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The GWHH 2014 NBA Mock Draft

Two friends predict tonight’s NBA Draft with bold picks and new music: yours truly and my college buddy Jose. If I’m the Bill Simmons of Gowhere Hip Hop, Jose’s definitely Joe House. If you understood that… you’ll enjoy our 2014 NBA Mock Draft! If not… this is a great skim!

“I’m Jose, and I’m a Timberwolves fan.”

“Hi Jose.”

“Man, that sure felt good to get off my chest.”

Being a Wolves fan is a bit like being in AA. You need a support group to keep you strong, otherwise you might slip up once and start to hope this team could make the playoffs. But once you relapse and find yourself in the gutter that is disappointment and sadness, you join back up with the group to help fight through it.

However, one of the benefits to rooting for such a terrible team is that you’re always paying attention to the draft.

In our second installment of overly-rushed NBA Mock Drafting, GWHH’s own Sgt. Tibs and I decided that this thing needed a name. Especially since this has now officially become a recurring event (two years in a row counts!).

Now, we haven’t actually talked about what this thing could be called, but what I do know is that Tibs is half Filipino and I’m half Puerto Rican. So there’s got to be something to work with for a good name. (TIBS EDIT: I got nothing. “The GWHH 2014 NBA Mock Draft” it is!)

Either way, I’m losing your interest or you’ve just skipped ahead to the actual mock draft. Let me explain some details:

1. Tibs and I switched off. I handled all odd picks, while Tibs handled all even picks. The one exception was 18 pick, which I handled, so Tibs could draft for the Bulls at 19. Apparently he’s a fan or something.

2. This isn’t as much what we want to happen. It was more what we think could happen.

3. We didn’t make any trades since those are so hard to guess. Speculate on trades though? Yes.

Now, as we jump in, I should warn you that last year we didn’t get a single pick right. The Cavs threw everything for a loop and it went all downhill from there. (TIBS EDIT: With our new-look site this year, I was successful in recovering last year’s mock draft, wherein I didn’t recover it.)

So here’s to hoping this year will be better.

The 2014 NBA Draft Prospects (via Grantland)

The 2014 NBA Draft Prospects (via Grantland)

1. Cleveland Cavaliers   Jabari Parker  |  Duke

Jose: Thanks to Joel Embiid’s foot injury, the draft become about Parker and Wiggins. If I’m Cleveland, I’d rather have the second pick because I want Cleveland to make my decision easier. That and there’s no pressure if you pass on the wrong guy (Oden-Durant anyone?). But for Cleveland, you get a nice piece to put with Kyrie and replace Varejao when he’s one day traded or just, somehow, plays out his contract with Cleveland. That and he’s the best player in the draft IMO.

I’ve heard comparisons that Parker could be a Paul Pierce type. That would be fantastic for the Cavs, especially because it’s looking less and less likely that they’ll be able to trade for, or lure a Love or Melo (as if they had a chance in the first place). They should take Parker and trade Varejao and Bennett for another C-level star player. I’m just spitballing here, but I’m thinking those two as the centerpieces in a S&T for Bosh or something. Does it make sense? Not from Chris Bosh’s point-of-view. But if Lebron goes somewhere else, Cleveland might be a decent spot to get paid, make the playoffs (remember, the East), and lead a team. If you look really hard, that kind of makes sense.

But since I’ve lost all credibility here, I’ll just let Tibs take over the next pick.

We have Jordan Brand's newest signee as the #1 Overall Pick in this year's draft... but to who?

We have Jordan Brand’s newest signee as the #1 Overall Pick in this year’s draft… but wait, to who?

2. Milwaukee Bucks  Andrew Wiggins  |  Kansas

Tibs: You’re right Jose — not about Bosh possibly going to Cleveland — that this is probably the easiest selection I’ll make in our mock draft (that everyone reading is surely keeping score on). Truthfully, I hope Jabari goes to Milwaukee over Cleveland. I think he’s a better fit to lead the Bucks, who are supposedly enamored with him, and Wiggins is a better fit for the Cavs (due to him being the team’s best perimeter defender upon selection). Ironically though, Jabari already disagrees with our mock, telling Andy Katz that he predicts the Bucks take him at #2.

In our scenario though, Wiggins would be an exciting piece next to The Greek Freak and the two should own Top 10 SportsCenter highlights next year, as the anchor concludes the highlight by saying, “unfortunately, this dunk came in a loss.”

One scenario to look out for: Cleveland trades the #1 pick to add more assets and the team that trades up would take Jabari Parker (keeping our 100% success rate in tact!). Teams like the 76ers, Jazz, and Celtics are amongst those rumored to trade up to #1, and I think there’s a possibility we see one of those teams make a deadline deal.

Let’s rip the band-aid off, Jose: Could the Cavs trade #1 to the Wolves for Kevin Love? (Again, noting that Jose is 1 of 129 Timberwolves fans in the world… and soon, there may be 128 fans.)

3. Philadelphia 76ers  Dante Exum  |  Australia

Jose: I think if we’re right on the first pick, we’ll already beat last year. Stupid Anthony Bennett. (WHOA!)

Let me be honest, I think Andrew Wiggins is the next high pick bust, and it’s especially unfortunate because I think you’re right, Cleveland should take Wiggins and Milwaukee, Parker (I still hold out hope one day for a Milwaukee-Minnesota finals…).

Apparently everyone wants out of the top 10, according to Ryen Russillo. That means a Love trade makes sense. But Adrian Wojnarowski, and local MN reporters, have confirmed today that Love won’t re-sign long-term, so any potential deal is dead. But I’ll save my Wolves ranting for their pick, because it could get heated.

As for Philly, they just plainly need talent, but they’re going to pass on Embiid because they already took Nerlens Noel last year and had to wait one year for him. So they settle on this year’s Nikoloz Tskitishvili (damn it’s hard to type when my “I” key doesn’t really work). He’ll give them the longest backcourt in the league, with two solid ball handlers. Does it fit? Eh, not really, but it’s the best option they can get that’s just pure boom or bust talent. Go for broke I say!

4. Orlando Magic  Joel Embiid  |  Kansas

Tibs: Speaking of “hard to type”, I tore a tendon in my left middle finger last week playing ball and have a splint on it. A tough injury for a blogger, but hey, this Mock Draft is like my Jordan Flu Game. I’m persevering and putting up a metaphorical 38 points in the equivalent of making 15 first round picks. Eerie parallel, I know.

And faced with my first tough decision of the Mock, I’m going with Joel Embiidto this spot. Maybe the Magic would draft him and keep him, but they’re also actively trying to trade and I feel like there’s got to be a team out there who’s still enamored with Embiid’s “young Hakeem” comparison that they’ll make a move to nab him here before it’s too late. Sure, I’m as worried about Embiid’s health as the next guy, but I would take the risk given his advanced skill set. He started playing basketball 3 years ago, oh by the way.

So, who trades to get Embiid? How about Cleveland in a trade down scenario? There’s a lot of talk about the Kings trading out of #8, but why not trade up? Perhaps the Lakers leap frog their arch-rival Celtics and prove that Embiid’s “i’m a laker” tweet last night was not really his friend who typed it. If I was a friend in an NBA Draft hopeful’s entourage, I would probably go too far on a prank too, so, I understand Joel.

5. Utah Jazz  Noah Vonleh  |  Indiana

Jose: If this were the NBA Finals and this was your Flu Game, the Twittersphere would still be blowing up about how hockey players man-up way more than you ever will.

If there’s one injury to be scared of, it’s a foot injury. Those things seem to always keep popping up. So in the case of Embiid, while I love him, I’d be scared out of my mind to draft him. But I’d do it here. But since I can’t, let’s go with Vonleh. The guy has the makings of a nice jumper and got a lot better quickly at Indiana. I don’t think he’ll be a star, but he could be solid rotation guy (backing up Favors for instance). They have more pressing needs, but they should take the BPA, and while Smart might be that guy to some people, Vonleh is to others.

6. Boston Celtics  Marcus Smart  |  Oklahoma St.

Tibs: You can find me on the road, watching Noah Vonleh’s bandwagon, rather than riding on it. I’m not convinced he’s the BPA even if it was the #8 pick. He didn’t lead Indiana to the tournament last year, whereas stud freshman and Power Forward rival Julius Randle led his to the national championship. All variables considered, Randle still shined individually and I bet he has the better NBA career starting from day 1.

As for the Celtics spot at #6, it’s prime for a move. Boston is always the type of team to pull off a creative trade and there’s some legs behind a Rondo to Sacramento deal. Ironically as I type this, I’m listening to the new Trey Songz album and a song comes on named “Dead Wrong” so I should probably just stop here. I like Marcus Smart’s competitive intangibles in general and the Celtics can use him for when they inevitably do trade Rondo (maybe that’s tonight?!) Aaron Gordon or Julius Randle here too, and you can’t go wrong. As I said though, look for me to be dead wrong on this one because there are a lot of realistic options for this #6 pick.

For the record, still my favorite track off Trigga.

7. Los Angeles Lakers  Julius Randle  |  Kentucky

Jose: I agree with you, I just don’t see Boston holding on to the pick. Ainge knows how to work a deal and Brad Stevens is a smart guy. They’ll do something. I’m not sure what, but something.

Now if you’ll excuse me….

HAHAHAHAHAHA Lakers. Hold, I’m not finished. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I shouldn’t be this mean to the Lakers, but hubris almost always crashes down on folks, and now they have to sell free agents on an aging superstar while cash strapped due to his salary. They need EVERYTHING. I can’t stress that enough. Even a SG. Just something. So again, it’s BPA time, which in this idiotic writer’s opinion, is Julius Randle.

I mean, the dude plays a selfish game, but he’s a big boy that can score. People say he’s got some Zach Randolph to his game, and that might be true, but he’s still capable of physically beating up on guys. And it’s not like the Lakers have been known for their toughness. He’ll step in and while I don’t even know if he plays defense, he’ll add a bit of a working man’s mentality to their frontcourt. They could use it.

8. Sacramento Kings  Elfrid Payton  |  LA Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (!)

Tibs: Let’s shake things up a little bit, shall we? On paper, this should be Aaron Gordon. But Elfrid Payton has risen up mock drafts like somehow every Iggy Azalea song on the charts, and the Kings can use a leader like Payton is said to be. The knock on Payton is that he can’t shoot a lick. But he can get to the line (3rd in the nation last year in free throw attempts.) His game translates well to the L and I bet he’ll develop that jump shot while making everyone on his team happy with assists and those supposed leadership qualities.

Admittedly though, this is just a gut feeling choice for the Kings, assuming they keep this pick. I made this one with the knowledge that the Kings are said to be one of the most active teams in trade talks (maybe even to our Bulls?) This pick actually doesn’t align with the superb insight we got of the Kings’ cutting-edge crowd-sourced draft process in a documentary on Grantland this week. Their Skyped-in crowd sourcers predicted there’s only a couple prospects that if they fell to the Kings, would be of great value. Otherwise, the Kings should trade. Conversely, Payton would be a reach considering he’s no higher than 8, if at all, in experts’ mock drafts.

Elfrid Payton: the Iggy Azalea of the 2014 NBA Draft?

9. Charlotte Hornets  Nik Stauskas  |  Michigan

Jose: Do you know how good it feels to write “Charlotte Hornets”?! Hipster/90’s loving Jose celebrated by wearing a purple shirt and teal polo to work today. I’m beyond pumped.

(Sidenote: I think Elfrid Payton just has that Damian Lillard feel to him. Like he’ll blow up in a year or two. I’m going to love whoever takes him in due time.)

Is this a reach? Yeah, probably, and we all know the best player available is Aaron Gordon, but they have Big Al and just invested first round picks in front court players (Kidd-Gilchrist and Zeller). They have a pretty good need at SG, and Stauskas is skilled enough to work with this team and contribute. He won’t be their star, but I can see people saying he’ll be one of their most valuable players in four or five years. Just a solid player that fits into what they’re building down in Buzz City.

Tibs: And at the very least, they’re building the coolest court in the League — an instant iconic masterpiece that can be summed up in three words: HONEY COMB FLOOR!

Revealed today: The Charlotte Hornets new honey comb court design.

Revealed today: The Charlotte Hornets new honey comb court design.

10. Philadelphia 76ers  Aaron Gordon  |  Arizona

Tibs: Sidenotes galore! I agree, Elfrid has a Damian Lillard feel to him (every year there will be a Damian Lillard feel to a PG from a small school who seems like he’s just a badass. CJ McCollum last year).

Other sidenote: It really is so great to write Charlotte Hornets again. One of the coolest 90s franchises around. I oddly wish I could have chosen for them (and by many predictions, it could be Doug McBuckets).

Given our board, I think the Sixers don’t let Aaron Gordon fall any longer. GM Sam Hinkie is always in BPA mode and he won’t pass up an athlete like Gordon who I feel like can compliment any team and many fellow rookies if he goes to a team with multiple lottery picks (like in this scenario).

Hypothetical: If Aaron Gordon was in last year’s draft, he’s the #1 pick right? In our mock, he’s #10!

11. Denver Nuggets  Gary Harris  |  Michigan St.

Jose: Who was #1 last year? Oh goodness, that’s right. Nevermind. I agree.

But Gordon scares me, if only because I’m a Wolves fan and saw another 6’9” SF/PF come through and not be very good. So if Gordon worries me, it’s solely because I’m biased and worry about his future position in the NBA.

Apparently this 11 pick is like crack to some teams. Everyone wants a bit of that #11 action. Of course, Denver wants Love and Love doesn’t want Denver, so this pick won’t be made by the Wolves.

But if Denver keeps it, I have to make a Wild Ass Guess and throw out Gary Harris. Lawson is solid, Faried is overrated, and they have some 3’s to work with. I thought about that Bosnian center, but I feel like they’ll try to live with McGee’s contract. Of course I could be absolutely wrong. But I think Harris could be the corner shooter they need in Brian Shaw’s triangle, so he’ll carve out a role.

And despite watching him last year in the Big Ten, the only thing I really know about him is that I don’t like his eyebrows. Otherwise, nothing.

gary-harris-eyebrows

“What’d you say about my eyebrows?”

12. Orlando Magic  Zach LaVine  |  UCLA

Tibs: My Wild Ass Guess (WAG, I like it) for the Magic is Zach LaVine, only if they don’t get Exum like we have here. It sounds like they want a tall PG to compliment Oladipo and from the projections, LaVine could fit that need. He has “Russell Westbrook athleticism” so says the experts (and the photo below) and he feels like a Lottery pick even though he’s not projected as one by some mocks. I can see him going to a team like the Magic who have multiple 1st round picks and can afford to take more of a risk with one.

zach-lavine-vert

Zach LaVine’s 46-inch vertical. What.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves  Doug “McBuckets” McDermott  |  Creighton

Jose: Dammit Tibs…I had LaVine going here, but of course you take him! As a Wolves fan I’m just glad you kept me from picking him since the real team apparently loves him. That means I get to make an unpopular decision for Wolves fans, but one I think the team would do if put in this position.

Doug Freaking McDermott.

Is he too weak to play the position? Yes. Is he too slow? Yes. Can he jump? No. Can he play defense in the NBA? No.

But dammit he can score. And for a team about to lose their top scorer, to get a guy that could produce at 60% of what he does (and play terrible defense too) is just as good a trade-off. Plus, having one of the all-time leading NCAA scorers would be a little extra marketing incentive to soften the blow of losing Love.

As for Love, trading with Golden State doesn’t make sense to me because overpaying Klay Thompson to stay is just dumb. We need cap flexibility and picks to put together a cheap team that can grow together. But we do have the worst management in all the NBA (and it’s not even close), so instead we’ll be the Milwaukee Bucks of the late 2000’s and try to be an 8 seed for the next five years. And we’ll probably throw Drew Gooden a stupid contract while we’re at it.

Boston is the deal you want to make. It’s so simple. Get some picks, some young players, and let the West destroy you next year, then use your 2015 high pick on another piece the following year. Papa Glen Taylor gets to save money and Flip gets to coach. It’s a win-win.

So of course, when he gets here, we’ll welcome David Lee with 15 million open arms…

F*** this team sometimes.

14. Phoenix Suns  James Young  |  Kentucky

Tibs: Of course, even in the Mock Drafts, the Wolves have bad luck. Happy to be here, Jose. Good luck with David Lee, Drew Goo (and his legendary bad draft suit), and Doug McBuckets (is he that marketable though?).

As for Phoenix, this pick screams young, athletic, swingman and I think James Young fits that bill. Who was not impressed with this kid in the National Championship game? I think he’s a fit for a Suns team that’s looking for a longer-term solution to the PJ Tucker spot and will make them even more exciting than they were this year. Plus, the lone Roc Nation signee of the 2014 Draft can’t possibly fall out of the lottery, right?! Hov is better than that, ya’ll!

Better than his latest effort too…

15. Atlanta Hawks  Rodney Hood  |  Duke

Jose: Plus, I think Jeff Hornacek is a heckuva coach and could make Young fit in perfectly. Really good fit, if not a reach though.

I don’t know anythng about Atlanta. Seriously. They were the 8 seed in East. So, essentially, they were a terrible team. I know they have Millsap, Horford, and Teague. Which means I think they could use a wing. Hood provides some decent value here as he goes around where he’s slotted, and he provides Atlanta with a solid wing to put in the rotation. There’s some serious bust potential here, but he could come off the bench this year and slowly work his way into the rotation.

I know Atlanta wants to trade for something else, so we’ll see if they actually hold on to this pick.

16. Chicago Bulls  Shabazz Napier |  UConn

Tibs: Before I begin on the hometown Bulls, I just realized today that the Hawks have switched to an updated version of their classic Pac-Man optical illusion logo? Did you know this?? That’s better than any move they could make in this draft.

hawks-logo

 

Jose:

jose-tibs-talk

 

ben.franklin.logo_

Tibs: Back to business. Let’s be honest, we wanted to do our own mock draft again this year so that we can vent about our teams in a platform that people will read. In contrast to your Wolves pessimism is my Bulls cautious optimism. Our off-season centers around the possible acquisitions of Carmelo or Kevin Love and wow, does Plan A and Plan B sound spectacular? I’m increasingly excited at report after report that claims we are the Carmelo frontrunners but brought back down to earth because that was exactly the case for LeBron in 2010.

Whatever the case, I feel like the possible acquisitions of ‘Melo or Love will have an impact on who the Bulls take (if they still have this pick and #19). I’d imagine these picks would be part of a trade for either or part of a trade for a higher pick. But assuming they keep the pick, I think the Bulls go with…

Shabazz Napier. He’s a perfect fit for the current Bulls squad and the hard-working Chicago Bulls culture. 4-year college player, matured through his college experience, prestigious school, and fills a need as a backup PG/D. Rose insurance off the bench (assuming DJ is earning more cash in free agency elsewhere). I can also see him playing in some lineups with a healthy Rose and, of course, reports from the Bulls say they’re high on Napier (in comparison to another point guard prospect with more potential in Tyler Ennis). More Bulls fun to come at #19!

17. Boston Celtics  Kyle Anderson  |  UCLA

Jose: See?! The Thibs system will get DJ Augustin money in free agency! He makes all the players look better and suddenly Tony Snell becomes a centerpiece to a hypothetical Kevin Love deal. Or Melo deal. Or whatever deal. But hey, if they land you that one piece to say “Okay, here’s our two year window”, then get on that right now and sell the daylights out of a Tony Snell deal.

And a side note to getting Melo on the Bulls would that someone would make a mash-up of his and Noah’s face and it would be the most unholy image we will see in our lifetimes.

As for Anderson, the reasoning goes like this: Brad Stevens is an analytics guy. And Anderson was wildly productive for UCLA. That looks good to a guy like Brad Stevens.

Danny Ainge knows that he’s going to have to pay Jeff Green if he doesn’t trade him first. So drafting his replacement means he has leverage in a potential deal with Green or can just straight up trade him with no worries.

I think the fit makes a ton of sense for Boston as they add pieces.

18. Phoenix Suns  Dario Saric  |  Croatia

Jose: Phoenix is running the risk of having too many decent players and not enough great players. So they can afford to get better with their players this year and draft Saric.

Here’s the thing about Saric, he just signed a three-year deal with a Turkish team. So why would Phoenix draft him? Two-fold: They can let their current team develop and focus on intergrating only one rooke and secondly, they might want to save some money to sign Bledsoe. So instead of paying a second rookie contract, they can save the 3 million or so and use it for Bledsoe.

19. Chicago Bulls  Adreian Payne  |  Michigan St.

Tibs: Blast! I was hoping to give Saric to the Bulls for Toni Kukoc 2.0 — a bold comparison, I know, and one I only thought of because Saric is a tall, creative forward from Croatia and seems like a lot of fun because he starts chants like this:

That said, if the Bulls do keep the pick (again an if that I hope is not fulfilled), they likely go international here. BUT Adreian Payne is still on the board and I think he’d be a great fit for the Bulls team as currently constructed. An athletic, stretch PF that can be a 2nd or 3rd big guy off the bench (with Mirotic?). A four-year senior, that again, fits the Bulls culture and could contribute from Day 1. Feels like he’d be another Taj off the bench as real Taj gets the starting nod (or gets shipped to Jose’s Wolves in a Kevin Love deal :))

Hold on, I’m getting too optimistic. If no Melo, no Love, this will be my song of the summer: araabMUZIK sampling Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness”. Yeah. Perfect. :’(

20. Toronto Raptors  Tyler Ennis  |  Syracuse

Tibs: Tyler Ennis and Toronto seems like they’re on a collision course. Ennis has said he’d love to play for his hometown and he’d be a natural fit to a Raptors roster whose point guards will be free agents on July 1st (Lowry and Vasquez). Plus, they could get a steal as Ennis has the talent, and freshman youth, and was simply passed over by more athletic prospects. Cuse was one of the teams I followed during the college basketball season and I was impressed by Ennis’ poise, especially in late game situations, and espcially considering he is 19. I think it says something that his countryman Steve Nash has been publicly behind the kid on numerous, non-consecutive occasions and I think Ennis has a bright future ahead of him as a potential steal of this draft.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder  Jusuf Nurkic  |  Bosnia

Jose: I think the Thunder need a 2 pretty badly (Thabo just doesn’t do enough and Lamb is stll so raw). A Jordan Adams or TJ Warren makes sense, but if there’s one thing they do and can afford to do, it’s go BPA. Luckily for them, they have a big that’s dropped FAR in our mock draft, and they can scoop him so they can mercifully get rid of Kendrick Perkins.

Here’s the scouting report I read on Nurkic: He’s a back-to-the-basket player who does his most effective work setting screens. They mentioned Nikola Pekovic as a comparison and my eyes widened because I do love me some Pek as a Wolves fan. So this fit absolutely makes sense. The Thunder need a true inside scorer, someone to help suck some of the defense in so Durant and Westbrook can operate more freely. This guy might not ever develop in time to play with Durant, but he fits the mold of what they need right now.

22. Memphis Grizzlies  PJ Hairston  |  D-League

Tibs: Oh wow, Nurkic is another Pek?! I love me some Pek too, but would the Thunder really draft him with Steven Adams already?

I could see someone like Warren that you said for the Thunder, as well as the Grizzlies here, but I think PJ Hairston becomes the first D-League player ever taken in the first round (!) to Memphis. Drafting a player from the D-League?! That’s like making a rap video that doesn’t really incorporate the song and instead plays out like a short film. A.k.a. Still pretty cool.

BTW, this is the one piece of new music I’d suggest out of all of them in this post. Big shout Nick Astro.

Memphis needs some more swingman shooters and by all accounts, Hairston’s game could translate well as a James Harden-esque scorer.

23. Utah Jazz  Jordan Adams  |  UCLA

Jose: Woah. Woah. Woah. I was not expecting to see PJ Hairston’s name in our mock. But it is our mock and stuff happens when you party on a computer while typing in the dark on a beautiful day when everyone’s outside….

Easy Jose.

Anyways, we’re starting to get into the part of the draft where a ton of teams are taking their second first-round picks. And I have this gut feeling we’re going to see a lot more Euro’s being stashed at this point. Teams don’t want to pay two contract, and having that sweet Euro bait in a trade is always good.

That being said, I think Utah goes domestic and takes a swingman in Jordan Adams. Alec Burks has never been the answer they had hoped at the position, and a new coach means I have no idea what they’ll do. But I think they want to compete sooner rather than later, so they’ll acquire some talent to help them in trades down the line. In the meantime, a two-guard would at least fit for the time being.

I don’t see Adams as anything more than a rotational piece, but at 23, you shouldn’t expect him to be much more.

24. Charlotte Hornets  TJ Warren  |  NC St.

Tibs: Yes, I get a Charlotte Hornets pick! My odd sadness when I didn’t get to pick for them in the lottery is now quelled so I can pick a name we’ve mentioned as possibilities in the picks above: TJ Warren. He seems like a scorer that MJ would approve of, especially at a swingman spot where they’re looking to add that sort of production. In our mock, we have them taking Stauskas who’s a 2-guard that compliments their starting lineup well. If they can get Warren (a sort of consolation prize if they pass over McDermott), then I think this draft is a *cue Borat voice* great success for the purple and teal.

25. Houston Rockets  Glenn Robinson III  |  Michigan

Jose: Tibs literally just wrote in this spot that Asik was traded to the Pelicans a second ago. Daryl Morey is God in nerdy-GM form. He spent all last season trying to get Asik for a first round pick, then just holds on to him, and now gets a first PLUS he clears salary cap to go for Melo or Love. Just awesome stuff.

This trade might have some Bulls fans sweating because of the suddenly cleared space and the fact that Melo is meeting with the Rockets. It reeks of something happening for the Rockets soon though. I’m kind of on the edge of my seat.

That being said, this pick here is solely to get a cheap replacement for Chandler Parsons. The Rockets can’t afford to pay him if they sign a Melo or trade for Love, so Robinson III could provide the shooting the Rockets love and still keep a hefty salary off the books.

26. Miami Heat  Cleanthony Early  |  Wichita St.

Tibs: Man, quick sidenote on Parsons: I don’t get the idea of making him a free agent this summer if they’re not going to re-sign him. I know they may price themselves out to get one of the superstars, but couldn’t they have still kept his deal for one more year and not handcuff that flexibility? Parsons was making so little that he became a male model this season.

As for sweating because of the Rockets clearing cap space, I’ll let @TheBullsShow take it from here.


 

Anyway, there was a report today that the Heat are looking to trade up to get Shabazz Napier, a LeBron James favorite based on one excited tweet from the National Championship game. But since this is our mock, I took Napier for the Bulls with great pleasure to also thwart a pick for Miami. That said, the Heat are in win now mode and can address a concern of LeBron before free agency with this pick: Cleanthony Early.

Early, the four-year senior from the magical mid-major Shockers of Wichita St., projects to be a small forward who can shoot and play right away. Look for him to get a chance to take some minutes from James to help rest him through the season… ya know, if LeBron were to come back…

27. Phoenix Suns  Clint Capela  |  Switzerland

Jose: I immediately thought “Screw you Pat Riley!” the second you took Napier. I’m glad we can both take some enjoyment out of hypothetically ruining someone else’s day.

Holy crap Phoenix has three first round picks? I think they use it on another Euro. This guy might come over, but if not, they’ll have another piece of candy to dangle in trades for a superstar. I mean, it’s no secret they want a superstar, so having some unknown, all potential Euro available at a low rate (due to the slotting of the picks and their salary ranges) would look semi-appealing to a team in a couple of years.

Which is why I think Saric is such a good pick for them too. He’s lining up to be the next Mirotic, which means he could fetch a decent return for a superstar in a year or two. Fits EXACTLY with what the Suns want to do.

28. Los Angeles Clippers  Jordan Clarkson  |  Missouri

Tibs: Let’s let the current Mirotic fetch a superstar first, Jose. As for Doc and the Clips, it feels like a Darren Collison replacement here and Jordan Clarkson is projected as a first round pick and sounds like Kelly Clarkson’s less successful younger sister. There’s a fit here; admittedly, I don’t know how exactly.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder  Damien Inglis  |  French Guyana

Jose: Here’s something the two readers who have gotten this far should know: Tibs went ahead and filled in Bogdan Bogdanovic (below) before I could even figure out how to write his name. So I was incredibly tempted to put his name just to piss Tibs off, but I don’t think the Thunder would take two Euro bigs in our mock draft. But I do think they’ll stash another Euro, and I think it’ll be a name we’re unfamiliar with because #whateverthisisamockdraft.

But this kind of makes sense if you think about. The kid is nowhere near NBA ready, so he can sign on to a Euro team for two or three years and develop his game. Meanwhile, KD can play out his contract, and if he suddenly decides to leave, they have a SF that can take his roster spot (notice I didn’t say role. No one can be KD. Or even two-thirds of KD). They could let him grow and hope and pray they have a diamond in the rough should KD leave. And if he doesn’t, there’s some more of that Euro candy I keep talking about.

30. San Antonio Spurs  Bogdan Bogdanovic  |  Serbia

Tibs: Spurs, international. Already. Guarantee this guy is going to be good. Partially because he’s a late first round pick for the Spurs. Partly because he’s got not one, but two Bogdan’s in his name. That’s fantastic. Done and done.

Jose: Bogdan Bogdan?  Nice.

***

Tibs: Closing thoughts? I think we reached the #whateverthisisamockdraft point somewhere between the low 20s and the moment we found out the Hawks switched to the Pacman logo and I googled “Ballin Ben Franklin”. Over/Under on how many picks we get right: 7.5.

Jose: Yea, the shorter my write-ups got, the more #whateverthisisamockdraft the mock draft became. I actually think we did alright and thought through it pretty well. And we did it in only two hours! But since I think there’s too many teams with two draft picks and a lot of teams want to trade, we’ll hit the under on picks we get right. If I had to guess, I’d say four.

Tibs: Correction: I think I hit #whateverthisisamockdraft point when I took Elfrid Payton at #8, but Chad Ford said in his Simmons podcast that he is the closest thing he’s seen to a young Gary Payton, and that basically, they both have a man-crush on him, so yeah. I also think there will be some trade activity and surprise picks galore between #1 and #8 that is so impossible to predict that I can’t wait for later tonight. Also, you’re right, we did this in 2 hours. For those scoring at home, that’s a new record (half as much as last year’s!)

Jose: Yep, in total agreement (except your acceptance of Chad Ford and Bill Simmons). So, give me two things to take away from this mock draft before we close up shop here. I’ll give you mine:

1. We both secretly want Elfrid Payton on our teams even though we both have PGs we love on our respective teams. And that’s only because we want to have Damien Lillard on our teams. Vicarious living FTW!

2. We both want to see Pat Riley’s hair show just a tiny, tiny bit frazzle when he doesn’t get Napier or whoever he wants. Seriously, that hair is to set in place. Granted, he’s probably been gelling it for so long now that his hair naturally maintains that shine and sets itself that way in the morning…

Tibs: In response, living vicariously is a movement. We’re merely the leaders.

1. You, and seemingly all Wolves fans, have no confidence whatsoever that the Wolves will do right in a Kevin Love trade, let alone trading him at the best possible time (still unknown, frankly… is it now or after the season starts?) Regardless, I feel like this collective groan will be louder when the move is finally made, and likewise, I can’t see it ending well.

2. We don’t have a clear idea of who will be the best player out of this draft, 2 of the top 4 picks have so many question marks, a more-than-usual amount of trades can happen, and we’re irrationally excited for the return of the Charlotte Hornets and the Atlanta Hawks PacMan logo. Maybe the Wolves should change their name to the Muskies?

The NBA this off-season:

Thank you for skimming reading everything!