of the future with their first pick so I am looking for talent and depth. James Johnson in my opinion is a forward whose game leans more towards being an undersized power forward. That’s ok because the Kings already have Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes in the front court who they like. They could work with Johnson to be a hybrid 3/4 man off the bench. The other option here would be taking someone like Dajuan Summers and hoping he pans out into an NBA starting small forward.
24. Portland Trailblazers (Pete): Danny Green, F, UNC
I know, I know. The UNC bias on the blog is nauseating. But, in reality, I’m not really an UNC fan (more of a Kansas guy after the Big-5 and ND) so there isn’t really bias in this pick. Green strikes me as a very solid player who was hidden by his 3 teammates at UNC. He’s big, can defend, and hit the 3. I heard David Thorpe of ESPN compare his skill set to Ron Artest. I don’t know why there isn’t more 1st round buzz around him, probably because his upside is minimal.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (Dannie): Taj Gibson, PF, USC
I drafted Harden with the first pick so I think the Thunder are solid at the 1-2-3 spots. I am not a Jeff Green fan, though I think he is a decent player. I actually like Collison and think he is a worker but not a starting center. Unfortunately this is the worst draft for centers. I’ll take some size, rebounding, defense and athleticism with Gibson here. He could wind up being a capable starting PF in the NBA.
26. Chicago Bulls (Pete): DeMarre Carroll, F, Mizzou
The Bulls don’t need more guys that need the ball in their hands to be effective. Carroll is a gritty, power, motor player like they had with Nocioni without the flopping. He and Joakim Noah on the floor at the same time would flat out annoy the competition.
27. Memphis Grizzlies (Dannie): Wayne Ellington, SG, UNC
Having taken Thabeet, Memphis actually has quality players at every starting spot. They need depth everywhere and perimeter shooting. Spot up shooting to be precise since they have Gay, Conley and Mayo who all like to drive. It was really between Ellington and Budinger and I just think Chase is a punk and is allergic to defense. Ellington also has more mid-range game and is willing to get after it defensively.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (Pete): Omri Casspi, PF, Israel
While I wait to see if BJ Mullens can develop, Casspi can help off the bench as a tough enforcer and back-up to Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. I could see him being one of those solid role players who gets drafted down here and everyone wonders why their team can never draft a guy like that late.
29. Los Angeles Lakers (Dannie): Sam Young, SF, Pitt
The Lakers may have a problem. Two big time role players at forward in Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza are unrestricted free agents and to a lesser degree so is Shannon Brown who played quality minutes as a combo guard for Phil Jackson. The Lakers need to cover themselves in case they get outbid or choose not to sign both guys. Sam Young is older, mature and has 4 years experience and with solid production. He should be able to step right in and help the Lakers off the bench in the same type of role as Ariza. I think he can compete with Luke Walton (who I hate) right away for his minutes even if Ariza and Odom are back. I thought point guard but non that are left on the board have more talent or potential than Jordan Farmar.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers (Pete): Chase Budinger, G/F, Arizona
The Cavs goal is to get pieces to win a championship while LeBron is still around, and there is absolutely nothing that will help them in that goal here. Budinger is a freak athlete with a 40+ inch vertical and nice jump shot, but I don’t think he cares enough about basketball to be successful. Still, it’s worth a shot here since there isn’t much you can get from this pick anyway.