Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mock draft (not based on player looks)

My previous post was an NBA mock draft based on players' looks. This one is a legit mock and for the first time, I'm introducing a special guest blogger. Jon Shaffer, one of my blog's two readers will be making the even-numbered picks, and I'll be making the selections for teams with odd picks. Our rules were that we had to draft based on the current draft order  no trades. The picks are also made based on what we think the teams should do, not what we think they will do. Here's the list:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (Ben)
Kyrie Irving

Irving has been locked in here for months. Nothing has changed with only hours remaining to the draft and the Cavs will be making the right pick. Irving is the only surefire pick in the entire draft, and while he may  not live up to the success of recent #1s, he's going to contribute for many years, and should be an all-star in a league full of talented young point guards.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves (Jon)
Derrick Williams

Thank goodness David Kahn didn't land the #1 pick, Timberwolves fan's heads may have collectively exploded if they drafted a point guard again.  Unfortunately they don't need a tweener forward either, but Williams is the best prospect on the board outside of Irving.  I think that they should trade the pick as a lot of teams are high on Williams but with all of the rumors of management wanting to move Kevin Love or Michael Beasley, Williams might have a place in Minnesota after all.

3. Utah Jazz (Ben)
Enes Kanter

The Jazz are in a really tough position here. This is perceived (though probably unfairly) as a two-player draft. The top two picks have a lot of trade value, but starting at #3, teams may get equal value down to around #6 or #7. Most mocks have Brandon Knight here, and while that's not a bad pick for the Jazz, I think there will be similar quality in the backcourt when they pick again at #12. So you go with Kanter. Kanter is a real mystery man with virtually no body of work by which to judge him, but scouts and general managers have been impressed, and he has size. Other teams are intrigued by Kanter too, which gives him trade value. This pick clogs the frontcourt for the Jazz, who already have Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors, but Kanter is young and can sit behind those three and step up if one of them is injured or traded.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (Jon)
Kawhi Leonard 

If the Jazz do take Kanter at 3 I think that will throw the first wrench in this draft.  Cleveland needs a big to pair with JJ Hickson and Kanter would have been a great fit.  I think Kawhi has as much upside as everyone else available and is sort of a poor man's Derrick Williams although smaller and his range isn't quite as deep. Leonard I see being a more athletic better rebounding version of Udonis Haslem and could step in and contribute here.  They should probably trade this pick as Kawhi is a slight reach here but I think could help them quite a bit.

5. Toronto Raptors (Ben)
Brandon Knight

Knight and Kemba Walker are options at the point guard position for the Raptors. Most teams have Knight rated higher, but I think it's tough to pick the better pro. Walker won their head-to-head matchup in the Final Four, but I'll give the nod to Knight here for being slightly younger and therefore having more room for improvement. Also, I couldn't bear to see my last name (shared with Kemba) on a Raptors uniform.

6. Washington Wizards (Jon)
Tristan Thompson

The Wizards have John Wall so they'll pass on Kemba Walker here, when you look at their roster on paper they have a lot of nice pieces.  One thing they are really missing is a defensive presence inside and I think Tristan Thompson would be a great pick here.  Great rebounder and would be a nice backup to Andray Blatche.

7. Sacramento Kings (Ben)
Kemba Walker

Sacramento picked up 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans at the #5 pick. Depending on how you view Evans, Walker plays the same position. I still make this pick for the Kings because they can play together with Evans at the shooting guard and Walker running point. Walker could also come off the bench to run Sacramento's second unit. When you factor in a potential year with no basketball due to an impending lockout, you draft the best player available here, knowing you'll probably be picking in the same range next year (when the draft should be a lot stronger).

8. Detroit Pistons (Jon)
Jonas Valanciunas 

As much as Detroit would have loved Kemba Walker here he is a great fit in Sac Town and Detroit needs help on the inside.  A lot of people think Detroit will shy away from Valanciunas because he will probably spend another year in Europe, coupled with the fact that they took Darko instead of Carmelo or Dwyane Wade in 2003. The problem is, this draft doesn't have a Carmelo or a Dwyane Wade so they can feel free to draft a euro project.  I think his upside is significantly better than Bismack Biyombo who a lot of people think they'll take and is just as much of a project.

9. Charlotte Bobcats (Ben)
Marcus Morris

I'm torn between Klay Thompson and Marcus Morris on this pick. Like most lottery teams, Charlotte needs help everywhere. I believe Morris is the safer pick to contribute immediately. He won't star in the league, but should be a legitimate rotation player. As a side note, I do think it would be cool if the Morris twins swapped places on draft night when shaking David Stern's hand, and then again throughout their careers, just for fun.

10. Milwaukee Bucks (Jon)
Klay Thompson

Milwaukee would be ecstatic if Klay falls to them at 10.  He might be the best shooter in the draft next to Jimmer and paired with Brandon Jennings he brings size and volume scoring to a Bucks team that really needs it. Perfect fit.

11. Golden State Warriors (Ben)
Bismack Biyombo

This pick adds some size and defense to offset the high-octane offense of the Warriors' backcourt. I see Biyombo as a potential bust, but he fits a need here, and may end up as a Samuel Dalembert type player for Golden State.

12. Utah Jazz (Jon)
Alec Burks

The Jazz should jump for joy if Burks falls to them at 12.  I know everyone wants the Jazz to draft Jimmer but in my opinion he is not going to be a starting PG in the NBA.  The Jazz still need help on the wing and I know they like Burks and Klay Thompson a lot.  If Burks is on the board it will be hard to not take him.

13. Phoenix Suns (Ben)
Jimmer Fredette

Jon is right about Jimmer not being a starting point. Phoenix happens to have a great player for Jimmer to learn from. Nash is a guy who can score from anywhere, but has packaged that ability with superb decision-making and passing. Fredette can also learn how to continue not playing defense from Nash. There are a lot of claims that Jimmer will fail, or his game won't translate to the big league, but I see him having a successful (and that's about it) 10-14 year career.

14. Houston Rockets (Jon)
Nikola Vucevic

Houston needs size badly now that Yao is pretty much out of commission.  Nikola is a euro project but he is big and his upside is probably similar to that of a Marc Gasol according to Chad Ford.  I think he would be a nice fit here.


  1. Hi Ben,

    I am a non-programmer who tinkles with stuff...
    I was wondering if you had any luck creating a program which does searches on PDF files to highlight the search term using TESSERACT ?

    Currently, I am trying to use/get TESSERACT 3.01 to create a new Traineddata language file (deu-frak) but to no avail...have you ever tried this successfully ? ( I have Windows XP)


    Richard Caruana

  2. I'm glad I got a comment on my NBA draft post, and only a year after it was posted. I'll answer it almost a year later: yes, I created a program that searches PDF files with Tesseract and can highlight the search term. No, I have not trained a new language file. Go Jazz.