I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the rampant speculation about what is going to happen tonight, I really have. This is shaping up to be one of the more intriguing drafts in recent years and is very deep. My first mock draft, frankly, was centered on a thought that Kevin Love would be dealt this week and that would affect what would happen in the draft. Love is still on the Timberwolves as of right now, and some of my funny notions of what will happen have dissipated. The following is my projection of what will happen, and I will admit there is a slight hint of what I think should happen (which is a reflection of what I would do if I were in that team’s shoes). That said, I’ve read as much as I can and this is how I see everything going down. (Also, I’m running out of time before the draft starts…IT’S A RACE TO BEAT THE CLOCK!)
Update: 4:05 P.M. Pacific Time: At some point I realized I hadn’t had a team picking Adreian Payne. Also, Chad Ford and Adrian Wojanarowski continue to screw with us all.
Update: 4:12 P.M., Pacific Time: I was on the toilet when I realized why this draft is so impossible to project. When putting together a mock draft, the only possible way to go about it is to go with the draft order as it stands currently. The problem, however, lies in the fact that I am 100% confident we will see a number of draft day trades for teams to move up or down in the draft. Why? This is a deep draft and as always, the decision-makers with each team have certain players they like more than others. If they think they will lose out on one of their guys, or that they can move down and still get one of their guys, it’ll happen.
UH WHAT? This is out of control. At one point, I was convinced that people were so worried about Embiid, VOnleh would go in the Top 5 without question and possibly even Top 3.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers select Andrew Wiggins, Freshman, University of Kansas
2. Milwaukee Bucks select Jabari Parker, Freshman, Duke University.
3. Philadelphia 76ers select Dante Exum
4. Orlando Magic select Noah Vonleh, Freshman, Indiana University
5. Utah Jazz select Joel Embiid, Freshman, Kansas University
6. Boston Celtics select Aaron Gordon, Freshman, University of Arizona
7. Los Angeles Lakers select Julius Randle, Freshman, University of Kentucky
8. Sacramento Kings select Marcus Smart, Freshman, Oklahoma State University
9. Charlotte Hornets select Doug McDermott, Senior, Creighton University
10. Philadelphia 76ers select Nik Stauskas, Sophomore, University of Michigan
11. Denver Nuggets select Zach Lavine, Freshman, UCLA
12. Orlando Magic select Elfrid Payton, Junior, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
13. Minnesota Timberwolves select Gary Harris, Sophomore, Michigan State University
14. Phoenix Suns select T.J. Warren, Sophomore, North Carolina State University
15. Atlanta Hawks select Kyle Anderson, Sophomore, UCLA
16. Chicago Bulls select Rodney Hood, Sophomore, Duke University
17. Boston Celtics select James Young, Freshman, University of Kentucky
18. Phoenix Suns select Dario Saric
19. Chicago Bulls select Shabazz Napier, Senior, University of Connecticut
20. Toronto Raptors select Tyler Ennis, Freshman, Syracuse University
21. Oklahoma City Thunder select Jusuf Nurkic
22. Memphis Grizzlies select P.J. Hairston, Junior, Texas Legends (NBA D-League)
23. Utah Jazz select P.J. Hairston, Junior, Texas Legends (NBA D-League)
24. Charlotte Hornets select Mitch McGary, Sophomore, University of Michigan
25. Houston Rockets select Jarnell Stokes, Junior, University of Tennessee
26. Miami Heat select Jordan Clarkson, Junior, University of Missouri
27. Phoenix Suns select Clint Capela, Switzerland
28. Los Angeles Clippers select Glenn Robinson III, Sophomore, University of Michigan
29. Oklahoma City Thunder select C.J. Fair, Senior, Syracuse University
30. San Antonio Spurs select Bogdan Bogdanovic out of Serbia
Other names to keep an eye on in the draft: Cleanthony Early (Wichita State), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson), Jerami Grant (Syracuse), C.J. Wilcox (Washington), Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado), Joe Harris (Virginia), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Delaware), and really a slew of eastern European big men you’ve never heard of unless you’re Fran Fraschilla or something.
A few more predictions for this year’s draft:
- Elfrid Payton of Louisiana-Lafayette shot up draft boards in recent weeks. So…that’s a thing that happened.
- As always, there will be a crapload of European guys go that you’ve never heard of. However, a number of these guys could end up being really good — guys like Saric, Jurkic, and others. Marc Stein thinks that a bunch could go off the board 20-30.
- Where Kevin Love does or does not go will dictate a considerable amount of what occurs in this draft.
- Dan Gilbert is going to do something stupid because he has a big ego and is still upset about “The Decision.”
- The Timberwolves will be haunted by David Kahn and will also do something stupid, also in part because Flip Saunders will be overwhelmed by all of his job responsibilities.
- The Spurs will do something really smart – including not being afraid to trade out of the first round and into the second – and no one else will and we’ll continue to sit here wondering why no one imitates the Spurs.
- A lot of players will be selected from UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and Syracuse. Go figure.
- JaKarr Sampson will be taken much earlier than St. John’s fans expect (sound familiar, Johnnies?)
- The Lakers may not make the wisest selection, but they will take someone who they think has star potential. Kobe ain’t gonna be around forever and Pau may be gone. Someone in the Lakers front office will be thinking that it is time to move on.
- Billy King will find a way to make a move that will be what everyone points to as the reason he is fired, when that happens next season.
- Deonte Burton or Bryce Cotton will be selected late in the second round and will use that as added motivation, working harder to prove to the world that they belong at the highest level of basketball.
That’s it. I give up. You win, NBA. You win. Let’s settle in and see what kind of craziness is in store.