Mocking the draft: Hoops writers style

6 Jun

With the NBA Draft right around the corner, I thought it was a good time to roll out a mock draft from those that cover college basketball.

Meet the mockers:
Matt Prehm,
Jeff Borzello,
Justin Young – National Hoops Report
Mike Miller – Beyond the Arc, NBC Sports
Rob Dauster – Ballin’ is a Habit
Brian Snow –

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Kyrie Irving PG- Duke (Matt Prehm,

What’s not to like? Well ok there is still question marks with Irving’s health following his toe injury that stole most of his freshman season at Duke but Cavs owner Dan Gilbert needs talent and trading Mo Williams for Baron Davis AND the No. 1 pick is a steal. The Cavs add Irving who will quickly become the face of the franchise. A talented guard that’s a pure point guard who can run the team efficiently and also be a lock-down defender is too much to pass up.

Gilbert might not bring a title to Cleveland before LeBron James brings one to Miami but he will put a much better product out on the court next season.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, F, Arizona (Jeff Borzello,

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Timberwolves deal this pick, but no matter who ends up picking second, Williams is the choice. He can play both forward positions, showing the ability to score around the rim and knock down face-up jumpers with range out to the 3-point line. Moreover, Williams is unbelievably adept at getting to the free-throw line. Williams is a match-up nightmare at every level; it won’t matter which team selects him.

3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky (Justin Young, National Hoops Report)

The future of the Jazz is shaping up nicely. With a front line of Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and the legendary Kyrylo Fesenko, landing the face of the backcourt is key. Knight is the perfect player for the team’s style of play. He’s a tough-guy scorer, good in the clutch and his personality and character fits in perfectly with the culture of the Jazz. This is an easy decision.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky (Mike Miller, Beyond the Arc – NBC Sports)

The center LeBron James would’ve loved having in Cleveland. Kanter’s got size and skill, which automatically makes him one of the East’s top centers and relegates Anderson Varejao to bench-warmer status. If Cavs coach Byron Scott is smart, he’ll feature pick-and-roll plays for Kanter and Irving, who’ll be the tandem of Cleveland’s future. The downside? Kanter’s defense. It’ll be better than Antawn Jamison’s, but that’s damning with faint praise.

5. Toronto Raptors – Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania (Rob Dauster, Ballin’ is a Habit)

Toronto is in a bad spot here. Simply put, they stink. They need someone that can step in and contribute immediately, but unfortunately they are picking fifth in what is, at best, a three player draft. Valanciunas is a big bodied Lithuanian that should eventually be able to shore up the Raptor’s front line. I would have used this pick on Kemba Walker, but the Raptors already have Jerryd Bayless and Jose Calderon at the position. And since Kemba will likely never be a star, better to start planning for the future, right? Right. I think.

6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State (Brian Snow,

The Wizards have an explosive young backcourt with John Wall and Jordan Crawford and a good piece to the puzzle up front with JaVale McGee. With Wall and Crawford being dynamic scorers, a toughness guy who defends and rebounds on the wing is a perfect complement and that is Leonard. He has a long wing span, is a freak athlete, and can defend multiple positions. It immediately gives the Wizards one of the most athletic young teams in the perimeter in the league.

7. Sacramento Kings- Kemba Walker, PG, UCONN (Matt Prehm,

Maybe the most electric guard in the draft Walker will instantly become a crowd favorite in Sacramento or wherever the Kings play in future years. His biggest question mark was being able to play point guard and his size and answered both those questions in the NCAA tournament and the NBA combine most recently. Tyreke Evans may benefit the most from this draft as the Kings could have a true PG who can set Evans up for plenty of baskets.

8. Detroit Pistons – Jan Vesley, SF, Czech Republic (Jeff Borzello,

Detroit needs someone who can make an immediate impact in the frontcourt, and Vesley could be that guy. He has the ability to play both forward positions, and his ceiling is high. Vesley does a little bit of everything offensively, from handling the ball and driving to stepping out and knocking down outside shots. At 6-foot-11, Vesley could be one of the more difficult match-ups in the draft. He should be an upgrade over Chris Wilcox pretty quickly.

9. Charlotte Bobcats – Bismack Biyombo, PF/C, Congo (Justin Young, National Hoops Report)

When the Bobcats traded Gerald Wallace to Portland, the team lost its tough guy. They refill that role with the best tough guy in the draft pool. Biyombo is a terrific rebounder and a fine shot-blocker. He loves contact and wants to throw his granite body around. Biyombo is still quite raw and has little to no offensive moves. Nevertheless, Biyombo could be developed into a double digit rebounder in the league down the road.

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Klay Thompson, Washington State (Mike Miller, Beyond the Arc – NBC Sports)

Milwaukee should probably trade down given the options at 10. But if they have to take someone, drafting Michael Redd’s eventual replacement and a guy who can connect on Brandon Jennings’ passes just makes sense. Of course, drafting a high-energy rebounding machine like Kenneth Faried also makes sense, but the Bucks need SOMEONE who can score.

11. Golden State Warriors – Jimmer Fredette, BYU (Rob Dauster, Ballin’ Is A Habit)

Yes, I know, the Warriors already have two players at this position, but Fredette is perfect for what Golden State likes to do. They get up and down the floor, they chuck up a bunch of threes, and they don’t play much defense. Isn’t that the scouting report on Fredette? And besides, this provides the Warriors with some insurance for the next time that Monta Ellis decides to take his motorcycle out for a spin.

12. Utah Jazz – Josh Selby, Kansas (Brian Snow,

This is a very un-Jazz like pick, but with a front court that is setup nicely with Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Al Harrington, the Jazz need someone who can score and is an explosive athlete. Sure Selby’s only year in college was a bit of disappointment, but when it comes to talent level there isn’t a better player available at this point in the draft, and he could be a difference maker for them going forward. It is no doubt a risk, but at the same time it is a high reward for a team with pieces in place.

13. Phoenix Suns- Alec Burks, Colorado (Matt Prehm,

As the resident Suns fan I was thrilled to get this pick but seeing both Klay Thompson and The Jimmer fall right before I wish I didn’t have it. Alec Burks is a great scorer but lacks ideal strength and can at times shoot too much and was a poor three-point shooter as a sophomore. It’s the best option to solve the Suns shooting guard problems but an ugly fix. The Suns may want to either trade up or down at this spot.

14. Houston Rockets – Jordan Hamilton, Texas (Jeff Borzello,

With the last pick of the lottery, the Rockets could go a number of directions. Marcus Morris and Tristan Thompson are both lottery-caliber talents who could be gone by this point, and Bismack Biyombo would be a great pick if he falls. Houston already has Luis Scola at the power forward position and could really use a wing scorer instead of Chase Budinger at small forward. Jordan Hamilton provides an explosive scorer who can shoot it from the perimeter and score in the lane.

15. Indiana Pacers – Kenneth Faried, Morehead State (Justin Young, National Hoops Report)

This is a killer spot to be in considering the Pacers need a shooter and the two best shooting guards for the Pacers have been selected already in Klay Thompson and The Jimmer. That leaves us with the secondary need – an active post defender. The Pacers are already a good rebounding team but Faried paired with Tyler Hansbrough, you have two of the hardest working dudes in the league. Now scoring the ball in a pick and pop…well, don’t get too happy.

16. Philadelphia 76ers — Tristan Thompson, Texas (Mike Miller, Beyond the Arc – NBC Sports)

Philly loves that one of the draft’s top defensive players falls in its lap. Markieff Morris should garner consideration, and may be too tough to pass on given his Philly roots, but Thompson’s got more potential. Thompson’s a bit undersized to play center against the likes of Dwight Howard, but he’ll do just fine against most of the East’s post players. He’ll contribute immediately thanks to his shot-blocking skills, but Thompson’s offensive game needs some serious help. But hey, if the 76ers can turn Jrue Holiday into a player capable of 30-point games, surely they can improve Thompson’s game.

17. New York Knicks — Marcus Morris, Kansas (Rob Dauster, Ballin’ Is A Habit)

The Knicks need defense, but the option of landing a player with the offensive versatility of Marcus Morris is too much to pass up this late in the draft. Morris can do a lot of different things on the offensive end of the floor, and could end up playing a Boris Diaw-ish role in Mike D’Antoni’s offense. The smart pick here would probably be a guy like Chris Singleton, a lock-down perimeter defender with a jump shot, but these are the Knicks. How often do they make the smart move?

18. Washington Wizards – Tobias Harris, Tennessee (Brian Snow,

An earlier pick of Kwahi Leonard is an athleticism, toughness, and rebounding selection. Now they can bookend him in the front court with a power forward who is supremely skilled in Harris. Not an unreal athlete, Harris knows how to play and can be effective inside and out. His skills complement Leonard’s well, and is the type of player who fits in well with a solid core that is already in place at other positions on the floor.

19. Charlotte Bobcats- Chris Singleton, FSU (Matt Prehm,

Seeing Chris Singleton fall this far in the draft is maybe the best value of the entire draft. Pegged as an elite defender that can guard multiple positions the Bobcats need to find their future small forward with Stephen Jackson getting old and Boris Diaw on the last year of his contract. Singleton is an athletic wing who can slash to the basket and finish strong and when hot can be a good outside threat as well. Thankfully for the true king of basketball, Michael Jordan, the Bobcats and their owner can ease Singleton along under the leadership of Jackson and Diaw.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania (Jeff Borzello,

The Timberwolves led the NBA in rebounding last season, but that was mostly because of Kevin Love. One has to assume Minnesota’s front office doesn’t want Darko Milicic to be the long-term option alongside Love in the paint. There are plenty good big men still available, but Donatas Motiejunas has the most potential of the bunch. He can score inside and outside, and runs the floor effectively. With Motiejunas, Love and Derrick Williams lining up in the frontcourt, the Wolves could have matchup problems galore.

21. Portland Trail Blazers – Lucas “Bebe” Nogueria, Brazil (Justin Young, National Hoops Report)

The Blazers are in a weird place. They will likely draft a player without a general manager in place. They will also draft a player that they don’t need right away. The team needs a point guard and they won’t find that answer at No. 21. A trade would make sense. Then again, drafting a high-ceiling prospect like Bebe would suffice, too. Nogueria wants to be in the United States and if that’s the case, he could be a nice player to develop in the Developmental League. Remember, Portland loves to draft internationally.

22. Denver Nuggets – Markieff Morris, Kansas (Mike Miller, Beyond the Arc – NBC Sports)

Pre-draft chatter has the Nuggets moving Raymond Felton and possibly being out two big men. That means they can reach for a point guard who may be a decent backup to Ty Lawson’ such as Darius Morris or Iman Shumpert, but Markieff Morris is a better value here. He’s not afraid of contact and will delight coach George Karl with his willingness to rebound and play defense. Morris will be a little undersized though, and he’ll need to work on staying out of foul trouble.

23. Houston Rockets – Darius Morris, Michigan (Rob Dauster, Ballin’ is a Habit)

The Rockets already got Jordan Hamilton with the 14th pick to help shore up their perimeter. They need some size in the middle to provide depth with Yao Ming’s foot issues and Brad Miller turning 50, but they aren’t going to find anything immediate — or better than Hasheem Thabeet — at this point in this draft. So I’ll take Morris, who is probably the best pure point guard left on the board, to help shore up a position that isn’t solidified.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Nicola Vucevic, USC (Brian Snow,

The Thunder are loaded with young wings and scorers on the perimeter, but neither Serge Ibaka nor Kendrick Perkins is much of a scorer on the block. Vucevic is a big dude who measured out well at the combine and has the skill to score on the block over either shoulder. Not a high motor guy, the presence of Ibaka around him could be a great thing.

25. Boston Celtics- Marshon Brooks, Providence (Matt Prehm,

The Celtics need to start thinking about finding the replacements for the big three who all are getting older and broken down. Jesus Shuttlesworth still has a few years left but adding a scorer like Brooks could be Allen’s future replacement.

26. Dallas Mavericks – Davis Bertans, Lithuania (Jeff Borzello,

With the way Dirk Nowitzki is playing, why not draft who some scouts are referring to as the “next Dirk Nowitzki”? He’s not ready to contribute immediately, but the Mavericks should be set for the next couple of years anyway. A 6-foot-10 small forward who can shoot, Bertans could be a matchup problem down the line.

27.  New Jersey Nets – Reggie Jackson, Boston College (Justin Young, National Hoops Report)

Marshon Brooks would have been perfect here. The Nets need a scoring punch from the wing. There are a lot of options here, too. Jackson makes the most sense. He’s a good scorer with good size and more of a wing than a combo guard. There are plenty of combo guards available here to take. The Nets need scoring. They get it with Jackson.

28. Chicago Bulls – Nolan Smith, Duke (Mike Miller Beyond the Arc, NBCSports)

Chicago’s irate Reggie Jackson and Marshon Brooks are both gone. Derrick Rose needs a running mate capable of hitting an outside shot. (Kyle Korver obviously ain’t no guard.) Smith’s a solid option, both for his scoring and ability to spell Rose when needed. Question is, can Smith ever be more than a reserve player? Bulls also could use a scoring forward, but that can be addressed two picks later.

29. San Antonio Spurs – Justin Harper, Richmond (Rob Dauster, Ballin’ is a Habit)

With Antonio McDyess retiring, San Antonio needs a power forward that can step in provide a complement to the physical DeJuan Blair. Harper fits that role perfectly. He’s long and athletic with three-point range and solid upside. The question is whether or not Harper will ever be anything more than simply a jump shooter, but at this point in this draft, there are going to be concerns about every prospect.

30. Chicago Bulls – Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA (Brian Snow,

The Bulls are solid down low, and also have the best point guard in the game. Now adding a long and versatile wing is important. Honeycutt can really make shots and also is athletic and smooth off the dribble. He needs to play harder on the defensive end, but that is where the Bulls have proven they can develop people. At this point in the draft he is an absolute steal.

One Response to “Mocking the draft: Hoops writers style”


  1. When college hoops writers stage an NBA mock draft | Beyond the Arc - June 6, 2011

    […] Anyway six bloggers, me, Rob, Jeff Borzello, Brian Snow and Matt Prehm all traded emails for the past week or so with Justin D. Young for a hoops writers mock draft. Justin posted the results at his site, National Hoops Report. […]

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