For the third year in a row, my college buddy Jose and I predicted the NBA Draft, making picks for every team in the first round. This year is a special one because Jose’s hometown Minnesota Timberwolves have the #1 overall pick.
Enjoy our musings on not only the draft, but our power rankings of the new NBA uniforms, and… well, the Draft. By all means, scroll to your team and keep our crazy picks in mind as Adam Silver makes the announcements later tonight. Alas…
Jose: Tibs, I get that this is supposed to be about the NBA Draft, but can we focus on the most important NBA development of the summer?
The Sixers busted out the Ballin’ Ben Franklin logo.
I don’t know why people are mocking it as much as they are. It’s unique, it harkens back a bit to the cartoony logos of yesteryear, and it’s Freaking Ben Franklin dribbling a freaking basketball! Can you imagine the kind of trash talk he would throw on the court?
“Your J is as broke as the Tea crates we threw into the Boston Harbor.”
“Imagine if I had not discovered electricity, for then the 18,000 patriots in yonder building would not have bore witness to me taking you to school.”
Oh the glory.
But we’re here for a specific reason. We’re going to do our best to improve upon last year’s accuracy of 10%. That’s three correct picks out of thirty. And not to boast or anything, but yours truly got two of them correctly to Tibs’ one.
It’s funny though. After reading through last year’s mock, we were both pretty satisfied with how we did. You even set the over/under at 7.5 Tibs! And I had no confidence the Wolves would get anything of value out of Kevin Love. What a difference a year makes. All of the sudden I’m geeked about Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns (spoiler alert!). It’s like this team has a future or something. Plus, I don’t know if you got a chance to see the new practice facility we opened up, but it’s right next to a branch of the Mayo Clinic. Top notch facility + top notch medical access + top notch young talent makes Jose a happy guy. I’m most definitely drinking the Kool-Aid.
Tibs: Ahh, this coming from a guy who seriously considered turning in his Wolves fandom based on a front office decision on numerous, non-consecutive occasions. And I’m not knocking that… it was well-warranted frustration. I’m just happy that you’re happy now.
Jose: Years of pain and mismanagement will turn you this way. You wouldn’t know.
Tibs: Are you going to #WitnessHistory??
Jose: If I don’t #WitnessHistory tomorrow in the form of Karl-Anthony Towns, I’m turning in my Wolves fandom.
Tibs: No need. You can turn it in when Flip hires the wrong coach to replace him or even worse stays on through the end of Wiggins’ rookie contract.
Random notes in reaction to the above:
1. Ballin’ Ben Franklin talkin’ trash is a delightful thought.
2. Wow, did we really do that bad last year? Why are people reading this?
3. You know me too well. Any Jimmy Butler GIF is fantastic. Even after all of my Draft thoughts you’ll read below, I’m mostly hoping to see Jimmy get a max. offer from someone, ideally up front by the Bulls on July 1st at midnight. What really will happen: Jimmy signs a short-term offer that the Bulls match.
4. What’s your power rankings of the offseason’s new jerseys? (Bucks, Clippers, Sixers, Hawks). In other words, what’s your top 3 between Bucks, Sixers, and Hawks because the new Clippers jerseys look like clip art screen printed.
Jose: It really is amazing to me. Nike hasn’t even taken over the apparel, but it feels like they’ve already had an influence on the design of some of these jerseys. But I like to think that Adidas has basically gone full-on nuclear with some of these ideas because, at this point, they’re going to try and sell whatever they think is cool. As for my personal ranking though:
1. Philadelphia – There’s something always so classic about red, white, and blue. Plus major kudos for throwing the PHILA on the front. I also appreciate the stars and think that those, more than any of the other new jerseys, will look best in live game action.
2. Milwaukee – So clean, but still unique. It’s an instant classic, and the Cream City Cream color is great. The only reason I have them behind Philadelphia is because I think that if the team had gone with the cream for their home jerseys, they would have started a new trend in the game.
3. Clippers – ONLY because their home jerseys are basically the same and the new font doesn’t look that bad on them. But holy mercy, let’s never talk about those road jerseys. And why add black to your color scheme for no flipping reason?!
4. Atlanta – Speaking of adding black for new flipping reason, let’s welcome the new Atlanta jerseys! These jerseys are a flaming pile of emu excrement to the human eye; an insult to the word “aesthetics”. The only thing going for them is they may mix and match road tops and bottoms, which would be an interesting look to say the least.
Tibs: But.. but… neon! I hope they do mix and match the tops and bottoms. The leaked images with them mixed > Kent ABCABC’s red on red combo.
Alas, we have to get on with this thing, but not before I mention that the Bucks “Lake Blue” alternate dropping within a year is going to be the coldest jersey yet. (You heard it here first!)
OK, the ground rules. Jose and I will alternate picks starting with Jose and his hometown Wolves (and I’ll have my hometown Bulls at #22.) We have to make the next pick based on who’s off the board so we can really mess each other up here and that only adds to the fun.
Emphasis on fun because this is all that. Enjoy, fellow NBA nerdies…
1. Minnesota Timberwolves | Karl Anthony-Towns — Kentucky
Jose: I’m getting cautiously optimistic that the Timberwolves don’t find a way to Timberwolves this pick. All indications, both nationally and locally, are the Wolves taking will be taking Towns, which is good! Because that’s who they should take. And good things are good.
There’s no reason to overthink this. While Jahlil Okafor is better in the paint, Towns has demonstrated an ability to play both sides of the court, and just as important, a willingness to improve himself. People question Okafor’s work ethic – especially when it comes to conditioning – but they don’t question Towns’. Towns is just the guy built to excel in today’s NBA. He can guard the pick and roll, which may be the most essential function on defense today. And he can hit free throws, which is clutch for a big man. And what people don’t realize is that he’s about to get coached up by one of the greatest defensive bigs to ever play the game.
If that doesn’t excite a Wolves fan, I don’t know what will.
2. Los Angeles Lakers | Jahlil Okafor — Duke
Tibs: Chamberlain. Abdul-Jabaar. O’Neal. Gasol. Howard. Okafor?
Widely considered the 1b to Karl Anthony-Towns 1a, Jahlil Okafor is the expected #2 pick and there isn’t too much chatter about anyone else. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s certain, but I do believe the Lakers won’t pull a surprise pick nor a trade for Boogie Cousins (the Kings won’t trade him to a division rival.)
This leaves a projected long-term frontcourt of Jahlil Okafor and Julius Randle. Could be deadly on offense, and deadly the other way on defense. If I’m a Lakers fan, I like the pick. He’s about as solid as you can count on in the Draft and I nod agreeingly at Jalen Rose’s Brook Lopez comp. That comp though is why I don’t love it.
Boring pick, but I hope I’m wrong and Boogie lands in L.A.
UPDATE: I could be wrong. Time will soon tell, but I’ll still slot Okafor here if the Kings get it.
3. Philadelphia 76ers | D’Angelo Russell — Ohio St.
Jose: See, if I’m Philly, I’m ecstatic Russell fell to me. People are seeing he sees one step ahead of the play, and he can shoot and shoot and shoot. Those traits are an absolute premium. This is especially good because I see Russell as being the better pro compared to Okafor. If Jalen Rose is telling me that Jahlil Okafor’s comp is Brook Lopez, I’d be pissed. I don’t want a slow prodding big man, not in today’s NBA. Especially not after the Warriors just destroyed the league with the “modern” way to play.
So when a guy tailor made is sitting there for you at the three pick, you take him.. Which means the 76ers tanked their way into the second best player in the draft. Think about this, the 76ers traded away MCW, and came away with Russell. That’s a net win in and of itself. He’ll captain this ship all the way to the 8th seed in the playoffs in 2021.
4. New York Knicks | Emmanuel Mudiay — Congo/China
Tibs: So I’m actually not convinced that the Sixers take Russell. He makes for a good fit, especially around their current personnel, but I feel like Mudiay may be their pick at 3.
If it plays out like this though, I think the Knicks grab their point guard of the future even though they are apparently “kind of covered” there.
I’ve read that Mudiay has the athleticism close to John Wall and that he is a fearless attacker with the killer instinct intangible. Given his high school career and one year in China, they also expect him to be the type of personality to handle the New York spotlight.
And finally, from my assessment, I think he has more of a ‘Boom’ potential than D’Angelo Russell, even though he may have more ‘Bust’ potential too.
The Knicks though, especially the Phil Jackson regime so far, are hard to read. Kristaps Porzingis makes for the fun, unpredictable pick that will have the New York crowd reacting some type of way. If you can only watch part of the draft tonight, watch it through the first 4 picks.
5. Orlando Magic | Kristaps Porzingis — Latvia
Jose: It’s an open secret that Orlando LOVES Porzingis. They’ve even thought about trading up just to ensure they get him. So if the Knicks go ahead and take Mudiay, then the Magic brass literally SPRINTS to the podium to take this guy.
Here’s what we know about Porzingis: he’s 7’1” with a 7’6” wingspan, can shoot, run, and is generally pretty athletic. He’s also Latvian. That has nothing to do with anything, but I just like seeing what country these guys are from (another Latvian? Linas Kleiza. Mizzou Tigers raise up!). But here’s what we also know about him, he averaged under five rebounds a game, shot a shade under 36% from downtown, and had something like 0.5 assists per game. Of course he could get better, but the bust factor is strong in this one.
And yet the Magic are getting themselves an absolute player. Pair him with Vucevic in the front court and Oladipo and Payton in the backcourt and you have the makings a fun team. A terrible team, but fun nonetheless.
6. Sacramento Kings | Mario Hezonja — Croatia
Tibs: Let’s make it 3 straight lottery swingmen for the Kings!
Between Porzingis and Hezonja, the international players in this draft have a lot of fun potential. Porzingis is 7’1” and can shoot 3s.
Hezonja’s idol is Kobe Bryant and he has apparently adopted his personality.
Especially when George Karl realizes it.
7. Denver Nuggets | Justise Winslow — Duke
Jose: Dammit Tibs. I was ready to pull the trigger on Hezonja here. I’m not saying it’s a bad pick since the Kings have swung and missed on their last two guards, but still. Denver needs anything and everything right now since they’re trying to blow it up, and a potentially solid two guard would’ve suited them perfectly. Especially since he knows Jusuf Nurkic. The attitude between those two would be the best in the league.
As for the Nuggets, they’re relegated to taking Winslow. I have no real reasoning behind this other than Mike Malone is a defensive coach, and Winslow can guard pretty much anyone on the court. If they’re going to trade away their entire team, having a defensive three would help give them a defensive identity that would, at the very least, keep their games close next year.
Winslow also showed a willingness to drive into the lane during the NCAA tournament (I couldn’t tell you if he was that way the whole season), and the name of the modern NBA game is defense, the three point shot, and dunks and layups. Winslow could fulfill all those things over time. Think a poor man’s Kawhi Leonard.
8. Detroit Pistons | Stanley Johnson — Arizona
Tibs: Damn, first I read your first paragraph about the possibility of Hezonja and Nurkic together and got sad I jumped on Super Mario for the Kings. Rooting for the Nuggets.
Winslow, by the way, is one of my favorite players in the draft and I’d bet on him to become the best player out of this draft 5 years from now. *Behind Towns (ha!) Jose note: I was about to make a bet with you after that blasphemy. I may have to revise this… [/end note]
Anyway, this is the Pistons pick and all signs point to Stanley Johnson as the right fit. Detroit really needs a swingman and I think Johnson’s athleticism will be well utilized alongside Drummond and whoever sticks at point: Reggie Jackson or Brandon Jennings. I like what I see from Johnson too and can’t get the story out of my head that he guarded, and went at LeBron at a summer camp before last year’s freshman season… and he apparently held his own.
9. Charlotte Hornets | Frank Kaminsky — Wisconsin
Jose: I love that I get to make this pick since Charlotte just went nuts and picked up Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb. MJ wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted wing help. It looks like Charlotte is doing their best to pick up shooters to pair with Big Al and Kemba Walker. Let Walker drive and kick, or Big Al kick out if he can’t score. That means the Hornets could surprise us all by taking a wing like Stanley Johnson or even a shooter like Devin Booker. But in the end, I think they go with Kaminsky.
With Noah Vonleh gone and Cody Zeller turning into a bust, Kaminsky would be a nice pickup for that Charlotte offense. His shooting would space the floor for Big Al, and his IQ is plenty high, so he won’t do much to interrupt the flow of that team. I’m more curious, though, about what the team does with MKG and Batum. Does one play the 2, or do you go with one off the bench and play a small lineup of Walker-2 guard-Batum-MKG-Big Al. I mean, MKG would guard the best player on the court, and everyone else would get a bit of a breather. Kaminsky off the bench would provide some scoring punch, and they could hopefully hide some of his defensive deficiencies by playing next to a Biyombo or MKG. There’s some flexibility to this team if they take Kaminisky, and it fills a need. Solid pick.
10. Miami Heat | Devin Booker — Kentucky
Tibs: Miami’s a team that’s hard to project and there was a report yesterday that they’re open to trading their pick.
The bigger drama around the Heat right now is surrounding Dwyane Wade following a Twitter user who photoshopped him onto a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey (seriously.) so I doubt Heat Nation is on pins and needles for this pick.
All that said, I look at Miami’s starting 5 and lack of depth and see that they need shooting. Booker is widely regarded as the best from the swingman position and being compared to Klay Thompson. Whether Wade stays or not, the Heat will need a successor sooner or later and in the meantime, Booker can seemingly add an element off the bench that the Heat could use more of.
11. Indiana Pacers | Trey Lyles — Kentucky
Jose: At this point the Pacers are upset because Kaminsky is gone. David West just opted out of his contract today and they were hoping to get his cheap replacement. But instead, they end up with Lyles as a consolation prize.
Lyles seems to fit the Frank Vogel model for his players. That is, he’s smart, can pass, and seems like a guy who can fit into a system pretty easily. He already understands what it takes to be a glue guy since he did that at Kentucky.
Now admittedly, I don’t know much about Trey Lyles, but I do know he was a Freshman that got consistently better as the year went on. There’s something to be said about a player that does well against guys older and physically stronger than him. Compare that to a Kaminsky and Indiana might have come away with a better pick than if they had landed the Wisconsin Senior.
I could keep going, but like I said, I don’t know much about Lyles. So I’ll just let Tibs make his pick.
12. Utah Jazz | Willie Trill Cauley-Stein — Kentucky
Tibs: How far will Willie Trill Cauley-Stein drop?
Also, doesn’t it look cool that we have 3 straight Kentucky guys in a row? We didn’t plan this, I swear.
And let’s have some fun with this mock draft. After all, you’re reading this into the teens at this point.
I predict a trade here!
The Jazz have Rudy Gobert as their center of the future so Trill doesn’t fill a need right away. But he has enough of a defensive rep (league-wide rave reviews) that a GM will make a jump to this spot to grab him as their Center of the future/modern NBA.
I won’t leave the prediction empty either… I’d guess Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics will make a trade today and Cauley-Stein would add some much needed interior defense to the existing ragtag bunch that made it to the 7 seed in the East last season. Plus, in my hypothetical, the culture of the Celtics franchise and darling good guy coach Brad Stevens seems like a hypothetically nice backbone for the loopy personality of a guy who adds ‘Trill’ to his name.
13. Phoenix Suns | Kelly Oubre — Kansas
Jose:I’m very curious about this pick because this is a team trying to reshape its identity on the fly. They just abandoned their 3-PG strategy and are trying to do a lot of things at once. One thing that I know about the Suns is that their GM is very much into analytics in his player evaluation. So I really wish I could say that there’s some player still in the draft that had some crazy high adjusted +/- or PER or whatever stat helps with player evaluation.
I think the Suns roll the dice and take Oubre, a wing with some serious scoring potential that could help balance out their roster with Brandon Knight and Alex Len. Don’t think I wasn’t contemplating taking Cameron Payne here though. As crazy as it would be for them to take another PG, pairing a young ball handler with a young big isn’t a terrible idea. Knight won’t be there forever, and PG’s from small schools have been big hits recently in the NBA. Plus with Payne’s stock shooting for the sun (see what I did there?), he could end up in Phoenix.
Otherwise, Oubre just sort of ends up in Phoenix.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder | Cameron Payne — Murray St.
Tibs: Whoo, I’m glad you took Oubre because he’s a guy I can’t get a great grasp on and am personally not too excited about from the Kansas games I happened to catch this past year.
Meanwhile, I have a good feeling, that’s backed up by a couple other mocks, that Cameron Payne is their pick here and becomes the Thunder’s new Reggie Jackson.
The Murray St. sophomore is this year’s Damian Lillard candidate that Jose alluded to above. And hey, why couldn’t he fit well with Phoenix? Or even higher to a team like Utah or Miami?
Irregardless, the buzz around Payne feels legit and I think he would have an immediate impact and fit on a healthy OKC team (that we should all root for, first and foremost.)
15. Atlanta Hawks | Myles Turner — Texas
Jose: Question Tibs, have you hit your #whateverthisisamockdraft point yet? I’m pretty sure the Atlanta pick just triggered it for me.
And since we’ve hit that point, I’m going to go with Turner to the Hawks.
If there’s one thing we learned about this team this year, it’s that they value ball and player movement over anything else. Everyone is unselfish and everyone can shoot. Well Turner turned out to be an 84% free throw shooter in college, and they say he has a pretty good stroke. Considering the Hawks could lose Millsap, and the fact that they took Adrien Payne last year before trading him away, makes me think that Turner would be the sensible pick for them. Another bonus to Turner, by the way, are the 2.6 blocks he averaged last year. Having another body to throw at Lebron in the playoffs doesn’t hurt. Actually, the only that actually would hurt in Atlanta are those new jerseys. Can someone help me round those up and burn them please?
16. Boston Celtics | Sam Dekker — Wisconsin
Tibs: I already have the Celtics trading up for Trill Cauley-Stein up above so I may as well let this hypothetical ride and choose Dekker for the Jazz here.
Do they need more of the same having Gordon Hayward already? I don’t know, but I think with both of their games it wouldn’t hurt. Plus, Dekker would be some insurance in case Alec Burks doesn’t recover well from his season-ending injury.
So whether the Celtics retain this pick or not, if Dekker still is available at #16, I say he goes one pick ahead of where everyone in Madison, Wisconsin is rooting for…
Sidebar: Since Jose and I graduated from the University of Minnesota, this was a thread in our college buddy group before Wisconsin and Kentucky’s matchup in the Final 4.
17. Milwaukee Bucks | Tyus Jones — Duke
Jose: I just got to draft for the team with the worst uniforms in the league to a team with the best. Those things look awesome, and I’m genuinely excited to see what the court looks like. But they need to get a product out on the court, and they could use a wing scorer like Dekker. They also traded away Ilyasova, so they might want to grab a stretch four.
But instead I got to ruin Houston’s life and take Tyus Jones.
Rumors out of Milwaukee are that they are already having a bit of buyer’s remorse in taking on Michael Carter-Williams, and I’m pretty sure Jason Kidd thinks he can coach a Jones better than an MCW. I mean, does this pick help in the short term? Probably not. But Jones could be leading this team in a year or two, and feeding the ball to Jabari Parker to boot. Sure this team could use a big and a two-guard, but I’m banking on Jason Kidd saying Tyus will be his PG and he’ll take it from there. And yes, I hated making this pick.
18. Houston Rockets | Jerian Grant — Notre Dame
Tibs: NOOO! Tyus Jones was etched next to Houston’s name in mock drafts since he won the MOP and Patrick Beverly got hurt and everyone realized that Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni were next in line.
I suppose if it’s between me and you writing about the Apple Valley, Minnesota product it should be you, the native Minnesotan.
I didn’t have a Plan B here, but there are still some intriguing point guards available to choose from that are projected to land around here for the next 5 or so picks.
I went with Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant, who impressed me a lot as I followed Notre Dame pretty closely in March. He has an NBA-style game and the senior moxie to step right in and contribute to a Western Conference finalist right away. Maybe he could even alleviate some of James Harden’s responsibilities with his own ability to score and assist?
I also had to make sure Grant was gone before picking for my hometown Bulls…
19. Washington Wizards | Rondae Hollis-Jefferson — Arizona
Jose: At this point I think Washington takes the best player available. They have a reason behind drafting a guy at any position. Take a PG? Well Wall needs a solid backup. Take a swingman? Paul Pierce sounds like he could be on the way out, so you need someone to backup Otto Porter. Take a big? Nene and Gortat aren’t getting any younger. At the end of the day, I’ve got to go with the player who’s highest remaining on the board: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
The biggest thing he has going for him is his defensive potential. That sounds great and all, but I’m pretty sure that’s why the Wizards drafted Porter in the first place. RHJ is basically a defensive role player with some physical skills to boot, so maybe he ends up like a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, which would be great if going to a defensive lineup (and boy does Randy Wittman harp on defense). But he’s not going to turn the dial, especially for a team trying to win now.
This also has the added benefit of giving the Thunder a potential trade piece in a sign-and-trade for Durant should KD tell OKC to trade him to his hometown team. It’s another cheap wing to throw into a trade.
Have I gotten to the point of speculating? You bet your ass I have.
20. Toronto Raptors | Bobby Portis — Arkansas
Tibs: Ha! We’ve gotten to that#whateverthisisamockdraft point of the mock draft for me.
In all honesty here, it feels like the Raptors could use some frontcourt help and another gunner off the bench if reigning 6th man Lou Williams leaves the T. Dot.
Though my hunch says RJ Hunter, I like Bobby Portis for the Raps based on this highlight video set wonderfully to Bobby Shmurda’s “Bobby Bitch”. I’m all-in on this guy after a huge block perfectly matched up with Shmurda’s karate line.
21. Dallas Mavericks | RJ Hunter — Georgia St.
Jose: My first thought here is: what do the Bulls need and how can I screw Tibs over with this pick? But I’m betting Dallas isn’t thinking that way, so my mindset is comparatively dumb.
I mean, Dallas is geriatric compared to the other teams in this league. Nowitzki, Chandler, Richard Jefferson. And Amare plays like he’s 50 anyways at this point in his career. So, youth at any position would help. I could even see the team drafting Dirk’s eventual “replacement”. Note that that’s in quotations because you’ll never actually replace Dirk.
But instead I think Dallas goes for a one or two. In this case, they take RJ Hunter (and hopefully his dad too!)
While a true PG would make sense for this team, the only guy left to consider at this point is Delon Wright out of Utah. But it may be a stretch to take him, so they go with the proven scorer in Hunter. Hunter doesn’t shoot particularly well, but he’s said to have a solid stroke and can make from all over the court. Plus he has good size. If he can put in the work to be a good spot up shooter, he could be help open up space for big men down low in the future.
Admittedly, I’m not sure where he would best fit with a guy like Chandler Parsons, but the team needs a replacement for Monta Ellis, and he’s the most “NBA ready” wing out there. I did give thought to Rashad Vaughn, but I figured Dallas wouldn’t want to invest the time in developing such a raw player during the twilight of Dirk’s career. Also, his addition wouldn’t intrude with a potential LMA signing #imeanimjustsayin
22. Chicago Bulls | Delon Wright — Utah
Tibs: I literally had this as Justin Anderson out of Virginia first, so it goes to show that I think the Bulls could go either way here. I picked Anderson originally because the Bulls gravitate towards big schools and he emerged as the best player on one of the four #1 seed teams. He would help fill the void if Mike Dunleavy leaves via free agency, and help with Tony Snell and Doug McDermott ahead of Anderson on the depth chart, hypothetically.
I am settling on Wright because he is also the guy I’m rooting for the Bulls to take. Dorell Wright’s kid brother had a great senior season for the Utes and on top of that, it’s his size (6’5”) and projection as a combo guard that has me excited about his fit for the Bulls. We need a capable backup for Derrick Rose in place of the aging Kirk Hinrich and Aaron Brooks (better as a third guard) and I’d prefer one that’s versatile enough to play alongside Rose as well.
This brings me to my next thought, which I teased by mentioning Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant above. I am sold on the hypothetical that Ricky O’Donnell brought up in this week’s Bulls Show: trading up for Jerian Grant, and perhaps including a 2016 first-round pick to do so. Wouldn’t having Horace’s nephew on the team just feel right too? Hear Ricky and Nillz talk about this idea in further detail + a full breakdown of the Bulls draft. Per usual, the entire pod is a great listen, especially for someone who’s reading this far into our mock draft right now.
23. Portland Trail Blazers | Rashad Vaughn — UNLV
Jose: It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the native Minnesotan drafted both Minnesotans in this draft. Even better, I drafted them to teams I don’t really like! So…there’s that.
But Rashad Vaughn makes sense for the Trail Blazers only after the trades they made today. By dropping Batum, Portland may be trying to clear enough space to resign LMA, but indications are that he’s going to get A LOT of attention from the Texas teams. And seeing that he’s from Texas, it would be tough to say no to those teams.
I’m assuming LMA won’t be back and Portland will go into rebuild mode. And if you’re going to go into rebuild mode, grab a player with high upside who you could give time to develop.
Vaughn started off slow at UNLV, but showed solid scoring ability. For a team that likes to shoot on the perimeter, Vaughn could make sense. Add to the fact that Aaron Afflalo is a free agent and Wes Matthews is coming off the worst injury an athlete can have, and adding extra wing depth wouldn’t hurt Portland.
Lillard, McCollum, Vonleh, and Vaughn could be a fun core. Actually, it’s already fun because of Lillard.
I don’t know. I don’t understand the Blazers enough to make a solid prediction. Sorry Blazers fans.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers | Kevon Looney — UCLA
Tibs: Now that the Bulls pick is over, I’ll be seeing my way out.
I’m kidding, I’ll stick around for the rest of the first round.
My prediction for the Cavs is that they’ll essentially sell this pick in some sort of trade that may not excite anyone tonight, but will actually positively impact their offseason. I bet they’ll try and clear some cap space so they can have maximum amount of room to re-sign Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert… let alone give less money to Dwyane Wade so he can play with LeBron again… *big eyes emoji*
I’m half kidding about the last part, but the Cavs need ample room for the first 4 anyway and there’s likely not an impact player that can step in right away and turn the needle.
Best player available then? For whoever ends up drafting here… Kevon Looney? The freshman with promise outta UCLA.
25. Memphis Grizzlies | Guillermo Hernangomez — Spain
Jose: Tibs, you can’t just say you’re leaving now! I could’ve checked out after the first pick, but I put in the effort to make this draft legitimate. Well, at least until the 15th pick at least…
Now you, as the reader have gone ahead and read this far, so we owe you some entertainment. Which means why not pull something out of nowhere and make the first potential “draft and stash” prediction?
There have been rumors going around that Guillermo “Willy” Hernangomez has been rising and could make it to the end of the first round. That means this pick isn’t too outlandish. But it’s still a stretch. For the Grizzlies though, it could make sense.
It’s not hard to make lazy comparisons between Willy and Marc Gasol. Both are centers, both are Spanish, and both are bigs in the classic sense: they don’t move all that well. But Willy is still a ways away from Gasol. But, assuming they resign the All-Star center, they have a ready made mentor rip-roaring to go. Plus, the team could ride the next contract of Gasol out and bring over Willy in a couple of years after he’s gotten more seasoning in Spain.
It may be a waste of a pick right now, but it could pay dividends down the line.
26. San Antonio Spurs | Nikola Milutinov — Serbia
Tibs: There still is some intrigue to watch the entire first round, guys!
The annual Spurs gon Spurs pick… last year it was Kyle Anderson who will eventually pay dividends because, probably.
This year, they gotta go international.
And I’m trusting SteinyMo when he tweets, of all NBA breaking news, that Milutinov is fast rising up the boards.
Expect someone unusual here, and expect him to be good at least eventually.
27. Los Angeles Lakers | Montrezl Harrell — Louisville
Jose: At this point last year, Montrezl Harrell was in the running to be the first overall pick in the draft. Then he saw his stock plummet when Louisville struggled (compared to the year before), his stats didn’t improve all that much, and teams remembered he wasn’t all that tall to begin with.
Jerell Martin or Justin Alexander make sense here because they provide the Lakers a wing to add to the stable, but I’m purely going way out on a limb and making this pick because I’m thinking the Lakers would have to give up Julius Randle and their #2 pick for Cousins. They would have another gaping hole at one of the big spots, so why not fill it with a high motor rookie that can do all the dirty work for Boogie?
Dare I say, he could Get Boogie for Boogie? I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.
But in reality, a Martin or Alexander would probably be the pick here.
28. Boston Celtics | Jarrell Martin — LSU
Tibs: Late first round also means to swing for an underclassman with potential type of guy and Jarrell Martin from LSU fits the bill.
I wish he would have stayed in school to join Ben Simmons and LSU’s freshman class and become more of a national contender. Can’t wait to mock about Ben Simmons next year. (Oh yeah, this is an annual tradition we’re keeping.)
29. Brooklyn Nets | Justin Anderson — Virginia
Jose: My last pick of the night! And I get to do it for a team with a guy name Bogdanovic. There’s no point to that, other than I love that dudes name.
Brooklyn needs help everywhere, but they need immediate help. So no stashing this time. They’ll take Justin Anderson. Good player for a very good school. A guy that can come in and contribute right away. This is a team that’s on the brink of collapsing into a LONG rebuild, so getting any contributing talent is a plus.
Anderson is the best player on the board, and in our hypothetical mock, he’s dropped as far as 8 spots in the draft. Brooklyn will gladly take a player at a position where they could use some help and see what he can bring to the table.
30. Golden State Warriors | Terry Rozier — Louisville
Tibs: Golden State Warriors, NBA Champions is still taking some getting used to, honestly.
Not because it was surprising that they actually won it, but that it’s the Golden State Warriors franchise. Throw in that I happened to land in San Francisco the night of Game 6 and have seen so much Warriors pride throughout the Bay in the week since (really cool, btw) and Golden State Warriors, NBA Champions is a pleasantly surreal experience.
I’ll refer to my post on the Champs from last week for more thoughts on the ’15 Warriors. Since you’re down here at pick #30, you may as well, right?! 🙂
Given our mock draft, I like Rozier for the Warriors — the point guard who averaged 17 points a game for a major school like Louisville as a sophomore. Pretty impressive, right? The Dubs can use someone behind Barbosa, who’s aging and isn’t exactly the most durable player either. Why not try and strengthen the backup point guard spot to Steph?
I’ll leave this picture here to start our wrap up recap… what do you think of my ‘The City’ hoodie, Jose?
Jose: I think you know my opinion of adding black on apparel for no reason. That being said, that hoodie is kinda nice. Clean and simple. It pretty much hits the main points of what I look for in apparel. But I’m also 27 going on 60. I live in the past. And I’m cranky.
Tibs: Thanks! Got it to match the Curry Ones I’m wearing. Also needed that hoodie in an emergency because I didn’t realize San Francisco is freaking cold at night. (First time here.)
Jose: You’ve been out of Minnesota for too long.
Tibs: And not out in Chicago enough either.
Safe to say the Warriors replaced the Wolves as my 2nd team/Western Conference team but now that they won one, I may jump back to Minnesota. Thought you’d like to know.
Jose: I appreciate it, but now’s not the time to ditch Steph Curry. Generally speaking, ditching Curry is a bad idea. Up here we call those a “Jonny Flynn”. (Note: we don’t, but we should).
Tibs: *legit laughter*
Jose: But let’s push past my general remorse. What do you think of our draft this year? Better or worse than 2014?
Tibs: Definitely better, but the top 4 teams are run by Flip Saunders, the Tommy Boy Buss son, Sam Hinkie, and Phil Jackson…
Jose: And don’t forget Vivek Ranadive at six!
Tibs: …So it’ll probably be somehow worse.
Jose: Are you willing to set the over/under at 7.5 again?
Tibs: To be honest, no. It should be lower based on our track record. And it’s sad we have a track record. How does 5.5 sound?
Jose: Well I’m taking the over then. I’m going to go so far and say I’d take the over on 7.5.
Tibs: Boldest prediction of the mock draft!
Jose: You sure that doesn’t beat a guy named Willy to the Grizzlies? Or Tyus Jones to Milwaukee? Heck, even Towns to the Wolves because… nevermind. I was going to my dark place again.
Tibs: I just hope we nail one of our surprising picks. Just one. That would be glorious. I’m at least tuning in through the Spurs pick because of it.
Jose: That would be glorious. Although I’m more excited to see the reactions of players as they’re picked. I just want to see that one guy give a Zach Lavine “F*** me” again this year.
Tibs: *fast forward to Andrew Harrison in the crowd, hearing his name at pick #48*
Jose: Especially after his brother is taken fifteen picks ahead of him.
But let’s wrap this up, we’ve wasted enough of everyone’s time reading this. Don’t get me wrong, we are incredibly thankful that people took the time to read our magnum opus. I just can’t shake the feeling that all six remaining readers have been patiently waiting for some kind of payoff in the form of, I don’t know, actual NBA knowledge. In fact, I’m pretty sure we – at least I – made everyone dumber for this:
Tibs: “A simple wrong would have done just fine.” = Our mock draft after pick #11.
UPDATE: Again, thank you for reading this far. The Draft has concluded and if you’re scoring at home, we got 5 (yes, five) total correct so I hope you had the Under. But hey, at least I totally nailed that Spurs pick.