NBA Mock Draft: Jimmer Fredette Falls, Cleveland Cavaliers Score, and Much More
It's NBA Draft time and with a lockout looming, this could be the most excitement diehard NBA fans like myself have for a while.
That being said, I’m milking this thing for all that it’s worth.
So I present to you the first annual Emery Songer NBA Mock Draft.
After logging several hours studying tape and tendencies, as well as team needs for all 30 NBA squads, I believe I can relay my ideas to the world.
I will only “mock” the first round, as the second round mainly consists of teams trading picks or just using a flyer on an athletic player who can play multiple positions.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, Duke
Any ideas that the Cavs pick Derrick Williams in a point guard-driven league is insane.
This is the pick. Live or die with it. Especially with a fall back pick at No. 4.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, Arizona
Assuming Minnesota keeps this pick (which they should), this is the pick they should make.
With Ricky Rubio officially coming over, Kevin Love morphing into a perennial all-star, and Michael Beasley’s fantastic potential, Williams could get some time to really figure out where he fits.
Wes Johnson is an athletic wingman, and the prospects of being able to move Beasley for a few separate pieces in the near future could put Williams in a play-now situation as well. A can’t miss at No. 2.
3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, Kentucky
The more I think about this, the more I think Knight is the pick.
A crowded frontcourt with an iffy backcourt. Devin Harris is a good combo guard, but I’m not buying him starting at the point for a team with the forwards Utah has.
Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur, and Derrick Favors up front with a solid point guard could make a run at the playoffs.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, Turkey
A year off may not be what you are looking for when scouting a guy. But Enes Kanter is long and athletic.
He claims he has the ultimate European package of “Pau Gasol’s post moves, Dirk (Nowitzki)’s shot and Dwight (Howard)’s toughness.”
We’ll have to see if he has any of that, but right now, looking at a young lineup with he and Kyrie Irving looks pretty stout for a rebuilding team to me.
5. Toronto Raptors: Kemba Walker, Connecticut
My early favorite for Rookie of the Year.
He would be the leader for a faceless Raptors organization. He will start immediately. He can score upwards of 20 points a game, and has the athletic and versatile teammates (Andrea Bargnani for one) who can help him get seven-plus assists per game.
He can rebound, and he has the heart of a lion. Another can’t miss pick in my opinion.
6. Washington Wizards: Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania
A horrible buyout clause with Jonas Valanciunas' team overseas could delay his NBA debut.
I think Washington should ditch this pick to a team needing size, but if they do stay with this pick, he guy could give them size when John Wall and the rest of the Wizards, clad in their gorgeous new uniforms, continue to grow.
7. Sacramento Kings: Jan Vesely, Czech Republic
You have to check out Jan Vesely's highlights from Europe. He is quite the athlete.
He, along with Omri Casspi (whom I believe is a movable asset who interests several teams) could anchor an interesting wing position with Tyreke Evans in the backcourt. This team needs quite a bit of help, but this would be a nice start.
8. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo, Congo
Bismack Biyombo has the raw abilities to help out a Pistons team that was 28th in defense last season.
He has a ton of heart, he is a team player, and he has the length and ability to block a boatload of shots and get a ton of rebounds. He reminds me of a longer Ben Wallace, whom Detroit fans revered for years.
Offensively, he will be hard pressed to try to morph into a decent frontcourt sidekick for Greg Monroe. He is a project on that side of the floor, but if he can change games on the boards and block shots, he’s worth this No. 8 pick for a struggling franchise.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Tristan Thompson, Texas
They have no big-guy rebounder. Yeah, they have Tyrus Thomas and Boris Diaw and, well that’s about it.
For some reason, I don’t see DeSagana Diop being the rebounding machine they need. Enter Tristan Thompson, with a 7’2’’ wingspan and a knack for getting boards, especially on the offensive glass. He can also score.
This team needs a little bit of everything, even though they have some solid pieces in D.J. Augustin and Stephen Jackson. Owner Michael Jordan should make this pick over the flashy guards left on the board.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Alec Burks, Colorado
This 6’6’’ shooting guard can fill the bucket, something the Bucks couldn’t do to save their lives last season. They were the worst scoring team in the league. By a long shot.
This guy could help with that. With Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings both coming into their own, he could be part of a perennial playoff contender. The Eastern Conference is getting stronger, so they’ll need to get better quickly. This would be a good spot to start.
11. Golden State Warriors: Chris Singleton, Florida State
You have a team that tends to score in bunches but can’t stop anyone. You have this lengthy swingman who can guard multiple positions and never quits on anything. Hmmmmm. I believe we have a no-brainer. Unless, of course, some other team in the top 10 likes Singleton enough to ruin this match made in heaven.
Let's pray that doesn't happen.
12. Utah Jazz: Klay Thompson, Washington State
Sorry, Jimmer. Not yet. Back to the whole backcourt thing.
With all that depth in the frontcourt we touched on earlier, it would make sense to upgrade from Raja Bell and C.J. Miles at the shooting guard position. This guy can shoot from anywhere and is much more NBA ready than Fredette.
No offense to Jimmer, but Thompson is a good option to pair with Brandon Knight in the backcourt. This goes down, with Devin Harris and Bell either coming off the bench or holding down the fort until
these two get their professional legs. There is still a ton of hope for Utah to make a run if these rookies can develop quickly.
13. Phoenix Suns: Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania
Remember all those Bulls teams with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the 90s that won a ton of titles? The last three had a couple interesting pieces to them.
Dennis Rodman and Steve Kerr were important. But I’m thinking of Toni Kucoc. He was tall, could stretch the floor, make shots all over the court, and this Donatas Motiejunas is almost a Kucoc clone.
I don’t know if he can develop into the clutch motor that made Toni a staple of the best team of all time, but he should still be a productive player in Phoenix’s wide open offense.
14. Houston Rockets: Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State
One of the hardest workers in the draft. He can play almost anywhere.
He fits in a position the Rockets need filled with Luis Scola and Kevin Martin on board. Leonard can step in and get those energy plays that Houston has lacked.
They just missed the playoffs in 2011, but with so many other younger teams improving, they need to get production out of this pick. Leonard has the drive and relentless attack mode that will make him a great asset for the future.
15. Indiana Pacers: Marcus Morris, Kansas
President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird stated he can see his team contending for a championship if Danny Granger is his second-best scoring option.
Not a whole lot to choose from scoring wise at this pick. If Klay Thompson falls to this spot, he would be the obvious choice. And I don’t see Jimmer Fredette being taken at this spot. So the offensively gifted forward, Marcus Morris, could fit in with Roy Hibbert at center and Danny Granger at small forward.
This is not the answer for Indiana's needs, but it still seems like a good fit.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Hamilton, Texas
A fantastic scorer who has good length and could fill a possible void, Hamilton should fit in nicely with the Sixers.
There is a good chance Andre Iguodala gets moved with teams like Golden State and the Clippers trying to get a solid small forward. With that being said, small forward is an obvious area of need.
Hamilton could address the need for a top-notch scorer if he continues to grow and finds the drive that I’m sure coach Doug Collins will try to instill in him.
17. New York Knicks: Kenneth Faried, Morehead State
This may be a stretch because of his lack of size, as he stands at only 6’8’’. But Kenneth Faried's will to rebound and defend anyone is exactly what this squad needs.
Rebounding translates from college to the pros, so I expect Faried can get some good time with Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks. Even though making room for him will likely force Amare Stoudemire to the center position (something the Knicks don’t necessarily like to do), his skills are a major need for a team waiting patiently to score another huge name in the 2012 free agency class.
18. Washington Wizards: Kyle Singler, Duke
The Wizards already have John Wall and Nick Young, and they are looking for some immediate scoring if they are waiting for their No. 6 pick to come over.
This is an interesting spot for Washington, and even though this may be a tad early for Singler to be taken off the board, I believe it is a good fit if the pick is made by Washington.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: MarShon Brooks, Providence
They take the big guy in Thompson in the lottery and get the go-to type scorer they need here. Jackson and Augustin are a solid backcourt combo, but Jackson can move to the small forward position to make room for the 6’5’’ scoring behemoth in Marshon Brooks.
He scored 52 points in a Providence loss to Georgetown last season. He can create his own shot, and should improve the Bobcat's field goal percentage, which was among the worst in the NBA in 2010-11.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
Yes, perhaps there may be a logjam at the wings. And yes, if this pick is made by Minnesota, someone is definitely getting moved between Honeycutt, Beasley, Wes Johnson, or even Derrick Williams.
We’ll see what happens draft night.
I like Honeycutt’s package. If he can hit the weight room and hold his own on the defensive end, with his length and shot-blocking ability at the small forward spot, he could be special. Don't dismiss the Wolves' need for a game changing center.
With the lack of center prospects, expect them to take the high road and stock up on wing talent. Darko Millicic can hold down the fort for another year, I suppose.
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Darius Morris, Michigan
With Andre Miller aging and not quite the playmaker LaMarcus Aldridge needs, Morris could be the perfect apprentice for the future.
He can drive and sees the floor well. If he stays patient and doesn’t get too deep into the lane on the drive, he can develop into the perfect floor leader for this playoff contender.
An added bonus would be if he can work on his outside shot. To make his above-average driving skills even better, he needs to make the opposition respect his shooting ability.
22. Denver Nuggets: Markieff Morris, Kansas
This team has a slew of free agents, especially in the frontcourt.
Nene could split, as could Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler. Drafting Markieff Morris here with no other big man available makes the most sense. There is a lot of youth and athleticism already in Denver and adding Morris with George Karl’s great coaching could keep the Nuggets in the playoff hunt if they lose all those assets.
23. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Tyler, Japan
Jeremy Tyler decided not to go to college, instead opting to play internationally until he was eligible for the NBA Draft. Now that he is eligible, he didn’t improve the way he wanted to overseas.
Lucky for him, he finds himself falling to a team who desperately needs a center in a weak draft for big men. He has the build and the raw skills to have a chance to be a star. But he still has a boatload to work on.
The Rockets definitely need to go center here after addressing the wing position earlier with Leonard.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Davis Bertrans, Latvia
Really stretching it here. OKC is probably hoping Singler falls to them, but if that doesn't happen, this could be the backup plan.
They need to make floor space for Russell Westbrook (who I’m not a fan of) and get another shooting option on a wing. Davis Bertrans probably is best suited for a squad like Chicago who doesn’t really need a guy like this for a couple years, seeing as he is only 18 and probably won’t come over for a year or two. But this is a need.
25. Boston Celtics: Nikola Vucevic, USC
Vucevic does not have outstanding in size, but he does have a great low post game. He doesn't have a lot of range, but that’s not necessarily what the aging Celtics need at this point.
He can step in and get time at center with Garnett, Pierce, and Allen in the lineup. He has a great future with Rondo as his point guard and with a changing of the guard in Boston, he could be a staple for years to come. That is, if he improves a bit on the defensive end.
26. Dallas Mavericks: Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young University
Finally. The Jimmer is picked, but by the champs.
Not really what anyone else is thinking, and I assume the Jimmer hype machine is bound to get a team in the lottery to pick him, even though I don’t think he is worth a pick until here at the earliest.
It would make sense for Jason Kidd to mentor the youngster and help him learn how to read the floor and use teammates, something he’s never had to do. Having weapons in Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki out there doesn’t hurt the notion to trust teammates either. We’ll see where he lands. But in my perfect NBA world, Jimmer lands here.
27. New Jersey Nets: Trey Thompkins, Georgia
This offensively-gifted power forward could be inserted into the lineup immediately.
With Derrick Favors moved to Utah in the Deron Williams deal, Kris Humphries got the majority of the load at the power forward spot. He played well, but is a free agent.
With no guarantee of his return, this pick would make sense with nothing really left out there that the Nets need. The big risk is, with Brook Lopez at center trying to fight off the idea of being a softy, Thompkins also fits into that soft-guy mold.
He will need to get tougher and more physical if he will make a difference for this squad.
28. Chicago Bulls: Josh Selby, Kansas
Combo-guard prototype for a winning program. He can score, but can be inconsistent.
If the Bulls don’t make any crazy moves (like trading half the roster for Dwight Howard, for instance), Selby could fit in perfectly for a defensive-minded team needing a scorer in the backcourt. This could mildly address a need for Chicago, while still hanging on to the defensive priorities.
29. San Antonio Spurs: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue
There has been some recent talk of Tony Parker being on the market with this pick so the Spurs can move into the top 10.
With that aside, they would really like to get a big body to make up for age and the loss of Antonio McDyess to retirement. DeJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter will continue to develop around Tim Duncan, but a slashing, down and dirty worker in Johnson would be a welcome addition to an aging contender.
30. Chicago Bulls: Shelvin Mack, Butler
Probably not a pick Chicago uses come draft night, as they really don’t need to add anything.
Getting Mack or Selby would be considered a win in the Bulls eyes, as both could come off the bench and put the ball in the basket.
Mack has played in several big games at Butler (including Two National Championship games) and would be a perfect complement to Derrick Rose in the Bulls’ backcourt. He could even play the point if C.J. Watson is ineffective off the bench.
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