16. Houston Rockets – Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
With two high picks, Houston will be one of the more aggressive teams on draft night, as GM Daryl Morey must propel the Rockets into the playoffs and is rumored to be willing to package whatever it takes to get Dwight Howard. As a fallback, don’t be surprised to see Houston package both of these picks to move up for a player like Andre Drummond. If the Rockets stand pat, Harkless was the Big East Conference Rookie of the Year and is a great rebounder and defender. He also has the athleticism to get to the rim and finish but still needs to improve as a shooter.
17. Dallas Mavericks - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Ross would be a fine selection by the Mavericks, who need to infuse youthful talent on their aging roster. Ross is one of the top shooters and athletes in the draft. With his length and athleticism, he eventually could be a good defender. Playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki certainly could help Ross. Moe Harkless is said to be under consideration for this pick as well if he falls.
18. Houston Rockets, Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
I will be shocked if Houston keeps all three picks after trading Chase Budinger to Minnesota. It appears that Houston will try to make a splash, and rumors of potential deals for Andre Drummond and Tyreke Evans are out there. If Houston does make the pick look for Sullinger, who according to a source, has a big fan in Rockets GM Daryl Morey. The Rockets look for production and there is no denying Sullinger’s productivity, polished offensive game and ability to rebound. Houston can take a risk here.
19. Orlando Magic - Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
New Magic GM Rob Hennigan is scrambling to assemble a front office prior to the draft. OKC likes Nicholson and the Magic scouts, many of whom were fired last weekend, were impressed when Nicholson worked out in Orlando. Nicholson is a very skilled shooter and has the size to be a dominant rebounder and shot blocker.
20. Denver Nuggets – Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
Andre Miller is a free agent and Denver liked having him pair with Ty Lawson to run the offense. Marshall reminds some around the league of a young Andre Miller as he is a bigger PG with great vision and a very skilled passer. Denver, according to sources, will take the highest rated player on their board. We had Jared Sullinger here in Mock 4.0, but he is falling.
21. Boston Celtics – Royce White, PF, Iowa State
The Celtics want to come away with a big with one of their first round picks and have reportedly promised to take White at 21. White has lottery talent but concerns about an anxiety disorder and fear of flying may be overblown. When watching his film White displays the ability to score inside or out and has good vision, passing, and ball handling skills for his size.
22. Boston Celtics – Will Barton, SG, Memphis
Barton is among the names rising of late. Barton’s offensive game is very polished as he can slash or shoot and is very long. While Barton has a slender frame he is very productive and confident. With Ray Allen possibly moving on and Avery Bradley recovering from shoulder surgery, Barton would be a great pick.
23. Atlanta Hawks – Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Newly hired GM Danny Ferry will look to put his stamp on the Hawks immediately. Miller has lottery talent but appears to still be recovering from an ACL injury. Miller has the versatility to play either forward position and is skilled as a scorer. With the futures of Marvin Williams and Josh Smith uncertain Miller would be a nice pickup.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers - Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
Moultrie has slipped since the last mock draft but is a very exciting prospect as he has the length and athleticism to play some center as well. Cleveland needs to add length and athleticism to its frontcourt and according to sources aren’t as high on Fab Melo or Festus Ezeli to select either at 24. As an added bonus, Moultrie is a good shot blocker.
25. Memphis Grizzlies - Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
With the so much money tied up among Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph, it seems like the Grizzlies will need to make a trade to create financial flexibility. If Mike Conley is moved, adding a player with Teague’s potential is essential. If the Grizzlies keep Conley, they still need a quality backup point. Teague is a quick, score-first point but showed the ability to subjugate his game for the benefit of his team at Kentucky. I am hearing Evan Fournier, Will Barton, Doron Lamb and John Jenkins are under serious consideration as well.
26. Indiana Pacers - Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State
Word is that the Pacers are narrowing in on Green as they would like to add more offense to their frontcourt. Green is more of a power forward but could play some small forward a la Anthony Mason. Green may not project to be a star, but should be a productive player for a long time.
27. Miami Heat – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
We had him going 26th in Mock 4.90, and the Heat would be thrilled to see him drop to them. The defending champs struggled at times against length and selecting Melo would certainly help. Melo is raw offensively, but in Miami won’t be needed to score much just to rebound, block shots, and defend. Playing alongside LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh will also help Melo mature and develop.
28. Oklahoma City - Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
The Thunder don’t have any glaring needs so they are in a position to take the best player available. Taylor is a polished, mature player who was very productive in the SEC. He can contribute on both ends and has good athleticism.
29. Chicago Bulls - Evan Fournier, SG, Poiters (France)
The Bulls need more perimeter scoring to pair with Derrick Rose. Adding Fournier would give the Bulls a potential crafty scorer with a stroke. In France, Fournier has been very productive at creating shots for himself and his teammates. He is only 19, speaks English pretty well and has great size.
30. Golden State Warriors – Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
Wroten is a bit of a project as he has the size and athleticism that teams covet, but his jump shot is atrocious and defenses will likely sag off of him. Defensively, Wroten is a very good and will frustrate many smaller PGs. For Golden State with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson they can afford to take a guard that can’t shoot and could play all three players together at times.