The NBA Draft is finally upon us. In a few short hours, all of us who have made mock drafts will look like idiots because let's be honest, these drafts never go according to plan. Nevertheless, it's always fun to speculate as to who goes where.
With the draft class so lacking in star power and there being about 10 players jumbled in the second level behind Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, teams will be looking to draft players for need simply because the value won't be there after the first few selections.
So, here's my best guess as to where these prospects will end up on draft night.
No. 1: Cleveland Cavaliers select PG Kyrie Irving
Irving is the surest thing in this draft. He's probably not going to end up as an elite point guard, but he's the most talented guard and the Cavs need star power after their "King" departed.
No. 2: Minnesota Timberwolves select PF/C Enes Kanter
A bit of a shocker to some, but I just don't see the sense in drafting Derrick Williams, a guy who plays the same position as two of the Wolves' best players in Kevin Love and Michael Beasley and isn't better than either of them (though he is saner than Beasley, but who isn't). Bringing in Kanter to play center fills an immediate need and allows the Wolves to go find a shooting guard via trade or free agency.
No. 3: Utah Jazz select F Derrick Williams
Andrei Kirilenko is probably gone to free agency, so bringing in what is widely viewed as the second best player in the draft to replace him makes sense. It's uncertain if Williams can play small forward, but pairing him with Paul Millsap will allow the Jazz to use both players at each forward position.
No. 4: Cleveland Cavaliers select C Jonas Valanciunas
It's no secret that the Cavs would love to move down and then select Valanciunas, who won't be playing in the NBA next year due to buyout issues back in Europe. Valanciunas has tons of potential and with another year of development overseas for the 19 year old, he could become a quality center in a league severely lacking in that department.
No. 5: Toronto Raptors select PG Brandon Knight
Toronto needs talent above all else, and Knight is the most talented player available. He can also play both ways, something new defensive-minded coach Dwane Casey will love to start his tenure with.
No. 6: Washington Wizards select PF Jan Vesely
Vesely is not your typical European player. The kid is a pure athlete who's working on his jumper, much like his future running mate, John Wall. Watching these two in transition will give teams nightmares.
No. 7: Sacramento Kings select G Kemba Walker
It's become obvious that Tyreke Evans is not a point guard, something I called from his days in college. Walker has the competitive drive and skill to learn the position, and brings a winning attitude to a young team still figuring out how to win games.
No. 8: Detroit Pistons select PF Tristan Thompson
The rebuilding process hopefully continues as the Pistons select the raw forward with tremendous rebounding and shot blocking ability in Tristan Thompson. Pairing him with Greg Monroe gives Detroit its frontcourt of the future.
No. 9: Charlotte Bobcats select SF Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard has drawn comparisons to former Bobcat Gerald Wallace (I buy it). Michael Jordan is determined to take a sure thing (AKA not Adam Morrison). At worst, Leonard will be a solid slasher and rebounder for years to come.
No. 10: Milwaukee Bucks select SG Klay Thompson
The Bucks were one of the worst shooting teams in the league last year. Enter Thompson: a 6'6" wing that's one of the best shooters in the draft. He'll allow Brandon Jennings more open lanes when he drives into the paint.
No. 11: Golden State Warriors select PF/C Bismack Biyombo
With a new coach in Mark Jackson and Jerry West coming in as a consultant, I'd expect the Warriors to focus more on defense and less on the flashy style of play they've run for the last few years that has resulted in little success in the win-loss column. Biyombo has zero offense, but defensively he's a game-changer.
No. 12: Utah Jazz select G Jimmer Fredette
Let's be honest, it would be a shame to not see Fredette play for the Jazz. Because the Jazz drafted Williams with their first pick, they need to address the backcourt and Jimmer's the best one available, and also will drive up ticket sales like no one else.
No. 13: Phoenix Suns select SG Alec Burks
It's time to find a replacement for Vince Carter, who's expected to be waived once the new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) comes to fruition. Burks is a pure slasher who needs to work on his jumper. Steve Nash will create plenty of holes in the defense for Burks to attack.
No. 14: Houston Rockets select C Nikola Vucevic
It's no secret that the Rockets need a center. Yao Ming is uncertain to ever be the All-Star he once was, and Brad Miller's nearing the end of his career. Vucevic is the best center available and will give the Rockets some much needed size up front.
No. 15: Indiana Pacers select F Marcus Morris
The Pacers need a point guard, but none are really out there. Marcus Morris has the ability to play both forward positions and is a versatile scorer. He'd be a solid bench player to backup Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough that would provide some scoring off the bench.
No. 16: Philadelphia 76ers select PF Markieff Morris
Fitting, right? The twins go in succession, with Markieff landing in Philly as the heir apparent to Elton Brand. Markieff isn't as polished offensively as his brother, but is a solid defender.
No. 17: New York Knicks select PF Kenneth Faried
Let's be honest, it makes no sense for them to draft another scorer such as Marshon Brooks or Jordan Hamilton. They have a terrific one-two scoring punch already. Bringing in Faried's defensive and rebounding prowess to complement Amar'e Stoudemire would allow for Amar'e to focus more on scoring and guard the team's inferior offensive big man. Faried will be able to come in right away and average ten rebounds a game.
No. 18: Washington Wizards select SG/SF Jordan Hamilton
I think John Wall just hit the jackpot with the athletic Vesely and the scorer out of Texas, Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton has the ability to average 20 points per game in the league. He just needs to work on his shot selection, which I'm sure Wall's penetrating ability will assist with.
No. 19: Charlotte Bobcats select SG Marshon Brooks
The Bobcats are in desperate need of a scorer, and Brooks is the best one available. He'll be able to come in and be the second option behind Stephen Jackson.
No. 20: Minnesota Timberwolves select PF/C Donatas Motiejunas
With so many young players already on the roster, it makes sense to draft a European player to stash overseas for a couple years. Motiejunas has tons of potential, but isn't ready physically to play at the NBA level, so another year or two in Europe is best for him.
No. 21: Portland Trailblazers select SF Chris Singleton
I'm shocked he fell this far, and I'm sure Portland fans would be doing backflips. Though he wouldn't start, Singleton is the best defender in the class and could shut down the opposing teams best bench player without question. Eventually, he will probably become the sixth man.
No. 22: Denver Nuggets select SF Tobias Harris
He's the lesser version of Carmelo Anthony in terms of his versatility. If the Nuggets continue to run up-tempo, Harris could play power forward and be the teams primary ball handler in the process.
No. 23: Houston Rockets select SF Nikola Mirotic
Much like Minnesota, the Rockets have too many assets right now to accommodate for another rookie, so they select the best available European player and send him overseas for a couple years in hopes he develops into a quality player.
No 24: Oklahoma City Thunder select SF Kyle Singler
I don't really understand this, but the buzz is that the Thunder are very high on the former Blue Devil. Singler's somewhat in the mold of Jeff Green in his ability to shoot from the perimeter and versatility. He'd probably be the logical guy to backup Kevin Durant for the future.
No. 25: Boston Celtics select PF/C JaJuan Johnson
The Celtics need to start looking towards the future, and finding a replacement for Kevin Garnett and the O'Neal's is pretty important. Johnson is a versatile big man who can knock down outside shots and also control the paint defensively. Pairing him with Glen Davis would be entertaining to watch.
No. 26: Dallas Mavericks select PG Iman Shumpert
Maybe I'm crazy, but I think it's time for the Mavericks to look for Jason Kidd's replacement. I'm not sold on Roddy Beaubois, and I see JJ Barea as an ideal sixth man. Shumpert's big (6'6") and is a terrific defender that can guard multiple positions, allowing him and Barea to play together. He'll have the privilege of learning from one of the greats in Kidd.
No. 27: New Jersey Nets select SF Jimmy Butler
It's time for the Nets to come out and say they screwed up with the Travis Outlaw signing. Bringing in a versatile wing player like Butler will do just that.
No. 28: Chicago Bulls select PF Justin Harper
The Bulls could use a stretch 4 to bring guys like Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett out on the perimeter. Harper's an athletic forward who can get out in transition and also knock down threes.
No. 29: San Antonio Spurs select G Charles Jenkins
If the rumors of the Spurs wanting to bring in a young guard that can score, and since we're not assuming the Spurs do end up trading Tony Parker, then Jenkins is the best available.
No. 30: Chicago Bulls select G Norris Cole
Norris Cole is a favorite of mine. A scoring guard out of Cleveland State, Cole will provide the Bulls with a backcourt scorer not named Derrick Rose. He'll be a solid spark off the bench and has reminded people of Ben Gordon.
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