With the NBA Draft set to tip-off tomorrow night, Vinny Ginardi and Greg Kaplan gathered together all their basketball knowledge and organized a Waiver Wire Mock Draft of the first round.
Earlier, the dynamic duo put together their predictions for the Lottery. Now, its time for the remainder of the first round…
The Pick: Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor
GK: The 76ers are a strange team with interchangeable parts littered throughout their roster. Every player is oddly similar to another on the roster, which is great for their depth, but tough on their ability to change up on the fly.
By adding PJ3, the team would add much needed size underneath and give the team a very talented heir apparent to Elton Brand, who seems to be on the downswing of his long, productive career. He is still a little raw offensively, but has incredible jumping ability and can grab boards with the best. He has a Top 10 ceiling, but has work to do before he gets to that point.
The Pick: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
VG: Sullinger’s stock has really dropped because of concerns about his back. But if a team can grab him in the mid to late first round, it could end up being a great value pick up. At the beginning of the year Sullinger was projected to be one of the top picks in the draft, so even with the injury concern and slightly underwhelming year at Ohio State, you know he has the talent to become a productive NBA player.
17. Dallas Mavericks
GK: The Mavericks are going to try and fill some big needs in free agency (cough Deron Williams cough cough). If anything was made apparent for them last season, piecing together aging veterans at the shooting guard role (Vince Carter, Delonte West) isn’t the long-term solution for the team.
Ross is both the best player left on the board this deep in the draft and will fill a need for the team moving forward. Again, probably wouldn’t start as a rookie, but could be the long-term 2 or 3 for the Mavs. He’s a proven scorer (16.4ppg last year) and a strong rebounder (6.4rpg) for his position. If he’s available at 17, he won’t get any further.
The Pick: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
VG: Several mocks actually have Leonard going in the lottery, so that Timberwolves would be getting great value here. Leonard could give Minnesota a great rebounding tandem if he’s paired up with Kevin Love. The Timberwolves have an exciting team going forward, but they do lack a center for the future, so Leonard would be a logical choice if he is still available.
The Pick: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
GK: It’s the dirty truth: the Magic need to prepare for life without Dwight Howard. With Leonard coming off the board one pick early, the Magic will likely decide between Moultrie and Syracuse’s Fab Melo.
My gut tells me they will go with Moultrie, because he can do more offensively. That, and if the Magic want to keep their delusions of holding on to Howard, Moultrie would play well alongside him, slotting into the power forward position. He will never be the franchise building block that Howard was, but he can average 15-11 without much hesitation once he learns the game at a higher level.
The Pick: Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
VG: The Nuggets are a strange team. They have incredible depth so it’s tough to evaluate what their needs are. In Harkless they would get someone who could someday be a great all-around player. He shot very poorly in his freshman year at St. John’s but still managed to average more than 15 points per game. Hey, some players can learn how to shoot with time (Jason Kidd), and if Harkless improves his stroke he could be one of the better players to come out of this draft.
21. Boston Celtics
GK: I’ll admit, part of the reason why I’m thinking the Celtics will take White revolves around the fact that Bill Simmons is so excited about him. It’d break my heart if he was on the board and the Celtics didn’t use one of their draft picks on him.
White is an all-around talent considering the position he plays. He’s a skilled passer, ruthless scorer and grabs rebounds with reckless abandon. He was the unquestioned leader of a surprising Cyclones squad, and with Brandon Bass electing to hit free agency early and cash in on his successful season last year, White would be a cheap alternative that can do very similar things as Bass.
The Pick: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
VG: The Celtics need help inside, especially with the uncertainty of Kevin Garnett’s future. It would have been nice to see what Melo could have done in the tournament, but he’s proven in his playing time to be a productive seven footer. Even if he doesn’t start right away Melo could give the Celtics the size and rebounding that they have lacked these past few seasons.
23. Atlanta Hawks
GK: By my estimation, Taylor is the best player left on the board at this point. With Willie Green on the free agent market and Marvin Williams continuing to underwhelm, it makes sense for the Hawks to look to fill their small forward position via the draft.
Taylor was one of the most entertaining rhythm shooters in the NCAA last year, and could provide consistency from the 3 spot the team has lacked for a number of years. Though he may never develop into a star in the league, he can certainly start on most NBA teams in the near future.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
VG: The Cavs still have a lot of work to do. In Nicholson, the Cavs would get someone who has proven how to score. Yes, it was in the Atlantic 10, but Nicholson more than 18 points per game and shot 59% on two point attempts (this one year after he averaged 20.8 points per game). Cleveland doesn’t have a whole lot of offensive threats and a player like Nicholson could address that need.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
GK: This is a situation where the Grizzlies are simply going to take the best available. At this point, its Miller. He’s still very raw, and would’ve gained a lot more by staying in college. However, that’s not the case.
He’s a very lanky small forward in his 6’10” frame. He’s a less accomplished Rudy Gay right now, and that’s probably his best case scenario NBA career. Which is nice, considering Gay plays for the Grizz.
26. Indiana Pacers
GK: Everywhere I’ve looked, arrows are pointing to the Pacers drafting the Michigan State standout.
Green was more than just a versatile player for the Spartans. He was the heart and soul of a top-ranked team for every year he was with them. He’s a proven scorer that can cause trouble from anywhere on the court. Will he make an immediate impact on the Pacers? Probably not, but that’s not what Indiana is looking for, either.
27. Miami Heat
GK: Alright, so its extremely hard to say the champs “need” something anymore now that they have a title. But, they still lack a true center. Joel Anthony is doesn’t do anything special, and didn’t even play when it mattered most.
Ezeli has the potential to develop into a fine starting center. He needs to work one his rebounding and interior play to start at the next level, but he’s the best available big man at this point in the draft. I’d be incredibly surprised if the Heat when in a direction other than inside help.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
GK: At this point in the draft, the Thunder should just take the best player on the board. No, they didn’t beat the Heat in the Finals, but they’re more of a complete team than the Heat are. The Heat just had an out-of-his-mind LeBron James.
Fournier is the first international talent to come off the board in this draft, which is a little odd, considering how teams often go international-heavy on draft night. At this point in his career, Fournier is a shooter. He doesn’t rebound awfully well for a 6’5” two-guard, nor is he a great ball distributor right now. The Thunder can draft him and stash him, allowing him to grow a bit as a player.
Which is fine, because, again, there isn’t much the Thunder need to do this off-season outside of keeping the pieces they already have.
The Pick: Will Barton, SF, Memphis
GK: Barton put up huge numbers against weaker competition in the Conference-USA, averaging 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds each night. Does this mean that Barton can be an instant impact in the NBA? No. But, it does mean that something is there, potential wise. If the Bulls are smart, they’ll allow him to develop playing only a few minutes a night until he’s ready.
30. Golden State Warriors
GK: Again, at this point in the draft, especially for teams in rebuilding mode, its about taking the best player on the board. Lamb wasn’t the flashiest player on the national championship team, but he had the ability to shoot from distance and push the pace up the floor. He’s a nice player with a winning pedigree, and he’ll do well in Mark Jackson’s system in the Bay Area.