The Writing Wrong’s team has 3 writers who are obsessed with basketball and with a few more days until the NBA Finals begin, they had to find some way to fill the void in their hearts. So Jake Kandel, Dave Cuneo, and Kevin O’Brien decided to fill that void with a NBA Mock Draft, (they rotated through pick by pick in the order above) here is the first round:
- Timberwolves- Jahlil Okafor C (Duke) – This pick comes down to a choice between two really good big men. The T-wolves are either going to take Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil, and they can’t really go wrong. They’re both going to be very good players, but I lean towards Big Ja for three reasons:
- His offensive post-game has the polish of 13 year vet. He’s 19 years old and honestly might have a top 5 back to the basket offensive game right now. It’s only going to get better.
- He has the best big man hands I have ever seen. Right or left, he catches everything, holds the ball in one hand the same way I hold an orange, great touch around the rim, etc.
- He won the national championship. With all the Kentucky hype, the undefeated season, the talent on their roster, I see it as a red flag that Towns didn’t win the national championship. I’m a firm believer that the best player in the tournament can put their team on his shoulders and win them title (I won my fraternity March Madness pool because I picked Duke to win it all, because of Jahlil and only because of Jahlil.) It’s that simple, Big Ja was the best player then, he’s the best player now and he’s a winner, Picking Towns wouldn’t be wrong, but picking Jahlil here is the way to go.
Ceiling: Shaquille O’Neal
- Lakers- Karl Towns C (Kentucky)- If Minnesota goes with Okafor at 1, the Lakers will draft their second big man out of St. Joseph’s-Metuchen (NJ) , 10 years after they drafted their first, Andrew Bynum. Unlike Bynum, I see Karl Anthony-Towns playing for a while. He is a bit like Bynum with his size and ability to play both ends, but he is a much better person and competitor than Andrew in every aspect. One thing people don’t realize is Karl can actually shoot the lights out. I went to his South Jersey Final game his junior year of high school against Paul VI and watched him shuffle from sideline to sidline 35 feet out and swish every shot. (Side note: my man Pat “P-money” Kennedy knocked a 3 ball down right in his eye. It was awesome) I think this guy will surprise a lot of people with his stretch 5 ability and above average defense. He is going to be a star. However, if the Big KAT ends up in L.A. he better toughen up, because Kobe is known to cause plenty of emotional distress.
Ceiling: Patrick Ewing/ Marc Gasol
- 76ers- D’Angelo Russell G (Ohio State) – Russel has the potential to be an awesome player because he is a great shooter and passer who seems to really understand the game. He’s a tall guard and has great length for his position, so it seems he is going to be a combo-guard. His knowledge and creativity makes him very dangerous and while he won’t blow you away with his speed, he knows how to score at will. His defense and consistency are a little shaky but I can see him being able to fix those issues. There is a lot of potential in his game yet he is the most skilled and most savvy guard in the draft.
Ceiling: Manu Ginobilli/ James Harden hybrid
- Knicks- Justise Winslow SF/SG (Duke) – Being a Knick’s fan I want to see them do something they rarely do, be smart and safe. Assuming the three guys above go in the top 3, that leaves Justise as the best player on the board and when drafting with a roster as poor as the Knicks have, taking the most talented player is always the best move. Winslow might be the safest bet in the draft to be a really solid NBA player and the Knicks could really use him. Picking anyone else here is an unnecessary risk and they won’t get the value they want if they try to trade it. Building a playoff team with Melo/Justise as your 2/3 or 3/small-ball 4 seems like a good starting point to me.
Ceiling: Scottie Pippen/Kawhi Leonard
- Magic Willie Cauley-Stein C (Kentucky) – The second Kentucky big man off the board, WCS figure to be a decent pro player. He is very athletic for his size and displays some extrodrinary coordination. He excels on the defensive side of the ball, and the Magic could use some help with interior defense, especially if Vuc stays in town a while. Cauley-Stein may just be their missing piece of the puzzle for success. After playing at Kentucky it sorta just comes naturally to Willie.
Ceiling: Marcus Camby
- Kings- Mario Heznoja G/F (Croatia) – I haven’t seen much from Mario since he plays over in Europe, but judging from the YouTube videos I have watched, this dude’s awesome. I don’t know how his game will translate over, because you can never really tell with these high-pick euros but he seems to have all the tools; good size, good shooting stroke, and his athleticism seems to be through the roof. I can’t wait to see this guy in the league. He also seems like he knows he’s going to be good and carries that swagger with him. He claimed if he went to college in the U.S., (which he almost did, and he would’ve been a Kentucky Wildcat; imagine that) he would be considered the Number 1 pick. If this pick happens expect to see Stauskas on the move.
Ceiling: Drazen Petrovic
- Nuggets- Emmanuel Mudiay PG (China) – I don’t think Mudiay will still be on the board here, but if he is Denver cannot pass him up. There have been multiple trade rumors about Ty Lawson as it is and if you can trade him and get Mudiay here, the rebuild officially begins. Mudiay is going to be really solid and if he can fix his jump shot, he may even turn into a superstar one day. His playmaking/ball handling/defense are all excellent and his basketball IQ is “Way-up” *Drake Voice*. Also who wouldn’t want to see him and Kenneth Faried on the same team, that would be something, I hope he falls a few spots and lands here because that’d be a blast.
Ceiling: Young Penny Hardaway
- 8. Pistons- Kristaps Porzingis PF/C (Latvia) – The second European player off the board, Porzingis is enormous, standing 7-1 weighing in at 220, he has the athleticism to compete in the NBA. He also has a refined set of skills. Detroit traded Jonas Jerebko to Boston midway through this past season, they are replacing him with a much better player that does all the same things. Kristap can run the floor and play from outside. For slow big-men the kid is a matchup nightmare and has all-star potential written all over him.
Ceiling: More Athletic Dirk Nowitzki
- Hornets- Stanley Johnson F (Arizona) – He’s going to be a great late-lottery pick, everyone needs a good young wing on their team and he’s just that big physical player and should be a productive player right away. Hopefully his shot becomes more consistent if, it does he should be pretty good considering his ability to get to the rim and finish with thunder and his great versatility on the defensive side of the ball.
Ceiling: Harrison Barnes.
- Heat- Bobby Portis C/PF (Arkansas) – You know exactly what you’re getting with Portis. I really like his game, it doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses and he’d be a great fit and instant contributor as the Heat’s third big, backing up Whiteside and Bosh. He plays with heart and emotion and can be a fan favorite/chemistry guy on a team with a promising roster in the East if they can stay healthy.
Ceiling: Al Jefferson
- Pacers- Myles Turner PF/C (Texas) – If Roy Hibbert cannot get his act together, the Pacers need to look to someone else to man the middle. Myles Turner could be that guy. The 7 footer has a nice touch around the basket and can shoot the basketball pretty decently for a big man. I could see him putting up great offensive numbers and playing just how Paul George and George Hill need him to
Ceiling: Better Mehmet Okur
- Jazz- Frank Kaminsky F/C (Wisconsin) – We all know what kind of player Frank is. an inside-outside big man who can shoot and score from anywhere. Issue with him is athleticism and being able to cover the athletic power forwards at the higher level. He has proven he can win although he never delivered a national title to Madison.
Ceiling: Brad Miller
- Suns- Sam Dekker SF/PF (Wisconsin) – Dekker can play 3 or 4 and the Suns love players with versatility. He can shoot, although sometimes he is streaky. He can handle, drive, and create very well. His athleticism is definitely a concern and he might slide out of the lottery because of that, but the suns are young and athletic everywhere else on the court. I really like this fit and it’d fun to see him and Frank the Tank go back to back.
Ceiling: Gordon Hayward (I swear it’s not because they’re white)
- Thunder- Jerian Grant G (Notre Dame)- It’s not often that an older brother enters a professional Sports league after his younger brother, but that is the case with Jerian as his little brother Jerami was a rookie for the Sixers this past year. After trading away Reggie Jackson at the deadline, the thunder could use some more top tier talent in the backcourt and I think Jerian would work well with Westbrook.
Ceiling: Bobby Jackson/ Nick Van Exel
- Hawks- Devin Booker G (Kentucky) – is a shooter and he does it very well. What makes him stand out is his size and he can put it on the floor too. If he learns how to drive with more consistency then he can be a very effective NBA starter.
Ceiling: Bradley Beal.
- Celtics- Kelly Oubre SF (Kansas) – I am usually in the field of drafting the best player on the board over drafting for need, but when the best player on the board plays the position of need, how do you pass it up? The Celtics are young and talented inside and young and talented in the back court so drafting a non-wing doesn’t make much sense here. I do like Jae Crowder, but he shot 29% from behind the 3-point line last year and with Oubre’s pretty left handed shooting stroke (why do all lefties have nice shooting strokes??? I don’t get it) and 7’2” wingspan I think he’s going to be really productive and at 16 can be the steal of the draft. Also I love the idea of the Celtics having two dudes in their starting line-up named Kelly.
Ceiling: George Gervin/Bernard King (More realistic ceiling: Grant Hill/ Kendall Gill)
- Bucks- Trey Lyles F (Kentucky) – This team could use a bit of frount court help. After Larry Sanders decided that he was no longer a basketball player (which his contract begged to differ with), they could use an energy guy off the bench to help with rebounding and defense. Lyles is a bit under rated and is a competent defender, this could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft, especially considering he played out of position all year at Kentucky
Ceiling: Elton Brand
- Rockets- Cameron Payne G (Murray State) – He’s one of those hidden gem mid-major prospects that can be a very productive player in the NBA. He’s a scoring point guard but does have the ability to create. His issue is lack of NBA size and athleticism, but I see him getting past this.
Ceiling: George Hill
- Wizards- Kevon Looney PF (UCLA) – Long and athletic, he’s a really good defender and great rebounder. He’s going to have to put some weight on to bang around as a full time 4, but, being a point guard in high school, Looney has good handling ability and a decent jump shot and can play the 3 in bigger line-ups. With his 7’1” wing-span and overall game, I like him as a fit off Washington’s bench.
Ceiling: Bigger Gerald Wallace
- Raptors- Tyus Jones PG (Duke) – Tyus Jones is the third Blue Devil taken in the first round. The raptors have a small point guard in Kyle Lowry and a tall point guard in Grievis Vazquez. Jones can come off the bench and provide a spark for this raptors team and can also push Vazquez off the ball. The floor general for the Nation Champions this past season, Tyus has a quickness and strong competitive nature about him that just screams success
Ceiling: Rich Man’s D.J. Augustin
- Mavericks- RJ Hunter G/F (Georgia State) – Could end up being the steal of the draft, he can flat out shoot the rock and now he won’t be getting triple teamed like he was in college. He is a lanky kid hopefully, he gains some weight but he has great length to be an effective wing shooter in this league. It’s been said he shoots 1000 shots a day, except he only counts makes as shots and he only counts swishes as makes, so he swishes 1000 shots a day
Ceiling: JJ Reddick
- Bulls- Delon Wright PG (Utah) – With Aaron Brooks entering free agency and the unsureness of Derrick Rose year in and year out, the bulls could use solid back-up point guards. Wright might not be able to shoot, “not even a little bit” *Drake voice* but he’s 6’5” and a great athlete/defender, with a knack for getting into the paint and with all the bulls shooting around their roster, his lack of a jump shot won’t be a concern for them.
Ceiling: Shaun Livingston
- Blazers- Montrezl Harrell F (Louisville) – With Aaron Brooks entering free agency and the unsureness of Derrick Rose year in and year out, the bulls could use solid back-up point guards. Wright might not be able to shoot, “not even a little bit” *Drake voice* but he’s 6’5” and a great athlete/defender, with a knack for getting into the paint and with all the bulls shooting around their roster, his lack of a jump shot won’t be a concern for them.
Ceiling: Shaun Livingston
- Cavaliers- Rondae-Hollis Jefferson F (Arizona) – Hes going to give 100% every time he’s on the floor. He’s a lockdown defender and has so much raw athleticism; he attacks the rim well on offense to. He’s a big kid should an effective defender right when he gets in the league, he doesn’t have a good jumper if one does develop he could be more than just a defender.
Ceiling: Tony Allen
- Grizzlies- Justin Anderson SF (Virginia) – a stereotypical NBA 3-and-D wing. He’s a great fit with the Grizzlies to basically take over Vince Carter’s role except with more athleticism and better defense. I really doubt Anderson will still be here at 25, but if he is the Grizzlies cannot and will not pass him up. He has a great NBA body and will be productive in his role. Falling late and going to a team like Memphis can really help certain players and I think it would be great for Anderson to go here.
Ceiling: Aaron Afflalo
- Spurs- George Lucas de Paula PG (Brazil) – This Kid screams two teams, the Spurs and the Sixers. He may be a nice draft and stash option but his size may be too large to ignore. The 6’6 point guard has all the potential in the world, he just needs a little more time in the oven
Ceiling: The aforementioned Grievis Vazquez
- Lakers- Jarrell Martin F (LSU) – Late first round guy who has athleticism but has an inconsistent offensive game, he will need time to develop maybe he can turn into a bench player who gives energy to the game.
Ceiling: Mo Speights
- Celtics- Aleksandar Vezenkov PF (Bulgaria) – Going to be honest with you here I don’t know much about him (or how to pronounce his name) but he seems to be cut from the same mold as Nikola Mirotic and that dudes a savage. So why not take the chance this late in the first round?
Ceiling: Nikola Mirotic
- Nets-Robert Upshaw C (Washington) – This dude is enormous. He was easily the largest person at the combine and that alone could make his stock rise even higher. With so many teams in dire need of a big man, the biggest man always seems like an easy risk. If the Hawks get him at 29 it would be an absolute steal, which they could use since they had to swap picks with the Hawks
Ceiling: DeAndre Jordan
- Warriors – Andrew Harrison G (Kentucky)
Big combo guard that shows great signs of an ability to get to the hoop, but he seems like a ball stopper and turns the ball over a lot. If he can take care of the ball and play next to a couple studs he can carve out a solid niche in the league
Ceiling: Eric Snow
Dave Cuneo’s Second Round:
- Timberwolves- Christian Woods
- Rockets- Chris McCoullough
- Celtics- Rashad Vaughn
- Lakers- J.P. Tokoto
- Sixers- Dakari Johnson
- Timberwolves- Jonathon Holmes
- Sixers- Terry Rozier
- Pistons- Nikola Mitutinov
- Hornets- Michael Qualls
- Heat- Cliff Alexander
- Nets- Rakeem Christmas
- Jazz- Jordan Mickey
- Pacers- Mouhammadou Jaiteh
- Suns- Michael Frazier
- Celtics- Richaun Holmes
- Bucks- Marc Garcia
- Sixers- Norman Powell
- Thunder- Cedi Osman
- Wizards- Olivier Hanlan
- Hawks- Tyler Harvey
- Magic- Timothe Luwawu
- Mavs- Alan Williams
- Cavs- Nedim Buza
- Jazz- Arturas Guaditis
- Spurs- Alpha Kaba
- Pelicans- Moussa Diagna
- Nuggets- Aaron White
- Sixers- Daniel Diez
- Hawks- Satnam Singh Bharama
- Sixers- Aaron Harrison