mikebarrett

Jun 05

Mike Barrett's 2013 Mock Draft

By mikebarrett
C.J. McCollum of Lehigh.

Oh yes.  It’s my turn.  

Anyone who’s anyone takes a swing at the NBA Draft in the months and weeks leading up to the actual event. What does it all mean? Zippo. But, you knew that already.  

As much as I squawk about the pointlessness of this whole exercise each year, each day leading up to the draft I’m pulled, like metal to a magnet, to the various mocks issued by the various media-types. I look through them, analyze them, compare them to mine, and then chuckle at the time I’ve just wasted. I guess it’s really not that different from other forms of entertainment. But lets be clear, at this point, that’s exactly what this is.

Last year, like many others, I correctly predicted the Blazers would take Damian Lillard sixth, and Meyers Leonard 11th. That was extremely easy, evidenced by the number of mocks that said the same exact thing. I did get a kick out of the comments, even some that I’ve read lately, that I knew something. That I was given that information, or had some back-channeled envelope handed to me so that I would land on the correct draft picks.  

Let me pull back the curtain and go ahead and end any such drama. It doesn’t work that way. It didn’t then, and it doesn’t now.  

Only once was I told what the Blazers would definitely be doing on draft day, and that was on draft morning, and I didn’t dare go public with it (there was no such thing as Twitter then anyway). That was when, at around 9 o’clock in the morning, I was told the team was going to execute trades to select both LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy.   

Now then, I think it’s fairly well known that I am given the privilege of being in the gym during the pre-draft workouts. I’ve seen just about every workout in the last 13 years. Some years, like last year, and in other years, like when Martell Webster came in and was simply brilliant, I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. Rock-solid intel? No, probably not. In a position to be able to make a fairly-educated guess? Okay, probably so.  

You still never really know, because unless you’re in the top few spots, this thing is fluid, even on draft day. So then it becomes a game of “if this happens, then what?” The guys making the actual decisions even deal with that.  

This draft is unique, at least as it relates to mock drafts, because I truly don’t think anyone knows. Cleveland? Maybe they know. But, I’d even be surprised if they’ve settled on their guy, and according to rumors, they’re taking phone calls and offers for that top pick. If they bite, then everything changes and everything you’re about to read becomes mostly moot. It probably is anyway.

Let me put this another way. I don’t know. This draft is as clear as mud. If you’ve heard that other places (and you probably have), believe it. If you’re someone in my position, and you take great pride in having an accurate mock draft, this might be the year it ends up in pieces (along with your NCAA bracket) after the first three selections on June 27th.

And, let me state something else before we begin. This isn’t what I necessarily want to see happen, or think should happen, especially as it concerns the Blazers, this is just something I could see possibly happening. Get it?  

Ever see those ads for some new prescription drug in a magazine and then see the entire next page that follows with small print outlining the side effects and legal talk that is meant to give you the rest of the story? That’s what this has been.

Here we go.


Ben McLemore of Kansas.

1. Cleveland—Ben McLemore (SG)—Kansas
Go ahead and consider McLemore the top pick even if Cleveland doesn’t end up keeping the spot. In a draft that has very few sure things, he’s as close as it gets.  

2. Orlando—Nerlens Noel (PF/C)—Kentucky  
This was actually very tough, and we’re only at number two. But, even with the gamble that Noel appears to be due to his knee injury, Orlando is one of the few teams up this high that can afford to roll the dice at this position. They’ve got low expectations, and given the season Nikola Vucevic just had, they don’t need an immediate starter at center (not that Noel has to play center).

3. Washington—Victor Oladipo (SG/SF)—Indiana
I know, I know. There will be pressure in the D.C. area for them to take Georgetown’s Otto Porter, but I think Oladipo is very close to a sure thing and his stock has been rising in the last month. I think Washington makes the playoffs in the east next year, by the way. They aren’t that far away.

4. Charlotte—Otto Porter (SF)—Georgetown
Charlotte simply needs players, and since they can’t seem to get lucky in the draft lottery, will probably go with Porter. I’d trade this pick if I were making the decisions, but being this is a buyer’s market, they’ll probably just keep it.

5. Phoenix—Anthony Bennett (SF/PF)—UNLV
I have no idea what Phoenix is trying to do, but this seems like a logical choice. He’s the best available talent at this point and that usually wins the day when you simply need players.


Trey Burke of Michigan. 

6. New Orleans—Trey Burke (PG)—Michigan
Yes, I know they’ve got Greivis Vasquez, who was very surprising last season, along with Eric Gordon, but you can’t pass on a point guard like this. Gordon’s run in the Big Easy is probably coming to an end anyway, and Burke could learn the ropes from Vasquez who would happily return to the bench once the kid is ready to start.

7. Sacramento—Alex Len (C)—Maryland
Mike Malone has said in recent days that he’s keeping DeMarcus Cousins, and thinks he can work with him, and even if that’s the case (which I don’t think it is) they take Len here.

8. Detroit—Cody Zeller (PF/C)—Indiana
Zeller, like his brother last year, is probably ready to be a rotation player in this league. Detroit has bigs, but they don’t have a guy like Zeller.

9. Minnesota—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)—Georgia
Only because Portland is rumored to like him.


C.J. McCollum of Lehigh.

10. Portland—C.J. McCollum (PG/SG)—Lehigh
I know that many people are predicting that the Blazers will move this pick. But, as I’ve mentioned, there are a lot of teams looking to do that, which makes it buyer-friendly. At some point this becomes more about diminishing returns and you’re better off keeping the pick. If that’s the case, why not go with a four-year guy who appears to be NBA-ready? I think that worked pretty well last year, and Lillard was also a mid-major guy, like McCollum. If you think McCollum could step in and be the back-up point, and also play a little two, is he a better backup for Lillard than what you’d find on the open market? He wouldn’t cost you as much either.

11. Philadelphia—Kelly Olynyk (C)—Gonzaga
I know the long hair would play better in the NW, and they’ve already got an offensive-minded Spencer Hawes down low, but this Andrew Bynum thing isn’t going to work and they’ve got to start making plans. If they would have just stayed out of that trade that cost them Vucevic they would have made the playoffs in the east. Even if Bynum were healthy I’d rather have Vucevic (easy to say that now, I know).

12. Oklahoma City—Steven Adams (C)—Pittsburgh
They’ll go big, for obvious reasons. Hasheem Thabeet got minutes in the playoffs, and it’s possible they’ll amnesty Kendrick Perkins. They tossed Cole Aldrich into the James Harden trade, and I think he would have actually gotten some time last season as a backup big. Adams can be that guy.

13. Dallas—Michael Carter-Williams (PG)—Syracuse
Dallas may indeed dump this pick, but if they don’t, Carter-Williams makes sense for them. He’s different from Darren Collison, and even if they don’t consider him to be their PG of the future, he’s good enough to get rotation minutes now.

14. Utah—Shabazz Muhammad (SF)—UCLA
Shabazz is one of those guys who’s been projected by some to go in the top 10, but I certainly think he’ll be available at 14. There will probably be a few quality big guys on the board at this point, but I think Utah goes for a scorer. Muhammad can certainly score.

Feed your need for more mocks here in the Mock Draft Database to see who the best draft gurus have Portland taking. And don't miss the mock drafts from Mike Rice and Dustin Hawes from trailblazers.com.

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19 Comments

  1. hi MB! i agree with what you're saying about mock drafts being purely for entertainment reasons (kind of like pro wrestling or an nba game being officiated by Scott "i can't call goaltending to save my life" Foster). of course, they are fun to go through, examine and wonder who the reader might pick instead.

    with that, i can't really disagree with your pick for the Blazers' selection. as far as what might help this team from a lottery pick standpoint, McCollum is as good as anyone out there who might be available at number 10.

    for myself, i'd love to see us trade this pick. in fact, i was in the non-tanking camp which wanted the Blazers to lose the pick to the Bobcats this year rather than next year. despite the optimism we're hearing from some, this is a really weak draft. having a pick next year rather than this year would be the true prize. this pick is too big an asset not to try to turn into a 3-4 year veteran who can help fill us with a little depth.

    i understand what you're saying about it being a buyers' market and from everything i've heard (undoubtedly, less than you have), i completely agree. however, if it's a buyers' market, then we could be in a prime position to sell this pick -- perhaps to the highest bidder. i think we've got a great shot to use this pick to get something which is going to help this team more than the youth which would come with the pick itself.

    i guess my point is that while there may be a lot of teams looking to be in play, we can be the team which IS in play. i draw a comparison to last year's free agent bid for Roy Hibbert. Blazer general managers in the past may have not gone after Hibbert; instead thinking "we can't get him anyway," so they prioritized another target. i've been on record as being a fan of Olshey's swing-for-the-fences boldness.

    i'd like to see that same boldness in shopping -- and selling -- this pick (and perhaps a couple of those second rounders). one thing we have already is quite a bit youth. what we really need is a couple 3-4 year vets who can deepen and solidify the bench.

    so, while i like your selection of McCollum, i really want us to do better. then again, i still haven't blogged my own mock draft yet!

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 6/5/2013 7:37 PM
  2. For those who are curious about C.J. McCollum and want to know what the Blazers would be getting if they drafted him, here is his scouting video from DraftExpress:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1IgVnleed4

    Mike, your mock draft is quoted on BlazersEdge. So if you wanted to know what people are saying there about it, go check it out.

    BTW, Mike, I know you're not a big replier on your blog, but you said:

    "why not go with a four-year guy who appears to be NBA-ready?"

    And this:

    "He wouldn’t cost you as much either."

    The guy I've targeted to draft that would be NBA ready and wouldn't cost much for the Blazers is Gorgui Dieng.

    I like Dieng because he looks way more NBA ready at center than any of the other center prospects. He also played a pivotal role on the Louisville team that just won the NCAA title and learned under Rick Pitino. He's leaving after his junior season pretty seasoned. And the Blazers really need a center who can defend and rebound and block shots and he can do those things. I'm very impressed with his defense overall. Plus he can pass well and he can hit the 15-20 footer along with some decent footwork in the post. He also has a 7'4" wingspan and a 9'4" standing reach. Only Rudy Gobert has a higher standing reach and Dieng has way better overall instincts.

    Here is his scouting video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzyr-SZPMbg

    What am I missing that makes it so the Blazers won't sniff him? I mean don't teams from the 2008 draft regret passing up on Roy Hibbert who was drafted at 17th? I mean what were people missing about him that they wished they saw now? I asked this same question when I fell in love with the idea of drafting Damian Lillard because he had the skills needed to fill in the need at point guard the Blazers desperately were seeking well before the hired Neil OIshey as the GM and I went on record saying that on this blog a year ago.

    And I'm using the same logic you are Mike about picking McCollum in terms of experience and salary.

    by Shem on 6/6/2013 12:57 AM
  3. I actually got something else to add to our center situation for next season. For the most part, to get what the Blazers need, it's going to take up a lot of cap space because mediocre centers are generally expensive and the ones that would probably be available either free agency or trade have injury concerns or too expensive to get.

    Then if you use up the Blazers cap space, how can you fill in the rest of the roster so you have a decent bench next year since that was a problem a year ago? I really hope Neil Olshey has a FULL PROOF plan for this.

    BTW, I have no problem resigning Eric Maynor and drafting Dieng and still have enough money to get some good roll players in the free agent market. That would help make this team a playoff team next year IMO.

    by Shem on 6/6/2013 1:05 AM
  4. Hey Mike: I am not educated enough to even think of who to pick in the draft, let alone who will be available; IMO, if we choose to keep the pick, I would say go with the BPA, but have no idea who that would be.

    One thing, we have our true, PG; IMO, we have our COTF in Leonard, but he needs a couple of years before taking over; LaMarcus, Batum and Wesley are starters that won't be moved out of the starter role easily; So whoever we pick will be for building depth. Therefore picking the BPA, is the only way to go with all four of our picks. Which players will be available and which players are the best---I have no clue.

    I feel there is lots of truth in what Shem has said, Keep Eric Maynor and draft Dieng as we need a rim protector immediately, but then we may have to go after at least a qualified rim protector in free agency and trade.

    I have read in Or-Live and BE that O'Neal is very interested in returning to Portland. I think that would be a great bench player to get at veteran minimum and could buy us time with Leonard; then again Leonard may improve beyond our beliefs this summer then Jermaine would be a great bench filler for foul proposes.

    by Hg on 6/6/2013 6:21 AM
  5. why would the Wizards take Oladip when Brad Beal is already a great SG for them? They'll take Porter or Bennett

    by Brett Fish on 6/6/2013 12:25 PM
  6. "9. Minnesota—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SG)—Georgia
    Only because Portland is rumored to like him."

    Ain't that the truth! Thanks for the chuckle.

    by Jeffery Phillips on 6/6/2013 1:04 PM
  7. I agree with Hg about getting Jermaine O'Neal back. He was excellent coming off the bench for Phoenix and could do the same for us. He's exactly the kind of experience we need on our bench.

    The major problem with trying to outguess the draft is that we know nothing of what our GM is doing/plotting with FAs and/or trades. In fact, the draft will give us a clue as to what other possibilities are out there.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 6/7/2013 2:15 AM
  8. Couldn't agree with you more Don about the draft. We will get a glimpse of what direction the GM is going. Will he go big as he did with Hibbert or will go solid as he stated half way through the season, when he said he would have built a better bench after realizing the potential of our core.
    My guess is the latter. He must address the middle but it might not take the big name. It could be center by committee.
    Bench improvement is certain. How we get there will be fun to watch.

    by Divotking on 6/6/2013 5:03 PM
  9. You're right on about that, Divotking, it will be an interesting summer... As for center by committee, that could work out well if we have someone like O'Neal on the bench. JJ (if he's still here) could then play more 4 and give LA more rest.
    --
    don

    by dgpdx on 6/7/2013 2:18 AM
  10. I'm also not educated enough, but your picks seem pretty logical.

    Wow, if O'Neal actually comes back...okay, okay, I have to stop dreaming before it happens. I would be beyond satisfied! After all, I remember the ill-fated 2000 trades way too well...

    Max Milander '14


    by linfieldrunner on 6/7/2013 9:44 AM
  11. @Hg: i know you've mentioned the prospect of Jermaine coming back. i am for it. earlier today i looked up his bio on nba-dot-com. i hadn't realized his career has been as impressive as it has. i'd love to have him back -- provided we actually use his skills rather than letting him rot on the bench like we see to do with so many players. in 2004-05 the guy averaged over 24 points a game. he won't average that here, but he has skills and he still plays strong. i'm on your TeamJermaine!

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 6/9/2013 12:36 AM
  12. @Kassandra: For the most part it was Jermaine that opened my eyes as him returning as he was the one that choose the Blazers as his hope for the next team he would prefer to play for, that and the fact that he loves Leonard's game and is sure he can quicken his growth. Plus as you said he would be a great rotation guy.

    Of course if the Blazers goes for a center in the draft and not free agency his playing time would be magnified and more expectations would be put on him.

    As I have stated, I think we will take the BPA, but I haven't the foggiest who that player might be. Of course when you get the time as I know your finals is coming up and get your choices up that may give me a clue, Hint, Hint, Hint.

    by Hg on 6/9/2013 7:38 AM
  13. @Hg: i had not followed Jermaine when he left Portland and i'm surprised i hadn't looked up his numbers before. i think he'd fit really well here.

    i know we'll take the best player available. i also know everyone talks about best player available this and best player available that, but until someone gives me an actual name, i tend to tune them out. at least MB (& others) have thrown out a name. without that, the conversation can't move forward.

    i'm going to be a tad self-indulgent here, but i just posted my own mock draft blog. here's the link:

    http://tinyurl.com/oune57p

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 6/9/2013 10:27 AM
  14. http://www.elmundo.es/elmundodeporte/2013/06/19/baloncesto/1371670000.html

    by Soopadeajo Sopadeajo on 6/19/2013 6:38 PM
  15. I am impressed by CJ. He is a mature, well-rounded athlete. He is equally strong as baseball player (he was a pitcher), football (he was a quarterback), and a great basketball player on his team. He will compliment Lillard, and help free up LA. The coach will have more options. He was be a great pick. We still need a big guy, and more bench quality players, but this is a good selection.

    by BlazerForever on 6/27/2013 10:26 PM
  16. hey MB, just wanted to note that after all that talk about it being so difficult to predict this draft, you nailed the Blazers pick. how about giving us some oregon lottery numbers?!

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 6/30/2013 4:30 PM
  17. Hey Mike, I was going to gradulate you, but your head size fits your body.

    by Hg on 6/30/2013 5:08 PM
  18. by Divotking on 7/16/2013 6:02 PM
  19. @Shem;
    Oregonian looking for a beat writer.

    by Divotking on 9/13/2013 2:06 PM
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