NBA rookie of the year
Join Date: Jun 2006
My Crazy Mock
I did this a few years ago. It was fun, but a ton of work. And it was fun to look back on. I held Earl Clark in incredibly high regard, and it was nice to see him look like he was about to validate me briefly this year.
The way I do it is I run to fake mocks. One is what I'm guessing the teams would do. The second is what I would do if I were running the team. It's very possible there is a mistake in there (using two lists means I may forget that a player is still available on one board, and I miss him), so feel free to let me know, cause I'll fix it. The other thing this excercise does is expose flaws in logic, like I experienced in this one with OKC, where I reached on Giannais Atekenbote's potential too early, only to imagine he'd fall to their second pick later. But that's part of the excercise. There's a lot here, and I'll try to remember to come back and clean up the fonts later so it's easier to read, because right now I'm copying and pasting from word.
1) Orlando Magic
What I think will happen: Ben McLemore Ė I really like McLemore as a prospect. Heís got prototype size and athleticism, along with at least as pure a stroke as Bradley Beal had last year coming in. What he lacks in recent SG prospects is the ball handling and vision that would allow him to act as a pseudo PG, but with defenses becoming more strong side dominant, and offenses getting more PnR oriented, an athletic hard working kid with a great stroke is probably a better fit than a guy who excels more when heís got the rock all the time. I feel McLemore has a very high floor. Heís gonna defend, heís gonna knock down shots, heís gonna run the floor. And his size and athleticism very well may allow him to move up to SF in trendy small ball line ups. The ball handling issues may affect his upside, but Iím comfortable Iím not getting a bust at all, and at worst, he falls somewhere between the best of Jason Richardson, and very very good parts of Ray Allenís career, circa the beginning in Boston.
And I feel like Orlando can claim that theyíre front line is worthy of keeping as is with the young pieces in Vucevic, Tobi Harris, and still Nicholson hanging around. Itís a little awkward considering it seems the only long term contract theyíve got is Aaron Afflalo, but oh well.
What I would do: Nerlens Noel
Iím getting more and more the sense that Noel is a gamble. In spite of this not being a great draft, thereís not a bad crop of bigs in terms of depth in this draft. And itís not like Noel, with his extremely limited post game, is a sure thing to develop. Itís not as if he couldnít wind up being Larry Sanders, or a sane version of Javale McGee.
So why, youíd have to ask, if I think so highly of McLemore, and so little of Noel (which isnít the case, thereís more to my opinion than one paragragh), would I take him first. Well, this isnít a great draft, and while McLemore may fit pretty well, as would Trey Burke for that matter, I play the long game here if Iím Orlando. You get to take the highest upside guy in this draft, an elitely athletic big, whoís got a decent floor, because at worst you know he can be a 20 minute a night rim protector if everything goes horribly wrong even, and heís kind of a good fit next to youíre bully front line guys in Vucevic and Harris. It gives you a nice set of skills out of your bigs. Athletic runner defender, big body with some face up, undersized mismatch tweener who can go SF, and even a PnPop guy in Nicholson who can stretch the floor some even.
And the long game Ö well youíve already assembled a team that took home the worst record in the NBA last year. Now everyone gets better presumably through the draft, and you get a guy who was raw even before he missed the first 2 months of the season. Next yearís draft looks far more promising, and you could be in line for back to back first picks, and look to the following year when youíve had a chance to work Noel, and maybe find another piece.
2) Charlotte Bobcats
What I think will happen: Nerlens Noel Ė I hate trying to figure out what I think this team will do, because itís just been so bad of late. MKG limits their ability to take Otto Porter. Trey Burk would put major questions into the Kemba Walker decision. Even Noel limits what your development of Biyombo, but who are we kidding with that. Noel has the most pedigree, the national HS player of the year, an elite specimen, and that is what this team would likely do if he fell here.
What I would do: Anthony Bennett Ė So it may seem strange that Iíd pass on McLemore here. I do love the kid. But as I stated before, I love his floor more than his ceiling. Pairning MKG with McLemore now means both of your wings are limited in a ball skill. MKG as a shooter and McLemore as a creator. Both guys would require someone to create for them to a degree. This team needs someone to get buckets, and I feel like Bennett is a getting buckets kinda dude. Heís a walking mismatch. A load on the block, can beat bigger guys off the bounce. Can shoot it well enough to make guys come at him. I reserve judgement until finding out more about the injury, and thereís some serious risk surrounding a PF whoís going to have some defensive limitations (but thatís why you pair him with Biyombo).
I could make a good case for McLemore: Our identity is going to be elite defense on the wings.
Or I could make a case for Burke: We need a guy to run this team, and itís not Kemba Walker.
Personally, I wouldnít take Noel. This team needs someone to make buckets, and even at his best, Noel was never a bucket maker.
3) Cleveland Cavaliers:
What I think will happen: Otto Porter - So the way this works in my head, is that in this scenario, McLemore and Noel are gone. You could make a case for Bennett, but I think Tristan Thompson played well enough last year to keep as your PF moving forward, although you could make a case that with a PG like Irving, going small at center and PF would TT and Bennett would be interesting. I am a Syracuse fan and have a fondness for Dion Waiters, but in spite of his showing flashes last year, I donít love the matchup with Kyrie. Heís just too ball dominant a dude. But there arenít any options here I like at that spot. (For what itís worth, I see Waiters having a long and successful career in Cleveland coming off the bench and being the impetus of that team while Kyrie is out). I think the Cavs would have a really tough decision should McLemore fall to them here. Waiters just made first team all rookie, and youíre already replacing him? But McLemoreís jumper would fit ideally next to Irving, but I doubt theyíll have to fret over that decision. Olidipo you could argue is similar in his non-ball neediness at that position, but I donít trust the jumper enough to think heís that much of an upgrade over Waiters, whoís a similar athlete, and in time could be similar to Oladipo defensively.
So for both the What I think, and the What I would do, I take Otto Porter. Heís an excellent fit. A guy worthy of going this high, who really does his best work with the ball quickly. You might wish he was a bit better shooter, but thereís a foundation there for sure. A premium passer who makes quick and smart decisions, he can be a hazard when he gets the ball from Irving on a pick and roll, because he can make secondary decisions, unlike pure PnPop or PnDive type players. Heíll probably be a plus defender, and a menace at the high post. And heíll be able to be trusted enough with the ball you can run Irving off of him at times to get Kyrie a chance to move without the ball. Thereís some Jeff Green comps here, which is fair, but Iíd also say he reminds me of the very best moments of Boris Diaw in Pheonix, before he got too fat.
4) Phoenix Suns:
What I think will happen: Bennett - So here I have McleMore, Noel, and Porter gone. Leaving as real options, Buke, Oladipo, and Bennett. I think this team goes Bennett. Christ if it fell this way Iíd hope the go Bennett. For much the same thinking I have Charlotte taking him at 2 in my What I would do, this team is just a mess. Itís hard to believe there are three teams worse than this. They need buckets. I still feel Oladipo is a fine player, but doesnít have a shot to be a centerpiece, he just doesnít have the ball skills. Burke is a real option, but Dragic is the only thing on the roster worth anything. I feel like Bennett could be the best with the ball scoring option in this draft at the end of the day, and thatís at least somewhere this team can start, with him and Dragic.
What I would do: McLemore - In this iteration, Noel, Bennett, and Porter are gone, meaning McLemore would have fallen. Frankly if I were the Suns, Iída preferred Bennett to Mclemore, but one canít look a gift horse in the mouth too long. Other options would still be Burke as I discussed, and Oladipo is just a notch below McLemore, and his presence would eliminate Victor as an option in my mind. Iíd be alright with Dragic looking weakside to McLemore coming off of screens. Iíd wish at four with this roster I got a guy I could count on to break down the defense and get into the paint more, and McLemore has the body that maybe someday he will, but like I said, at four, I wish I could get a guy I could ďcount onĒ to do those things, and I donít think thatís a guarantee with Ben.