Monday, May 28, 2007

2007 NBA Mock Draft Version 2.0

The NBA Draft Lottery hoopla has come and gone. The three teams with the highest chance of being able to draft Greg Oden are ruing their plight as all are selecting after the 3rd pick. Now, Portland will have the honor of drafting Durant and Seattle gets can’t-miss forward Kevin Durant.

With Atlanta keeping its pick as a result of the draft lottery, they now hold the 3rd and 11th picks. While they would like to get their hands on Brandan Wright at pick 3, Mike Conley Jr. is a tremendous need and a top 7 talent, one in which Milwaukee would draft at the 6th pick if they got the opportunity.

Rumors are running rampant in Boston that Danny Ainge may want to pull out of the 5th pick. If such is the case, Chicago may be an interested party as they may not get their hands on a scoring big man with the 9th pick given that Minnesota and Charlotte reach for centers and power forwards on draft night.

Two players rising quickly on many draft charts are Tiago Splitter and Jason Smith. They come in at 10th and 16th, respectively. They can send their “Thank You” notes to Roy Hibbert, who pulled out of the draft and might help them make an extra couple million dollars in guaranteed money.

A growing subplot of the draft is the battle for the 2nd-best point guard between Acie Law IV and Javaris Crittenton. While most boards I’ve seen favor Crittenton due to his swelling upside and 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame, I consider Law to have two point guard qualities (unselfishness and clutch shooting) down better than any prospect in the draft. For this reason, Law currently holds a slight edge.

Late in the 1st round, the draft will see its fair share of talented shooting guards fortify some of the NBA’s top franchises who will have to replace aging and out-of-contract guards.

The 2nd round will be filled with trades, as Portland has 4 picks, Orlando and Dallas have 3 each, and four other teams have two picks each. Players such as Alando Tucker and Gabe Pruitt would not last past pick number 20 in most other drafts, but will be available late in the first round to the early second. Additionally, there is a stockpile of quality point guards who are likely to remain in the draft in spite of their mid-to-late second round projections.

At present, there are five international players selected in the 2nd round, a far-cry from the ten who were drafted last year. We’ll all be shocked on draft night when pundits are forced to pronounce “Mavrokefalidis”.

1st Round

  1. Portland. Greg Oden, C, Ohio State. As if it ever was in doubt. Drafting Greg Oden gives the Blazers a centerpiece they need and allows LaMarcus Aldridge the opportunity to move back to his natural 4 position. Oden's shot-blocking abilities makes Joel Przybilla expendable.
  2. Seattle. Kevin Durant, F, Texas. With Rashard Lewis opting for free agency, we know he won't be cashing in for the Sonics. Durant is the perfect fit for Seattle as he can play both forward positions. The do-everything forward immediately fills the void left by Lewis.
  3. Atlanta. Mike Conley Jr., PG, Ohio State. Absolute need over want. As much as the Hawks want to go with Brandan Wright, they must go with Conley Jr. because they badly need a point guard. Although Conley Jr. struggles at times in the shooting department, his ball-handling skills and ability to penetrate are top notch. Not to mention, Conley Jr. is a winner, something the Hawks badly need.
  4. Memphis. Al Horford, PF, Florida. Al Horford came to Gainesville with a NBA body just needing to work on his skills. On draft night, Memphis will get a 18 and 10 guy who'll do many positive things that won't end in a stat sheet.
  5. Boston. Yi Jianlian, PF, Guangdong Tigers (China). Albeit there are rumors about his age being 22 and not 19 as advertised, Yi is the real deal. He's not Yao though. Yi is a good ball handler, a very good shooter, and an awesome passer, and excels in the open court. He'll need to work on his defense before he gets legitimate All-Star consideration.
  6. Milwaukee. Brandan Wright, PF, North Carolina. Wright's game inside 8 feet is lethal, but he'll need to improve his overall shooting game. He carries the strongest upside of any player not named Oden or Durant.
  7. Minnesota. Julian Wright, SF, Kansas. The T-Wolves have major needs at center and swingman. This would probably be where I have Roy Hibbert going, but the center withdrew his name from draft consideration. Instead, they get Julian Wright, who has all the tools to succeed immediately. His inside/outside game is reminiscent of Luol Deng and he's probably a better defender at this point in their careers.
  8. Charlotte. Jeff Green, SF, Georgetown. Plenty hinges on Gerald Wallace remaining with the team. If he goes elsewhere, you can see Corey Brewer drafted in this spot. If not, Green is another key cog that will be added to the nucleus of Okafor, Felton, Wallace and Morrison. Green will contribute to the Bobcats in unconventional ways that will result in more victories.
  9. Chicago (from New York). Spencer Hawes, C, Washington. Hawes is another case of need exceeding want. The pure 7-footer can score in the post, something the Bulls badly need as evidenced by the NBA playoffs the last two seasons. Besides being able to score in the post, Hawes has a jumpshot and can pass out of double teams. Nevertheless, Hawes will be exposed at the NBA level if he doesn't improve mightily on defense.
  10. Sacramento. Corey Brewer, SG/SF, Florida. Brewer adds defense to a team who so clearly lacked it. When Ron Artest didn't play, the smart money was on the opposition scoring 110. With Artest on the block and out of contract next summer along with Kevin Martin, the Kings may be barren at the 2 and 3 positions. Brewer's versatility will allow the Kings to go small when needed. He still needs to brush up on his shooting though.
  11. Atlanta (from Indiana). Tiago Splitter, PF/C, Tau Ceramica (Spain). The Brazilian big man can run the floor and he proved it for one of Europe's best clubs. Although he may not play for a year due to his contract situation, Splitter is ready to play in this league and compete for a starting position. Questions do remain however about his ability to assert himself on the offensive end. Atlanta may also consider Joakim Noah in this spot.
  12. Philadelphia. Al Thornton, PF, Florida State. Undersized yet aggressive, Thornton has the largest motor of any player at his position save Kevin Durant. Thornton has also never had a problem mixing up with the bigs and his rebounding numbers speak to that. Thornton can still improve in terms of his ability to score on the perimeter.
  13. New Orleans. Thaddeus Young, SF, Georgia Tech. Although Young had a disappointing freshman year, his upside cannot be forgotten. He can shoot from the outside, drive to the hoop, and score at will. However, he is still very raw and will need to add muscle in order to take the bumps and bruises of a 82-game NBA season.
  14. LA Clippers. Joakim Noah, PF, Florida. I’ll be honest. I don’t like this pick at all. Last year, the Clippers were 1 game away from the Western Conference finals with the future ahead of them. Now, Corey Maggette wants out, Shawn Livingston is ruled out for next season, and Elton Brand can opt for free agency next summer. Joakim Noah can play the 4 and 5 and D up on the perimeter but needs to gain weight. He'll also need to work on his offensive game and overall footwork to be an impact player at the next level.
  15. Detroit (from Orlando). Acie Law IV, PG, Texas A&M. Unselfish and clutch. These are the two adjectives you want most in your point guard and Law embodies them better than any other point guard in the draft. Who cares if he's not a natural point if he has the qualities and intangibles down pat? I sure don't and neither should Flip Saunders.
  16. Washington. Jason Smith, PF, Colorado State. The Wizards sorely need a big that can score and Smith fulfills that need. Smith, who's a better-than-average rebounder can help address another key Wizards problem. His ability to shoot well fits the style of the Wizards, but back-to-the basket game remains a major doubt.
  17. New Jersey. Josh McRoberts, PF, Duke. This is no guarantee, but McRoberts may be their starting power forward for the next 10 years. He may also continue his two-year spiral since he left high school as the #1 overall recruit. McRoberts provides an active body at both ends of the court, who is a defensive specialist. Not to mention, McRoberts raw skills would flourish in an open court system with Jason Kidd at the point (well, at least for a year).
  18. Golden State. Nick Young, SG, Southern Cal. At pick 18 and without a clear guy to select at the power forward position who'd fit their system, the Warriors go with the best player available. Young is a a sharp shooter with a knack for the mid-range game. Not your normal spot-up shooter, Young is not afraid to take difficult shots. Although he improved his defense under the tutelage of Tim Floyd, Young has plenty of room for improvement.
  19. LA Lakers. Derrick Byars, SG/SF, Vanderbilt. Byars is an athletic scorer with a complete game. Let's just say that Kobe Bryant should try trusting this guy because he can help the Lakers reach the next level. At 6'7" 225, he can take his fair share of lumps and isn't afraid to mix it up with the bigs. At the next level, Byars will need better shot selection and improve his ball handling, but these are highly achievable given what he has already accomplished.
  20. Miami. Javaris Crittenton, PG, Georgia Tech. The Heat need to get young and they need to do it quickly. Crittenton is a great penetrator with tremendous quickness and athleticism. At 6'5" 195, he can already challenge NBA point guards, but remains very raw. On too many occasions, Crittenton picked up cheap fouls and he will need more discipline. He will also need to improve his outside shot.
  21. Philadelphia (from Denver). Rudy Fernandez, PG/SG, Joventut Badalona (Spain). As Clement said, he's considered the Spanish Ginobili. Fernandez is an excellent spot-up shooter can also take his man off the dribble. His high basketball IQ and unselfish will drive opponents crazy. At this point, Fernandez will need weight to his small frame in order to absorb the NBA rigors.
  22. Charlotte (from Toronto via Cleveland). Rodney Stuckey, SG, Eastern Washington. Stuckey is an excellent scorer who can be the guard who benefits from Felton's penetration abilities. Even if Felton has an off-night, Stuckey can create for himself. Additionally, he can play exceptional defense, but his competition in the NBA might be slightly better than that of the Big Sky Conference.
  23. New York (from Chicago). Sean Williams, PF, Boston College. It wouldn't be a shock to see the Knicks trade out of this pick as they signed former Kentucky center Randolph Morris in March. If they do not, Williams is a defensive-minded forward who can alter shots and rebound very well. Of course, Williams brings profound character issues with him to MSG and this presents a major risk to Isaiah Thomas’s already questionable job security.
  24. Phoenix (from Boston via Cleveland). Marcus Williams, SG, Arizona. Williams is the type of player who can contribute early and often. He excelled in an open court system and has a steady mid-range game that can expand to beyond the 3-point line. Williams' major weaknesses: his defense and strength.
  25. Utah. Morris Almond, SG, Rice. A prototypical 2 guard, Almond was the only option at Rice. His range will expand the court and allow Deron Williams to run the floor more effectively. Conversely, Almond fails to bring the same intensity to the defensive side of the ball. Jerry Sloan will make sure that changes ... quickly.
  26. Houston. Marco Belinelli, SG, Climamio Bologna (Italy). Before the playoffs, Houston needed a power forward or a backup center. Now, we know they need an offensive playmaker, so they will look no further than Marco Belinelli. The athletic shooting guard has a quick release and is not deterred by physical defenders. On the defensive side, Belinelli struggles with lateral quickness.
  27. Detroit. Ante Tomic, C, KK Zagreb (Croatia). At age 20, Tomic is a work in progress and will not see the NBA hardwood for a couple of years. Though the Pistons may lose both Antonio McDyess and Chris Webber in the offseason, they have Jason Maxiell and Amir Johnson waiting in the wings. Tomic will fit the defensive style of the Pistons, but will need to add weight to his frame.
  28. San Antonio. Arron Afflalo, SG, UCLA. With Michael Finley's contract expiring this summer, the Spurs need a shooting guard who can shoot and play sound defense. Afflalo fits that bill.
  29. Phoenix. Nick Fazekas, PF, Nevada. Fazekas is the type of athlete that is not overwhelming but can make the necessary impact at both sides of the court for Phoenix. His shooting and size make him a great asset. However, his defense at times make him a liability.
  30. Philadelphia (from Dallas via Dallas and Golden State). Marc Gasol, C, Akasvayu Girona (Spain). Though Gasol's athleticism (none) is not ideal, he has soft hands and a nice jumpshot. While his post defense has improved, he shoud never be confused for his brother Pau. At 270 pounds, Gasol needs to shed some weight to become more mobile.

2nd Round

  1. Seattle (from Memphis). Gabe Pruitt, PG, Southern Cal.
  2. Boston. Aaron Gray, C, Pittsburgh.
  3. San Antonio (from Milwaukee). Kyle Visser, PF/C, Wake Forest.
  4. Dallas (from Atlanta). Daequan Cook, SG, Ohio State.
  5. Seattle. Herbert Hill, PF, Providence.
  6. Golden State (from Minnesota). Dominic McGuire, SF, Fresno State.
  7. Portland. Alando Tucker, SF, Wisconsin.
  8. Philadelphia (from New York via Chicago). Jermareo Davidson, PF, Alabama.
  9. Orlando (from Sacramento via Utah). Carl Landry, PF, Purdue.
  10. LA Lakers (from Charlotte). Jared Dudley, SF, Boston College.
  11. Minnesota (from Philadelphia). Stanko Barac, C, Siroka Prima (Bosnia & Herzegovina.)
  12. Portland (from Indiana). Mirza Begic, C, KK Geoplin Slovan (Bosnia & Herzegovina).
  13. New Orleans. Marko Tomas, SG, Real Madrid (Spain).
  14. Orlando. Aaron Brooks, PG, Oregon.
  15. LA Clippers. Ramon Sessions, PG, Nevada.
  16. Golden State (from New Jersey). Glen Davis, PF, Louisiana State.
  17. Washington. Petteri Koponen, PG, Espoon Honka (Finland).
  18. LA Lakers. Avis Wyatt, PF, Virginia State.
  19. Chicago (from Golden State via Denver, Boston, and Phoenix). Stephane Lasme, PF, Massachusetts.
  20. Dallas (from Miami via LA Lakers). James Hughes, C, Northern Illinois.
  21. Chicago (from Denver). Wilson Chandler, SF, DePaul.
  22. Portland (from Toronto). Demetris Nichols, SG/SF, Syracuse.
  23. Portland (from Chicago). Dominic James, PG, Marquette.
  24. Orlando (from Cleveland). Reyshawn Terry, SF, North Carolina.
  25. Utah. Shagari Alleyne, C, Manhattan.
  26. Milwaukee (from Houston). Taurean Green, PG, Florida.
  27. Detroit. Ryvon Covile, PF, Detroit.
  28. San Antonio. DeVon Hardin, PF, California.
  29. Phoenix. Artem Zabelin, SF/PF, Dynamo SP (Russia).
  30. Dallas. Quinton Hosley, SF, Fresno State.


bobbo said...

You have the draft order wrong. The Nets pick at #17, the Warriors at #18. Also, the Nets traded their second round pick to the Warriors in the Cliff Robinson deal in 2005.

Paymon said...

Thanks a bunch. Everything is fixed.
The glitches shouldn't alter things too much.

Chris Clement said...

While a full-scale analysis will have to wait, I really like where you have Avis Wyatt (with LA). He's everything they wish Vladimir Radmonevich could've been.

I hate to fall into easy comparisons, but the guy has a Tim Thomas-esque game that can be developed in the right youth-oriented system.

Nichols, my boy from Cuse, would be a good fit for the Spurs at 58. With Horry & Finley likely gone, he poses an interesting matchup with his size and his ability to knock down perimeter shots. Even better, he works better off of a guard's penetration (as if Parker could do anything else), rather than screens.

Not sure about this Detroit kid you have Detroit drafting. I need to research.

I love the constant battle in the second-round. International underdeveloped talent versus 4-year seniors.

Shea Seals anyone?

Paymon said...

I don't know that much about Covile beyond that he's a very good defensive player and blocks shots well. He can post up on offense. According to his scouting report, he's liable to get into foul trouble, but who's not?

Of course, if Rip Hamilton keeps up with his playoff output or lack thereof, the Pistons can draft a power forward at 15 (McRoberts), a shooting guard at 24 (take your pick), and then a point guard with the 57th pick. Be mindful that they drafted Will Blalock (combo guard from Iowa State) last year. Don't be shocked if Dominic James and Sean Singletary are still on the board at 57 and don't hate on them too much if they get their hands on them.

terry said...

Is there a reason why you hate Joakim Noah? He won't be available to the Clippers at pick 14 and he'll be drafted ahead of Tiago Splitter.

Chris Clement said...

I can answer why I hate Noah.

He lacks an NBA game. Hustle and hard work won't equate to much. He has a horrific jump shot, is undersized at the 5, and not as athletic as your prototypical #4 (look at a young guy like an Al Jefferson or a LaMarcus Aldridge).

He is obviously a liability on the free throw line too, hurting late minute play. Not to mention, outside of rebounding abd shot blocking, he won't develop too much of an inside arsenal.

Often it's hard for shot blockers in college to automatically do the same in high school.

While Noah was the face of the Gator big-men, Horford is the guy people want...big time.

As for Splitter, it's true Pay gives him more props than maybe deserved. Although his name has been dropped for years, he's lost that luster. I see Splitter as a late-teen pick (even lower) and Noah going 8-13.

I still wouldn't take Noah. There are plenty of better prospects ou there for teams (usually those drafting 1-15) in need of better production.

Paymon said...

To abut what Clement said, ABC stole Noah's potential autobiography title with the title of their new show "Traveler". I've never seen a person get away with so many travels in the backcourt. Not to mention, his persistent travels in the frontcourt.

He's a glorified Anderson Varejao - a high energy guy without any semblance of a game outside of 10-feet minus Brandan Wright's explosiveness on the offensive side.

As for draft order, I think Tiago is a better NBA prospect than Noah. I have a feeling that Spencer Hawes, if he does well in workouts, will be taken at pick 7, paving the way for Noah to be taken at pick 8 or 9.

If this happens, expect Julian Wright and Jeff Green to drop.

Anonymous said...

your draft mock is messed up because detroit as 51.2236% chance of drafting Rodney Stukey

Paymon said...

I'm not sure where you got your crack-addict percentages from. To be completely honest, I'd be surprised if Stuckey was on the board at pick 27. Of course, team workouts can change that.

Also, please note that I had this mock draft up on Memorial Day, which was well before this year's collapse of the Pistons and the purported demise of Rip Hamilton.