About a month ago, when we started this mock (yes, it was only a month ago), I found out I the architect of the San Antonio Spurs. I got to be fake Sam Hinkie and fake RC Buford in the same exercise. What a coup!
However, with as much trouble as I had figuring out who the Sixers were going to pick, with the Spurs, that one would be easy. In fact, I even wrote out the e-mail and saved it in drafts.
"With the 30th pick, the San Antonio Spurs select BOGDAN BOGDANOVIC." It was a no-brainer. The most Spurs pick of all time. A draft-and-stash shooter!
What I failed to realize was that three spots ahead of me sat Michael Baumann, President of the Bogdan Bogdanovic Fan Club (also known as Baumann and the Bogdans), and also, a client.
When that happened, Spurs draft headquarters went into a frenzy. We weren't ready for this. We used up most of our international scouting budget on Bogdan. We started trying to talk ourselves into American players. "Would Jarnell Stokes fit on this team?" we pondered.
Not to mention, we're already pretty shorthanded. After all, most of the Spurs staff is still hungover from the parade. Most of them don't even know where the draft is located right now, or care, for that matter. JUST COUNT THE RINGZ.
Eventually, we settled down, because we're the San Antonio Spurs. The steady hand of the NBA. We do things a certain way here.
For the most part, the Spurs are constructed with international players, because it's a smart way to develop guys. Their backup point guard, Patty Mills, is about to pass Go and collect $20 million from a team desperate for shooters and winners. You could call that a hole, but they're the Spurs, and the next man up, Cory Joseph, will probably do a fine job in that role.
But for the Spurs, Tony Parker isn't getting any younger, and it's time for them to get another young point guard in the pipeline, which is what leads them to select 20-year old Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic with the 30th pick of the Comically Fake and Likely Woefully Inaccurate Liberty Ballers Mock Draft. (It's a working title!)
Rich Hofmann wrote an excellent piece introducing Micic to Sixers fans two weeks ago, and I'd encourage anyone who has yet to read it to do so, because he did a better job of explaining Micic as a prospect than I'm even capable of. Micic is an excellent passer who fits the Spurs way of doing things, except for the fact that he's not a particularly good shooter.
For more on the fit with the Spurs, I checked in with our friend Stephen Bagwell from Pounding The Rock, who graciously took a break from a summer of just watching Game 5 on a constant loop to contribute his thoughts:
He's 6'3, has excellent court vision, massive amounts of experience running the pick and roll (by far more than any other point guard, international or otherwise, in the draft). Average defender but could be a good team defender in the right system, and with his length has room to improve. Struggles with elite athletes, but at age 19 he's worth gambling on even if you don't want to bring him over right away. Put up 14 and 10 against the US select team, looking like a pretty well polished player. He's a great passer, but needs to work on his shooting- though in spite of his lack of top level athleticism has learned how to finish around the rim. He could come over right away and take Cory Joseph's minutes if Patty leaves and Cory becomes the backup, or he could wait a couple years and come in once Patty and Cory are possibly gone. While the backup forward position may be a more pressing need, there aren't any available at number 30 that won't be available at the end of the second round. Micic is probably both the best available and the most logical choice for the future.
So, that does it for the first round of the our mock draft. In just a few minutes, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum will be out here to kick off ROUND TWO!
Just kidding, we're not doing two rounds of this. We hope you enjoyed the first round though. Here's the final mock one through thirty, Embiid to Micic.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Joel Embiid
2. Milwaukee Bucks - Andrew Wiggins
3. Philadelphia 76ers - Jabari Parker
4. Orlando Magic - Dante Exum
5. Utah Jazz - Noah Vonleh
6. Boston Celtics - Aaron Gordon
7. Los Angeles Lakers - Julius Randle
8. Sacramento Kings - Marcus Smart
9. Charlotte Hornets - Nik Stauskas
10. Philadelphia 76ers - Gary Harris
11. Denver Nuggets - Zach LaVine
12. Orlando Magic - Dario Saric
13. Minnesota Timberwolves - Kyle Anderson
14. Phoenix Suns - Doug McDermott
15. Atlanta Hawks - James Young
16. Chicago Bulls - Elfrid Payton
17. Boston Celtics - Clint Capela
18. Phoenix Suns - Adreian Payne
19. Chicago Bulls - Rodney Hood
20. Toronto Raptors - Tyler Ennis
21. Oklahoma City Thunder - P.J. Hairston
22. Memphis Grizzlies - T.J. Warren
23. Utah Jazz - K.J. McDaniels
24. Charlotte Hornets - Jusuf Nurkic
25. Houston Rockets - Jordan Adams
26. Miami Heat - Cleanthony Early
27. Phoenix Suns - Bogdan Bogdanovic
28. Los Angeles Clippers - Mitch McGary
29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Spencer Dinwiddie
30. San Antonio Spurs - Vasilije Micic