Suns slip to fifth slot; What does this mean for their NBA Draft plans? A Post-Lottery Mock Draft, part IIby Fabian Ardaya on May. 22, 2013, under Phoenix Suns
THIS IS PART II. FOR PART ONE, PLEASE CLICK HERE
ROUND ONE, ELEVENTH PICK: PHILADELPHIA 76ers
BEST FIT: Alex Len, C, Maryland
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Despite being unable to participate in pre-draft activities due to a stress fracture in his left ankle, Len has clearly shown great upside, as he is developing a mid-range jumper to go with his variety of post moves and his faceup game. For a Philadelphia team with plenty of questions left in the aftermath of the Andrew Bynum “quagmire”, Len is a bit of a flier risk, but should develop nicely while also opening the door for an offseason without re-signing the troubled big man. While Cody Zeller may also be an option at this pick, Len has a much higher ceiling and is much better on the defensive end of the floor.
ROUND ONE, TWELTH PICK: OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (Via TORONTO)
BEST FIT: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
(credit: Lance King/Getty Images)
In a battle of NBA pedigrees, Plumlee would probably be the right pick for OKC here. He has a higher ceiling than Zeller and is more natural at the five. In the worst case scenario, he should be similar to a Serge Ibaka on the defensive end, as his athleticism should make him an enforcer above the rim. While he still needs to develop an offensive game, he will be able to take away minutes from Kendrick Perkins and allow the team to be more athletic while not losing as much defensively. Plus, he is a major plus on the offensive boards and finishes almost everything he gets in the paint.
ROUND ONE, THIRTEENTH PICK: DALLAS MAVERICKS
BEST FIT: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
Dirk Nowitzki is going to retire as a Maverick. We all know this. But now is definitely the time to start looking for a long-term replacement, and there are two very viable options left on the board who can do just that. While I’ll be the first to admit that Dario Saric is an absolute reach at this spot, it is hard to ignore his unique skill set for his size, which is very comparable to that of Dirk. While there are questions of his character, it is reasonable to see Saric develop under the mentorship of Dirk to realize his full potential. But it is most likely that the Mavs go after Zeller, who tested as the most athletic big man, and perhaps the most polished offensively. The main question has been Zeller’s ability to play through contact, as he has often shied away against larger competition, most notably Trevor Mbwakwe of Minnesota.
ROUND ONE, FOURTEENTH PICK: UTAH JAZZ
BEST FIT: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
While most teams have not seen much of Schroeder, the Jazz (who desperately need a point guard) have kept their eye on him for a while, and Schroeder has even said that he wants to play in Utah. Schroeder has great physical tools with broad shoulders and an excellent wingspan, as well as a good handle and the ability to beat his man off the dribble. He really made a name for himself in this year’s Nike Hoops Summit, where he outplayed many of the top potential picks in what is expected to be a loaded 2014 NBA Draft class.
END OF THE LOTTERY
ROUND ONE, FIFTEENTH PICK: MILWAUKEE BUCKS
BEST FIT: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
An extremely skilled and efficient scorer, Caldwell-Pope will definitely be a great fit in a backcourt already filled with offensive talent. Odds are that Monta Ellis will opt into his $11 million player option, and that Brandon Jennings will either get a long term deal or come back on a qualifying offer, but that does not fully guarantee that this will last long-term. Even if they say, it is unknown to see if the new head coach buys into a Jennings-Ellis backcourt, and if he wants a conventional two who is more efficient than Ellis. An interesting pick, to say the least, but definitely the right pick, as at the worst they get a trade piece that they could work in when they entertain offers this offseason.
ROUND ONE, SIXTEENTH PICK: BOSTON CELTICS
BEST FIT: Steven Adams, C, Pitt
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Steven Adams, C, PItt
As much as Bill Simmons would hate to admit it, it seems as if the Boston Celtics are no longer title contenders, and that Danny Ainge may in fact trade either Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett, or even both. That said, the Celtics’ drafts should reflect towards the future as opposed to pieces aimed at another playoff run. Adams is a perfect long-term pick, as he has progressed well and has climbed up draft boards as of late. While long being known as an athletic big, his development of an outside touch and his motor have really shown his high upside given time. If Garnett stays, he will be the perfect mentor to Adams as he tries to lead the next generation of Celtics.
ROUND ONE, SEVENTEENTH PICK: ATLANTA HAWKS
BEST FIT: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego St.
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego St.
Franklin did it all for San Diego St. last year, as his athleticism and motor combine with his high basketball IQ to make a solid mid-first round prospect. Franklin finally gives the Hawks a true two-guard to pair with Devon Harris, replacing Louis Williams (who is coming off of ACL surgery and is undersized) and Kyle Korver (an underqualified spot-up shooter). His jump shot needs work, but he should fit in nicely in what seems to be a strong returning nucleus (that is, if Josh Smith comes back) for the Hawks, who are trying to finally break out of the first round.
ROUND ONE, EIGHTEENTH PICK: ATLANTA HAWKS (Via HOUSTON)
BEST FIT: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Andy Lyons, Getty Images
The Hawks needed to go big with one of their consecutive first rounders, as it seems all too likely that they will lose either Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia, or both via free agency this offseason. Dieng is a great defensive big who is an enforcer and rim protector. At times his offensive game takes away from his overall play, but Dieng is developing his outside shot, and his rebounding prowess can make him a mismatch. He has time and room to develop in Atlanta, but if Adams or Plumlee aren’t available, it could be very likely that the Hawks will look to trade the pick.
ROUND ONE, NINETEENTH PICK: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (Via LA LAKERS)
BEST FIT: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Rudy Gobert, PF/C, France
While still extremely raw and far, far away from gaining any consistent playing time on the NBA level, Rudy Gobert’s size (7’2” tall, 7’8.5” wingspan) and athleticism will certainly open up his future potential. Even though he will have to ride the bench a couple of seasons, Gobert has a potential to take over and be very effective if the Tristan Thompson “experiment” stays the way it’s going. The Cavs would need to see a lot more of him, however, to consider giving him NBA playing time, especially as the team projects as a contender for a playoff spot next year.
ROUND ONE, TWENTIETH PICK: CHICAGO BULLS
BEST FIT: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
WHO THEY WILL PICK: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Even from just looking through some of Michigan’s big wins last season, a common trend develops: Hardaway Jr. got HOT. At times considered a streaky shooter at Michigan, Hardaway Jr.’s great shooting performance at the combine (19 of 25 from three) and his athleticism should make him a good fit for a Bulls team in need of another wing scorer. His combination of confidence, shooting ability, and athleticism can draw some comparisons to the Knicks’ J.R. Smith, which can accurately be projected as close to Hardaway Jr.’s ceiling. With improvements defensively under Tom Thibodeau, expect Hardaway Jr. to step in and produce immediately. At his worst, Hardaway Jr. could play just like Kyle Korver used to in Chicago, draining clutch threes and playing average defense.