The NBA Draft is in sight. It's right around the goddamn corner, and all we've got to get through are the playoffs and the lottery and then we are there. Last week I chatted with our friend Andrew Unterberger of Pat Robertson's The 700 Level and debated our respective top eights. Now here's prospects 9-20, and our brief thoughts on some of the players we both left off, as well our complete lists of 20 at the very bottom.
Andrew Unterberger, 700 Level. So before we get officially started on this today, I wanted to mention something as kind of a disclaimer. Since some people might be wondering why we're going 20 deep on this when the Sixers only have two picks in this first round, and they're both in the top ten. But I think you'd probably agree with me that there's a fair chance that Hinkie maneuvers on draft night to move into the first round a third time, right? Or at least tries to?
Michael Levin, Liberty Ballers: Absolutely. He could get Wiggins and Gordon and I'd be actively upset if he didn't pick up another guy around 20. Okay that's not true but I'm really counting on it happening.
AU: And we think Thad will be in play for that? Maybe some of our bouquet of second-rounders as well?
Levin: Ummm. I don't know. I don't know if that will be used as a way to move up from 10 into 5ish or if he'll be more of a play to get another pick and a contract/upsidey young guy. I do think Thad‘ll be moved on draft night, I'm just not sure in what capacity.
God, draft night is going to be so much fun chaos.
AU: Yeah, generally speaking, there's nothing that could happen on draft night that should come as a surprise to us, right? Is there anything that isn't in play?
Levin: Absolutely anything. Trading MCW or Noel, anything.
AU: Scary to think, but if Jrue Holiday could be traded the year after signing a team-friendly extension and making the All-Star team for the first time, hard to believe anything isn't possible.
AU: Since we started off Part One with you ranting about Wiggins, seems only fair that we should start part two with you ranting about your other self-appointed fan club presidency, for Sir Adreian Payne.
Levin: Sir Adreian Payne is a beautiful way to address him. I think this rolls into the Super Role Player vs. Flawed Star conversation, which we had last time. I think Payne is like a half-step more advanced than Noah Vonleh, only a whole bunch of years older.
Payne can do what I see as everything you'd like a guy to do next to Nerlens Noel. Stretch the floor, be athletic, cover the P&R, rim protect a little, rebound, hustle, love little white girls in an adorable way, improve markedly each year, run the floor, everything.
AU: Yeah, it seems like he should be able to do all of things, and I think he'd definitely be a fan favorite, probably even quicker than a lot of the other guys on our lists.
My one hangup with Payne is that he was able to be so dominant in college last year because he had this combination of size, power and athleticism that made him look like a man among boys. But the thing is-he actually was a man among boys. He turned 23 earlier this year, old even for a senior.
Levin: Yeah, I don't think he's going to be dominant at this level at all. But as a 4th option on offense, I'm in love with him. I think he's a better-fitting Thad.
AU: I'm not sold on him being as athletic or versatile as Thad. But if he can hit 40% from three like he did his senior year, that's obviously a very big deal.
Levin: Look at this Adreian Payneness!
AU: I love Payne and would greatly enjoy him on the Sixers next year, but like his Michigan State brother-in-arms Gary Harris, the low ceiling worries me a tad for a top-ten pick.
Levin: I don't think either of them have low ceilings though. My board is assuming you've already installed one of the top 4 guys as your de facto Star. So you have MCW, Noel, and one of the top four guys (Wiggins/Parker/Embiid/Exum). Then you try to fill out the other two spots left.
And I think both Gary Harris and Adreian Payne are two-way NBA starters for the next decade. And that, to me, is not a low ceiling at all.
AU: Well, on the flip side of this debate, we have Marcus Smart. Marcus is only 11th on your board, for reasons I have to assume are of fit. I'm not totally convinced that there are six players in this draft who are going to make better pros than Marcus Smart, though.
Do you not like Marcus, or do you just not like him for the Sixers?
Levin: I don't love Marcus, and I really don't like him for the Sixers.
I think this goes with the Flawed Star argument as well. I'm just wildly concerned about the jumper. And what his role would be if he's playing next to MCW. I could see him being a more controlled version of Tony Wroten, which is good in a vacuum, but not someone I'm particularly interested in drafting for this team. His defensive potential is crazy high along MCW, sure, but I just struggle to see what his role is at the next level.
That being said, if he falls to 10 and Hinkie loves the package, I'm not going to be pissed about coming home with a slipping Marcus Smart.
AU: Well, to me, he seems very much in the mold of Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo. Not as athletic as either but probably a little stronger and bigger than both. And I think if you draft Marcus Smart, you have to kinda take it on the chin offensively for a couple years -- I'd bet money on him being worth a negative Offensive Win Shares his rookie season, certainly.
But man, you're gonna want that guy on your team three to four years from now. The defense, the intensity, the open-court intimidation. And if he doesn't fit on the Sixers, he'll certainly fit somewhere else, and that team will pay a hefty price for the privilege of fitting him in.
Levin: I just don't see the bounce or versatility in him as I do in Russ, or to a lesser extent, Oladipo. But I don't object to the idea of taking him if he's the BPA on your board.
AU: Yeah, I guess that's the idea. At #9 I become confident enough at Smart being the biggest star available that I'm willing to snatch him and figure out what to do with him later, even years later if that's what it takes.
But if I was another team, with a different set of needs, I'd consider taking him as high as #5 or #6. If he gets past the Pistons and the Cavs to us at #10, that's a huge mistake by those two GMs I think.
Levin: Yeah, someone in the LB comments mentioned how the 7-8-9 teams are all sorta filled up in the power forward spot, so the odds of Smart slipping past each are small. Though one of those 4′s we like could certainly get to us. We'll be able to predict these things so much better once the lottery's through.
Levin: I love James Young.
AU: He is wonderful, yes. And this is another perfect fit for the Sixers, right?
Levin: I can see that there are flaws in his game, but I do not accept them. He is perfect. Rangy shooter-athlete, I think he'll be able to create some, get to the rim, get fouled, have great hair, be nice to his teammates, and be a better defender than he currently is.
Also a lefty! Love a lefty!
AU: Got to.
My one worry about James Young, and it is a small one considering that he is in name and chronology one of the Youngest players in this draft, is that he is kind of a space cadet.
Levin: But in the most beautiful way.
AU: Calipari ribbed him throughout the tournament for drifting off on defense and in huddles. He even lost focus in the UK press conferences a couple times.
Levin: He's 7 years old. He'll get there.
AU: Yeah, like I said, it's forgivable for a starry-eyed 18-year-old. But I'd at least like the Sixers to do their due diligence enough to make sure he's actually at least a minorly thoughtful guy and isn't just kinda bored by the particulars of high-level basketball.
Levin: Of course. And they will.
AU: But yes, I would love to see him running the wing with MCW and Noel next year.
Levin: Draft Parker at 2, Harris at 10, trade up for Young at around 18, MCW-Harris-Young-Parker-Noel. Oooooooooooooooh.
AU: Also provides good Young insurance in case we end up trading Thad.
Levin: Need Young insurance. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell and a Young in Philadelphia.
AU: We both had reruns at #11. Now Stauskas at #12 was a late bump for me -- I had him at least three or four spots lower as of a week ago. Then I watched a little more of him, and it sorta struck me: He's Evan Turner with three-point range. (And significantly less rebounding.)
2014 NBA Draft
2014 NBA Draft
But I like the idea of an ET that can shoot. I spent every day of the last four years of my life hoping for one, pretty much.
Levin: Ehhhh, I don't know that I necessarily agree with that comparison for the pro level. I think Stauskas defers and works in teammates a lot more than Evan ever has. He's more equipped to be a role player at the next level. Something Evan was not.
And Stauskas is actually more athletic than Turner, and more athletic than people give him credit for.
AU: I agree he is more athletic than people give him credit for-the curse of being a goofy-looking white guy named "Stauskas" -- but I don't think he and ET are worlds apart athletically.
Levin: Stauskas to me is a better-shooting Gary Harris without the defense. He'll need to put on weight and work on his lateral movement to stick with guys at the next level. But next to MCW, I think you can hide him a little bit on the lesser opponent guard.
AU: It seems to me like Stauskas and Turner have a lot of the same kind of junky space-clearing moves to make up for their lack of a propulsive first step or overwhelming size. But that Stauskas can deliver on the pull-up and step-back jumpers in a way that ET never quite could.
Levin: Yeah, you can't sag off him at all.
AU: I think he's worlds ahead of Gary Harris on the offensive end. Though the defense is obviously advantage Harris in an equally resounding way.
Levin: At the college level, he had a lot more to do than Harris. So he got to show off his ability to create for himself and teammates and basically run that offense. Harris didn't have to - it's not to say he can't, but Harris's role at MSU is more in line with what he'll be asked to do in the NBA than Nik's at UM.
AU: That's probably true. But the difference is I think you can run your offense through Stauskas for stretches, even at the pro level, maybe with the second unit. I don't think you'll ever be able to do that with Harris. I think he'll always need to play off another true creator.
Levin: Yeah, he can play backup to MCW for a time, for sure. I can agree with that.
I like Stauskas, the defensive concerns are real. I'd be a little disappointed if they got him at 10. I think that's early for him. But around like 18? I'd have a party.
AU: But for reasons you mention about fit and defense, I do have Harris ranked ever so slightly above Stauskas. It's a tossup to me which will be the more productive pro. But for the Sixers, Harris is probably the better choice. I'd enjoy having either.
AU: At #13, you have our first Euro of the draft, Mario Hezonja. I know basically bupkus about Super Mario beyond a couple cheap YouTube comps, so explain to me what you appreciate about the Croatian forward.
Levin: Well here's the thing. We're not scouts.
AU: No we are not.
Levin: Most of the info we get about foreign guys is just what other people tell us. So I'm not going to sit here and say "here's everything about Hezonja, I have all these takes." I've seen some film on him, and I look at his strengths and weaknesses and see if that's a good fit for what we're building.
So Hezonja is, from what I've seen and read, a guy that is silky enough with the ball in his hands and off the ball to become a very good NBA scorer. They say defense is a concern, as is Evan Turneritis, dribbling the air out of the ball and hoisting shots at the end of the clock. But he's young and he's long and the issues with him seem less to be about his physicality than where his head's at.
If he grows up and is coachable, I think he has the look of a stud.
AU: Fair. I watched about two YouTubes and was not impressed enough to have an opinion. If imported I will trust in Hinkie and company. Croatia seems like an OK place.
AU: Dinwiddie would be your first true sleeper of the draft, since most boards have him pegged as an early second-rounder. What are you seeing that most scouts don't appear to be?
Levin: Oh man. I love Spencer Dinwiddie. For reasons that aren't entirely due to his name being Spencer Dinwiddie.
I think he's Dante Exum-esque. He got hurt bad earlier this season (season-ending ACL surgery) and he may not go pro because his stock isn't super high at the moment, but if he does, I'd love the Sixers to grab him. Can create, can defend, can spot-up shoot, really good passer.
On a pretty mediocre Colorado team, he had to do more than he should've - sorta like your boy McDaniels coming up - but I think he's a tailor-made starting 2-guard role player.
AU: So you think if he stayed healthy all year, we'd all be talking about Dinwiddie in this range?
Levin: I think I'd still be higher on him than most. But yeah, he's a late lotto-late teens area talent. And he shot 41% from beyond this year, when he was counted on to generate most of their offense. Not a tremendous athlete, but a silky one.
AU: I didn't watch a ton of Dinwiddie this year so I have no strong feelings on the matter, but I have to admit the profile is impressive. Not a star, but not a bust either.
Levin: SPENCER DINWIDDIE. I'd die.
I mean, taking him at 10 would be ludicrous. But one of my favorite candidates for a trade-back-in. Not because his talent level isn't good enough for 10 - just that he's not valued that high because of the injury.
Honestly, I'm pretty sure he'll go back to school. So you can forget all of this for a year.
AU: Cool, good talk.
Levin: But I had to get it in before it's too late and he's gone. Although Jeff Goodman said he's leaning NBA -- so maybe there's hope yet! Draft all the torn ACLs!
AU: Anyway, K.J. McDaniels I believe has officially declared, and I wish I could see a more obvious fit for him on the Sixers, because I am absolutely in love with the talent. Athletic, long three, can jump out the gym and block shots from anywhere, great finisher but not a great shooter just yet.
Seems like he'd be a perfect running mate for MCW, but if we have to play him at the three and he shoots in the low 30%s from beyond, that's a problem. But with improved range, I could see him maybe growing into a role on this time like Gerald Green had this year in Phoenix, and I'm also minorly intrigued by the idea of him as an occasional small-ball four. In the mid-teens, I'd take the chance.
You have a take on K.J.? You approve of the initials?
Levin: First off, a big yes to the initials.
AU: K.J. McD!
Levin: Yeah, I like KJ as well. He's coming up on my board soon, and I think he's born to be a high-flying role player on a fast-paced team like the Sixers. I think the place for him would be with a Parker-Harris draft, he's the guy you plug in the middle of them, don't count on him to do too much shooting outside of Iguodala-esque catch and shoots.
I like his look. He's got a good look. Like accessory wise. I'm just on board.
AU: Yeah, maybe even make him a bench guy at that point, have him play a Birdman-esque role. Not positionally, but energy and defense-wise.
Levin: Sure, yeah. But throw him bookending Parker with Noel and you've got a solid defensive frontcourt with the ability to score in a bunch of different ways. I'd be thrilled going into next season with an MCW-Harris-KJMCD-Jabari-Noel lineup. Athletic with floor spacing? Come onnnnnnnn.
AU: I could manage that, yes.
Levin: Could see KJMCD being the Kawhi Leonard of this draft class.
AU: Word. If he ends up going to a team like the Bulls or the Thunder, that would just be unfair.
AU: Not much to say about Rodney Hood, is there? Three-point shooter, athletic wing, good size, can't actually do a ton. He's just kinda Rodney Hood at this point.
Levin: Yeah I mean, points as always for being a lefty shooter. But it's tough to get excited about him. He's Morris Peterson maybe?
AU: Maybe. I will say, I would have been much more excited about this pick in January.
AU: His play got really uninspired towards season's end. And maybe that was just a prolonged slump we shouldn't overreact to, since he did look pretty dynamite the season's first two months. But at the moment you're right: He's a good fit (and a lefty), but nothing to be tremendously pumped about. He'll make some threes. He might be Rodney Carney.
AU: I have nothing of note to say about Dario Saric or his likely abilities as a professional basketball player. He's supposed to be a brilliant passer and handler for a forward but I'm not sure that he's a good fit for the Sixers and I don't think he'll play in this country for a couple years yet.
Levin: I agree with both of those things.
AU: But I think somewhere in the league, there is a GM who is absolutely in love with him. Possibly several.
Levin: Sure. Mike Baumann, for one.
AU: Right, and there's no telling when Baumann will take over the Bucks front office.
Levin: Any day now.
AU: And at #16, it's worth picking him up to have that asset in the bank. Saric could be the Sixers' equivalent of Nikola Mirotic for Chicago. Just keep him overseas and let the legend grow and grow. And eventually, you include him in some blockbuster deal and the opposing GM feels like he got a superstar.
Levin: Great. I'm convinced.
AU: Awesome. If we get him at #16, it probably means we traded for a third pick anyway. So I can deal with it being tossed on a stash that might never play for us.
Levin: Most certainly.
AU: I have absolutely no idea how to evaluate either of these players, and neither do most NBA front offices, I expect. Warren is the best college player whose game seems totally unadaptable to the modern NBA. LaVine is the worst college player who seems like he could be an easy NBA star if things break right for him.
Explain why you prefer Warren.
Levin: I like the skill set. He seems like, out of the recent string of guys we've discussed, the one who could most likely take over a game. Like I think there's some concerns, but as a scorer, he's quite good. And I don't buy anything about Zach LaVine. Especially the last name -- totally going overboard on Levin.
AU: Well we'll get to him more in a second. But I'm just not sure where having T.J. Warren gets you in the NBA. Like, what do you do with a halfcourt-scoring small forward that can't shoot and isn't supernaturally explosive? Who's his current NBA comp? Does he even have one?
Levin: Reluctant to say it but... Paul Pierce? Lots of guys have come and gone with that comp and failed.
AU: Yeah, I dunno. I saw in Chad Ford's latest mock that he had Warren going to the Bobcats. That sort of makes sense to me-they're a slow-down team so desperate for offense that they'd actually relish having an unconventional scorer like Warren to go to, particularly when Jefferson's not on the floor.
I just don't see that fit with the Sixers.
Levin: He'd definitely be a change of pace guy on the Sixers, but they'll also need people to score in the halfcourt.
It would be a weird fit, I just felt okay putting him around this spot because with MCW and Noel, the Sixers aren't quite loaded with scorers just yet.
AU: Yeah, maybe you roll him out with the bench unit and let him do his thing for 6-8-minute stretches without taking over the overall offense. I just don't know if I like the idea of building around him.
Levin: No definitely not. He's got great scoring instincts, and depending on the situation, I'd take a chance on those carrying over at this level.
AU: That's fair. And I have Warren a spot or two below this, so it's not like I don't like him at all.
But LaVine... is he the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect in this draft? Or you're just convinced he's a bust first and foremost?
Levin: I think he's a near surefire bust. But he's your boy, so you make your case for him.
AU: Well I won't go so far as to call him my boy, since I'm sure we both know people who are far more in on him than #17.
But man, this guy has all the tools. If you were designing a two-guard for today's NBA in purely physical terms, he'd look and move a whole lot like LaVine. And if you watch just the first couple minutes of his Draft Express video, you'd be stupefied to find out he probably wasn't going to go in the top ten of this draft.
Obviously, he was totally lost at UCLA this year-streaky shooting, terrible decision-making, unreliable defense. But he only just turned 19, and that was a crowded UCLA backcourt which didn't really have a role for him to begin with. So I think at #17, it's worth rolling the dice on the 40% chance that Brown and company can turn him into a professional basketball player. Because his ceiling is as high as just about anybody's outside of the top three or four guys.
Levin: That's a reasonable argument for him at this point.
AU: I'd actually like him more on another team that didn't already have so many young guys -- it's probably one more headache that Brett Brown doesn't need when he's already dealing with such a young lineup, and he might not be able to get the attention he needs on the Sixers.
But if I had a team that was already pretty good but really needed a difference-making player, I'd go LaVine in a second.
Levin: Here's hoping somebody does that in the Top 10 and it's not us.
AU: Yeah, fair. I'm rooting for him, and even if he sucks, he's gonna have a couple of plays his rookie season that are gonna be absolutely electric. I wouldn't be surprised if he seems totally dominant in the Summer League, gets everyone buzzing about him, then has an absolutely garbage rookie season. But that will likely not be the Sixers' concern.
Levin: Oh man, he's gonna be so much fun in Summer League. That's speaking my language.
AU: Summer League is basically gonna be our Super Bowl this year. I can't wait.
Levin: I wonder how much slipping to 4 or 5 will impact Hinkie's movement later in the draft. Like if he gets Vonleh or Gordon at 5. Does he say shit, I need to go big on a guy here, let me scoop LaVine and swing for the fences?
AU: That's interesting. It's possible.
Levin: I don't know the answer to that. I think maybe it's no, he'll go with whoever he likes best, regardless of what's happened earlier. I'd be interested to see how religiously he sticks to his tiers.
AU: Probably right. We dare not try to go too deep into the mind of Hinkie, we might never find our way back out.
AU: From the admittedly little I have seen of P.J. Hairston this year, I get a very Shabazz Muhammady vibe from him, and that scares me. What's to like about PJ? Just the shooting?
Levin: Shabazz Muhammady is the name of my new improv comedy troupe.
The shooting is pretty incredible, great scoring instincts. Lots on that end to like. Not a miserable defender. Not a tremendous athlete, but okay for a guy that's as good at shooting as he is.
I don't know where his headspace is at though, really. And I know how much Hinkie values like, good, smart kids.
AU: Yeah so here's the thing with PJ Hairston. If I was convinced that he would come to the Sixers, basically run from three-point line to three-point line (and to the basket in transition), and basically play the role of a rich man's Jodie Meeks, I'd sign up in a second.
But I don't think Hairston will accept such a role. And I don't think he's ready for something bigger. And that is more drama than I need on my rebuilding team for a guy whose one obvious skill, while impressive, is certainly locatable elsewhere.
Levin: Yeah, I mean he's better at almost everything (besides ball-handling, which is funny considering) in terms of raw ability than Meeks. Hinkie will do his homework.
PJ is certainly skilled enough to be an NBA player. He's like a hard-and-fast two guard, which isn't something you see much anymore. He's not gonna pass. He's not gonna create for himself, really. He can go to the basket and get fouled, but his dribbling is mediocre and he's not necessarily a playmaker. But kid can just shoot and shoot and shoot.
If he passes the interview parts okay, I'd be happy to draft him.
AU: Mostly, I just worry about anyone who I think MCW might not enjoy playing with.
AU: So let's talk about Austin, who frankly, I'm a little surprised more people aren't already talking about. He seems a little like the frontcourt version of LaVine to me -- a couple years more experience, but still super-raw and super-athletic and gifted, a potential home run or a potential washout.
What gives you faith that Austin could be the home run?
Levin: I think there's two skills he's nearly guaranteed to follow through with at the next level: Outside shooting and shotblocking. And those are both premiums. So if he can be like a better-defending Channing Frye, then I'm in. He's super thin, and not necessarily tremendously mobile, but he's long enough to make up for some of those strength and quickness deficiencies.
Love the backstory too. And I've always been unnaturally high on Baylor guys across the board.
AU: Well, when the backstory involves the player being blind in one eye and having virtually no peripheral vision, I'm not sure I like that part so much. I'm as much of a doctor as you are, but when he has to defend and rotate against NBA speed and complexity, that seems like it could be a real problem.
Levin: Yeah but I just want him to #overcome.
AU: I will say that I found him much more impressive to end the season than he was to begin it, which is encouraging, and I think he's a player that will eventually find his NBA role and embrace it, no matter what it is. And the physical tools are indeed impressive.
But I think the odds are really, really high against the kid. Even higher than with LaVine.
Levin: As a lottery pick, sure, but at this point in the late first, I think that's a safe space for him.
And I don't agree with the LaVine point. He's a good shot-blocker and a good offensive rebounder and long as all hell, and he'll be good at enough things to stick. LaVine may not be good enough to do anything other than run into walls and jump high. Like a video game character when your controller breaks. Austin understands basketball more.
AU: I mean, Hasheem Thabeet was a good rebounder/shot-blocker and long as hell, and you wouldn't even spend a #19 pick on him now.
Levin: I get the sense that he knows where to be more than Thabeet did.
AU: You're probably right, but the concerns with Austin are legit, and not as easily chalked up to inexperience and poor team fit as with LaVine, in my mind. I'm rooting for him, though, absolutely. Just rather root for him on a non-Sixers team.
Levin: I don't think he's a star, but I'd love him as a 3rd big. Bring a guy off the bench for shot-blocking and outside shooting? I'm cool with that.
AU: Yeah, if we got him in the second round I'd be fine with that, maybe the last couple picks of the first. #19 is a little rich for my blood but whatever.
Levin: Sure, I see it.
AU: Now Jerami Grant seems like he should definitely go in this range, maybe even a little higher. I'd like him a lot more if we didn't already have one Thaddeus Young on this team.
Levin: I don't really view Thad as "on this team" at this point, even though that's still technically the case.
AU: But do you agree that they have similar skill sets, or at least did when Thad was close to Jerami's age?
Levin: Yeah, I think Jerami's a bit stronger and aware of his combination of strength and athleticism than Thad was at 18. But they're similar, yeah. Which is a good thing, I think.
AU: I'm not sure I ever see Grant being a dominant player, but he wouldn't be a bad Thad-in-training if we do end up parting ways with our long-time forward. Long, athletic, quick as hell, range pending. I thought he was Syracuse's best player the last third of the season-as their team fell apart, but who's counting.
Levin: No, certainly not dominant. But very gifted.
AU: Last up, I have our Final Four Most Outstanding Player and rager against the NCAA machine, Shabazz Napier. I have a feeling you are going to hate this pick.
Levin: Nah, at this point I'd be fine with anybody. Do you, AU.
I don't like Napier as a pro, but I hope he goes in the first round so he gets guaranteed money. The stuff about him not having enough to eat was very unsettling.
AU: Yeah, truly.
I think he's a great third guard on this team. Like the Mavs championship version of J.J. Barea. Can run an offense, shoot from anywhere, be pesky on defense, be a leader for your second unit. The fact that he's probably the most bulletproof-confident player coming out of this draft worries me a tad if he's asked to be a backup, but he's a good kid and I think he'll be a good teammate.
Wanna quickly sum up your pro misgivings about Bazz?
Levin: Same as yours, I think. Objectively, I don't think there's a ton different between he and Kemba Walker, outside of some athleticism. But nobody's asking Kemba to be a backup, and the Bobcats aren't in an enviable position.
I don't really know why, I'm just not excited by Bazz as a pro. I don't think he's going to work at the next level.
AU: Fair enough, just to say that there were a lot of very good players in that NCAA tournament we just watched and he was easily the best one. That doesn't mean everything, but it doesn't mean nothing either.
Levin: Good to end on something vague like that. "What does Shabazz Napier mean to you, dear reader?"
AU: All right, so quickly before we go, let's address some of the bigger-name guys we both left off, with about one statement each saying why we left them off. I'll lead.
Tyler Ennis (PG), Syracuse
AU: This guy seems like a solid backup PG to me and I find it absolutely hilarious he's in discussion for a top ten pick. So proud of both of us for leaving him off altogether.
Levin: Yeah, especially for the Sixers, he's a bad fit and sort of a worthless pick anywhere near 10.
Clint Capela (PF/C), Switzerland
AU: Seems promising but I don't think we need a raw, slow-to-develop center on this roster that badly, and the fact that word "Dalembert" has been used in conjunction with his profile in any way leaves me absolutely petrified.
Levin: Yeah I just could not be less interested in all that.
Jusuf Nurkic (C), Bosnia and Herzegovina
Levin: Seems like a lumpy center that doesn't fit with anything this team is trying to do.
AU: Yeah he can't jump at all and I like my big guys to be able to jump at least a little bit. If he's secretly Chris Kaman in five years we'll pick him up off the Summer League scrap pile then.
Levin: Secretly Chris Kaman is the name of my detective novel.
AU: I'm just gifting you all kinds of names in this discussion.
Levin: And I'll just keep making the same bad joke.
Kyle Anderson (PG / PF), UCLA
AU: Slo Mo was maybe my favorite player to watch in college this year and I am absolutely fascinated to find out how a molasses-stuck 6'9″ point guard with range and boarding skills can translate to the next level. But it's a puzzle for another team to figure out.
Levin: Yeah, not us.
Elfrid Payton (PG), Louisiana-Lafayette
AU: Another Summer League sensation-to-be for sure, he'll have big moments for some team and I certainly wouldn't mind it terribly to be the Sixers, but he's a backup point guard that can't really shoot and I think we have more pressing areas of need.
Levin: That being said, I'd love to trade back into 25 and take him.
AU: Would bring a smile to my face for sure.
Mitch McGary (C), Michigan
Levin: I was wayyyyy down on him last year, and he should've gone pro, like a lot, like he really should've gone pro, and he may stay in Ann Arbor for a bit longer, but I like what he brings to the table as a late 1st. Rebounding, roll man on a P&R, just banging mercilessly into other large men. I think he's fine as a 3rd big.
AU: Yeah I'm totally fine with him as a backup. If he comes out and he's there in the second round, he'd be a score.
THE FINAL LISTS (subject to change, like, now)
Levin's Top 20:
|8||Gary Harris||Michigan State||SG|
|9||Adreian Payne||Michigan State||PF|
|11||Marcus Smart||Oklahoma State||G|
|17||TJ Warren||NC State||SF|
Unterberger's Top 20:
|9||Marcus Smart||Oklahoma St||G|
|11||Gary Harris||Michigan St||SG|
|13||Adreian Payne||Michigan St||PF|
|18||T.J. Warren||NC State||SF|