Our latest mock draft has some movement at the top.
Not at the very top, where Anthony Davis is entrenched and will be going to the New Orleans Hornets. But right below him there has been some serious shuffling.
Every player in slots 2 through 7 has changed positions. Some, like North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, have skyrocketed through good workouts and interviews. Others, like Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, have plummeted through medical red flags.
And there was a trade this week between the Hornets and Washington Wizards that will definitely impact three of the top 10 picks.
With the draft less than a week away and each team’s immediate future hanging on their selections, expect an inordinate amount of hand-wringing, misinformation and hyperbole.
Good thing you have Sheridan Hoops to sort things out, right?
And if that’s not enough, you can find more draft stuff at ProBasketballDraft.com.
The consensus around the league is that Charlotte is the key to the lottery as it is actively trying to move the second pick and may have a few suitors, including Cleveland. The Cavs, Blazers, Warriors, Rockets and Celtics all have multiple picks and appear willing to deal. Here is our latest mock, which also has Dion Waiters is securing a spot in the top 10 and Will Barton surging into the first round based on information from NBA sources.
1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
What more can be said about Davis? He is a supposed can’t-miss prospect with great upside due to his length, athleticism and high school years spent playing guard before a growth spurt. Davis is a great weakside shot blocker and rebounder who will instantly be among the most impactful defenders in the NBA.
2. Bobcats – Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Barnes just completed a workout in Charlotte and was sensational, according to sources. For what it’s worth, the team’s Twitter account piled on plenty of praise as well. I am told that Michael Jordan is fully on board with Barnes and there is no concern about his middling collegiate production. Bobcats GM Rick Cho very much would like to move this pick and acquire additional assets, and the Cavs are rumored to be interested in swapping picks. Charlotte also is strongly considering Thomas Robinson, who also worked out for the Bobcats this week.
3. Wizards – Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
With the recent acquisitions of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, it seems the Wizards are going all in to make the playoffs. With an urgency toward winning, the Wizards are deep with bigs (Nene, Okafor, Andray Blatche, Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin) and have Chris Singleton and Ariza to play on the perimeter. But where is the shooting? John Wall needs spacing, and Beal would be a no-brainer. Beal is great shooter with range, can also create and handle the ball. Pairing Beal with Wall would give the Wizards an exciting young backcourt. Washington reportedly is intrigued by Barnes as well.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
This is the hardest call in the top five. The Cavaliers have worked out all the top prospects and are extremely high on Drummond. While Cleveland would like to add perimeter scoring and shooting, Drummond has too much potential to pass on. His size, athleticism and abilities are very unique, and a team with a stable coaching staff such as Cleveland can afford to develop him. While some question Drummond’s motor, he already is a quality defender and shot-blocker that will only improve as a rebounder and post scorer in the NBA. Playing alongside one of the game’s best young point guards in Kyrie Irving would also accelerate Drummond’s development. According to a league source, the Cavs have been one of the most active teams in terms of trade talks as they want to add another lottery pick.
5. Sacramento Kings – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the most impressive prospects in the draft with his size, athleticism, defense, rebounding, motor, and leadership. Kidd-Gilchrist does not need the ball to be effective but is great in transition and can finish at the rim. Sacramento wants a somewhat mature winner to help in the locker room as well. As the youngest player in the draft with a great work ethic, concerns about his jump shot mechanics should be tempered. Pairing DeMarcus Cousins with another big is a possibility here and it would be tough to pass on Thomas Robinson. But there appears to be little interest on Robinson’s side as evidenced by canceling his Sacramento workout this week.
6. Portland Trail Blazers – Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
This seems like an unlikely scenario where the Blazers would have Robinson fall in their laps, but it is possible. Robinson would be able to play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge and would give the Blazers more athleticism and toughness. He is projected as a double-double machine who will immediately help Portland on the glass. As he develops a more consistent mid-range jumper, he could turn into a very good player. According to sources, new GM Neil Olshey is content to stay at 6 and take one of the top-tier players, but guards Damian Lillard and Dion Waiters both are intriguing and likely not going to last until 11, Portland’s second pick.
7. Golden State Warriors – Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
This pick is available and the Warriors want to move it. If no trade is made, then Golden State will likely draft Waiters, who has been soaring up boards all season. Waiters can provide Golden State with production off the bench and is a tremendous slasher and scorer around the basket. While the Warriors might prefer a big or small forward, there are none that merit being selected here.
8. Toronto Raptors – Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
When Rivers first announced he was turning pro, many mocks had him in the teens. But he has moved up boards across the league with impressive showings at the Combine and in workouts. His ability to score and create for himself and teammates has the Raptors intrigued. Rivers has great confidence on the court, something Toronto could definitely use.
9. Detroit Pistons – John Henson, PF, North Carolina
Henson provides length, rebounding and shot-blocking, all things the Pistons are looking to slot alongside Greg Monroe. While Henson is not as athletic as some presumed, he would instantly complement Monroe. According to a source, Detroit seems more inclined to go big at this point. I am hearing that Meyers Leonard and Arnett Moultrie are also names under consideration.
10. New Orleans Hornets – Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Lillard is the best point guard in this draft, a tremendous athlete who can score from all over the court. With the Hornets, he will help create space for Eric Gordon on the perimeter and Anthony Davis on the interior. Lillard’s name also is being mentioned as a possibility for Portland and Toronto, so New Orleans would be ecstatic to see him available.
11. Portland Trail Blazers - Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
The Blazers would like to use one of their lttery picks on someone to bolster their backcourt, and Lamb would be a great pickup here. Lamb’s freakish length and aggressive defense set him apart from other guards in this draft. As a proven scorer with range, Lamb could easily become one of the best players in this draft.
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
There is no question that Milwaukee wants a player who can help right away, but since trading Andrew Bogut, the Bucks have no long-term center. Leonard is still raw but has a lot of potential and could be a great fit with Brandon Jennings. Leonard really helped himself at the Combine and has showcased elite athleticism for a player of his size.
13. Phoenix Suns – Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
With the Steve Nash Era potentially over, the Suns must find an heir. Marshall was one of the top point guards in the country last season and averaged nearly 10 assists per game in college. As a true point, Marshall has great size, vision and passing ability. There is little doubt about Marshall’s ability to transition smoothly to the NBA as he already was playing with future pros in Chapel Hill. The Suns need backcourt help and could reach for Terrence Ross here if none of the other 2-guards fall.
14. Houston Rockets – Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
The Rockets’ struggles to replace Yao Ming have been well-documented. Zeller moves well for a 7-footer, has good hands and is efficient in the post but lacks the high-end upside to be an elite starter at the pivot. By most accounts, Zeller should be a competent starting NBA center for several years.
15. Philadelphia 76ers - Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Jones was a very good rebounder and shot-blocker at the collegiate level. He has an NBA body and should be ready to contribute right away. Offensively, Jones is a very good passer and can create mismatches at the 4-spot when facing the basket. In Philadelphia, Jones could give Doug Collins a new dimension to his offense.