The GWHH 2015 NBA Mock Draft

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.

CE01MowVEAA2iWP

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.

There are even some connections to the Kings already and they’re reportedly interested in Hezonja as well. It will be funny if Hezonja plays out to his NBA comp, according to Chad Ford: J.R. Smith.

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?

CITgcA-WIAAJxaw

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.

1509146_10105981407313730_2948693670449884577_n

11081505_10105981427438400_7675197353297166392_n

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?

11403283_10106350361676230_7243902093830319597_n

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.

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 on, 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. 😥

http://emd.sharebeast.com/embed.php?type=slim&file=tidgf4z56bu0&enableDownload=false&title=AraabMuzik%20-%20Summer%20Time.mp3&dur=279.7&bg=F9F9F9&border=CCCCCC&color1=00A5DF

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.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
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!