Well fellow fans, it has been fun covering the draft again. I’m going to give a few different scenarios, but ideally, I think this year we will have a plethora of options to pick at 20 and get a very solid player, if not a potential starter. Obviously, I would love to trade Deng if the ideal situation came along for cap space and for a more rounded offensive type player. Other trades could be had, but I don’t know if we would benefit. I feel very strongly that a couple of players will slide due to some teams drafting upside in a quality, but not star driven draft.
Below is a list of players in order that I would love to draft if at pick 20. Some may not be available, but at least one probably will.
1) Sergey Karasev – The more research I have done on him, the more impressed I am. I have some concerns presently about his weight and speed as a shooting guard. I have no doubt he will be able to add a little weight, but long-term is he athletic enough to guard great isolation ball-handlers? Offensively, he is a great option for our team’s needs.
He can handle the ball well, can pass well, his best asset is his shooting, is a high basketball IQ player, and takes what the defense gives him. With his height, smarts, hustle, and skill level, I think he would be an asset to any team. The concern will be moving up in the draft to get him as many teams seem interested.
2) Gorgui Dieng – Dieng if healthy provides a great backup option at Center with his ability to defend, showing a solid understanding of the game, mid-range shooting, and quality passing. Defensively, he's an excellent shot-blocker, but he also does other things well.
For example, while not someone that you can regularly switch on pick-and-rolls on isolation type offensive type players, he does have a long wing-span, great closing speed, and is pretty athletic. On top of this, Dieng is a good rebounder and has quick hands to generate steals as well. I feel he is underrated and if healthy, will be a steal in this draft.
3) Tim Hardaway Jr. - While not a player with a stand out specialized skill, he does many things well. Hardaway Jr. has shown improvement throughout his career in little things and being the ultimate teammate and blending in with the previous talent coming in this year. His shooting percentage dipped this season, but he showed improvement in other areas.
His improved his ball handling, shot creation, and continued his clutch play. While still a good shooter, he showed progress with rebounding, toughness, and defense. He's a well rounded athletic 6’6 guard who can do a bit of everything, but we'll have to see if he's good enough at anything in particular to carve out a successful niche for himself.
Other players worth considering in order
1) Jeff Withey – Withy's a great shot-blocker with great timing, showed an improved mid-range jumper, needs to improve rebounding, will not be great on pick-and-roll switches, and will not be a post-up player. However, he knows his limitations and can make a difference in a league that is deft of low-post players.
2) Tony Snell – Snell's a gamble type player, but intriguing to me. He can shoot, can pass, and can play D. Shows ball-handling, but just does not utilize it. Must improve toughness.
3) Reggie Bullock – Bullock's a good shooter, solid athlete with an NBA build, and is a good defender. He knows his role – just won’t get much else from him. He could be an Aaron Afflalo type player.
4) Jamaal Franklin – He's a great hard-worker shooting guard, can rebound like crazy (over 9 a game at the shooting guard position), can really play d with a great wing-span, can handle the ball. Basically he does everything really well, except shoot. He is a very good shooter from the free-throw line and is a hard-worker. Can he be a Kawhi Leonard type player? Or is he just a very good defender that can do others things well? If he cannot add a 3 point jumper, we need to draft someone else for our team. If he can, we have one of the better players in this draft!
5) Kelly Olynyk – is he tough enough for this league? He's a very skilled player offensively with his jumper, passing, and occasional low-post moves, but lacks strength and toughness.
6) Allen Crabbe – Good shooter, solid athlete, but is he tough enough?
Players to stay away from
1) Tony Mitchell Jr. – Freak athlete at the Power Forward spot, but shows little understanding of the game and has shown interest to be a small-forward with a limited jumper!
2) Rudy Gobert – Great wing-span, but concerns me with his weight and limited coordination.
3) Ricky Ledo – Possibility to be a Jamal Crawford type player, but is very raw, has many red flags, and came in out of shape. Too many red-flags for a playoff team in which draft picks in 1st round with lower salaries are a gold mine. A team with multiple late first/early second and in need of talent influx would be best picking him.
Second Round Players at our Pick
1) Solomon Hill – At 6’7, can handle the ball okay, can shoot decently, decent defender, solid rebounder, and a solid athlete. Reminds me some of Wesley Matthews some. I think he will make this league and will do a solid job.
2) Khalif Wyatt – 6’4 shooting guard that blew up this year in February and March for Temple. Is a little slow of foot and is only 6’4. Very skilled as he can handle the ball, shoot from anywhere on the court, crafty, and smart. Put up big-time numbers against Kansas (McLemore) and Indiana (Oladipo). However, is he enough of an athlete and good enough without the ball to contribute at the next level?
3) Richard Howell – 6’8 PF that can rebound and shoot a mid-range jumper. Is he a Udonis Haslem type player?
4) Brandon Paul – Could be one of the top 15 players in this draft. 6’4 shooting guard makes up for it with a 6’10 wing span. Can handle the ball, good athlete, streaky shooter, and has a good build. The problem with Paul is that he is not very consistent. Can he carve out a role doing specific tasks?
5) Colton Iverson – 7’0 Center that could be a tough nose low-post player at the next level and good rebounder. Will not be much of a low-post scorer or shot-blocker, but will provide some toughness. Could set some nasty picks too!
6) DeShaun Thomas – Could be a good scorer off the bench to help our team when its in need of points. At 6’7, he can post up small-forwards, is a solid shooter from all over, but will struggle defensively.
7) Trevor Mbawke - Mbawke is 24 already, is 6’9 with multiple ACL surgeries, and some red-flags character wise. However, he's a very good athlete, is tough, shows a good motor, and can rebound with the best of them. Got the best of players such as Cody Zeller. However, he has many concerns with his character and skill outside of rebounding.
8) James Ennis – 6’7, solid shooter, solid athlete, and solid defender at the shooting guard and small forward positions. Is he enough of a shooter to mask his other weaknesses?
Favorite Players in Draft in order
1) Victor Oladipo – Great motor, great D at the shooting guard position, and a freak athlete. Works hard at his game and at worst you have a very good defender that is a freak athlete. With an improved 3 point shot, solid handle (needs to work on his left hand dribble) I feel most confident he will live up to his talents!
2) Alex Len – Could be the best player in this draft if he maximizes his talents, but I don’t know if he is always tough enough. At 7’0, good athlete, good jumper, some low-post moves, good footwork, and can defend well, he has the chance to be a good center for a long-time. Can he maximize his talents? Maryland did not utilize him well. Got the best of many players at the college level including Nerlens Noel, Mason Plumlee, etc… Plays hard, but can he be tough enough and maximize all his skills?
3) Trey Burke – Good athlete, good point guard, good shooter, and savvy smart. At 6’0 and somewhat lean muscular, will he be a very good point guard or just solid overall. I feel he is under-rated and can have a Tony Parker type game if maximizes his talents appropriately.
4) Ben McLemore – Another player I feel confident could be best player in the draft. Great athlete at the shooting guard position, great height and build at 6’5, can defend, and great shooter (possibly best shooter in the draft). Can he consistently create? There are many questions if he is tough enough. While only a freshman, many times he disappeared if his shot was not on. Is he an athletic Ray Allen or just a good shooter/athlete?
5) C.J. McCollum – McCollum is a hidden secret to me. Played at small school in Lehigh. Is a 6’3 built combo guard. Can he be more than a combo guard or is he a Ben Gordon type player. Good shooter, good toughness, can defend a little, can score off pick-and-roll, etc… Is he a Randy Foye or a Chauncey Billups?
6) Otto Porter – Versatile defender that can shoot jumpers. A smart player too. Possibly a Danny Granger Lite type player.
7) Sergey Karasev – Raved enough about him. Is he Marco Bellinelli or Klay Thompson lite?
8) Gorgui Dieng – Is he healthy and will he have long-term health concerns. If healthy, I think he will be a very good defender for a while in this league.
9) Shane Larkin – I think he is underrated and can be a very good player at the next level. I don’t think he will be a star or anything, but I feel he can be a starter at the next level. To me he can be a Jameer Nelson type player.
10) Michael Carter-Williams – Has the chance to be a solid all-around player at the next level. Good defender, can handle and pass, can create mis-matches at 6’5 at the point guard position, and high basketball player. Can he add weight and can he add a jumper?
11) Steven Adams – Great size at 7’0, 260, and great athlete for the center position. Very raw and I have concerns if he can develop his game here. However, if he does, he is one of the top 5 players in this draft. Boom/Bust type player.
12) Tim Hardaway Jr. – Could be a solid all-around player and a good fit at the shooting guard position next to Jimmy Butler and Rose if Deng is not in our long-term plans.
13) Cody Zeller – I don’t think he will be worth a top 10 pick, but can be a solid player with a jumper, hustle, and solid rebounder at the PF spot. Maybe a Christian Laettner type player.
14) Tony Snell – Boom/Bust type player. Shows solid understanding of the game, but is he tough enough. At 6’7, very good shooter, good athlete, good passer, and solid defender. Has hidden ball-handling as he does not use it enough. However, he can handle, but will he maximize his skills.
15) Jamaal Franklin – Will make it based on his defense. Can he be consistently enough offensively? Has potential to be better than a few players in this draft I have rated higher than him. Stating this, I have concerns over his shot.
16) Livio Jean-Charles – I feel he is very underrated. At age 19, 6’9 and room to add some weight, he has a chance to be a very good Power Forward that can guard both Power Forwards and Small Forwards. Can rebound, runs the court hard, has a mid-range jumper, and is faster than most Power Forwards, I think he has a chance to make in this league for a long-time. Must continue to develop his game at the Power Forward position and utilize his small-forward skills too.
17) Reggie Bullock – Will be one of the safer picks in this draft with solid athleticism, good defense, and a good 3 point jumper. Does not have much else he will offer, but all these skills translate well.
18) Erick Green – I feel he is very under-rated, but can he be a true point-guard and can he add some weight? Great jumper, solid athleticism, 6’3 at point guard, and good passing.
19) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Is a top 10 pick in this draft with good shooting at 6’6 and very good athleticism. He has Terrence Ross type game. Is he tough enough? Can he utilize his transition game and is he too raw?
20) Isaiah Canaan – Probably should have him ranked higher as he can score with a tremendous shot at the point guard position. Reminds me some of a Mo Williams/Jameer Nelson type point.
Don’t care for too much
1) Nerlens Noel – will block shots, but don’t think he is worth the hype. I think he will play a while in the league, but will not be physical enough. If he hones his jumper, adds some weight, and plays within himself, he could make a big-time impact. He is just too raw and too skinny for me right now.
2) Anthony Bennett – he should be a talented 4, but is a tweener
3) Shabazz Muhammed – not fast, selfish, etc… - best hope is Corey Maggette
4) Mason Plumlee – Stiff – could board, but not much else
5) Rudy Gobert – can block shots, but is skinny
6) Tony Mitchell – what is he? A great athlete, but wants to be a small-forward that is suited for a game-changing power forward.
7) Ricky Ledo – too many red-flags and too raw despite offensive talents.
Late first/Early 2nd Round Steals
1) Livio Jean- Charles – 6’9, hustles, can board, good athlete, decent mid-range jumper.
2) Erick Green – versatile point guard that can really shoot. Needs to add weight, but is a savvy scoring point guard with under-rated passing.
3) Isaiah Canaan – scoring point guard that can really shoot. Solid build and athlete. Reminds me of a Mo Williams type player.
4) Mike Muscula – Skilled Center/Power Forward – not a great athlete, but skilled offensively in that he can really shoot, hustles, and can pass. If he can bulk up, will surprise many.
5) Jackie Carmichael – similar type player to Udonis Haslem – can rebound, play d, and shoot a mid-range jumper. Seems to understand he will be a role player!
Alex Abrines – Rudy Fernandez type feel to his game. Good athlete, can handle, but can he shoot well enough and is he tough enough?