Words. Lucas Shapiro
Following last night’s 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. This is the first 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 – 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 Bobcats – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
6-7, 210 lbs SF
The Charlotte Bobcats are not used to winning and that is exactly why they should draft MKG, one of the most successful young players in the world. With Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker on the roster, Charlotte is slowly bringing in guys that know about winning. They won’t start right away of course, but they would be bringing the right culture to a losing franchise. This is a start.
3. Washington – Thomas Robinson
6-9, 240 lbs. PF
Washington is another team looking to change their team’s culture. They shipped out JaVale McGee and Nick Young, two guys who had a lot of growing up to do, for Nene. Thomas Robinson possesses many veteran qualities despite being a rookie. He is the type of young, athletic player with intangibles that will help the Wizards immediately.
4. Cleveland – Bradley Beal
6-5, 195 lbs. SG
A backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal would be devastating on offense. They will figure the defense part out later…
5. Sacramento – Jared Sullinger
6-9, 280 lbs. C/PF
Ohio St., Soph.
The Kings have enough guys on their team with upside. They need a player who can get the job done. There are some big question marks surrounding Sullinger but one thing is for sure: he’ll be able to get the ball in the basket for Sacramento. They score well already, but should build on their strength.
6. Portland (via Brooklyn) – Andre Drummond
6-10, 270 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 – Harrison Barnes
6-8, 210 lbs. SF/SG
North Carolina, Soph.
The Warriors are desperate for star power and at this point in the draft, Barnes is the closest thing. This is not a great position for the Warriors because they cannot afford to mess up again. They need to win over fans in San Francisco before the big move, so the pressure will be on Barnes to perform.
8. Toronto – Damian Lillard
6-2, 185 lbs. PG/SG
Weber St., Jr.
A center is definitely a need for the Raptors, but they have Jonas Valanciunas coming over as soon as next year. Jose Calderon‘s status is uncertain in Toronto, so Lillard would make great insurance. In fact, he would probably be able to bring more of a slashing mentality to a team that loves to shoot.
9. Detroit – 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 Pistons, and while he’s not the strongest player in the world, Detroit needs more size. Perhaps down the line, Zeller would allow Greg Monroe to play his natural power forward position.
10. New Orleans (via Minnesota) – Kendall Marshall
6-4, 190 lbs. PG
North Carolina, Soph.
Kendal Marshall throwing lobs to Anthony Davis? Enough said.
11. Portland – Perry Jones
6-11, 235 lbs. PF/SF
At this point in the draft, the Blazers are looking for the best prospect available. Jones would be able to grow under LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum.
12. Milwaukee – Meyers Leonard
7-0, 240 lbs. C
After trading Andrew Bogut, the Bucks would be able to replace his missing size with Meyers Leonard. He would be a perfect fit considering that his best asset at this point is his post defense. And we all know Scott Skiles loves defense.
13. Phoenix – Dion Waiters
6-4, 215 lbs. SG/PG
Scouts are raving about Waiters right now. Some say after Anthony Davis, he has the best chance to become a star in the league, and reminds a lot of people (including himself) of a young Chauncey Billups. If Phoenix is losing Steve Nash, they will need every potential star they can find
14. Houston – Jeremy Lamb
6-5, 185 lbs. SG
The Houston Rockets have been subject to many trade rumors lately. Picking Jeremy Lamb would make trading Kevin Martin a whole lot easier.
15. Philadelphia – John Henson
6-10, 210 lbs. PF
North Carolina, Jr.
Elton Brand has little gas left in the tank. While the 76ers have some solid big men in Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and Nikola Vucevic, picking up a shot-blocker like Henson certainly would not hurt.
16. Houston (via New York) – Marquis Teague
6-2, 180 lbs. PG
Similar to Lamb’s situation, if the Rockets trade Kyle Lowry (as he has requested unless they fire Kevin McHale as head coach), picking Teague would be a smart move for insurance.
17. Dallas – Terrence Ross
6-6, 190 lbs. SF/SG
The biggest problem for the Mavericks in the playoffs was getting points from their wing players. Among the wings in this year’s draft, Terrence Ross is probably one of the best scorers.
18. Minnesota (via Utah) – Moe Harkless
6-8, 190 lbs. SF
St. John’s, Fr.
The only hole in Minnesota’s roster is at their wing spots. Wes Johnson may have been a huge bust but Harkless could provide great value at this point in the draft.
19. Orlando – 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 – Terrence Jones
6-8, 245 lbs. PF/SF
The Nuggets do not have any gaping holes on their roster. It is possible they could lose Andre Miller to free agency, but picking a point guard at this spot in the draft would not be a good idea. The Nuggets should pick the best player available and Jones is a serious steal after having fallen this far.