With the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the NBA Draft now in our rear-view mirror, version 2 of the Liberty Ballers Big Board has been released. As a point of reference, here is version 1 from mid-march.
Our top 5 is now nearly universal, with the exception of Mike being the black sheep of the group and selecting Cousins over Favors. After that, things begin to get a little more controversial.
Big movers? Hassan Whiteside went up 6 spots from 13th to 7th, and Al-Farouq Aminu has worked his way firmly into range of the Sixers pick. Daniel Orton, previously not on the board at all, sneaked in to grab the final spot.
On the negative side, Xavier Henry has fallen down on our board, although not as drastically as in other places. Patrick Patterson, previously #11 on the LibertyBallers board, is now nowhere to be found.
Thoughts on the biggest changes on each of our boards after the jump.
Others receiving votes:
Paul George (Tanner, 7), James Anderson (Mike, 12), Avery Bradley (Jordan, 13), Patrick Patterson (Derek, 14).
As expected, my big board was shaken up quite a bit over the past 2 months. My biggest surprises are having Hassan Whiteside at 6, and Greg Monroe completely off my board.
First, Whiteside has a ton of issues -- I'm not ignoring them -- but I feel like he has too much potential to pass up at 6. Taking him in the top 10 would be a huge gamble, but -- assuming the Sixers hire the "right coach" -- it's a risk I'm willing to take. Neither Aminu nor Davis are can't-miss prospects, so why not take the guy with the most potential?
Second, I don't like Mornoe as a player, and I like him even less for the Sixers. He's not very athletic, a below average defender, and has a questionable motor and work ethic. He's a big man who currently has one skill that translates to the NBA -- his passing. Drooling over Monroe because he's a skilled passer is like drooling over a point guard who's only legitimate NBA-skill is blocking shots. I might consider Greg if Eddie Jordan was still here and the Sixers still ran the Princeton Offense, but neither is the case.
The biggest jump was Aminu from 10 to 6, when I was very bullish on his jump shot. I've since come to terms with his athleticism, defense, and rebounding making up for that deficiency.
Larry Sanders and Pat Patterson got bumped from the board in favor of Hassan Whiteside and Ed Davis, who basically do everything they can do but better. Larry and Pat are safer bets to reach their potential and be solid big men in the NBA, but Ed and Hassan have higher ceilings, so for this team, that's why I went with them there.
Finally, anybody else notice that basically everything on this site is called a Big Board? We get no points for creativity here folks.
Mike submitted a novel for each selection. Be sure to check out more of Mike's thoughts at Ridiculous Upisde.
The most controversial pick on there is probably that I have Paul George in the seven spot (unless you want John Wall at 1 to be the most controversial). The more I read about George, the more I think he could develop into a star in the League. However, with all players that are surrounded by the "P" word, there is plenty of opportunity to never develop what could have been. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it until I'm proven right; he's got Danny Granger written all over him. He could be that go-to guy the Sixers desperately need.
Unlike many of the mock drafts over the interwebs, Cole Aldrich is not my first choice from Kansas. Although I think he will be a good piece for a team looking for a defensively solid big man (Thunder anyone?), he's not going to be a guy to change a franchise that needs the kinds of pieces the Sixers do, at least with their sixth pick. I just feel the other big men on the board have much better upside (unridiculous upside).
I didn't have Daniel Orton on my big board at all last time because I didn't think he was going to declare for the draft. Now that he has (without even consulting me), Orton is in my Top 10. He's got a tremendous frame at 6'10" 260 and could be physical beast down in the post. The fact that he would be a true center is another factor into why I'm so high on Orton. The center position is so weak in the NBA these days that getting one is a rare commodity that is tough to pass on. He might not be able to contribute right away but this team isn't going anywhere right away. If the choice were between which raw talent to take between Orton and Whitesdie, my decision (which the Sixers take very seriously) would be Orton.
I caved in and moved Cousins up to #4 over Johnson. Perhaps it was due to my desperation to get a potential franchise player, perhaps because the more I see and read, I think Cousins has desire, and the maturity issues can be overcome with age and experience. Perhaps I'm deluding myself and my initial placement was correct.
The big changes in the positive direction are Aminu (up to 6th from 11th) and Hassan Whiteside (up to 8th from 14th). For Aminu, the more I've become convinced he can play the power forward spot, the more I'm willing to look past his obvious offensive limitations. For Whiteside, it has more to do with how down I'm becoming on the rest of the draft. I'm not particularly confident Whiteside will ever reach his enormous potential, and if there were players I was more comfortable with at this spot in the draft he wouldn't be here. But there aren't, so he is.