Following the shocking NBA Draft Lottery in New York City where everyone and their momma is now saying David Stern and the NBA rigged it to make sure the top prize landed in New Orleans, now we can now begin to get an idea of how the first round of the draft will play out after the top spot. After we took a stab at the first round immediately following the events of the lottery, here is the second of many Dime mock drafts leading up to June 28. As usual, it’s a combination of what we think teams should do and what we think they will do:
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1. New Orleans â€“ Anthony Davis
6-10, 220 lbs. PF
No surprise here. The Hornets will draft Anthony Davis, not only a guy who has the potential to be a franchise player but also someone who could attract Eric Gordon back to town.
2. Charlotte – Thomas Robinson
6-9, 240 lbs. PF
This is really where the draft begins, and as of now, there’s no clear-cut report that the Bobcats are leaning one way or another. They could be looking to trade the pick for immediate help, but if they aren’t, we’re guessing they go for one of two players: Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. We’re sure they’d rather have a perimeter player who can create shots for others, but Robinson is looking like the next Al Horford.
3. Washington â€“ Bradley Beal
6-5, 195 lbs. SG
There’s a sentiment to swing big here for Andre Drummond – you know, the guy who just measured in with a mind-boggling 7-6.25 wingspan – but after the JaVale McGee fiasco, we bet Washington balks. Kidd-Gilchrist would give them some needed toughness and professionalism, but wouldn’t fit with John Wall. A Beal/Wall backcourt could be spectacular.
4. Cleveland – Harrison Barnes
6-8, 210 lbs. SF/SG
North Carolina, Soph.
Barnes and Kyrie Irving are best friends, share the same agent and Cleveland desperately needs a small forward. Plus, there’s this: the Cavs loved Barnes last year before he decided to come back to Carolina for another year.
5. Sacramento – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
6-7, 210 lbs SF
The Kings have tried to add some more consistency to their wildly talented roster, and while they do need another big man, it would be hard to pass up perhaps the toughest competitor in the draft.
6. Portland (via Brooklyn) – Andre Drummond
6-11, 260 lbs. C
Andre Drummond is a risk but Portland desperately needs size in the paint. No one really knows what to make of him, but big men always develop late. Plus, there are those interesting comparisons to Amar’e Stoudemire (who also had major question marks coming into the draft). Drummond could come in handy because there’s no way Hasheem Thabeet is ready to step up to the task.
7. Golden State -Jared Sullinger
6-9, 280 lbs. C/PF
Ohio St., Soph.
Will the Warriors take another big man? Possibly, although we’re pretty sure they’d rather find an electric wing player. That’s probably why they’re shopping this pick as hard as anyone in the top 10. In our judgement, we say they end up moving this pick before the draft for a veteran.
8. Toronto – Dion Waiters
6-4, 215 lbs. SG/PG
As you can tell, we already love Waiters. So do a lot of GMs. Some even say he has the most potential to become a superstar of anyone in the draft outside of Davis. Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweeted today that one team exec told him he believes the Raptors have promised Waiters. The response from Bryan Colangelo was a pretty weak poker face, but yet acknowledged that Waiters’ agent had told him another team made him a promise. Was it Phoenix? Toronto may just pull a Golden State, and swing this pick for an athletic three man.
9. Detroit – John Henson
6-10, 210 lbs. PF
North Carolina, Jr.
For a team full of mix-matched parts, and a bunch of guards who don’t really know what they are, the Detroit brass has to go for someone with a solid base from a winning environment. And while Henson’s base is literally quite weak, he’d be a solid addition to their frontcourt.
10. New Orleans (via Minnesota) â€“ Kendall Marshall
6-4, 190 lbs. PG
North Carolina, Soph.
Kendal Marshall throwing lobs to Anthony Davis? Enough said.
11. Portland – Damian Lillard
6-2, 185 lbs. PG/SG
Weber St., Jr.
Portland has needs all over, and while Lillard isn’t a pure point guard, he’s a scoring machine. Another option here is Perry Jones III, who could turn this into a very intriguing frontcourt rotation. But, it’s not like the Blazers don’t have the talent. They need stabilizers.
12. Milwaukee – Perry Jones III
6-11, 235 lbs. PF/SF
Jones is perhaps the draft ultimate enigma. But the Bucks have had success with players like that in the past. Brandon Jennings comes to mind. Jones isn’t really a four man and isn’t really a three, but Milwaukee won’t care (check the way they asked their forwards to play). As long as Scott Skiles doesn’t pepper him with cajun sauce and lit up the grill, Jones could work here.
13. Phoenix – Jeremy Lamb
6-5, 185 lbs. SG
Some are saying they’ve already promised Waiters, but if Syracuse’s finest is off the board, they could go with the next best thing: Jeremy Lamb. With or without Steve Nash, Lamb will have his hands full fitting in here.
14. Houston – Meyers Leonard
7-0, 240 lbs. C
Without a point guard available here – who knows what’s going to happen with Kyle Lowry – the Rockets might as well swing big. Leonard probably has the most potential of the remaining big men, and we believe, as is with almost every legit 7-footer, he’ll only rise as the draft nears.
15. Philadelphia – Tyler Zeller
7-0, 235 lbs. C
North Carolina, Sr.
Tyler Zeller can step in right away and have productive minutes at the center position for the 76ers, and while he’s not the strongest player in the world, Philly needs more size. Here’s where we insert the typical cliche description, “Zeller will never be an All-Star but most figure he’ll be a solid NBA big man.”
16. Houston (via New York) – Austin Rivers
6-4, 200 lbs. SG/PG
There are reports saying basically every team with two selections is looking to make a move, so this pick could easily be shifted elsewhere. Rivers’ draft stock is all over the place, but he has to settle into the teens somewhere. He has NBA skills that should be more apparent in the league than they were at Duke.
17. Dallas – Terrence Jones
6-8, 245 lbs. PF/SF
This could be considered a steep drop for Jones, but that’s what happens when there are questions about your attitude and what position you will play. When Jones is mentally involved, he’s a top-10 talent. Easily. The Mavs could throw him into Lamar Odom‘s old spot, and hope he can give them some young and athleticism on that frontline.
18. Minnesota (via Utah) – Terrence Ross
6-6, 190 lbs. SF/SG
The Wolves haven’t had much luck with drafting wing players recently, and with a core revolving around Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, they need shooters more than ever. Ross is a great shooter and a solid athlete. As long as he doesn’t turn into Wes Johnson 2.0, this would be a great get.
19. Orlando â€“ Fab Melo
7-0, 275 lbs., C
Nobody knows how the Dwight Howard saga will turn out. Melo’s not NBA-ready whatsoever, but he will at least be a project to take on if Howard is traded.
20. Denver – Marquis Teague
6-2, 180 lbs. PG
Going off of different mock drafts, this seems like almost a done deal. Everywhere you turn, reports are predicting the younger Teague ends up in Denver to backup Ty Lawson. Andre Miller is just as likely to leave as to stay, and everyone saw how much Teague improved throughout the season at Kentucky.