A lot has developed since I post my last mock draft. Sullinger’s back issues and the trade-talk is heating up. Most of the draft has stayed on course, but some players have dropped and some have moved up the board. Take a look! One more to come before the draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis: Do you really expect the Hornets to take any other player in this draft? I didn’t think so.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Thomas Robinson: But I thought Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was going to be the second pick? Nope. Robinson is better than Kidd-Gilchrist and will help the Bobcats immediately. They can’t afford another bust (also why I wouldn’t touch Andre Drummond either).
3. Washington Wizards – Harrison Barnes: He tested tremendously well at the NBA Combine. Though, I put very little stock into that, Barnes will be paired-up with John Wall. I think it makes for a nice couple.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Bradley Beal: If Beal is as good of a shooter as advertised, I think he and Kyrie Irving might turn Cleveland around faster than we all thought.
5. Sacramento Kings – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: I don’t know about him. Chad Ford absolutely loves him; actually that’s a bit of an understatement, but I digress. He has little offensive skill but should bring some never-seen-before energy, hustle and defense to Sac-town.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (from Bklyn) – Damian Lillard: I have tracked him since late December. The Trail Blazers need a point guard and he is the best one. He might be one of the better players in this draft when we look-back five years from now.
7. Golden State Warriors – Terrence Jones: Plain and simple. This team lacks toughness. Jones will certainly bring plenty of that.
8. Toronto Raptors – Perry Jones: One thing Toronto is lacking is a big 3/stretch 4. Jones will fill that void. Actually Toronto is lacking more than that.
9. Detroit Pistons – Andre Drummond: This would be a dream scenario for the Pistons. It’s hard to see Drummond slipping past Portland at #6, but anything is possible.
10. New Orleans Hornets (from LAC via MIN) – Austin Rivers: He would be an upgrade from an injury-riddled, probably gone Eric Gordon. He will be better in the pros than he was in college.
11. Portland Trail Blazers – Meyers Leonard: The Trail Blazers lack size up front. With the possibility that Leonard could be good, I think it’s a nice value pick for the Blazers.
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Arnett Moultrie: I haven’t paid close attention to Moultrie. But I studied some of his numbers. He can rebound and might be a decent NBA scorer. Might be a bit of a stretch for the Bucks to take him, but they need size.
13. Phoenix Suns – Kendall Marshall: I think it’s an easy choice. If Steve Nash doesn’t re-sign, they are done-in at point guard. That’s where Marshall comes into play.
14. Houston Rockets – Dion Waiters: With the possibility of the Rockets wanting to move Kevin Martin’s contract, I think Waiters will be a good fit. He could start right away, too!
15. Philadelphia 76ers – Jeremy Lamb: This is a stretch and I know it. That is why I am doing two more mock drafts before the actual draft. But the Timberwolves are lacking a 2-3 combo player and Lamb would fit the bill.
16. Houston Rockets (from NYN) – Marquis Teague: In my opinion, Teague is the third best point guard in the draft. Goran Dragic finished the season strong for the Rockets and is looking for a big contract. Houston might not want to pay him.
17. Dallas Mavericks – Tyler Zeller: Zeller is an immediate upgrade from what the Mavericks have used at the center spot since Tyson Chandler left for New York. His size and ability to score in the post will open things up for Dirk Nowitzki on the perimeter.
18. Houston Rockets (from MIN via UTA) – Royce White: I think White is too good for the Celtics to pass on him. Although I think I’d like to see him go to a team that needs a play-maker, he will fit nicely in Beantown.
19. Orlando Magic – Terrence Ross: I am not Ross’ biggest fan, but that’s not why I have him this low. I don’t think he is that great of a player. He can certainly stroke the ball, but that’s not why I have him going to Magic either. Or is it?
20. Denver Nuggets – Moe Harkless: The Nuggets love high-energy players (JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried). Harkless might have some nice upside, too.
21. Boston Celtics – Jared Sullinger: The red flags are killing Sullinger’s draft stock. It’s gotten to the point where he wasn’t even invited to the NBA Draft in New York. Despite his back issues, I think think the Celtics can’t pass-up on Sullinger at 21.
22. Boston Celtics (from LAC) – John Jenkins: The Celtics go from one great shooter (Ray Allen) to a very promising three-point specialist (Jenkins).
23. Atlanta Hawks – Jeffery Taylor: The Hawks lack a small forward who has serious potential. Plus, Taylor will provide some “Highlight Factory” highlights.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (from LAL) – Fab Melo: He can learn some things from Anderson Varejao and maybe in a few years he will become a player.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – John Henson: Henson’s stock has dropped like the stock market since the Draft Combine. His durability is a big question. Still, I think Memphis would be wise to take him here.
26. Indiana Pacers – Andrew Nicholson: You can never have too much size on an NBA team. I think Nicholson would be a great pick for the Pacers. He would add depth to the frontcourt and is an experienced college player.
27. Miami Heat – Quincy Miller: I like the idea of having Miller around LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. He will learn some more offensive skills and will get better by going against them in practice every day.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder – Doron Lamb: Lamb would be a good fit on a team that is already loaded. He can hit open three-pointers, too. It’s not hard to do when the defense is focused on stopping Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden.
29. Chicago Bulls – Jared Cunningham: The Bulls need some youth at the two-guard spot. Rip Hamilton is in the last few years of his career, and Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer are only serviceable backups.
30. Golden State Warriors (from SAS) – Khris Middleton: He has the ability to play the two and three positions. I like this pick for the Warriors.