This year's lottery gives a lot of importance to the top two picks.
This year's NBA draft has been named one of the weakest in recent memory, but the top few picks still have the potential to make a difference in this league. Since the draft lottery hasn't taken place yet, I have decided to rank the picks in the order they are at now. Once the lottery does take place, I will put out an updated mock draft that displays the changes that occur due to the lottery.
Irving is this year's "can't miss" prospect.
David Kahn jokes aside, the Timberwolves need a point guard to run this team. As the years go on, it becomes more and more apparent that Ricky Rubio won't be joining this team. Irving possesses the potential to become an All-Star in this league, and with Johnny Flynn's disappointing sophomore campaign, Irving would more than likely step right into a starter's role.
Derrick Williams is the 1b option for the #1 pick.
I feel, depending on who wins the lottery, Derrick Williams could very well be the No. 1 selection in this year's draft. He and Irving are the only two players in this draft who I would bet a large sum of money on to become multiple selection All-Stars in the future. I think others have the potential, but these two will. Williams will have big shoes to fill in Cleveland, but I think he's the kind of all-around player the team needs in order to begin the rebuilding process.
The Raptors have Jeryd Bayless, a shoot-first point guard who showed flashes last year that he could be their starter. With Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight being the two point guards available, the Raptors should go with a big man, as they have no centers under contract going in to next season. Kanter has a lot of potential, but a lot of mystery comes with that. Had the big man been able to play this past season at Kentucky, who knows what his draft stock would be.
With John Wall and JaVale McGee, the Wizards have a future point guard and center. What they need is a good wing. Nick Young can score and Al Thornton was good at times this past season, but Kawhi Leonard would give the Wizards a versatile wing who can guard multiple positions. His offensive game would evolve over time, and with a guy like Wall feeding him on the break, he would score often in transition.
What I like about Kemba Walker is that he is mature, he's a winner and he has heart. These are all things that the Kings desperately could use on their team. We saw what the addition of DeMarcus Cousins did to this team, they were on the brink of breaking out as the Western Conference's new young thing. Now, they have fallen right back down to the bottom of the barrel. Bringing in Walker doesn't necessarily solve the Kings point guard problem, but it should at least end the Tyreke Evans running the point experiment.
Devin Harris doesn't seem to be Utah's future point guard. Both his quality of play and his lack of health bring up huge question marks moving forward. Brandon Knight is a promising player; he has great size for the point guard position, has good basketball IQ and he plays like a pure point. Too bad Jerry Sloan left town, because I think Knight would fit his system very well.
At this point, the Pistons just need to blow everything up and grab as much talent as possible. Their roster has so many different pieces, nothing makes sense. At this position in the draft, there isn't much left in terms of "can't go wrong" players, but I would have the Pistons take Jan Vesely. He draws comparisons to Andrei Kirilenko, and in his prime, Kirilenko was one of the most well-rounded players in the game.
Early on in the season, J.J. Hickson didn't quite play up to the level that many fans expected him to. However, towards the end of the season, he really started to play better, averaging 19.5 points and 12.2 rebounds in eight April games. I think pairing another big man down low with him would do wonders for this Cleveland team. Valanciunas is 6'11" and has a wide enough frame that he will be able to bulk up and shape into a real center's body. With Varajao in front of him, he will be able to take his development slowly.
With the Bobcats current roster, they need the best player they can get. Donatas is someone who could develop into a great player as long as management is patient with him. He has a lot of talent, he just needs to get stronger and stay focused in order to become great in this league.
Milwaukee was 30th in the league this past season in scoring offense, with only 91.9 points per game on average. Though they did hold their opponents to 92.7 points per game, their field goal percentage was also 30th in the league at 43.0 percent. In comes Alec Burks, a great scorer who would help bolster the Bucks anemic offense with his ability to get to the hole. They already have a slasher in Maggettee, but adding another player to the roster who can get to the line can't hurt this team. Not to mention Burks isn't nearly the ball-stop that Maggettee is on offense.
Bismack Biyombo has a lot of upside, and he has already proven that he can be a defensive powerhouse. With the Warriors he would be a great backup big man behind David Lee and Andris Biedrins while he works on his offensive game. Imagine him plugging the holes on defense for the Warriors. He's quick and agile for a guy his size as well, so I see him fitting in with the Warriors' quick team.
Originally I had Utah taking Jimmer Fredette with this pick, but I already have them taking Brandon Knight, and I don't see them running a small 2 guard set like Golden State. That being said, I'm not sure who they would take with this pick. Andrei Kirilenko could be walking this offseason, so that leaves a hole at the 3, and Gordon Hayward played pretty well down the stretch. However, I don't see Hayward being a starter in this league yet with his fragile frame, and with Jordan Hamilton still on the board, I think Utah brings him in.
I think Jimmer fits in very well with the Suns run-n-gun game, and could take over the reigns whenever Steve Nash leaves. I think the Suns wait until mid-season to trade Nash, allowing Jimmer to learn a bit from the veteran point guard. I don't think Jimmer will ever be a 25-point-per-game scorer in this league, but I think he could develop into a nice option at the point guard position.
Marcus Morris could step right in and contribute off the bench for the Rockets behind Luis Scola. Many analysts say he is the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft, but his limited ceiling hurts his draft stock. He could definitely be gone by this point in the draft, but the way I see it unfolding, he will be available for the Rockets at 14. Unfortunately, as I've said, he doesn't have a tremendous amount of upside, as he isn't' a game-changer defensively and doesn't rebound as well as he could.
When the lottery takes place tomorrow night, I will be right back to work, editing and updating my mock draft to make sure I have the accurate draft positions. I wanted to get this one out now though, just to get a little feedback from everyone and see how I did. This is my first mock draft, and I've gained a new level of respect for those of you who forecast each teams' needs so accurately.