I finally deemed it a good time to start creating a mock draft despite the fact that I generally think mock drafts are ultimately useless due to the fact that most NBA trades are completed on draft day and it changes the whole landscape of the draft. Even more so, determining fantasy value in a mock draft is utterly a waste of time, so I will give you a list of where I think players will go and am going to base it more on talent level than fit, but I am taking that into account as well, especially with the picks that I do not expect to be moved.
1. New Orleans – Anthony Davis – F – Kentucky
Comparison: Kevin Garnett
The obvious No. 1 overall selection in this draft. Probably the closest thing we have seen to Kevin Garnett since KG himself.
2. Charlotte – Harrison Barnes – G/F – North Carolina
Comparison: Luol Deng
Every day that passes, there are more and more rumors that this pick could be traded for the right price, but if they stay here I think they go the risky route and grab Barnes. Barnes has a chance to be the best player in this class and has a pretty solid floor. His biggest concern is that his elite athleticism doesn’t translate into his on-court game.
3. Washington – Michael Kidd-Gilcrest – F – Kentucky
Comparison: Andre Iguodala
MKG is generally considered the second best player in this class. He may have a low offensive ceiling, but he’s already better than some of the starting small forwards in the league right now.
4. Cleveland – Bradley Beal – G – Florida
Comparison: Ray Allen
Beal is pretty confident in his stock as he is only working out for teams selecting in the Top 4. He has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen for his shooting form and quick release, but will need to show the ability to translate it into games better than he did at Florida last season.
5. Sacramento Kings – Thomas Robinson – F – Kansas
Comparison: Antawn Jamison
Robinson seems to be a lock to go either 2nd or 5th at this point. He may be the least talked about of the top players in this draft, but its been surprisingly under-acknowledged that he is the same hieght and has the same vertical as Blake Griffin did coming out a few years ago.
6. Portland – Andre Drummond – C- UConn
Comparison: Amare Stoudemire
Drummond continues to climb draft boards due to his potential. I think his ceiling may be even higher than most people, but I also think his floor is much lower. Drummond needs to start putting together consistent performances on the court to make me feel better about him going this high, but the Blazers have desperately been searching for a true center to put next to PF Lamarcus Aldridge for years now.
7. Golden State – Perry Jones – F – Baylor
Comparison: Jeff Green
Jones is one of the most diversely rated players in the league. Teams believe he could probably play any spot 2-5, but have no idea if he will ever develop enough to play any of those at the NBA level. He has work ethic questions, but for one of the tallest players in the draft, measuring at over 6’11” in shoes, his skill set is almost impossible to ignore in the mid-to-late lottery.
8. Toronto – Damian Lillard – G – Weber State
Comparison: George Hill
I think there is a chance that Toronto moves this pick, but if Lillard falls to them, I think they jump at the chance to draft him. The biggest hurdle here will be getting him past the Blazers at No. 6. Lillard is viewed as the best PG prospect in the draft at this point and with Jose Calderon definitely not the future and Jarryd Bayless a free agent, this is a perfect landing spot.
9. Pistons – Arnett Moultrie – F – Mississippi State
Comparison: Rasheed Wallace
The Pistons are just about a lock to go with a big guy here to pair with Greg Monroe going forward and Moultrie’s stock has been consistently rising. Both big enough to battle on the block and a soft enough touch to knock down outside jumpers, his skill set would work favorably next to Monroe going forward. I do expect them to also strongly consider Meyers Leonard from Illinois here as well.
10. New Orleans – Meyers Leonard – C – Illinois
Comparison: Robin Lopez
This is one of the picks that I have no idea what New Orleans will do with it. They have talked a lot about trading it with one of their big contracts (Okafor, Ariza), but lack trade partners for those players. I expect they would like a premier PG, but in this draft thier are none available and they do have two serviceable ones in Jarrett Jack and Greivis Vasquez. Leonard adds more young size and could be a long term pair in the frontcourt with Anthony Davis.
11. Portland – Austin Rivers – G – Duke
Comparison: Jerryd Bayless
If they do select Drummond at No. 6, they will go into pick 11 desperately needing a playmaking scorer. At this point in the draft Rivers is clearly the top selection in that department. With the likely departures of Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford, the Blazers have a trio of players (Aldridge, Nic Batum, Wes Mathews) who score better off the ball or in the post. Rivers may not be perfect, especially due to his shot selection and overdribbling, but this or Phoenix seem to be the best fits for him to really mature as the player he has a chance to be.
12. Milwaukee – Tyler Zeller – C – North Carolina
Comparison: Marcin Gortat
Zeller is pretty much the consensus safest pick in the draft, especially at this point in the first round. The Bucks moved Andrew Bogut this season and may lose breakout star Ersan Ilyasova to free agency, so they desperately need to add size that can help them this season behind Ekpe Udoh and Drew Gooden. They are know to have their eye on Leonard, but likely will be much happier with Zeller’s contributions this season.
13. Phoenix – Dion Waiters – G – Syracuse
Comparison: Shannon Brown
Waiters seems like he has a promise from either Toronto at No. 8 or Phoenix at No. 13. This seems more likely, so I will assume it is from the Suns, if they lose Steve Nash they will be in desperate need of a playmaker and Waiters, whom UConn Coach Jim Calhoun called the best player in the Big East despite his bench role, perfectly fits that role and has drawn comparisons to Dwyane Wade’s skill set.
14. Houston – John Henson – F/C – North Carolina
Comparison: Ekpe Udoh
Houston is surprisingly deep at every position and will be at center as well if Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert both return. It seems to make sense for them to grab a young big guy to develop behind those two defensive stalwarts. Henson fits that bill as he is selling himself as a defender and shot blocker to NBA teams. They could also go with a guy like Leonard or Jared Sullinger here for similar reasons.