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 just a few weeks ago, here is the third 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 â€“ 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 – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
6-7, 210 lbs. SF
It sounds like the team is leaning towards MKG rather than Bradley Beal for a couple of reasons: first, his competitive fire would be a welcome addition to Clown U. And second, the Wizards’ might have the worst group of small forwards in the NBA.
4. Cleveland â€“ Harrison Barnes
6-8, 210 lbs. SF/SG
North Carolina, Soph.
Barnes and Kyrie Irving are 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 – Bradley Beal
6-5, 195 lbs. SG
Where are the Kings going with this pick? Their intentions have been cloudy so far during this process, but we’re betting they ditch the longterm prospect route and instead go with someone like Beal, who should be able to help out pretty soon.
6. Portland (via Brooklyn) â€“ 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; Terrence Jones and Perry Jones III were both disappointments in a recent Warrior workout.
8. Toronto â€“ 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 earlier 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 â€“ 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€“ Damian Lillard
6-2, 185 lbs. PG/SG
Weber St., Jr.
The Hornets have needs all over, and while Lillard isn’t a pure point guard, he’s a scoring machine. Coming out of this draft with two cornerstones – one inside and the other outside – is a great start to the summer for New Orleans.
11. Portland – Jeremy Lamb
6-5, 185 lbs. SG
With Jamal Crawford opting to test free agency, there’s a good chance he isn’t returning. Portland went big with their first pick. We suspect they’ll look to add some depth on the wings here.
12. Milwaukee – Meyers Leonard
7-0, 240 lbs. C
Not only do the Bucks sorely need some help inside, but Leonard actually believes he’d be a great fit there. This is a perfect match.
13. Phoenix – Austin Rivers
6-4, 200 lbs. SG/PG
Several outlets are reporting this pick will come down to Rivers or Terrence Ross. The Suns have holes everywhere on their roster, most glaringly in the backcourt. Steve Nash’s status is up in the air, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see them take a stab at Kendall Marshall here. But Rivers has silenced some of the critics of his attitude wherever he’s gone on the pre-draft circuit.
14. Houston â€“ 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 Rockets, and while he’s not the strongest player in the world, Houston 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.”
15. Philadelphia – Perry Jones III
6-11, 235 lbs. PF/SF
We’ve heard everyone from Arnett Moultrie to Ross at this spot. Why? The 76ers are in a weird position: middle of the first round, with no glaring holes on their roster, but in need of upgrades at virtually every spot. Our guess is they swing for the fences here.
16. Houston (via New York) – Kendall Marshall
6-4, 190 lbs. PG
North Carolina, Soph.
Reports are saying virtually every team with two draft picks in the first round are trying to swing a deal. The Rockets went with one North Carolina player at No. 14, and we’re guessing they do it again. Despite having both Goron Dragic and Kyle Lowry on their roster this past season, they might lose both over the summer (Dragic is a free agent… Lowry doesn’t like Kevin McHale). Their offense could desperately use a playmaker like Marshall.
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 youth and athleticism on that frontline.
18. Minnesota (via Utah) â€“ 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 – Arnett Moultrie
6-11, 225 lbs. PF/C
Mississippi St., Jr.
We’ve had Fab Melo in this spot for weeks, and while it doesn’t look like he’ll rise this high, we do know this: the Magic BETTER take a frontcourt player. They are super thin underneath the rim, and even with Dwight Howard, they’ll need to upgrade those spots this offseason. Moultrie screwed himself a little bit by not participating in the draft combine, but he’s productive and has an NBA-ready body.
20. Denver â€“ 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.
21. Boston – Moe Harkless
6-8, 190 lbs. SF
St. John’s, Fr
With Ray Allen‘ status up in the air, and with Avery Bradley still inexperienced and coming off an injury, the Celtics could use some wing help. No, Harkless won’t be much of a perimeter threat off the bat, but he could spell the Truth and provide some needed versatility.
22. Boston (via L.A. Clippers) â€“ Tony Wroten
6-5, 205 lbs. PG/SG
Boston has not had a backup point guard in a while and Wroten has drawn some comparisons to Rajon Rondo. The only difference is that Wroten stands four inches taller. His size and defensive prowess would be intriguing to backup an already great future Celtic backcourt.
23. Atlanta – Royce White
6-8, 240 lbs. SF/PF
Iowa St, Soph.
White is a big enigma. He is super talented but needs to land with a team that plays his style. But he’s helped himself throughout the process by not being afraid to talk about his anxiety disorder. Plus, the Hawks could desperately use more depth along the frontline.
24. Cleveland (via L.A. Lakers) – Andrew Nicholson
6-10, 235 lbs. PF
St. Bonaventure, Sr.
After going for a wing with their first selection, at this point in the draft, the Cavs just need a body they can count on. Nicholson won’t ever be a star, but he looks like he’ll be a low risk player who will be around the league for a while because of his size and shooting ability.
25. Memphis â€“ Evan Fournier
6-7, 206 lbs. SG
Memphis has so much talent at the moment. A few reports say that Fournier wants to come to the NBA next year, but he would be a good player to stash overseas (especially for a team as strapped financially as the Grizz). Also, if O.J Mayo leaves town, he could conceivably come over right away and play the bench scorer role.
26. Indiana â€“ Jeff Taylor
6-7, 225 lbs. SF
The Pacers have made a habit of making safe first-round picks over the years, and with their team balanced right now, they have the luxury of going for the best available player. Taylor is really athletic, and now with his developing jumper, he could play a key role off the bench.
27. Miami â€“ Doron Lamb
6-4, 200 lbs. SG/PG
The Heat are looking to win a title now. Lamb has the championship pedigree, the shooting and the toughness they need. Plus, while most consider it a weakness that he is more of a combo guard than a pure point, in Miami with LeBron, that won’t matter. As long as you can stroke it and D-up, you’ll be fine.
28. Oklahoma City – Draymond Green
6-7, 240 lbs. PF/SF
Michigan State, Sr.
Green represents the type of hard-working player the Thunder want on their team. Since they do not have many needs, they are simply adding depth to the forward position. He’s no Jeff Green, but he could get in the rotation and someone who could help fill that role they’ve been trying to bind since the Green/Perkins deal. If not, he’s definitely a good locker room guy for the Thunder to continue to build upon their culture.
29. Chicago – John Jenkins
6-4, 210 lbs. SG/PG
Even after they watched their season crash and burn in the first round of the playoffs this year, the Bulls are in a great spot, and have found ways to fit just about every type of player into their system. Jenkins might be the best shooter in the entire draft, something that Chicago could use more of.
30. Golden State (via San Antonio) â€“ Quincy Miller
6-9, 210 lbs. SF
What do they have to lose? Miller is not all the way back from his ACL tear in high school, and could be a major surprise this low in the draft. Golden State believes they’ll make a playoff run this year, but we doubt they could find any legitimate – and immediate – contributors at this point in the draft.
Who do you think will rise as we get closer to the draft?
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