Kentaivous Caldwell-Pope of Georgia.
Mock Draft By Wild Rice
By Mike Rice
Once again, because the East is so bad, a team in the East gets the number one pick—the 11th time in the last 17 seasons. It’s not an honor you can brag about, but one of these years the East might catch the West in player talent because of all the down years the teams in the East have experienced.
Like two years ago the Cavaliers won the ping pong war and now must try to match their success when they drafted Kyrie Irving.
1. Cleveland—Nerlens Noel (C), Kentucky
The pick will be between Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel. It’s a two guard vs. a power forward/center. The Cavs have Tristan Thompson at power forward and have Dion Waiters at the two. The ACL operation on Noel would have me picking McLemore, but the Cavs will take a chance and pick Noel.
2. Orlando—Ben McLemore (SG), Kansas
They get McLemore by default, but just incase the Cavs take McLemore they would gladly take Noel with the pick. That would give them their shot blocker to forget the days of Dwight Howard.
Otto Porter of Georgetown at the NBA Draft Combine.
3. Washington—Otto Porter (SF), Georgetown
They are glad to not have to decide whether to gamble on taking Noel and his two operations on the knee, one in his sophomore year in high school and one last year. So they take the local Georgetown favorite Otto Porter. He is the same kind of pick Charlotte made last year when they took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (not great star power, but a solid starter in years to come.) Another possibility is the center from Maryland, Alex Len.
4. Charlotte—Victor Oladipo (SG), Indiana
They were somewhat disappointed in last year’s pick of Kidd-Gilchrist at number two so they could take a point guard in Trey Burke or a power forward in Anthony Bennett, but I can’t see them passing up Victor Oladipo of Indiana. He can handle, defend and his shooting is showing great improvement.
5. Phoenix—Anthony Bennett (PF), UNLV
They need star power. They don’t want the Otto Porter or Cody Zeller of this draft. They want someone who can put people in seats so they go for Anthony Bennett of UNLV. He played mostly inside for the Rebels, but showed he can go outside and he can run if the Suns get a coach who will turn him loose.
6. New Orleans—Trey Burke (PG), Michigan
They would have liked to get Bennett with this pick to give them a powerful inside force, but this is where the draft gets tricky—do you take best talent available or fill a need? The Pelicans take best talent and take Trey Burke the point from Michigan. They hope he can duplicate what Chris Paul used to do.
7. Sacramento—C.J. McCollum (PG/SG), Lehigh
Last year they took Thomas Robinson and got a no-show guy. There will be talk of taking Cody Zeller because of his showing at the combine, but the Kings will not get taken again. They already have a lot of guys that play like C.J. McCollum, but he can score off the dribble, he’s their man.
8. Detroit—Dennis Schroeder (PG), Germany
Sitting in place are Zeller and Len, but the Pistons have Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. They liked Burke from Michigan or McCollum from Lehigh, but they’re gone. They will take a chance and go with Dennis Schroeder of Germany. He looked great in Portland at the Nike Hoop Summit game. His shot is inconsistent, but that will improve.
9. Minnesota—Cody Zeller (PF/C), Indiana
Will they pass on Cody Zeller to take Alex Len? They have Vucevic at center, but need some bigs to fill in. They like Len, but take Cody Zeller. He can run the court and will improve.
10. Portland—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG), Georgia
They could take Len, but what would that say about Meyers Leonard? Also they pass on Dario Saric because they like Victor Claver. They like what Schroeder does, but he’s gone so they take Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He can score and is a good shooter, but this pick also may be used in a trade later in the season.
11. Philadelphia—Alex Len (C), Maryland
No one knows what is going to happen to Andrew Bynum so they are looking for bigs. Pick is between Kelly Olynyk and Alex Len—they take Alex Len.
12. OKC—Dario Saric (SF), Croatia
13. Dallas—Kelly Olynyk (C), Gonzaga
14. Utah—Michael Carter-Williams (PG), Syracuse
15. Milwaukee—Steven Adams (C), Pittsburgh
16. Boston—Shabazz Muhammad (SF), UCLA
Paul Pierce is getting old.
17. Atlanta—Shane Larkin (PG), Miami
18. Atlanta—Mason Plumlee (C), Duke
Rudy Gobert of France at the NBA Draft Combine.
19. Cleveland—Rudy Gobert (C), France
20. Chicago—Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG), Michigan
They’re not sure of Rose so they take Tim Hardaway Jr. of Michigan.
21. Utah—Allen Crabbe (SG), California
They look at small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, but take Crabbe of Cal.
22. Brooklyn—Giannis Antetokounmpo (SF), Greece
23. Indiana—Tony Snell (SF), NC State
24. New York—Gorgiu Dieng (C), Louisville
25. LA Clippers—Sergey Karasev (SG), Russia
26. Minnesota—Tony Mitchell (SF), North Texas
27. Denver—Erick Green (PG), Virginia Tech
28. San Antonio—Jamaal Franklin (SG), San Diego State
29. OKC—Deshaun Thomas (SF), Ohio State
30. Phoenix—Jeff Withey (C), Kansas
Do you have Draft fever? Check out the Mock Draft Database to see who the best draft gurus have Portland taking.