Just one day until the NBA draft, and things have started to heat up.
Houston appears to be one of the most aggressive teams trying to trade up. The Rockets just completed a deal with Minnesota for the 18th pick for Chase Budinger and Lior Eliyahu. There are reports that Houston might parlay all their picks and Kyle Lowry into something bigger – like Dwight Howard.
Sacramento, for its part, has not only made the fifth pick available, but sources have said that Tyreke Evans is also being shopped and that Kings are open to trading the 2010 Rookie of the Year.
This close to the draft, every statement or action is interpreted by those around the league.
Royce White has stopped working out for teams, leading to speculation that he received a promise from Boston. Austin Rivers and Dion Waiters also reportedly have been promised by teams. Jared Sullinger continues to fall on draft boards due to medical red flags while Arnett Moultrie drops five spots because of a run on power forwards. Damian Lillard is the big riser, cracking the top six.
After speaking with sources all across the league here is the latest Mock Draft.
And if that’s not enough, you can find more draft stuff at ProBasketballDraft.com.
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. Charlotte Bobcats – Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
Robinson was in Charlotte late last week working out for the Bobcats and performed well. This pick is very much available as Bobcats GM Rick Cho is said to have gotten permission to trade down, but the problem is finding the right partner. If the Bobcats are stuck with the pick, Robinson would be a good choice as he could provide Charlotte with frontcourt scoring and be able to play alongside last year’s first round pick Bismack Biyombo.
3. Washington 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 – Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Here is where the draft gets interesting. Cleveland is one of the hardest teams to get a read on as they have worked out all of the top prospects. According to sources, Cleveland would like to add scoring to ease the burden on Kyrie Irving’s shoulders and that is where Barnes could help. Barnes is a polished offensive player that should be able to step in and contribute right away. One of the biggest knocks on Barnes is his ability to handle the ball and create his own shot, which is negated by playing alongside Irving. Cleveland does have the ammunition to move up but appears content to stay put at No. 4.
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. For Sacramento, the need is for a mature winner to help in the locker room. As the youngest player in the draft with a great work ethic, concerns about his jump shot mechanics should be tempered. Reports are that the Kings are open to trading this pick, and if Andre Drummond is available here Houston might pull the trigger.
6. Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
In the previous mock draft I mentioned that Portland GM Neil Olshey really likes Lillard, who wowed the Blazers in his workouts, and knows there is no chance Lillard lasts all the way until 11. Lillard would instantly upgrade Portland’s PG situation and can provide a nice scoring punch as he is able to get buckets from all over the court. Andre Drummond could be the pick here but it sounds like there is a growing sentiment in Portland to take Lillard, who is a safer pick with upside.
7. Golden State Warriors – Andre Drummond, C, UConn
Not so sure the Warriors will make this pick on draft night as Golden State is open to trading down. If Drummond is on the board at this point his upside is too much to pass on. Drummond has arguably the second highest ceiling in the draft and should be able to help defensively and on the glass right away but needs to work on his post game. Golden State would like to add a young big to develop behind Andrew Bogut and David Lee.
8. Toronto Raptors – Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
Waiters name has been surging up the boards since the college season ended. More impressive about Waiters’ rise has been the fact that he has shut things down since the NBA Combine, where he reportedly received a promise. Toronto did work out Waiters and is looking for backcourt help and would benefit from having Waiters and his scoring prowess..
9. Detroit Pistons – John Henson, PF, North Carolina
Henson provides length, rebounding and shot-blocking, all things the Pistons are looking to pair alongside Greg Monroe. While Henson is not as athletic as some presumed he would instantly compliment Monroe. According to a source Detroit seems more inclined to go big at this point. Henson was among the most impressive prospects working out for the Pistons recently.
10. New Orleans Hornets – Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
Rivers has reportedly received a promise from the Hornets. Rivers is a creative scoring guard that can shoot, drive, and finish. Confidence may be Rivers’ greatest attributes, as he plays fearless. He has the versatility to play alongside Eric Gordon.
11. Portland Trail Blazers – Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
The Blazers want to add a big to play alongside of LaMarcus Aldridge, and Zeller certainly would be a fit. The 7-footer moves very well and is very polished offensively. Zeller would also help from a rebounding standpoint as well in Portland. Neil Olshey could consider a SG here as well.
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 – Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
Lamb is a long, athletic, scoring guard that can fill it up on offense. The Suns who might be starting the post-Nash era next season would be wise to find help on the perimeter. Lamb would also provide the Suns with an aggressive wing defender.
14. Houston Rockets – Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Jones was a very good rebounder and defender in college and combined with a NBA-body should be able to contribute right away. According to one GM, Jones’ will surprise with his ability to score in the NBA as he can shoot and skilled enough to get by most PFs. Jones is also an underrated passer.
15. Philadelphia 76ers – Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
Jones is perhaps the biggest enigma in the draft because he has great size and special talent but never played to his potential in college. However, he is very skilled and comfortable facing the basket. Philadelphia is considering wings as well but finding an eventual replacement for Elton Brand is more important, especially considering Jones’ ability.