The NBA draft is this week, so it’s time to unveil 1-15 in my mock.
Note: There will be trades in the draft that I won’t even attempt to guess
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Needs: Everything except PG. The pick: Alex Len, C
Len is not the man I would take if I were the Cavaliers. But reports say that they have narrowed their choice down to two options: Len and Nerlens Noel. Knowing Dan Gilbert’s (Cavs owner) personality, I believe that he will want to win NOW, and that means taking the better and more ready player currently, which would be Len, also known as the one with no torn ACL. Either way, expect the pick to be Len or Noel.
2. Orlando Magic: Needs: Guard. The pick: Victor Oladipo, SG
I think that Oladipo will be the best player to come out of this draft. He is already the best defender, he plays hard all the time, and has already developed his outside shooting. Worst case, he is a better Tony Allen. Best case, he is Dwyane Wade. Apparently, Orlando might have a trade in the works for point guard Eric Bledsoe, which makes it even more likely that they draft an SG.
3. Washington Wizards: Needs: Scoring big. The pick: Anthony Bennett, PF
The Wizards aren’t a horrible defensive team, but they need more explosiveness. Bennett could end up as the best player in this draft class, and really fills a need for the Wizards, who actually have a lot of talent. Other possible picks are Otto Porter Jr. and Nerlens Noel.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Needs: Just about everything. The pick: Nerlens Noel, C
With Michael Jordan at the helm, who knows that Charlotte is going to do. But I hope they take the best available in Noel. I think the top four (Noel, Oladipo, Bennett, Ben McLemore) are pretty clear, and Noel edges McLemore right now in the eyes of most teams. It’s a slow rebuilding process, so Charlotte shouldn’t worry about the time Noel misses with his torn ACL.
5. Phoenix Suns: Needs: Just about everything. The pick: Ben McLemore, SG
The Suns have to be thrilled that both Otto Porter and McLemore made it this far, but I think they’ll take the more athletic player here. McLemore has as much all-star potential as anyone else in this draft, and he should immediately make an impact.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Needs: C, SF. The pick: Otto Porter Jr., SF
Reportedly, the Pelicans love Porter, although it is doubtful he will fall this far. In my scenario, he does, and this becomes an obvious pick. Alex Len would also fit here if he were to fall.
7. Sacramento Kings: Needs: Who Knows. The pick: Trey Burke, PG
The Kings just need direction. They will stay in Sacramento (barely), and have new management now. So the obvious first pick is a point guard. I believe it will be Burke or Michael Carter-Williams, and Burke is generally thought to be the better player. Another possibility could be scorer Shabazz Muhammad.
8. Detroit Pistons: Needs: PG, SF. The pick: Michael Carter-Williams, PG
MCW is a really long point guard, and I think he is a really good fit for Detroit. With Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Pistons have an athletic frontcourt, and adding MCW to a backcourt with Brandon Knight is very intriguing. Another possibility could be Cody Zeller, or perhaps C.J. McCollum.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Needs: SG. The pick: Shabazz Muhammad, SG
Shabazz was very highly thought of coming out of high school, but he had a poor freshman year. For the T-Wolves, the pick comes down to Muhammad or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a shooting guard out of Georgia. At the absolute best case, Muhammad could be James Harden. I see him more as a C.J. Miles type, which is fine, but not great.
10. Portland Trailblazers: Needs: Depth. The pick: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG
The Blazers are in a good situation. They should just take the best available non point guard, and to me, that is Caldwell-Pope. They could use a shooter coming off the bench, and he fits well. Another possibility could be C.J. McCollum.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Needs: C, SG. The pick: Cody Zeller, PF/C
The Sixers need height, and Zeller did very well at the combine. I think this is an easy pick for Philly, but other possibilities could be Steven Adams or C.J. McCollum.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Needs: C. The pick: Steven Adams, C
The Thunder really need a developmental center who can help in the future, and Adams is a perfect fit for them. Otherwise, they should just take best available at a position not called PG or SF.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Needs: PG. The pick: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG
McCollum is the best available player, and it isn’t close. He’ll probably be gone by now, but this is his floor. I think he’s going to be a very good player. The Mavericks also may consider trading down or taking a European player.
14. Utah Jazz: Needs: PG. The pick: Dennis Schroeder, PG
Schroeder has been compared to Rajon Rondo, and that’s the kind of player the Jazz, a talented team without a true play maker, need.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Needs: Guard. The pick: Shane Larkin, PG
Larkin ends the run of three straight PG’s. The Bucks desperately need a guard, as their top three just declared for free agency.