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NBA Mock Draft #2

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This is our final NBA mock draft! As you can see, we have explanations for the lottery picks.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jabari Parker

As soon as the lottery rolled around, fans and experts started to place Embiid and Wiggins ahead of Parker, and I can’t understand why. Parker is the CLEAR fit for Cleveland right now. They have a young, fairly high upside frontcourt with Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, and possibly Spencer Hawes, if they choose to re-sign him. Not to mention, they have the veteran leadership of Anderson Varejao at the 5. Why would they pick Joel Embiid, when they already have a decent frontcourt? And they’re not picking Andrew Wiggins, because, well, Parker and Embiid are much better prospects and far more pro ready than him, in my opinion. The Cavs traded for Luol Deng, a small forward, midseason, and they seemingly don’t want to re-sign him. This could mean one of two things: 1) They’re still holding out hopes that LeBron will come back (which won’t happen); or 2) They’re planning on drafting Jabari Parker. It seems like Reason #2 is far more likely, considering that LeBron just made it to his fourth straight finals with the Miami Heat. The final, and most important, reason that the Cavs should draft Parker is that they don’t want to witness another young star bolting in free agency. If they draft Parker, this would be an incentive for Kyrie to stay for two reasons. They’re both Duke alums, and have formed a bond through Coach K and their school. More importantly, Jabari Parker will be a perfect compliment to Kyrie’s game. Kyrie’s points and assists will go up, with the help of Jabari, and the addition of Parker would up the Cavaliers win total by a significant amount. In my opinion, this is the pick that makes the most sense.

2. Milwaukee Bucks- Noah Vonleh

I did have Joel Embiid going here as a no-brainer, but after his surgery, and an enhancement of his speckled injury past, I know that he’ll likely take a fall.The Milwaukee Bucks have a small amount of promise and potential on their team right now. Brandon Knight often looks like a top-15 point guard in the NBA. Giannis Antetoukonmpo is a once in a lifetime prospect who can play virtually any position, and is expected to grow to 7’0 or more within the next couple of years. John Henson, when healthy, can be a rebounding machine, and he’s a pretty good scorer as well. Ersan Ilyasova is a good stretch 4 who has had some miraculous games over the past few years. Before this past season, Larry Sanders would’ve been annexed to this list of Bucks players with potential. However, his level of play fell off a lot this past season, and he’s been in trouble with the law on multiple occasions. He’s nothing more than a headache for Bucks management, and it would make sense if they wanted to get rid of him, or at least diminish his role. That’s where Noah Vonleh comes in.  This is a win-win for the Bucks, both on the court and off the court, as they get a great player and his addition would solidify the roster by ending multiple dilemmas. As a result of this pick, the Bucks are motivated to move Ersan Ilyasova’s big contract, which would give them much more financial flexibility. They’d also finally be able to commit to John Henson, and move him back to his original position as the starting center. Finally, it’d signal the end of the longstanding Larry Sanders dilemma, as there wouldn’t really be a need for him anymore.

3. Philadelphia 76ers- Andrew Wiggins

Take this assertion with a grain of salt, but the 76ers have a shot to be a good team next season. Think about it, they have the reigning ROY, Michael Carter-Williams, at the point. They have Nerlens Noel, who missed all of his rookie season by way of injury, coming in, and some say he looks better than ever. The shooting guard tandem of James Anderson and Tony Wroten had a breakout season in 2013-14. And rumors are picking up steam that Thaddeus Young may just stay put in Philadelphia. If all of that is the case, they’re really only missing a small forward, and by default, Andrew Wiggins will fall right into their lap. If the draft shakes up with Parker and Embiid going 1 and 2, respectively, the 76ers picking Wiggins is an absolute no-brainer, as he’s the clear #3 prospect in this draft class. Wiggins athleticism and potential is like no other, and he may be able to play that Iverson/Iguodala role in Philly and lead the ‘6ers to the playoffs.

4. Orlando Magic- Dante Exum

Jameer Nelson is getting older and less reliable by the day, and rumors have been swirling that Exum to the Magic is “definite”. Exum is a special prospect. He stands towering over most other point guards at 6’6. He’s versatile and can play at PG, SG, or SF. He’s a good shooter, and is only getting better in that respect. He’s a humble kid, and good teammate and easy to coach. Most importantly, he has loads of potential. A lineup of Exum-Oladipo-Harkless-Harris-Vucevic, and Afflalo at 6th man is a pretty decent team, if they all play to their potential. That startling lineup would give them one of the youngest in the NBA, with an average age of 21.

5. Utah Jazz- Aaron Gordon

The Jazz are pretty strong at center, as they have 3 first round picks from the last several years (Favors, Kanter, Gobert). At point guard, they have the extremely promising Trey Burke. Their star player, Gordon Hayward, plays at the 2, but it is highly likely that he’ll move during free agency this summer. Even so, Alec Burks would be a fairly good replacement for Hayward if he chose to abandon Utah. This leaves the 3 and 4 as positions that should stand out to the Jazz front office as huge needs. That leaves Aaron Gordon in Utah’s lap. The explosive big man from Arizona has the potential to be a star player in the league, and this would be a great pick for the Jazz.

6. Boston Celtics- Joel Embiid

The Celtics are a very bad team, but on paper, they don’t have any glaring needs. Rondo’s great, Bradley’s decent, Jeff Green’s good (sometimes), Sullinger has huge potential (as we saw last season), and Olynyk shows a lot of promise. But the Celtics front office is accustomed having star players, with Paul Pierce, Larry Bird before him, and Bill Russell before him. Rondo is a borderline star, but he needs another star-power player out there with him. Joel Embiid is going to be a superstar, and a phenomenal center in the NBA. He only fell to 6 because of his speckled injury past. The Celts should take the bait and pick Embiid to fit into an already decent starting 5.

7. Los Angeles Lakers- Marcus Smart

The Steve Nash Experiment just hasn’t panned out in LA, and Kobe really needs a consistent point guard to run the floor with him. Anybody remember Smush Parker? Well I don’t think Kobe wants that to happen again, and it’s very possible, as Nash has constantly been injured during his tenure in LA, and he doesn’t have any consistent backups. Kendall Marshall showed potential in spurts last year, but he’s not a player that the Lakers should build around. That person that they should build around is Marcus Smart. He’s a very smart player, a phenomenal scorer, a good passer, and a great rebounder for his side. He also has great intangibles, and was a leader in the locker room at Oklahoma State University. The Lakers aren’t going to contend for the playoffs next season, and maybe not even the season after that, but drafting Marcus Smart is definitely a step in the right direction.

8. Sacramento Kings- Dario Saric

The Kings only glaring weakness on paper is at the power forward position. The two best power forwards available in the draft are Saric and Julius Randle, and with Randle’s recent injury questions, Saric is definitely the safer pick here. However, I really do think that the Kings should either trade this pick alone for a player, or package it with Rudy Gay for high talent. Either way, the Kings are going to gain major talent from this pick, and I’d be willing to guarantee that it’s in the form of  a power forward.

9. Charlotte Hornets- Doug McDermott

McDermott was one of the biggest, most successful college basketball stars of recent memory, and while scouts are quick to say that he’s not an NBA-type player, I think Charlotte bites here. I genuinely think that McDermott will prove the doubters wrong and end up as a solid starter or 6th man in the league for the majority of his career. McDermott is a 6’8 forward who plays like Dirk Nowitzki at times (have you seen him do the leg kick?) and Kyle Korver at others. He can be used to be a close backup to MKG, or honestly, he may steal the starting job, as Kidd-Gilchrist has been a bust thus far in his career.

10. Philadelphia 76ers- Julius Randle

Randle is a very safe pick here, as, though he’s had injury issues, it’s nothing major and he’s still definitely a top-10 talent. Thad Young may stay in Philly, and if he does, Randle could learn behind him and be a huge impact player off the bench. And if Young bolts, they have no worries, as Randle is right there to take his place. Putting MCW, Wroten, Wiggins, Randle, Noel on the floor together would form one of the youngest, highest potential, most explosive starting 5s in the NBA.

11. Denver Nuggets- Nik Stauskas

Denver had a shockingly bad season last year. With Brian Shaw at the helm, and a bunch of talented players like Ty Lawson, Gallinari, and Faried, nobody really expected the season they had. Stat wise, it doesn’t look like they had a major weakness, but shooting guard was probably the weakest link. Randy Foye played well, but he can’t do as much on the floor anymore, as he’s getting up there in age. Putting Stauskas as the starting 2 guard, and Randy Foye as the 6th man, may just solve this problem. You still get that explosive, long range scoring that you’d expect from Foye, but you also get a young body in Stauskas, who may be one of the best 3-point shooters in the league come next season.

12. Orlando Magic- Gary Harris

Shooting Guard clearly isn’t a weakness in Orlando, as they have Arron Afflalo, but rumors have been making their rounds that Orlando may trade Afflalo. Power Forward is the most glaring weakness on this team, and they may be able to land a starting-quality one in return for Afflalo. They would need a replacement for Arron, of course, and that’s where Gary Harris comes in. He’s unselfish, competitive, and is a great shot-maker. If Orlando truly plans on trading Afflalo, this is definitely the pick that they should make at 12.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves- James Young

Kevin Love has made it very clear that he doesn’t want to be in Minnesota, so Flip Saunders needs to make one last ditch effort to convince him to stay, and the draft is a perfect time for that. Love enjoys playing with Ricky Rubio at the point, so he wouldn’t want them to draft a PG. They have two very good centers in Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng, so I doubt Love would want them to draft a center. And I think it goes without saying that he doesn’t want them to draft his replacement at the PF. So that leaves them with SG and SF as possibilities. Of course Love likes playing with Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin, but they’re older and can’t be relied on as pieces for building a future. That’s where James Young comes in. He’s a 19 year old, 6’6, SG/SF from Kentucky. He is one of the most talented, natural scorers in this draft class, as he can do it in basically any way. Kevin Love would likely be happy with this pick, as it would push them towards the playoffs. And if he still wants to leave, James Young could be that potential star to take Love’s spot as Minnesota’s marquee player.

14. Phoenix Suns- Rodney Hood

The Suns don’t have any huge weaknesses, but small forward is definitely the biggest of their worries. PJ Tucker has been a good 3-shooter and defender for a couple of years, but he’s a free agent, and should gain a lot of interest due to the way he’s played in Phoenix. Even if PJ stays, he’d still be very good off the bench. Rodney Hood has starting potential. He’s a very long player, a phenomenal shooter, and has potential to be a very good defender. He also has great intangibles, which are valued very highly in the Phoenix Suns organization.

15. Atlanta Hawks- TJ Warren

16. Chicago Bulls- Elfrid Payton

17. Boston Celtics- Zach LaVine

18. Phoenix Suns- Adreian Payne

19. Chicago Bulls- KJ McDaniels

20. Toronto Raptors- Tyler Ennis

21. Oklahoma City Thunder- PJ Hairston

22. Memphis Grizzlies- Cleanthony Early

23. Utah Jazz- Shabazz Napier

24. Charlotte Hornets- Jarnell Stokes

25. Houston Rockets- Jerami Grant

26. Miami Heat- Kyle Anderson

27. Phoenix Suns- Jordan Clarkson

28. Los Angeles Clippers- Glenn Robinson III

29. Oklahoma City Thunder- Jordan Adams

30. San Antonio Spurs- Jusuf Nurkic

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