Between the NBA Combine and the upcoming lottery, this is the time of year where there is a lot of movement in projections for the NBA draft.
And no one is moving more than Jamaal Franklin.
Franklin entered the NBA draft after an impressive junior season at San Diego State in which he averaged 17.0 points and 9.5 rebounds. He is a long, explosive athlete who is at his best slashing and attacking the rim and locking up opponents on the perimeter.
Franklin is a close friend of fellow Aztec Kawhi Leonard and also signed with Impact Sports Basketball. Currently training in Las Vegas, Franklin is excited to show NBA GMs and scouts just what he can do at the next level, including improved ballhandling.
One well respected basketball insider compared Franklin to J.R. Smith in his explosiveness and overall game.
In talking to Franklin, you immediately notice how professional and hardworking he is. When asked if he uses Twitter or Facebook, he responded, “No, I have no social media accounts. I don’t use it.” That will be a breath of fresh air for NBA coaches and GMs.
In a league where teams have huge concerns about drafting immature players not ready for the spotlight or responsibility associated with being an NBA player, Franklin is an anomaly. He cites documentaries and books that he enjoys, creating separation from many of the underclassmen in this draft.
Plenty of players will blow up or burn out between now and draft night. But bank on Franklin going in the middle of the first round with a strong possibility of going in the lottery.’
So without further ado, here is Mock 2.0.1.
1. Orlando Magic – Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas (6’5, 15.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 42% 3pt)
Under first-year GM Rob Hennigan, the Magic have made tremendous strides in acquiring assets and prospects to expedite the rebuilding effort. While Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris have shown they can play in the NBA, the Magic desperately need backcourt help and scoring punch.
Enter McLemore, who earlier in the season played like the best player in the country but slipped a bit during the NCAA Tournament. McLemore is a gifted scorer, capable of lighting up in a variety of ways, but has never shown the ability to dominate or take over a game. Bill Self admittedly became frustrated with McLemore for not being more aggressive. But he would have that chance with Orlando.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky (6’10, 10.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4.4 bpg)
While Charlotte has Bismack Biyombo, who does many of the same things as Noel, you can never have enough athletic bigs. When healthy, Noel is a tremendous shot-blocker and aggressive defender who will play with tons of energy.
Offensively, Noel needs work as he primarily scores on dunks and putbacks. But if he can make a Tristan Thompson-like progression on the offensive end, then this could be a home run.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown (6’8, 16.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 apg)
With Mike Brown returning to Cleveland, there will be an emphasis on defense. While Porter is a not a spectacular defender, he is long, and Brown in the past has gotten every bit of defense out of poor defenders.
Cleveland is also in need of help in the post and will be closely watching Noel and Alex Len during pre-draft workouts. However, Porter’s offensive game is so smooth, and the Cavs’ front office knows it can’t make the playoffs with Alonzo Gee at small forward. While the Cavs will make a run at LeBron James in the summer of the hole at SF must be addressed, and the Cavs are fans of Porter, who is an efficient scoring wing with plenty of range.
4. Phoenix Suns – Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV (6’8, 16.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.2 bpg)
The Suns fired GM Lance Blanks when the season ended and have hired Ryan McDonough to replace him. McDonough has the tools to rebuild as this is the first of Phoenix’s six first-round picks over the next three years.
While the Morris twins are reunited in the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix will have a hard time passing on Bennett, who at times played like the top prospect in the country. If Bennett were 6-11, he would be the top pick, but he is a tad short. His game is so diverse and he generates a lot of contact, which should get him to the line a lot in the NBA.
5. New Orleans Hornets – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (6’0, 18.6 ppg, 6.7 apg, 3.2 rpg)
No chance the Hornets pass on Burke. New Orleans’ experiment with Austin Rivers at PG did not work. With Rivers and Eric Gordon, the Hornets are deep at SG and can even entertain trade offers for Gordon, who is signed to a massive extension.
With Anthony Davis looking like a future All-Star, the Hornets need to surround him with a real point guard that will give Davis easy scoring opportunities. No disrespect to Greivis Vasquez, but Burke will be much better. Just look at how he helped Tim Hardaway and Glenn Robinson III at Michigan this past season. Burke is quick and can blow by just about any player in the NBA and also is a tremendous passer.
6. Sacramento Kings – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana (6’5, 13.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg)
The Kings may let Tyreke Evans go this summer and have no replacement for him. While this is the most dysfunctional organization in the NBA over the last few years, Sacramento has assembled a lot of talent through the draft but with little to show for it in terms of wins.
After drafting Thomas Robinson and trading him at the deadline, I have little faith that GM Geoff Petrie and company can turn this club around. Oladipo is a hardworking and athletic wing best suited to play SG. He is a great defender who showed he can actually score and improved his jumper dramatically.
7. Detroit Pistons – Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA (6’6, 17.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.8 apg)
After drafting his frontcourt of the future in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, Joe Dumars needs to address his wings and lack of scoring punch. Muhammad arrived at UCLA with huge expectations and definitely had an up and down year, capped by an age discrepancy.
When on the court, Muhammad showed he is a talented scorer and was solid for much of his freshman season. Unfortunately, he never dominated his opponents. But if he has good workouts and interviews well, he could rehabilitate his draft stock.