Originally, I assembled this mock two days prior to the "foot fracture heard 'round the world". And yet, Embiid is still going to the Cavs, as much out of stubbornness of not wanting to rework my mock and the fact that the Cavs NEED a big badly. Even if it means waiting until January/February to debut him.
- CLE - Joel Embiid, C - Ok, stress fracture fiasco/conspiracy aside this pick makes too much sense for the Cavs not to make, you know, as long as his back is healthy. And then as long as he develops in to the Duncan/Olajuwon hybrid man child after only four years of basketball under his belt. Ok, let's wave the white flag on the red flags for now; the Kansas one-and-done stud was a literal slow gain full speed ahead basketball dominating locomotive all season improving game by game until being derailed by that "back thing". Embiid was averaging 14 pts, 10 reb & 3 blk in his last 4 games prior to injury; or 20 pts, 14.5 feb & 4 blk (per 40/m). Injury-prone?
Maybe, probably. Potential oozing out of his seeminglybrittle bones? Yah. Worth a roll of the dice? Maybe, probably.
- MIL - Dante Exum, PG - This guy just can't be your point guard of the future*. But he can be your shooting guard. And that's where that Australian kid comes in. Wiggins, you say? Parker, you say? Well no you wouldn't say because they aren't Australian but you might wonder why Exum is a better fit than either of them? First the easy one, Wiggins & Antetokounmpo very similar with Andrew a bit further along on both sides of the ball. Wiggins is not ready to be a reliable ball handler which is needed at the two spot and the if he were moved to the 3, the Freak is not ready to be a stretch 4 in any way. As for Parker, sure he can be that stretch 4 for the Bucks and allow Giannis to be a slasher and Ersan now bolsters your bench, cool. Or not cool? Parker makes the Bucks become a half court team with an unreliable big on the offense half sets, Jabari would actually become 2013-14 Melo but with a better supporting cast. That leaves Exum, because Embiid is gone and it's perfect. Much like the 2013-14 Sixers the Bucks would instantly transition into a full-court offensive attack but still have a starting stretch 4 in Ilyasova with Sanders as Nerlens (chicken or the egg? whatever). No, it doesn't solve the issue of post offense but it creates way less problems than a selection Wiggins or Parker.
- PHI - Andrew Wiggins, SF - Because f*ckin duh. The Sixers were last in points allowed last year (an ungodly number I won't type) and "The Villain" has gone on to be someone else's villain. Not to mention 'the Hollisaur' needs help on that wing that James Anderson just did not, could not provide. Adding Wiggins to that full court offensive attack with McDubs (the real McDubs) and his presence on defense along with Noel, the Sixers might lose that pick to the Celtics next year and make the playoffs. Unless Lucy feels differently... ...she does.
- BOS - Jabari Parker, F (ORL receives 6, 17 & future 2nd; BOS receives 4 & Afflalo) - SHIT JUST GOT REAL. Both Boston and Orlando make good moves here, as reports have surfaced that Boston doesn't have the juice to pull off the Kevin Love deal and the Magic seemingly just lost their PG, or did they? ...They did. Boston jumps up for Parker, but literally jumps up for Parker, up and down repeatedly while also adding the guy Kendrick Lamar was once very jealous of. Umm, that's a lot of points chilling in Beantown now and a veteran wing that can play defense. Rondo is pleased. Look Parker fits because he has to, outside of Rondo there is no serious talent there and he and Rondo should be fairly comfortable playing in a half-court set together.
- UTA - Noah Vonleh, PF - Kanter is meh. Favors looks like a surprisingly solid center, so Vonleh is good right here like we've all been saying for what, a month now? Moving on, nothing to see here.
- ORL - Marcus Smart, PG - And Orlando gets their guy! That they wanted last year. But that's not really a bummer, it's like doing the Jrue-Noel thingy kind of but not really. Still none of that matters, the Marcus Smart-Victor Oladipo duo will be a nightmare for just about every opposing backcourt for the next 7 to 10 years. Defense, bully-ball, big dunks, hustle, speed, big dunks, dual double doubles, dual triple doubles! Did I mention BIG DUNKS?
- LAL - Julius Randle, PF - You don't give Kobe $48 Million for 2 seasons and not give him a big man to play some good old half court ball with that play to his strengths. Defense will have to be acquired with the remainder of what Kobe and Steve "Collect Dem Checks" Nash have left untouched.
- SAC - Aaron Gordon, F - Ok Kings, you want a veteran like Thad, I get it. Not really, but okay. Well here is the next best thing, a young kid kind of like Thad but with a ton more potential and already similar handles and bigger bunnies. 25 is "young", but 18 is
"gordoner"younger. But seriously you need help with wing defense and a compliment to Boogie.
- CHA - Zach Lavine, G - No way MJ sees a 6'5" 19 year-old kid with bunnies like that and doesn't think about himself at that age. And I wouldn't blame him, that is what a good amount of drafts are about: projecting. Zach Lavine projects to be a superstar, he can run fast, jump high and shoot. He still needs to improve overall (especially slashing and defense) and that starts with consistency, which hindered his season with UCLA. But based on projection alone he is a reasonable Top 10 pick. As far as fit, he could eventually or instantly start over Henderson. Kemba-Lavine-MKG-McRob-Big Al, not bad, not great, but not bad.
- PHI - Nik Stauskas, SG - Along with sucking at defense, the Sixers also sucked at shooting adding arguably the best (or 2nd) shooter in the draft will help that cause. The roster begins to fill out, MCW-Nik-Wiggins-Thad?-Noel.
- DEN - Gary Harris, SG - The Nuggets need a 2, and they could also use a wing defender and a guy who can step in for Ty when he is being taken to task by bigger PG's. He'll fit right in with his scoring as well.
- ORL - Adrien Payne, PF - Vuce gets a complimentary partner, now with Tobias moving to the 3 spot now that Aaron Afflalo is in Boston.
- MIN - James Young, G/F - Probably won't get to move Love until after the draft, Payne is an option here but that would seem to be too perfect of a plug in. Young will begin as a role player but could replace Martin eventually when he is moved.
- PHI - Dario Saric, F (PHO receives T. Young & 39, PHI receives 14) - Draft and Stash. Goodbye Thad, we will always have "The Night Shift".
- ATL - TJ Warren, SF - Pointz. Likely will start career off the bench but it could help him develop his game and transition his scoring prowess from college to pros.
- CHI - Rodney Hood, SF - If Boozer stays, this works. If Boozer goes and Melo comes, this works. The Bulls could use Hood as a starter, next to Butler or as a back up to Melo and scoring off the bench.
- ORL [via BOS] - Doug McDermott, SF - Change of style player for the Magic off the bench behind Harris, could stretch the floor crazy with Payne & Vuce and Oladipo and Smart penetrating.
- PHO - Jusuf Nurkic, PF/C - Giving up on Len so soon? Umm, maybe, it happens. You don't pass up on the best player on your board because of lack of need especially when the other might be a bust any way. Nurkic has skill but needs polishing.
- CHI - Elfrid Payton, PG - Rose insurance! That and Hinrich might be leaving Chicago, again. Elfrid is an explosive PG and long, nearly a 6'10" wingspan. That Chicago defense gets even better along with the bench.
- TOR - Clint Capela, PF/C - Toronto loves those foreign bigs that have all the attributes but maybe not all the tools. But he could get them! And at least this isn't another Top 5 pick. The Raps might consider a PG here but should d everything to keep Lowry.
- OKC - Jordan Adams, SG - Harden. He's not Harden, but OKC remembers Harden and they need another "Harden". The Thunder bench was super flat all playoffs, Adams could offer the needed punch that Reggie Jackson just doesn't have.
- MEM - PJ Hairston, SG - A seasoned athletic scorer. Memphis needs that off the pine and eventually as a starter. Has off-court issues but so did Zach prior to his arrival in the Blues capitol of the world.
- UTA - Glenn Robinson III, SF - Utah should keep Hayward, so GR3 could either be a backup or instant starter here with the departure of Jefferson and Rush. Michigan reunion with Burke.
- CHA - Cleanthony Early, F - This was a tough one. But with the
BobcatsHornets voicing their desire to retain McRoberts, Early makes sense as a similar stretch 4 style of player incase McRoberts goes elsewhere or they'd like to add depth.
- HOU - Jordan Clarkson, PG - 6'6" PGs are all the rage nowadays. Coupled with the inevitable departure of Lin (and Asik), Pat Beverly can only play the role of pitbull guard for so many minutes. Clarkson should become the eventual starter, as he could compliment Harden's shooting talent with his own slashing, or at least become a sixth man.
- MIA - Kyle Anderson, PG/F - I'd want my own Boris Diaw too after that finals. Anderson wouldn't be asked to do too much and wouldn't have to do too much, he'd work great as a third or fourth ball handler when Mario gets a case of the Chalmers (if he is re-signed). Plus should he continue to be a great shooter he'll be perfect in Miami's spread outside-in offense.
- PHO - Mitch McGary, PF/C - Nurkic probably doesn't come over right away. McGary is still healing but if healthy he is a fringe lotto guy and if not banned for weed he is in school. He'll produce once he gets to 100% should do well at the 4 or 5.
- LAC - KJ McDaniels, G/SF - Actually similar to the guy he is being drafted to replace except much more athletic than Matt Barnes. Needs to develop a shot in a couple years, but'll fit well in Lob City to start.
- OKC - Walter Tavares, C - Thabeet 2.0, not at pick 29. A 7'3" project but OKC needs another body behind Adams in a year when the albatross of Perkins is gone.
- SAS - Shabazz Napier, PG - Champions gonna champion. Pop thought about Tyler Ennis then bumped into Shabazz and compared championship rings and they've been best buds since. Protege to Tony Parker because Patty Mills shot his way in to boatloads of cash in the Finals but let's hope for a better ending than what Gary Neal took.
*Brandon Knight is a little unlucky but all of his embarrassing plays are quite overstated, especially "The Dunk" I mean he was insane to go up for that but I respect his willingness to at least try. And his two crossovers were a slip and a trip, but I digress.